By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
On Wednesday, Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Lynn Goldman, a former EPA Assistant Administrator, representing the American Public Health Association, stridently defended the global warming orthodoxy before a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power on the issue of removing from EPA the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. This may be the first of a number of public fights on this issue. The quotes cited above are but a few of a number of scientifically questionable assertions made during their testimony.
Many newly seated members of the US House of Representatives seem singularly unimpressed by the physical evidence, or lack thereof, substantiating EPA’s claim that it has the authority and the justification to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. If continued, this would be a significant departure from the last time Republicans controlled the House when many embraced the orthodoxy. The US House is the only Federal government body empowered to originate spending and taxing programs.
To briefly recap: in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Clean Air Act’s vague language, human carbon dioxide emissions are a pollutant and EPA has the authority to regulate them. But, the court also ruled to justify such regulations, EPA had to make a scientific determination that such emissions threaten public health and welfare. On December 7, 2009, Lisa Jackson announced such a determination. The scientific justification, which flowed directly from the IPCC reports, is currently subject to litigation – which Ms. Jackson ignored during her testimony. Had the Clean Air Act carefully stated definitions of a pollutant, it is doubtful if the issue would have ever arisen.
Ms. Goldman’s testimony is on based reports by the World Health Organization, which, in turn, are based on the IPCC reports. In published peer reviewed articles, Indur Goklany, an independent researcher, has demolished these assertions. To a large part, the findings assume global warming will intensify certain common illnesses. In general, public health has improved remarkably during the 20th century. There is little or no physical evidence that the 20th century warming adversely affected public health. One must ask: what would the World Health Organization think of global cooling, or the onset of a new ice age – a possibility which the IPCC totally ignores?
Researchers, as diverse as satellite measurement expert Roy Spencer, and palaeontologist Bob Carter, have stated this entire controversy stems from Western governments spending tens of billions of dollars pursuing an answer to the wrong question – what is the risk of human-induced (global warming) climate change? Given the nature of bureaucracy, the results amplify the question – the risks are considerable. The failure to ask the right question has created agenda driven (ideological) science. The Environmental Minister of India, Jairam Ramesh, calls it “group think.” Challenges to the orthodoxy are shouted down – certainly not an environment conducive to rigorous, innovative research.
The group think concludes that carbon dioxide is the principal driver of climate change and that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. These conclusions can easily be rejected by examining ice core borings from Greenland and other empirical data which show that temperature change for the past 10,000 and 25,000 years is largely unrelated to atmospheric carbon dioxide and that 20th century warming is insignificant compared with many 100 year warming and cooling periods in the past.
The correct scientific question is: what are the causes of climate change, both natural and human? Once determined, the secondary question can be answered: globally, how significant are human influences compared with natural influences? Then the third question can be answered: how significant are human influences on local and regional climate change compared with natural influences?
Unfortunately, by failing to address the right question, massive government funding has locked scientific organizations into an ideological dispute whereby those who dare question the orthodoxy are frequently called anti-science. Such accusations serve no one except those who are truly anti-science. Examples of such accusations are already too prevalent.
The great danger to future, government-funded scientific research is the extent to which entrenched bureaucrats will appeal to authority or evoke speculative computer models, rather than physical evidence, to deflect serious scientific questions from skeptical members of the House of Representatives. Failure to address scientific questions by the defenders of the orthodoxy will ill serve science. Brought to an extreme, such actions by the orthodoxy will damage future inquiry in natural science, physical science, by making make it difficult for the Federal government to justify funding any scientific endeavors.
Please see the open letter under Article # 1 below and articles referenced under “Let the Games Begin.” For an interesting interview with new head of the House Science Committee’s panel on basic science research and education, 56 year old freshman Representative Mo Brooks, please see Article # 3 below.
Issues regarding the rolling blackouts in Texas during the recent freeze continue. Some commentators claim it was the failure of wind power that caused the blackouts, others claim wind power came through during this critical period. Early indications are that gas supplies failed because electrical power was cut off when it was needed to maintain pressure in gas pipelines. The Public Utility Commission of Texas is conducting an investigation. A rigorously conducted investigation is vital, because, under stress, the power grid is only as strong as its weakest link. Please see Article # 4 below and articles referenced under “What Happened?”
Number of The Week: 8. Eight states have filed litigation against public utilities (privately owned) generating electricity from coal by claiming these utilities a public nuisance. The states are Connecticut, New York, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The states are joined by the City of New York, three land trusts: Open Space Institute, Inc.; Open Space Conservancy, Inc.; and Audubon Society of New Hampshire. The litigation is reaching the Supreme Court. If successful, is the next step claiming all electricity generation by privately owned utilities, be they solar, wind, hydro, natural gas, and nuclear, are public nuisances? Will government owned utilities do better? See articles referenced under “Is Electrical Generation from Coal a Public Nuisance?”
TWTW Corrections and Amplifications:
On Feb 8, SEPP sent out a TWTW supplement highlighting an open letter signed by thirty-six eminent scientists, highly knowledgeable in climate change research, and thirty-three others. The letter was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate contesting the false assertions contained in January 23 letter by 18 scientists, discussed in last week’s TWTW.
The supplement gave a few readers the incorrect impression that SEPP was the originator of the Feb 8 letter. Sherwood, Craig, and Keith Idso of CO2 Science.org originated the letter, fully supported by many. SEPP was more a letter carrier than an originator.
The supplement and the full letter can be found at: Supplement Readers pointed out that the Feb 5 TWTW misidentified Sir Joseph Banks as past president of the Royal Academy. Actually he was past president of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. The Royal Society is focused on science; the Royal Academy of Arts is focused on art.
The year 2010 was dominated by the subject of global warming. Although SEPP scientists also dealt with other topics (e.g., nuclear radiation, regulation at EPA, energy policy), climate change occupied the main stage, in terms of university seminars, presentations at scientific conferences, briefings both here and abroad, interviews for TV and radio, as well as, publications in scientific and popular journals. In all instances, we promoted the results of NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change), which differ sharply from those of the UN-IPCC. [See NIPCC summary report Nature, not human activity, rules the climate and full report Climate Reconsidered, http://www.nipccreport.org]
Seminars, Talks, Debates
In two major trips overseas, Fred Singer presented seminar talks on aspects of climate change and geophysics. The locations included: Erice (Sicily) Conference; Technion (Haifa), India (India Int’l Center – New Delhi; Meteorological Institute – Pune; Mumbai; Santhigiri Ashram – Trivandrum), Singapore (Nat’l University of Singapore and Nat’l Technical University).
Other talks were seminars and/or less formal talks to groups in Rome, Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin, and Paris.
A highlight was a briefing for members of the German Bundestag. It produced a widely reported flap when a leading politician (the spokesperson on environment for the ruling CDU party) afterwards declared herself somewhat skeptical about Global Warming.
Debates (with large attendances) at Princeton and Purdue University (handled by Ken Haapala and Fred Singer)
Invited Talks at Rockefeller University (NY City), at Heartland’s Climate Skeptics Conference in Chicago, at DDP Conference in Orlando, at Statistics Conference in Seattle, and at Santa Marta (Colombia, South America)
SEPP does not lobby on behalf of political candidates or legislation. We do provide scientific information upon request in testimony to Congress or to other groups.
In response to EPA’s request for public comments on its Endangerment Finding (that CO2 emissions constitute a ‘pollutant harmful to human health and welfare’) SEPP filed scientific objections, based on the evidence assembled in the NIPCC reports. After the revelations of Climategate, SEPP, together with CEI, filed a Petition to the Federal Courts to set aside the Endangerment Finding, since it was based largely on the conclusions of the severely compromised IPCC reports.
We updated and expanded our web site . Readers, including students, journalists, and lawmakers, find it a good source of sound scientific information. Our weekly bulletin “The Week That Was” goes to some 5000 addressees: scientists, policymakers, the media, and reaches many more within the public. TWTW is now edited by SEPP Exec VP Kenneth Haapala, who also pens the column “This Week.”
Fred Singer published a book review, a technical conference paper, and submitted to peer-reviewed journals three scientific papers that deal with disparities between climate models and observations – a hotly contested topic but vital for establishing the cause of climate change.
We spent much time replying to comments and questions from readers and were guests at some dozen radio talk shows, TV interviews on CNN Headline News, Fox News, and BBC. The BBC’s Horizon program recorded an interview of Fred Singer, conducted by Sir Paul Nurse, president of Rockefeller University and now president of the Royal Society in London.
For a group of essays see: http://www.americanthinker.com
Governance: With the passing of SEPP chairman Prof Frederick Seitz, we reconstituted the Board of Directors:
Chairman: S. Fred Singer (and President)
Vice Chairman: Kenneth A. Haapala (and Exec VP)
Donna Fitzpatrick Bethell, former Under Secretary, US Dept of Energy
Mark Brandsdorfer, Esq
Thomas Sheahen, PhD (MIT, Physics)
S. Fred Singer, President, SEPP
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. An Open Letter to Board of Directors of the American Chemical Society
By Steven J. Welcenbach, Jan 22, 2011
2. Blame Global Warming? No, Blame Global Warmism.
By James Taranto, Best of the Web, Feb 9, 2011
3. ‘Healthy Skeptic’ on Climate Change Promises Hearings by Science subcommittee
By Jeffrey Mervis, Science Insider, Feb 9, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
4. Texas to Probe Rolling Blackouts
By Rebeccca Smith, WSJ, Feb 7, 2011
5. The Weather Isn’t Getting Weirder
The latest research belies the idea that storms are getting more extreme
By Anne Jolis, WSJ, Feb 10, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
RealClimategate hits the final nail in the coffin of ‘peer review’
By James Delingpole, Telegraph, UK, Feb 8, 2011 [H/t Joe Bast]
Challenging the Orthodoxy
The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment
By Craig and Sherwood Idso
Press release By SPPI, Feb 8, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
[SEPP Comment: A systematic presentation of decades of important research.]
No Arctic “Tipping Point”
By David Whitehouse, GWPF, Feb 10, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
The Urban Heat Island effect: Could Africa be more affected than the US
By JoNova, Feb 10, 2011
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
European Commissioner: Space Is a Must To Tackle Climate Change
By Staff Writers, Terra Daily, Feb 7, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Bordeaux Wines Face Climate Threat
Higher temperatures mean that grapes in Bordeaux may ripen earlier and become vulnerable to malnutrition.
By Suzanne Mustcich, AFP, Feb 9, 2011
[Will great châteaux move north to the Loire Valley? Will Britain, which is undergoing a Medieval resurgence in white wines, have great success in noble reds? The researcher totally ignores that carbon dioxide enrichment makes vines more resistant to stress such as drought. If you are wondering, 2005, which NOAA and NASA-GISS declared to be the other hottest year ever, produced an exceptional, landmark vintage – one of the best ever. Is it time to buy 2010 futures?]
Seeking a Common Ground
Professor Counters Global Warming Myths With Data
By Claire Perlman, Daily Californian, Feb 11, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: A welcomed proposal for an independent tabulation of surface data. Will it suffer from some of the biases in the findings of NOAA and NASA-GISS as exposed by Anthony Watts and others such as failure to maintain proper siting of measuring stations? Let us hope not.]
World of two halves! Map shows most of Northern Hemisphere is covered in snow and ice
By Daily Mail Reporter, Daily Mail, Feb 3, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
Gradual Trends and Extreme Events
By Paul Krugman, NYT, Feb 8, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: See Indur Goklany’s comments below.]
Extreme Nonsense by Krugman
By Indur Goklany, WUWT, Feb 9, 2011
[SEPP Comment: See Krugman’s article above.]
35 zoo animals freeze to death in northern Mexico
By AP, Feb 5, 2011 [H/t Joe D’Aleo]
BP Oil Spill and Aftermath
White House’s Contemptible Drilling Ban
Editorial, IBD, Feb 4, 2011
Natural resources hold the key to economy, creating jobs
By Rep. Doug Lamborn, Washington Examiner, Feb 7, 2011
Let the Games Begin
EPA and APHA testimony to Congress about global warming health treat – a critical review
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Feb 11, 2011
House Republicans Take E.P.A. Chief to Task
By John Broder, NYT, Feb 9, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
Cap-and-Trade or Clean Energy Standards, It Doesn’t Matter
Clean Energy Standard: Cap-and-Trade Only Less Efficient
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, Feb 7, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Stop EPA’s Energy Tax
Editorial, IBD, Feb 10, 2011
AGs Band Together on Climate, Too
By Paul Chesser, American Spectator, Feb 9, 2011 [H/t Joe Bast]
Will Congress Stop EPA’s End Run around Democracy
By Marlo Lewis, Big Government, Feb 9, 2011
Bipartisan uprising against EPA overreach
Editorial, Orange County Register, Feb 3, 2011
Clean Air Under Siege
Editorial, NYT, Feb 5, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
[SEPP Comment: The New York Times considers carbon dioxide a pollutant and fails to state that EPA was required to make a scientific finding that carbon dioxide emissions threaten public health and welfare. The science in EPA’s finding was lacking.]
Don’t weaken EPA
Editorial, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb 10, 2011 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Orwell is back: Bulb ban is freedom
By Henry Payne, Detroit News, The Michigan View, Feb 2, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
‘Sustainability’: Some Free Market Reflections
By Marlo Lewis, Master Resource, Feb 11, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Schemes promoting sustainability are often unsustainable. The estimated costs of various electrical power generation facilities stated in the article have been updated by the US EIA.]
The Unseen Consequences of “Green Jobs”
Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?
By Ronald Bailey, Reason, Feb 8, 2011 [H/t Dale Petzold]
The Range Fuels Fiasco
A case study in the folly of politically directed investment
Editorial, WSJ, Feb 10, 2011
[SEPP Comment: In spite of headlines, subsidies, bold government predictions, and venture capital; cellulose to ethanol has failed. Article may be behind a paywall.]
DOE Details Initiative to Reduce PV Costs by 75% by 2020
By Staff Writers, Power News, Feb 9, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: A clear illustration of the extent to which photovoltaic is non-competitive with traditional sources of electricity. What is required to create the necessary battery storage?]
Oil – the Future or the Past?
Oil; The Energy Of The Future
By Robert Samuelson, IBD, Feb 8, 2011
Oil has joined the Past … NG is the future
By Jack Barnes, Business Insider, Feb 5, 2011
Oil-Drilling Boom Under Way
Rig Count Doubles in U.S. as Companies, Landowners Tap New Crude Sources
By Ryan Dezember and Matt Day, WSJ, Feb 10, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Article may be behind a pay wall.]
No Coal, No Power, No Gas
By Jeffrey Folks, American Thinker, Feb 11, 2011
When Wind Is Reliable: Turbines Help Texans Avoid the Dark
By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, Feb 8, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Whistling in the Wind
Our Don Quixote Energy Policy
Editorial, IBD, Feb 8, 2011
Lack of wind raises fears for future of green energy
Credit: Robert Lea, The Times, Feb 2, 2011
Is Electrical Generation from Coal a Public Nuisance?
DOJ, Power Companies File Briefs in High-Profile Public Nuisance Case
By Staff Writers, Power News, Feb 9, 2011
Greens With Envy
Editorial, Feb 8, 2011
California’s environmental regulations cause economic blackout
By Mark Hemingway, Washington Examiner, Feb 9, 2011
CARB Before Horse
Editorial, IBD, Feb 7, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Environmental group claims that CARB is too business friendly!]
Is the University of Virginia biased against professors that challenge the idea of global warming?
By Amanda Carey, The Daily Caller, Feb 2, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see http://www.NIPCCreport.org
Ocean Acidification and Marine Diatoms
Reference: Wu, Y., Gao, K. and Riebesell, U. 2010. CO2-induced seawater acidification affects physiological performance of the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Biogeosciences 7: 2915-2923.
The Struggle to Curtail Global Warming
Reference: Sherman, D.J., Li, B., Quiring, S.M. and Farrell, E.J. 2010. Benchmarking the war against global warming. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100: 1013-1024.
Medieval Droughts of Northern Europe and Beyond
Reference: Helama, S., Merilainen, J. and Tuomenvirta, H. 2009. Multicentennial megadrought in northern Europe coincided with a global El Niño-Southern Oscillation drought pattern during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Geology 37: 175-178.
The Impact of Global Warming on Viral Diseases
Reference: Zell, R., Krumbholz, A. and Wutzler, P. 2008. Impact of global warming on viral diseases: what is the evidence? Current Opinion in Biotechnology 19: 652-660.
The Changing Climate
Tropical Atlantic sees weaker trade winds and more rainfall: study
By Staff Writers, Physorg.com, Feb 6, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Arctic climate variation under ancient greenhouse conditions
Press Release, National Oceanography Centre (UK), Feb 11, 2011
[“Based on our findings, it seems unlikely that man-made global warming would cause a permanent El Niño state.” El Niños have a warming influence. Some alarmists have suggested the warming from carbon dioxide emissions will be amplified by more frequent El Niños.]
Food for Fuel
How biofuels contribute to the food crisis
By Tim Searchinger, Washington Post, Feb 11, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
[Biofuels have grown rapidly, from consuming 2 percent of world grain and virtually no vegetable oil in 2004 to more than 6.5 percent of grain and 8 percent of vegetable oil last year. Governments worldwide seek to triple production of biofuels by 2020, and that implies more moderately high prices after good growing years and soaring prices after bad ones.]
Other Scientific Issues
Science Accounts Hit Hard by Planned House Budget Cuts
By Jeffrey Mervis, Science Insider, Feb 3, 2011
[SEPP Comment: See This Week above.]
Antarctic Drilling Plan Raises Concerns
By Eric Niiler, Discovery News, Feb 9, 2011
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Speaking of the Weather
Letter by Béla Lipták, NYT, Feb 4, 2011
[COMMENTS FROM BEST OF THE WEB: Wow, it’s so simple! Meanwhile, London’s Daily Telegraph reports that the Bombay High Court in India has ruled that “astrology . . . is a credible science.” That explains why global warmism is central to President Obama’s WTF campaign to keep America competitive. We have to make absolutely certain that we embrace the very latest superstitions and call them science.]
Astrology is a science, court rules
Astrology, the study of interplanetary alignments as the explanation for everything, is a credible science, an Indian court has ruled.
By Dean Nelson, Telegraph, UK, Feb 7, 2011 [H/t Best on the Web]
[SEPP Comment: Will the IPCC use astrology to justify the projections from its computer models?]
Prince Charles: Climate skeptics gamble with the future
By Staff Writers, BBC, Feb 9, 2011
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…