Quote of the Week:
“The purpose of the ‘social cost of carbon’ (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that have small, or “marginal,” impacts on cumulative global emissions.” From: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, Under Executive Order 12866, February 2010
Number of the Week: $1.2 TRILLION – $1,200,000,000,000.00
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Last Friday, the White House transmitted to Congress the 2011 Economic Report of the President (ERP) prepared by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. For purposes of science based environmental policy, the most crucial chapter is Chapter 6, “Transitioning To A Clean Energy Future.” Several specific issues will be discussed in the upcoming TWTW, however, this week’s discussion will be limited to two general concepts in the ERP: first, the concept of Social Cost of Carbon, suggested, but not fully calculated in the ERP; and, second, the calculated social cost of American’s dependence on foreign oil which demonstrates how the concept of Social Cost of Carbon can be easily used by bureaucrats to the detriment of the American public.
The concept of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) can be found in the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, Under Executive Order 12866, February 2010 from which the “Quote of the Week” is taken. Twelve government agencies are listed as participating in the Interagency Working Group including the expected – EPA, Department of Energy, Office of Energy and Climate Change. Other agencies include Council of Economic Advisers, Office of Management and Budget, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Treasury.
As suggested in the above quote, the concept of SCC is intentionally vague and lacks scientific precision. It is a bureaucrat’s dream. Any suggested harm from the use of carbon can be included no matter how improbable. Of course, the current objective is controlling all carbon-based fuels. But, SCC can be used for other purposes as well.
Humans are carbon based life forms, all life on the planet is carbon based. The use of vague concepts such as Social Cost of Carbon suggests life itself comes with a social cost.
In recent years, the Federal government demonstrated how laws with vague concepts can be used to broaden government control of the citizenry. When the Clean Air Act was passed, it was not envisioned by many of its principal sponsors that it would be include control carbon dioxide emissions. Yet, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide, a non-toxic trace gas essential to life, is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
If given leeway, EPA, and others, will use the vague concept of Social Cost of Carbon to greatly expand governmental powers. The ERP states the estimated value of the benefits from carbon management range from $5 per ton of to $67 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Of course, there is no mention of the actual benefits of carbon dioxide enhancement to agriculture and the environment, apparently something the Department of Agriculture does not recognize.
The ERP also gives also gives a demonstration, but does not fully discuss how government agencies can manipulate the concept of Social Costs of Carbon (SCC). The ERP contains a full separate page titled the “Energy Security Benefits of Reduced Oil Consumption,” to include the costs of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The ERP omits any discussion that the ‘Security Benefits’ would be achieved by expanding domestic exploration and development of the extensive oil resources within the US and its offshore boundaries, which would eliminate any of the delineated ‘Security Benefits’ in the ERP. Further, that section of the ERP concludes with the unrelated comment: “By comparison, one U.S. government estimate [unidentified] of the global social cost of the CO2 emissions associated with one barrel of oil is $9.52 in 2010 going up to $20 in 2050.” (p. 126) Global social costs are lumped into US security cost. (Please see documents referenced under “EPA on the March …”)
On March 1, the EPA posted the final version of a new report: “The main purpose of this report is to document the costs and benefits of the 1990 CAAA [Clean Air Act Amendments] provisions incremental to those costs and benefits achieved from implementing the original 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1977 amendments.”
“The results of our analysis, summarized in the table below, make it abundantly clear that the benefits of the CAAA exceed its costs by a wide margin, making the CAAA a very good investment for the nation. [Emphasis in the original] We estimate that the annual dollar value of benefits of air quality improvements will be very large, and will grow over time as emissions control programs take their full effect, reaching a level of approximately $2.0 trillion in 2020.” (First page of Abstract, no page number)
“A peer-reviewed report prepared by the EPA estimates that for the year 2010 alone, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 yielded net benefits of $1.2 trillion-everything from lives saved to healthier kids to a more productive workforce (EPA 2010).” [The ERP p. 127] The bottom line is that the EPA considers the intensification of Clean Air Act regulations since 1990 will be worth $2.0 TRILLION per year in 2020 and is worth $1.2 TRILLION in 2010, alone.
In its discussion and presentation of the CAAA, EPA avoids any specific mention of carbon dioxide, except for its effects on galvanized steel. Virtually the entire impact study is taken up by discussion of airborne compounds of sulfur and nitrogen, etc. If the value of the 1990 amendments is $1.2 Trillion, one is compelled to inquire how much EPA values the Clean Acts of 1970 and 1977? How much does EPA value the Clean Water Act and similar regulations? (Please see documents referenced under “EPA on the March …”)
Number of the Week: $1.2 Trillion. The EPA values the Clean Air Act Amendments since 1990 at $1.2 Trillion in 2010 alone, or more than 8% of the US Gross Domestic Product in 2010, estimated to be $14.7 Trillion. EPA valuations of regulations it enforces, or desires to enforce, are highly questionable.
The head of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon went to Hollywood to beseech the entertainment industry to produce more movies about global warming – as if Al Gore’s Academy Award was not too much. During World War II the US War Department, and its propaganda arms, asked Hollywood, and others, to assist by making patriotic war movies, special features for the troops and civilians, and design propaganda posters. The effort was successful. Many countries in World War II, including those on opposite sides, made similar requests of their artists and were also successful – to a point.
After spending vast sums hiring some of the finest advertising agencies in the world, the IPCC, and the environmental industry, now must appeal to Hollywood. Except in the minds of the IPCC and its supporters, we are not in a World War, and the public is becoming increasingly skeptical of those who believe we are. (Please see articles under “Defenders of the Orthodoxy.”)
The announcement by the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, that Australia will implement a carbon tax and subsequently move to a cap-and-trade program has created an outrage among many citizens. (Please see Articles # 1 and # 2 and articles under “Cap and Trade.”)
To extend government operations, this week, the US Federal government agreed to a two week extension of the current budget resolution with some budget cuts. Another ‘show-down’ will arrive next week.
Corrections and Amplifications: Last week’s TWTW contained a quote from Malcolm Ross, “Give me a faster computer and I will give you the wrong result sooner,” in response to comments by the Met Office claiming it was unable to predict the cold winter because its computers were too slow. Last week’s TWTW failed to identify the source of the original comments by the Met Office. Those comments came from an interview with Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, as published in Nature magazine, on December 30, 2010, http://www.nature.com. A fuller discussion can be found in the January 8, 2011 TWTW.
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Carbon dioxide tax – the People’s Revolt – I
By Bob Carter, Quadrant, Feb 24, 2011
2. Shhsshh .. don’t talk about the science
By Bob Carter, Quadrant, Feb 28, 2011
3. Time to Get Serious About American Oil
Why is Washington blocking oil exploration in states like Alaska and Louisiana when the Middle East is such a powder keg?
By Sean Parnell, WSJ, Mar 3, 2011
4. Tax Reform Exhibit A
How Whirlpool parlays green credits into zero tax liability
Editorial, WSJ, Mar 3, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
The WWF Vice President & the New IPCC Report
By Donna Laframboise, No Frakking Consensus, Mar 4, 2011 [HT ICECAP]
[SEPP Comment: Another example of the interrelationships between the IPCC and the Environmental Industry.]
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Is The NSF Funding Untestable Climate Predictions – My Comments On A $6 Million Grant To Fund A Center For Robust Decision-Making On Climate And Energy Policy
By ‘Roger Pielke Sr. Pielke Research Group, Mar 2, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
[SEPP Comment: Regional multi-decadal models, based on models that have never been validated are a waste of taxpayer money, but the results from them are used to intimidate the unsuspecting, eventually lessening the public’s respect for scientists.]
John Holdren: White House Malthusian
By Robert Bradley Jr., Master Resource, Mar 3, 2011
Unscientific hype about the flooding risks from climate change will cost us all dear
By Christopher Booker, Telegraph, UK, Feb 27, 2011 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]
[“The warmists have sound financial grounds for hyping the dangers of flooding posed by climate change, writes Christopher Booker”]
Negative water vapor feedback in plant evapo-transpiration found
Posted by Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 4, 2011
[SEPP Comment: More evidence that with CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere; plants will adapt and withstand droughts better.]
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
U.N. leader asks Hollywood for help in fight against global climate change
‘Together we can have a blockbuster impact on the world,’ U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tells Hollywood heavyweights at a forum on global climate change.
By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, Feb 27, 2011 [H/t SPPI]
Ban Goes Hollywood
Editorial, IBD, Mar 1, 2011
Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?
By Anthony Barnosky, et al, Nature 471, 51-57, Mar 3, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Another effort to communicate better with the public – predict future catastrophe with a question – it is logically impossible to refute. The article is behind a paywall but the abstract is not.]
Editorial, NYT, Feb 27, 2011
Seeking a Common Ground
Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?
The Berkeley Earth project say they are about to reveal the definitive truth about global warming
By Ian Sample, Guardian, UK, Feb 27, 2011 [H/t Tom Sheahen]
[SEPP Comment: Another article on the Berkeley Earth group that was discussed by Fred Singer in an article carried in last week’s TWTW.]
Big-Time La Nina Tornado and Spring flood Season Possible
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Mar 2, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
“Scientists” Pull a Snow Job on Reporters in Teleconference
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Mar 2, 2011
Global Warming Alarmists Flip-Flop On Snowfall
By James Taylor, Forbes Mar 2, 2011 [H/t Warren Wetmore]
BP Oil Spill and Administration Control of Drilling
Oil Drilling to Resume in the Gulf’s Deep Waters
By John Broder and Clifford Kauss, NYT, Feb 28, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A hope or a token?]
America’s Enemies Don’t Want U.S. Drilling
Editorial, IBD, Mar 2, 2011
Let the Games Begin
House Will Pursue Efforts to Eliminate US Funding for UN Climate Group
By Jeremy Kaplan, Fox News, Mar 1, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
The Airhead At EPA
Editorial, IBD, Mar 2, 2011
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Gillard’s great carbon lie
By Piers Akerman, Daily Telegraph, Feb 27, 2011
Carbon price is the best way forward
By Greg Combet, Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister, The Australian, Feb 26, 2011 [H/t Malcolm Ross]
[SEPP Comment: If human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous warming, then taxing emissions would be the most efficient way of regulating them. But they are not.]
Climate change adviser recommends agriculture be included in a carbon price regime
By Joe Kelly, The Australian, Mar 1, 2011
Australian politics churning
By Jo Nova, JoNova, Mar 4, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Social Cost of carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis
Under Executive Order 12866 Feb 2010
The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020: Final Study
By EPA, March 1, 2011
[SEPP Comment: In the past few days, the links changed. This is the latest.]
Close the EPA
It’s time to stop funding carbon mysticism with taxpayer dollars
Editorial, Washington Times, Mar 3, 2011
EPA Extends Emissions Reporting Deadline
By Ryan Tracy and Stephen Power, WSJ, Mar 2, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The article may be behind a paywall.]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Bureaucrats can’t change the way we drive … but they keep trying
By Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, Mar 1, 2011
Deliberately making Americans poorer
Obama’s energy policies hit hardest below the poverty belts
By Richard Rahn, Washington Times, Feb 28, 2011
A Home for Captured Carbon Dioxide
By Matthew Wald, NYT, Mar 1, 2011
Explain Redactions in Yucca Mountain Safety Report, NRC Panel Tells Agency
By Staff Writers, Power News, Mar 2, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
The Michael Lynch Power Hour Interview
By Alex Epstein, Master Resource, Mar 4, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A commentary on the problems of ‘peak oil’. Oil production is not only geology, but also, economics, technology, and politics.]
This Is No Time to Discourage U.S. Oil and Gas Production
The president wants to cut $4.4 billion in ‘tax breaks’ for Big Oil. This would cost consumers far more in higher prices and greater reliance on foreign supplies.
By Robert Bryce, WSJ, Feb 26, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The article may be behind a paywall.]
Alternative, Green Energy
Wind Power: Questionable Benefits, Concealed Impacts
By Paul Driessen, TownHall, Feb 28, 2011
Too-Green-To-Fail Energy Policies Flunk Achievement Tests
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Mar 1, 2011
The real cost of ‘global warming’
By James Delingpole, Telegraph, UK, Feb 28, 2011 [H/t Anne Debeil]
Study says green sector costs more jobs than it creates
By Staff Writers, BBC, UK, Feb 28, 2011 [H/t Anne Debeil]
[The study claimed 3.7 jobs were lost for every one created in the UK renewables sector.]
How Green Is Your Lost Job?
Editorial, IBD, Mar 1, 2011
Study: Meeting biofuel goal may be costly
Staff Writers, UPI, Feb 17, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Obama’s green subsidies attract do-gooder bandits
By Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner, Feb 27, 2011
Pumping Oil with Sunshine
New thermal plant uses a greenhouse to make solar steam cheap
By David Biello, Scientific American, Mar 1, 2011 [H/t Warren Wetmore]
[SEPP Comment: Innovative use of a greenhouse to keep the solar panels clean and protected from wind, etc., in order to pump oil more efficiently.]
California Senate Approves 33% RPS Measure
By Staff Writers, Power News, Mar 2, 2011
[SEPP Comment: California lemmings are determined to win the race to the cliff.]
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see www.NIPCCreport.org
Surface Air Temperatures Over the Arctic Ocean
Reference: Liu, J., Zhang, Z., Hu, Y., Chen, L., Dai, Y. and Ren, X. 2008. Assessment of surface air temperature over the Arctic Ocean in reanalysis and IPCC AR4 model simulations with IABP/POLES observations. Journal of Geophysical Research 113: 10.1029/2007JD009380.
Climate Change and Australian Bushfire Property Losses
Reference: McAneney, J., Chen, K. and Pitman, A. 2009. 100-years of Australian bushfire property losses: Is the risk significant and is it increasing? Journal of Environmental Management 90: 2819-2822.
Effect of Elevated Ozone on Methane Emissions from Peatlands
Reference: Toet, S., Ineson, P., Peacock, S. and Ashmore, M. 2011. Elevated ozone reduces methane emissions from peatland mesocosms. Global Change Biology 17: 288-296.
The Role of Seagrasses in Earth’s Carbon Cycle
Reference: Kennedy, H., Beggins, J., Duarte, C.M., Fourqurean, J.W., Holmer, M., Marba, N. and Middelburg, J.J. 2010. Seagrass sediments as a global carbon sink: Isotopic constraints. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 24: 10.1029/2010GB003848.
The Changing Climate
New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores
By Staff Writers, Physorg, Mar 2, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Other Scientific Issues
How much CO2 really contributes to global warming?
Spectroscopic studies and modeling of the influence of H20, C02, CH4 on our climate.
By Hermann Harde, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol 13, EGU2001-4505-1, 2011 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: The results of this study contradict the widely accepted views of the effect of a doubling of CO2, with no feedbacks. No doubt the study will receive rigorous scrutiny, including efforts of replication.]
Observing Arctic ice-edge plankton blooms from space
Press Release, National Oceanography Centre, UK, Mar 4, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
DLR Researchers Contribute New Insights On Changes In The Ozone Layer
By Staff Writers, SPX, Feb 28, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
A climate-change activist prepares for the worst
By Mike Tidwell, Washington Post, Feb 25, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years
Regional war could spark “unprecedented climate change,” experts predict.
By Charles Choi, National Geographic News, Feb 22, 2011 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]