Weekly Climate Energy News Roundup


The Week That Was: 2011-03-12 (March 12, 2011)

Brought to You by SEPP (www.sepp.org)

The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

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…

Quote of the Week:

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963) 

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Number of the Week: 160,000 premature deaths prevented in 2010

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

The 2011 Economic Report of the President (ERP) was briefly discussed in last week’s TWTW including the questionable concept of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) which, with vague definitions, is an ideal tool for bureaucrats to justify regulation of carbon based fuels and other carbon based products. The example in the ERP calculating the benefits of energy independence, without increasing domestic production of oil and gas, was discussed.

In praising benefits of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ERP systematically omits any of the benefits of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which are significant.

The ERP promotes the development of solar and wind, but has significant omissions:

  • The ERP omits any plan for sensible development of the huge oil resources in the United States and its off-shore boundaries.
  • It omits stating imported oil is principally used as a transportation fuel – less than one percent is used to generate electricity. Generating electricity from solar or wind does not significantly reduce the need for transportation fuels.
  • It omits any plan for promoting the construction of modern nuclear power plants to include the recycling of nuclear fuel.
  • It omits any discussion of the poor 120-year economic history of wind-generated electricity – erratic wind power was always rejected by consumers demanding reliable, affordable electricity.
  • It omits the staggering investments China is making in traditional sources for generating electricity. The EPR emphasizes China’s development of solar and wind but ignores massive investments in nuclear, coal, and hydro. This omission leads to the false assertion that the US is in a race with China for wind and solar power.
  • It omits any rigorous economic discussion of the difference between government expenditures and government investment. Expenditures are exactly that, they may create jobs and prosperity for a few, but not for the general public. Successful investments create general prosperity yielding far more to the general public than the cost. Replacing coal plants which reliably generate affordable electricity with wind farms or solar plants that unreliably generate more expensive electricity is an expenditure, not an investment. Such an action is no more an investment than replacing the reliable family car with an exotic, expensive, high-maintenance sports car. It may create jobs for some but at the expense of the family.
  • It omits any discussion of an existing technology that can economically store electricity on an industrial scale. Without one, spending heavily on solar or wind is speculation.

In short, the EPR does not provide a path to a prosperous energy future, but a path to a boxed canyon that will make the US uncompetitive in the world markets.

S. Fred Singer publicly stated: “Congress should give the 2011 Economic Report of the President an ‘F’ and send it back.”

(Please see Article # 2, and articles under the article under Carbon Dioxide Benefits.


This week the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing entitled “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” The hearing was in preparation for a vote on legislation to remove from EPA the power to regulate Greenhouse Gases, particularly carbon dioxide.

Thus far the new Congress allows for greater diversity in witnesses than the past Congress. Prior to this Congress such a hearing would commonly have, say sixteen, experts testifying. Fifteen would claim the science establishes the need for such regulations and one would was not. This hearing had six witnesses represented the conflicting views of what the science establishes. The testimony of the witnesses is referenced below.

Roger Pielke, Sr, who testified, posted on his web blog his views of the hearing and possible opportunities missed. Judith Curry contrasted the testimony on extreme-weather events by Francis Zwiers of the University of Victoria, with that of John Christy of University of Alabama in Huntsville. Of course, the partisans in the press had their own take on the testimony.

The legislation passed the subcommittee. (Please see referenced items under “Let the Games Begin,” “Seeking a Common Ground,” and “Extreme Weather.”


Michael Mann has been in the press again. Some posts suggest Mann deceived Penn State University or that the University whitewashed its investigation. Others suggest all was merely a slight-of-hand by Mann. The post by Steve McIntire may give the best summation of the situation. (Please see articles referenced under Climategate Continued.)

Also, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled on the appeal by Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli regarding the local court severely limiting the scope of his investigation of Mann’s emails while at the University of Virginia. In general, the Court found for Cuccinelli. However, it also raised the question whether or not the University, as an agency of the state, was subject to the type of demand Cuccinelli issued. As of this time SEPP has seen no articles defining the actual legal meaning of the finding and the options open to Cuccinelli.

This leads to the Quote of the Week from John F. Kennedy: If the University of Virginia has nothing to hide, why is it bitterly fighting public disclosure of the facts?


With the crash of the Glory satellite into the ocean, NASA is suffering terrible blows in studying the earth’s climate. This is the second failure resulting in the destruction of an important, expensive satellite, raising questions about the NASA missions and the launchers it is using.

Satellite observations of the earth’s weather and climate provide unparalleled information on the ever-changing planet. The global temperature calculations from satellites are the finest available. Unfortunately, NASA allowed its contributions to climate science to be dominated by NASA-GISS, which used surface-based instruments and highly questionable computer models, to promoted the fear of global warming – a fear, that, increasingly, the public no longer accepts

Recently-elected Congressmen, rightly, question the work of NASA-GISS and its surface based data. NASA made a huge public relations error with this Congress by allowing the leaders of NASA-GISS to be the symbol for NASA’s earth / climate program. As a result, understandably, many Congressmen are questioning the entire program. (Please see articles under “Other Scientific Issues.”)


Number of the Week: 160,000 premature deaths prevented in 2010. Last week’s TWTW had as the Number of the Week the EPA’s claim that the AMENDMENTS to the Clear Air Act resulted in benefits of $1.2 Trillion in 2010 alone. Several readers responded citing that in the same documents the EPA claims that in 2010 these Amendments prevented 160,000 premature deaths as well as many other questionable benefits. The readers stated that they could not justify such numbers. Neither can SEPP.

EPA is not clear on its accounting procedures, so one can only speculate about how it arrives at its numbers. However, after the initial Clean Air Act in 1970, that many of the dominant air pollutants prior to 1970 were removed by 1990. Thus, the remaining ones would largely be pollutants which contribute to respiratory diseases.

Heavy metals such as lead, which can create nervous disorders, may be a contributor to premature deaths. However, the EPA report focused on oxides of nitrogen, sulfur, small particles, etc., that are generally associated with respiratory disease. Cigarette smokers were not considered.

There are two major categories of deaths from respiratory diseases reported in the statistical abstracts of the US: 1) “Malignant neoplasms of trachea, bronchus, and lung,” and 2) “Chronic lower respiratory diseases.” In 1990, the total reported deaths from the category one were 146,400 with a death rate of 58.9 per 100,000 and total reported deaths from category two were 86,700 with a death rate of 34.9/100,000. In 2007, the last year with published statistics, the total deaths from the first category was 158,760 with a death rate of 52.6/100,000 and total deaths from the second category were 127,924 with a rate of 42.4/100,000.

The results are conflicting. Total deaths in both categories rose with population increases. The death rate in the category one declined after the Clean Air Act amendments. However, the death rate in the category two increased after the Clean Air Act amendments. There is no explanation for this increase.

None of the above considers the reduction in cigarette smoking rates. Casting further doubt on the validity of EPA claims, according to the Center for Disease Control, from 2000 to 2004, an average of 128,900 people died each year from lung cancer and 92,900 from other respiratory diseases caused by cigarette smoking. If consistent with 2007 deaths, cigarette smoking would account for about 81 percent of the category one deaths and about 73 percent of the category two deaths. (Of course, these are approximations.)

Until EPA fully substantiates its calculations, its claim of 160,000 persons saved from premature death by Clean Air Act amendments in 2010 cannot be accepted as valid.

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For the numbered articles below please see:


1. Good bye, Kyoto

By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Mar 13, 2011


2. And now, the good news!

The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment

By Craig D. Idso & Sherwood B. Idso

Reviewed by John Brignell, Number Watch, Feb 2011


3. Our Man-Made Energy Crisis

There’s plenty of oil and no fundamental reason to expect prices of $200 per barrel. But that doesn’t excuse the administration’s punitive approach toward the industry.

By Nasen Saleri, WSJ, Mar 9, 2011


4. Australia’s Carbon Warning for Obama

It turns out emissions restrictions do not grow more popular the more you try to pitch them.

By Tom Switzer, WSJ, Mar 11, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]


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Climategate Continued

Penn State Whitewashed Climategate

By Chris Horner, Daily Caller, Mar 8, 2011


Exclusive: Climatologist Says He Deleted E-mails, But Not at Mann’s Behest

By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, Mar 9, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


[SEPP Comment: A dubious claim.]

What Did Penn State Know?

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Mar 10, 2011


Challenging the Orthodoxy

Aussie skeptics destroy EU carbon commissioner

By James Delingpole, Telegraph, UK, Mar 9, 2011


Defenders of the Orthodoxy

On Climate, Who Needs the Facts?

Editorial, NYT, Mar 4, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]


Seeking a Common Ground

Oral Presentation On March 8 2011 At The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation

By Roger Pielke, Sr, Pielke Research Group, Mar 9, 2011


Missed Opportunity At The March 8, 2011 The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation”

By Roger Pielke, Sr, Pielke Research Group, Mar 10, 2011


An Inaccurate Claim By IPCC Co-Chair Christopher Field

By Roger Pielke, Sr, Pielke Research Group, Mar 11, 2011


The Seas are Changing

Ice sheets melting faster than earlier estimates

By Brian Vastag, Washington Post, Mar 10, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]


[SEPP Comment: No mention that the projected of 5.9 inch increase in sea levels by 2050 is well within the range of the IPCC’s maximum prediction of 23 inches by 2100 or well below the projection by Jim Hansen of NOAA-GISS of 236 inches by 2100.]

Carbon Dioxide Benefits

55 Positive Externalities: Hail to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment

By Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, Mar 10, 2011


Extreme Weather

Extreme testimony

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc., Mar 8, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]


Winter for US Was 39th Coldest in 117 Years – Decadal Cooling of 4.1F

By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Mar 8, 2011


Natural Variability Main Culprit of Deadly Russian Heat Wave That Killed Thousands

By Staff Writers, NOAA, Mar 9, 2011 [H/t WUWT]


[SEPP Comment: Contrary to most reports, warming is not happening everywhere and the deaths last year in Russia were not caused by “global warming.”.]

BP Oil Spill and Administration Control of Drilling

Obama’s DOI 2012 budget imposes big but indirect cuts on industry, Gulf residents

By Thomas Pyle, Washington Examiner, Mar 6, 2011


Let the Games Begin

Energy and Power Subcommittee Examines Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Press Release, House Energy & Commerce Committee


Witnesses and Testimony


Upton, Hastings athwart Obama agenda yelling ‘Stop!’

Editorial, Examiner, Mar 6, 2011


House Panel Votes to Strip E.P.A. of Power to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

By John Broder, NYT, Mar 10, 2011


EPA and other Regulators on the March

EPA’s Clean Air Act: Pretending air pollution is worse than it is

By Steve Milloy, Mar 9, 2011


“Science’s role is to inform, not dictate, policy.” Right, So Overturn EPA’s Policy Dictating Endangerment Rule!

By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, Mar 11, 2011


Anti-Energy, Anti-Industrial Policy; When is Enough Enough?

By Paul Driessen, Master Resource, Mar 11, 2011


E.P.A. Steps Up Scrutiny of Pollution in Pennsylvania Rivers

By Ian Urbina, NYT, Mar 7, 2011


Showdown on Vermont Nuclear Plant’s Fate

By Matthew Wald, NYT, Mar 10, 2011


[SEPP Comment: According to Vermont Department of Public Service 35.5% of Vermont’s electricity is produced by the nuclear plant, Vermont Yankee, the second highest production, 28.2%, comes from Hydro Quebec in Canada (latest posted numbers, 2003)]

Subsidies and Mandates Forever

Italy moves to reduce renewable energy handouts

By Staff Writers, Energy Daily, Mar 3, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


The Silent Killer of America’s Economy

By Marita Noon, Energy Tribune, Mar 8, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]


Inspector Faults Energy Department Over Loan Program

By Matthew Wald, NYT, Mar 7, 2011 [H/t Randy Randol]


The energy emperor’s ethanol wardrobe looks mighty bare

By Gary Wolfram, Editorial, Washington Examiner, Mar 6, 2011


Energy Issues

Obama’s ‘starve America first’ energy policy creates a backlash

By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, Mar 6, 2011


Obama’s energy transformation

President prolongs American power drain

Editorial, Washington Times, Mar 4, 2011


Western China the ‘Middle East’ for coal

By Staff Writers, UPI, Mar 8, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


[SEPP Comment: As the US administration is abandoning coal-fired power plants, is China winning the race for coal-fired power plants?]

Taking a Risk for Rare Earths

By Keith Bradsher, NYT, Mar 8, 2011


[SEPP Comment: Trying to provide an alternative to China for the key components of alternative energy.]

The Grand Canyon Uranium Rush

Editorial, NYT, Mar 7, 2011


[SEPP Comment: Another effort by the Gray Lady to save the planet by stopping development of energy resources.]

Alternative, Green Energy

Wind Energy’s Overblown Prospects

By Larry Bell, Forbes, Mar 8, 2011


Grand dream loses sheen in glare of daylight

L.A. community colleges’ green energy plan proves wildly impractical. The blunders cost taxpayers $10 million.

By Michael Finnegan and gale Holland, Los Angeles Times, Mar 6, 2011


Light Wars

Let There Be More Efficient Light

By Roger Pielke, Jr, NYT, Mar 10, 2011


[SEPP Comment: America’s founders recognized the importance of standards in weights and measurements to promote commerce. The Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate such standards. That power is far different than Congress mandating a particular product, which it did in the light-bulb legislation.]

Welcome to the new green dark age

Daily Bayonet, Mar 8, 2011 {H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]


California Dreaming

Recycled Anti-Prop 23 Arguments are Still trash

By Benjamin Zycher, Environmental Trends, Mar 8, 2011


Berkeley Highlights Challenges Meeting 2050 Energy Goals

By Staff Writers, SPX, Mar 9, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


[SEPP Comment: Let California show the way!]

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC

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

The Green(leaf)ing of the Earth Continues

Reference: Liu, S., Liu, R. and Liu, Y. 2010. Spatial and temporal variation of global LAI during 1981-20006. Journal of Geographical Sciences 20: 323-332.


Tropospheric Humidity and CO2-Induced Global Warming

Reference: Paltridge, G., Arking, A. and Pook, M. 2009. Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data. Theoretical and Applied Climatology: 10.1007/s00704-009-0117-x.


Earth’s Thermal Sensitivity to a Doubling of Atmospheric CO2

Reference: Lindzen, R.S. and Choi, Y.-S. 2009. On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL039628.


The Top-of-the-Atmosphere Radiation Budget: Model Simulations vs. Direct Measurements over the tropics

Reference: Andronova, N., Penner, J.E. and Wong, T. 2009. Observed and modeled evolution of the tropical mean radiation budget at the top of the atmosphere since 1985. Journal of Geophysical Research 114: 10.1029/2008JD011560.


The Changing Climate

Amazing Arctic Reconstructions

World Climate Report, Mar 10, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]


A Warmer Climate May Not Mean El Niño Comes to Stay

By Sid Perkins, Science Now, Mar 9, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


[SEPP Comment: The IPCC dismissed El Niños as a cause of warming – too short lived. But the work of McLean, Carter and de Freitas suggests that changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation may explain a great part of late 20th Century warming. There is no scientific reason to suggest warming causes El Niños.

Health and Warming

The Global Warming Health Scare

By Timothy Birdnow, American Thinker, Mar 5, 2011


Other Scientific Issues

NASA’s Bolden defends Earth science

By Staff Writers, UPI, Mar 4, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


NASA reels from climate science setbacks

By Staff Writers, APF, Mar 6, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]


Other Issues that May Be Of Interest

Democrats attack Republican candidate’s children

By Art Robinson, World Net Daily, Mar 7, 2011 [H/t Joe D’Aleo, ICECAP]


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CA GOV Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment – Proposition 65

Notice of Intent to List Chemicals By The Labor Code Mechanism:


[SEPP Comment: Including ethanol in alcoholic beverages and salted fish, Chinese style.]

Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal

By Paul Ebstein, et al, Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1219 (2011) 78-98



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…

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Tom Jones
March 13, 2011 6:31 pm

Maybe there is a bullet about funding development of thorium energy, but I can’t find it. Maybe, just maybe, there is no such bullet.

March 13, 2011 6:43 pm

Even Bill Clinton thinks the administration is nuts to prevent drilling in the Gulf of Mexico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51150.html#continue

HB Serfer
March 13, 2011 8:50 pm

“Number of the Week: 160,000 premature deaths prevented in 2010. ”
This coming from the crowd most if whom believes abortion is just fine? That number alone this year is at about 8 million worldwide. As long as we’re talking aggregate figures.
Or shall we keep supreficial? More people die prematurely in auto ‘accidents’, including the trivial moments when someone is texting, etc.

March 14, 2011 12:50 pm

Regarding the 2011 Economic Report of the President, SEPP could have pointed out that Germany’s grid operator E.ON Netz estimates that by 2020 they will have to backup 96% of their wind power generation with reliable sources of generation from coal. Why build one power plant, when you can build two for twice the price?
By my calculations , if 20% of the USA’s electric generation was replaced by wind power, our oil imports would be reduced by 0.292% and CO2 emissions would be reduced by 0.0094%. Not much of a savings is it?
By my calculations, wind power has an Energy Returned On Energy Invested ratio of 0.29. Wind power will consume more than three times the energy to design, fabricate, erect, operate, maintain, and decommission than the energy it will ever produce.
Wind power is a fraud.

March 14, 2011 6:02 pm

“Until EPA fully substantiates its calculations, its claim of 160,000 persons saved from premature death by Clean Air Act amendments in 2010 cannot be accepted as valid.”
An interesting question came to mind while reading the above: exactly what, if any, of the many claims the EPA has made can we “accept as valid”?
I’m drawing a blank here…

Gary Swift
March 15, 2011 8:19 am

“The death rate in the category one declined after the Clean Air Act amendments. However, the death rate in the category two increased after the Clean Air Act amendments. There is no explanation for this increase”
Changing methods of diagnosis and clasification of illnesses can cause strange artefacts in data. According to historical records, nobody died of cancer 2000 years ago and we have completely eradicated Coryza in the past 200 years (because now we call it the cold).

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