GOOD NEWS! Heartland Institute is sponsoring the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-6) to take place in Washington, DC from breakfast Thursday, June 30, to noon Friday, July 1, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. This event will be more modest than in the past, yet as informative and, perhaps, even more challenging to the orthodoxy. The principal speakers are S. Fred Singer, Craig Idso, and Bob Carter – all major contributors to the NIPCC reports. Of course, SEPP is a co-sponsor.
Details here: http://www.heartland.org/events/iccc2011
The US Congress remains on vacation, thus there has been little political action except for pronouncements by President Obama. He has accused speculators and privately owned oil companies for causing the large increases in the price of crude oil and gasoline, which are expected to go higher once summer begins. Ignoring the failure of prior investigations, he ordered the Justice Department to investigate in the illegal actions of speculators. The prices of gold, silver, and food, are increasing, so the Justice Department may have its hands full. The President refuses to recognize the contributions of his administration to the escalating price of energy, something that he and many key administration officials previously stated they desired.
Although he states that he is in discussions with Saudi Arabia for it to raise production, Mr. Obama refuses to recognize that privately owned oil companies may appear large compared to other privately owned companies. However, in terms of reserves they are small compared with government owned oil and gas companies. According to PetroStrategies, Inc., a 2007 ranking of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, in terms of reserves, placed the largest privately owned company, ExxonMobil, at number 17 with 13,318 million barrels of oil equivalent, far behind number 1 Saudi Arabia Oil, with 303,285 million barrels and, number 2 National Iranian Oil with 300,485 million barrels, etc. No doubt the rankings vary, but these are indicative of the general orders of magnitude.
The president fails to recognize that the rates of return on revenues for integrated oil companies are quite modest when compared with many other companies. According to rankings by Fortune, in 2010 ExxonMobil had profits of $19,208 Million on sales of $284,650 Million for a rate of return on sales of 6.8%. Companies such as McDonald’s, Microsoft, and Google achieved returns of 20% or more.
Mr. Obama is demanding that tax subsidies to oil and gas companies be eliminated and that the increase in revenues be used to subsidize alternative energy producers, thereby increasing taxes on the efficient for the benefit of inefficient producers of energy. Such an effort is nothing but raw political favoritism of certain industries. Please see the discussion on the number of the week.
Already, some international experts are expressing concern of the consequences of the administration’s policies. In “The Ten Inconvenient Truths that shape our new energy world,” published in the European Energy Review, Matthew Hulbert of the Swiss Centre for Security Studies describes why today’s oil markets are driven more by geopolitics than by geology, and there is a sharp disconnect between production, price and fear. Long-held fundamentals no longer exist.
Alarmingly for Americans, he states: “Political risk is just as acute, if not more deadly, in the US than anywhere else in the world.” Perhaps lumping America with Nigeria, Russia, Venezuela, etc. in protection of private property rights may be too extreme, but it gives an indication of the direction of the Administration’s oil policy.
As if on cue, an appeals panel of the EPA ruled that Shell Oil cannot proceed with exploratory shallow-water drilling on vast tracts that it has leased from the Federal government in the Beauford and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska, claiming the exploratory drilling may violate the Clean Air Act – Shell did not consider the emissions of an ice breaker that may be required during these operations. According to reports, Shell spent $2.2 Billion on the leases and a total of nearly $4 Billion during the 5 years it has been planning to explore these regions. Shell may come back another year, but, no doubt, emboldened by these actions, EPA bureaucrats will create other imaginative regulatory obstacles. Please see Articles # 1 and # 2 and referenced articles under “EPA and other Regulators on the March,” “Energy Issues,” Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past.”
Number of the Week: $4 Billion. This is the amount that Mr. Obama claims to be the tax subsidies extended to the oil and gas industry. It is not clear how the amount is calculated. By contrast, in an article referenced in last week’s TWTW, the Department of Energy announced it has given $21 Billion in (not tax) subsidies to the alternative energy industry in the form of loan guarantees. A report by the US Energy Information Administration estimated, in 2007, subsidies to Natural Gas and Petroleum Liquids were $2,2 Billion and to Renewables were $4.9 Billion. Since the stimulus bill of 2009, direct subsidies to alternative energy producers have increased dramatically by orders of magnitude, but for the US these subsidies are not centrally compiled as far as SEPP has been able to determine. (Unlike the US, many nations, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, substantially subsidize gasoline.)
The tax subsidies, “loopholes,” to oil and gas companies are largely in three categories: 1) oil depletion allowance, 2) expensing indirect drilling costs, and 3) a tax credit for taxes paid to foreign nations during foreign operations (foreign tax credit). The first category is a favorite among independent producers (and similar depletion allowances are available for all mineral extraction, timber, etc.). The independent producers can pass the depletion on to individual investors. Since the mid-1970s, the allowance has not been permitted for integrated oil companies. The smaller producers will bitterly fight for this “loophole” and the larger producers will be blamed.
The second category permits writing off indirect drilling costs in the year incurred rather than capitalizing them and writing them off over several years. Closing this “loophole” would only change timing of taking the expense, not total amounts of the so-called tax subsidy. The third category is available for all international companies. Closing this “loophole” would discriminate against oil and gas companies in favor of other international companies such as General Electric.
This week, the US Energy Information Administration announced the publication of its Annual Energy Outlook – 2011. The Outlook recognizes the significant increase in technically recoverable reserves in natural gas and in oil from shale resources. This edition better separates natural gas prices from oil prices than prior editions. For years, many analysts considered the prices of these commodities moved in parallel, but they no longer do. The outlook also updates the consequences of the administration’s drilling policies, including its moratoriums. Please see Article # 1 for a summary of the changes in the update. The complete report is referenced under “Energy Issues.”
On March 5, TWTW carried an article by Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo predicting possible significant storms in April for the southeastern US and the Ohio Valley to include possible major tornadoes and floods. Among the conditions prompting the predictions were the La Niña and the cold, lingering snow cover in the upper mid-west and Canada. He stated that tornadoes tend to be more frequent in the south and Ohio Valley during a cool, La Niña phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and tend to stay on the ground longer as compared with an warm El Niño phase, when the tornadoes tend to be in the lesser populated Great Plains. Also such La Niña conditions tend to produce “tornado swarms.”
Unfortunately, these predictions were all too correct. This week, the US experienced one of the worst one-day tornado outbreaks in recorded history. Immediately, some climate alarmists tried to blame these storms on human-caused global warming. Among others, tornado experts with NOAA refuted such claims. Roy Spencer, who lives in Alabama, which experienced the worst of the tornadoes, may have expressed the most penetrating comments. Please see articles under “Temperature and Extreme Weather.”
This week marks the 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. As the long, slow process continues to bring the plant at Fukushima, destroyed by natural disasters, into cold storage, it is important to analyze the health information from Chernobyl. The actual cancers were far less than projected. The psychological stress, even for those thousands of miles away, was significant. Please see Article # 5 and articles under “Nuclear Fears and Responses.”
SEPP Corrections and Amplifications: On April 9, TWTW carried an astute article from The Scientific-Alliance on Misleading Language used in discussing global warming / climate change in which we incorrectly stated the author believes action controlling greenhouse emissions is warranted. The author, Martin Livermore, thoughtfully informed us that he has no objection to controlling such emissions if it makes economic sense. We stand ably corrected. Please see another astute article from the same source on the difficulty of trying to tax the carbon dioxide content of imports under “Seeking a Common Ground.”
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Annual Energy Outlook – 2011
Changes from Previous AEO, Key Updates
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Apr 26, 2011
2. The Gas-Price Blame Game – Round 36
Editorial, IBD, Apr 26, 2011
3. The Gas Price Freakout
Ready-made energy incoherence as a gallon climbs towards $4
Editorial, WSJ, Apr 28, 2011
4. Why I Still Support Nuclear Power, Even After Fukushima
By William Tucker, WSJ, Apr 23, 2011
5. Chernobyl 25 years later: Less cancer than feared — but more PTSD
By Lana Spivak, ACSH, Apr 26, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
CRU Refuses FOI Request for Yamal Climategate Chronology
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Apr 25, 2011
Lobbyists who cleared ‘Climategate’ academics funded by taxpayers and the BBC
A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC
By Jason Lewis, Telegraph, UK, Apr 23, 2011
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Perceptive Article On the Sad State of Research Funding by Toby N. Carlson
By Roger Pielke, Sr, Pielke Research Group, Apr 28, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[“With respect to NSF funding in climate science, the current focus on funding multi-decadal climate predictions by the NSF fits with his characterization that they ‘are bureaucracies that promote top-down science to suit political and administrative ends.'”]
Wrong advice, wrong policy
By Bob Carter, David Evans Stewart, Franks, Bill Kininmonth & Des Moore, Quadrant, Apr 25, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A government guided by advisors dispensing wrong notions will harm the citizens it is supposed to serve.]
By Tom Quirk, Quadrant, Apr 27, 2011
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
No binding climate deal at Durban, warn US, EU
By Staff Writers, AFP, Apr 27, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The end of Kyoto with no successor will hardly be unfortunate.]
Pain at the Pump? We Need More
By Daniel Esty and Michael Porter, NYT, Apr 27, 2011 [H/t David Manuta]
[SEPP Comment: What would New Yorkers say about pain at the subway?]
Seeking a Common Ground
By Martin Livermore, Scientific-Alliance, Apr 27, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Taxing CO2 emissions is not easy.]
Uncertain Climate Risks (Nature Climate Change)
By Ira Glickstein, WUWT, Apr 28, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A realization that adding to the complexity of a model, that has never been verified, may actually increase uncertainty of projections!]
Communicating Better to the Public (by avoiding clear, frank language, or by personal attack)
Carbon-demonized by climate propagandists
By JoAnne Nova, Apr 29, 2011
Cooling on global warming
The fight against climate change has fizzled, with much of the public not believing or not caring. That’s why Obama tries to change the subject to jobs when he talks about energy policy.
By Jonah Goldberg, LA Times, Apr 26, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
Insults replace debate
By Andrew Tounson, Quadrant, AU, Apr 29, 2011
Temperatures and Extreme Weather
Epic Tornado Outbreak ended Thursday with tornado report count up to 292 with death toll at 337 and climbing
By Joseph D’Aleo, Weather Bell, Apr 28, 2011
More Tornadoes from Global Warming? That’s a joke, Right?
By Roy Spencer, Apr 29, 2011
Tornadoes whipped up by wind, not climate: officials
By Staff Writers, AFP, Apr 28, 2011
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
‘Imported’ Emissions Offset Kyoto Protocol CO2 Reductions
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, Apr 27, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Energy in America: EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans
By Dan Springer, FOX News, Apr 25, 2011 [H/t Gretchen Randall]
EPA’s Train Wreck Could Leave Many in the Dark
By Ken Blackwell, Townhall, Arp 23, 2011
Will a Lizard Stop West Texas Oil?
Editorial, IBD, Apr 27, 2011
Politics of endangered species
Science can’t change the fact that environmental protection requires judgment calls.
By Jim Huffman, Washington Times, Apr 26, 2011
[SEPP Comment: One concern is that a number of government scientists have made highly speculative statements to claim certain species are threatened or endangered – for example, the polar bear.]
Annual Energy Outlook – 2011
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Apr 26, 2011
EIA Outlook: U.S. Coal-Fired Fleet Will Shrink, Natural Gas, Renewables to Grow
By Staff Writers, Power News, Apr 27, 2011
More expensive energy won’t make America richer
By Lee Lane, Washington Examiner, Apr 26, 2011
Saskatchewan Greenlights C$1.24B CCS Demonstration Project
By Staff Writers, Power News, Apr 27, 2011
Nuclear Fears & Responses
25 Years After the Chernobyl Disaster, Fukushima May Unravel Health Consequences of Nuclear Accidents in the Past, Present, and Future
Medical News Today, Apr 25, 2011 [H/t ACSH]
Fukushima Crisis Shouldn’t Blunt Long-Term Investment in Nuclear Power, Says MIT Report
By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, Apr 26, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Putin wants to export ‘world best’ Russian nuclear safety
By Staff Writers, AFP, Apr 27, 2011
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
The Ten Inconvenient Truths that shape our new energy world
By Matthew Hulbert, European Energy Review, Apr 26, 2011
[“Political risk is just as acute, if not more deadly, in the US than anywhere else in the world.”]
More Oil Supply
By Michael Economides, Energy Tribune, Apr 28, 2011
Ten Franking Things Everyone Should Know
By Peter Glover, Energy Tribune, Apr 21, 2011
Time for a Cease-Fire in the War on Oil
As gas prices soar past $4 a gallon, the administration chases deep-sea rigs from the Gulf
By Joseph Mason, WSJ, Apr 25, 2011
Are Sky-High Gas Prices Good?
By Victor Davis Hanson, Townhall, Apr 28, 2011
Outside View: Gas prices and blame game
By Peter Morici, UPI, Apr 26, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
BP Oil Spill and Administration Control of Drilling
Spill Report Faults Transocean Rig
By Russell Gold and Angel Gonzalez, WSJ, Apr 23, 2011
[SEPP Comment: No doubt will be highly questioned. The article may be behind a paywall.}
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy
The Smart Grid and Distributed Generation: A Glimpse of a Distant Future
By Kent Hawkins, Master Resource, Apr 28, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The highly touted smart grid is not ready for prime time.]
Costly ethanol subsidies should be ended now
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Washington Examiner, Apr 28, 2011
The truth about green jobs: a recruiter’s perspective
By Doug Thorner, Guest Commentary, Denver Post, Apr 29, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Questioning the European Green
Wind turbines ‘hit’ bat populations
Wind turbines are killing many thousands of bats contributing to a population decline that may be costing farmers millions of pounds, say researchers.
By Richard Alleyne, Telegraph, UK, Mar 31, 2011 [H/t John Droz, Jr.]
Horner: Michael Mann may have something to hide
By Norman Leahy, Washington Examiner, Apr 26, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see
Using Statistical Models to Understand Earth’s Climate: The Intertropical Convergence Zone
Reference: Bain, C.L., DePaz, J., Kramer, J., Magnusdottir, G., Smyth, P., Stern, H. and Wang, C.-C. 2011. Detecting the ITCZ in Instantaneous Satellite Data using Spatiotemporal Statistical Modeling: ITCZ Climatology in the East Pacific. Journal of Climate 24: 216-230.
The Climatic Impacts of Precipitating Ice and Snow
Reference: Waliser, D.E., Li, J.-L.F., L’Ecuyer, T.S. and Chen, W.-T. 2011. The impact of precipitating icer and snow on the radiation balance in global climate models. Geophysical Research Letters 38: 10.1029/2010GL046478.
Two-and-a-Half Millennia of European Climate Variability and Societal Responses
Reference: Buntgen, U., Tegel, W., Nicolussi, K., McCormick, M., Frank, D., Trouet, V., Kaplan, J.O., Herzig, F., Heussner, K.-U., Wanner, H., Luterbacher, J. and Esper, J. 2011. 2500 years of European climate variability and human susceptibility. Science 331: 578-582.
Effects of Elevated CO2 on Crop Water Relations
Reference: Burkart, S., Manderscheid, R., Wittich, K.-P., Lopmeier, F.J. and Weigel, H.-J. 2011. Elevated CO2 effects on canopy and soil water flux parameters measured using a large chamber in crops grown with free-air CO2 enrichment. Plant Biology 13: 258-269.
Other Scientific News
Eddies found to be powerful modes of ocean transport
By Staff Writers, SPX, Apr 29, 2011
Catastrophic Amphibian Declines Have Multiple Causes, No Simple Solution
Contact David Stauth, Oregon State U. Press Release, Apr 15, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Other News that May Be Of Interest
Climate Change As Religion: The Gospel According To Gore
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Apr 26, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
China’s train wreck
By Charles Lane, Washington Post, Apr 22, 2011
The Chinese Role Model Collapses on the Progressives
By Ed Lasky, American Thinker, Apr 24, 2011
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Chicken Fat Fuel Emissions Look Cleaner, Greener
By Gray Creech, NASA, Apr 22, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: How many chickens per hour of flight time?]