Quote of the Week:
EPA is proposing to take common-sense steps under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. … Power plants are the largest individual sources of carbon pollution in the United States and currently there are no uniform national limits on the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to emit. Consistent with the US Supreme Court’s decision, in 2009, EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. [EPA Press Release]
Number of the Week: 1000 pounds per megawatt hour
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Skinning the Cat: When the cap-and-trade bill on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions failed in the US Senate, President Obama famously announced that there is more than one way to skin the cat. Through the EPA, the administration is skinning the cat – live. The EPA has proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants to 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour to take effect in 12 months. Effectively, the proposed rule prevents the future construction any coal fired power plants larger than 25 megawatts unless the plant incorporates carbon capture and storage, an unproven technology with unknown costs.
The EPA announcement speaks of carbon pollution, as if diamonds are a pollutant; or humans who contain large amounts of carbon and produce carbon dioxide are, in themselves, a pollutant.
According to the latest statistics from the Energy Information Administration, in 2011 coal produced 42 percent of the electricity generated in the US and natural gas was second with 25 percent. This represents a dramatic shift since 2005 when coal generated almost 50% and natural gas was third with 19%, just behind nuclear. This shift reflects the availability and the low price of natural gas as well as the efforts of the environmental industry to stop the construction of new coal fired plants by citing unsubstantiated public health claims as well as global warming.
Accordingly to the Wall Street Journal, on March 22 the contract futures price for natural gas in the US was $2.27 per million BTUs. For Western Europe, the Mideast, west India, Australia the price was between $10 and $15 per million BTUs. For Japan and Korea the price was above $15 per million BTUs. There is no reason to assume that the price in the US will remain so extraordinarily low. In July 2008, the price in the US hit $13 per million BTUs and some were questioning if natural gas fired power plants were economically feasible.
The current low prices in the US, was brought on by a number of circumstances the most important was the development of deep underground hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of dense shale to produce natural gas, combined with horizontal drilling of the shale seams. The newly discovered techniques have produced an economic boon, not expected by Washington’s economic planners. This was coupled with a very mild winter, and now the natural gas storage facilities are approaching maximum capacity.
Many defenders of the EPA’s action state that the low price of natural gas justifies EPA’s action of preventing a coal fired power plant being built in the future. However, there are no assurances that natural gas prices will remain low. For over a year, the low gas prices have been forcing energy companies to drill for oil or other liquids rather than natural gas. In addition, increased consumption by industry and, possibly, transportation vehicles result in rising prices. Also, the production life of the expensive wells is not yet established. Further, there is no reason to assume that the EPA will not arbitrarily announce new rules on hydraulic fracturing that will significantly drive up the cost of natural gas.
EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare is still being litigated. Among the issues are: 1) science does not support the finding; 2) EPA failed to make an independent analysis of the science; and 3) EPA failed to consult its Science Advisory Board. In a separate review, the Inspector General of the EPA concluded the EPA failed to meet the last two criteria and did not address the first.
No doubt, the new proposed rule will be litigated. However, it demonstrates how potentially destructive the 2007 Supreme Court decision that CO2 is a pollutant that can be regulated by the EPA can become when such power is given to an aggressive, controlling agency. Please see Article # 6 and links under “EPA and other Regulators on the March.”
Australian Elections: Last weekend the states of Queensland and Victoria held elections that went against the party of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who broke her campaign promise that she would not institute a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Perhaps this is a warning to politicians who take their campaign promises lightly, and seek to control energy producing industries. Please see links under “Subsidies and Mandates Forever.”
Senate Vote on Tax Subsidies: In a symbolic gesture, the Senate failed to pass a bill, strongly supported by the President, to strip oil and gas companies of any tax subsidies they may receive. Washington is obsessed with the idea the increasing costs to oil and gas companies will reduce the price of gasoline. As reported last week, the Congressional Budget Office estimates these subsidies amount to about $2.5 Billion per year. A major one is the depletion allowance which exists for all extraction industries. Companies, such as Mitchell Energy, which developed the innovative techniques of extracting oil and natural gas from dense shale no doubt, take advantage of this allowance; but, contrary to political claims, it is not available to major integrated oil companies such as Exxon-Mobil. Please see links under “The Political Games Continue.”
Corrections and Amplifications: The link to the article in Oceanus describing a newly discovered current in the Ocean Conveyer in the North Atlantic became distorted. It is:
Professor Cliff Ollier of the University of Western Australia gave two references to the existence of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age in the Pacific. Nunn, P.D. 2007. Climate, Environment and Society in the Pacific during the Last Millennium. Elsevier, Amsterdam. This includes a specific chapter and Nunn, P.ED. 2007. The AD 1300 event in the Pacific Basin. The Geographical Review, 97, 1-23
The article, Solar Activity and Svalbard Temperatures, was linked in the December 17, 2011 TWTW not a February 2012 TWTW as previously stated. Svalbard is between about 74 to 81 deg North Latitude, well within the Arctic Circle. http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.3256
April Fools Award: Many nations have an informal holiday falling on, or about, April 1, which in some nations is called April Fools’ Day. The holiday is marked by pranks and tricks played upon others. Some of these tricks may be in merriment, others may be quite serious.
In recognizing that day, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) plans give an Annual April Fools’ Award to the government official or political leader, who, in the determination of a special SEPP panel is the most deserving. The criteria are as follows:
- The official has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
- The official does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
- The official declared that physical science supports such measures.
- The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
All readers of TWTW are invited to nominate a government official in their country as possible recipients of the award, provided that country is generally recognized as having a democratic system of government with protection of individual freedom of speech. Please send the nomination to Ken@sepp.org with a one to two sentence explanation why that official is most deserving. The winning nominee will be announced in TWTW at the end of April.
For the numbered articles below please see this week’s TWTW at: http://www.sepp.org. The articles are at the end of the pdf.
1. The Gas Price Kerfuffle: Obama’s Achilles Heel?
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Mar 28, 2012
2 Global Warming Models Are Wrong Again
The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with predictions.
By William Happer, WSJ, Mar 26, 2012
3. The Anti-Energy President
He really meant it when he said prices would “skyrocket.”
By Pete Du Pont, WSJ, Mar 29, 2012
4. Perry Beats Obama
A federal court slams the EPA’s clean-air war on Texas.
Editorial, WSJ, Mar 29, 2012
5. Planned Pipelines to Rival Keystone XL
By Tom Fowler, WSJ, Mar 26, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Forget the Administration and Nebraska]
6. Steel Finds Sweet Spot in the Shale
Natural-Gas Boom Begets Low Prices for Fuel, Strong Demand for Piping—a Double Boon for Mills
By John Miller, WSJ, Mar 26, 2012
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry
Funding Agency Bias – A Short Summary
By Roger Pielke Sr, Climate Science, Mar 27, 2012
Challenging the Orthodoxy
McKitrick & Michaels Were Right: More Evidence of Spurious Warming in the IPCC Surface Temperature Dataset
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Spencer also brings up his frustration with getting significant articles published in scientific journals.]
CSIRO alarmism more dangerous than CO2
By Cliff Ollier, ICECAP, Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Views from a distinguished scientist who boldly stated that IPCC projections of Himalayan ice melt were not substantiated by the empirical evidence.]
Defending the Orthodoxy
Rising concern on climate change
Editorial, Washington Post, Mar 24, 2012 [H/t David Manuta]
[SEPP Comment: The US must lead the world in economic destruction?]
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Climate Obstinately Refuses to Cooperate with Global Warming Alarmists
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Mar 27, 2012
Amazing Disconnect From The Scientific Process
By Roger Pielke Sr, Climate Science, Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Pielke cites a convoluted statement in a paper, inviting anyone to defend it. “A global climate model that does not simulate current climate accurately does not necessarily imply that it cannot produce accurate projections.”]
IPCC, CRU Climate Science Product of Public Relations and Peer Review
By Tim Ball, Different Perspective, Mar 30, 2012
“Earth Hour’s” global Propaganda Campaign
By Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, Mar 29, 2012
Questioning European Green
Britain faces power shortfall that could affect 5m homes after German energy giants pull plug on £10bn nuclear deal
By Peter Campbell, Daily Mail, Mar 29, 2012
Dash For Gas Would End Recession Almost At A Stroke
By Alan Jones, 3000 Quads, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Perhaps overly optimistic, but gives a brief overview of the history of coal gas and methane in Britain.]
Green debate in Europe has reached ‘deadlock’
It is almost inevitable that we will see the evolution of a more pragmatic and less zealous approach to tackling climate change and energy policies – claims think-tank
By Benny Peiser, Public Service Europe, Mar 28, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
Questioning Green Elsewhere
By Garth Paltridge, Quadrant, Mar 29, 2012
Expanding the Orthodoxy
The Royal Society’s Blatherfest
By Donna Laframboise, NFC, Mar 24, 2012
Obama Requests $770 Million to Fight Global Warming Overseas
By Matt Cover, CNSNews, Mar 26, 2012 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Climate Fund Seeks UN-Style Diplomatic Immunity
By Staff Writers, Fox News, Mar 22, 2012 [H/t Catherine French]
[SEPP Comment: Why should those who hope to distribute $100 Billion from developed countries to others be held accountable for their actions? They demand to be more protected than Wall Street firms selling sub-prime securities.]
Problems within the Orthodoxy
Official IPCC Words: We Do Not Know If The Climate Is Becoming More Extreme
By Maurizio Morabito, Omnologos, Mar 28, 2012
After Durban it’s back to the trenches
By Sonja van Renssen, European Energy Review, Mar 26, 2012
Rio +20 – More Demands
Where Freedom and Energy Intersect
By Donn Dears, Power for USA, Mar 30, 2012
2C warming target ‘out of reach’ – ex UN climate chief
By Staff Writers, London (AFP), March 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Governments can stop global temperature change! More reason why the US to pull out of the UNFCCC, or, at least, stop financing it.]
Upcoming United Nations Summit Repackages Global Warming Agenda Under the Guise of “Sustainability”
By Kevin Mooney, Net Right Daily, Mar 22, 2012
Shadow of ‘Anthropocene’ falls over Rio Summit
By Staff Writers, London (AFP), March 26, 2012
“We’ve invented a new geological era: the Anthropocene,” he said referring to an epoch shaped by Man, not nature.
Cities on front line of climate change
By Staff Writers, London (AFP), March 27, 2012
Cultural inertia is slowing effective action to address climate-change
By Staff Writers, London OR (SPX), Mar 29, 2012
Seeking a Common Ground
A science-policy research agenda
By Judith Curry, Climate, Etc, Mar 26, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Addressing a much needed issue for discussion. Those scientists, who exaggerate certainty, in order to be effective, may be damaging the credibility of others.]
U.S. weather prediction: falling behind
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: A rather long post describing what is wrong with the US weather prediction.}
JC’s recommendation: Get NOAA out of the climate modeling business, and put DOE in charge of GFDL and their climate modeling activities. The U.S. needs to get serious about weather and seasonal climate forecasting. The problems at NOAA/NCEP are so overwhelming I don’t even know where to start. In the mean time, I will keep purchasing the ECMWF weather forecast data.
Manufacturing and Industrial R&D
By Roger Pielke, Jr, His Blog, Mar 25, 2012
[SEPP Comment: The claims that private industry is reducing support of research and development is not supported by the evidence.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
State of the planet
By Staff Writers, Stockholm, Sweden (SPX), Mar 28, 2012
IPCC now too moderate for professional scaremongers
By Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, AU, Mar 31, 2012 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: The science has long been irrelevant to the scaremongers.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible
The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.
By Nina Chestney, Scientific American, Mar 26, 2012
Link builds between weather extremes and warming
By Nina Chestney, Reuters, Mar 25, 2012
US wind generation increases by 27 percent
By Staff Writers, Washington (IANS), Mar 13, 2012
In its Annual Energy outlook 2012, the agency estimates that increased generation from renewable energy resources in the power sector will account for 33 percent of total electricity generation between 2010 and 2035.
[SEPP Comment: No such statement appears in the preliminary annual report. Full report has not been released.]
Simultaneous action needed to break cultural inertia in climate-change response
Press Release, University of Oregon, Mar 26, 2012
Models v. Observations
Multi-Decadal Climate Model Testing Requirements – A Summary
By Roger Pielke, Sr, Climate Science, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Sensible prerequisites before climate models are used for additional research.]
RSS global and US temperatures have some surprises
By Joseph D’Aleo, Weatherbell, Mar 30, 2012
Another blow to warmist hysteria over weather is not climate unless we say it is: “2011 damage is qualitatively indistinguishable from 1974″
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 28, 2012
Weather is climate, or loaded dice, or something
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 25, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Refuting the latest alarmism from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)]
Weather Runs Hot and Cold, So Scientists Look to the Ice
By Justin Gillis and Joanna Foster, NYT, Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Global warming has changed to regional warming. Carbon dioxide emissions do not explain regional warming.]
Cherry Pie or Baloney sandwich?
By Joe Bastardi, ICECAP, Mar 25, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Producing data falsifying a hypothesis is not cherry picking.]
Medieval Warming Period Cools Climate Change Alarmism
Editorial, IBD, Mar 27, 2012
In ice-ages, CO2 hides in the oceans (yes we knew that)
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Cold oceans absorb more CO2, were they more acidic (less alkaline) than current oceans?]
Changing Sea Ice
West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams
By Staff Writers, Austin TX (SPX), Mar 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: See contradiction to this alarmist article immediately below.]
Crack in the Antarctic!
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Countering the alarmist press release of a new crack in ice shelves in Antarctic Peninsula, while Antarctic sea ice is growing.]
Signs of thawing permafrost revealed from space
By Staff Writers, Paris (ESA), Mar 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: No surprise here. Five to eight thousand years ago tree lines were much further north than today. Yet, the Arctic did not explode with methane.]
The Political Games Continue
House Panel Says Obama ‘Hides Ball’ On Energy Truth
Editorial, IBD, Mar 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Revising reports after they have been agreed upon by the authors – shades of the IPCC.]
House Oversight Committee Reports $14.5B DOE Green Loan Program Train Wreck
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Mar 29, 2012
Western States Tell Washington To Get Off Their Lawns
Editorial, IBD, Mar 29, 2012
Senate defeats Democrats’ measure to kill off ‘Big Oil’ tax breaks, 51-47
By Ben Geman and Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Mar 29, 2012
ECJ says Commission cannot dictate emissions ceilings
By Dave Keating, European Voice, Mar 29, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
[SEPP Comment: The European Commission can approve emissions plans but not dictate them.]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
There go those gravy trains in Queensland & Victoria
Australia is stepping back from the cliff
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: The state elections in Australia may produce significant changes to the current global warming programs.]
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants
Press Release, EPA, Accessed Mar 27, 2012
All Cost No Benefit: EPA Proposes Carbon Dioxide Regulation for Power Plants
By Todd Wynn, American Legislator, Mar 27, 2012 [H/t Gordon Fulks]
The EPA Wrecking Ball
By Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, Mar 28, 2012
The EPA’s Unreliable Science
By John Dale Dunn & Steve Milloy, American Thinker, Mar 29, 2012 [H/t Kris Allen]
Lisa P. Jackson – US EPA Administrator: Fulfilling the UN Mission
By Dennis Ambler, SPPI, Mar 22, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Questioning the goals of the administrator of the EPA.]
Energy Issues – Non-US
Alberta to reap big royalties from second oil sands ‘boom’, study show
By Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, Mar 26, 2012
The government of Alberta is expected to pocket $1.2-trillion in royalties from the oil sands in the next 35 years, as oil production rises to 5.4 million barrels a day from today’s 1.6 million b/d,
Ottawa to eases pipeline rules in bid to boost oil exports to Asia
By Claudia Cattaneo and Peter Koven, Financial Post, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Unlike Washington, the Canadian government is promoting the development of natural resources to enhance national prosperity.]
PetroChina bids to help build $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline
By Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, Mar 28, 2012
Energy Issues — US
Rising Gas Prices Take Toll On American Families
By Jack Rafuse, IBD, Mar 27, 2012
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Assessing Transportation Fuels
By Donn Dears, Power for USA, Mar 23, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Compressed natural gas may be a winner for fleet use and taxis.]
North America’s Rich Energy Potential Could Change The World
By Victor Davis Hanson, IBD, Mar 29, 2012
Return of King Coal?
OPEC’S Growing Stranglehold: Only Coal Can Break the Noose
By Frank Clemente, Energy Facts, Mar 29, 2012
Oil Spills & Consequences
Study by Haverford College professor reveals unprecedented impact of Deepwater Horizon on deep ocean
By Staff WritersHaverford PA (SPX), Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: What may be solid research is buried by an alarmist headline. There should be no reason not to expect deep water coral affected by the BP oil spill; but, oil seeps are common in the Gulf.]
Nuclear Energy and Fears
UK energy plans in ‘tatters’ after Npower and E. ON nuclear plant withdrawal
Britain’s long-term energy policy lay “in tatters” on Thursday after two of the ”big six” energy companies pulled out of multi-billion pound plans to develop new nuclear plants.
By Staff Writers, Telegraph, UK, Mar 29, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
What next for energy in the UK?
By Martin Livermore, Scientific Alliance, Mar 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Britain’s officials do not have a back-up plant to replace the expected nuclear plants.]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Engineers enlist weather model to optimize offshore wind plan
By Andrew Myers, Stanford CA (SPX), Mar 23, 2012
Politics aside, most energy experts agree that cheap, clean, renewable wind energy holds great potential to help the world satisfy energy needs while reducing harmful greenhouse gases.
[SEPP Comment: Bunk!]
Brown administration, bullet train board seek to ease environmental reviews of the project
Environmental groups that have joined discussions on relaxing reviews say they’ll support small-scale concessions but not wholesale exemptions.
By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times March 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Quick environmental reviews are more important than careful financial reviews.]
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see www.NIPCCreport.org
Extreme Temperature Occurrences in China: 1961-2008
Reference: Zhou, Y. and Ren, G. 2011. Change in extreme temperature event frequency over mainland China, 1961-2008. Climate Research 50: 125-139.
[SEPP Comment: Urban Heat Island effect cannot be dismissed in temperature measurements.]
Rainfall Extremes Over India, 1951-2003
Reference: Ghosh, S., Das, D., Kao, S.-C. and Ganguly, A.R. 2012. Lack of uniform trends but increasing spatial variability in observed Indian rainfall extremes. Nature Climate Change 2: 86-91, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE1327.
Extreme Snow Events Throughout Central and Southern China
Reference: Hao, Z., Zheng, J., Ge, Q. and Wang, W.-C. 2011. Historical analogues of the 2008 extreme snow event over Central and Southern China. Climate Research 50: 161-170.
A Century of Global Sea Level Change
Reference: Wöppelmann, G., Letetrel, C., Santamaria, A., Bouin, M.-N., Collilieux, X., Altamimi, Z., Williams, S.D.P. and Miguez, B.M. 2009. Rates of sea-level change over the past century in a geocentric reference frame. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL038720.
UVa keeps digging in email dispute
A new legal novelty aside, Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act is clear: UVa should release climate emails.
Editorial, Roanoke Times, Mar 28, 2012 [H/t Lars Hagen]
Climate scientists and smear campaigns
By Michael Mann, CNN, Mar 28, 2012
Pesticide fear-mongering is the real pest
By Staff Writers, ACSH, Mar 28, 2012
The Enormous CEO Salaries Behind Earth Hour
By Donna Laframboise, NFC, Mar 28, 2012
Earth Hour Organizers Prey on Mexico
Mexico is crippled by corruption, violence, and poverty. But the World Wildlife Fund wants it to show leadership on climate change
By Donna Laframboise, NFC, Mar 29, 2012
Lights out for Earth Hour
By Peter Foster, Financial Post, Mar 29, 2012
Other News that May Be of Interest
Mountaintop blasting to mine the sky with the Giant Magellan Telescope
By Staff Writers, Pasadena, CA (SPX), Mar 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Don’t try this in the US.]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Climate-change skepticism must be ‘treated’, says envior-sociologist
Dubious on warming peril? You’re the kind who’d own slaves
By Lewis Page, The Register, Mar 30, 2012 [H/t ICECAP]
VIMS professor helps lead international study of ocean value
By David Malmquist, Gloucester Point VA (SPX), Mar 26, 2012
[SEPP Comment: The ocean is a victim?]
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The Science and Environmental Policy Project