Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
Quote of the Week: In God we trust; all others bring data! Motto of the Apollo Space Team
Numbers of the Week: 0.75%
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Apollo Space Team: Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012, at the age of 82. His small step on the lunar surface was one of the great triumphs of modern science. The motto of the Apollo space team, which accomplished this mission, is worthy of being remembered by all scientists. Please see links under In Tribute for comments by two of those who knew him.
AMS: The American Meteorological Society (AMS) released an Information Statement adopted by the AMS Council, without the participation of its membership. It cites and follows the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the latter two reports endorsing the first. All the statements assert humans, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, are the cause of the warming since 1950. Since a number of appropriate comments can be found under the links provided below, only a few comments will be made here.
The AMS Statement correctly asserts that the warming trend is greatest in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere, which is new. The Statement fails to mention that there has been no comparable warming in the Southern Hemisphere and that the continent of Antarctica is cooling. Carbon dioxide-caused warming provides no explanation for this difference.
The Statement asserts that there has been significant loss of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. The latter part is not correct, and the Statement does not address net loss.
The Statement sidesteps the fact that there has been no warming trend for over a decade.
Interestingly, the Statement discusses increased water vapor from warming, but fails to discuss the touted human fingerprint. Prior reports claimed that pronounced warming in the atmosphere over the tropics are the distinct human fingerprint. Has the human fingerprint moved?
In brief, the statement appeals to authority, and is short on data. Please see links under Defending the Orthodoxy and Questioning the Orthodoxy.
Republican Platform: In general, TWTW tries to avoid political controversy. However, Science Insider, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) contained an article on the science found in the Platform (the official statement of goals for the party if elected). If a similar article appears on the Democratic Platform, which will come later, TWTW will link to it.
Another Republican issue is the assertion of energy independence for North America (Canada, US, and Mexico) by 2020. Such a claim would have been absolutely ridiculed a few years ago. However, the new application of various techniques have so expanded the developable resources of oil and natural gas on the continent, and in the surrounding waters, that the feasibility is no longer unthinkable, though the time frame may be overly optimistic.
The respected oil and natural-gas consulting firm, Bentek Energy states that independence is physically feasible sometime in the near future and that US imports of oil from nations other than Canada will fall by 41%, or more, by 2016. The US is already independent in coal and natural gas. It is the development of oil in Canada and the application of hydraulic fracturing of shale for oil and natural-gas liquids, plus deep-underwater drilling, which will drive this profound change. Please note that such independence does not mean price independence from the world oil market or that independence is desirable. Unfortunately, the details prompting Bentek to reach its conclusions are proprietary. Please see links under The Political Games Continue and Energy Issues – US.
Carbon Taxes: A trick used by some politicians is to propose a tax or a regulation, and then claim the tax or regulation must be implemented because businesses need certainty, as if the threat of the event is more economically damaging than the actual event. EPA’s Lisa Jackson is noted for this trick in proposing regulations and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard did this in imposing a carbon tax. But for politicians, certainty is very short lived. In two months time, the government of Australia is suggesting changing the carbon tax and linking it to the EU market, whatever that entails.
Christopher Monckton calculated a cost-benefit ratio for Australia’s carbon tax as compared to the expected reduction in global warming. The ratio came to 59/1.6. That is, the tax costs about 36 times more than the benefits. The benefits would not cover the costs of administration of the tax (about 14%) – much less the actual tax.
A study by MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change on a proposed US carbon tax estimated that carbon taxes would generate about $1.5 Trillion over 10 years. The taxes were based on an earlier Congressional Budget Office report that used a $20-per-ton carbon tax. Amazingly, the study assumed full employment. A carbon tax would cause significant economic dislocation and drive unemployment.
The study is similar to the study by the Congressional Research Service in February 2009 that the stimulus bill will keep the unemployment rate from exceeding 8%. It has been above 8% for three and one-half years, while the labor force shrank significantly. If the size of the labor force for 2009 is used in the calculations, the current unemployment rate is about 11%.
Please see links under Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes.
Race with China: The race with China for dominance in 21st century electricity from solar panels appears to be ending, with all participants losing. The Chinese solar industry is crumbling with many firms facing bankruptcy. The same is happening in the US and Western Europe. Sometimes when politicians declare a race it’s best to run quickly to the sidelines. Please see links under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Funding Friends: Dennis Ambler identified some EPA grants to various organizations, some of which may be questionable to some members of Congress. Grants include topics such as environmental justice, climate change, models, and foreign grants. Almost $5 million went to the UN Environmental Programme, including promoting environmentally sound management worldwide and global environmental agreements. Other grants include $10,476,856 over 5 years to AAAS “To establish and nurture critical links between decision-makers and scientific professionals to support public policy that benefits society” (lobbying); $4,437,241 to AAAS over five years to establish fellowships under the EPA. Not to be left out, $20,405,655 in the last 10 years went to the American Lung Association, which lobbies heavily for more EPA regulations; $1,277,500 to the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development; and $1,150,123 to Natural Resources Defense Council (3 years) for sustainable change.
No wonder EPA is popular with environmental and international groups, many of which bitterly criticize those who question EPA actions.
Amplifications and Corrections: A reader challenged TWTW for including two links which suggested that variations in solar activity influence the earth’s climate. The first dealt with the article in the journal of the American Geophysical Union on the association between the freezing of the Rhine River and solar activity. The article claimed that it was caused by variations in ultraviolet radiation. The basis of the claim was not supported, and, as such, is speculative. The second link was to a post by Tim Ball that solar wind influences weather. It was clearly stated that the association was speculative.
When TWTW links to speculative suggestions, it will make every effort to state they are speculative. As always, amplifications and corrections are deeply appreciated.
Number of the Week: During the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing held August 1st on “Update on the Latest Climate Change Science …” much was made of the statement that 98% of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and humans are the cause. Senator Sessions expressed skepticism about the statement and was somewhat belittled for his disbelief. Apparently, the poll being referenced was one published in EOS on January 20, 2009. EOS is published by the American Geophysical Union and bills itself as: “The premier international newspaper of the Earth and space sciences, EOS seeks to forge strong interdisciplinary ties among geophysicists and place the important contributions of geophysics in the context of the social and policy-making arenas.” (From its web site)
The researchers sent an online survey to 10,257 Earth scientists working for universities and government research agencies, and generated responses from 3,146 people to the following questions.
Q 1. “When compared with pre‐1800s levels, do you think that mean global
temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”
Q 2. “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean
Few who have studied climate change would object to the first. Skeptics would object to the second. The researchers then boiled down the numbers to those who self identified themselves as “those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered ‘risen’ to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered ‘yes’ to question 2.”
Thus, the touted 98% figure is based on the responses of 0.75% of those polled. This is one more study that qualifies for inclusion in an update of the classic, How to Lie with Statistics.
For the numbered articles below please see this week’s TWTW at: www.sepp.org. The articles are at the end of the pdf.
1. Winning the AGW Science Debate: Here’s How
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Aug 30, 2012
2. The Administration Is No Friend of U.S. Oil Refineries
By Charles T. Drevna, WSJ Letter, Aug 29, 2012
3. How to Avoid Making the Energy Boom Go Bust
‘Resource nationalism’ is just one potential flashpoint that could slow a remarkable rise.
By Lawrence Mone, WSJ, Aug 24, 2012
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
By Harrison Schmitt, Americas Uncommon Sense, Aug 28, 2012
Neil Armstrong’s Immortal Footprint
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Aug 26, 2012
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Aug 25, 2012
[SEPP Comment: More emails from the University of Arizona.]
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry
Ye Old Boy’s Club – An Example With Ben Santer and Kevin Trenberth
By Roger Pielke Sr, Climate Science, Aug 27, 2012
Challenging the Orthodoxy
The IPCC Confession
By Vincent Gray, NZClimate Truth, Sep 1, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Getting down to the basics. The atmosphere is a fluid, and we do not have the physical theory to understand fluid dynamics.]
A bumper week for climateers
By Bob Carter, Quadrant, Aug 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Two more climate puff pieces claimed to be science.]
Climate Science Falsehoods Repeated With PR Orchestrated Counterattack
By Tim Ball, A Different Perspective, Aug 28, 2012
Defending the Orthodoxy
By AMS Council, Aug 20, 2012
Storms, drought overshadow UN climate talks
By Staff Writers, Bangkok (AFP) Aug 30, 2012
“Climate change and typhoons or droughts like in the United States are interlinked,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
[SEPP Comment: It would be interesting to ask her to explain exactly how typhoons in Asia are linked to droughts in the US.]
Carbon efficiency failing to fight warming: study
By Shaun Tandon, India Daily News, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: The people of other nations desire prosperity.]
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Contradictory Statements By The American Meteorological Society – Comments On The New Statement Titled “Climate Change”
By Roger Pielke Sr, Climate Science, Aug 27, 2012
AMS Statement on Climate Change
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc, Aug 27, 2012
Activate (?) your science
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc, Aug 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: More on NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco’s call for scientists to become politically active in the great cause (no doubt in exchange for government grants). The exaggerated belief that the status of our knowledge of climate science is sufficiently complete to take action is all too typical, as well as the belief in ability of governments to control climate change. Curry’s comments are to the point.]
Back to work
By Martin Livermore, Scientific Alliance, Aug 31, 2012
[SEPP Comment: The wettest drought ever! A warning to be prepared for a media blitz next year on the dangers of human caused global warming / climate change.]
Should We Fear the Methane Time Bomb (Part Deux)?
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming, Aug 31, 2012
Questioning European Green
Germany’s new “renewable” energy policy
By Kelvin Kemm, The Moral Liberal, Aug 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Building up to 23 new, large coal fired power plants! Wind produced only 16% of installed capacity over ten years! Comments on the new eco-flick “Fuel” which claims the US petroleum industry is faltering.]
Germany Hits Brakes on Race to Renewable Energy Future
By Charles Hawley, Spiegel, Aug 28, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
The share of renewable energies in Germany’s power mix has shot up so high that the electricity grid and the subsidy framework has been unable to keep up. Now, the government wants to slow down the process. German commentators say that the current chaos endangers the entire project.
[SEPP Comment: The graphs of the erratic output of wind and solar and the forecasts of the share of electricity these sources will deliver highlight the challenges.]
EU: all incandescent light bulbs banned tomorrow
By Lubos Motl, Reference Frame, Aug 31, 2012
Europe ‘dithering’ over joining shale gas revolution
By Benny Peiser, Public Service, Europe, Aug 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: After all, it so readily joined the race with China to dominate solar and wind.]
Trouble in the Orthodoxy
UN ruling: EU must reassess renewables policy
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: A legal ruling stemming from an UN treaty. Governments have not provided the transparency required when making decisions on renewable energy.]
Expanding the Orthodoxy
Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change
By Leslie Kaufman, NYT, Aug 26, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Indoctrination.]
Samples of US Government Grants to the Global Warming Industry
By Dennis Ambler, SPPI, Aug 22, 2012
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
Here today, drowned tomorrow
By Tony Thomas, Quadrant, Aug 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Creating government bureaucracies to address false claims of future calamities will only amplify the claims.]
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Aug 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Addressing the assertion that if enough wind farms are built, a wind carpet, will even out the erratic nature of wind power.]
Heatwaves to Move Toward Coasts
By Staff Writers, San Diego CA (SPX), Aug 31, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Heat waves on the cool California coast? Only if you change definitions.]
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Aug 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Questioning claims in a stage show – it’s only art, such as Al Gore’s film – no accuracy required.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Climate change deniers ‘are either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists’
An Australian study says avid climate change deniers tend to be either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists who believe the moon landing was faked or Princess Diana was murdered.
By Jonathan Pearlman, Telegraph UK, Aug 28, 2012 [H/t Bishop Hill]
[SEPP Comment: The comments on the number of the week apply.]
Moonlanding was staged, 74% of climate alarmists say
By Lubos Motl, Reference Frame, Aug 29, 2012
[SEPP Comment: As solid as the poll above.]
Recent paper demonstrates relationship between temperature and population density in the UHI of New Delhi
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Aug 31, 2012
Himalayan Glacier Data Shift To The Middle Ground
By Staff Writer, Climate Himalaya, Aug 23, 2012
[SEPP Comment: A third study using another set of data puts the glacier loss at 12 gigatonnes rather 50 G from the first study and about 5 G from the second study. Will there be an agreement before 2035, the year that the IPCC stated all the ice will be lost?]
Hurricane Isaac shifts Mississippi into reverse gear
By Staff Writers, Washington (AFP), Aug 30, 2012
Is Global Warming Causing A Record Breaking Lack Of Tornado Activity?
By James Taylor, Forbes, Aug 22, 2012
By Nicholas Lewis, Letter, Guardian, UK, Aug 28, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
[SEPP Comment: Lewis states that: contrary to the impression given in the article on the Antarctic Peninsula, there has been no statistically significant warming of the continent, which has a climate distinctly different from the peninsula.]
Sea level rise – not so much
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Expressed in quantities of per degree C of temperature increase rather than in cm per century.
How ocean currents affect global climate is a question oceanographer may be close to answering
By Elizabeth Bettendorf for FSU News, Tallahassee FL (SPX), Aug 28, 2012
[SEPP Comment: To long-time researchers such as Bill Gray there is no question how oceans affect global climate.]
New paper finds deep Arctic Ocean from 50,000 to 11,000 years ago was 1–2° C warmer than modern temperatures
Posted in Hockey Schtick, Aug 27, 2012 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: No doubt the findings will be challenged, will they survive?]
Changing Sea Ice
Arctic Sea Ice Record Low Is “Broken”
By Art Horn, Energy Tribune, Aug 31, 2012
[SEPP Comment: A repeat of the 1930s?]
Sea Ice News – Volume 3 Number 11, part 2 – other sources show no record low Arctic ice extent
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Aug 27, 2012
Arctic sea ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not
By Jonathan DuHamel, Tucson Citizen, Aug 28, 2012
Oh No! Six Thousandths Of One Percent (0.006%) More Of The World’s Ice Melted This Summer!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: But how much ice accumulated in the other part of the world?]
Antarctic ice sheet quakes shed light on ice movement and earthquakes
By Staff Writers, Philadelphia PA (SPX), Aug 28, 2012
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see www.NIPCCreport.org
Floods Across the United States: Trends of the Last Century
Reference: Hirsch, R.M. and Ryberg, K.R. 2012. Has the magnitude of floods across the USA changed with global CO2 levels? Hydrological Sciences Journal 57: 10.1080/02626667.2011.621895.
Effects of Ocean Acidification on Coastal Plankton Communities
Reference: Nielsen, L.T., Hallegraeff, G.M., Wright, S.W. and Hansen, P.J. 2012. Effects of experimental seawater acidification on an estuarine plankton community. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 65: 271-285.
Do Regional Climate Models Realistically Represent Precipitation?
Reference: Soares, P.M.M., Cardoso, R.M., Miranda, P.M.A., Viterbo, P. and Belo-Pereira, M. 2012. Assessment of the ENSEMBLES regional climate models in the representation of precipitation variability and extremes over Portugal. Journal of Geophysical Research 117: 10.1029/2011JD016768.
[SEPP Comment: The authors of the California’s Our Changing Climate, 2012 should go back to the drawing board.]
Climate Change and Mushroom Productivity
Reference: Buntgen, U., Kauserud, H. and Egli, S. 2012. Linking climate variability to mushroom productivity and phenology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 14-19.
[SEPP Comment: Even the lowly mushrooms do better in a warmer, carbon dioxide enriched world.]
Hydroclimatic Extremes in the Basin of the Blue Nile
Reference: Taye, M.T. and Willems, P. 2012. Temporal variability of hydroclimatic extremes in the Blue Nile basin. Water Resources Research 48: 10.1029/2011WR011466.
The Political Games Continue
Republican Party Platform Has a Lot to Say About Science
By David Malakoff, Science Insider, Aug 29, 2012
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Study: Carbon tax could raise $1.5 trillion
By Zack Colman, The Hill, Aug 27, 2012
So much for certainty? Just two months later, Australia starts changing the carbon tax.
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Aug 31, 2012
Is CO2 mitigation cost-effective?
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, SPPI, Aug 24, 2012
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Why not let wind tax credit expire?
By The Oregonian Editorial Board. Aug 27, 2012 [H/t John Droz, Jr]
[SEPP Comment: Dissent in greener than green Oregon?]
Can Ethanol Cut Foreign Oil Imports?
By Ken Silverstein, Forbes, Aug 26, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Doubtful that it will be needed.]
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Crushing Coal Under the Regulatory Steamroller
By Nicolas Loris, Heritage Foundation, Aug 29, 2012
Final Rules Set On Car Mileage
By Staff Writer, NCPA, Aug 31, 2012
Energy Issues – Non-US
Russian Arctic Resources
By Staff Writers, Moscow, Russia (Voice of Russia), Aug 30, 2012
Energy Issues — US
Crude Awakening: Shale Boom Hits Oil
By Staff Writers, Bentek Energy, Aug. 2012
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Schlumberger’s clever frack takes aim at gas costs
By Andrew Callus, Reuters, Aug 31, 2012 [H/t Bishop Hill]
Return of King Coal?
America’s Triple Energy Play: Coal, CO2 and Stranded Oil
By Frank Clemente, Energy Facts Weekly, Aug 28, 2012
Coal Greens Love Buoyed By Shale Gas Hydraulic Fracking
By Christopher Martin, Bloomberg, Aug 29, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
[SEPP Comment: Return of underground coal gasification?]
Oil Spills, Gas Leaks etc. & Consequences
Thai firm pleads guilty over Australian oil spill
By Staff Writers, Sydney (AFP), Aug 30, 2012
Federal Court Holds TVA Liable for Kingston Coal Ash Spill
By Sonal Patel, Power News, Aug 30, 2012
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Wind farms — are 96% useless, and cost 150 times more than necessary for what they do
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Sep 1, 2012
Dark clouds gather over China’s once-booming solar industry
China’s push into solar energy was supposed to be a proud example of how the country was advancing into hi-tech manufacturing. But now the whole sector is on the brink of bankruptcy.
By Malcolm Moore, Telegraph, UK, Aug 29, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
Carbon Dioxide Injection Begins at Fully Integrated Coal-Fired CCS Project
By Sonal Patel, Power News, Aug 30, 2012
Cooled Coal Emissions Would Clean Air and Lower Health and Climate-Change Costs
By Staff Writer, Science Daily, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: It is simple math, until you try to engineer it out. The health benefits come from EPA’s imaginary numbers.]
The Climate Change Racket: Finally a ‘Day in Court’?
By Peter C Glover, Energy Tribune, Aug 29, 2012
Mann versus Steyn: popcorn time!
By James Delingpole, Telegraph, Aug 27, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Taking up donations to fund Mr. Mann’s litigation so he does not drop it. The discovery process may reveal information of interest.]
Environmentalism’s Sword: Protectionism
By Josiah Neeley, Master Resource, Aug 30, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Washington’s efforts to control the energy trade through tariffs and other forms of protectionism are producing some contrary results.]
Other Scientific News
Why Nick Kristof’s Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Us All
By Trevor Butterworth, Forbes, Aug 26, 2012 [H/t ACSH)
One third less life on planet Earth
By Staff Writers, Munich, Germany (SPX), Aug 28, 2012
Space race, on a budget, was not how Armstrong saw it
By Staff Writers, Washington (AFP), Aug 26, 2012
African anti-malarial research bears first fruit
By Staff Writers, Toulouse, France (SPX), Aug 31, 2012
[SEPP Comment: Perhaps a decades long awaited substitute for the banning of indoor spraying with DDT.]
Former Harvard stem cell researcher falsely represented results, US government finds
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Boston Globe, Aug 29, 2012
How methane becomes fish food
By Staff Writers, Linkoping, Sweden (SPX), Aug 28, 2012
Other News that May Be of Interest
‘Reach for the Stars’ now becomes ‘Retreat to the Past’
By Viv Forbes, WUWT, Aug 27, 2012
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
One benefit of the midwest drought
Posted by Anthony Watts, WUWT, Aug 27, 2012