Methane deceptions

Deception, agenda and folly drive latest Obama EPA anti-hydrocarbon rules. Are farmers next?


Models -vs-reality – The Methane problem is overhyped as indicated by this IPCC graph


Guest essay by Paul Driessen

First they came for the coal mining and power plant industry, and most people did not speak out because they didn’t rely on coal, accepted Environmental Protection Agency justifications at face value, or thought EPA’s war on coal would benefit them.

In fact, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon gave the Sierra Club $26 million, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Club $50 million, to help it wage a Beyond Coal campaign. The Sierra Club later claimed its efforts forced 142 U.S. coal-fired power plants to close, raising electricity rates, threatening grid reliability, and costing thousands of jobs in dozens of states.

Mr. McClendon apparently figured eliminating coal from America’s energy mix would improve his natural gas business. The mayor likes renewable energy and detests fossil fuels, which he blames for climate change that he tried to finger for the damages “Superstorm” Sandy inflicted on his city.

Now the Obama EPA is coming after the natural gas industry. Hopefully many will speak out this time, before more costly rules kill more jobs and damage the health and welfare of more middle class Americans. The war on coal, after all, is really a war on fossil fuels and affordable energy, and an integral component of President Obama’s determination to “fundamentally transform” the United States.

Proposed EPA regulations would compel drilling and fracking companies to reduce methane (natural gas or CH4) emissions by 40-45% by 2025, compared to 2012. Companies would have to install technologies that monitor operations and prevent inadvertent leaks. The rules would apply only to new or modified sites, not existing operations. However, Big Green activist groups are already campaigning to have EPA expand the rule to cover existing gas wells, fracking operations, gas processing facilities and pipelines.

But companies already control their emissions, to avoid polluting the air, and because natural gas is a valuable resource that they would much rather sell than waste. That’s why EPA data show methane emissions falling 17% even as gas production increased by 37% between 1990 and 2014, and why natural gas operations employing hydraulic fracturing reduced their methane emissions by 73% from 2011 to 2013. The rules are costly and unnecessary, and would bring few benefits.

The Obama Administration thus justifies them by claiming they will help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.” Methane, EPA says, has a warming effect 50 times greater than carbon dioxide. This assertion is wildly inflated, by as much as a factor of 100, Dr. Fred Singer says. Atmospheric water vapor already absorbs nearly all the infrared radiation (heat) that methane could, and the same radiation cannot be absorbed twice. The physics of Earth’s surface infrared emission spectrum are also important.

More importantly, to borrow a favorite Obama phrase, let me make one thing perfectly clear. There is no dangerous manmade climate change, now or on the horizon. There is no evidence that methane or carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces that have driven warming, cooling, climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history. There is no evidence that recent extreme weather events are more frequent or severe than over the previous 100 years.

Indeed, planetary temperatures have not budged for more than 18 years, and we are amid the longest stretch since at least 1900 (more than nine years) without a Category 3-5 hurricane hitting the United States. If CO2 and CH4 are to be blamed for every temperature change or extreme weather event, then shouldn’t they also be credited for this lack of warming and deadly storms? But climate hype continues.

We are repeatedly told, “Climate change is real, and humans are partly to blame.” The statement is utterly meaningless. Earth’s climate fluctuates frequently, and human activities undoubtedly have some influences, at least on local (especially urban) temperatures. The question is, How much of an effect? Are the temperature and other effects harmful or beneficial, especially when carbon dioxide’s enormous role in improved plant growth is factored in? Would slashing U.S. CO2 and CH4 emissions mean one iota of difference, when China, India and other countries are doing nothing to reduce their emissions?

Nevertheless, the latest NASA press release asserts that 2014 was “the hottest since the modern instrumental record began,” and again blames mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. This deliberately deceptive, fear-inducing claim was quickly retracted, but not before it got extensive front-page coverage.

Let me make another fact perfectly clear. The alleged global temperature increase was 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F). It is not even measurable by our most sensitive instruments. It is one-fifth the margin of error in these measurements. It ignores satellite data and is based on ground-level instruments that are contaminated by urban heat and cover less than 15% of Earth’s surface. Even NASA admitted it was only 38% confident of being correct – and 62% certain that it was wrong. Analyses by Dr. Tim Ball, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts and other experts provide more details eviscerating this bogus claim.

In the end, though, all these real-world facts are irrelevant. We are dealing with a catechism of climate cataclysm: near-religious zealotry by a scientific-industrial-government-activist alliance that has built a financial, political and regulatory empire. They are not about to renounce any claims of climate catastrophe, no matter how much actual evidence debunks their far-fetched computer model scenarios.

Their EPA-IPCC “science” is actively supported by most of the “mainstream media” and by the World Bank, universities, renewable energy companies and even some churches. They will never willingly surrender the political influence and billions of dollars that CAGW claims bring them. They won’t even admit that wind and solar facilities butcher birds and bats by the millions, scar landscapes, impair human health, cannot exist without coal and natural gas, and are probably our least sustainable energy option. They want gas prices to rise again, so that heavily subsidized renewable energy is competitive once more.

Meanwhile, polls reveal that regular, hard-working, middle-income Americans care most about terrorism, the economy, jobs, healthcare costs, education and job opportunities after graduation; climate change is always dead last on any list. Regular Europeans want to end the “energy poverty” that has killed countless jobs, and each winter kills thousands of elderly people who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly. The world’s poorest citizens want affordable electricity, higher living standards, and an end to the lung infections, severe diarrhea, malaria and other diseases of poverty that kill millions of children and parents year after year – largely because alarmists oppose nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants.

But federal regulators, climate chaos “ethicists” and “progressives” who loudly profess they care deeply about the poor and middle classes – all ignore these realities. They focus on methane, because they view it as a clever way to inject federal oversight and control into an energy sector that had been largely free of such interference, because the fracking revolution has thus far taken place mostly on state and private lands governed effectively by state and local regulators. (Federal lands are mostly off limits.)

The proposed methane rules would generate more delays, paperwork, costs and job losses, to comply with more federal regulations that will bring no detectable benefits – and much harm, at a time when plunging oil and gas prices are forcing drillers to reduce operations and lay people off.

President Obama devoted 15 lines of his 2015 State of the Union speech to climate fables and propaganda. His goal is steadily greater control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties, with little or no transparency or accountability for regulators, pseudo-scientists or activists.

It won’t be long before EPA and Big Green come for farmers and ranchers – to curtail “climate-wrecking” methane emissions from cattle, pig and sheep flatulence and dung, and exert greater control over agricultural water, dust and carbon dioxide. By then, there may be no one left to speak out.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

121 thoughts on “Methane deceptions

  1. Good report and essay Paul. Thanks for the effort.
    This is just more of the left wing attack on western civilization. They seemingly will not be happy until the masses are huddling in the dark and freezing. Starving too.
    Of course they envision themselves as the anointed who will still enjoy the comforts of civilization. After all, they are special: world saviors.

    • I forgot to mention a typo. “… and each winter kills thousands of elderly people who can no longer afford to eat their homes properly. …” That should be “heat” I think.
      [Fixed, thanks. ~mod.]

    • I had a debate with a young ecologist last year.
      He insisted that the greatest mistake mankind ever made was to develop farming and leave the hunter gatherer lifestyle. He insisted that people were healthier, happier and lived much longer back then.
      He declared that his dream was for mankind to return to this state.

      • I can see that our advanced technological society has taken most of the “Natural Selection” process out of the equation, and idiots like this live to breed and contaminate the gene pool!

      • My reply would have been, “You first! There’s plenty of wilderness in the world, and you can have it all to yourself for as long as you live. I’ll be glad to be your web editor and publicist, so I can write a sequel to ‘Into the Wild’ and film a sequel to the movie ‘Mosquito Coast.’ Since those endings were not exactly happy, however, the best ending for the new book and movie would be for you to come to your senses, upon which we’ll be glad to have you back in the land of the living.”

      • Young and ecologists are the key words here. All ideals and no experience or intelligence. H/G civilizations worked when populations were in the millions and how would they deal with the amount of food available if allthe animals were killed to provide the food lost by not farming? I think we know that answer. The naive idiots.

      • Young ecologists like that crack me up. Most of their so-called nature experiences involve little more than sitting in Starbucks sipping on a latte, contemplating the wonders of Nature while listening to Yanni play “Song for Antarctica”. They have no idea that while Nature is incredibly beautiful, it is every bit as cruel, and that Man used its intelligence to leave the hunter-gatherer lifestyle mainly to escape Nature’s cruelties.

      • Ever see Idiocracy? If not I highly recommend it (that is, if you have stomach for some very crude humor). If you can see through the crudeness, it contains a poignant message so fitting for when technology removes natural selection from a species.

      • One of my current favorite jokes has 2 “hunter-gathers” sitting on a bluff overlooking a bucolic scene. One says to the other “I don’t understand it, we breath clear air, drink pure spring water, everything we eat is either organic or free-range…yet no one lives past 30 years old”

    • While Paul makes some good points but he misses the main issue which is that the original nonsense figure of 21 times CO2 is based on the IR absorption of H2O vapor when CH4 (methane) is burnt BUT BUT methane does not burn in the atmosphere. It is a stable gas as is the propane in the LPG used for your BBQ. The methane has to be ignited at a temperature of about 650C before it can burn and then there needs to be sufficient gas for to ignite see
      There is no technical information on the EPA site other than a reference to the IPCC. The IPCC has no technical information. They just accepted what some non-qualified “green” people wrote in their pamphlets. Go and look in the publications about heat transfer and combustion. You can find data in the Chemical Engineering Handbook. The US EPA should be taken to court. Threaten them with jail for perjury. Then the truth will come out. If someone pays my expense I would be happy to testify in court. I have been an expert witness and I have qualifications and experience with combustion.

      • Pippen Kool you provide no evidence and by your comment you have no qualifications or understanding of heat transfer.
        Phil, the residence time or life time of molecules of gas in the atmosphere has no relevance to heat absorption. The concentration designated as a partial pressure, the absorptivity factor, the path length through the gas and the temperature of the source of IR and the temperature of the gas molecules through the radiation path are determining parameters of heat absorption. The figure of 56 times CO2 is fiction and complete nonsense. At the same partial pressure, in the IR temperature range, the absorptivity of CH4 is less than one fifth of CO2 and is somewhat similar to CO (which is not regarded as a greenhouse gas). However, the concentration (or partial pressure) of CH4 in the atmosphere at 1.75ppm is less than one two hundredth of CO2 (about 400ppm). Multiple the two factors and you will find the methane in the atmosphere is less than one thousandth of the contribution of CO2 which in turn is so small to be unmeasurable.
        Katharine Hayhoe is a professor of political science who has degrees in physics and atmospheric science (alarmism). She has no qualifications in thermodynamics or heat transfer. While she says on her web site she does not accept the faith of climate alarmism (which it seems you do) she makes a living on giving so-called advice about the things “climate change” might affect and how wasting money (on such things as wind mills) can achieve political satisfaction. She mentions being part of the Nobel prize winning IPCC and so puts her self into the the class of that scientific data manipulator Michael Mann.

      • Phil, the residence time or life time of molecules of gas in the atmosphere has no relevance to heat absorption.
        Of course it does, the factor of 21 is the average over 100 yrs, if the molecule only has a lifetime in the atmosphere of 10 years then its contribution in later years is greatly diminished.
        The figure of 56 times CO2 is fiction and complete nonsense.
        No, it’s the instantaneous value for molecules currently in the atmosphere without allowing for the exponential decay in the future.
        At the same partial pressure, in the IR temperature range, the absorptivity of CH4 is less than one fifth of CO2 and is somewhat similar to CO (which is not regarded as a greenhouse gas). However, the concentration (or partial pressure) of CH4 in the atmosphere at 1.75ppm is less than one two hundredth of CO2 (about 400ppm). Multiple the two factors and you will find the methane in the atmosphere is less than one thousandth of the contribution of CO2 which in turn is so small to be unmeasurable.
        I suggest you look up a Hitran reference and look at the real atmospheric conditions, allowing for broadening effects (the source of the log dependence for CO2). That will give you a more realistic value for the relative contributions. Using the values appropriate for combustion systems is not the right way to do it (what is ‘the IR temperature range’?).

    • It seems there are three camps with regard to CAGW; 1) the enviro-nuts who want exactly what you said. 2) thinking people who realize the claims of CAGW are vastly overblown. and 3) the vast majority of people who don’t give a rat’s petutti because they haven’t been personally affected yet. If “shivering in the dark” materializes it might wake up group number 3. Maybe then they will stop voting for dopes.

  2. As I understand it the volume of methane in the atmosphere is about 1.8 molecules per million. If it doubles it will be 3.6 molecules per million. As a layman I can’t believe that such a miniscule trace can have a significant effect or in fact any effect.
    The same applies to Carbon dioxide. In 1900 its volume in the atmosphere was 3 molecules in 10,000. In 2014 it was 4 molecules in 10,000. Can that increase of 1 molecule in 10,000 really be the cause of the current slight warming?

    • Paul, It’s never straight forward. Think about painting a window black. it is only has a few molecules thick of paint compared to the height of the atmosphere but it cuts out nearly all of the light. If those paint molecules were evenly spread up through the atmosphere they would cut out as much light overall. So, with infrared, methane acts in a similar way to stop photons leaving earth just that we can’t see “the black”. One has to fall back on the radiation physics for this part. It’s all the other responses to this like increased hydrological cycle, gravitational potential energy as the atmosphere expands etc etc mixed into the chaotic equations of global climate that lead to temperature being much lower than predicted by the GCM’s

      • son of mulder
        January 27, 2015 at 3:16 am

        It’s all the other responses to this like increased hydrological cycle,

        The increased hydrological cycle is actually claimed by the proponents of AGW to be the main cause of the warming, this is the reason for the continual claim that water vapor in the atmosphere is ‘a feedback’ to CO2 warming. Water vapor feedback is enshrined in the climate models as being the cause of the ‘tropical tropospheric hotspot’ that has never been found.
        The reality is that any increase in the hydrologic cycle is a negative feedback to any warming whatever the cause.

      • Using that window analogy, I would imagine a window with 10 thousand panes each 1″ square and one pane painted black. Later on 2 panes are painted black. Now statistically you can say the amount of light being blocked has doubled. In context, it is insignificant; fortunately I do not know anyone who would suggest blocking an extra square inch of light in a 700,000 sq ft window is significant.
        That is not to say a tiny amount of something can have an immense effect on a much larger system. A person allergic to bee stings, could die from the microscopic bit of venom on a stinger. In climate, CO2 (and now methane apparently) has been targeted as the sting that the climate is allergic to. The problem is allergic reactions in the human body are very well understood and can be specifically counter-acted with treatment. There is no such understanding of climate.
        There are plenty of sciences in climate science, but none that individually or collectively support CO2 as a force of climate doom. This ideological faith-based focus on CO2 is more similar to the disdain and fear Satan generates in religion than scientific theory.

      • son of mulder
        “Think about painting a window black. it is only has a few molecules thick of paint compared to the height of the atmosphere but it cuts out nearly all of the light. If those paint molecules were evenly spread up through the atmosphere they would cut out as much light overall…”
        This analysis is fundamentally flawed on several fronts. Before repeating it I suggest you examine each aspect of the paragraph and modify the claims for future use.
        Spreading the ‘paint’ in no way mimics the thin contiguous layer on a single surface. That is the thinking of Al Gore and his invalid greenhouse glass analogy. As soon as it is not spread on a single surface, it passes a lot of radiation between the ‘dots’. Some dots adsorb and re-emit, to be captured by another dot, and reemitted. Paint stops radiation like visible light cold in its tracks. Methane is sort of like half-silvered mirrors, but two half-silvered mirrors do not block out 100% of the light. Each blocks out half of what remains. Think of a thousand 1/1000th silvered mirrors. Do the math. What do you get?
        Methane absorbs and reemits (in all directions) a tiny bit of the IR from the surface. It is just as effective stopping re-radiation coming down as it is going up. The net effect is far less than a ‘layer’. That is why the ‘greenhouse’ argument is so deviously wrong. It is not how things work.
        The increase in hydrogeological cycle idea is also flawed. When the water vapour increases it gets cloudy which shuts down the incoming radiation – big time. It is only ‘increased’ in a modelers vision that fails to include real clouds.
        The gravitational potential from ‘expansion’ has nothing to do with anything. The temperature being ‘lower than predicted’ is because the models use a forcing value for CO2 that is too high by a factor of about 4. No surprise then that the models fail. 97% of the methane scare is bunk. The 3% remaining is irrelevant.
        Methane is broken down by actinic degradation. It doesn’t last long and has little effect. We are mostly heated and cooled and temperature controlled by water vapour.

      • A typical paint film is TENS OF THOUSANDS of times thicker than a few molecules. The ignorance is strong in this one…

      • In reply to my list of critics
        1) Ian W We are not disagreeing on the increased hydrological cycle, I am saying that leads to lower temperatures than the models predict – reason is more clouds and latent heat transfer,
        2) Alx a simple calculation shows that if a 1 sq metre at base, solid angle radial volume to 10,000 meters of atmosphere would contain enough methane molecules to be at least 80,000 molecules thick if brought down and tightly packed at ground level. Easily comparable with the thickness of paint.
        3) Paul Kirby,/ Crispin / Mark see 2.
        4) If air in a gravitational field expands due to heat then some work is done against gravity and hence does not manifest as such a large temperature increase as would be expected from the heat increase if it were air in a bottle being warmed.
        5) Mark ….what ignorance? 80,000 is few compared to the 4.5*10^19 methane molecules in a cubic metre of air.

      • The atomic density of silicon is about 5 x 10^22 atoms per cc.
        When doped with boron or Phosphorous or the modern process substitutes for those dopants, the dopant density for CMOS circuits is around 10^16 per cc, so that is of the order of about one in five million silicon atoms to make you computer work.
        So the paucity of CO2 impurities in the atmosphere is a losing argument.
        The problem is in what happens once the LWIR photon is absorbed.
        There’s no doubt the right ones do get absorbed; it just doesn’t do much (if anything at all) when they do get absorbed.
        And the water over CH4 band argument doesn’t work either. Both spectra are actually scads of extremely fine lines, and not one big gap band. And those very fine individual lines rarely overlap.
        So water is not taking our what CH4 could. But I still agree with those who say methane is just a ho hum. Sop we should burn it to get cOt instead (well and water too. Lucky us. Methane is a fuel just as CO2 is plant food.

    • A better back of envelope makes the methane layer 56,000 molecules thick to compare with paint. It is worked out from 14.7 lbs/sq inch air pressure and a methane molecule is a 4 Angstrom cube.

  3. Seems to me that Sierra club is doing the Koch brothers bidding by closing 142 coal fired plants. More oil fossil fuel consumption. Follow the money maybe thee edgy company CEO and the ex Myor of NY are the Koch brothers.

    • The media and the Democrats (in particular Harry Reid) love to demonize the Koch Brothers. The Koch’s are libertarian philanthropists and activists that have donated millions to hundreds of colleges and universities, plus the Smithsonian, United Negro College fund and other institutions. They are only demonized because of their political beliefs, not because of anything bad they have done. At least they are honest and decent. This is opposed to Tom Steyer (who has given millions to Obama, Reid and Pelosi) who also made his fortune in fossil fuels and now opposes the industry that made him billions. For more:

    • No, not the Koch brothers, but yes the Russian oil interests.
      The interest of Russian oil companies and American environmentalist financiers intersect at a Bermuda-based law firm called Wakefield Quin. The firm acts as a corporate registered agent, providing office space for clients, and, for some, “managing the day to day affairs,” according to its website.
      As many as 20 companies and investment funds with ties to the Russian government are Wakefield Quin clients. Many list the firm’s address on official documentation.
      Klein Ltd. also shares that address. Documents filed with Bermuda’s registrar of companies list just two individuals associated with the company: Hoskins, Wakefield Quin senior counsel and managing director, and Marlies Smith, a corporate administrator at the firm.
      The only publicly available documentation of any business conducted by Klein Ltd. were two Internal Revenue Service filings by the California-based Sea Change Foundation, which showed that Klein had contributed $23 million to the group in 2010 and 2011. Klein Ltd. was responsible for more than 40 percent of contributions to Sea Change during those years.
      The foundation passed those millions along to some of the nation’s most prominent and politically active environmentalist groups. The Sierra Club, the Natural Resource Defense Council, Food and Water Watch, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for American Progress were among the recipients of Sea Change’s $100 million in grants in 2010 and 2011.
      The Sierra Club, which received nearly $8.5 million from Sea Change in 2010 and 2011, launched its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign the following year. The effort has become one of the largest and best-funded environmentalist campaigns combating fracking and the extraction of natural gas in general.
      Sea Change’s “skeletal staff quietly shovels tens of millions of dollars out the door annually to combat climate change. And that’s pretty much all it does,” noted Inside Philanthropy, which awarded the foundation its “sharpest laser focus in grantmaking” award last year.
      Nathaniel Simons and his wife run the foundation and are, except for Klein Ltd., its only donors. Simons, a hedge fund millionaire who commutes to work across San Francisco Bay aboard a 50-foot yacht, also runs a venture capital firm that invests in companies that benefit from environmental and energy policies that Sea Change grantees promote.
      Simons himself has ties to Klein Ltd. Several Wakefield Quin attorneys are listed as directors of hedge funds that his firm manages, and in which Sea Change has assets.

      Guess all the skeptics funded by big oil are looking at the wrong country.

  4. The complaint about bird and bat killings may be more than just a make-weight, but it’s hard to tell from what we usually read about it.
    True, windmills get a pass where, say, oil drilling would not. But how big is the problem? For example, what percentage of the birds that die every year perish by windmill? How does that compare with the number that die by window strikes?
    I oppose windmill subsidies, but I wonder how real the bird-and-bat problem is.

    • Joel, I know more of the bird problem which I assure you is very real and devastating in many parts of the world (including S-E Australia). But any argument should begin with,
      the false rationale of “global warming”,
      the non-role of CO2 in any temperature variations (up and down), where is the evidence?,
      the fallacy that wind turbines reduce CO2 emissions (as if they mattered),
      the economic disruption of renewable energy prices with vast subsidies
      and back-up costs,
      jacking up prices and slashing any industry needing electricity (not to mention domestic hardship),
      visual amenity blight on an industrial scale,
      adjacent land devaluation by up to 80% (if indeed it can be sold at all),
      and of course the health effects of low frequency noise (with the ground breaking work of Australian acoustic engineer Steve Cooper’s just published paper) on nearby residents, and,
      the birds! (a wind farm near here ran tourist trips up to its turbines; before each morning’s tours, the closed “meat” van would do a collection of slaughtered birds (mainly by the downdrafts) from the previous night to sanitise the experience (first hand observation). Strangely, the tours no longer run..

      • I am fully receptive to the proposition that the bird-and-bat problem is significant. And your anecdotal evidence would seem to lend that proposition some support. However, like reports of huge oil-company profits or of subsidies for roads and bridges, anecdotal reports are too susceptible to misinterpretation if they aren’t placed in some quantitative context.
        Millions of birds die every day. In that context, would windmill kills be more than a drop in a bucket even if windmills provided every kilowatt-hour we use? I suspect that the answer is yes. But the fact that quantification is so often omitted from the bird-and-bat argument makes me wonder.
        (Of course, you’re right about other negative externalities’ being far higher on the list than bird and bat kills.)

    • You are right, relative to the total number of birds that die annually it is insignificant. However in those specific areas that have windmills it is significant. Like weather, windmills killing birds is a local issue.
      The reason bird deaths are brought up is to point out green hypocrisy. All forms of energy have an impact on the environment. Greens give a pass or outright deny this simple fact. They are building up solar farms close to where I live. To me they are an eye sore, where there was once fields or groves of trees is now land laid barren, natural habitats destroyed. I call them solar panel deserts. I am not saying they should not be put up due to my concerns, anytime man settles in an area they disrupt the land. I am saying green ideology denies or pretends there are no environmental impacts in using wind or solar. Or as I like to to say to my friends try building a windmill without petroleum by-products.

      • We have bird-mincers here in Tasmania on the NW coast. The ecologist employed at Woolnorth gathers and disposes of bird and bat corpses to prevent them attracting more birds who would otherwise scavenge them. Sea eagles outnumber wedgetail eagles. Despite this, wedgetails are killed at a far greater rate.
        Tasmania’s wedgetail eagle is a sub-species and like many island species is much larger than the parent species. Their numbers are small — perhaps 200 breeding pairs. A small enough population that if the proposed Musselroe wind farm goes ahead, they will become extinct. Forty percent of the eagles’ diet consists of feral cats. Feral cats consume many, many small birds; birds that provide a free insect-devouring service to farmers.
        Killing a wedgetail eagle can land you in jail, but not if you are a wind farmer. Wind farms get a free pass. An ex-friend told me that the ecologist at Woolnorth was exaggerating the numbers of birds killed. Given that she’s employed to presumably do the opposite, this seems bizarre. Further, the ex-friend also claimed there was a study done in the UK proving that windmills don’t kill wedgetail eagles. This is how far the fantasy can take a warmist. Who in their right minds would risk jail to smuggle enormous (2.27 m / 7′ 5″ wingspan) birds all the way to the UK and then attempt to kill them with a windmill?
        The only person I know to kill these magnificent creatures deliberately is a card-carrying member of Greenpeace. The excuse was that they were killing his chickens. He said it was too costly to provide netting above his chicken-run. Discarded fishing nets are free here and perfectly adequate to keep raptors off your chickens!
        Green hypocrisy? Tell me about it…

      • Hi Git,
        As a former [urban] chicken farmer, I can attest that the raptor isuue, while valid, is easily rectified. Raptors are easily kept out of chicken coops. That is merely an excuse to blend birds.

      • I take issue with calling these bird kills “insignificant”. When counted against the total global population of bird deaths for all birds for all reasons – of course the number is “insignificant”. But when you’re talking about dozens of Golden Eagles or any species that don’t have a large local population (particularly raptors), then the numbers are indeed significant.

      • @ dbstealey
        As I pointed out discarded shark net is free here. Birds have a hard time seeing the monofilament nylon line and it’s a trivial matter to suspend the netting 2–3 metres above the ground. A “redneck” neighbour informed of the raptor-killing was disgusted. He said that the few ducks he lost were worth it in return for being able to watch the eagles working. The eagles take far more rabbits, a bad pest here, than they do poultry.

  5. The story “Atlas Shrugged”, written in 1957 by a soviet refugee, contains a series of political manoeuvres disguised as “equality” and “fairness” which do incalculable damage to the economy but which secretly enrich the politically connected at the expense of the productive.
    One of the industries destroyed is “Wyatt Oil”, an oil business based on a revolutionary new shale extraction process.

  6. I’ll play devil’s advocate, to a degree. The destruction of the coal industry is short sighted, vindictive, pernicious and corrupt, but what can you expect of the idolaters in the EPA.
    However, regulating leaks of methane is a very good idea, the stuff is extremely useful, the less wasted the better, and we burn the stuff to produce CO2 after all!

    • The point is that the oil and gas companies are already doing everything that is cost effective to minimize these leaks. Methane that is leaked can’t be sold.
      Forcing these companies to spend millions to prevent the leak of thousands of dollars worth of gas is not cost effective and merely serves to drive up the cost of gas.

  7. Climate issues are now in the political arena and Poohtus will try to make as much political hay as he can of these issues as a counterweight to a Republican controlled Congress. I have never seen anything more disgusting than what this man does to science for the sake of political expediency.

  8. Moderator, why are all of my comments going into moderation? Or is WordPress broke?
    Please respond.
    [because you have been rather disruptive as of late, your comments have now been set to be moderated -mod]

  9. It also ears they are going after the Red States. It’s been obvious for years and even stated public ally BO wants to get rid of the Republicans and their states.
    All we need is a little longer sunspot minimum to break this all up. Just need several thousand liberals to die from these stronger snow storms to upset the current momentum of the liberal movement.
    Hurricanes are dying out and Winters without summers are coming along.

  10. Water vapour might adsorb the IR that might also affect methane but if the GHE is a chimera than who cares. There is NO empirical data that shows the GHE working.

    • Methane, EPA says, has a warming effect 50 times greater than carbon dioxide. This assertion is wildly inflated, by as much as a factor of 100, Dr. Fred Singer says. Atmospheric water vapor already absorbs nearly all the infrared radiation (heat) that methane could, and the same radiation cannot be absorbed twice.
      Fred Singer is wrong in that case, the methane spectrum has many more lines than the water spectrum which has widely spaced lines.

  11. The cheap fuel economies of the world must be rubbing their hands with glee to see the economic competition disappear (India and China).

  12. The deadline for most of the coal-plant shutdowns is April of this yr — shut down almost entirely by the micro-hairsplitting MATS rules from the EPA. The rule boils down to this — either install impossibly expensive “pollution” controls on coal, or switch to gas. Switching to gas is only possible if major, existing gas pipelines are nearby.

      • I remember the bumper sticker as being seen in Alberta, and it referred to the people in Toronto who hogged the manufacturing base of the country but depended on Western oil. It was a reference to cutting off the oil flowing East and read, “Let those Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.” It was at a time when the oil revenue sharing Heritage Fund was established.

  13. Rooter,
    Sir, the three locations you’ve selected are identified sites of multi-year, active volcanoes. Perhaps measurements from three passive locations would be good for comparison.

    • Robert, the map data shows very uneven distribution, which also changes with the seasons. What rooter did was cut off the earlier period (during the Soviet Union heydays of Western Siberian oil field developments). A cold look at the data shows a steep climb, then a much slower climb from say 1991 to 2006, and a third phase starting around 2007 (or 2008?). What I would love to see is a serious study showing ethane AND methane concentrations, as well as isotope ratios, and a look as to why China is such an intense hot spot.

    • No identified volcanes in Spitsbergen or the South Pole. Barrow corresponds well with Spitsbergen as well (even though Illis did not notice anything going on). The measurements at Mauna Loa is well monitored for volcanic influence and corresponds well with the other measurements.
      The methane concentration is increasing again after a slowdown.
      Another aspect of this is of course that the slowdown will influence how one can judge the performance of the climate models. They were run with a higher forcing increase from methane than what actually happened.

  14. At this point in time the argument of climate change is still used to force the green agenda upon us. However in reality it has become a political driven argument to put pressure on countries like Russia, Middle East, Venezuela with the hope of collaps

    • People turned away from God and instead made government their god. Their tutors were Marxists, who already had the hang of it. They also adopted the old Canaanite gods of Baal, the original climate disruption god; Ashtoreth, the sex goddess; and Molech, the god of infant sacrifice to clean up the consequences.
      It’s quite a mix, but those four viral strains–statism, climatism, sex and abortion–run through all of its DNA. It’s all profoundly anti-human and can be summarized neatly as the culture of death.
      You asked.

  15. 1.8ppm!! 1800 parts per billion!!! The sheer audacity of anyone, scientist, politician or environmental activist, to claim that this could do anything to affect temperature beggars belief!
    That would be true if levels had grown from zero, but that the increase is only 100ppB in 25 years!!!! What can you say? How can anyone even have a rational conversation with these lunatics?

    • Re: 1.8/PPM CH4 and 400PPM CO2, yes it’s ridiculous to look at these numbers and see a problem when looking at the big picture.
      But the reality is much, much more nutty than the above numbers, for when dealing in only the anthropogenic percentages, we reach well beyond the standard looney tunes of the overall numbers, and are entering Star Trek levels of fantasy.

  16. excuse me, but If our Sun has a companion star surely somebody would have calculated whereabouts it is, assuming that it is visible ?

  17. The left’s new war against methane just shows how empty their arsenal has become.
    CH4 levels are now 10 TIMES less than FAR projections and are stubbornly stuck at 1.7ppm… Let’s see how greenhouse gases breakdown: H2O=30,000ppm, CO2=400ppm, CH4=1.7ppm…
    Jeez… The left has officially left the reservation… How anyone can still take these guys seriously is astounding…
    It’s like the loony left is trying to defend their collapsing castle walls by farting in the general direction of the attacking hordes…:

  18. The Sierra Club later claimed its efforts forced 142 U.S. coal-fired power plants to close, raising electricity rates, threatening grid reliability, and costing thousands of jobs in dozens of states.

    The ultimate in self-fulfilling prophecy. Predict doom and then make it happen.

  19. Scarier: what the deuce are Republicans doing about all this!! Politicians are all devious. Some years ago In Canada, the left campaigned on repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Goods and Services Tax that had been put in by Conservatives. When they finally got in, they found the books were loading up with gov revenues and they decided to leave it alone!! I’m worried that Republicans are going to end up sealing these changes in – after all it is the other party that did the dirty work and they don’t have to do a thing but reap the benefits to Gov.

    • I hate to admit that I am a Repub, with the leadership or lack thereof, we have right now. They are so afraid of the press, they do nothing. Fortunately, the racist card has been overplayed and means nothing anymore.

      • Eric– I’ve completely given up on the GOP and refuse to vote or send them a dime. There is essentially no difference between the Progressive Democrats and the Progressive-Lite Republicans. Both parties are ostensibly BIG government, pro-cronyism, big deficit hacks.
        I’ve switched to the Libertarian Party, (yeah, I know). Once the US dollar loses it Reserve Currency status, bonds crash, the US$ crashes, the US economy enters a deep recession and/or depression, perhaps the American people will realize it’s time to make some serious changes: default on a large portion of our $18 Trillion national debt, restructure the $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities, pass a balanced budget amendment, pass an amendment limiting Federal Spending to 10% of GDP, scrap the 70,000 page tax code, establish term limits, end all income/withholding taxes and replace them with one national sales tax, basically merge the IRS with the Treasury, close down the Federal Reserve and return to a gold standard….. Whew…
        Until the GOP implements most of the above, nothing will change and I won’t vote for them EVER again…

  20. “Catechism of Climate Cataclysm”
    Catchy, very catchy, Paul. I like it. Perhaps it will be based on the Papal Encyclical scheduled for issue in June. It will be quite interesting to see how much of his Chemistry background goes into his thoughts on the matter. Hopefully, it will be a pleasant surprise.

    • “Catechism of Climate Cataclysm”
      That alone was worth a share.
      near-religious zealotry by
      a scientific-industrial-government-activist alliance that has built
      a financial, political and regulatory empire.

      A verbal hat-trick.
      A Catechism of Climate Cataclysmic Prophases (CCCP)

  21. to borrow a favorite Obama phrase, let me make one thing perfectly clear.

    Obama copied that word for word from Nixon. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not a crook.

  22. EPA used to actually mean environmental protection (usually, anyway). Now it has simply become an Orwellian, bloated and oppressive tool for governmental control, stifling business under an avalanche of costly regulations and time-consuming paperwork.

  23. Methane is a very effective greenhouse gas since it absorbs in the atmospheric IR windows. Present radiative forcing from methane is about 1/4 that of CO2. The people who claim that that 1.8 ppm can not have an effect because they can not imagine it having an effect are, in effect, claiming that their ignorance trumps the knowledge of people who have carefully studied this.
    But any threat from methane is even more over hyped than the alleged threat from CO2. The global warming concerns are about something that might possibly happen in the future. Since increased atmospheric CO2 will last for centuries, one can plausibly argue for caution on the grounds that if it turns out to be a problem, there will not be much that we can do about it. But methane has an atmospheric lifetime of only 5 to 10 years, so if it turns out to be a problem we can cut emissions and solve the problem. There is no need whatever for preemptive action.

    • Mike M
      “Methane is a very effective greenhouse gas since it absorbs in the atmospheric IR windows. Present radiative forcing from methane is about 1/4 that of CO2. The people who claim that that 1.8 ppm can not have an effect because they can not imagine it having an effect are, in effect, claiming that their ignorance trumps the knowledge of people who have carefully studied this.”:
      I have a problem with scale, if you cite are those numbers. Methane has about 20 times the effect of CO2 per mole and a much shorter lifetime. With the concentration at 1.7 ppm against 400 ppm, the effect can’t be a quarter. The effect is (20*1.7):400 which is less than 10%. That is reduced by the comparative lifetime which depends a lot on whose numbers you use. Suppose methane has a 1/10 of the life so it is more like <1% on a long term basis.
      From the look of things, methane can drop quickly to low values 'without a good reason'. A slight cooling could do that, maybe. Does anyone know?

      • Crispin,
        The contribution at present does not depend on lifetime, it depends on the present concentrations compared to pre-industrial. For methane that is an increase of about 1.1 ppm, for CO2 the increase is 120 ppm. So the roughly 25% I got from the IPCC tables would imply that methane is about 25 times as effective. But it is not as simple as per mole since, at least for CO2, the effect is logarithmic.
        Lifetime matters for long-term effects, so the short lifetime for methane means that it should not be a big deal in the long-term. If the sources of methane are reduced, the atmospheric concentration will drop rather quickly in response.
        The CO2 in the atmosphere is a large fraction of what has been emitted since we started burning fossil fuels. The methane in the atmosphere is basically what has been emitted in the last ten years.

      • Mike M.
        January 27, 2015 at 10:10 am
        The difficulty with your point is that CO2 in the air is in quasi-equilibrium with CO2 in the oceans. Yes there may be more CO2 in the air from emissions. But all that means (most likely) is that man’s CO2 has displaced CO2 that would have evolved from the oceans. Warm water holds less CO2.
        BTW the oceanic CO2 reservoir is 50X larger than the atmospheric reservoir.

  24. We have reached a methane tipping point.

    Junk Science January 14, 2015
    A decrease in methane emissions calls for stricter controls
    White House
    Emissions from the oil and gas sector are down 16 percent since 1990 and current data show significant reductions from certain parts of the sector, notably well completions. Nevertheless, emissions from the oil and gas sector are projected to rise more than 25 percent by 2025 without additional steps to lower them. For these reasons, a strategy for cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is an important component of efforts to address climate change.

  25. Oh, in deed, they will be after all farm animals, as livestock, even chickens, not sustainable according to the UN. In their vision of the future human race, we are all vegans, which is the road to malnutrition as we can be sure that they will not make the great effort it would take to produce a truly healthy vegan diet for all 500 million people they allow to live. Of course, the elite power class that runs the world will have all the meat their power-hungry hearts desire.

    • And they advocate organic production, a system that is heavily reliant on animal manure for optimum production. No animals = no animal manure, a fact that seems to escape them. [sigh]

    • Sounds like Soylent green to the rescue! After all, it’s not just for the people, “It is people!!!”

  26. Thanks, Paul. Very good article.
    This global warming -> climate change agenda is anti-humans. We are seen as a cancer in the Earth.
    We are self-destructing; A suicide by corrupt science.

  27. Anthony Watts: please confirm my moderation and give instances of “disruptiveness” This is something that one would expect at SKS.

  28. When natural gas interests climbed into bed with environmental extremists to gain government assistance in their competition with coal interests, they truly made a Faustian bargain. They lent credibility to all the CO2 crap the environmentalists have spewed, and they will someday regret that unfortunate alliance of opportunity. Those environmentalists were never sympathetic in their interests, and so it’s no surprise that they are turning on them, trying to end natural gas burning, as well as trying to prevent fracking and in pushing idiotic, unreliable wind turbines and solar panels on all of us. When you people needed to stand on principle, when you should have been standing shoulder to shoulder with your coal producing brethren, when you should have been arguing their net benefits to society, you failed. To advance your short term interests, you let slip the mutts of war on modernity. GUILTY! I sentence you to read Atlas Shrugged.

  29. Every house, business or building with a sewer vent pipe needs to plug them now. That should help! /sarc

  30. Paul, I love your essay, but, (You knew the butt was coming…)
    The world’s poorest citizens have always had lung infections, severe diarrhea, malaria and other diseases of poverty. They weren’t some advanced civilizations and we took it away from them. It’s largely because they did not have or make the same technical innovations as the “West”.
    Federal regulators, climate chaos “ethicists” and “progressives” want to remove the poor and middle classes, that’s why they all ignore these realities.
    Judge them by their actions.

  31. I quote:
    “… the latest NASA press release asserts that 2014 was “the hottest since the modern instrumental record began,” and again blames mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. This deliberately deceptive, fear-inducing claim was quickly retracted, but not before it got extensive front-page coverage.”
    They are getting away with murder here by using fake ground-based temperature curves. This ignores the nature and origin of twenty-first century temperatures which constitute a no-warming period, part of the hiatus/pause of current global warming. These fake temperatures were created by cooperation among GISS, NCDC, amd HadCRUT. Their allegedly independent temperature curves show footprints of common computer processing in identical locations. What is shown a non-existent warming in the eighties and nineties that does not exist in satellite temperature records. . This fake warming hides the existence of a real step warming that started in 1999. In in three tears it raised global temperature by one third of a degree Celsius, and then stopped. That is between one half and one third of a whole century’s warming, according to whose baseline you use. It was also the only warming we have had since 1979 when satellite observations began. The temperature rise from that step warming did not go down as an El Nino would have but became the permanent temperature of the hiatus we now enjoy. This just may be related to ‘PDO phase change that also happened at the turn of the century. As a result, every twenty-first century year is now higher than any twentieth century year except for the super El Nino of 1998. Hansen was quick to take advantage of that when he noticed it. His claim was that nine out of tem warmest years happened during the first decade of this century. This observation is true. He of course claimed it was the work of crbon dioxide which is nonsense. But NASA this year has gone Hansen one better by demoting the super El Nino from the list of warmest years. This comes from giving the twenty-first century an upward slope like they did to the eighties and nineties. When you look at their graphs they show you will see that they have raised the 2010 El Nino higher than the super El Nino of 1998 is which is impossible. To evaluate our century temperatures using their method is no different than comparing it to ice age temperatures because using twentieth or nineteenth century as a standard of comparison is no different than using the ice age as a standard of comparison. The correct way to rank twenty-first century years is to use a twenty-first century baseline, one going back no more than 2002, the year the step warming ceased. This will show that real warming in the 21st century, if any, was minuscule. There was a La Nina in 2009 and an El Nino in 2010 but they basically neutralize one another as parts of the ENSO oscillation.

  32. Think Obama is bad?
    In my country the government is already going for the dairy farmers.
    The fact that our economy revolves largely around dairy farming seems to be irrelevant.
    Sure this guy might deserve some penalty for allowing dairy cow faeces to reach the stream, but if he wants to pond it on his own property? WTF?
    But most concerning of all, the language in the article reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China. I just hope we don’t have Green Party members going to this guys farm and carrying out what they think is (summary) justice.

  33. By the time they get the regs written and approved I expect that frakking will have already dropped emissions by more than the regs call for, both because leaked methane can’t be sold, and low prices will have reduced drilling enough to heavily cut methane emissions. By the time the regs take hold the well drillers will very likely have cut drilling and completion emissions enough that the regs will be superfluous. And then Obama and many of his enablers will be gone.

  34. Rooter writes: “The measurements at Mauna Loa is well monitored for volcanic influence and corresponds well with the other measurements.”
    For about half the days I spent in Maui this month, VOG (Volcanic smog) blocked the view of the mountains and neighboring islands. Now I’m sure we aren’t seeing carbon dioxide or methane (I’m not sure about sulfur dioxide), but mostly water droplets and ash. But the visual presence of this VOG suggests to me the presence of these volcanic gases lofted above the mixing layer. I wonder if there’s a CO2 ‘hot spot’ around the Hawaiian islands.

  35. rooter,
    You’re right, thanx for the clue. I am so fixated on the CO2/T canard that I lost sight of methane — which is only a peripheral issue anyway, since the original claim is steadily losing traction.
    Also, I didn’t “used to say” that T leads CO2. It just does. I’ve never changed my mind about that apparent causation, since there is overwhelming scientific evidence supporting it. But there is still no evidence to support the belief that ∆CO2 is the cause of ∆T.
    As usual, I can back my statement with lots of empirical evidence. I’ll change my mind if the evidence tells me I should. But so far, and despite endless requests for such evidence, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that ∆CO2 is the cause of anything.
    And to make it clear, I didn’t say that ∆T causes ∆CO2 on all time scales, but rather, on all time scales out to a million years or so. Before that, it’s hard to say based on the evidence. Still, there’s no evidence I can find showing that CO2 controls temperature on any time scale.

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