The Week That Was: 2015-06-13 (June 13, 2015) Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
ICCC-10: Due to The Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10), June 11 and 12, this week’s TWTW will be brief. The conference was co-sponsored by, among others, SEPP and the Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE), Next week’s TWTW will include material that was overlooked this week due to time constraints. The conference was sold out about one week in advance. Videos of the keynote speeches and the panel sessions are available at: http://climateconference.heartland.org/. It is our understanding that high resolution videos will be available shortly.
Political: The political high points of ICCC-10 were presentations by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Representative Lamar Smith (R-21st District of Texas). Senator Inhofe is chairman of the influential Environment and Public Works Committee and a Senior Member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Smith is Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which has jurisdiction over programs of NASA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The committee oversees agency budgets of $39 billion, where the primary focus is on research and development. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.
In their talks, both Senator Inhofe and Representative Smith focused on the steps they are taking to constrain the efforts by the Administration, particularly through the EPA, to expand executive powers over the American economy through the use of misleading or false scientific claims. Many consider this expansion of powers is beyond the authority granted to the executive branch by Congress and unconstitutional. The speakers outlined systematic strategies to stop the questionable political ambitions of the Administration. In the coming months and next year, we shall see how effectively these strategies will be. See the links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – ICCC-10.
Quote of the Week: “In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.” Frederick Seitz, WSJ – June 12, 1996 on IPCC AR-2, 1995, printed May 1996.
Number of the Week: 71%
Alice in Climateland: A high point in the conference for SEPP came during Thursday’s dinner when SEPP Chairman S. Fred Singer introduced Professor Will Happer, the recipient of the Frederick Seitz Memorial Award. Seitz, past Chairman of SEPP, was a distinguished solid-state physicist and long-term president of the US National Academy of Sciences, greatly expanded the role and influence of that group. Seitz questioned the ever expanding assertions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), often made without physical evidence, that humanity, particularly emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), was primarily responsible for 20th century temperature increases. Seitz challenged the processes used by the IPCC, calling the Second Assessment Report  of the IPCC the worst abuse of the peer-review process he has observed in 60 years of science.
Physicist William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett professor of physics (emeritus) at Princeton University, was the second recipient of the award. Among his other accomplishments, Happer pioneered the development of adaptive optics and invented the sodium guide star to eliminate astronomical imaging blurring due to atmospheric turbulence.
Professor Happer gave a very clever acceptance speech framing the climate change controversies with the Lewis Carroll’s (Charles Dodgson) play on logic and adult fairy tale “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Happer titled his talk as Alice in Climateland. Sections included “Down the Rabbit Hole”, changing size with models serving the function of mushrooms, the queen’s croquet, and the trial with Alice’s evidence – “off with her head” seems to be an all too familiar statement among those who dislike skeptics who point out the lack of physical evidence to support the contention that human CO2 emissions are causing dangerous global warming. See the links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – ICCC-10.
General Comment: The 2013 and the 2014 reports of the independent Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) are slowly gaining popularity. This is particularly true for the report on the Biological Impacts, which is more readily understood by the general public than the report on the Physical Science. To recognize the benefits of carbon dioxide is revolutionary, after decades of demonization of CO2 by government entities and government supported entities. Use of the Biological Impacts can be a method of introducing the Physical Science by pointing out what else does government-sponsored research ignore.
Often overlooked, the report on Biological Impacts has a section of over 80 pages on Human Health effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Major findings include: warmer temperatures are beneficial to humanity colder temperatures are not (even if CO2 has little influence on temperatures), malaria will not expand as a result of increased temperatures, claims of increased vector borne diseases with temperature are unfounded, and increased CO2 can increase the medicinal substances found in plants. These findings are contrary to the findings of the US Global Change Research Program. See the links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC
Strange things: SEPP prepared comments to the draft report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment by USGCRP’s Interagency Group on Climate Change and Human Health, which is part of the sustained National Climate Assessment and as called for under the President’s Climate Action Plan.
SEPP’s comments were a compilation of what has appeared in TWTW and other documents. They included the failure of the models to predict the current temperature trends, no rise; John Christy’s graphs; failure to advance science of understanding of climate sensitivity since the Charney Report (1979); and failure in logic. Specific examples included extreme weather & health effects; infectious diseases including vector borne diseases; food safety and nutrition. References included the 2013 and 2014 NIPCC Reports.
As stated in TWTW, the USGCRP website stated the comment period closed midnight Eastern Time, on June 8, and continued to do so on the morning of June 8. In preparing to submit the comments about 5:10 pm, SEPP discovered the comment period was moved up to 5pm. The system would no longer permit comments. Draw your own conclusions.
According to the USGCRP comment website, the draft report was submitted to the National Academy of Sciences for rigorous peer review. We shall see how rigorously today’s NAS reviews this deeply flawed report, including the importance of public health measures in controlling infectious diseases, the NIPCC reports, and other serious omissions in the USGCRP report. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.
The Battle of the Gs? In preparing for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate UNFCCC in Paris, starting at the end of November, two sets of conferences were held, with two different sets of parties. One groups, the G-7, is comprised of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies: Canada, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The second group, the G-77 + founded in June 15, 1964, lists 134 member states, including India, China, Brazil, South Africa – most developing countries. Russia is not listed in either group. It is becoming increasingly evident that the goals of these two groups are not merging into a coherent whole for a major, universal agreement in Paris. And then, there is that pesky US Constitution, which many advocates wish to ignore, which requires that a treaty involving the US, to be enforceable, must have the approval of 2/3 of the Senate – a task that is becoming increasingly unlikely for this Administration. See links under On to Paris!, and Problems in the Orthodoxy.
Number of the Week: 71%. According to reports 5 of the 7 G-7 countries (71%) burned 16% more coal in 2013 than in 2009 and are planning to further increase construction of coal-fired power stations. The countries are Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and France. Only the US and Canada reduced coal consumption since the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. Could insisting that other countries do as the G-7 says, not as it does, be a new form of neo-colonialism? See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy.
Please note that articles not linked easily or summarized here are reproduced in the Articles Section of the full TWTW that can be found on the web site under the date of the TWTW.
1. Dirty Rotten Ethanol Scoundrels
The feds admit defeat on the mandate but pile on a new subsidy.
Editorial, WSJ, Jun 7, 2015
SUMMARY: “Mark down May 29 as the date when the last tether connecting ethanol subsidies to reality came unhitched, and the fuel made from corn and tax dollars achieved a kind of postmodern perfection. On the same day the Obama Administration conceded that the U.S. auto fleet cannot practically consume enough ethanol to fulfill Congress’s quotas, it announced a new program so motorists can consume more ethanol.
“In other words, the point of the subsidy is the subsidy, and therefore the U.S. must subsidize ethanol because the U.S. already subsidizes ethanol. Once in place, such self-referential mandates appear to be eternal.’
Americans are not consuming enough gasoline to consume all the ethanol mandated by Congress in 2007 they should consume. [Representative Walsh of Vermont, a supporter of the mandate in 2007, publically declared the mandate a “well intentioned flop.”] Now, to lessen the market distortion created by this mandate, the Department of Agriculture announced it will spend $100 million in grants subsidizing gas stations to install special blender pumps to dispense gasoline with 15 to 85 percent ethanol, (E-15 to E-85), even though ethanol degrades ordinary engines, fuel lines, etc. [The current Department of Agriculture cannot find the thousands of studies that show enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide greatly benefits agriculture, but it can find money to benefit special interest groups.]
“At least this naked income transfer to ethanol producers respects truth in advertising. Ethanol has been sold for four decades as a wonder liquid that would reduce dependence on foreign oil and then carbon emissions, but reams of academic research and the evidence of experience show it achieves the opposite of both goals.
Such is the corruption of corporate welfare, which continues for no reason other than that it already exists. The cycle won’t end until Congress allows consumers to buy, well, E-zero.”
2. The EPA’s ‘Clean Power’ Mess
The plan will ensure that energy plants operate like cars in stop-and-go traffic, cutting efficiency.
By Benjamin Zycher, WSJ, Jun 7, 2015
SUMMARY: “‘Flexibility” is the advertised hallmark of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which by 2030 would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants by 30% from 2005 levels. The central feature of the plan is a forced shift away from inexpensive coal-fired power.” Yet if the EPA does not approve the flexibility in a state’s plan, it will impose its own plan.
“FERC and those in the industry it regulates seem to realize what the EPA does not: that the agency’s “building blocks” are mutually inconsistent. The recommended 6% efficiency improvement for coal plants is prohibitive in cost because their individual operating characteristics—the types of coal they use, operating pressures, emissions equipment, etc.—are predetermined in their designs and extremely difficult to change. Few if any owners of coal plants will be willing to make that huge investment. Moreover, the recommended increase in the capacity utilization of natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) turbines to 70% from roughly 45% today means reduced output and a smaller market share for coal.
“The coal-efficiency path is made even more difficult by the EPA’s recently implemented Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. Compliance with this new rule requires the installation of costly scrubbers and other equipment that reduce operating efficiency.
“The ‘energy efficiency’ path means a reduction in demand for both coal- and gas-fired power, again inconsistent with investment in improved coal efficiency, and with the envisioned increase in the utilization of gas plants.
“No one knows how this demand reduction will affect power consumption at peak periods relative to off-peak ones. This will exacerbate the uncertainties regarding investment in new power plants, which will again increase costs and create significant risks to the reliability of the grid.”
”There are good reasons to doubt that the EPA understands how a modern power system works. Such are the fruits of regulatory zealotry and the haste driven by the prospect that the next administration might place a greater emphasis on economic growth.”
[SEPP: Comment: One could state that flexibility under EPA edicts is similar to liberty in an authoritarian regime: one can do what the regime permits, and nothing else.]
3. High-Tech Solar Projects Fail to Deliver
$2.2 billion project in California generates 40% of its expected electricity
By Cassandra Sweet, WSJ, Jun 12, 2015
SUMMARY: “Some costly high-tech solar power projects aren’t living up to promises their backers made about how much electricity they could generate.
“Solar-thermal technology, which uses mirrors to capture the sun’s rays, was once heralded as the advance that would overtake old fashioned solar panel farms. But a series of missteps and technical difficulties threatens to make newfangled solar-thermal technology obsolete.
“The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California’s Mojave Desert is supposed to be generating more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. But 15 months after starting up, the plant is producing just 40% of that, according to data from the U.S. Energy Department.
“One big miscalculation was that the power plant requires far more steam to run smoothly and efficiently than originally thought, according to a document filed with the California Energy Commission. Instead of ramping up the plant each day before sunrise by burning one hour’s worth of natural gas to generate steam, Ivanpah needs more than four times that much help from fossil fuels to get the plant humming every morning. Another unexpected problem: not enough sun. Weather predictions for the area underestimated the amount of cloud cover that has blanketed Ivanpah since it went into service in 2013.
“Ivanpah isn’t the only new solar-thermal project is struggling to energize the grid. A large mirror-powered plant built in Arizona almost two years ago by Abengoa SA of Spain has also had its share of hiccups. Designed to deliver a million megawatt hours of power annually, the plant is putting out roughly half that, federal data show.
“American solar farms generate nearly 16 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. That satisfies less than 1% of U.S. electricity demand, but six times the amount of power that solar-thermal plants currently produce.
“Electricity prices from new solar farms average around 5 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to GTM Research, which tracks renewable energy markets. That compares with between 12 and 25 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by the Ivanpah power plant, state and federal data show.”
New technologies tend to have major problems, and solar-thermal has a long way to go.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt – Push-Back
When climate change becomes personal
Attacks on skeptics do a disservice to scientists and their profession
By Anthony Sadar, Washington Times, Jun 10, 2015
Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science
By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, lead authors/editors, Heartland Institute, September, 2013
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts
By Sherwood Idso, Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, lead authors/editors, Heartland Institute, March, 2014
Challenging the Orthodoxy – ICCC-10
Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10)
By Staff, The Heartland Institute, June 11 & 12, 2015
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Inhofe: Climate change fight really about global control
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Jun 11, 2015
Bespoke Science…Made-to-Order Science
Guest essay by Charles G. Battig, M.D., WUWT, Jun 7, 2015
Defending the Orthodoxy
Draft Climate & Health Assessment Available for Public Review
By Staff Writers, U.S. Global Change Research Program, Apr 7, 2015 [H/t CATO]
Report: USGCRP Climate & Health Assessment
“Thirteen Agencies, One Vision: Empower the Nation with Global Change Science”
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Global Warming and the Age of the Earth: a Lesson on the Nature of Scientific Knowledge
Guest essay by Dr. David Deming, WUWT, Jun 7, 2015
[SEPP Comment: A famous example of once-settled science that was very wrong.]
The China – US Agreement?
America Versus China: The New Reality Of Global Energy
By Robert Wilson Carbon Counter, Jun 8, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
On to Paris!
What Matters (And What Doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration
By Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations, Jun 10, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Link to declaration: G-7 Leaders’ Declaration
By Staff Writers, G-7, Jun 8, 2015
“Think ahead. Act together.” – that is our guiding principle.
What matters (and doesn’t) in the G7 Climate Declaration
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Jun 11, 2015
World’s Richest Countries Decide to Take It Slow on Climate Change
By Eric Holthaus, Slatest, Jun 8, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Bonn climate talks: EU says no more climate action before 2020
India, China want EU and other rich countries to revise their targets
By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, India, Jun 6, 2015
G7 Summit Over, Germany Abandons Planned Coal Tax,
By Staff Writers, Via GWPF, Jun 8, 2015
G7 kicks the climate can off the planet
By Peter Foster, Financial Post, Jun 10, 2015
India insists on draft agreement for pre-2020 climate actions at Bonn
By Staff Writers, Eco-Business, Jun 9, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
UN climate talks inch forward, putting off tough decisions
By Staff Writers, AP, Daily Mail, June 11, 2015
Problems in the Orthodoxy
BP: China’s coal consumption did not fall last year
By Robert Wilson, Carbon Counter, Jun 10, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Link to report: Statistical Review of World Energy 2015
By Staff Writers, BP, 2015
Five G7 nations increased their coal use over a five-year period, research shows
Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and France burned more coal between 2009 and 2013 and demanded poor countries slash their carbon emissions
By John Vidal, Guardian, UK, Jun 8, 2015
Korea to lower carbon emission target
By Kim Se-jeong, Korea Times, Jun 12, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
[SEPP Comment: Prior targets may be too costly.]
Seeking a Common Ground
Climate change scientists urged to be more open to the public about uncertainties
By Tom Bawden, Independent, UK, Jun 9, 2015
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
Rising Temperature and OA Effects on Coral Organic Carbon Fluxes
Levas, S., Grottoli, A.G., Warner, M.E., Cai, W.-J., Bauer, J., Schoepf, V., Baumann, J.H., Matsui, Y., Gearing, C., Melman, T.F., Hoadley, K.D., Pettay, D.T., Hu, X., Li, Q, Xu, H. and Wang, Y. 2015. Organic carbon fluxes mediated by corals at elevated pCO2 and temperature. Marine Ecology Progress Series 519: 153-164. Jun 9, 2015
“these findings add to a growing body of evidence that certain species of coral may be less at risk to the impacts of OA and temperature than previously thought.”
Microhabitats: Thermal Refugia for Rocky Intertidal Invertebrates
Lathlean, J.A., Ayre, D.J., Coleman, R.A. and Minchinton, T.E. 2014. Using biomimetic loggers to measure interspecific and microhabitat variation in body temperatures of rocky intertidal invertebrates. Marine and Freshwater Research: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13287. Jun 9, 2015
“unique thermal properties and microhabitat preferences may be important determinants of species’ capacity to cope with climate change,”… “microhabitats that act as thermal refugia are expected to play an increasingly important role in mitigating future impacts of climate change on these benthic communities.”
CO2-Enriched Air Does Double Duty Fighting Heat and Drought
Song, Y. and Huang, B. 2014. Differential effectiveness of doubling ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration mitigating adverse effects of drought, heat, and combined stress in Kentucky Bluegrass. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 139: 364-373. Jun 5, 2015
Assessing the Uniqueness of the California Drought of 2012-2014
Griffin, D. and Anchukaitis, K.J. 2014. How unusual is the 2012-2014 California drought? Geophysical Research Letters 41: 9017-9023.Jun 4, 2015
“’how unusual is the 2012-2014 California drought,’ it would appear the answer is not so unusual, unprecedented, or unnatural, and there is no evidence to ascribe it to rising atmospheric CO2/global warming.”
Models v. Observations
Another Model -vs- Reality problem – National Weather Offices: Canada, A Case Study With National And Global Implications.
Guest opinion: Tim Ball, WUWT, Jun 8, 2015
Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California’s Water Wars
By US Rep Devin Nunes, IBD, Jun 12, 2015
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Here’s Why Global Warming Alarmists Don’t Talk About Greenland
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Jun 5, 2015
Polar bears develop taste for dolphins as Arctic warms
By Staff Writers, AFP, Jun 11, 2015 [H/t Clyde Spencer]
[SEPP Comment: In the category: We have not photographed this before, therefore it has not existed before!]
Issues & Fear of Famine
The bees are all right! Stop worrying about them and start worrying about the science
By Staff Writers, ACSH, Jun 12, 2015
Un-Science or Non-Science?
Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress
By Jane Leggett, Specialist in Energy and Environmental Policy, GAO, Feb 23, 2015 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[SEPP Comment: Uses non-valid climate models to forecast future temperatures.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
Improving climate change communication: moving beyond scientific certainty
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Jun 8, 2015
Link to paper: Tension between scientific certainty and meaning complicates communication of IPCC reports
By G. J. S. Hollin & W. Pearce, Nature Climate Change, Jun 8, 2015
[SEPP Comment: Analyzing talks at press conferences???]
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Polar Bear Scientists “Willfully Blind to the Fact”
By Staff Writers, GWPF, Jun 8, 2015
Link to paper: THE ARCTIC FALLACY: Sea ice stability and the polar bear
By Susan Crockford, GWPF, 2015
“Observations since then, however, have shown the assumption of sea ice as a stable habitat over short timescales is false. Spring sea-ice thickness has been naturally variable over timescales of a few years to decades in the Beaufort Sea, East Green-land, and Hudson Bay; spring ice extent has been naturally variable in the Barents Sea for centuries and spring snow depth on sea ice is known to vary over short periods. Marked declines in polar bear and ringed seal survival in response to thick spring sea ice and reduced snow depth have been documented. These two variables are closely tied because spring (April–June) is the period of on-ice birth and nursing for ice-dependent seals and is also when polar bears consume two-thirds of their annual prey.”
Questioning European Green
Phasing Out Coal Poses Serious Risk for Germany
By Fritz Vahrenholt, Manager Magazine, Via GWPF, Trans. Philipp Mueller, June 5, 2015
The UK’s £1billion carbon-belcher raping US forests…that YOU pay for: How world’s biggest green power plant is actually INCREASING greenhouse gas emissions and Britain’s energy bill
By David Rose, Sunday Mail, UK, Jun 7, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Study: EPA climate rule would create jobs
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Jun 9, 2015
Link to study: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Employment Impacts of the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan
By Josh Bivens, EPI, Jun 9, 2015
[SEPP Comment: The jobs are temporary, largely benefiting wealthy states. Reliability and consistency of electricity are not considered. Nor is the cost to the consumers, and subsequent job loss from the decline in disposable income after deducting for increases in electricity costs?]
House Committee Drops Funding for State Department Climate-Change Programs
By Patrick Goodenough, CNS, Jun 4, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Ag lobby: Final EPA water rule is worse than proposal
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Jun 11, 2015
Feds expand two Calif marine sanctuaries
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Jun 10, 2015
Energy Issues – Non-US
Hubbert’s Peak Refuted: Peak Oil Theory Still Wrong
Who’s a flat-earther now?
By Ronald Bailey, Reason.com, Jun 10, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Energy Issues — US
Fossil Fuels Critical for National Defense
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Jun 9, 2015
Has shale gas really reduced US carbon emissions? The problem of coal exports
By Robert Wilson, Carbon Counter, Jun 12, 2015
Washington’s Control of Energy
How to Fool Americans
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Jun 12, 2015
White House approves EPA’s airplane emissions plan
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Jun 6, 2015
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
U.S. Ousts Russia as Top World Oil, Gas Producer in BP Data
By Rakteem Katakey, Bloomberg, Jun 10, 2015
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Other
Elon Musk Says Utilities Shouldn’t Fear His Battery Systems
By Mark Chediak and Dana Hull, Bloomberg, Jun 8, 2015 [H/t GWPF]
Modi assaults Greenpeace for blocking India growth
By Robin Pagnameta, The Times, Via GWPF, UK, Jun 9, 2015
“A report from India’s secret service the Intelligence Bureau, leaked to the media shortly after the election of Mr Modi last year, claimed that delays to big development projects caused by Greenpeace and other organisations had knocked 2 to 3 per cent off India’s annual rate of economic growth. It described Greenpeace as a ‘threat to national economic security . . . actively aided and led by foreign activists visiting India’”[Boldface added]
Other Scientific News
A surprising finding: weathering of rocks doesn’t change with climate change
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Jun 8, 2015