Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #211

The Week That Was: 2015-12-26 (December 26, 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)

COP-21 – Smoke and Mirrors: The Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended with significant changes to the earlier, to be agreed upon, agreement with the changes in a few small words. As Paul Homewood recognized the word “shall” was changed to “should” in the paragraph “Developed country Parties shall should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Homewood suspected that the US delegates (probably under instructions from the White House) demanded the change. The issue was making the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of the document legally binding. Making emissions reductions legally binding on the US would require Senate approval while the term “should” is not legally binding. President Obama has not consulted with Congress on the “Nationally Determined Contributions.” Contrary to the name, these contributions were decided by the administration, not nationally, and making them legally binding would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. The Administration’s game-playing faced harsh reality.

According to an article by Nitin Sethi, of the Business Standard out of India, the US Administration did not shoulder the burden of the harsh reality, but placed the burden on delegates from the European Union. The article opens with:

“If there was one overarching imprint on the Paris climate change negotiations, it was of the diplomatic heft that the US enjoys. The last hours of the talks, when the US was faced with the challenge of removing a phrase it didn’t like in the final agreement, it was left to the European Union to walk across the aisle to convince everyone to not oppose the changes the US demanded. The European Union, once hailed as the climate change leader of the world, was canvassing the developing country bloc to accept an agreement that was discordantly against its own non-negotiable position wanting a strict legally-binding protocol and not a loosely-bound agreement that the Paris outcome eventually became.

“That is a mere cherry of an anecdote that the Malaysian negotiator and the chief spokesperson of the Like-Minded Developing Countries group, Gurdial Singh Nijar, revealed in a candid interview to the Third World Network, an observer group at the negotiations. The US imprint is more explicitly visible in the results that 196 countries approved eventually at Paris on December 12.

“Days after the agreement, several Indian commentators, including diplomats and environmentalists who have watched or participated in the climate negotiations for years, have almost universally recognised some consequences of the agreement. The fundamental nature of the balance of responsibilities between developed and developing world has changed under the new agreement. The scientific basis of using a country’s cumulative emissions and not just the current or future emissions to apportion responsibilities has been done away with in the Paris agreement. The agreement requires a bottoms-up voluntary effort and will live by trust between nations or die for the lack of it over the next decade.

“All these decisions went almost exactly as the US desired and were supported by the European Union. In the future, trust would be built in the new regime by developed countries continuing to do more than the rest of the world in the fight against climate change, though the agreement requires so of them in rather meek words. That’s a tough task considering countries have quite blatantly broken legally-binding climate obligations for a decade-and-a-half now and that the requirement now is to do much more than ever before to reach the goal set in the agreement – keeping the rise in temperature to below 2 degree Celsius, preferably below 1.5 degree Celsius, by the turn of the century.

“But, as in all legal documents, details matter. The agreement reads, ‘Each party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive Nationally Determined Contributions (climate actions) that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.’ As the Third World Network rightly catches the fine print it analyses, ‘This means that there is an obligation to take the measures necessary, with the aim of achieving the emissions reduction target, but not to achieve the target itself (emphasis added).’

“This is again the US imprint requiring that no targets of any nature in the agreement be binding on the countries and that they be only indicative, while the processes are legally-binding.”

If the report is accurate, then Congress and a future administration should feel no obligation to fulfill the Administration’s declarations as long as the empty, bureaucratic processes continue. The agreement is a triumph of bureaucracy over meaningful action. Smoke and mirrors! Future delegates from developing countries may approach promises by delegates from developed countries with a great deal of well-earned skepticism. See links under Analyzing Paris!


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Quote of the Week: “The mountains have been in labour, and given birth to a little mouse.”

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 BC to 8 BC [H/t Philip Lloyd]


Number of the Week: 50%


NOTE: Due to travel commitments, there will be no TWTW next week!


Magic 2º C Achieved. The UNFCCC has set an artificial, bureaucratic goal of keeping temperatures from warming more 2º C since the Industrial Revolution (about 1750), now revised down to 1.5º C. Since 1750, there have been massive increases in wealth, prosperity, life-spans, health, and numerous other improvements in the human condition, making such goals purely dogmatic.

On his web site, WUWT, Anthony Watts asserts that since December 1978, atmospheric temperature trends measured by satellites and calculated by the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and independently supported by weather balloon data, show that under current warming trends, by 2100 temperatures will rise by less than 1. 5º C, well within the goal announced by the UNFCCC. Thus, the entire UN bureaucratic exercise of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is without meaning. See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy


Limits of Knowledge: On a philosophical level (in the mid-1800s what is now called science was often called natural philosophy), and for a different purpose, writing in American Thinker, physicist Thomas Sheahen briefly reviews the great strides science made over the past century, including recognizing the limits to scientific knowledge. He writes:

“We have indeed come a long way over a century, and physicists, chemists and biologists know a lot more than in the past. But the most important thing a physicist learns is about the limits of our knowledge. There are things that scientists do not know and we can be sure that we are not going to know these things via science – human knowledge comes with limitations. One major advance of 20th century science was Quantum Mechanics, which includes the Uncertainty Principle, which sets a limit on how well you can possibly know extremely simple things, like where something is or how fast it’s moving.”

Perhaps it is the false assertions of certainty used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the entities that rely on it, such as the UNFCCC, that motivates many skeptics of the claims that human emissions of CO2 are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming/climate change. Certainly, claims that CO2 is the control knob of the earth’s temperatures, as made by Gavin Schmidt and his colleagues at NASA-GISS, is without scientific justification to those who have studied the large variations of the earth’s temperatures, with past warming and cooling periods.

Sheahen mentions the important philosophical step, the abandonment of determinism, that followed the abandonment of 19th Newtonian mechanics in the early part of the 20th century. Some global warming skeptics may consider the use of long-term projections from un-validated global climate models to be little more than a return of 19th century determinism, using 21st century technology. As Sheahen writes:

“We gradually realized that our viewpoint is terribly limited – that we can only grasp a small fraction of reality. It was a big dose of humility for scientists, but it was necessary. We understand now that there is a big difference between the very little human mind and ‘the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.”

The limits to knowledge need to be more fully explored and understood. See link under Seeking a Common Ground.


Politicized Nature? Nature magazine removed little doubt that it is highly politicized. Listed number one among the 10 people the editors selected mattered the most in 2015 was Christiana Figueres, “Climate guardian,” who has been Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since July 2010.

Figueres was also remembered by Climate Change Predictions.org which quoted her for saying on February 11, 2015: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years–since the industrial revolution.”

Since the US has greatly prospered under the current market economy, as well as other parts of the world that have embraced the market economy, those who are asked to approve funding or regulations flowing from the UNFCCC would do well to recall this quote. How many members of the Senate would vote for the treaty creating the UNFCCC, if they knew it would be led by such thinking. See links under Lowering Standards and Below the Bottom Line.


Undue Influence: Last week’s TWTW discussed an editorial in the Wall Street Journal which brought up the once secret emails that are showing a close working relationship between senior members of the EPA and members of Big Green, such as Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club. These emails were revealed through the determined work of Chris Horner of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. Thus far, none of the politicians who demanded investigation of undue influence on independent scientists by Big Oil have demanded investigation of undue influence on government employees, EPA regulators, by Big Green. Perhaps, it is because members of Congress are on holiday. Stay tuned.


Additions and Corrections: Many readers informed TWTW that a word was missing in a sentence discussing revelations by Anthony Watts that, after adjustments, official NOAA publications show a far greater warming rate than shown by 410 well-sited stations, requiring no adjustments. The missing word was ‘less’ and the correct sentence should have read: Well sited stations show significantly less warming. One must be careful with four letter words.

On several occasions TWTW has mentioned that no global climate model has been validated. Perhaps the assertion should be no global climate model used by the IPCC has been validated.

As always, TWTW greatly appreciates those readers who take the time to inform it of errors of omission or commission.


Number of the Week: 50%. Roy Spencer, who along with John Christy, pioneered satellite measurements of the earth’s temperatures, estimated that compared with the sites used by Anthony Watts, discussed in last week’s TWTW, NOAA has overestimated the warming of the U.S. by 50%. Spencer writes:

“I my opinion, most of the climate research that gets published has little impact on the global warming debate. The field has become so specialized that seldom is there a finding that changes our understanding.


“I think that the recent AGU poster by Anthony Watts et al. breaks this mold.


“Anthony has spent years shedding light on the very real problem the thermometer network has for monitoring of temperature for climate change…most notably, local changes around the thermometer site associated with economic growth lead to spurious warming.


“Watts et al. used only the best data….which I think is the best strategy. If one wants to use ALL of the thermometer data, then the bad data needs to be constrained so that it matches the good data.

“As far as I know, this is not done by NOAA. And it’s a travesty that it hasn’t.”


ARTICLES: The Articles section is now at the bottom of TWTW.



Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC

Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming

The NIPCC Report on the Scientific Consensus

By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, NIPCC, Nov 23, 2015


Download with no charge


Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science

Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2013


Summary: http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/ccr2a/pdf/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts

Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2014


Summary: https://www.heartland.org/media-library/pdfs/CCR-IIb/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf

Challenging the Orthodoxy

What’s Really Going On With the Earth’s Climate

By John Hinderaker, Power Line, Dec 20, 2015


UAH: UN climate change goal? New trend analysis shows we’re there now!

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 19, 2015


Watts et al.: U.S. Warming Overestimated by 50%

By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Dec 20, 2015


The Recent Senate Climate Hearing Failed Because It Continues To Miss The Point

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball, WUWT, Dec 19, 2015


“The failure was not the fault of the presenters rather it was the entire problem of arguing science in a political forum. It is similar to why courts won’t consider scientific disputes.

“You cannot imagine how nasty people get until you experience it by challenging their prevailing wisdom. Dr. Curry learned as I did that the surprising and most emotionally disturbing attacks came from colleagues.”

New Comprehensive Map By Scientists Confirms Medieval Warm Period Was Real And Global, Climate Models Faulty

By P. Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 23, 2015


Link to Map: Medieval Warm Period

By Vahrenholt and Lüning, Independent Scientists, Dec 2015


Three Global Warming Stories The Media Don’t Want You To See

Editorial, IBD, Dec 24, 2015


Questioning the Orthodoxy

Volcanoes and Ozone: Their Interactive Effect on Climate Change

Guest essay by David Bennett Laing, WUWT, Dec 22, 2015


Analyzing Paris!

US dictates the limits of Paris climate change deal

Indian negotiating team was constrained by lack of political clarity

By Nitin Sethi, New Delhi, Business Standard, Dec 21, 2015 [H/t GWPF]


Mystery Over Last Minute Change To Paris Agreement

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 13, 2015


A Climate Agreement Conservatives Can Love

By Fred Krupp, Forbes, Dec 22, 2015


COP21 Emission Projections

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Dec 23, 2015


Link to: Synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions

By Staff Writers, COP-21, UNFCCC, Oct 30, 2015


McIntyre: “It seems really odd to me that the UNFCCC Synthesis Report did not contain supporting information showing emissions by country. UNEP has a spreadsheet purporting to do so, but unfortunately it contains large plugged values, country errors and does not reconcile immediately to published historical data.”

Obama The Unilateral Climate Warrior

The U.S. keeps soldiering on, but the toothless Paris deal will let EU nations end harmful carbon policies

By Benny Peiser, WSJ, Via GWPF, Dec 22, 2915


Questioning Paris!

China Says Paris Climate Deal `Imperfect’ in Funding, Technology

By Staff, Bloomberg, Dec 23, 2015 [H/t GWPF]


“China said the landmark climate-change agreement signed in Paris was “imperfect” in the areas of funding and technology transfer from developed countries to developing nations.” [Boldface Added]

Paris Climate Conference Agrees on Sustainable Fantasy

By Tom Harris, PJ Media, Dec 21, 2015


Where shall we eat dinner?

Why multilateral negotiation is so difficult

By Matt Ridley, His Blog, Dec 21, 2015


The great Paris climate treaty is a world away from what was promised just four years ago. In Durban in 2011, world leaders solemnly agreed — after 17 years of trying — that they would definitely commit to legally binding limits on emissions for all countries in the world no later than 2015. They reached an agreement at the weekend only by abandoning this goal altogether.

Climate Question of the Year

Why aren’t we celebrating last week’s Paris climate deal? Where’s the joy and the gratitude – the dancing in the streets and the fireworks?

By Donna Laframboise, NFC, Dec 20, 2015


Link to column: So why aren’t we celebrating saving the planet?

By Rex Murphy, National Post, Dec 19, 2015


“It may be, just may be, that the common folk of all our continents, were just not convinced (a) that we really were in peril, or (b) that despite the revelation from Paris that we have averted planetary collapse, have not received that revelation with the confidence and credulity that those who stitched together the accord plainly do exhibit for their mighty endeavours.”

The Paris ‘Agreement’ – chock full of noble intentions

Guest essay by Philip Lloyd, WUWT, Dec 21, 2015


US usurps EU’s role of climate fool

By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Dec 22, 2015


The Administration’s Plan – Independent Analysis

The Absurd Unconditional, Unilateral US Commitment to Reduce Human CO2 Emissions

By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Dec 26, 2015


The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back

Flurry of lawsuits for Obama climate rules

By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Dec 23 2015


Manufacturers, businesses sue over ozone rule

By Devin Henry, The Hill, Dec 23, 2015


Obama: Climate and ISIS Now Contained

By Larry Bell, Newsmax, Dec 23, 2015


Seeking a Common Ground

Yes Virginia…

By Thomas P. Sheahen, American Thinker, Dec 25, 2015


What is there a 97% consensus about?

By Frank Hobbs (franktoo), Climate Etc. Dec 20, 2015


“Unfortunately, the key issue is not whether anthropogenic GHGs have caused any increase in global temperature – the issue is how much global warming have they caused.”

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science

Coral Immune Response to Physical Damage in Warmed Seawater

van de Water, J.A.J.M., Leggat, W., Bourne, D.G., van Oppen, M.J.H., Willis, B.L. and Ainsworth, T.D. 2015. Elevated seawater temperatures have a limited impact on the coral immune response following physical damage. Hydrobiologia 759: 201-214., Dec 24, 2015


The MWP in a Multi Proxy Record of Argentinas Laguna Nassau

Vilanova, I., Schittek, K., Geilenkirchen, M., Schabitz, F. and Schulz, W. 2015. Last millennial environmental reconstruction based on a multi-proxy record from Laguna Nassau, Western Pampas, Argentina. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Palãontologie 277: 209-224. Dec 23, 2015


An Evaluation of CMIP5 Simulations of Dryland Climate Change

Ji, M., Huang, J., Xie, Y. and Liu, J. 2015. Comparison of dryland climate change in observations and CMIP5 simulations. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 32: 1565-1574., Dec 22, 2015


Serious Climate Model Biases in Earth’s Eastern Tropical Oceans

Richter, I. 2015. Climate model biases in the eastern tropical oceans: causes, impacts and ways forward. WIREs Climate Change 6: 345-358., Dec 21, 2015


Measurement Issues

Busting (or not) the mid-20th century global-warming hiatus

By Bob Tisdale, Climate Etc. Dec 21,2 015


Climate change shock: Burning fossil fuels ‘COOLS planet’, says NASA

Burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees causes global cooling, a shock new NASA study has found.

By Jon Austin, Express, UK, Dec 21, 2015 [h/t Timothy Wise]


Climate change warming world’s lakes, says study

By Staff Writers, Reuters, Dec 21, 2015 [H/t Clyde Spencer]


According to Hook, lakes are warming at an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit (0.34 degrees Celsius) each decade. The temperature changes are caused by different factors, including less cloud covers.

[SEPP Comment: Yet a different NASA study states that aerosols are causing a cooling, see link immediately above.]

Gavin Schmidt’s Magic Climate Balance

Guest Essay by Eric Worrall, Dec 21, 2015


[SEPP Comment: See two links immediately above.]

Wet Drought

By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, Dec 19, 2015


“The [US] Drought Monitor exaggerates drought and does not pull areas from drought status fast enough. And it is subjective and includes impacts.”

Changing Weather

The Super-Collapsing El Niño! …NCEP CFSv2 N. Hemisphere Surface Temps Plummet 1°C In A Single Week!

Global temperatures plummet in just a single week – NH one degree colder

By Schneefan, Trans by P Gosellin, Dec 21, 2015


Record Warm December then here comes winter

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, WeatherBell Analytics, ICECAP, Dec 22, 2015


Chennai floods not linked to global warming: Prakash Javadekar

By Staff Writers, Times of India, Dec 22, 2015


Salty sea spray affects the lifetimes of clouds, researchers find

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 22, 2015


Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice

East Antarctic Ice Sheet has stayed frozen for 14 million years

By Staff Writers, Philadelphia PA (SPX), Dec 17, 2015


[SEPP Comment: Statements such as the following are not illuminating: “Current climate change projections indicate that the marine portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is ‘a goner.’” The melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be primarily due to geothermal activity under the ice sheet.]

Survey Results: Svalbard polar bear numbers increased 42% over last 11 years

By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Dec 23, 2015


“Results of this fall’s Barents Sea population survey have been released by the Norwegian Polar Institute and they are phenomenal: despite several years with poor ice conditions, there are more bears now (~975) than there were in 2004 (~685) around Svalbard (a 42% increase) and the bears were in good condition. [Boldface in the original.]

Melting snowpacks reveal ancient artifacts

By Penny Preston, Wyoming, Dec 18, 2015 [H/t Clyde Spencer]


[SEPP Comment: How did they get into the melting ice?]

Changing Earth

Missing heat found in the deep ocean

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 23, 2015


[SEPP Comment: A different “missing heat.”]

Acidic Waters

Massive Natural pH Fluctuations Do Not Inhibit Marine Life in a Coastal Environment

By Craig Idso, Cato, Dec 16, 2015


Lowering Standards

365 days: Nature’s 10

Ten people who mattered this year.

Editorial, Nature, Dec 17, 2015


German Scientists Suggest NOAA, NASA And Met Office Are Doping The Global Temperature Data

Temperature Data Doping?

By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, Translated/edited by P Gosselin, Dec 20, 2015


[SEPP Comment: In sports, doping can be the use of banned drugs to enhance performance.]

NOAA fails walrus science

By Jim Steele, Climate Etc. Dec 25, 2015


“NOAA’s Arctic report card made claims that hinge on the unproven hypothesis that a reduction in sea ice is detrimental by denying walruses access to foraging habitat.

“That belief is advocated in the opening paragraphs of nearly every publication. Wedded to that belief their interpretations ignore robust evidence suggesting less has been beneficial.”

Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.

Mr. President, Here’s Why That Claim of a 97% Climate Change Consensus Is Bunk

By Jeff Dunetz, MRC TV, Dec 20, 2015 [H/t ICECAP]


“Popular Technology looked into precisely which papers were classified within Cook’s asserted 97 percent. The investigative journalists found Cook and his colleagues strikingly classified papers by such prominent, aggressive climate change skeptics as Willie Soon, Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir Shaviv, Nils-Axel Morner and Alan Carlin as supporting the 97 percent consensus.”

[SEPP Comment: Willie Soon is one of those attacked by members of Congress as unduly influenced by “Big Oil.”]

Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.

Civil War on the (Climate) Left, Part 2

By Steven Hayward, Power Line, Dec 21, 2105


“The ruckus we reported here the other day about Naomi Oreskes applying the label climate denier to James Hansen and other board-certified climatistas has caught the arched eyebrow of The New Yorker, whose fealty to climate orthodoxy is hard to top.”

Leading German Weather Site ‘Donnerwetter’ Warns Of “Fascist Thinking In Climate Protection And Ecology”

By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 19, 2015


Questioning Green Elsewhere

“Green” Energy: The Color of Money

By Belinda Silva, NCPA, Dec 14, 2015


Non-Green Jobs

Green war on jobs: Britain’s last deep coal-mine closes

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, WUWT, Dec 21, 2015


Litigation Issues

Lawsuit Pries Loose A ‘New Climate Data Scandal’

By Ethan Barton, Daily Caller, Dec 22, 2015


Judicial Watch files suit over NOAA climate docs

By Rick Moran, American Thinker, Dec 23, 2015 [H/t Timothy Wise]


Subsidies and Mandates Forever

The subsidy cuts and the pea under the thimble

By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Dec 19, 2015


Answers to Questions for the Record Following a Hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard Conducted by the Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,

By Staff Writers, CBO, Dec 17, 2015


[SEPP Comment: About 40% of the US corn crop is used for ethanol (fuel). Thus, the renewable fuel standard (RFS) affects the cost of corn. “However, because corn and food made with corn account for only a small fraction of total U.S. spending on food (roughly 1.5 percent in

2015), the effects of the RFS on overall food prices are small.”

This estimate on food prices does not account for the effect on corn prices world-wide, and the budgets of those countries subsidizing corn as food. Discussion of benefits for reducing petroleum consumption in the US is no longer material, except for those who fear global warming from CO2 emissions.]

Thank you Congress, U.S. wind sector says

By Daniel J. Graeber, Washington (UPI), Dec 21, 2015


Energy Issues – Non-US

UK pushes on with shale gas development as North Sea takes a battering

By Angela Jameson, The National, Dubai, Dec 21, 2015


Energy Issues — US

‘We Need an Energy Miracle’

Bill Gates has committed his fortune to moving the world beyond fossil fuels and mitigating climate change.

By James Bennet, The Atlantic, November 2015 [H/t Clyde Spencer]


Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?

North Dakota rig counts steady despite steep drop in oil prices

By Daniel J. Graeber, Bismarck, N.D. (UPI), Dec 21, 2015


What Past Oil Crashes Say About Today’s Slump

By George Perry, Fortune, Dec 19, 2015


Return of King Coal?

Coal Ash Used Beneficially

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Dec 22, 2015


Nuclear Energy and Fears

Laser-derived X-ray method finds hidden nuclear materials

By Staff Writers, Lincoln NE (SPX), Dec 22, 2015


“In proof-of-principle experiments, the UNL scientists used the laser-driven X-ray source to produce an image of a uranium disk no bigger than a stack of three nickels and hidden between 3-inch steel panels.”

California Dreaming

California Government Intensifies Attack on Renewables

Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 19, 2015


Four ways to gear up on climate change

Editorial, Sacramento Bee, Dec 19, 2015 [H/t Timothy Wise]


Other Issues That May Be of Interest

Obama officials add African lion to endangered list

By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Dec 21,2 015


[SEPP Comment: Washington symbolism, not substance. In Zimbabwe, some children have to run to school in groups of 20 or more to reduce the threat of being attacked by lions.]

Scientists peg Anthropocene to first farmers

Study shows 300-million-year natural pattern ended 6,000 years ago because of human activity


Link to paper: Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts

By Lyons, et al, Nature, Dec 16, 2015


“A new analysis of the fossil record shows that a deep pattern in the structure of plant and animal communities remained the same for 300 million years. Then, 6,000 years ago, the pattern was disrupted–at about the same time that people started farming in North America and populations rose. The research suggests that humans were the cause of this profound change in nature.”

[SEPP Comment: How wide-spread was the farming in North America?]



Claim: Climate Change is Endangering Crocodiles

Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 18, 2015


Didn’t quite get there…

By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions.org, Dec 23, 2015


The United Nation’s climate chief says that reordering the global economy to fight climate change is the ‘most difficult’ task the international body has ever undertaken.

Christiana Figueres, who heads up the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters, ‘This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.’

Figueres continued, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years–since the industrial revolution.’”

Europa.eu, 11 Feb 2015



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. Brushing Back a Lawless EPA

Congress crimps its budget and forces two Obama vetoes.

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 22, 2015


SUMMARY: Following up on its editorial on EPA’s Secret Staff of members in senior EPA management who work closely with Big Green, this editorial discusses the Administration’s use of expanded, and questionable, executive powers. Two bills passed by Congress may reduce these expanded powers. The first would nullify EPA’s powers under Administration’s power plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power-plants; the second applied to new power plants. “Mr. Obama rejected both measures with rare pocket vetoes that let a President refuse to sign a bill when Congress is out of session, as it has been since Friday.”

“The bills were still useful in showing Mr. Obama’s hand to voters in energy states and showing the courts that the legislative branch rejects Mr. Obama’s regulatory interpretation of Congressional statutes. This could help in particular the 27-state legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan.


“The EPA received $8.1 billion or $451 million less than Mr. Obama had demanded, and no increase from the year before. Congress has cut the EPA’s allowance by $2.1 billion, or 21%, since fiscal 2010. This has forced the EPA to cut more than 2,000 full-time employees over the same period, and its manpower is now at the lowest level since 1989.

“It also denied the nearly $30 million extra that Mr. Obama wanted for the legal department that defends the agency in court. The President’s budget request complained that “over the last five years, the number of lawsuits EPA counseling attorneys have handled during a year has more than doubled, increasing from approximately 240 in 2009 to well over 500 in 2013.” Well, yes, that happens when you keep breaking the law. The GOP budget doesn’t provide EPA the funds to hire additional attorneys.


“The budget also zeroed out the nearly $44 million increase Mr. Obama sought for his “water quality protection” initiatives. At least some of that money would have gone to ramping up the EPA’s new Waters of the United States Rule that empowers the feds to regulate just about every creek and pond in the country.


“Republicans were able to insert a few modest policy riders in the budget. Congress barred the EPA from attempting to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and it added a requirement that the Administration inform Congress how much it is spending on climate initiatives across the federal bureaucracy.


“More might have been possible if Democrats hadn’t blocked individual spending bills in the Senate to force a giant omnibus that gave Mr. Obama more leverage by threatening to shut down the government. But the budget pressure on the EPA and the use of the Congressional Review Act show that GOP control of Congress has made a difference.”


2. The Top Five Energy Posts from The Wall Street Journal’s Experts Blog in 2015

WSJ, Dec 23, 2015


SUMMARY: The article discusses energy issues, with major focus on oil prices. The five previous posts are:

· Why $30 a Barrel Oil Is Unlikely. Even though inventories are high, global consumption will continue to grow. Most of the new production is in shale, at an estimated breakeven of $50 per barrel. If prices fall too much, shale production will drop significantly. If consumption increases, pushing up price, shale production will respond.

· Four Reasons Low Oil Prices Actually Help U.S. Shale Producers: a) only high yield acreage will be used and low prices place a premium on efficiency of operation; b) the decline in drilling rig activity reduces costs; c) available, low costs debt is declining, forcing better decisions in production expansion; d) these combine to force producers to emphasize efficiency and lower costs.

· The Reactors That Will Revolutionize Nuclear Energy: Now in the testing phase, Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) will change the nuclear industry. SMRs produce up to 300 megawatts of electricity–enough to power 238,000 homes. “One of the biggest advantages of SMRs is the safety benefits. Because their energy production results from natural forces such as gravity, convection and conduction, human error is removed from the equation. Moreover, if natural disasters were to strike an SMR site, no operator action will be needed to shut down the reactor because neither outside electric nor external water supplies is needed for cooling. Even more importantly, SMRs remove all possibility of heat building up in the reactor, which can cause fuel damage, and ultimately, a meltdown.”

· How OPEC’s Strategy Is Backfiring: “Despite a 63% drop in rigs drilling for oil in the three key shale regions since last November, oil production in those regions has barely budged from peak levels in 2015.” There is enormous room for improvement in shale oil production. “So here is a prediction: the current price environment will force the U.S. shale oil industry to get its act together to focus on more purposeful—and longer lasting—innovation. As a result, U.S. oil production will be stronger for longer than most people expect, pushing the oil price recovery back by several years.”

· Don’t Get Used to Cheap Gas: The mid-east, particularly Saudi Arabia will no longer act as the swing producer with market disruptions and shale producers cannot act as quickly.


3. Obama Has Been More Friend Than Foe to Oil Industry

By Amy Harder, WSJ, Dec 23, 2015


SUMMARY: The author argues that President Obama is being criticized by Big Green because he signed the massive budget bill which allows US exports of oil for the first time in 40 years. Also, “Mr. Obama can’t take credit for the oil and natural-gas boom, but it has taken place on his watch. Since January 2009, when he took office, oil output in the U.S. has shot up more than 80% thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other drilling technologies. Natural-gas production has risen nearly 30%.”

[SEPP’s Posted Comment: How many wells using hydraulic fracturing are being drilled on lands and waters controlled by the federal government? Zero? A miniscule number? The Administration has actively tried to suppress the greatest breakthrough in the production of oil and natural gas in recent years. A breakthrough which resulted in the recent drop in prices for the benefit of consumers. Kenneth Haapala, President, SEPP]


37 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #211

  1. Actually the uncertainty principle does not place a limit on how accurately you can measure any one observable. It’s a limit to how accurately you can measure two complementary observables. For example, the more accurately you measure the position in the x direction, the less accurately you can know the momentum in the x direction. But you can measure position in the x direction as accurately as you want while simultaneously measuring position in the y direction. The limitation is on pairs of observables such as (x position, x momentum).

  2. “For example, the more accurately you measure the position in the x direction, the less accurately you can know the momentum in the x direction.”

    Hmmm. Please describe the mechanism for such a claim. And don’t go Schrodinger’s cat on me. I got that closing my eyelids did not effect the rest of the world quite early on in life.

    Cat – Box – Observer
    Object – Barrier – Observer
    World – Eyelid – Me

  3. @ RichardLH

    Are you actually questioning the Heisenberg uncertainty principle?

    If you want the mechanism let’s say that to measure where an electron is, you have to put something there to detect it, and the process of detecting it changes its momentum. If you want to detect its momentum, you have to put a different sort of detector there which means you cant tell exactly where it is.

    I got that closing my eyelids did not effect the rest of the world quite early on in life.

    And yet it does, because everything is interconnected.

    What Quantum physics tells us, is what Philosophers and mystics have told us for centuries. The way the world is, is not the same as how it appears to us in ‘ordinary life’, and there is a good case for arguing that ‘ordinary life’ is a useful construction made by humans that we place upon ‘what’s really there’.

    Schrödinger’s cat, the box, and you yourself, as well the cat’s state of health of are approximations to reality, not reality itself.

    You may think it all ‘stands to reason’ but the whole point of Kant, and Later Schopenhauer, was to demonstrate that reason alone butters no parsnips.

    • “If you want the mechanism let’s say that to measure where an electron is, you have to put something there to detect it, and the process of detecting it changes its momentum. If you want to detect its momentum, you have to put a different sort of detector there which means you cant tell exactly where it is.”

      So you set the solution so as to answer the question in a way that guarantees the answer you seek.

    • How about another simpler answer? Think of a bunch of variables that together total 100%. If variable X is measured to 70% that only leaves 30% for all the rest of the variables. Micro, Macro it makes no difference, uncertainty can never be eliminated.

    • RichardLH,

      Maybe another example might help:

      Suppose you want to read the pressure in an automobile tire. You put a small pressure gauge on it and it reads 36 psi.

      But by doing that you lose a little of the air pressure to operate the gauge, and thus you’re not reading the true pressure. The act of measuring changes things.

      • “But if the gauge was already attached, no change.”

        There is complete certainty only when the “no change” is absolute, which doesn’t happen in real life.

        Air temp could change, gauge could begin having calibration issues, the person taking measurements could be distracted or decide to smoke a joint between measurements, the gauge itself uses air to take a reading so the first reading is wrong, someone takes something out of the autos trunk changing tire pressure, someone could get into the car between measurements, barometric pressure changes, etc. Fortunately these uncertainties usually produce results within acceptable ranges so we can take tire pressure with confidence.

      • Most new cars and trucks, busses, etc. have pressure gauges attached already. With some calibration issues as usual. Nothing other than measurement and calibration errors needs to be any part of this.

      • RichardLH says:

        But if the gauge was already attached, no change.

        True; it was an analogy and no analogy is perfect.

        If the tire lost some pressure it would be reflected in the tire gauge, which uses some of the air to produce the measurement.

        Quantum mechanics has some of the most accurate measurements in science, in some cases going out a dozen or more decimal places. Physicists are always looking to falsify Einstein’s theories because fame and fortune would result. They haven’t been very successful at all.

        Quantum theory states that a particle’s momentum and position cannot both be determined at the same time. It’s not necessary to understand everything about the theory; it’s enough to accept that literally millions of physicists agree on that point. If one of them didn’t, he would look as ridiculous as someone insisting that the atmosphere contains no water molecules <–[an 'inside baseball' comment from another thread].

        Anyway, as usual the conversation has drifted to tire gauges. My fault, I guess.

        Re: 'metrology' vs 'meteorology', I worked in a calibration lab for 30 years. At one time they changed the name from 'Calibration' to 'Metrology'. It probably sounded classier to upper management, but people who heard about it often asked about the weather…

  4. Why cast pearls (like quantum mechanics) before the Parallax morphing Green Lanterns?

    There is a much simpler way, measurement science a.k.a. metrology. Give it the merit it deserves. The first step is to stop treating it as a spelling mistake. Moderators, little help here please?

    [??? .mod]

  5. ‘“Watts et al. used only the best data….which I think is the best strategy. If one wants to use ALL of the thermometer data, then the bad data needs to be constrained so that it matches the good data.’

    “Constrained so that it matches?” What does that mean?

    • Good documentary, but not surprising. The one Ontario lady says “Seems we’re living in a communist country”.

      Well, duh.

    • As of right now, all of Ontario is about to get the storm that hit Texas, but with freezing rain !….I hope and pray that these Eco-Terrorist machines are destroyed !!

    • I’m surprised there is no mention of the dead birds. Don’t they know that the urban libs only respond to animals under pressure, not human populations. Also the elected officials claim of green jobs, clean, and cost reduction are not economically compatible. This is evident in the local content rules on Ontario that deflects low cost providers in solar etc. So they are selling a story that will not pan out and will not be checked until later. The net result is longer working hours, lower standard of living, and a subsidy based economy. So show us the dead birds and the people disposing of the dead bird evidence. And send some carcasses to media outlets.

    • They should be so lucky. In California they use Federal subsidies at the Ivanpah solar thermal project to fry the birds in mid air. They hit the ground in a smoldering thud. And they actually use Federal grants to help the investors make the Federal loan payments!

  6. https://emsnews.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/nyt-and-wp-both-totally-ignore-major-killer-blizzard-hammering-us-right-now/ NYT and WP both totally ignore major blizzard.

    Yes, that is right! Nearly 50 killed so far and zero mention on both media giants and this storm is heading straight towards DC and NYC! It just doesn’t rate so much as a peep. This is the disgusting side of the global warming propaganda regime. They cannot report simple news stories about the weather.

    • On the front pages!!! As I point out in my own article, they did mention this mass killer storm on the back pages.

    • Indeed, on the front pages online, they didn’t even include this as a ‘top story elsewhere’ on the side bar, either! This just amazes me. The real problem is, so many people died or lost their homes and it wasn’t viewed as major news, just a distant aside story. This should scare everyone because this means, as the climate cools, they will hide this for as long as possible no matter how many people die.

    • Now there is! :)

      Actually, they will get around to talking about the cold that is sweeping the nation probably later today. I did mention it as a main story on my own news service early this morning. But then, I don’t own huge news media outfits.

    • Want to know what is even more amazing? On a site dedicated to the science of weather and climate(this one) , there was also no mention.

      Why? Is there any indication the past week’s weather is anything particularly odd or out of the ordinary?

  7. “Making emissions reductions legally binding on the US would require Senate approval while the term “should” is not legally binding. President Obama has not consulted with Congress on the “Nationally Determined Contributions.” Contrary to the name, these contributions were decided by the administration, not nationally, and making them legally binding would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. The Administration’s game-playing faced harsh reality.”
    I’m not so sure about that, having come to distrust this administration so deeply. It is not likely that the legal beagles within the Executive branch have abandoned a course of action which they believe will enable an end run around Congress and the Constitutional limits on Executive powers. This change in verbiage may only serve as camouflage.

  8. And that is what they don;t say in tax laws. You “should” pay taxes and use “shall” instead.

    Of course this will go right over the heads of of zeolots who see COP21 as a break-thru, the first time ever nations have united to save the world. I guess avoiding WWIII and Mutually Assured Destruction back in the sixties does not count as saving the world for some reason.

  9. In ‘additions and corrections’, the supposedly corrected part is still confusing and not at all clear as to what it is correcting or how. Just read it.

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