The Week That Was: 2016-02-13 (Feb 13, 2016) Brought to You by SEPP http://www.sepp.org The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Quote of the Week:
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Aldous Huxley [H/t Timothy Ball]
Number of the Week: 15%
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Surprise? Background: President Obama’s power plan, and similar environmental regulations, are based on executive orders. Since the defeat of cap-and-trade during a Congress dominated by his own party, he has not reached out to Congress for the legislative authority to restrict carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. When cap-and-trade failed, Mr Obama famously stated there are other ways to skin the cat (accomplish what he seeks). Using a very broad concept of executive powers, he and selected agencies, namely the EPA, issued orders to various states and companies to take steps to reduce CO2 emissions. Many industries are affected by these orders, including appliance manufacturers who must redesign products to conserve electricity, often with little government regard of costs to the consumers.
Other industries, namely coal-fired power plants are being forced to cut-back on emissions in order to “protect health and welfare.” The EPA has been extremely imaginative in its statistical techniques to claim that emissions of mercury from coal-fired plants are a threat to human health. The studies supporting these claims are vague or speculative, at best. On December 21, 2011, the EPA issued a rule called Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants. The rule sets maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards for coal and oil generating stations for removing mercury, acid gasses, and a variety of toxic metals from the flue gas for coal and oil-fired utility boilers. On December 21, 2012, the EPA issued the final standards, even though a significant portion was vague and there was no demonstrated commercially available technology by which coal-fired plants could achieve the standards.
The regulations led to litigation that eventually went to the Supreme Court. “Michigan led a coalition of states and industry groups in arguing that the EPA did not properly consider the costs of compliance for the MATS regulations when crafting the rules. The Clean Air Act, a 1970 law on which MATS is based, requires the agency to issue regulations that it deems ‘appropriate and necessary,’ but offers little guidance as to what that means. Industry groups have argued since the rule was proposed that it would be the costliest regulatory package ever, and could even result in rolling blackouts.”
On, June 29, 2015, a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned the MATS regulations. Justice Scalia wrote for the majority: “EPA must consider cost – including cost of compliance – before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. It will be up to the Agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost.”
However, the MATS regulation had a compliance deadline of April 16, 2015, and power companies had already largely chosen to retire or retrofit coal plants at considerable costs coal plants that would be impacted by the rule, despite the uncertainty of its legality. The EPA bragged about its effective success, in spite of being overturned, on its web site.
This background sets the stage for what may have been a shocking opinion to the Administration for the Supreme Court to “stay” the executive orders, mainly from the EPA, to limit CO2 emissions through what the Administration calls its Clean Power Plan, pending judicial review. Issued on February 9, the “stay” order is less than one page, but loaded with legal meaning. See links under The Administration’s Plan and
The Impact of the Stay: Based on his actions, Mr. Obama considers his climate program, including his power plan and the Paris accord, his legacy. Litigating through the stay will take 2 to 5 years, at least. The outcome is very uncertain. It is doubtful that Mr. Obama can sidestep this prolonged litigation. His efforts to avoid litigation, and to present an accomplished fact by regulation through executive orders, have met a limit, no matter what brave front he may present.
According to reports, in February 11 hearing before a House sub-committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who played a major role in the CO2 regulations, said the stay was “a pause in terms of the implementation and enforcement of the Clean Power Plan.” This is ironic because the advocates of such regulations have dismissed the pause in rising temperatures that has occurred in the early 21st century. The impact of the stay on the Administration’s power plan is discussed at length in Articles # 2 and #3, and in the links under The Administration’s Plan. Article # 3 has the views of two of the attorneys representing the successful states.
On-to-Paris? Thus far, there has been little written on how the stay on Mr. Obama’s power plan might affect the agreement reached by the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 11. As stated in the Dec 19 TWTW, there were last minute changes insisted on by the US Administration that raise questions whether the agreement is a treaty or part of a treaty process, or what?
“Among the key provisions in the final agreement are: there are no binding monetary commitments, there are no binding commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and the next big accounting of progress will be in 2023, with ongoing meetings in between. In short, it is an agreement to perpetuate the appearance of doing something, while spending public funds. The big surprise is that any Party [to the agreement] can withdraw after three years, effective 1 year later.” (TWTW 12-19-15)
As of now, the agreement is to be formally opened for signature on the UN named “Mother Earth Day”, April 22, 2016. Already, there are suggestions that some nations will not be fooled into signing an agreement which does not include the United States, as they did in the Kyoto Protocol (1997). Given the Supreme Court’s stay, delegates from other countries may consider commitments by the Obama Administration, or its delegates, without Congressional approval, to be pure bluster with no substance. No doubt, the Administration will blame Congress if the Paris agreement fails. However, the Administration chose not to seek Congressional consent for any of its commitments in Paris, and made last minute changes to the agreement to avoid Congressional consent. The blame is on its unilateral actions, believing it needed no consent.
Perhaps a future administration may learn from this one. It takes more than authoritarian executive orders to build a lasting, positive legacy in the United States. See links under After Paris.
Impact on Science: The stay may be beneficial for American science in general, and for science societies that have been led by the ideologically inclined. US government funding has focused on the impacts of carbon dioxide on climate and not understanding all the causes of climate change, particularly natural variation. Without pressure to conform exerted by a politically motivated administration, there may be a greater recognition that natural variation in climate is poorly understood and may be far more dominant than the influence of carbon dioxide.
For example, John Christy’s written testimony discussed in last week’s TWTW should be an eye-opener for all but the most ideologically blinded. The greenhouse effect takes place in the atmosphere. That is the first place to understand the impact of greenhouse gases, not the surface or the deep oceans. Any warming of the atmosphere may be from increases in greenhouse gases, or from natural variation such as the warming of sea surface temperatures from an El Niño, which is occurring now. This may result in an atmospheric warming with some lag time of about three-to-six months.
However, Christy’s findings that global climate models overestimate atmospheric warming by 2.5 times over the globe and by 3 times over the tropics clearly demonstrate that the models cannot make accurate predictions over the past 37 years. If they cannot explain temperatures over this term, there is no logical reason to assume they can make predictions for the next 100 or 200 years. Funding of science should be focused on understanding all the causes of climate change, including natural variation, human local and regional influence, and human global influence.
Craig Idso discusses a new study from China that attempts to tries a 2,130-year record of the economy in China and compare it with climate variation. In general, times that were warm and wet were prosperous, times that were cool and dry were not. The warming and prosperity are consistent with the findings of H.H. Lamb for Europe.
In addition, the leadership of some of the science societies appear to be taken in by some published surveys which claim dire human-caused global warming is supported by 97% of scientists, including the recent survey by Cook, et al. An objective survey, poll, requires that those responding are not influenced by those conducting the poll. Yet in Cook, et al. those conducting the survey classified papers after the survey, according to their own opinions. George Gallop would be appalled. See links under Changing Climate and Communicating Better to the Public – Do a Poll?
Funding Issues: The chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Larry Marshall, has proposed a restructuring of jobs at CSIRO, effectively wiping out its climate modeling division. This is causing quite a back-lash among the climate scientists, who are considered by some as among the best climate modelers in the world. Of course, their emphasis minimizes natural variation. When one claims the science is settled, there are consequences. In general, CSIRO has a distinguished 85-year history, but has been tarnished by its embrace of human-caused global warming to dominate climate variation.
Writing in Quadrant about the controversy, Michael Kile, brought up a January 29, 2009, conference hosted by the US University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The sponsors include U.K. Science and Innovation Network of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and was organized in collaboration with NOAA and the Hadley Center. The objectives included attributing climate change and extreme weather events to human activities (emissions of carbon dioxide) and providing authoritative (single-minded) assessments of extreme weather events.
The draft brochure, “Reanalysis and Attribution: Understanding How and Why Recent Climate Has Varied and Changed” by the US Climate Change Science Program [now, USGCRP] sounds fine, until it gets to Attribution – determining the most likely cause of observed variation in climate. Here the brochure asserts that “more than half of the warming averaged over North America is likely (more than 66 percent likelihood) the result of human activity.” This assertion is without evidence.
The brochure displays the symbols of 15 government agencies, including the EPA, NASA, NOAA, State Department, etc. Early in the current Administration there is an effort to blame human activity for global climate change and extreme weather events. See links under Questioning the Orthodoxy, Expanding the Orthodoxy, and Funding Issues.
Corrections and Additions: Professor of Applied Mathematics Christopher Essex correctly writes that modeling is not theory, and observations are not experiment. TWTW certainly agrees. But, one can only test the global climate models by their predictive capabilities, which John Christy shows are poor. Further, even if the models should show highly accurate skill, that does not mean the underlying theory is correct.
Number of the Week: 15% The peak oil hypotheses and the fear of running out of oil seemed to hit Congress, again, in full force around 2005 to recently. The staff of the Fabius Maximus web site report that total world liquid fuel production increased by 15% during the decade after 2005. Yet, in his budget, Mr. Obama is calling for a 21% increase in funding for renewable energy. See links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past? and Funding Issues.
ARTICLES: The Articles section is now at the bottom of TWTW.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Science: Is the Sun Rising?
New Science 22: Solar TSI leads Earth’s temperature with an 11-year delay
We’re launching headlong back into the New Science series with a major post
By David Evans and Jo Nova Her Blog, Feb 13, 2016
A TSI-Driven (solar) Climate Model
Guest essay by Jeff Patterson, WUWT, Feb 8, 2016
Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?
Solar Report January 2016 …Current Solar Cycle Quietest In Almost 200 Years As “Triple Whammy” Approaches!
The Sun in January 2016!
By Frank Bosse and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt (Translated/edited by P Gosselin), No Tricks Zone, Feb 10, 2016
A Return to Polar Urals: Wilson et al 2016
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Feb 8, 2016
“The Briffa 2013 MXD chronology, though lacking a distinctive HS [Hockey-Stick] shape, is nonetheless the produce [product] of an unintelligible and bizarrely complicated series of adjustments. Ironically, these adjustments produce a chronology that is functionally indistinguishable from a chronology of annual effects produced from a random effects model – further supporting the longstanding Climate Audit thesis that analysis of tree ring data ought to be done within the framework of random effects statistics.”
Marvel et al. – Gavin Schmidt admits key error but disputes everything else
A guest article by Nicholas Lewis, Climate Audit, Feb 11, 2016
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry
Is New York’s Climate-Speech Probe Constitutional?
By Walter Olson, Cato, Feb 9, 2016
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
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts
Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2014
Governments should address Climate Hazards instead of futilely trying to stop Climate Change
By Bob Carter, Posted by Geoff Brown, Australian Climate Skeptics, Feb 8, 2016
Flipping two coins “That is as statistically accurate as CSIRO’s computer models. That is a result of chance and that is what the computer models also produce. No proven skill.”
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Long -Term Climate Change: What Is A Reasonable Sample Size?
Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball, WUWT, Feb 7, 2016
The Profiteers of Doom Were Wrong About Climate
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, Willie Soon and David R. Legates, Breitbart, Feb 9, 2016
Defending the Orthodoxy
Here’s what climate scientists and activists would ask at the next presidential debate
By Tim McDonnell, Grist, Feb 11, 2016
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Marcott discovers that “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” while saying “it’s worse than we thought”
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 8, 2016
Phytoplankton suck CO2 out of sky, dump to ocean floor
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Feb 11, 2016
Link to paper: Plankton networks driving carbon export in the oligotrophic ocean
By Guidi, et al. Nature, Feb 12, 2016
The Climate Monkeys Howl
By Michael Kile, Quadrant, Feb 10, 2016
John Christy – Feb 2
“We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do. As a result what passes for science includes, opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by pre-selected groups. This is not science.”
The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2014
Guest post by Ed Hoskins, Energy Matters, Feb 8, 2016 [H/t Anne Debeil]
Obama’s FY2017 Budget Includes $750 Million for ‘Green Climate Fund’
By Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
The Supreme Court May Have Nuked the Paris Climate Deal
By Nick Stockton, Wired.com, Feb 9, 2016
The Administration’s Plan
Supreme Court Stays Implementation of Clean Power Plan
By Thomas Overton, Power Mag, Feb 9, 2016
Link to order: North Dakota v. EPA et al. Supreme Court, Feb 9, 2016
The Motion that Won the Stay
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, Feb 11, 2016
Link to motion: State of West Virginia, State of Texas, et al., United States Environmental Protection Agency,
SCOTUS Stays EPA Clean Power Plan: The Good News And The Bad
By JV DeLong, Forbes, Feb 10, 2016
Spin Cycle: White House Spins SCOTUS Stay on Climate Plan
By Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, and Ilya Shapiro, Cato, Feb 12, 2016
Supreme Court’s Blow to Emissions Efforts May Imperial Paris Climate Accord
By Coral Davenport, NYT Feb 10, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Does not discuss the administration’s failure to seek Congressional approval of its UN commitments. A new propaganda photo of cooling towers from a coal-fired power plant looming over private homes – probably taken with a telephoto lens giving a misleading perspective.]
You Ought to Have a Look: SCOTUS Stays Clean Power Plan, Paris Accord Imperiled, UN 1.5°C Nonsense.
By Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Cato, Feb 12, 2016
More on the Supreme Court vs the EPA
By Steven Hayward, Power Line, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Obama: ‘Don’t despair’ over Supreme Court halting climate rule
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Feb 11, 2016
How Obama picked up the pieces on climate change
By Devin Henry, Timothy Cama and Jordan Fabian , The Hill, Feb 10, 2016
Obama to set first-ever climate rules for airlines
By John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, Feb 8, 2016
EPA is expected to finalize its endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions from commercial airliners this summer, the White House says. The finding represents the final step EPA must take before regulating aircraft emissions.
The Administration’s Plan – Independent Analysis
How Much Will Climate Change Rules Benefit Americans?
By Susan E. Dudley, Art Fraas, Ted Gayer, John Graham, Randall Lutter, Jason F. Shogren, & W. Kip Viscusi, Forbes Opinion, Feb 9, 2016
“A better approach would be to estimate and report the expected foreign benefits separately and transparently. The federal government has a duty to provide information about the reductions in domestic climate damages that may result from federal regulation. The current approach of reporting only the global benefits without providing estimates of the domestic benefits neglects that duty.”
The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back
Attorneys general say states should ignore Obama’s climate plan
By John Sciliano, Washington Examiner, Feb 10, 2016
Domenech: The EPA’s carbon rule will hurt Virginia
By Doug Domenech, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb 6, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Seeking a Common Ground
Debunking some myths about private sector scientists
By A Chemist in Langley, His blog, Feb 6, 2016 [H/t Climate Etc.]
(Mis) communicating science in public controversies
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Feb 7, 2016
The politics behind the anti-fossil fuels campaign
Elites seek to transform the global economy
By Donn Dears and H. Sterling Burnett, Washington Times, Feb 10, 2016
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
Combined Ocean Acidification and Warming Effects on Sea Urchins
Garcia, E., Clemente, S. and Hernandez, J.C. 2015. Ocean warming ameliorates the negative effects of ocean acidification on Paracentrotus lividus larval development and settlement. Marine Environmental Research 110: 61-68., Feb 12, 2016
P. lividus was (1) “widely tolerant to a range of temperature and pH scenarios, representative of current and future predicted conditions,” that (2) “the species’ performance, in terms of larval growth and development, was enhanced by a slight increase in temperature, up from the control temperature of 19°C,” and that (3) “a slight increase in temperature even mitigated the negative effects of low pH (7.4),” which further suggests, as they write, that (4) “rising sea surface temperature may counteract some of the negative effects of ocean acidification for this species.”
Microclimates Reduce Extinction Rates Driven by Climate Change
Maclean, I.M.D., Hopkins, J.J., Bennie, J., Lawson, C.R. and Wilson, R.J. 2015. Microclimates buffer the responses of plant communities to climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24: 1340-1350. Feb 10, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Do not overgeneralize based on what occurs in one location.]
Dying from the Summer Heat Waves of 1996-2012 in Slovakia
Vyberci, D., Svec, M., Fasko, P., Savinova, H., Trizna, M. and Micietova, E. 2015. The effects of the 1996-2012 summer heat events on human mortality in Slovakia. Moravian Geographical Reports 23: 58-70. Feb 9, 2016
However, they also report that “the most extreme heat periods were commonly followed by a deficit in mortality,” due to the deaths of “people with poor health,” who would have died “in a very short period of time anyway, regardless of the weather” (see figure below), as had earlier been found to be the case by Gosling et al. (2014). And so they confirmed that “an extreme weather event in fact does not cause true excess mortality, but only a short-term shift in deaths among terminally-ill people,” as had also been found to be the case by Martiello and Giancchi (2010).
The Ability of CMIP5 Models to Hindcast Basic Climate Features
Hidalgo, H.G. and Alfaro, E.J. 2015. Skill of CMIP5 climate models in reproducing 20th century basic climate features in Central America. International Journal of Climatology 35: 3397-3421. Feb 8, 2016
Are land + sea averages meaningful?
By Staff Writer, Climategrog, Feb 9, 2016
Assessing U.S. temperature adjustments using the Climate Reference Network
By Zeke Hausfather, Climate Etc. Feb 9, 2016
Decline in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Overestimated by More Than a Third
By Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels, Cato, Feb 10, 2016
Hottest year ever update: El Niño effect in 2015 was 20 times larger than the global warming signal
Guest essay by Sheldon Walker, WUWT, Feb 4, 2016
Study proves urban heat islands exist, even in the Arctic
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 10, 2016
The Pause hangs on by its fingernails
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, WUWT, Feb 6, 2016
El Niño is a record breaker: Phenomenon has smashed 1997 record in past three months, scientists confirm
The phenomenon, which causes extreme weather, is triggered by a warming sea surface in the Pacific Ocean
Past 3 months score 2.31 on oceanic Niño index – one of the measures of changes in sea surface temperatures
This compares to 2.26 for the previous strongest El Niño in 1997, claims Jan Null, a Californian meteorologist
By Ellie Zolfagharifard, Daily Mail, UK, Feb 5, 2016
NASA Global Hawk to Begin NOAA El Nino Storm Mission
By Staff Writers, Edwards AFB CA (SPX), Feb 09, 2016
A Two-Millennia Relationship Between Climate and Economic Data
By Craig Idso, Cato, Feb 11, 2016
“Against this backdrop, Wei et al. set out to investigate the long-term relationship between the climate and economy of China. More specifically, they derived a 2,130-year long record of the Chinese economy based on 1,091 records extracted from 25 books on Chinese history and economic history, spanning the period 220 BC to 1910 AD.”
The Younger Dryas
By Staff Writers, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Accessed Feb 13, 2016
“The end of the Younger Dryas, about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt. In Greenland, temperatures rose 10° C (18° F) in a decade.”
Geoffrey Parker’s Account Of The Little Ice Age – Part II
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Feb 11, 2016
Melting of massive ice ‘lid’ resulted in huge release of carbon dioxide at the end of the ice age
A new study of how the structure of the ocean has changed since the end of the last ice age suggest that the melting of a vast ‘lid’ of sea ice caused the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
By Staff Writers, Science News, Jan 4, 2016 [H/t Clyde Spencer]
Link to paper: Evolution of South Atlantic density and chemical stratification across the last deglaciation
By Roberts, et al. PNAS, Jan 19, 2016
New ‘Little Ice Age’ coincides with fall of Eastern Roman Empire and growth of Arab Empire
By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX), Feb 09, 2016
Link to paper: Cooling and societal change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age from 536 to around 660 AD
By Buntgen, et al. Nature Geoscience, Feb 8, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Well-known to students of climate history.]
Long Cold Spell Dooms Climate Agenda
By Larry Bell, Newmax, Feb 8, 2016
@NCAR claims: U.S. Southwest sliding into a drier climate, and it’s all your fault
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 11, 2016
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Arctic Sea Ice Trend May Have Turned The Corner As Ice Volume Picks Up Over Past 5 Years
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Feb 12, 2016
Atlantic Sea Ice Could Grow in the Next Decade
Changing ocean circulation in the North Atlantic could lead to winter sea ice coverage remaining steady and even growing in select regions.
By Lily Strelich, EOS, Feb 4, 2016
Link to paper: Predicted slowdown in the rate of Atlantic sea ice loss
By Yeager, Karspeck, and Danabasoglu, Geophysical Research Letters, Dec 29, 2016
Un-Science or Non-Science?
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Feb 10, 2016
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
Record Missouri flooding was manmade calamity
By Staff Writers, St. Louis MO (SPX), Feb 09, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Failed to state: unrelated to human caused climate change!]
Study asks: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? Then says doom ahead.
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 10, 2016
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Sea turtles with tumors fill Florida hospital
By Kerry Sheridan
Marathon, United States (AFP) Feb 7, 2016
“Green sea turtles were first listed as endangered species in 1976, but are now nesting in record numbers – 28,000 nests counted last year in Florida, up from fewer than 500 decades ago.
‘Experts still don’t understand quite how the virus [infecting turtles] spreads, or what causes it, though some research has pointed to agricultural runoff, pollution and global warming.”
[SEPP Comment: Global warming – the cause of all ills, now that atmospheric nuclear testing has stopped.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Do a Poll?
The outrage! One third of US teachers bring climate denial to the classroom
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Feb 12, 2016
Link to report: First nationwide survey of climate change education
How is climate change being taught in America’s public schools? The answers may shock you
By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Feb 11, 2016
Link to paper: Climate confusion among U.S. teachers
By Plutzer, McCaffrey, Hannah, Rosenau, Berbeco, and Reid, Science, Feb 12, 2016
“Until today’s release of NCSE’s comprehensive nationwide survey, no one knew. The survey, conducted in concert with the respected nonpartisan Penn State University Survey Research Center, grilled over 1500 middle and high school science teachers. The results may floor you.
[SEPP Comment: Was Mr. Mann “grilled”?]
These Academics Are Pissed There’s Too Much Global Warming ‘Denial’ In Science Classes
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Feb 12, 2016
Expanding the Orthodoxy
About Attribution of Climate Events
By Staff Writers, ACE/NCAR, No date (2012?) [H/t Michael Kile]
Full Brochure: Reanalysis and Attribution: Understanding How and Why Recent Climate Has Varied and Changed
By Staff Writers, U.S. Climate Change Science Program, [now USGCRP] No Date (accessed 2-13-16)
Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions
By Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, Feb 7, 2016
Intelligence Director: Climate Change Could Lead to Larger Refugee Crisis
By Melanie Hunter, CNS News, Feb 9, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
SEC’s Plans to Determine If Additional Action Is Needed on Climate-Related Disclosure Have Evolved
By Staff Writers, GAO, Feb 8, 2016
Questioning European Green
DECC Must Resume Publication of Policy Price Impacts
By John Constable, GWPF, Feb 7, 2016
Greens blighting communities
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Feb 10, 2016
Questioning Green Elsewhere
Military’s Green Push Is A Threat To America’s Security
Editorial, IBD, Feb 8, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Survival International accuses WWF of involvement in violence and abuse
Press Release by Staff Writers, Survival International, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Link to Complaint: Survival International Charitable Trust v. The World Wide Fund for Nature under OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Lodged with the Swiss National Conct Point, (.. “legal responsibility for WWF operations in Cameroon rests with WWF in Switzerland.”)
CSIRO wipes out climate division – 350 scientists to go – since it’s “beyond debate” who needs em?
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Feb 4, 2016
Delicious Irony Re CSIRO and Prof Bob Carter
By Goeff Brown, Australian Climate Sceptics, Feb 8, 2016
Climate Science Is Settled, Except When It’s Not
By Tim Blair, Daily Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, Feb 11, 2016
CSIRO scientist on climate: “We don’t know what the heck is waiting for us”
By Jo Nova, Here Blog, Feb 9, 2016
CSIRO boss defends shake-up, says politics of climate ‘more like religion than science’
By Jake Sturmer, ABC, Feb 11, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Clean energy research central to Energy Dept budget request
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Feb 9, 2016
“The Obama administration is highlighting a 21 percent increase in clean energy research funding as a top priority in its Department of Energy (DOE) budget request.
“The agency wants $5.85 billion in fiscal year 2017 for clean energy research as part of its $32.5 billion request to Congress. The overall budget is a 10 percent increase from the previous year.”
The Political Games Continue
Clinton Proposes to End Use of Fossil Fuels, All for No Purpose
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Feb 10, 2016
House passes bill to establish stricter limits for scientific research grants
By Cristina Marcos, The Hill, Feb 10, 2016
Qatar-Funded Brookings Institution Scraps Annual Doha Energy Conference
Gulf countries and their supplicants under financial pressure due to plunging oil prices
By Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[SEPP Comment: No calls for investigation of Brookings of its funding from oil interests?]
Welsh village to sue government over ‘alarmist’ rising sea level claim
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Feb 12, 2016
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Obama proposes $320B for ‘clean transportation’
By Keith Laing, The Hill, Feb 9, 2016
Obama’s New Oil Tax – Dead on Arrival
Editorial, IER, Feb 9, 2016
Obama’s budget will not lead to $10 oil tax: Kemp
By John Kemp, Reuters, Feb 5, 2016
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
NREL to Universities on Solar PPAs: The Whole Story?
By Glenn Schleede, Master Resource, Feb 9, 2016
EPA and other Regulators on the March
EPA chief downplays ‘covert propaganda’
By Jennevieve Fong, The Hill, Feb 11, 2016
[SEPP Comment: To this EPA, a GAO finding against it is propaganda?]
A Green Mess: Is EPA in Hot Water Over Alaska’s Bristol Bay?
Obama wants clean-power cars while the EPA undermines the mining of copper needed for their motors.
By Ned Mamula and Patrick J. Michaels, American Spectator, Feb 11, 2016
EPA: Mine spill dumped 880,000 pounds of metals in river
By Dan Elliott, AP, Feb 5, 2016 [H/t Clyde Spencer]
Energy Department seeks stricter light bulb efficiency standards
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Feb 12, 2016
Emails: EPA Rushed to Resolve Tesla’s ‘Million Dollar’ Bureaucratic Snafu
CEO Elon Musk enlisted agency chief to preserve Tesla customers’ federal tax break
By Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Energy Issues – Non-US
BP Energy Outlook 2016
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Feb 12, 2016
Outlook to 2035
Energy consumption is expected to increase by 34% between 2014 and 2035, according to BP’s Energy Outlook
By Staff Writers, BP, February 2016
“Fossil fuels are expected to provide around 60% of the increase in energy to 2035”
“Renewables are projected to be the fastest growing fuel, up 6.6% p.a. to 2035”
World’s Largest Energy Trader Sees a Decade of Low Oil Prices
By Javier Blas and Ryan Chilcote, Bloomberg, Feb 8, 2016
The Middle East Solar Market Is Set for a Big 2016, But Experts Worry About Risks
By Jason Deign, Green Tech Media, Feb 11, 2016
Energy Issues – US
Electric Co-ops Launch “Community Storage” Initiative
By Gail Reitenbach, Power Mag, Feb 10, 2016
Link to report: The Hidden Battery: Opportunities in Electric Water Heating
By Hiedik, Chang, and Lueken, The Brattle Group, Jan 2016
“This report was prepared for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA).”
Initial production rates in tight oil formations continue to rise
By Michael Mobilia, Jozef Lieskovsky, Richard Yan, EIA, Feb 11, 2016
Washington’s Control of Energy
TransCanada posts $2.5-billion loss on Keystone charge, hikes dividend
By Rebecca Penty, Bloomberg, Feb 11, 2016
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Important lessons we can learn from the hysteria about peak oil (2005-2013)
By Staff Writers, Fabius Maximus, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
The Villain in the Wings
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Feb 12, 2016
New study finds no methane from drilling in Ohio water wells
By Bob Downing, Ohio.com, Feb 10, 2016
“I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
BP outlook: American shale gas revolution to go global by 2035
By Collin Eaton, Fuel Fix, Feb 10, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Crude Hits Hurdle as U.S. Gasoline Glut Puts Brakes on Refining
By Dan Murtaugh and Barbara Powell, Bloomberg, Feb 11, 2916
Return of King Coal?
In about-face, environment ministry to OK coal plants [Japan]
By Staff Writers, Nikkei Asian Review, Feb 6, 2016
Oil Spills, Gas Leaks & Consequences
Workers close off methane leak in California
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Feb 12, 2016
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Opinion: Don’t go nuclear on climate change just yet
By Yousaf Butt, Climate Etc. Feb 11, 2016
Competition to Achieve Viable Nuclear Fusion Heating Up
Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Feb 6, 2016
Fusion vs fission: clean, green nuclear energy technologies explained
By Stuart Gary, ABC News, AU, Feb 8, 2016
That’s cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done
Heats hydrogen more than three times hotter than the sun
By Iain Thompson, The Register, Feb 6, 2016
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
(Guaranteed) power to the people
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, Feb 11, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Comparing two energy projects: one reliable, the other not reliable and subsidized. The unreliable one appears to be more costly to consumers and the public]
Solar from Space? (DOE subsidies here too)
By Donn Dears, Master Resource, Feb 10, 2016
The High Cost of Renewables
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Feb 9, 2016
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy – Other
Why Japan Wants to Fell and Burn Its Forests
By Staff Writers, American Interest, Feb 8, 2016
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Vehicles + Airplanes
An Inconvenient truth: Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 10, 2016
Piloted, Electric Propulsion-Powered Experimental Aircraft Underway
By Jay Levine, NASA Armstrong Flight Center, Feb 8, 2016 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
California Utility Axes Big Pumped Storage Project
By Thomas Overton, Power Mag, Feb 9, 2016
Link to statement: SMUD cancels Iowa Hill project
By Staff Writers, SMUD, Feb 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: The stated options include compressed-air energy storage, microgrids and small, flexible generating units fueled by natural gas as well as adding a new transmission line to bring power (mostly hydro) from the Pacific Northwest.]
California’s push for clean energy is paying off
By David Hochschild and Matthew Freedman, Sacrament Bee, Feb 11, 2016
“Since adoption of the first renewable portfolio standard in 2002, increases to average retail rates charged by utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric Co., have been lower than the rate of inflation. During this same period, with innovation from Silicon Valley and elsewhere, solar power costs have declined to one-tenth of what they were. Today, utility-scale solar and wind have reached cost parity with fossil fuels.”
[SEPP Comment: No statement on who provides back-up and at what cost?]
Other Scientific News
Flint water crisis: profiles in scientific courage
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Feb 8, 2016
Other News that May Be of Interest
Early humans NOT climate change were responsible for wiping out Australia’s giant prehistoric animals, new evidence shows
By Charlotte Mortlock For Daily Mail Australia, Feb 12, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Unable to link to paper
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
In a simplistic and tedious new book, Andreas Malm argues that full Communism is the only cure for global warming.
By Robert Bryce, City Journal, Feb 5, 2016
The EPA is out of control – now they want to ban hobby race cars
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Feb 9, 2016
Saved, but the party’s still over
By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions, Feb 9, 2016
“According to climate scientist James Hansen, we are never going to see another ice age, ever. When the ice melts it will not be replaced. Ice extent will fluctuate from year to year, and some climate change deniers will selectively point to recovery years, but there is only a downward escalator. Which means, unless dangerous climate change is addressed, for some of us today, and many more tomorrow, the party will definitely be over.” The Conversation, 20 Sep 2013
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. The Goldilocks Approach to Global Warming
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Feb 8, 2016
SUMMARY: Activists who advocate controlling carbon dioxide emissions chose a 2⁰C in temperatures. Based on the history, Singer describes his views on how this number came about. It is not too high or not too low – just right.
2. A Supreme Carbon Rebuke
The Justices issue an historic stay on Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Editorial, WSJ, Feb 10, 2016
SUMMARY: The editors write: “When President Obama hasn’t had his way on climate, immigration and so much else, he’s rewritten the law and dared critics to stop him. Well, the Supreme Court has accepted his invitation with an extraordinary rebuke.”
“On Tuesday the High Court put a legal stay on the Administration’s rules to control carbon emissions in the states, known as the Clean Power Plan, pending judicial review. Challengers seeking stays must overcome fearsome legal criteria, and they are rarely granted.
“Yet for the first time five Justices blocked what’s known as a “generally applicable regulation.” The one-page order prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the Clean Power Plan until the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the merits, presumably with the Supreme Court as the final word.
“The Clean Power Plan nominally applies to power plants, but the EPA is instructing states to reorganize their energy economies across industries and even households. The Court did not explain its reasoning, and the four liberal Justices dissented. David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman, among the counsel to the 27 states that brought the suit, have more legal details nearby.” Article # 3
“The stay is an important rebuke to the political method of the anticarbon activists in the EPA and White House. Ditching fossils fuels will be a capital-intensive and generation-long transition, to the extent it is possible, and states must submit compliance plans as soon as this September that are supposed to last through 2030, or be subject to a federal takeover.
“The legal challenges will take years, but the EPA hopes to engineer a fait accompli by bullrushing the states into making permanent revisions immediately. Once the Clean Power Plan starts, it becomes self-executing. If the EPA loses down the road, it will laugh that the opinion is too late and thus pointless.
“The White House has been right about the success of its damn-the-law strategy – so far. Last year in Michigan v. EPA the Court voided a 2012 rule on mercury emissions. The chief EPA air administrator then gloated on the EPA website that the ruling didn’t matter because “the majority of power plants are already in compliance or well on their way to compliance” and “we are still on track.”
“The stay suggests that a majority of the Court won’t allow this deliberate gaming of the slow pace of the legal process to become de facto immunity for anything the EPA favors. It’s especially notable because courts tend to be highly deferential to executive regulation.
“The stay is also a warning to the D.C. Circuit, which will hear the case in June. Harry Reid packed that appellate court with liberal judges to serve as adjuncts of the regulatory state. The panel hearing the Clean Power Plan case denied the states’ request for a stay. When the Michigan case was remanded last year, the D.C. Circuit even refused to vacate the mercury rule that the Supreme Court said was illegal – on the circular logic that most power plants had already obeyed. The Justices seem more willing to defend the authority of the Constitution’s Article III courts.
“The stay means in practice that the Clean Power Plan is stopped cold through Mr. Obama’s Presidency, and states can safely ignore the EPA’s threats until the courts rule on the merits. Even Democratic Governors may decide to wait given the uncertainty and billions of dollars their taxpayers would have to foot.
“Credit here goes to some rebellious state Attorneys General like West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey who haven’t acquiesced when Mr. Obama’s government has violated sovereign state prerogatives. Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt deserves particular credit for developing the federalist arguments and exposing how the Clean Power Plan commandeers states.
“The larger point is that Mr. Obama’s six years of governance-through-executive-order make his a fragile legacy. Unilateral gambits can be reversed by the next President, and the other branches of government are finally reasserting their constitutional powers. As anarchic as politics can seem these days, the American system of government is still on track – sometimes.”
3. Pulling the Plug on Obama’s Power Plan
The Supreme Court sent a clear message: Your clean-energy strong-arming campaign must stop.
By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman, Feb 10, 2016
SUMMARY: Messrs. Rivkin and Grossman practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington, D.C., and are counsel in the case on behalf of plan challengers. The two attorneys write:
“President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is dead and will not be resurrected. The cause of death was hubris. As a result, the plan’s intended victims – including the national coal industry, the rule of law and state sovereignty – will live to fight another day.
“…the Supreme Court put President Obama’s signature climate initiative on hold while a lower court considers challenges brought by industry opponents and 27 states. That stay will remain in effect through the end of Mr. Obama’s presidency, until the Supreme Court has a chance to hear the case – in 2017 at the earliest..”
“Not since the court blocked President Harry Truman’s seizure of the steel industry has it so severely rebuked a president’s abuse of power.
“The dubious legal premise of the Clean Power Plan was that Congress, in an all-but-forgotten 1970s-era provision of the Clean Air Act, had empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to displace the states in regulating power generation. The EPA, in turn, would use that authority to mandate a shift from fossil-fuel-fired plants to renewables. The effect would be to institute by fiat the “cap and trade” scheme for carbon emissions that the Obama administration failed to push through Congress in 2009.
“The legal defects inherent in this scheme are legion. For one, in a ruling two years ago the court held that the EPA couldn’t conjure up authority to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance” absent a clear statement from Congress. Thus, the EPA may have the authority to require power plants to operate more efficiently and to install reasonable emissions-reduction technologies. But nothing authorizes the agency to pick winners (solar, wind) and losers (coal) and order generation to be shifted from one to the other, disrupting billion-dollar industries in the process.
“The agency also overstepped its legal authority by using a tortured redefinition of “system of emission reduction.” That statutory term has always been taken to give authority to regulate plant-level equipment and practices. Instead the EPA contorted the term to apply to the entire power grid. That redefinition, while necessary for the EPA to mount its attack on traditional power sources, violates the rule that federal statutes must be interpreted, absent a clear indication to the contrary, to maintain the existing balance of power between the federal government and the states. Federal law has long recognized states’ primacy in regulating their electric utilities, the economic aspects of power generation and transmission, and electric reliability.
“Worse, the Clean Power Plan commandeers the states and their officials to do the dirty work that the EPA can’t. The agency seeks to phase out coal-fired plants, but it lacks any ability to regulate electric reliability, control how and when plants are run, oversee the planning and construction of new generators and transmission lines, or take any other of the many steps necessary to bring the plan to fruition.
“Only the states can do those things, and the plan simply assumes that they will: Because, if they refuse, and the federal government forces coal-plan retirements, the result would be catastrophic, featuring regular blackouts, threats to public health and safety and unprecedented spikes in electricity prices.
“The EPA defended this approach before the Supreme Court during legal arguments leading up to Tuesday’s stay order as a “textbook exercise of cooperative federalism.” But the textbook – our Constitution as interpreted by the court in case after case – guarantees that the states can’t be dragooned into administering federal law and implementing federal policy. Their sovereignty and political accountability require that they have the power to decline any federal entreaty. The Clean Power Plan denies them that choice.
“No doubt the court was swayed by evidence that the states already are laboring to accommodate the plan’s forced retirement and reduced utilization of massive amounts of generating capacity. Given the years that it takes to bring new capacity online, not even opponents of the plan could afford to wait for the conclusion of judicial review to begin carrying out the EPA’s mandate.
“By all appearances, that was the Obama administration’s strategy for forcing the Clean Power Plan, legal warts and all, into effect. After the court ruled last term that the EPA’s rule regulating power plants’ hazardous air emissions was unlawful, the agency bragged that the judgment wouldn’t make a difference because the plants had already been forced to comply or retire during the years of litigation. The Clean Power Plan doubled down on that approach.
“It’s one thing for a rule to be unlawful – which happens, and rarely merits a stay – but another for it to be lawless. This one was lawless. That is why the court had to act: to reassert the rule of law over an executive who believes himself above it.”
[SEPP Comment: EPA’s claim of textbook Federalism is particularly rich. The idea of Federalism stems from the arguments in favor of adopting the Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles, the nation was dissolving due to financial woes and bickering among the states. Federalism was built on the idea that central government was needed, but its powers are to be few defined and limited.]
4. As Oil Profits Plunge, Gulf Regimes Weigh the Unmentionable: Taxes
Era of oil-enriched budget surpluses all but past, as officials scramble for fresh sources of revenue
By Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, Feb 10, 2016
SUMMARY: The reporter writes: “After toying with the idea for nearly a decade, six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council group of countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman – have agreed to introduce a value-added tax across the region in 2018” in the range of 3-5%.
There are large gaps in the budgets of most countries in the Middle East that the tax policies will change. “How to navigate these waters is shaping up as an enormous political challenge for the Gulf’s Sunni Arab monarchies. Most remain wary about adopting a heavier tax regime, reluctant to risk damaging the region’s status as a tax haven or alarming indigenous populations accustomed to often lavish, cradle-to-grave welfare systems.”