The Week That Was: 2016-06-18 (June 18, 2016) 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)
Fear of CO2: Those promoting the fear of carbon dioxide (CO2), and other greenhouse gases, primarily use three possible threats: one, dangerous increased temperatures; two, change in ocean chemistry (called ocean acidification); and three, drastic sea level rise. John Christy’s February 2 testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology empirically demolishes the argument that increasing CO2 is causing significant global warming –major warming is simply not happening in the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect takes place. The current increase in atmospheric temperatures is influenced by the El Niño warming the tropical Pacific Ocean, a natural occurrence, but the effect is short-lived. The question remains: what will happen to atmospheric temperatures as the influence of the El Niño diminishes and is possibly replaced by a La Niña? Will global temperatures return to a higher level, the same level, or a lower level?
By contrast, surface temperatures used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its followers, are influenced by many other natural and human actions, particularly land use change. Unfortunately, the IPCC does not highlight the severe limitations of its reports, particularly in its summaries for policymakers, allowing many to incorrectly believe that weather and climate change stems from increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from 3 parts per 10,000 to 4 parts per 10,000. Ascribing unusual weather events to increasing CO2 is similar to the beliefs in the 1950s of blaming unusual weather events, such as tornadoes in New England, on nuclear testing.
Forecasting dire consequences from a possible slight change in ocean chemistry, a massive chemical soup, from increased atmospheric CO2 requires similar exaggeration. The term of ocean acidification is a misnomer. The issue is a possible gradual decline in the alkalinity of the oceans, to which life in the oceans will gradually adapt.
Another fear is rapid sea level rise. Sea levels have risen about 400 feet, 120 meters, since the maximum extent of the last major Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. They will continue to rise until the onset of the next ice age. During the last interglacial period, about 124 to 119 thousand years ago, sea levels were 4 to 7 meters (13 – 23 feet) above today’s levels. Without drastic global warming, which the finest global temperature data show is not occurring, humanity has a long time to adapt to rising sea levels, which will continue to occur, regardless of what politicians promise to do about carbon dioxide.
Writing in Hong Kong Engineer, Prof Wyss Yim, former president of the Western Pacific Sub-commission on Quaternary Shorelines, International Union for Quaternary Research 1995-1999, discusses some of the issues in measuring sea level rise in the region of Hong Kong, China. Among his many salient points are:
1) “the sea level trend observed over the South China Sea through satellite remote sensing since 1993 is too short to distinguish the trend from the noise. Nevertheless, an analysis of the South China Sea (Cheng and Qi 2007) showed sea level rose at an average rate of 11.3 mm/year during 1993-2000 and fell at an average rate of 11.8 mm/year during 2001-2005.
2) Another ‘noise’ affecting tide gauges within Hong Kong is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
3) Tide gauges used for the study of long-term sea level changes should be located on bedrock instead of reclaimed land in order to eliminate the possibility of ground settlement.
4) Both tide gauge and satellite remote sensing records are too short for drawing reliable conclusions on projected sea level rise. Another 50 years may be needed.
5) To reduce risk it is important to study the stability of existing tide gauges on bedrock and on reclaimed land in Hong Kong using state-of-the-art surveying methods including interferometric synthetic aperture radar (INSAR).”
These above fears of global threats from increasing CO2 give rise to political opportunists, some with scientific, academic degrees. Those who use their scientific backgrounds to create and exploit these fears are not being scientists if they fail to produce the physical evidence to justify their claims. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Changing Seas, and http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n1/full/ngeo.2007.28.html
Quote of the Week: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” – Albert Einstein
Number of the Week: 2.8%
Science on the Verge: From the above, we can see that as the UN IPCC – and its followers – have tried to make carbon dioxide-caused global warming more government policy relevant, they have separated it from empirical science. The hypothesis is that human emissions of CO2, and other greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of recent global warming/climate change. The scanty evidence that supports the hypothesis (the cause) is emphasized, the comprehensive evidence that contradicts the hypothesis (the cause) is ignored. The IPCC largely ignores atmospheric satellite measurements of temperatures, the finest global measurements existing.
Although not a physical science, economics has gone through similar separations of empirical evidence from policy relevant programs. John Maynard Keynes wrote a number of works to address business cycles and, especially, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” (1936) to address the Great Depression. During the administration of President Kennedy (1961-63), chief economic advisor Walter Heller used the work of Keynes to promote a general reduction in income tax rates. When adopted, the reduced rates resulted in significant economic growth, and growth in government tax revenues. However, subsequently, even Heller backed-down from his assertions that Federal fiscal policy (taxing and spending policies) could “fine-tune” the economy. Recently, some economists have made similar assertions that the economy can be tightly managed by government policies.
Similarly, Milton Friedman, 1976 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, showed rapid contraction of the money supply can cause economic recessions and depressions. He advocated a gradual expansion of the money supply to enable economic growth. However, this did not logically imply that significant expansion of the money supply would cause economic growth as advocated by Ben Bernanke, the then-chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, as well as by Janet Yellen, the current chair. The business cycle is not over, and the inverse of Friedman’s work has not been empirically demonstrated.
Overgeneralization seems to be a common problem in policy relevant programs and the empirical work supporting them.
Judith Curry, as well as others, has interesting posts on the relationship between science and policy. These include “The Republic of Science” and “Science on the verge.” In reading them, one should realize that: “Post normal science refers to science at the policy interface, it has nothing to say about sciences such as pure physics.” She also states:
“Apart from sloppy methods and bad incentives, we are seeing a crisis in reproducibility, collapsing peer review, dysfunctional interface between science and policy, the hubris of techno-science, etc.” and
“You’ll see how scientists reduce complex, unpredictable problems to much simpler, manageable models by leaving out important factors, which allows the scientists to come up with neat solutions—often to the wrong problems.”
As government funding dominates climate science, the relationship between “policy-relevant” science and empirical science becomes increasingly important. According to government reports, the US government has spent over $40 Billion on what it categorizes as climate science, since 1993. The number does not include spending and subsidies on wind, solar, and other alternative sources of energy. The claims that moneys from fossil fuel companies are distorting climate science are absurd, that money is miniscule.
What TWTW has termed as the Climate Establishment may be performing what Curry calls institutional science. That is, official climate science may be more a government policy-driven discipline than an empirical, physical science. See links under Science, Policy, and Evidence.
Greening of the Earth: NASA released Landsat images (1984 to 2012) of the greening of the Arctic regions of North America. Satellite temperature records indicate that the Arctic has warmed. But, with the lack of warming of the Antarctic regions, there is little logical reason to assume the cause of the warming is carbon dioxide. More comprehensive global Landsat images indicate a general greening of the earth – which is consistent with an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In the video of the Arctic report and in articles following, there is no mention of the benefits of carbon dioxide fertilization, which may be the principal cause of the warming. See links under: Social Benefits of Carbon
Additions and Corrections: The June 4 TWTW had an analogy of using a diesel engine to illustrate the effects of atmospheric pressure on Venus. This caused a minor stir. Due to travel, not all the comments have been evaluated. They will be addressed in the June 25 TWTW.
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
· The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
· The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
· The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
· The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The four past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, and Ernest Moniz are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on June 1. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness on July 9 in Omaha.
Number of the Week: 2.8%. As reported by Euan Mears, the new “Statistical Review of World Energy” by BP states that renewables account for 2.8% of the world’s energy mix compared with 2.4% in 2014.
ARTICLES: The Articles section is now at the bottom of TWTW.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry
A new definition of academic misconduct
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. June 13, 2016
Coral expert prosecuted by Aussie university for noticing that a coral reef still exists
By Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame, June 12, 2016
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt
InsideClimate: NY AG Started RICO Planning Before Any InsideClimate Stories Were Released
By Katie Brown, Energy in Depth, June 7, 2016 [H/t WUWT]
Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt – Push-Back
AG Accuses CEI of Wasting His Time in Ongoing Global Warming Subpoena Saga
By Sam Kazman, CNS News, June 9, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[SEPP Comment: Those who wish to suppress freedom of speech claim that those who fight them as wasting their suppressors’ time?]
An Open Letter to the #ExxonKnew #RICO20 Attorneys General about Climate Change
From Cornwall Alliance, Via WUWT, June 10, 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
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Prepared Testimony to House Committee on Science, Space & Technology
By John Christy, UAH, Feb 2, 2016
CO2 Warming Grossly Exaggerated… 50+ Published Papers Find Extremely Low Climate Sensitivity To Doubled CO2!
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, June 13, 2016
The Allarmists’ Attempt to Villify Carbon Dioxide
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, June 16, 2016
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Some inconvenient polar bear facts supported by scientific literature
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, June 9, 2016
The science isn’t settled
By Benjamin Riley, The New Criterion, Apr 25, 2016
“…a full suite of videos from the conference, including exclusive interviews with Mark Steyn, and Professors Richard Lindzen and Ross McKitrick.”
Climate accord ‘irrelevant,’ and CO2 cuts could impoverish the world: Scientist
By Javier E. David, CNBC, June 4, 2016
India contradicts US claim over signing climate deal this year
By Staff Writers, Hindustan Times, June 8, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
The Ratification Hurdles Of The Paris Climate Agreement
By Staff Writers, GWPF, June 16, 2016
The Administration’s Plan – Independent Analysis
Selected Governments Have Approached Adaptation through Laws and Long-Term Plans
By Staff Writers, GAO, June 13, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[SEPP Comment: High cost, drastic plans may not be necessary.]
The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back
False Security: Why Climate ‘Insurance’ Arguments Fall Flat
By Jonathan Lesser, IBD, June 17, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Lies, Damned Lies, And The EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan’
Editorial, IBD, June 17, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Link to report: Missing Benefits, Hidden Costs: The Cloudy Numbers in the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan
By Jonathan A. Lesser, Manhattan Institute, June 2016
Social Benefits of Carbon
NASA studies details of a greening Arctic
By Staff Writers, Greenbelt MD (SPX), Jun 07, 2016
The ‘social cost of carbon’ may have just gone negative
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, June 7, 2016
Problems in the Orthodoxy
Study: Worsening drought from climate change may be ‘considerably weaker and less extensive than previously thought’
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, June 6, 2016
Link to paper: Potential evapotranspiration and continental drying
By Milly and Dunne, Nature Climate Change, June 6, 2016
Assessment of Approaches to Updating the Social Cost of Carbon
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. June 7, 2016
Seeking a Common Ground
All science is provisional
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, June 17, 2016
“Such a confirmation of the existence of something previously hypothesized … is proof only of the prediction.”
“Proof of the existence of a phenomenon is an important part of the jigsaw, but not the same thing as having all pieces of the puzzle in place.”
Science, Policy, and Evidence
The Republic of Science
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. May 30, 2016
“Failure to give serious thought to these issues risks losing the public trust and support for elite university science (at least in certain fields). Scientists are becoming their own worst enemy when they play into the hands of politicians and others seeking to politicize their science.”
Science on the verge
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. June 9, 2016
Science Is On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
By Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, Via GWPF, June 14, 2016
Link to full post: Junk Science Week: Science is on the verge of a nervous breakdown
By Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, June 13, 2016
Junk Science Week Excerpt: The fallacy of evidence-based policy
By Andrea Saltelli, et al. Financial Post, June 14, 2016
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
The Weak ENSO Asymmetry in CMIP5 Climate Models
Sun, Y., Wang, F. and Sun, D-Z. 2016. Weak ENSO Asymmetry Due to Weak Nonlinear Air-Sea Interaction in CMIP5 Climate Models. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 33: 352-364. June 15, 2016
“… ’many problems remain regarding the simulation of ENSO asymmetry in climate models.’”
A Half Century of Tropical Cyclone High Winds in Mainland China
Ni, X., Zhang, Q., Ma, D., Wu, L. and Ren, F. 2015. Climatology and trends of tropical cyclone high wind in mainland China: 1959-2011. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 120: 12,378-12,393. June 13, 2016
“And thus we have another example of a dangerous meteorological phenomenon actually declining in frequency, intensity, aerial coverage and negative consequences over a period of time when the world’s climate alarmists have vociferously claimed that Earth’s climate was becoming ever more dangerous to both humanity and nature alike.”
Modelling co-variability of Holocene rainfall and temperature in Asia
Rehfeld, K. and Laepple, T. 2016. Warmer and wetter or warmer and dryer? Observed versus simulated covariability of Holocene temperature and rainfall in Asia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 436: 1-9. June 6, 2016
“…Rehfeld and Laepple conclude that ‘climate model simulations might be considerably biased, overestimating the short-term negative associations between regional rainfall and temperature and lacking long-term positive relationships between them.’”
Models v. Observations
Pacific Stalagmites Cast Doubt On Climate Models And Projections
By David Whitehouse, GWPF, June 6, 2016
Link to paper: Western Pacific hydroclimate linked to global climate variability over the past two millennia
By Griffiths, et al. Nature Communications, June 8, 2016
Measurement Issues — Surface
From Urban to National Heat Island: the effect of anthropogenic heat output on climate change in high population industrial countries
By Murray and Heggie, Earth’s Future, June 17, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Another issue with using surface-air temperature measurements.]
North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content Dropping Rapidly
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 13, 2016
More On The AMO
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 13, 2016
Link to referenced paper: Ocean impact on decadal Atlantic climate variability revealed by sea-level observations
By McCarthy, et al. Nature, May 27, 2015
[SEPP Comment: The additional analysis provided by Homewood is revealing.]
El Nino is Dead and La Nina Has Begun
By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, June 9, 2016
La Nina is coming and global temperatures are responding
By Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, June 15, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Aerosols strengthen storm clouds, according to new study
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, June 14, 2016
It Did Not Take Them Long To Blame Paris Floods On Climate Change
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 11, 2016
“Note how all of the models come up with big upward trend in extreme rainfall. Yet ‘Observations’ find only an insignificant trend.
“To draw conclusions on this basis, and from just one event, is plainly nonsense. But good enough for climate science.”
Churchill’s Inconvenient Truth regarding Al Gore’s claims on Lake Chad
Story submitted by LeRoy Demarest, WUWT, June 8, 2016
Hong Kong’s sea-level record
By Prof Wyss Yim, Hong Kong Engineer, No Date [H/t GWPF]
Coral Reefs Doing Better Than Expected in Many Areas
A new study found “bright spots” where corals are thriving, despite global bleaching events.
By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic, June 15, 2016 [H/t GWPF]
Link to paper: Bright spots among the world’s coral reefs
By Cinner, et al. Nature, June 15, 2016
“One of the most important [patterns] was that those areas with traditional tenure rights tended to be the healthiest. Under this system, local people are allowed to harvest fish and invertebrates but outsiders are not. The benefits were most pronounced when the people were most dependent on this resource for their livelihoods.
Great Barrier Reef scare: exaggerated threats says head of GBR Authority
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, June 6, 2016
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Arctic sea ice blows away record low for May as levels plunge toward uncharted territory
By Andrew Freedman, Yahoo, June 8, 2016 [H/t Clyde Spencer]
“Compared to the 1981-2010 average, sea ice extent was a whopping 537,000 square miles below average.”
[SEPP Comment: 10% below the 1981 to 2010 May average is labeled as astonishing. Too bad we do not have satellite measurements for the 1920s & 30s]
New paper shows no harm from more time on land for S. Beaufort polar bears
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, June 13, 2016
Summer Temperature Trends In Greenland
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 15, 2016
“There is nothing here to suggest that the climate in Greenland in the last century is any more than a reflection of natural cycles such as the AMO.”
On World Oceans Day, a reminder that climate change action must consider the oceans
By Lindley Mease and Kristen Weiss, Brookings, June 7, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
“As fossil fuel emissions steadily increase, the ocean is absorbing proportionately larger and larger amounts of CO2, which is gradually lowering the pH of the oceans. Often called “the other CO2 problem,” ocean acidification is already harming a number of species found in U.S. coastal waters. Planktonic pteropods (also known as “sea butterflies”), shellfish like abalone and oysters, and oxygen-producing phytoplankton are among the organisms affected by increasing acidity. Many of these species are integral to ocean food webs.”
[SEPP Comment: A graph shows the pH well above 8 (7 is neutral), yet the article argues that it is acidification (pH below 7).]
Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine
3 Non-Pesticide Reasons Beekeepers Lost 44% of Bees in 2015-16
By Hank Campbell, ACSH, May 11, 2016
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
BBC spin hides the great solar energy fiasco
By Christopher Booker, BBC, June 4, 2016
The Arctic Methane Scare: Oversold
By Paul Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels, WUWT, June 6, 2016
The Climate Alarm Death Knell Sounds Again
By Paul Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels, WUWT, June 7, 2016
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Climate lies for the Planet are OK (says self-proclaimed elite brain)
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, June 16, 2016
No, Spencer’s Research Wasn’t Funded by Peabody
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, June 15, 2016
The wrong kind of sponsorship
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, June 10, 2016
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Cap and Trade Calamity in California
By Staff Writers, The American Interest, June 15, 2016
“This glut of allowances stems from a fear of something called carbon leakage, which describes the process by which heavy emitters (read: industry) might pick up and move out of the state or region to a location where it can conduct business as usual.”
…[the revenues create] “’a feeding frenzy for a multitude of pet projects.’”
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism
It takes enormous amounts of taxpayer cash to make wind energy seem affordable.
By Robert Bryce, National Review, June 6, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
The Environmental Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies
By Lucas W. Davis, Cato, June 8, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
“Cheap gasoline and diesel have long been permanent fixtures throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa…” [Also Venezuela.]
Denmark Cancels All Coastal Wind Farms, Delays New Built Until 2025
By Naja Dandanell and Marchen Neel Gjertsen, Jyllands-Posten, Via GWPF, June 7, 2016
Denmark & Germany Join the UK in Breaking Wind
By Steven Hayward, Power Line, June 8, 2016
EPA and other Regulators on the March
The magic of the EPA’s benefit/cost analysis
By Benjamin Zycher, The Hill, June 6, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Energy Issues – Non-US
Forget The Wind Industry Lies, Onshore Wind Is Twice The Price Of CCGT [UK]
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 11, 2016
“The intrinsic operation of CCGT is not economically unviable at current wholesale prices. What is making new gas plants unviable is government regulation that prevents them from competing on a level playing field with renewable energy.
Strip away the subsidies to wind, the anti-competitive system of CfDs and carbon pricing, and new investment will take place in gas without any need for any “subsidy” at all.”
Germany slows pace of green energy transition
By Frank Zeller, Phys.org, June 8, 2016
Germany’s CO2 Reduction Targets Cast Into “Serious Jeopardy” As Country Overhauls Policies
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, June 12, 2016
Energy Issues — US
“Forget Godzilla, NYC Gets Monster-Sized ‘Virtual’ Solar Power Plant”
Guest post by David Middleton, WUWT, June 15, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Is comparing the optimistically estimated monthly production of a proposed solar array with a combined-cycle power plant unfair?]
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
BP 2016: Global Energy Production at a Glance
By Euan Mearns, Energy Matters, June 13, 2016
Link to report: Statistical Review of World Energy
By Staff Writers, BP, for June 8, 2016
Comments by Mearns: “Figure 1 One may be tempted to say that global oil production rose by 3.2% despite the rout in oil prices. The reality is that a 3.2% rise in global oil production caused the rout in oil prices. There are some big winners and losers. The USA was up 8.5%! Other winners include Brazil up 7.9%, the UK up 13.4%, Saudi Arabia up 4.6% and Iraq up 22.9%. The big losers are Peru down 11.1%, Syria down 18.2%, Yemen down 67.8%, Libya down 13.4%, Sudan down 12.3%, Tunisia down 14.1% and Australia down 10.9%. Embedded in these figures is a story of total failure of US and NATO foreign policy.”
“Figure 9 While the growth in new renewables looks spectacular (Figure 6) they remain insignificant in the global energy mix amounting to 2.8% of the total in 2015 compared with 2.4% the year before.”
US Says Colorado Has 40 Times More Natural Gas Than Thought
By Staff Writers, AP, June 8, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Return of King Coal?
India is hedging its bets on coal to bring power to the people
By Tapan Sarker, The Conversation, [No Date]
[SEPP Comment: Generally, the health problems of coal are avoidable with proper requirements on utilities.]
Oil Spills, Gas Leaks & Consequences
Hydraulic fracturing chemical spills on agricultural land need scrutiny, say CSU researchers
By Anne Ju Manning, Source, Colorado State University, June 1, 2016 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: Probably a very minor issue.]
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Some U.S. nuke testing sites are now less radioactive than Central Park
By Patrick Monahan, Science Mag, June 6, 2016 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Finns to bury nuclear waste in world’s costliest tomb
By Anne Kauranen
Eurajoki, Finland (AFP) June 7, 2016
Kemper is No Keeper
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, June 10, 2016
Full Court Press to Kill Fracking
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, June 14, 2016
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
In a first, Iceland power plant turns carbon emissions to stone
By Staff Writers, New York NY (SPX), Jun 10, 2016
Stunningly stupid study touts the need for plants and animals to have “climate connectivity corridors” to escape climate change
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, June 15, 2016
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 Climate Police Blink
The AGs prosecuting dissent run up against the First Amendment.
Editorial, WSJ, June 16, 2016
The editorial states: “There are few more rewarding sights than a bully scorned, so let’s hear it for the recent laments of Attorneys General Claude Walker (Virgin Islands) and Eric Schneiderman (New York), two ringleaders of the harassment campaign against Exxon and free-market think tanks over climate change.
Consider Mr. Walker’s recent retreat in District of Columbia superior court. In April he issued a sweeping subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, demanding a decade of emails, policy work and donor names. The goal is to intimidate anyone who raises doubts about climate science or the policy responses.
CEI fought back. It ran a full-page newspaper ad highlighting the Walker-Schneiderman effort to criminalize speech, and it counter-sued the Virgin Islands, demanding sanctions and attorneys fees.
The District of Columbia has a statute to deter what is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The law exists to curb malicious lawsuits that are designed solely to chill speech, and they put the burden on filers like Mr. Walker to show why their actions are likely to succeed.
Mr. Walker quietly withdrew his subpoena on May 20 (though retaining the right to reinstate it). CEI is pressing ahead with its suit anyway, and in an extraordinary filing on June 2 Mr. Walker essentially said “never mind.” He asked the court to dismiss CEI’s motion for sanctions and fees, writing that the think tank had “wasted enough of [his office’s] and the Court’s limited time and resources with its frivolous Anti-SLAPP motion.”
So having violated CEI’s First Amendment rights, subjected the group to public abuse and legal costs, and threatened its donors, Mr. Walker blames CEI for burdening the courts.
Mr. Schneiderman is also on defense for his subpoena barrage and claim that Exxon is guilty of fraud on grounds that it supposedly hid the truth about global warming from the public. The AG felt compelled to devote an entire speech at a legal conference to justify his actions. He accused Exxon and outside groups of engaging in “First Amendment opportunism,” which he said was a “dangerous new threat” to the state’s ability to protect its citizens. So exercising free speech to question government officials who threaten free speech is a threat to free speech. [Boldface added.]
He also cited a 1978 opinion in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti by then Justice William Rehnquist that the AG said supported his action against Exxon. Mr. Schneiderman failed to note he was quoting a Rehnquist dissent, meaning the law is the opposite of what the AG suggests.
The left keeps losing the climate political debate, so it resorts to imposing its policies by regulatory diktat as President Obama has, and now it is trying to use government power to intimidate and silence opponents. Congrats to CEI and Exxon for insisting that these political prosecutors obey the law.”
2. Exxon Seeking Injunction Against Climate-Change Investigation
Oil company want to block a Massachusetts subpoena seeking documents dating back 40 years
By Bradley Olson, WSJ, June 15, 2016
SUMMARY: According to the author: “Exxon Mobil Corp. is seeking an injunction against the Massachusetts attorney general, alleging that a wide-ranging investigation into the oil company is politically motivated and violates its constitutional rights.
“Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, wants to block a Massachusetts subpoena that sought documents relating to climate change science research and investor communications on the topic dating back 40 years. The company filed its motion on Wednesday in a federal court in the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth.
“New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker are all investigating whether Exxon misrepresented its understanding of climate change to investors and the public. The company already has turned over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents to Mr. Schneiderman.
“Exxon, in its court filing, called Ms. Healey’s allegations ‘nothing more than a weak pretext for an unlawful exercise of government power to further political objectives.’
“Exxon also said that the subpoena violates its right to free speech, Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.”
The office of the Massachusetts Attorney General claimed that: “Our investigation is based, not on speculation, but on inconsistencies about climate change in Exxon documents which have been made public.”
3. Denmark’s Wind-Subsidy Lesson
Danes are the latest to question the price of green-energy virtue.
Editorial, WSJ, June 16, 2016
According to the editorial: “The economic costs of Europe’s green-energy religion keep mounting, and now its more devout disciples are starting to doubt the faith. Witness Denmark’s reconsideration of its plans to build new coastal wind farms that would add 350 megawatts of generating capacity.
“The Danes are the world champions of wind farms, getting some 42% of their energy from wind last year. But that power hasn’t come cheap, since Danish households pay the highest electricity charges in Europe, mostly thanks to Copenhagen’s green levy on electricity bills, the Public Service Obligation (PSO).
“Nor is the power particularly reliable. On some gusty days, Denmark’s wind farms produce more power than the western part of the country needs. On other days, the turbines are still. A consequence of the hefty subsidies for wind construction is that if Denmark were to export its surplus power on windy days, taxpayers would effectively be subsidizing someone else’s energy consumption.
“So some politicians have jumped at a chance for a rethink, courtesy of the European Commission, which in 2014 ruled the PSO violates European Union subsidy rules. In addition to illegally subsidizing local green-power firms, the PSO also dragged on Denmark’s economy. Because the levy moved inversely to market-based energy prices, the tax ate the windfall that Danes otherwise would have enjoyed from falling oil and gas prices. With the economy struggling to hit even 1% growth, voters started asking why they’re paying more taxes on electric bills than other Europeans in order to subsidize wind farmers.
“As a result, Parliament is preparing to end the PSO instead of mending it. The plan is to pay some green subsidies from general government revenues, to be raised by increases to income or other taxes once the PSO tax on electricity bills disappears. But with taxes already high, Copenhagen will struggle to raise them enough to replace the revenue lost when the PSO ends. This has triggered a long-overdue debate about cutting some of the subsidies.
“The proposal to delay construction of some coastal wind farms will save an estimated seven billion Danish krone ($1.06 billion) over 12 years. If approved by Parliament, this would mark a welcome step toward economic and fiscal sanity.
“Wind advocates will note that Copenhagen still plans to add to offshore wind capacity. But the episode demonstrates that there are limits to even the European willingness to sacrifice prosperity for carbon virtue. Britain has also scaled back its wind subsidies, while Germany is trying desperately to mend its wind-power ‘market.’ Economic and political reality is catching up with Europe’s green ambitions.”