The Week That Was: 2016-10-08 (October 8, 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)
Changing Sun: Andy May has an interesting essay on Watts Up With That on variability of the sun and its influence on climate. Several decades ago, it was an accepted “fact” in physics that the intensity of the sun did not vary. Now, the issue is by how much. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that solar output varies little and has a small impact on the earth’s climate. Some solar observers disagree: the output of the sun varies significantly. Observations of other dimming stars support the latter view. If so, the IPCC may be significantly overestimating the influence of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas that the UN is attempting to regulate, though water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas.
May discusses variations in the earth’s orbit, which are generally accepted as explaining the current period of ice ages interrupted by brief warm periods. The current orbit parameters indicate that the earth is cooling – far more significantly than any calculated influence of CO2. [The high end guesses of major warming influence of CO2 remain guesses.]
May goes on to discuss a variety of proposed solar cycles, which are not generally accepted. However, given the long duration of some of the solar cycles, over 60 years and poorly understood, some solar cycles may have a profound, cumulative influence on the earth’s climate, though the annual impact may be small.
Adding to the complexity of the issue is the lack of uniformity of the earth’s surface. About 80% of the Tropics are water. The Tropics receive more solar energy than other parts of the globe. The Pacific is about one-third of the earth’s surface, and over two-thirds of the land mass are in the Northern Hemisphere. These characteristics lead to energy flows internal to the earth, that are poorly understood, and result in uneven regional influence at any particular time. These varying energy flows call into question efforts to measure global temperatures (surface-air) using thermometers a few feet off the ground. As May concludes:
“So, given that many natural climate cycles are much longer than 59 years and poorly understood; how can we have confidence in the IPCC calculation of man’s influence? We are not suggesting that man has no influence on climate, but we do not believe that man has caused most of the recent warming.
“A key take-away is that solar variability and the Earth’s orbit can have a large effect on global climate. But, the conditions on the Earth at the time of the solar change coupled with the uneven distribution of oceans, ice and land on the surface cause the impact of any solar change to be distributed unevenly. This delays the global impact on temperature and causes what we observe as long term oceanic cycles. These long-term cycles are not properly accounted for in the climate models.”
These variations in cycles produce to what is called an “interference pattern.” Some cycles are in-phase, producing a larger-than-normal impact on climate, others are not.
See links under Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?
Quote of the Week. “ Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein
Number of the Week: 4 years or a bit longer
Vanished Hot Spot: The paper by Wallace, Christy and D’Aleo on the inability to find the so-called hot spot, featured in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, was carried by Watts Up With That. The post has resulted in comments, including possible errors in some of the graphs. No doubt the comments will be addressed by the authors.
Also, one is reminded of the 2014 paper by Chris de Freitas et al., which reported that the warming trend reported by the government of New Zealand overestimated the actual warming trend by over 300%, using surface data from 1909 to 2009. The government reported a trend of 0.91 °C per century. The de Freitas et. al., paper “uses updated measurement techniques and corrects for shelter-contaminated data, produces a trend of 0.28 °C per century.” The difference is significant.
The de Freitas paper is not inconsistent with the finding of Wallace because the time frames are different, data are different, and the statistical techniques, though similar, are different.
The time frame of de Freitas was 1909 to 2009, Wallace 1959 to 2015, de Freitas used surface data, Wallace used atmospheric data from weather balloons; de Freitas used linear regression (apparently), Wallace used ramp-step regression. The advantage of the ramp-step regression is that it may highlight a significant change in the trend that straight linear regression does not. Also, it may give misleading trends. However, the same ramp-step occurred in all the datasets that Wallace analyzed indicating that something significant occurred in 1977, which the authors called the 1977 Pacific Climate Shift and others have called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
Some critics of the work state that the “hot-spot” is not important. But it was very important for the IPCC in continuing its funding when it featured the hot spot in the Second Assessment Report (AR-2, 1996). Further, the hot spot was considered as one of the key lines of evidence by the EPA in its finding that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, endanger public health and welfare. For purposes of government regulations, it is not what the science demonstrates, but what the courts believe. And the courts believed the EPA. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Measurement Issues – Surface.
IPCC Confidence: Another line of evidence offered by the EPA is the global climate models. Already, John Christy has shown that, except for the model by the Russian Institute of Numerical Mathematics, the global climate models greatly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect takes place.
In the Fourth Assessment Report (AR-4, 2007) by the IPCC, just before the EPA’s endangerment finding, the authors state high confidence in the climate models. In justifying considerable confidence in the climate models, the report states:
“Climate models are mathematical representations of the climate system, expressed as computer codes and run on powerful computers. One source of confidence in models comes from the fact that model fundamentals are based on established physical laws, such as conservation of mass, energy and momentum, along with a wealth of observations.”
The issue is not the laws of physics, but how well are they incorporated?
“A second source of confidence comes from the ability of models to simulate important aspects of the current climate. Models are routinely and extensively assessed by comparing their simulations with observations of the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and land surface…. Models show significant and increasing skill in representing many important mean climate features, such as the large-scale distributions of atmospheric temperature, precipitation, radiation and wind, and of oceanic temperatures, currents and sea ice cover.” [Boldface added.]
As stated above, the models greatly overestimate atmospheric temperatures.
A third source of confidence comes from the ability of models to reproduce features of past climates and climate changes. Models have been used to simulate ancient climates, such as the warm mid-Holocene of 6,000 years ago or the last glacial maximum of 21,000 years ago (see Chapter 6).
There is no discussion of the period 6,000 years ago to the 20th century, even though there were periods of pronounced warming, particularly the medieval warm period, which has been shown to be global on land. That period and the Little Ice Age are left out, as they were dismissed by Mr. Mann’s false “hockey-stick”, emphasized in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001)
“In summary, confidence in models comes from their physical basis, and their skill in representing observed climate and past climate changes. Models have proven to be extremely important tools for simulating and understanding climate, and there is considerable confidence that they are able to provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at larger scales.”
The models missed the long pause in rise of atmospheric temperatures, as well as the influence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), thus are unsuitable for long-term projections. They do not have the credibility needed for government policy. Note there is no discussion of Mr. Santer’s hot spot – the vanished claimed human fingerprint – or Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.
Power Plan in Court: The written transcripts of the arguments before the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the administration’s power plan have not been posted (October 6), thus discussion will be reserved for a later date. However, one of the lead constitutional attorneys, the liberal icon Laurence Tribe, had an article in the Harvard Law Today justifying his position for defending coal companies from the administration’s plan. In Tribe’s view, the Plan and the EPA rule in question rewrite clear statutes, thereby exceeding the powers of the Chief Executive beyond those granted in the Constitution.
Tribe writes: “My central argument is that the text, context, and history of the 1990 statutory provision that EPA invokes to support the rule it seeks to impose on all fifty States does nothing of the sort but in fact destroys EPA’s claim of congressional authority.”
That Tribe should feel it necessary to write such an article addressing inaccuracies (made by his colleagues who criticize him for defending coal companies from what may be unlawful takings) illustrates the lack of tolerance and for freedom of speech found on many campuses. See links under The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back – Constitutional Issues
Court Deference: One of the major problems for those criticizing regulations by EPA or other government bodies in the US Courts of Appeals is the deference the courts give to government agencies in matters of science. The Appeals Court for the DC Circuit made it clear they will not tolerate arguments pointing out errors in EPA science, no matter how clear.
Some defenders of the Administration’s plan have argued that the courts should grant the same deference to government agencies in interpreting laws that they grant to government agencies in interpreting science. The courts should allow bureaucracies to interpret law anyway they wish? What will the courts do? See links under The Administration’s Plan.
Warming from Methane: As US natural gas production increases, thanks to deep underground hydraulic fracturing of shale, the EPA’s insistence on regulating production intensifies, even though it cannot legally do so. Thus, we have increasingly imaginative threats of global warming from methane (CH-4). In response to proposed EPA regulations, Fred Singer wrote a short note on the “threat” which was published in the Wall Street Journal on February 16 under Letters.
“While it is true that each molecule shows strong infrared (IR) absorption bands — and therefore CH4 qualifies (in theory) to be called a “greenhouse” (GH) gas — its actual climate impact is essentially zero — for three independent reasons:
“1. The number of molecules is too small — only 1% of CO2 and only 0.01% of water vapor (WV), the most important atmospheric GH gas
“2. Absorption by strong IR bands of WV overlaps (“shades”) those of CH4
“3. There is only a minor amount of energy in the IR emission from the Earth’s surface in the region of CH4 absorption bands.
“There are of course valid economic reasons for fixing leaks. But the proposed EPA regulations will have no perceptible effect on global climate, constitute a complete waste of resources, and put a heavy economic burden on the energy industry – with all costs, like any tax, passed along to consumers who can least afford them. However, they clearly demonstrate EPA’s lack of scientific expertise in fashioning regulations. Courts that normally “defer” to EPA should pay attention to this example.”
Ending Ice Ages: One difficulty facing those who consider the beginning and end of ice ages is what caused them to end, quite suddenly. After reviewing a great deal of prior work, physicist Donald Rapp suggests that it may have been an accumulation of dust on the great ice sheets covering much of the Northern Hemisphere, coupled with increasing solar intensity in northern latitudes, which led to their melting. His post in Climate Etc. may cause interesting controversy.
South Australia: The finger pointing about the black-out in South Australia continues, but it appears the major part of the problem is the high penetration of wind power in South Australia’s electricity mix. Wind power is unstable, and governments which are responsible for electricity reliability must provide reliable and timely back-up. On average, South Australia gets about 40% of its electricity from wind. But the average is deceptive, because actual output may go from maximum capacity to zero in a few minutes.
Terence Cardwell, who spent 25 years operating various power units, suggests a line of thunderstorms with severe winds approached, and the wind power operators shut down their generators to prevent damage. The problems associated with this shut-down cascaded through the system by causing safety mechanisms to trip to prevent overloads. The tripped lines included the interconnector designed to provide back-up power from a coal-fired power plant in the state of Victoria. That power plant uses brown coal, which produces far more CO2 per unit of electricity than black coal. A preliminary report from the Australian Energy Market Operator seems to confirm this view.
Cardwell adds: “The average price for electricity in South Australia with its 40% renewable energy is over $300 per megawatt hour. The average cost of electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania is around $80.00 per megawatt hour.” See links under Energy Issues – Australia
Energy Security: Writing in the Financial Times, journalist Nick Butler comments on the changing threats to energy security:
“For most of the last half century, energy security has been defined in terms of Opec boycotts, the risk of the Strait of Hormuz being closed to oil tankers and the dangers of Russia cutting off gas supplies through the European pipeline network. In the last few years, however, much has changed. Now, energy security concerns are focused internally and the risks are concentrated around the networks that sustain complex modern economies.
“The networks are physical but they are controlled by electronic systems. The greatest threat on this updated analysis is that hostile forces – whether terrorists or state-sponsored cyber specialists – could penetrate and disrupt or destroy those systems. These fears are beginning to reshape public policy and that will affect how the energy business develops across the world. Two factors have contributed to the changing definition of energy security. First, there is no longer any sense that supplies are scarce. If anything, there is a shortage of buyers, a situation compounded by the achievement of virtual self-sufficiency in North America. Patterns of trade have shifted so the US is now a supplier of oil to Venezuela and of gas to the UK petrochemical sector via the Grangemouth refinery.”
The global energy outlook has dramatically changed, yet government bureaucracies cling to obsolete thinking. On top of that, the US President has ordered that all government agencies must include climate change when assessing national security, including energy security. Since the US government largely ignores the natural causes of climate change, will government agencies ignore the threat of wind storms such as what happened in South Australia? See links under Energy Issues – Non-US.
Additions and Corrections: Last week an article in the Wall Street Journal estimated that US producers of oil from shale have break-even costs in the range of $40 to $65 per barrel. Several readers suggested that the range from below $40 to about $55.
Number of the Week: Four years or a bit longer. Energy analyst Euan Mearns estimates that based on current trends, the US may become energy independent in four years or, with lower oil prices, a bit longer.
No wonder Donn Dears writes: “The primary danger for frackers today comes not from Saudi Arabia, but from the U.S. government and the EPA, which are bent on eliminating fracking so as to cut the use of fossil fuels…The frackers have won their war against Saudi Arabia, but can they survive attacks from the U.S. government?” See Energy Issues – US and Washington’s Control of Energy
Due to prior commitments, there will be No TWTW the weekend of October 15.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?
Solar variability and the Earth’s climate
Guest essay by Andy May, WUWT, Sep 28, 2016
New study suggests a link between the 11 year solar cycle and the tidal effects of Venus, the Earth and Jupiter
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 4, 2016
Link to paper: Synchronized Helicity Oscillations: A Link Between Planetary Tides and the Solar Cycle?
By Stefani, F., Giesecke, A., Weber, N. et al. Solar Physics, Sep 1, 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
Evidence-Based Climate Science, 2nd Edition
Data Opposing CO2 Emissions as the Primary Source of Global Warming
Editor: Don Easterbrook, $115 Sep 29, 2016, 432 pages
“Increasingly, scientists are pointing to data which suggests that climate changes are a result of natural cycles, which have been occurring for thousands of years. Unfortunately, global warming has moved into the political realm without enough peer-reviewed research to fully validate and exclude other, more natural, causes of climate change. For example, there is an absence of any physical evidence that CO2 causes global warming, so the only argument for CO2 as the cause of warming rests entirely in computer modeling. Thus, the question becomes, how accurate are the computer models in predicting climate? What other variables could be missing from the models?” [Boldface added.]
The Importance of the Tropical Hot Spot to EPA’s Endangerment Finding
By James Wallace, ICECAP, Sep 30, 2016
On the Existence of a ‘Tropical Hot Spot’ and the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding
By James Wallace, John Christy, and Joseph D’Aleo Aug 2016 [Shortened version]
Prepared Testimony to House Committee on Science, Space & Technology
By John Christy, UAH, Feb 2, 2016
Study: Tropical Hotspot ‘Fingerprint’ Of Global Warming Doesn’t Exist In The Real World Data
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Sep 22, 2016
Fact-check Failures by @UCSUSA “Scientists” – Amplified and Abetted by Pliant Media
Guest opinion; Dr. Tim Ball, WUWT, Oct 1, 2016
4,001 Days: The Major Hurricane Drought Continues
Also, The Hurricane Center Doesn’t Overestimate…But It Does Over-warn
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Oct 7, 2016
Defending the Orthodoxy
Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007
Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.), UN IPCC, 2007
Frequently Asked Question 8.1
Questioning the Orthodoxy
‘Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics’ Reviewed Again
By Jane Orient, MD, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Book Review via blog by Briggs, Oct 3, 2016
Government Agendas Drive Climate ‘Science’
By Larry Bell, Newmax, Oct 3, 2016
Inconvenient: Studies find methane and carbon dioxide release is highest in the Arctic during the region’s cold season
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Sep 30, 2016
When it comes to climate change, let’s get our priorities straight
By Bjorn Lomborg, Washington Post, Sep 19, 2016
Counter Argument: The bipartisan path to tackling climate change
By Heather Zichal, Washington Post, Sep 19, 2016
[SEPP Comment: The caption under the typical propaganda photo of emissions blackening the skies above a fossil fuel power plant actually identifies the stuff as water vapor!]
Obama hails ‘best shot’ to save the planet as climate deal approved
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Oct 5, 2016
Statement on the Ratification of the Paris Agreement
By Patrick J. Michaels, Cato, Oct 5, 2016
The Big Bluff: Paris Agreement to “come into force” 4 days before US election. Force means nothing.
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 7, 2016
India signs on to do-nothing deal for Paris Climate “Theatre”
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 4, 2016
After Paris, India gets support for solar power
India chose Mahatma Ghandi’s birthday to deposit its signature on last year’s climate agreement.
By Daniel J. Graeber, UPI, Oct 4, 2016
Climate change agreement moves closer
By Staff Writers, WNN, Oct 3, 2016
EU fast-tracks approval to ensure Paris climate deal comes into force
By Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters, Sep 30, 2016
The Administration’s Plan
Why insiders think the EPA got the best of the Clean Power Plan hearing last week
CPP opponents presented a strong case against the EPA, but legal experts say the judges are most likely to rule for the agency
By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive, Oct 5, 2016
Donald Trump and the Climate-Change Countdown
By Elizabeth Kolbert , The New Yorker, September 29, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
How Obama Could Lose His Big Climate Case
It looked likelier than ever at this week’s “Super Bowl of climate law.”
By Robinson Meyer, Atlantic, Sep 29, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
The Administration’s Plan – Independent Analysis
Commentary: EPA’s Clean Power Plan is not so clean
By Scott Tinker, The Monitor, Oct 3, 2016
[SEPP Comment: The two-thirds of the 30% cut of CO2 emissions in 2005 had already ben achieved.]
The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back
Legal Vulnerabilities of EPA Power Plan’s Prerequisite Regulation
By Marlo Lewis, Jr. CEI, Oct 5, 2016
The Administration’s Plan – Push-Back – Constitutional Issues
Tribe: Why EPA’s Climate Plan Is Unconstitutional
By Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law Today, Mar 20, 2015 [H/t Carlin Economics and Science]
How Obama Is Burning the Constitution to Make Your Electric Power Bills Skyrocket
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Oct 6, 2016
Clean Power Plan Oral Argument: Will Limited Government Survive the Age of Global Warming?
By Marlo Lewis, Jr., CEI, Oct 7, 2016
Problems in the Orthodoxy
James Lovelock: ‘Before the end of this century, robots will have taken over’
Fracking is great, the green movement is a religion, his dire predictions about climate change were nonsense – and robots don’t mind the heat, so what does it matter? At 97, the creator of Gaia theory is as mischievous and subversive as ever
By Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian, UK, Sep 30, 2016
Seeking a Common Ground
Is Modern Science Polluted?
By Patrick Michaels, IBD, Oct 4, 2016
Link to paper: The natural selection of bad science
By Paul E. Smaldino, Richard McElreath, Royal Society: Open Science, Sep 21, 2016
[SEPP Comment: In spite of the poor title, the article discusses serious issues.]
By Kip Hansen, Climate Etc. Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: It’s chaos!]
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
Problems in CMIP5 Modeling of Atlantic Multi-Decadal Variability [AMV]
Peings, Y., Simpkins, G. and Magnusdottir, G. 2015. Multi-decadal fluctuations of the North Atlantic Ocean and feedback on the winter climate in CMIP5 control simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 121: 2571-2592. Oct 7, 2016
“Peings et al. conclude by stating that (22) ‘the current generation of coupled ocean-atmosphere models may underestimate the unforced AMV and  the associated impacts on the wintertime atmospheric circulation,’ while once again noting that (24) ‘the internal component of the AMV is too small in the CMIP5 models.’”
Outbreaks of Insects and the Severity of Subsequent Forest Fires
Meigs, G.W., Zald, H.S.J., Campbell, J.L., Keeton, W.S. and Kennedy, R.E. 2016. Do insect outbreaks reduce the severity of subsequent forest fires? Environmental Research Letters 11: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/045008. Oct 6, 2016
Aerial CO2 Enrichment Induces Protective Responses of Coffee Plants to Heat Stress
Martins, M.Q., Rodrigues, W.P., Fortunato, A.S., Leitao, A.E., Rodrigues, A.P., Pais, I.P., Martins, L.D., Silva, M.J., Reboredo, F.H., Partelli, F.L., Campostrini, E., Tomaz, M.A., Scotti-Campos, P., Ribeiro-Barros, A.I., Lidon, F.J.C., DaMatta, F.M. and Ramalho, J.C. 2016. Protective response mechanisms to heat stress in interaction with high [CO2] conditions in Coffea spp. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00947. Oct 3, 2016
Measurement Issues — Surface
A Reanalysis of Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Trends in New Zealand
By de Freitas, C.R., Dedekind, M.O. & Brill, C. R. Nature, Oct 26, 2014
2015 Paper Finds New Zealand Warmer In 1860s, ‘Contaminated Data’ Falsely Warms Last Century By 325%
By Kenneth Richard No Tricks Zone, Sep 29, 2016
Australian Extreme Temperature Trends
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Oct 7, 2016
New USGS study shows heat retaining concrete and asphalt have encroached upon US Climate Stations
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Sep 22, 2016
Link to paper: Changes in satellite-derived impervious surface area at US historical climatology network stations
By Gallo and Xian, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Oct 2016
[SEPP Comment: More reason to question surface temperature trends.]
Measurement Issues — Atmosphere
UAH Global Temperature Update for September 2016: +0.44 deg. C
September Temperature Unchanged from August
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Oct 3, 2016
Link to Global Temperature Report
By Staff, Earth System Science Center, UAH, Sep, 2016
500% more rain over a million square kilometers – Wettest September across Eastern Australia in 116 years
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 1, 2016
Double eyewall structure revealed in hurricane #Matthew
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 6, 2016
Long Term Precipitation Trends At Oxford
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Always changing – no trends]
Dust deposition on ice sheets: a mechanism for termination of ice ages?
By Donald Rapp, Climate Etc. Oct 2, 2016
Historical records may underestimate global sea level rise
By Staff Writers, Honolulu HI (SPX), Oct 04, 2016
Link to paper: Are long tide gauge records in the wrong place to measure global mean sea level rise?
By Thompson, Hamlington, Landerer and Adhikari, Geophysical Research Letters, Sep 19, 2016
“The analyzed records have an average 20th century rate of approximately 1.6 mm/yr, but based on the locations of these gauges, we show the simple average underestimates the 20th century global mean rate by 0.1 ± 0.2 mm/yr.”
[SEPP Comment: Recalculated sea level rise about 1.7 cm/decade, 17cm/century; or 7 inches per century. Near Fred Singer’s 1997 estimate.]
How Gaia and Coral Reefs Regulate Ocean pH
Guest essay by Jim Steele, WUWT, Oct 4, 2016
Floating DNA reveals urban shorelines support more animal life
By Staff Writers, Seattle WA (SPX), Oct 04, 2016
[SEPP Comment: At least in the Puget Sound.]
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
The Changing Arctic – November 1922
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Oct 4, 2016
Arctic ice – a historical viewpoint
Guest essay by Roger Graves, WUWT, Sep 23, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Early ice disappearance – 1922]
Climate Zealots Exposed As The Arctic Ice Fails To Melt Away
By Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, Oct 2, 2016
A terrible rift
By Staff Writers, St. Louis, MO (SPX), Oct 04, 2016
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Does Climate Change Cause an Additional 140,000 Deaths a Year?
By Marlo Lewis, Jr. CEI, Oct 4, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Is what were once were called “deaths due to poverty”, are now called “deaths from climate change?”]
Communicating Better to the Public – Do a Poll?
Dueling polls: one says most Americans care deeply about climate change, another says not
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: No reason to expect consistency in climate polls – too often the pollsters ask leading or misleading questions.]
Questioning European Green
Top Environmentalists Aghast As Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ Turns Into A Green Dystopia! By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Oct 4, 2016
Questioning Green Elsewhere
Green dreams will hurt the poor
By Michael Jensen and William Shughart, The Detroit News, Sep 27, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Ineos set to announce Grangemouth expansion following fracking gas influx
By Daniel Sanderson, Herald, Scotland, Oct 2, 2016
Bangladeshi Academics Accuse the West of Blowing Climate Funds on Powerpoint Slide Consultants
Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Oct 5, 2016
The Political Games Continue
Ryan accuses Obama of ‘unlawfully’ joining climate pact
By Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, Oct 5, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
R Street Offers No “Bargain” on Carbon At All
By Robert Murphy, Institute for Energy Research, Oct 3, 2016
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
What Happened In Cuba When The Oil [Subsidies] Ran Out
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Oct 4, 2016
EPA and other Regulators on the March
CAFE Standards Distort Auto Production and Push Jobs South
By Matthew Ruland, NCPA, Sep 26, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
EPA takes surprise steps to increase ethanol in gasoline
By John Siciliano, Washington Examiner, Oct 3, 2016 [H/t Timothy Wise]
US aiming to reach new refrigerant emissions deal
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Now that it is becoming evident by field observations, rather than laboratory observations, that CFCs are not a major cause of the “ozone hole”, the EPA and the UN are claiming HFCs are a global warming chemical, no matter how insignificant their influence on temperatures.]
Energy Issues – Non-US
Nick Butler: Energy Security Focus Turns National
By Nick Butler, Financial Times, Via GWPF, Oct 10, 2016
Keeping energy costs down
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, Oct 7, 2016
Link to report: An examination of National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios – Cost of Supply
By Capell Aris and Colin Gibson, The Scientific Alliance, No Date
[SEPP Comment: In addition to not providing reliable power, the wind and solar plans proposed by the National Grid will be more expensive than building natural gas and nuclear power plants.]
Are Wind Power Costs Falling in the UK?
By John Constable, GWPF, Oct 5, 2016
Link to report: An Examination of National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, Cost of Supply
By Colin Gibson and Capell Aris, The Scientific Alliance, June, 2016?
[SEPP Comment: The capital costs are increasing, not falling, indicating that companies are willing to bid low to get be able to get the job, regardless of the loss. Thus, the contract prices are a poor indicator of actual costs, particularly future costs. The authors of the study conclude that building more gas and nuclear stations would be considerably less expensive than any of the NG [National Grid] scenarios, as well as offering better energy security.]
Cut-throat competition is slashing offshore wind costs to unthinkable levels
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph, UK, Oct 2, 2016
“For years the complaint against offshore wind was prohibitive cost. The new worry is that it is suddenly becoming too beguilingly cheap.”
Cuadrilla Wins Two-Year Fight to Frack for Gas in Britain
By Kelly Gillblom, Bloomberg, Oct 5, 2016
Free to frack – now we’re cooking with gas
By Juliet Samuel, Telegraph, UK, Oct 6, 2016
Energy Issues – Australia
The South Australian Blackout
By Terence Cardwell, Blackjay, Oct 3, 2016 [H/t Quadrant]
“The average price for electricity in South Australia with its 40% renewable energy is over $300 per megawatt hour. The average cost of electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania is around $80.00 per megawatt hour.”
Australian Energy Market Operator report says wind farms were the ultimate cause of blackout, network withstood pylon downings
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 5, 2016
Link to report: Preliminary Report – Black System Event in South Australia on 28 September 2016
By Staff Writers, Australian Energy Market Operator, Oct 5, 2016
Massive Outage Puts Wind In Crosshairs
Editorial, Real Clear Energy, Oct 5, 2016
Wind Farms Undermine Energy Security Australian Govt Warns
By David Crowe, The Australian, Via GWPF, Oct 5, 2016
South Australia’s blackout apparently ‘triggered by the violent fluctuations from the Snowtown wind farms’
Performance of wind farms and fossil fuel powered generators analysed
Guest essay by Tom Quirk, WUWT, Oct 1, 2016
SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 6, 2016
South Australian Blackout. What does the future hold for South Australia?
By Terence Cardwell, Australian Climate Skeptics, Oct 7, 2016
Green Ambition Puts South Australia In The Dark Ages
By Nick Carter, The Australian, Via GWPF, Oct 4, 2016
Blowout Week 144
By Roger Andrews, Energy Matters, Oct 1, 2016
[SEPP Comment: A variety of links, with emphasis on what happened in South Australia.]
Aussie Leader Slams Renewables ‘Obsession’ as Energy Chiefs Meet
By Jason Scott, Bloomberg, Oct 6, 2016
Energy Issues — US
USA Energy Independence Day
By Euan Mearns, Energy Matters, Oct 5, 2016
“The Energy Crisis of the 1970s: Looking Back, Looking Ahead” (Econ 101 needed at RFF seminar)
By Robert Bradley Jr., Master Resource, Oct 4, 2016
The new offshore wind playbook: Inside the feds’ plan to spur 86 GW by 2050
Falling costs and proximity to load centers will make offshore wind a major resource, a new DOE/DOI report predicts
By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive, Oct 6, 2016
Link to report: National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the United States
By Gilman et al, Department of Energy & Golladay, et al. Department of Interior, No Date
[SEPP Comment: This “Robust and Credible Plan for Federal Action” states no advantages to consumers of wind power, except reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, the health hazards of which are greatly exaggerated by the government agencies. The economic benefits are imaginary as compared with fossil fuels.]
Energy Obstructionism Can Be Not-So-Green
By Allen Brooks, Master Resource, Oct 6, 2016
Washington’s Control of Energy
Saudi Arabia Capitulates
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Oct 7, 2016
[SEPP Comment: The Permian is in west Texas and eastern New Mexico and the Stack is in western Oklahoma.]
Pipeline agency issues rule expanding emergency powers
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Oct 4, 2016
[SEPP Comment: How broad and of what duration are these “emergency powers”?]
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield: Lessons Learned from a 40-Year Career
By Deon Daugherty, Rigzone, Sep 23, 2016
“Over the last 70 years, we’ve been going after these little sandstones – they’re very dirty, very silty – and between 10 and 20 feet thick, producing 50 to 100 barrels a day. By going after the source rock, we’re making wells 2,000 to 3,000 barrels a day,”
The Big Cracks in Shale’s Resilience
By Liam Denning Rani Molla, Bloomberg, Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Lifting costs have not fallen as rapidly as price (revenues); thus profits are falling and some companies are in trouble, particularly those companies more dependent on producing natural gas than oil.]
Return of King Coal?
Coal Has a Future
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Oct 4, 2016
Oil Spills, Gas Leaks & Consequences
Series of [East] Texas quakes [tremors] likely triggered by oil and gas industry activity
By Sid Perkins, Science Mag. Sep 22, 2016
“Many studies have already noted the link between wastewater injection wells and swarms of nearby tremors, says Manoochehr Shirzaei, a geophysicist at Arizona State University…”
BP: Let nature run its course with North Sea oil spill
By Daniel J. Graeber, London (UPI), Oct 3, 2016
Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused widespread marsh erosion
By Staff Writers
Durham NC (SPX) Oct 04, 2016
Link to paper: Thresholds in marsh resilience to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
By Brian Silliman, et al. Sep 28, 2016
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Final contracts signed for Hinkley Point C project
By Staff Writers, WNN, Sep 29, 2016
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Advance in low-cost clean energy generation
By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Oct 3, 2016
Link to paper: Concentrating solar thermoelectric generators with a peak efficiency of 7.4%
By Daniel Kraemer, et al. Nature Energy, Sep 19, 2016
Energy & Environmental Newsletter: October 3, 2016
By John Droz, Jr., Master Resource, Oct 3, 2016
The One and Only Texas Wind Boom
Wind power has transformed the heart of fossil-fuel country. Can the rest of the United States follow suit?
By Richard Martin, Technology Review, Oct 3, 2016
Link to Study. Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study
By Staff Aaron Bloom, et al. NREL, August 2016
“…we model how the system could meet electricity demand at a 5 -minute time interval by scheduling resources for known ramping events, while maintaining adequate reserves to meet random variation in supply and demand, and contingency events.
[SEPP Comment: The article is a long puff piece that fails to point out that, in the US, oil is not used for electricity production, except as a last resort, and does not discuss who provides the back-up when wind fails – 5-minute failure intervals are far too long, two seconds may be disastrous.]
World’s Largest Carbon-Capture Plant to Open Soon
Towers will grab gas emitted by a huge coal power plant, but use it to pump oil out of the ground
By Umair Irfan, Scientific American, Oct 4, 2016
“These are very different technologies to start with,” said Howard Herzog, a senior research engineer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative. “The simplest difference is Petra Nova is using pulverized coal and an existing plant. Kemper is using gasification technology, and it’s a new plant.”
[SEPP Comment: Justifying CO2 storage by increasing oil production!]
Health, Energy, and Climate
Globally, About 1 in 4 Human Deaths Are Due to ‘Environmental’ Factors
By Alex Berezow, ACSH, Sep 21, 2016
[SEPP Comment: However ‘environmental’ is defined.]
Glyphosate: A Slow But Steady Vindication
By Alex Berezow, ACSH, Sep 30, 2016
Other Scientific News
ACSH Explains: Autophagy Wins 2016 Nobel Prize for Medicine. What Is It?
By Alex Berezow, ACSH, Oct 3, 2016
Watson and Crick Did Not Discover DNA
By Julianna LeMieux, ACSH, Sep 29, 2016
Other News that May Be of Interest
You Ought to Have a Look: Close-hold Embargos, Scientific Outsiders, and Activists Behaving Badly
By Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Cato, Oct 4, 2016
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
James Hansen: Time to Go CO2 Negative!
By Robert Bradley Jr., Master Resource, Oct 5, 2016
[SEPP Comment: Otherwise we are doomed!]
Former NASA climate chief says fossil industry must pay trillions
By John Sicilian, Washington Examiner, Oct 4, 2016
[SEPP Comment: According to the prophets of doom!]
The Guardian’s “100 Months To Save The World” – Part II
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Oct 3, 2016
[SEPP Comment: The Guardian’s count-down began on July 31, 2008 – 98 months ago.]
1. Paris Climate Treaty to Take Effect in November
President Obama hails chance ‘to save the one planet we’ve got’
By Byron Tau and Amy Harder, WSJ, Oct 5, 2016
SUMMARY: “A climate treaty negotiated by more than 200 countries to cap emissions and curb the global rise in temperatures will go into force in November after the United Nations announced Wednesday the pact had reached the threshold necessary to formally take effect.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement the so-called Paris Agreement would enter into force on Nov. 4.
“The agreement aims to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels through individualized national limits on greenhouse gas emissions, though the deal doesn’t itself achieve that level of emissions cuts. World leaders hope to make more aggressive cuts within the deal in the years to come through the national plans to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The deal doesn’t legally require countries to curb emissions or take other steps on climate change—in the U.S. that would have likely required ratification by the Senate, which President Barack Obama was unlikely to get—but it does require countries to release their targets and report emissions.
“Seventy-three of 197 parties to the convention have ratified, including the U.S. and China, the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters. This week, a number of European countries voted to join the pact, and the European Union voted to move forward as well. Russia, Japan and Australia are among the countries that haven’t.”
2. China’s Corn Mountain
Market forces humble Beijing’s central planners once again.
Editorial, WSJ, Oct 6, 2016
SUMMARY: “Corn prices in China fell more than 20% in the past year, the result of Beijing’s decision to cancel a major subsidy program. That’s good news for farmers as well as consumers, but Beijing still wastes money by the bushel keeping prices of other grains high.
“In 2007 Beijing began buying corn at prices well above the global norm to encourage farmers to grow more, so less would have to be imported as animal feed. Naturally the acreage of land devoted to corn increased dramatically.
“Then market forces had their revenge. Farmers raising pigs, chicken and cattle balked at the high price of corn and switched to substitutes such as barley, sorghum, soybeans and cassava. Much of these feed grains were imported, enriching farmers in the U.S., Australia and elsewhere. Meanwhile, 240 million tons of corn, more than a year’s consumption, piled up in government granaries.”
“The problem of what to do with a mountain of rotting corn remains. State trading companies plan to export some of it, but the U.S. government estimates that China will have to write off $10 billion of spoiled grain.”
[SEPP Comment: Probably will not stop those who claim we are at the brink of starvation due to global warming.]
3. Oil Explorer Claims Major Alaskan Find
Caelus Energy says new field near North Slope could contain up to 2.4 billion barrels of oil
By Russell Gold, WSJ, Oct 4, 2016
SUMMARY: “A little-known energy exploration company said on Tuesday that it has made a world-class oil discovery in remote Alaska, potentially breathing new life into the state’s declining North Slope.
“Caelus Energy LLC, a closely-held firm backed by private-equity fund Apollo Global Management LLC, said it made the oil find in the shallow waters of Smith Bay, about 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
“The company says it expects to be able to extract between 1.8 billion and 2.4 billion barrels from the discovery, probably using barges built along the Gulf Coast, then towed to Alaska and permanently sunk in the bay to create man-made drilling islands.
“If those initial estimates prove to be correct, the discovery would be substantial—larger than Exxon Mobil Corp. ’s 2015 discovery off the coast of Guyana in South America.
“Caelus said it planned to build an $800 million, 125-mile pipeline that will carry the oil underneath state-owned waters to connect with existing pipelines.”
“Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said on Tuesday that the find underscores why it is important that Arctic land remains open to further exploration.
“’In this day and age of technology and regulatory requirements, I am sure it will be done safely,’ he said. ‘We look forward to the discovery being turned into oil in the pipeline.’”
[SEPP Comment: The proposed pipeline snakes along the coastline to the Trans Alaska Pipeline, to stay out of Washington-controlled waters.]