Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President
The Climate Establishment Strikes Back: MIT Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences Richard Lindzen had circulated a petition signed by some 300 scientists calling for the US to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He sent the petition with a letter to President Trump.
In response, twenty-two MIT professors sent a letter to President Trump a stating that they have worked on climate science and disagree with him. This letter cites the claimed future risks from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) including “sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increases in extreme flooding and droughts.”
Newspaper reports on the second letter state the twenty-two defenders of the orthodoxy are accusing Lindzen of “intellectual dishonesty” and accepting “thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel industry. [The fact that government reports show that the US government has spent over $40 Billion on “climate science”, and has failed to provide compelling evidence that CO2 is the dominant cause of late 20th century global warming, is not considered important to the twenty-two professors, some of whom benefited from these expenditures.] Further, the cited risks are based on speculative computer models and not on empirical evidence.
The personal nature of some of the attacks prompted MIT physics Ph.D. Thomas Sheahen to comment: “Once, arguments at MIT were focused on scientific content, never on people.”
On March 9, Lindzen sent a second letter stating:
“For far too long, one body of men, establishment climate scientists, has been permitted to be judges and parties on what the “risks to the Earth system associated with increasing levels of carbon dioxide” really are.
“Let me explain in somewhat greater detail why we call for withdrawal from the UNFCCC.
“The UNFCCC was established twenty-five years ago, to find scientific support for dangers from increasing carbon dioxide. While this has led to generous and rapidly increased support for the field, the purported dangers remain hypothetical, model-based projections. By contrast, the benefits of increasing CO2 and modest warming are clearer than ever, and they are supported by dramatic satellite images of a greening Earth.
· The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) no longer claims a greater likelihood of significant as opposed to negligible future warming,
· It has long been acknowledged by the IPCC that climate change prior to the 1960’s could not have been due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Yet, pre-1960 instrumentally observed temperatures show many warming episodes, similar to the one since 1960, for example, from 1915 to 1950, and from 1850 to 1890. None of these could have been caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2,
· Model projections of warming during recent decades have greatly exceeded what has been observed,
· The modelling community has openly acknowledged that the ability of existing models to simulate past climates is due to numerous arbitrary tuning adjustments,
· Observations show no statistically valid trends in flooding or drought, and no meaningful acceleration whatsoever of pre-existing long term sea level rise (about 6 inches per century) worldwide,
· Current carbon dioxide levels, around 400 parts per million are still very small compared to the averages over geological history, when thousands of parts per million prevailed, and when life flourished on land and in the oceans.
“Calls to limit carbon dioxide emissions are even less persuasive today than 25 years ago. Future research should focus on dispassionate, high-quality climate science, not on efforts to prop up an increasingly frayed narrative of “carbon pollution.” Until scientific research is unfettered from the constraints of the policy-driven UNFCCC, the research community will fail in its obligation to the public that pays the bills.”
The first bullet point may be a bit subtle. Unlike prior reports, the Summary for Policymakers of the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013) does not give projections of likely outcomes but a range of outcomes under different CO2 scenarios (storylines). The relationships between CO2 concentrations and sea level rise, temperature rise, extreme weather events, etc. are yet to be empirically established.
Dealing with temperatures, the lowest values in the range is not a great concern. Yet, based on recent research, even the lowest values may be far too high. The recent research renders the upper values in the ranges, on which alarmists depend, highly doubtful. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy and, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf
Quote of the Week. “No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time.” James Madison, Federalist, 10 [H/t Richard Lindzen]
Number of the Week: 66
Major Climate Model Issues – Curry: The past two TWTWs have discussed the limitations of global climate models (GCMs) as presented by Judith Curry in “Climate Models for the Layman.” There appears to be no inconsistency between the position advanced by Lindzen and the discussion by Curry Her concluding points include:
“The IPCC’s projections of 21st century climate change explicitly assume that carbon dioxide is the control knob for global climate. Climate model projections of the 21st century climate are not convincing because of:
• failure to predict the warming slowdown in the early 21st century
• inability to simulate the patterns and timing of multidecadal ocean oscillations
• lack of account for future solar variations and solar indirect effects on climate
• neglect of the possibility of volcanic eruptions that are more active than the relatively quiet 20th century
• apparent oversensitivity to increases in greenhouse gases.
In her Summary, after stating the possibility that most GCMs may at least double the sensitivity of the climate to CO2, Curry concludes:
“The climate modelling community has been focused on the response of the climate of increased human caused emissions, and the policy community accepts (either explicitly or implicitly) the results of the 21st century GCM simulations as actual predictions. Hence, we don’t have a good understanding of the relative climate impacts of the above or their potential impacts on the evolution of the 21st century climate.” See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
The Kiehl – Trenberth Model: In private correspondence, Australian Meteorologist William Kininmonth expressed his concerns with the widely used Kiehl – Trenberth Model of the Earth’s Annual Global Model Energy Budget, which provides the core for most current global climate models (GCMs). [Previously, the models were called Global Circulation Models.] The topic goes beyond scope of TWTW. But, it is useful to present a few points so that readers will realize that there is serious effort, outside of the entrenched Climate Establishment, to understand why most GCMs significantly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere.
The Kiehl – Trenberth Model was presented in a 1997 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and was an effort to update previous assessments of the annual global mean (average) energy budget. According to the concept, if the energy flow to the earth (solar radiation, sunlight) equals the energy flow from the earth (and its atmosphere) to space, the earth’s temperatures will be stable. If the flow to the earth exceeds the flow from the earth to space, the globe will warm. Conversely, if the flow to the earth is less than the flow from the earth to space, the globe will cool.
The left side of the diagram, linked below, gives the energy flow to the earth – solar radiation. The right side of the diagram gives the energy flow from the earth to space, some of it reflected to the earth by greenhouse gases, “back radiation.” [Since this is an annual global energy budget, energy flows may be change daily for a specific location. What is called “back radiation” may be just a slowing in the flow of the outgoing radiation.]
What is of interest for a future TWTWs is the center of the diagram, the Latent Heat (or latent energy) from Evapo-transportation and, to a lesser degree, Thermals. The latent energy is from phase change of water at the surface evaporating into water vapor, then the energy is released as heat when the water vapor condenses in the atmosphere. This gives rise to the so-called “hot-spot”, which was incorrectly called by B. Santer, et al. the “distinct human fingerprint.”
Any error in the calculations may produce significant errors in climate models over time. Possible errors in calculations will be discussed in the upcoming TWTW. See link under Defending the Orthodoxy and Measurement Issues – Atmosphere.
Energy U-Turn – Oil: After years of price turmoil, it appears that the price of oil may be stabilizing at a world price of about $50 per barrel. A popular misconception about price competition is that producers of a commodity will sell at different prices. However, the theory of price competition articulates there will be a market clearing price. Those producing at far lower costs will sell at the market price, earning sizable profits. There is no reason for them to sell at lower prices. Those producers who cannot sell at the market price will drop out of the market. Entry and exit of firms in the market illustrates price competition, not multiple prices. In general, the consumer benefits by the lowest market clearing prices possible.
The oil ministers of OPEC, such as Saudi Arabia, learned that competitive US shale producers are more resilient than they thought. The efforts to bankrupt the shale producers by selling oil at low prices failed, but resulted in budget difficulties for many OPEC producers. Their national budgets are highly dependent on oil revenues. The fall-out remains to be seen, as well as what will happen to producers in high-cost areas, such as oil-sands of Canada. There is a great deal of speculation on which companies can sell at prices around $50 per barrel. See links under Energy Issues – US and Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Energy U-Turn – Natural Gas: In December, a remarkable event occurred for world-wide consumption of natural gas. Natural gas is a low-density fuel, that can be transported only with significant fixed costs. On land, pipelines are preferred. On water, liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be transported on expensive specialty ships. These require specialized facilities to liquefy the fuel when loading and specialized facilities to re-gasify the fuel when delivering. From the Henry Hub distribution center in Louisiana, the total transportation costs, alone, are estimated to be $4.00 or more per million BTU’s, or roughly twice the cost of the fuel. In general, the specialized facilities call for pricing under fixed, long-term contracts rather than short-term pricing in a “spot market”, or cash market, where the closure of the transaction is immediate, or within a few days or weeks.
According to Bloomberg, in December an LNG tanker on-loaded in Louisiana, passed through the Panama Canal, and headed to Asia. Then, it suddenly made a U-Turn and off-loaded in Manzanillo, Mexico. Apparently, it received a “spot” price for the cargo higher than it expected in Asia. A spot market is a new development, which will have energy analysts re-calculating their models.
Additional developments in the natural gas markets will also have energy analysts busily re-calculating, and consumers benefiting. Natural gas pricing at the key “Henry Hub” is diverging from the traditional oil equivalent pricing, resulting in lower prices. Also, shippers are discovering a ship can be equipped with re-gasification equipment at one-third the costs of building re-gasification facilities on land. Future shipments may not be restricted to LNG re-gasification terminals, but anywhere an appropriate pipeline can be reached. See links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Number of the Week: 66. According to the US Energy information Agency (EIA): “In 2016, EIA began collecting and publishing hourly electricity operating data, including actual and forecast demand, net generation, and electricity interchange between electric systems. The survey includes data from all 66-electric system balancing authorities that make up the Lower 48 U.S. electric grid.”
Even though the web site is a Beta Test Site, those who enjoy watching such data may enjoy watching the “balancing acts” during stormy weather for systems with significant weather-dependent generation facilities. See links under Energy Issues – US.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC
Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate
S. Fred Singer, Editor, NIPCC, 2008
Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models
By S. Fred Singer, SEPP, July 2010
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
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
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Lindzen responds to the MIT letter objecting to his petition to Trump to withdraw from the UNFCC.
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 9, 2017
Link to letter to President Trump
By Richard Lindzen, MIT, Mar 9, 2017
Scott Pruitt’s statement on climate change
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Mar 11, 2017
UNFCCC’s 25-year long process of climate speculation built upon a foundation of conjecture
Guest essay by Lawrence Hamlin, WUWT, Mar 7, 2017
Petitioning EPA to Establish Scientific Bases for Risk-Based Radiation Regulations
By Mark Miller, S.A.R.I. Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information, Mar 5, 2017 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
“Currently they [radiation regulations] are based on the outdated and demonstrably false Linear No-Threshold model (LNT) rather than on more recent evidence based science.”
Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere
By Hermann Harde, Global and Planetary Change, May 2017 [H/t Willie Soon]
End the phony Social Cost of Carbon
The SCC drives war on fossil fuels but relies on faulty analyses that ignore carbon benefits
Guest essay by Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek, WUWT, Mar 6, 2017
Climate Models for the Layman
By Judith Curry, GWPF, 2017
Prepared Testimony to House Committee on Science, Space & Technology
By John Christy, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Feb 2, 2016
On the Existence of a “Tropical Hotspot” & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding
By Wallace, Christy, and D’Aleo, Independent Researchers, August 2016
Defending the Orthodoxy
MIT professors are lobbying Trump — against their former colleague
By David Abel, Boston Globe, Mar 8, 2017
Link to letter to President Trump
By Twenty-two members of the MIT Faculty of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate.
Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget
By Kiehl, J. T. and Trenberth, K. E., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 1997
“Because the net surface heat budget must balance, the radiative fluxes constrain the sum of the sensible and latent heat fluxes which can also be estimated independently.”
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Scott Adams sees through 15 of 20 main alarmists’ tricks, still calls himself a believer
By Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame, Mar 9, 2017
30 New (2017) Scientific Papers Crush The Hockey Stick Graph And ‘Global’-Scale Warming Claims
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Mar 9, 2017
Five Reasons Why Ridicule Is The Proper Response To Global Warming Alarmists
By Kerry Jackson, IBD, Mar 7, 2017
Nixing the Paris climate pact
Simply rolling back Obama environmental rules is not enough
By Christopher Horner, Washington Times, Mar 7, 2017
Change in US Administrations
EPA chief: Carbon dioxide isn’t a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Mar 9, 2017
New EPA Head Stacks Agency With Climate Sceptics
By Carol Davenport, New York Times, Via GWPF, Mar 8, 2017
Senate passes bill ending Obama-era land rule
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Mar 7, 2017
The Clean Power Plan is gone — and there’s no ‘replace’
By Evan Lehmann, E&E News, Mar 9, 2017
“Environmental groups are already promising to sue EPA for failing to comply with its own endangerment finding.”
Science, Policy, and Evidence
Exactly what are scientists marching ‘for’?
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Mar 5, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Curry makes excellent suggestions towards addressing a flawed system.]
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
Effects of Ocean Acidification on Wound Repairs of Porites Corals
Edmunds, P.J. and Yarid, A. 2017. The effects of ocean acidification on wound repair in the coral Porites spp. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 486: 98-104. Mar 8, 2017
Is Natural Variability or Anthropogenic Activity Driving Antarctic Climate?
Jones, J.M., Gille, S.T., Goosse, H., Abram, N.J., Canziani, P.O., Charman, D.J., Clem, K.R., Crosta, X., de Lavergne, C., Eisenman, I., England, M.H., Fogt, R.L., Frankcombe, L.M., Marshall, G.J., Masson-Delmotte, V., Morrison, A.K., Orsi, A.J., Raphael, M.N., Renwick, J.A., Schneider, D.P., Simpkins, G.R., Steig, E.J., Stenni, B., Swingedouw, D. and Vance, T.R. 2016. Assessing recent trends in high-latitude Southern Hemisphere surface climate. Nature Climate Change 6: 917-926. Mar 7, 2017
“Thus, in light of the above, the answer as to whether or not increasing atmospheric CO2 emissions are exerting a discernible influence on high latitude Northern Hemispheric climate is a resounding No! Natural variability is fully capable of explaining the recent trends.”
Three Responses of a Reef-Building Coral to Ocean Acidification
Zhou, G., Yuan, T., Cai, L., Zhang, W., Tian, R., Tong, H., Jiang, L., Yuan, X., Liu, S., Qian, P. and Huang, H. 2016. Changes in microbial communities, photosynthesis and calcification of the coral Acropora gemmifera in response to ocean acidification. Nature Scientific Reports: DOI: 10.1038/srep35971. Mar 6, 2017
Measurement Issues — Atmosphere
Study reveals the atmospheric footprint of global warming hiatus
By Staff Writers, Beijing (SPX), Mar 06, 2017
Atmospheric footprint of the recent warming slowdown
By Bo Liu & Tianjun Zhou, Science Reports, Jan 13, 2017
From the abstract: “The decomposed trends due to physical processes, including surface albedo, water vapour, cloud, surface turbulent fluxes and atmospheric dynamics, reversed the patterns between the two periods. The changes in atmospheric heat transport are coupled with changes in the surface latent heat flux across the lower troposphere (below approximately 800 hPa) and with cloud-related processes in the upper troposphere (above approximately 600 hPa) and were underpinned by strengthening/weakening Hadley Circulation and Walker Circulation during the warming/hiatus period. This dynamical coupling experienced a phase transition between the two periods, reminding us of the importance of understanding the atmospheric footprint, which constitutes an essential part of internal climate variability.”
Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere hit new high
By Devin Henry, The Hill, Mar 10, 2017
“’The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age,’ Pieter Tans, the lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said in a statement.”
[SEPP Comment: Further evidence that CO2 was not the cause of the end of the last Ice Age?]
California storms: Wettest water year, so far, in 122 years of records
By Mark Gomez, Mercury News, Mar 9, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Does not include the great floods of 1861-62]
The coldest winter in a generation for the Pacific Northwest
By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, Mar 11, 2017
Study shows US grasslands affected more by atmospheric dryness than precipitation
By Staff Writers, Stanford CA (SPX) Mar 07, 2017
Link to paper: Sensitivity of grassland productivity to aridity controlled by stomatal and xylem regulation
By A. G. Konings, A. P. Williams & P. Gentine, Nature Geoscience, Mar 6, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Not surprising considering that life survives in the desert with no rain for extended periods.]
The great floods of 1947 [UK]
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 10, 2017
Winter Snow Extent Continues Rising Trend
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 7, 2017
“NH snow cover this winter has been well above average, ranking 9th highest since 1967.”
Was The Younger Dryas Cooling Event Caused By A Cosmic Impact After All?
By Staff Writers, University of South Carolina, Via GWPF, Mar 10, 2017
Link to paper: Widespread platinum anomaly documented at the Younger Dryas onset in North American sedimentary sequences
By Christopher Moore, et al., Nature, Mar 9, 2017
Cold extermination: One of greatest mass extinctions was due to an ice age and not to Earth’s warming
By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Mar 6, 2017
Link to paper: Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms
By Björn Baresel, et al, Scientific Reports, Mar 6, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Research from the South China bloc and the Nanpanjiang Basin.
Claim: The Earth has no thermostat
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 7, 2017
Link to paper: Extreme warmth and heat-stressed plankton in the tropics during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum
By Joost Frieling, et al., Science Advances, Mar 3, 20017
Changing Climate – Cultures & Civilizations
Historical Grape Harvest Dates Show Modern Temperatures No Warmer Now Than Most Of The Last 1,000 Years
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Mar 6, 2017
Veni, vidi, viticulture – remains of Roman vineyards found in UK
By David Keys, Independent, Nov 16, 1999
Study finds massive rogue waves aren’t as rare as previously thought
By Staff Writers, Miami FL (SPX), Mar 09, 2017
Link to paper: The Making of the Andrea Wave and other Rogues
By Mark A. Donelan & Anne-Karin Magnusson, Scientific Reports, Mar 8, 2017
Fault off San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles counties could produce 7.3 earthquake
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 7, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Would make the ones in Oklahoma seem trivial]
Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine
Bangladesh Triples Rice Production with Help of Nuclear Science
By Nicole Jawerth, IAEA, Mar 3, 2017 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Questioning European Green
Industrial Strategy or Political Tactics?
By John Constable, GWPF, Mar 6, 2017
“If Mrs. May is sincerely determined to favour re-industrialisation of the UK economy, removal of coercions favouring costly energy sources over less expensive ones is an essential strategic, long term decision. It would also, as it happens, be very good tactics.”
BASF Executive Calls German Energiewende A “Huge Botch”…Government “Deceiving The Public”
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Mar 4, 2017
German Power Sector In Massive Trauma As Electricity Giant EON Set To Post Colossal €12.4 BILLION Loss!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Mar 10, 2017
Trump Orders EPA To ‘Zero Out’ Global Warming Programs
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Mar 2, 2017
The Political Games Continue
This Bill Would Block EPA From Using ‘Secret Science’ To Write Regulations
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Mar 6, 2017
Court asks Trump lawyers if they’ll defend Obama’s fracking rule
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Mar 10, 2017
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Five Key Reasons to Pull Plug on Wind Subsidies
By Larry Bell, Newsmax, Mar 6, 2017
EPA and other Regulators on the March
At last, EPA’s race-bait gig getting boot
By Cheryl K. Chumley, Washington Times, Mar 10, 2017
Energy Issues – Non-US
Carbon dioxide, pollution and energy policy
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, Mar 9, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Discussing the entire energy mix, not just part of it. Wind power does not guarantee energy security.]
New wind power projects banned in 6 regions [of China]
By Staff Writers, China Daily, Feb 23, 2017 [H/t GWPF]
Energy Issues — US
Government Intervention in the Energy Markets Is the Main Danger, Not CO2
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Mar 9, 2017
U.S. Electric System Operating Data
U.S. electricity demand (Lower 48 states) – Test Site
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Tanker’s U-Turn Shows How Shale Is Changing World Gas Trade
By Naureen Malik, Bloomberg, Mar 8, 2017
“LNG market more fragmented [than in the past] with a spot market akin to oil.”
Up On Trump, Down On Oil, Hamm Warns Frackers Not To Spook OPEC
By Christopher Helman, Forbes, Mar 9, 2017
“Others at CERAWeek have been more bold. Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, the Permian’s biggest producer, predicted Tuesday that output from the basin could grow from 2 million barrels per day now, to 5 million bpd. Scott Sheffield, chairman of Pioneer Natural Resources, another Permian giant, said 8 million to 10 million bpd in a decade. What’s different is that Oxy and Pioneer have a vast inventory of Permian acreage that the companies say offers good cash-on-cash returns even at $40 oil.
“According to Credit Suisse analysts, Continental needs $55 oil in order to break even this year, with that ratcheting up to $65 a couple years from now when the sweet spots are tapped out.”
[SEPP Comment: In shale production, are there “sweet spots”?]
U.S. shale firms lift reserves while oil majors take Canada hit
By Swetha Gopinath and Arathy S Nair, Reuters, Mar 9, 2017
Peak Oil Exports
By Euan Mearns, Energy Matters, Mar 6, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Lengthy post: C+C+NGL are crude + condensate + natural gas liquids]
U.S. Oil Industry Becomes Refiner to World as Exports Boom
By Laura Blewitt and Javier Blas, Bloomberg, Mar 6, 2017
“U.S. companies last year exported a record 3 million barrels a day of refined products, more than double the 1.3 million barrels a day shipped a decade ago, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.”
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Modular Nuclear Reactors
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Mar 10, 2017
China’s First Wastewater Plant Using Radiation Opens
By Miklos Gaspar, IAEA, Mar 7, 2017
“By irradiating the effluent using electron beams, scientists can break these complex chemicals into smaller molecules, which, in turn, can be treated and removed using normal biological processes. Irradiation is done using short-lived reactive radicals than can interact with a wide range of pollutants and break them down.”
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
German company to store US wind energy in batteries in Texas
By Daniel J. Graeber, Essen, Germany (UPI) Mar 3, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Will be interesting to see how it performs – 20 MW of power storage possible. The EIA Texas profile has net summer capacity at 117,144 MW or generation of 449,826,336 MWH.]
Wind Energy Takes Flight In The Heart Of Texas Oil Country
By Ari Shapiro, NPR, Mar 8, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Glosses over the fact that peak demand is summer evenings, when wind is often unavailable.]
Wind Power Blows Through Nuclear, Coal as Costs Drop at Sea
By Jess Shankleman and Brian Parkin, Bloomberg, Mar 9, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Based on predictions of the authors, not performance.]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Vehicles
China Considers Dialing Back or Delaying Electric Car Quota
By Staff Writers, Bloomberg, Mar 5, 2017
[SEPP Comment: New concept of loss-leaders.]
Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Mar 7, 2017
California imports about a quarter of its electricity on average
By Cara Marcy, et al., EIA, Mar 3, 2017
[SEPP Comment: From the Northwest and, to a lesser extent, from the Southwest.]
CO2 Glut Threatens High-Speed Train
By Staff Writer, The Antiplanner – Dedicated to the sunset of government planning, No date [H/t Timothy Wise]
Link to article: California’s cap and trade auction another washout
By Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee, Mar 1, 2017
[SEPP Comment: To add interest, will the next auction include the Golden Gate Bridge?]
Health, Energy, and Climate
We’re All Living Longer, Despite What The Experts Say!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 8, 2017
Other Scientific News
New capabilities on NOAA satellite help predict lightning strikes
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 7, 2017
Other News that May Be of Interest
Why Economists Can’t Forecast
By Robert Samuelson, IBD, Mar 8, 2017
Link to report: Gauging the Uncertainty of the Economic Outlook Using
Historical Forecasting Errors: The Federal Reserve’s Approach
By David Reifschneider and Peter Tulip, Federal Reserve Board, Feb 24, 2017
“Crowd behavior dominated; forecasts bunched together. ‘Differences in accuracy across forecasters are small,’ write Reifschneider and Tulip. Naturally, the further forecasts probed the future, the worse their reliability.”
[SEPP Comment: The first analysis was published in 2007.]
“Earth has shifted” – Inuit elders issue warning to NASA and the world (Video)
By Staff Writers, Natives Press, Feb 8, 2017 [H/t Peter Salonius]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Doctors to blame!
By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions.org, Mar 6, 2017
“They’re meant to be the protectors of our health. But it seems that doctors are contributing to making the planet sick.
“Unnecessary travel to medical conferences around the world is contributing to global warming, according to an editorial in a top medical journal. Writing in this week’s British Medical Journal, Ian Roberts, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and journal’s editor, Fioa Godlee, say that the threat to human health from climate change is substantial.
“Most of the health burden of climate change is borne by children in developing countries.
“’It is ironic that doctors, for whom protecting health is a primary responsibility, contribute to global warming through unnecessary attendances at international conferences,’ they write; saying that evidence that attending conferences lectures improved practice was ‘scant’”. The Age, 17 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by the website
1. Getting to the Bottom of a Climate Crusade
Are investigations by the ‘Green 20’ an effort to intimidate scientific dissenters?
By Lamar Smith, WSJ, Mar 8, 2017
SUMMARY: The Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology writes:
“Transparency for thee, but not for me—that seems to be the motto of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Last year they led a group of their colleagues—dubbed the “Green 20”—in a sweeping initiative to target dissenting views on climate change. Exxon Mobil, for instance, was asked to turn over decades of documents.
“The Green 20 investigations have been criticized as blatantly political. Last year a federal judge overseeing Ms. Healey’s suit against Exxon expressed concern that she may be conducting it in “bad faith.”
“For nearly a year, the congressional committee I lead has been trying to understand the effects of these investigations on scientific research. Unfortunately, the attorneys general have obstructed our inquiry at every turn. Last July, after two months of unanswered requests for information, the committee issued subpoenas to Mr. Schneiderman and Ms. Healey.
“The subpoenas asked for communications between Green 20 offices and environmental activists. This would show the level of coordination in this campaign to harass and silence scientists who challenge prevailing climate-change orthodoxies. The attorneys general have refused to comply, hiding behind vague excuses.
“The committee has not sought information about the investigations of Exxon. Instead, our interest is in discovering how this attempt at intimidation affects federally funded scientific research. Then we may consider changing the law to allow this research to continue.
“The hypocrisy of the attorneys general here is evident—though perhaps understandable. Mr. Schneiderman has accepted nearly $300,000 in campaign donations from environmentalist donors, including members of the Soros family. He has also used the investigation as a way to curry favor with anti-Exxon billionaire Tom Steyer for a potential gubernatorial run, according to the New York Post.
“Perhaps Mr. Schneiderman is afraid of what the House committee might confirm in the course of its investigation. Is he using his public office to advance the priorities of interest groups that support his personal political ambitions?
“The American people deserve to know how Mr. Schneiderman’s and Ms. Healey’s actions affect the nation’s scientific community. By refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, they have shown they have something to hide.
“To borrow their premise, this obstruction is a coverup—and they must be held accountable for their hypocrisy.”
2. We Shouldn’t Always Have Paris
The case for pulling out of Obama’s global climate accord.
Editorial, WSJ, Mar 10, 2017
SUMMARY: The Editorial states:
“President Trump is expected as soon as next week to order the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its Clean Power rule that is blocked by the courts. But the President faces another test of political fortitude on whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
“That’s suddenly uncertain. Mr. Trump promised to withdraw during the presidential campaign, correctly arguing that the accord gave “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.” His transition team even explored strategies for short-cutting the cumbersome, four-year process of getting out of the deal.
“But the President’s is now getting resistance from his daughter, Ivanka, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who are fretting about the diplomatic ramifications. No doubt many countries would object, and loudly, but this risk pales compared to the potential damage from staying in the accord.
“President Obama committed as part of Paris to cutting U.S. emissions by 26% compared with 2005 levels by 2025. Even Mr. Obama’s climate regulatory programs—all imposed without Congressional votes—would only achieve about half that commitment. Mr. Trump is killing those Obama programs, which means the U.S. may not reach that Paris promise. Why stay in an agreement that the Trump Administration has no interest or plan for honoring?
“Another risk is that the U.S. might at some point be coerced into compliance. Mr. Obama joined the accord without congressional assent and endorsed the lengthy withdrawal process precisely to bind future Administrations to his climate priorities. Since Mr. Trump’s election, the international climate lobbies have debated ways to muscle the new Administration to comply.
“These include imposing punitive tariffs on U.S. goods or requiring the U.S. to hit targets in return for other international cooperation. Mr. Tillerson might consider that Paris will be used as leverage against him in future international negotiations.
“Lawyers and domestic environmental groups are also exploring how to use lawsuits to enforce the deal. Greens are adept at finding judges to require environmental regulations that Congress never intended. Such sympathetic judges today pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and include Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in 2007 joined four liberals to redefine the Clean Air Act to cover carbon as a pollutant.
“Remaining in the Paris pact will invite litigation to impose the Paris standards and direct the EPA to impose drastic carbon cuts that would hurt the economy. Energy companies are aware of this threat, and despite Exxon’s recent pledge to pour $20 billion into Gulf Coast facilities, other companies remain wary of U.S. regulation. They will be warier if Mr. Trump looks like he’s waffling on his climate positions.
“Mr. Trump’s best bet is to exit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which could be done in a year and would result in a simultaneous withdrawal from Paris. That would quickly end the litigation risk.”
The editorial brings up some objections including Mr. Tillerson’s statement that the U.S. should have a seat at the table. Then it states:
“America has already done more to reduce CO 2 emissions with its natural-gas fracking revolution than has most of the world. Many of the Paris signers want to use the pact to diminish any U.S. fossil-fuel production. Mr. Tillerson will also be on the back foot in Paris discussions as he tries to overcome his past as an oil company executive.
“The best U.S. insurance against the risks of climate change is to revive economic growth that will drive energy innovation and create the wealth to cope with any future damage—if that day arrives.
“Policy details aside, the worst part of Mr. Obama’s climate agenda was its lack of democratic consent. He failed to persuade either a Republican or Democratic Congress to pass his regulation and taxes. So he attempted to impose that agenda at home through the EPA and abroad via Paris to use international pressure against domestic political resistance. One certainty: The diplomats at Turtle Bay and in Brussels didn’t vote for Donald Trump.” [Boldface added.]
3. We Thought We Would Hit Your Sweet Spot
George Shultz and James Baker, each a former secretary of the Treasury and of the State Department, take issue with the Journal’s Feb. 25 editorial “The Carbon Tax Chimera.”
By George Shultz and James Baker, former Secretaries of State and Treasury, WSJ, Mar 9, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Ronald Reagan promised a simplification of the tax code and lower tax rates in exchange for lowering spending. The President delivered, Congress did not. Subsequent administrations and Congresses significantly complicated the tax code with “special tax incentives”, etc. Apparently, Messrs. Shultz and Baker did not read Mr Reagan’s published, personal correspondence.]
SUMMARY: The former Secretaries write:
“It’s hard to believe that the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal would oppose a conservative, free-market, revenue-neutral, limited-government, internationally competitive approach to the potential threat of climate change that would eliminate the heavy hand of government regulation by the EPA—and is supported by many of America’s major oil- and gas-producing companies. But that’s exactly what the board did in its Feb. 25 editorial “The Carbon Tax Chimera.”
The authors assert executives of oil companies support of energy revenue-neutral taxes as examples of energy company support. The authors ignore coal companies and utilities dependent on coal. They conclude:
“We would have thought that a conservative, free-market, revenue-neutral, limited-government, internationally competitive, carbon-control proposal would be right in The Wall Street Journal’s sweet spot, unless of course the Journal does not agree that there is a potential threat of climate change.”