Great News! “The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia”

Guest post by David Middleton

Note: The original version of this article included a significant error.  The post has now been edited accordingly (DHM 3/21/2017).

Grauniad_Dumbass

On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

Wrong.

The event’s sponsor was Shell Oil Company. The producer of the film series was Shell. The film’s director is Vice President of a family-owned oil and gas company, and has taken approximately $300,000 from Shell. The host, Harvard Kennedy School, has received at least $3.75 million from Shell. And the event’s panel included a Shell Executive Vice President.

The film “The Great Transition” says natural gas is “clean” (in terms of carbon emissions, it is not) and that low-carbon, renewable energy is a “very long time off” (which is a political judgment, not a fact). Amy Myers Jaffe, identified in the film as the Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, says, “We need to be realistic that we’re gonna use fossil fuels now, because in the end, we are.” We are not told that she is a member of the US National Petroleum Council.

The film also features Richard Newell, who is identified as a Former Administrator at the US Energy Information Administration. “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims. The film neglects to mention that the Energy Initiative Newell founded and directed at Duke University was given $4 million by an Executive Vice President of a natural gas company.

[…]

The Grauniad

Well… I guess this is not great news from the perspective of the Grauniad’s 97% Consensus Team and the two history department grad student who wrote this nonsensical article.

“You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims.

Now, the reduction isn’t quite 50%; it’s more like 45-49%.  However, there is no reason to account for the minuscule volume of methane that may or not be released in the production, transportation and consumption of natural gas.

In the chart below, I have plotted the following:

  1. Annual CO2 emissions from the burning of 100% of U.S. natural gas production.
  2. Annual ΔCO2 (coal minus natural gas) emissions assuming all of the natural gas was replacing coal consumption.
  3. Annual U.S. CH4 emissions from total U.S. energy production in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
CH4vsCO2

Note: Right vertical axis should be thousands of MT (MMT), just like the left vertical axis.  If 11all of U.S. methane emissions were due to the production, transportation and consumption of natural gas, it would equal about 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions averted by switching from coal to natural gas.  Primary vertical axis is thousands of MT.  Secondary vertical axis is MT.  Note that the CH4 emissions are on the secondary vertical axis.  If I plotted them on the same axis, they would be indistinct from zero-point-zero.  Se bottom of post for CO2 and CH4 plotted on common vertical axis.

Even if I assume that all of the CH4 emissions from U.S. energy production came from natural gas (they don’t), it totals just 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions averted by switching from coal to natural gas.   If all of the natural gas was offsetting coal, the averted emissions would be 1,235 MMT CO2/yr. According to the EPA, the natural gas component of methane emissions is 176 MMT CO2eq/yr.   This  doesn’t undermine the claim that “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” because coal operations also emit about 90 MMT CO2eq of methane per  year.   Accounting for the methane, so… “You can get 43% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas.”

Now, back to the idiotic article…

Fossil fuel interests – oil, gas, and coal companies, fossil-fueled utilities, and fossil fuel investors – have colonized nearly every nook and cranny of energy and climate policy research in American universities, and much of energy science too. And they have done so quietly, without the general public’s knowledge.

For comparison, imagine if public health research were funded predominantly by the tobacco industry. It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to understand the folly of making policy or science research financially dependent on the very industry it may regulate or negatively affect. Harvard’s school of public health no longer takes funding from the tobacco industry for that very reason. Yet such conflicts of interest are not only rife in energy and climate research, they are the norm.

The Grauniad

I don’t have to “imagine”…

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was entered in November 1998, originally between the four largest United Statestobacco companies (Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard – the “original participating manufacturers”, referred to as the “Majors”) and the attorneys general of 46 states. The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco-related health-care costs, and also exempted the companies from private tortliability regarding harm caused by tobacco use.[1]:25 In exchange, the companies agreed to curtail or cease certain tobacco marketing practices, as well as to pay, in perpetuity, various annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses. The money also funds a new anti-smoking advocacy group, called the American Legacy Foundation, that is responsible for such campaigns as The Truth. The settlement also dissolved the tobacco industry groups Tobacco Institute, the Center for Indoor Air Research, and the Council for Tobacco Research. In the MSA, the original participating manufacturers (OPM) agreed to pay a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement.

Wikipedia

Setting aside the fact that this is a prime example of a false analogy fallacy and thoroughly moronic… The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was used to fund at least a fair bit of public health research.

Back to the Grauniad nonsense…

One way or another, the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry must be confronted. Because when our nation’s “independent” research to stop climate change is in fact dependent on an industry whose interests oppose that goal, neither the public nor the future is well served.

Dr. Benjamin Franta is a PhD student in the Department of History at Stanford University, an Associate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a former Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has a PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University.

Dr. Geoffrey Supran is a Post Doctoral Associate in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. He has a PhD in Materials Science & Engineering from MIT.

The Grauniad

Way back in the Pleistocene (late 1970’s), when I was getting my B.S. degree in Earth Science at Southern Connecticut State College (now University, “that fine oil school” in the words of the president of the first oil company I worked for), our department chairman and at least one other geology professor had oil industry experience.  A lot of what they taught me is still relevant today.

The notion that academia should confront “the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry” is mindbogglingly stupid.  The colonization which should be confronted and eradicated is that of “invasive species.”  Energy education departments are usually dominated by people with little or no practical energy industry experience (AKA invasive species).  And the “the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry” is nothing new.  Who the hell do these morons think funds programs like this?

Allied Geophysical Laboratories (AGL)The mission of the Allied Geophysical Laboratories (AGL) is to create and apply new geophysical means of imaging and understanding the subsurface. AGL is particularly dedicated to conscientious resource discovery and recovery. Faculty members work with the energy industry, professional societies, and other institutions to develop advanced technologies and help in educating the next generation of geoscientists. AGL uses scaled laboratory measurements, field surveys, numerical modeling, and digital processing to develop novel methods of subsurface analysis.

University of Houston

The fossil-fracking-fuel industry funds it!!!

The fossil fuel industry and professional societies (which are also funded by the industry) fund relevant energy education programs because… geoscientists, engineers and other energy professionals don’t live forever.

Data Sources

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9050us2a.htm

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=73&t=11

https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/inventoryexplorer/#iallsectors/methane/inventsect/current

 

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89 thoughts on “Great News! “The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia”

  1. Replace “Tobacco Industry” with Governments with an Agenda and what do you get, the sort of corruption we see today.

    • But they missed “invisible colonization” by the fossil fuels industries of the transportation, electrical supply, construction, basic materials … and almost everything else.

    • BTW, natural gas power plants emit about 70% less carbon dioxide than coal power for the same electrical generation because of their higher efficiency. Combined cycle natgas power plants hit 60% energy efficiency – compared with 40% for the most fancy coal power plants. And natural gas wells probably leak less methane than coal mining for the same energy output. That does not matter for us – we understand that CO2 is not pollution but plant fertilizer, and methane release is tiny in both cases. But any honest climate alarmist groups should definitely prefer natural gas exploration and production.

      Of course, an “honest climate alarmist group” is an oxymoron.

    • Many years ago in the hanger full of helicopters I was standing next to a work bench when a group of academic passengers walked by, one pointed to the bench and asked his fellow passengers, whats that ? On the bench was a adjustable Wrench, one of the 4 Dr, Prof, Dr. replied,” some part of a Helicopter ”
      I have always wondered since were they joking with me?

  2. Annual U.S. CH4 emissions from total U.S. energy production in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

    Just exactly what does that mean? Equivalent How?

    • Carbon dioxide equivalent is a measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential. For example, the global warming potential for methane over 100 years is 21. This means that emissions of one million metric tons of methane is equivalent to emissions of 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

      https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=285

  3. We must defend against opposing views and an open debate said the hero of our tale. Maybe this fellow hasn’t heard the bible story of the splinter and the log. As long as the funding is transparent it is not a problem in the real world. Engaging fanatics is futile. Shell should direct more funding to exposing them.

    • troe

      Whoa! Wait a minute – I have a problem with government funding. Those bas**rds have demonstrated decades of bias, lack accountability and willingness to suborn unconstitutional behavior.

      I don’t care how “transparent” government funding is – it’s corrupt.

  4. Let’s run a little thought experiment. I am going to provide all of the data and I can do it without consulting any big book of statistics, any news source, or any web site. Here is the experiment. Randomly pick an institution of higher learning. How about, uh, Harvard. Now answer this question. What percentage of the funding of this institution over its history was provided by economical activities that would now be anathema to the liberal elite in academia?

    I am thinking of a number that is pretty close to 100%. For it is a fact that such institutions are, economically speaking, products of booming economies. In booming economies, some people get very rich. In fact, the better the economy, the more rich people there will be. These people have all of the money they need or want to support them in luxury, and so they donate what is left over to worthy causes, like universities. If you take away the booming economy, you also take away the donations, and you have no institutions of higher learning. And what makes booming economies possible? Cheap, abundant energy.

    Sorry, libs. You cannot get away from it. Your renewables are not going to make that fact go away. And renewables aren’t going to change anything.

    However, I would argue that if by some miracle humankind figures out a way to support booming economies with renewables, then the economic power would shift to those enterprises that provide the energy. Nothing changes. It’s not fossil fuel. Now it’s solar, which sucks up incredible amounts of land and kills birds by the millions. And/or it’s wind turbines that also require large areas of land, kill birds, and mar the landscape with big windmills and piles of junk.

    These energy companies would become centers of political power, just like the fossil fuel industry. We are already seeing this. The wind industry is becoming politically powerful. In my state the governor and congress are tiptoeing around the issue of reducing subsidies for wind turbines, because the land-owners of the land on which the turbines are built are enjoying the lease money they are receiving that would go away when the subsidies go away. Same goes for that other scam, ethanol. The corn ethanol lobby is a growing political power. not so much in my state, but in the big corn-growing states.

    Libs, you just cannot get away from the FACT that political power flows out of economic power. The good news for you is that you will always have these bad guys to fight, so you won’t ever have to suffer for want of something to do.

  5. David Middleton:

    Thanks for drawing attention to the daft Grauniad article. But the ethos promoted by the article is not new and is standard BBC practice.

    The BBC obtains what it calls “balance” concerning fossil fuel usage by e.g.
    (a) having a WWF spokesperson oppose usage of fossil fuels then
    (b) ‘balancing’ that with a Greenpeace spokesperson claiming the WWF representative did not go far enough in opposing usage of fossil fuels.

    Richard

    • “richardscourtney March 20, 2017 at 8:24 am

      David Middleton:

      Thanks for drawing attention to the daft Grauniad article.”

      I am glad to see you recognise left leaning media are “daft”. Maybe you could extent that observation beyond just the media.

      • Patrick MJD:

        Your wrongly suggest that I accept your untrue assertion that “left leaning media are “daft””.
        No! I said an article in the Grauniad is daft, and you have applied the logical fallacy of “generalising from the specific” which is often called the “Sweeping Generalisation Fallacy”.

        Your post is daft because it adopts that logical fallacy. If that logical fallacy were applied to your post then it would say all your posts are fallacious because your post I am answering is fallacious. Of course, most of your posts (including the one I am answering) are fallacious, but you do occasionally make a post that is not daft. Indeed, if I had never seen a post from you that is not daft then that would not mean you never will make a post that is not daft.

        Richard

        PS I hope this reply to you has shown you that you should avoid trying to be clever.

      • “richardscourtney March 21, 2017 at 2:09 am”

        Do you get enjoyment from insulting people who are different?

  6. I think we should end the colonization of academia by extreme leftists. We should do this by discharging their employees, dissolving the colleges, liquidating their assets, and applying the net amount to the Federal deficit.

    • Plan B: Remove the government subsidy and let end consumers (parents & prospective students) make the decision of “is going to XYZ University worth it?”.

  7. For any person who has gone to college, graduated, worked in the real world, and then returned to college for a supplemental degree, their state is not surprising. The level of ignorance about how the real world works is the mind boggling part. That those in academia who seek to deny reality and live in their ivory towers, it is totally predictable.

    But as the previous article pointed out – how many have forsaken their dependence on fossil fuels to support their jihad mentality concerning its effects? I bet both drive old clunkers and crank that AC (or heat) up when the weather is not conducive to their fragile existence.

    • To protect themselves from contradiction, they proclaim that anyone who challenges them using real world experiences has been contaminated by the commercial world, so their opinions must be discarded.

      • “Fake problems are kind of comforting, aren’t they? They’re entirely within your control. After all, you invented them. You get to be the hero of a dramatic struggle with absolutely no risk of failure or setback, because, well, it’s all a f*cking joke in the first place.”

    • I always figured that Rodney Dangerfield’s lecture to the business class in “Back to School” was more documentary than comedy:

      “First of all you’re going to have to grease the local politicians for the sudden zoning problems that always come up. Then there’s the kickbacks to the carpenters, and if you plan on using any cement in this building I’m sure the teamsters would like to have a little chat with ya, and that’ll cost ya. Oh, and don’t forget a little something for the building inspectors. Then there’s long term costs such as waste disposal. I don’t know if you’re familiar with who runs that business but I assure you it’s not the Boy Scouts.”

  8. Well there we have it: there is undoubtedly substantial fossil fuel industry funding going into the opposition to climate change.

    That is undeniable.

    So are they doing that out of an altruistic desire to see honest science, or to advance their own profits?

    Because big oil and coal companies have a track record of honesty and not trying to reduce pollution etc controls to protect profits, right?

    And this fossil money exceeds vastly any from green organisations.

    I submit climate skepticism is the poison fruit of the poison tree…

    • Try to follow along…

      Fossil Fuel Industry: “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas.” 45-49% is effectively 50%.

      Dimwit Academics: “The fossil fuel shills ignore the methane leaks that undermine such claims.”

      “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims.

      Now, the reduction isn’t quite 50%; it’s more like 45-49%.  However, there is no reason to account for the minuscule volume of methane that may or not be released in the production, transportation and consumption of natural gas.

      In the chart below, I have plotted the following:

      1. Annual CO2 emissions from the burning of 100% of U.S. natural gas production.
      2. Annual ΔCO2 (coal minus natural gas) emissions assuming all of the natural gas was replacing coal consumption.
      3. Annual U.S. CH4 emissions from total U.S. energy production in metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
      CH4vsCO2

      If all of U.S. methane emissions were due to the production, transportation and consumption of natural gas, it would equal about 0.027% of the greenhouse gas emissions averted by switching from coal to natural gas.  Primary vertical axis is thousands of MT.  Secondary vertical axis is MT.  Note that the CH4 emissions are on the secondary vertical axis.  If I plotted them on the same axis, they would be indistinct from zero-point-zero.  Se bottom of post for CO2 and CH4 plotted on common vertical axis.

      Even if I assume that all of the CH4 emissions from U.S. energy production came from natural gas (they don’t), it totals just 0.027% of the greenhouse gas emissions averted by switching from coal to natural gas.

      45% – 0.027% = 45%
      49% – 0.027% = 49%
      50% – 0.027% = 50%

      Now, try taking another crack at identifying the liars.

      • No business or industry could out-spend the Gorebots’ enablers.

        Unlike governments, academia and nonprofit organizations, businesses are legally bound to protect the fiduciary interests of their owners/shareholders. Spending large sums of shareholders’ money for purposes not directly related to increasing shareholder value is not consistent with this fiduciary responsibility. The purpose of a business is to generate a profitable return for its owners/shareholders.

        Governments, academia and nonprofit organizations are free to spend every bit of their income on AGW propaganda. Furthermore, governments have the power to confiscate business earnings and spend it on AGW propaganda.

        Brulle (2013) found that 91 climate change counter-movement (CCCM) organizations had a combined annual income of about $900 million/yr, with $64 million/yr coming from “foundation support” (AKA industries).

        Climatic Change
        February 2014, Volume 122, Issue 4, pp 681-694
        Date: 21 Dec 2013

        Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations

        Robert J. Brulle

        This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. Utilizing IRS data, total annual income is compiled for a sample of CCCM organizations (including advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations). These data are coupled with IRS data on philanthropic foundation funding of these CCCM organizations contained in the Foundation Center’s data base. This results in a data sample that contains financial information for the time period 2003 to 2010 on the annual income of 91 CCCM organizations funded by 140 different foundations. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.   LINK

        The total average annual income of 91 “CCCM” organizations was ~$900 million from 2003-2010. An average of $64 million per year of that total came from philanthropic foundations. About 5% of the $64M/yr came from Koch affiliated foundations and about 1% came from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

        The CCCM’s include the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Cato and just about every pro-business libertarian/conservative think tank in the US. While all of these organizations devote at least a fraction of their resources to protecting the US economy from Gorebots, greenhadists and enviromarxists, the only ones primarily focused on the AGW fraud are Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which receive a whopping 2-3% of ~$64 million per year from as many as 140 different foundations.

        The Natural Resources Defense Council is totally dedicated to the imposition of Enviromarxism in the USA and religiously devoted to the AGW myth. Their annual income ($100 million) is more than the combined income of the American Enterprise Institute ($45 million), Cato Institute ($29 million), Heartland Institute ($5) and Competitive Enterprise Institute ($6 million).

        The Columbia Earth Institute (AKA Enviromarxism) has an annual budget of ~$130 million…

        In the 21st century, the preeminent need of our economy and society is to solve the problem of global sustainability…

        […]

        The problem with the modern university is that it is organized around disciplinary fields, like biology and economics, or professional skills, such as engineering and law. While public policy schools have brought together many fields to attempt to solve policy problems, and business schools have done the same in attempting to train business leaders, both lack the grounding in sciences and engineering needed to address the issues of global sustainability. What is needed is a new form of academic organization that is university-wide, with the mission of institutionalizing interaction among all of these fields to address the problems of global sustainability.

        The Earth Institute is precisely that: a new form of academic institution that integrates the knowledge base of the 21st century university to address the problems of global sustainability. Its mission is to develop programs of research, education, outreach and practical application of knowledge to address the critical issue of global sustainability.

        […]

        The Institute is not a school, and does not grant degrees, but has partnered with schools to create and in many cases manage educational programs. These educational programs include non-degree programs of adult and executive education, but they also include the following degree programs:

        • Undergraduate major in Sustainable Development,
        • PhD in Sustainable Development,
        • MS in Sustainability Management,
        • MPA in Environmental Science and Policy,
        • MPA in Development Practice, and
        • MA in Climate and Society

        LINK

        $130 million per year to teach liberal arts majors to sound “sciencey” when spouting Enviromarxist psychobabble.

        Our Federal government spends at least $12 billion (more like $21 billion) on the AGW myth.   Here’s the just “tip of the climateberg”…

        Federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation has increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to $11.6 billion in 2014, with an additional $26.1 billion for climate change programs and activities provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. As shown in figure 1, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reported federal climate change funding in three main categories since 1993:

        technology to reduce emissions,
        science to better understand climate change, and
        international assistance for developing countries.

        Figure 1: Reported Federal Climate Change Funding by Category, 1993-2014

        http://www.gao.gov/key_issues/climate_change_funding_management/issue_summary

        While the billions spent by Enviromarxist terrorist groups (NRDC, WWF, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc.), academia and government pushing the AGW fraud are at least an order of magnitude larger than CCCM spending, the cost of mostly pointless regulations is at least 3 orders of magnitude (1,000 times) greater than CCCM spending.

        Then there’s the matter of those escalating climate-premised EPA regulation costs that are killing businesses and jobs under cover of the Clean Air Act. These rampant overreaches are being justified by the agency’s Endangerment Finding proclaiming CO2 to be a pollutant. The finding ignored a contrary conclusion in EPA’s own “Internal Study on Climate” that: “Given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.”

        The Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with such regulations costs the U.S. economy more than $1.75 trillion per year — about 12%-14% of GDP, and half of the $3.456 trillion Washington is currently spending. The Competitive Enterprise Institute believes the annual cost is closer to $1.8 trillion when an estimated $55.4 billion regulatory administration and policing budget is included. CEI further observes that those regulation costs exceed 2008 corporate pretax profits of $1.436 trillion; tower over estimated individual income taxes of $936 billion by 87%; and reveal a federal government whose share of the entire economy reaches 35.5% when combined with federal 2010 spending outlays.  LINK

        The Gorebots demonstrate even more mental deficiency when they babble on about ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and “the fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia” than they do when they babble about the 97% consensus supporting their 95% failed hypothesis.

      • BTW, coal power plants have a unique advantage over all other power plants: they are resilient to terrorism, sabotage, and even acts of war. Natural gas power plants rely on vulnerable pipeline infrastructure. Both hydro- and nuclear power plants are difficult to attack, but a successful attack may cause very large damage.

    • It really is amazing how Griff believes he can get away with telling lies, just be repeating them often enough.

      Do global warming “scientists” do what they do out of altruistic motives, or do they do what they do in order to protect their phoney baloney jobs?

      Can Griff point to an instance when the oil companies have lied regarding this issue, or does he once again just assume that any fact that doesn’t fit the narrative must be false?

      GreenPeace alone contributes many times what the oil companies do, and they are dwarfed by government “contributions”.

      I submit that Griff is so allergic to reality that he has to come to assume that the truth is now poison.

      • $130 million per year to teach liberal arts majors to sound “sciencey” when spouting Enviromarxist psychobabble.

        “The term physics envy is a phrase used to criticize modern writing and research of academics working in areas such as “softer sciences”, liberal arts, business studies and humanities. The term argues that writing and working practices in these disciplines have overused confusing jargon and complicated mathematics, in order to seem more ‘rigorous’ and like mathematics-based subjects like physics.”

    • Well there we have it:

      Yep, academia is nothing more that a bunch of w h o r e s, and will take money from anyone

    • Still toiling for the Grauniad egriff

      What is it, about 7 years now and no promotion. Must try harder.

    • Griff

      Even a casual glance at government performance in the “honesty” department should cause grave concern about accuracy & truthfulness. Examples include Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, Post-WW2 “paperclip” Nazi entry program, Vietnam war…that’s some pretty nasty stuff…need I go on?

      Obviously you accept that industry funding is 100% poison fruit; well, so is government funding. The best way to resolve this is good science, which is the last thing alarmists want (you guys can’t even accurately record actual temperature records).

    • By far the biggest funders of CACA fr@ud are governments and foundations. The amount spent by the fuel industry on climate research is minuscule by comparison. Although Mickey Mann was happy to take their blood money.

    • Griff I submit that you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. You have no standing to provide any information on the motivations of funders who earn their living in the energy sector. You have incorrectly assumed without evidence that all that fossil fuel industry funding, as you call it, goes into ‘the opposition to climate change’.

      Just to put this as clearly as possible, you are asserting that fossil fuel industry(s) are, according to you, funding opposition to climate change. I believe I am quoting you correctly.

      It is the likes of the BBC, the Potsdam Institute, the EPA, the wind turbine industry, the solar PV panel industry, the electric car industry and a host of climate alarmists who are working frantically calling for other people’s money to be spent ‘in opposition to climate change’. They are trying to get the world to spend, spend, spend trillions more dollars to block, avoid, avert, prevent and oppose climate change. The sheer stupidity of this endeavour, opposing changes in the climate, has no contemporary parallel for sheer lunacy, save perhaps the plan, still under way, to make the entire global economic system function on fiat currencies with no connection to actual, material, value. That will, in the end, cost more than the vain imaginations of the climate alarm crowd.

      Some people think Griff is a bot of some sort. Your comment above proves you are not. Bots are programmed by people who have a clue and know how to write sentences correctly reflecting their bias.

      Before you dig any deeper holes, apologize to Susan the Poley Bear Lady for your absolutely baseless attack on her expertise. You should extricate yourself from one sandal before initiating another.

    • Intentional ignorance is the poison fruit of the poison tree. Green trees are excepted. Only standing deadwood need apply.

    • “I submit climate skepticism is the poison fruit of the poison tree…”

      You can submit whatever you like, you supporter of the killing of bats, birds, the poor, the sick and the elderly in support of the filthy lies you propagate to earn your beer money, but it doesn’t make it true.

      Truly, I don’t understand how the likes of you manage to sleep at night.

    • I submit the alarmists have gone off their trolley! Over at Dr. Curry’s blog, we have Steven Mosher linking to an OP-ED piece as “proof” the null hypothesis has been disproven. Here we have his clown alter ego finding a penny and claiming that is “proof” of a conspiracy.

      The Trump presidency is going to be a lot of fun as the hysterical folks heads explode.

  9. Is there a single person in the climate blogging field that doesn’t take money from the government or alternate energy?

  10. And then there is this: “…renewable energy is a “very long time off” (which is a political judgment, not a fact).” Sorry, but it’s actually a fact. No one has conceived of a way to make reliable 24-7 electricity, which our way of life absolutely requires, out of solar and/or wind power without fossil or nuclear energy. There has to be a way to fill in the windless, sunless periods. Batteries can’t do it, pumped storage can’t do it, flywheels can’t do it, and so on. Fossil can do it, but the resulting release of CO2 is greater than if fossil was doing it all in the first place. The only way known on earth at this time to make CO2 free electricity is nuclear energy and there are proven ways to use it to make electricity indefinitely. Just a few facts.

    • I don’t doubt your claim but do you have a link to a study showing how wind and solar increase CO2 emissions?

    • It will be funny if and when the fossil fuels actually do run out and the world has to go to nuclear. Then they can look back at all of this wasted time time and money knowing that the simple math showed this path all along. I’m guessing this will start in earnest in 50-100 years. Of course, most coastal cities will be underwater by then and most everybody will be living in Canada and Siberia (the ones that haven’t succumbed to anthrax yet, anyway) so they may require fewer reactors.

  11. Good morning David Middleton
    Did you happen to take look at the degree lists for these two? At a first glance they seem well educated, at universities anyway.

    Dr. Benjamin Franta is a PhD student in the Department of History at Stanford University, an Associate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a former Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has a PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University.

    Dr. Geoffrey Supran is a Post Doctoral Associate in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. He has a PhD in Materials Science & Engineering from MIT.

    Franta is an Associate at Harvard Engineering etc. But has he ever worked in the field? In any of his degrees? It appears that he does nothing but go from one College to another collecting them.

    Zero experience. Same for Supran. Both are Professional Students.

    Look, all of us who have worked in industries know there is a learning curve, no matter where you go.

    You learn the most in the first two -three years. Then you either stagnate or move to new challenges. Different companies have their own set ways of doing things.
    These two have never gone through that. In each field their learning stopped like a door slamming closed. No farther input, no cross fertilization.

    Anyone who has ever been saddled with the “new” guy fresh out of school thinking he knows it all and a walking disaster to all around him. Yes all of us were once that person in our youth. These two have never moved beyond that. They may blather along about saving the world and all, but they have no experience in crunch mode, crises, or have someone look at you to keep a production line from stopping.

    Nor has anyone ever trusted them with the authority to pick up a phone and say “shut everything down”

    I have done this, as have many of you, and all of us know the feeling is crushing, not self satisfying.

    Okay, off my soap box.

    michael

    • Though apparently if you write on climate change and polar bears that level of (non)experience is absolutely OK…

      • Griff,

        It’s not a matter of writing about things. It’s a matter of doing things…

        Fossil Fuel Industry: “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas.” The actual reduction is about 45-49%, which is effectively 50%.

        Dimwit Academics: “The fossil fuel shills ignore the methane leaks that undermine such claims.”

        The methane leaks amount to less than 0.027% of the GHG emissions reduction in switching from coal to natural gas. It’s actually probably closer to 0.0% because some of the methane emissions from energy production are from coal operations.

  12. You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims

    You’d think that these people would at least bother to learn something about the fossil fuels that they appear to have such an intensely emotional dislike of. The amount of methane leaks from oil/gas production is miniscule compared with the amount of methane that leaks out of coal as it’s being mined. It’s what makes underground coal mines dangerous, and it’s why they used to have canaries in coal mines Remember – canaries – coal mines? The little yellow tweeters would fall of their perches and die when they got a whiff of methane or carbon monoxide. Now, of course we have electronic canaries that are a lot more sensitive, but that’s no help against sudden explosive discharges of methane, which can ignite if they bang sandstone chunks against steel tools and make a spark, and then it’s bye-bye miners (usually in China, these days).

    The coal-bed methane industry actually started as a safety measure, to draw as much gas as possible from a coal seam before it was mined. In those days, the gas was just let into the atmosphere, or flared off. Now of course it’s captured and sold. But, the thing is, capturing methane from a single wellbore is way more efficient than trying to capture methane from a large coal deposit, so there’s no doubt that far more CH4 leaks from coal deposits (including many that have had no mine development), than from oil or gas wells.

    That’s an undocumented (and probably undocumentable beyond educated guesses) part of “carbon” emission reduction that comes from the switch from coal to gas.

    This is one small area that I happen to have knowledge of, and the author(s) could not be more wrong. No doubt there are other errors of fact, but I stick to what I know. That’s because I’m a scientist (doing applied science in the private sector). Those people doing their advocacy and activism are “climate scientists”, which is a different thing altogether. In climate science, the conclusions come first, and name-calling replaces informed discussion.

  13. ‘ the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry must be confronted’ – sounds like an admission that the 97% consensus is a bit of a fraud….

    • It’s not a fraud. It’s a 96.7% model-derived extrapolation from 0.3% of the observations… /Sarc

  14. I qupte: “The film “The Great Transition” says natural gas is “clean” (in terms of carbon emissions, it is not) and that low-carbon, renewable energy is a “very long time off” (which is a political judgment, not a fact). ”

    First, natural gas or any otherfissil fuel will produce carbon dioxide which is the ultimate polluter to warmists. It so happens that the reason ity is supposed to pollute – warming up the aur with its greenhousde effect – does not even exist. Check any geological time chart and you will discover these facts:

    First, in the Cambrian, 500 million years ago. the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 7000 ppm. Abd global te,perature? it was 22 degrees Celsius. Bear in mind that 7000 p[pm is is 175 times 400, our presend carbon dioxide level,

    Now, move from Cambrian to Cretatopus, 400 mi;;ion years closer to us. Carbon dioxide by now is down to 1000 ppm and still dropping. That amount is actually 25 times of our present anount of 400 ppm. And the corresponding global temperature? Still 22 degrees Celsius. Do you notice that global temperature on geological time scale absolutely brefuses to take notice what carbon dioxide is doing? If carbon dioxide is doing its greenhousewarming stuff, global temperature simply does nod care. It may not veven exist, which is whawt I think this means.

    Now let’s get closer to today. Carbon dioxide in the Holocene is dowen to 280 ppm, our pre-industrial value. And global temperature is down a bit, meaning 12degrees Celsius. But woould’nt bit be intereswting to figure out what is ahead, likre all those models do?

    If uou assume thatthe carbon dioxide drop those few samples represent will continue in the future you come op with a cprediction of 250 ppm two million years from now. This just happens to be the photosynthersts limit for this planet and lifewill cease to exist.

    Like the warmists say, all those expensive projects they run are for the good of vour childrens’ children. If you are for that, you don’t want the life on this planet to cease. Obviously, what you must do is to prevent the amount of carbon dioxide from getting down to that photosynthesis limit 250 ppm that is coming up. Not for you, of course, but for the sake oif your childrens’, childrens’ children’ childrens’…..sake

    Remember: increasing carbon dioxide good, decreasing carbon dioxide bad!!!

  15. Gas has the CO2 stripped out during the refining process which is then released into the air. This is why so little, if any, is produced when gas is burned.

    • CO2 is a trace impurity in some natural gas reservoirs. It is removed during processing. Gas reservoirs with high concentrations of CO2 are rarely commercial and usually left in the ground.

      My first Smackover discovery in East Texas in the mid-1980’s is still sitting in the ground, despite the fact that it was a few miles away from our natural gas processing plant. The other Smackover fields in the area were sour, high concentrations of H2S, a real pollutant. The sulfur from the H2S had value and was worth recovering. The high concentration of CO2 had no value and rendered my discovery uneconomic.

      • Bradbury et al., 2015…

        Note, total CO2 emissions from natural gas broadly is the combination of emissions from combustion (1,362.49 MMT CO2), plus emissions from non-hydrocarbon gas removal (21.4 MMT CO2) and from flaring (13.66 MMT CO2), resulting in the following: 1397.6 MMT CO2.

        13.6 MMT CO2 is insignificant compared to the emissions from combustion… Although it is about 4 times as large as the insignificant methane leaks.

  16. “On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

    Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?
    ___________________________________________

    Right – at least one side of the arguments should be reasonable.

    And the tone of an eventually following discussion should be directed right.

  17. You’re numbers are all wrong. In 2014, the net CO2 emissions from combustion of natural gas is 1427 MMT. You have it at around a thousandth of that. Meanwhile, CH4 emissions from this time due to natural gas systems is 176 MMT (CO2 equivalent). That would be adding 12% to the greenhouse effects (looking at the natural gas sector as a whole). Those figures are from the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2016-chapter-3-energy.pdf).

    This study (http://www.pnas.org/content/112/51/15597.full.pdf) on Barnett Shale from the Environmental Defense Fund have put this percentage as high as 50%:

    “Measured oil and gas methane emissions are 90% larger than estimates based on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory and correspond to 1.5% of natural gas production. This rate of methane loss increases the 20-y climate impacts of natural gas consumed in the region by roughly 50%.”

    • The left vertical axis is in thousands of MT. The 1,459 for 2014 is 1,459 thousand MT (AKA 1,459 MMT).

      The CH4 emissions are the EPA’s numbers for the entire energy sector. The axis should be in MMT, not MT.

      The point still stands. If all of the natural gas was offsetting coal, the averted emissions would be 1,235 MMT CO2/yr. Even correcting for my error, 176 MMT CO2eq of leakage doesn’t undermine the claim that “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” because coal operations also emit methane.

      I’ll edit the graphs and the post when I have time later today.

  18. You’re numbers are all wrong. In 2014, the net CO2 emissions from combustion of natural gas is 1427 MMT. You have it at around a thousandth of that. Meanwhile, CH4 emissions from this time due to natural gas systems is 176 MMT (CO2 equivalent). That would be adding 12% to the greenhouse effects (looking at the natural gas sector as a whole). Those figures are from the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2016-chapter-3-energy.pdf).

    This study (http://www.pnas.org/content/112/51/15597.full.pdf) on Barnett Shale from the Environmental Defense Fund have put this percentage as high as 50%:

    “Measured oil and gas methane emissions are 90% larger than estimates based on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory and correspond to 1.5% of natural gas production. This rate of methane loss increases the 20-y climate impacts of natural gas consumed in the region by roughly 50%.”

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