Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President
Destroying the Planet? President Trump did the unthinkable for many – he announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement (Accords). The reaction of the horrified was predictable. How dare he? A bit of history is useful in explaining the reaction.
During World War I, Germany, France, the U.K. the U.S., and others effectively used propaganda on their citizens to build sprit (morale) and reinforce the need for the War, including demeaning their opponents. (The U.S. had the U.S. Committee on Public Information under Walter Lippmann.) The effectiveness of the propaganda can be seen by the failure of many responsible and reasonable Germans to accept the fact that the German military had collapsed. Instead, these Germans became susceptible to claims that they had been betrayed, “sold-out.” Hitler used this “betrayal” effectively against the Jews.
For decades, Washington, and many in the West, have been inundated by propaganda that human greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon dioxide (CO2), are the principle cause of dangerous global warming / climate change, without any compelling physical evidence supporting the claim. The Supreme Court even ruled that CO2, vital for life as we generally recognize it, is a pollutant that the EPA can regulate if it deems CO2, and other greenhouse gases, endanger human health and welfare.
The effectiveness of this propaganda can be seen by the reaction to Mr. Trump’s announcement that his administration is pulling out of the Paris Agreement. One is tempted to call it “shock and awe.” The lack of hard evidence that that Paris Agreement will do anything meaningful is scarcely mentioned.
On the website WUWT, Anthony Watts repeated the graph by Bjorn Lomborg projecting the difference by the year 2100 of a) doing nothing, b) completing the promises under Paris by 2030, and c) continuing all the promises under Paris from 2030 to 2100. Completing the promises by 2030 will reduce projected surface temperatures in 2100 by 0.05 degrees C; continuing the promises will reduce projected temperatures in 2100 by 0.17 degrees C.
Given that the projections are for about 85 years, the results are meaningless. Given that none of the climate models used to make such projections have been validated, the results are absurd. Given that many of the instruments used, such as the ones at US airports, have a specified internal accuracy of plus or minus 1 degree C, the projections are ludicrous. [Note, if repeated measurements are made in the same manner and by using the same instrument, and assuming errors are normally distributed, the error declines by a function of the square root of the number of measurements. But, this logic does not apply for measurements from numerous instruments of the same type, much less for measurements from numerous types of instruments.]
In short, we are witnessing outrage expressed over a political decision by those whose scientific position is ludicrous. They have succumbed to a propaganda worthy of that of World War I. See links under After Paris, Change in US Administrations – Favor, and Change in US Administrations – Opposed.
Quote of the Week. “I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the consensus on climate change and the consensus on witches. At the witch trials in Salem the judges were educated at Harvard. This was supposedly 100 per cent science. The one or two people who said there were no witches were immediately hung. Not much has changed.” Princeton Professor Emeritus of Physics William Happer
What Did Trump Say? Lost in the outrage are some significant positions Trump established for his administration including emphasis on national sovereignty, economic growth, and development of US natural resources.
Near the end of the speech, Mr. Trump asserts his concern about national sovereignty:
“There are serious legal and constitutional issues as well. Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives. Thus, our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty. Our Constitution is unique among all the nations of the world, and it is my highest obligation and greatest honor to protect it. And I will.”
Frequently in the speech Trump emphasizes the economic disadvantages to the US for staying in the Paris Agreement. For example:
“As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.
“Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need — believe me, this is not what we need — including automobile jobs, and the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely. They rely [on us?] for so much, and we would be giving them so little.
“According to this same study, by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors: paper down 12 percent; cement down 23 percent; iron and steel down 38 percent; coal — and I happen to love the coal miners — down 86 percent; natural gas down 31 percent. The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that.”
Further, Trump emphasizes the importance of developing US energy resources:
“Staying in the agreement could also pose serious obstacles for the United States as we begin the process of unlocking the restrictions on America’s abundant energy reserves, which we have started very strongly. It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic economic affairs, but this is the new reality we face if we do not leave the agreement or if we do not negotiate a far better deal.”
He devotes considerable time discussing Green Climate Fund called for in the Paris Agreement:
“Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris Accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments. So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else. Many of the other countries haven’t spent anything, and many of them will never pay one dime.
“The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion — nobody else is even close; most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came. Believe me, they didn’t come from me. They came just before I came into office. Not good. And not good the way they took the money.
“In 2015, the United Nation’s departing top climate officials reportedly described the $100 billion per year as “peanuts,” and stated that “the $100 billion is the tail that wags the dog.” In 2015, the Green Climate Fund’s executive director reportedly stated that estimated funding needed would increase to $450 billion per year after 2020. And nobody even knows where the money is going to. Nobody has been able to say, where is it going to?”
One should note that Trump did not call for withdrawing from the process of negotiation, or for abandoning the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Instead, he called for negotiating another agreement or significantly changing the Paris Agreement. As discussed in Article # 1, this path may be lengthy. More lengthy and difficult than simply rejecting the UNFCCC because the conditions of the Senate approval of the treaty have not been met. However, the position is consistent with the recommendations of many senior Republican Senators.
A student of American History may find similarities in the Trump speech to part of the George Washington’s Farewell Address of avoiding foreign entanglements, but honoring commitments already made. By calling the Paris Accord a non-binding executive agreement to avoid submitting it to the Senate for ratification, President Obama committed only his administration, not the nation, to the Paris Accord. And this is how the game is played. See Article # 1 and links under After Paris! Change in US Administrations and http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp
World Bank Weighs In: Economists Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, New York and Nicholas Stern, Grantham Research Institute, London, co-chaired a report by the World Bank calling for a world-wide carbon tax of $50 to $100 per ton of carbon dioxide to save the world from global warming. If implemented, the tax may raise about $4 trillion. Of course, it would be revenue neutral, distributed back. All too often, these international schemes do not distinguish between paying governments or paying those individuals who pay the burden of the tax.
Mr. Stern is best known for the 2006 Stern report which was influential in persuading the Parliament of the UK to pass the Climate Change Act of 2008. In it, Stern used an unrealistic discount rate of 1% to claim that early action on climate change outweighs the costs. A low discount inflates the current value of future costs (assuming they can be estimated). A more realistic discount rate of 7% would have totally changed the conclusions of the report. Thanks to the ill-advised Climate Change Act, the citizens of the UK are facing ever increasing energy bills, with the poor and those on fixed incomes suffering, particularly in winter.
The headquarters of the World Bank is a short walk from the White House. Will the economists who performed this study be frequent visitors? See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.
The Crude Moves: In 2016, the 1,170 mile Dakota Access pipeline became a bitter controversy with the Obama administration throwing up obstacles, and finally preventing the pipeline from completing its construction by drilling underneath the Missouri River in an existing easement. After the Trump Administration granted the necessary permit, in little over 4 months, oil is flowing in the pipeline from North Dakota to a storage hub in Illinois. See link under Washington’s Control of Energy
Number of the Week: 95,894 pages in 2016. Proposed and implemented new regulations are published in the US Federal Register. According to Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute the 2016 Federal Register broke all records with 95,894 pages, exceeding the 2015 mark by 19%. Is this what is meant by transparency in government? Also, Mr. Crews estimates Americans spent $1.9 trillion in 2016 just to comply with federal regulations See Article # 3.
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
· The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
· The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
· The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
· The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The five past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Ernest Moniz and John Holdren are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on July 30. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in August.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?
New Papers Show Solar Activity Impacts ENSO, Refuting Claims Sun Has Little Impact On Climate
Solar activity impacts Pacific weather By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt (German text translated/edited by P Gosselin), No Tricks Zone, May 28, 2017
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Donald Trump’s potential science adviser believes CO2 is ‘good’ and US should withdraw from Paris climate deal
By Nick Allen, Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, May 30, 2017
80 Graphs From 58 New (2017) Papers Invalidate Claims Of Unprecedented Global-Scale Modern Warming
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, May 29, 2017
Climate change: $4 trillion carbon tax is needed to save humanity from global warming, say economists
World Bank-backed report says revenue could be used in a number of ways, such as paying out household rebates, alleviating poverty and fostering low-carbon infrastructure
By Ian Johnson, Independent, UK, May 30, 2017 [H/t WUWT]
Link to: Report of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices
By Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, Supported by World Bank Group, May 29, 2017
Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan
By Staff Writers, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Mar 23, 2017 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[Comment by Wise: Who knew there was this much layering? So, not only local governments have climate/energy plans, but regional planning councils have them as well as state and federal governments?]
Study: ‘Heat island’ effect could double climate change costs for world’s cities
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 30, 2017
A global economic assessment of city policies to reduce climate change impacts
By Francisco Estrada, W. J. Wouter Botzen & Richard S. J. Tol, Nature Climate Change, May 29, 2017
Questioning the Orthodoxy
EU climate laws undermined by Polish and Czech revolt, documents reveal
As the world looks to the EU for leadership on climate, eastern states are diluting laws supposed to guide Europe toward its carbon reduction targets
Arthur Neslen, Climate Home, Via GWPF, May 30, 2017
Dilbert 1, [Climate] Scientists 0.
By Ross McKitrick, CATO, May 30, 2017 [H/t Timothy Wise]
EU Economists say carbon price needs to rise 10 – 20 fold to meet pledges
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 30, 2017
Methane seeping from Arctic seabed may have an upside
By Brad Badelt, Arctic Deeply, Washington (UPI) May 26, 2017
In one graph, why the #ParisAgreement is useless
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 31, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Lomborg’s graph of Impact of Paris promises.]
Senators Inhofe, McConnell, Barrasso, Paul, Cruz, et al to President Trump
Withdraw from Paris, but stay in UNFCCC, May 25, 2017
Centralized Climate Planning Like Paris Wasn’t Going to Work Anyway
By Catrina Rorke, Real Clear Energy, June 1, 2017
Change in US Administrations
Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord
By Staff Writers, GWPF, June 2, 2017
Climate Budget Cuts Are Smart Management, Not an Attack on Science
By Katie Tubb and Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal, May 25, 2017 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Change in US Administrations — Favor
WSJ: Growth & Innovation Are Better Forms of Climate Insurance
Editorial, WSJ, Via GWPF, June 2, 2017
By Leaving Paris Climate-Change Deal, Trump Will Do U.S. Economy A ‘Yuuuge’ Favor
Editorial, IBD, June 1, 2017
Donald Trump is right to reject the Paris climate change treaty: It’s likely to be a costly failure
By Bjorn Lomborg, Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, June 1, 2017
Three Cheers for President Trump’s Action Today
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, June 1, 2017
Trump will liberate America from the Paris climate pact
By Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame, May 31, 2017
“Left-wing demagogues say that the only other countries that don’t support the pact are Syria and Nicaragua. That’s ludicrous. You must really count the countries that have and haven’t ratified the Paris Agreement and those that haven’t ratified include Switzerland, the Netherlands, Czechia (my homeland), Romania, Serbia, Russia, one-half of Africa and the Arab world, and a fraction of South America, too.”
Forget The Paris Accords
By Richard A. Epstein, via Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution), May 30, 2017
Pruitt defends Paris withdrawal
By Timothy Cama, Devin Henry and Jordan Fabian, The Hill, June 2, 2017
Comment – US withdraws from the Paris agreement.
By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions, June 2, 2017
Fleeing Paris Accords Makes Scientific Sense
By Tom Hartsfield, Real Clear Science, June 2, 2017
Fred Palmer: Paris Climate Agreement and the ‘America First’ Energy Plan
By Fred Palmer, Breitbart, May 31, 2017
Trump leads way in popping symbolic Paris bubble
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, June 2, 2017
Putin on Paris deal: ‘Don’t worry, be happy’
By Devin Henry, The Hill, June 2, 2017
“Russia has not yet signed the Paris agreement, with Putin saying he is waiting for technical changes first. But before the deal was crafted, the country summited a plan to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to no more than 75 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.”
Trump cements ‘America First’ doctrine with Paris withdrawal
By Jonathan Easley, The Hill, June 2, 2017
Trump Deflates Paris: Nod to James Hansen, Rebuke to John Holdren
By Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource, June 2, 2017
[SEPP Comment: A comment by Hansen: “[The Paris agreement] is a fraud really, a fake”
Change in US Administrations — Opposed
Three Republican EPA administrators: Trump is putting us on a dangerous path
By William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas and William K. Reilly, Washington Post, May 26, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Without hard evidence, Ruckelshaus banned DDT claiming it may cause cancer in humans. Without hard evidence, he favors banning CO2 claiming it may cause dangerous global warming?]
Bloomberg pledges $15M to UN to cover US climate share
By John Bowden, The Hill, June 2, 2017
[SEPP Comment: There seems to be a few zeros missing after the $15.]
Jerry Brown: Trump’s gone ‘AWOL’ with ‘misguided and insane’ Paris decision
By Julia Manchester, The Hill, June 1, 2017
Kaine: Trump is ‘jealous of Obama’
By Mark Hensch, The Hill, June 2, 2017
Republican governor joins coalition to uphold Paris climate agreement
By Neetzan Zimmerman, The Hill, June 2, 2017
[SEPP Comment: For a total of 4.]
The Paris deal pullout is more damaging to the US than the climate
The US abandoning the global climate deal brings risks, but the unity of the rest of the world and plummeting green energy costs are reasons for hope
By Damian Carrigton, Guardian, UK, June 1, 2017
The US is no longer worthy of the Paris agreement
The Paris agreement is a club for countries who are part of a global effort to tackle dangerous climate change. The US no longer meets these admission criteria.
By Joseph Curtin, Climate Home, May 10, 2017
Why Are Big Corporations So Eager for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal?
By Fred Lucas, Daily Signal, Via GWPF, May 27, 2017
Link to Letter with a False Premise: Dear President Trump,
As some of the largest companies based or operating in the United States, we strongly urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement on climate change.
By Staff Writers: various companies, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Accessed May 29, 2017
“Strengthening Competitiveness: By requiring action by developed and developing countries alike, the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies.”
[SEPP Comment: As explained in TWTW last week, developed and developing countries are not treated alike.]
Social Benefits of Carbon
Africa has become greener in the last 20 years
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 29, 2017
Link to paper: Human population growth offsets climate-driven increase in woody vegetation in sub-Saharan Africa
By Martin Brandt, et al. Nature: Ecology & Evolution, Mar 6, 2017
Academics: Global Warming Created So Many New Plants They Made Earth Colder
By Andrew Follett, Daily Caller, May 27, 2017
Link to paper: Atmospheric carbon dioxide causing global greening making some areas warmer and some colder
By Bob Yirka, Phys Org, May 26, 2017
Actual paper: Satellites reveal contrasting responses of regional climate to the widespread greening of Earth
Giovanni Forzieri, Science, May 25, 2017
Seeking a Common Ground
Official Climate Agenda is Always the Negative Side; Never Fair and Balanced
Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball, WUWT, May 20, 2017
Pielke on Climate #2
By Roger Pielke Jr. The Climate Fix, May 15, 2017
“Bottom line: The Trump presidency reveals the utter failure of US climate policy — it crashed and burned on the first presidential transition.”
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
Another Macroalgae that Benefits from Ocean Acidification
Chen, B., Zou, D. and Yang, y. 2017. Increased iron availability resulting from increased CO2 enhances carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the economical marine red macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta). Chemosphere 173: 444-451. June 1, 2017
Further Empirical Proof Elevated CO2 is Benefitting Earths Forests
Choury, Z., Shestakova, T.A., Himrane, H., Touchan, R., Kherchouche, D., Camarero, J.J. and Voltas, J. 2017. Quarantining the Sahara desert: growth and water-use efficiency of Aleppo pine in the Algerian Green Barrier. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 139-152. May 31, 2017
Four Decades of Seagrass Stability in the Puget Sound Estuary
Shelton, A.O., Francis, T.B., Feist, B.E., Williams, G.D., Lindquist, A. and Levin, P.S. 2017. Forty years of seagrass population stability and resilience in an urbanizing estuary. Journal of Ecology 105: 458-470. May 30, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Threats to aquatic life from increased CO2 in the Pacific Northwest are one of the unsubstantiated threats being used by NASA Headquarters and the US Climate Change Research Program to justify their claims.]
Measurement Issues — Atmosphere
UAH Global Temperature Update for May 2017: +0.45 deg. C
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, June 2, 2017
Scientists at work: Forecasting the Atlantic hurricane season
By Phil Klotzbach and Michael M. Bell, The Conversation, May 24, 2017
Link to forecast schedule: 2017 Tropical Meteorology Project Forecast Schedule
Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.
[SEPP Comment: Describing how Colorado State earned its reputation for unusually good forecasts for the hurricane season.]
NOAA predicts an above average hurricane season for 2017
Get ready now.
By Mary Beth Griggs, Popular Science, May 26, 2017
“This year NOAA predicts a 45 percent probability of above-normal hurricane activity, a 35 percent probability of near-normal, and just a 20 percent probability of below-average storms.”
Bill O’Keefe: Climate change apocalyptics ignore some plain facts
By Bill O’Keefe, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 27, 2017 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Researchers untangle causes of differences in East Coast sea level rise
By Staff Writers, New York NY (SPX), May 28, 2017
“For years, scientists have been warning of a so-called “hot spot” of accelerated sea-level rise along the northeastern U.S. coast. But accurately modeling this acceleration as well as variations in sea-level rise from one region to another has proven challenging.” [Boldface added]
[SEPP Comment: Hype – heavily publicize the report before anyone can read it?]
Ignoring the Green
By Andrew Montford, GWPF, May 31, 2017
Questioning European Green
Producers Not Consumers Now Control the UK Electricity System
By John Constable, GWPF, May 29, 2017
Merkel’s Phony CO2 Policy… U.S. REDUCTIONS Making Huge Progress As Germany Does Nothing
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 30, 2017
Steel CEOs say EU carbon reforms threaten jobs, investment
By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, May 29, 2017
Crazy litigious climate : “citizens have a constitutional right to a stable climate system”
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 26, 2017
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Why Do Federal Subsidies Make Renewable Energy So Costly?
By James Conca, Forbes, May 30, 2017
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Climate Scientists Trying To Discredit Trump’s EPA Chief End Up Proving Him Right
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, May 25, 2017
Energy Issues – Non-US
Millennial Behavior Is About To Make Fools Of Peak Energy Demand Theorists
By Mark Mills, Real Clear Energy, May 29, 2017
Game Over: Even If OPEC Wins It Loses
By Joe Chidley, Financial Post (UK), Via GWPF, May 29, 2017
Is Oil Going To Break $40 Again?
By Ian Bezek, Seeking Alpha, May 31, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Going lower than $40?]
By Martin Livermore, The Scientific Alliance, June 2, 2017
Energy Issues — US
Under Trump, energy security is running on empty
By Ernest Moniz, Former Secretary of Energy, The Hill, May 26, 2017
[SEPP Comment: At no cost to the government, independent producers of oil and gas from shale are providing more energy security than the costly government programs under Mr. Moniz.]
Is New York The Next Energy Tech Hotspot?
By Irina Slav, Oil Price.com, May 29, 2017
Dakota Access pipeline now in service
By Timothy Cama, The Hill, June 1, 2017
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
U.S. shale booms and depresses oil prices again: Kemp
By John Kemp, Reuters, June 1, 2017
Big rigs pave way for second shale oil boom
Drillers have mastered feat of pumping more at less cost
By Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle, May 30, 2017
Return of King Coal?
$7.5bn worth of coal-fired power plants planned for Vietnam
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 30, 2017
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Ten New Nuclear Reactors Connected in 2016, Bringing Generating Capacity to Highest Ever
Aabha Dixit, IAEA, May 25, 2017
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Solar Energy’s Potential $2.8 Trillion Prize
A new projection put the opportunity in solar at $2.8 trillion and there’s plenty of money to go around.
By Travis Holum, The Motley Fool, May 27, 2017
[SEPP Comment: What would be the source of the money without subsidies?]
Simple Physics Solutions to Storing Renewable Energy
By Annette Choi, PBS.org, May 24, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Using a well predicted event as a model for unpredictable events?]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Other
Smart energy stumped by ‘rebound effect’
Engineers figured out clean energy. But they can’t engineer human behavior.
By Anca Gurzu, Politico, May 30, 2017
Biopower (part 3): what does the future hold?
By Bentham Paulos, Energy Post, May 29, 2017
“Germany, always a bellwether for the future of energy, has largely lost hope in bioenergy as a significant source of new renewable energy.”
The World’s First Commercial Carbon Dioxide Capture Plant Goes Live
A Swiss company aims to capture 1 percent of global annual CO2 emissions from the atmosphere by 2025, compressing it and using it for various products.
By Bobby Magill, Climate Central, May 31, 2017
Future direct-air capture plants will cost up to $400 per metric ton of captured carbon dioxide to operate, Gebald said, with carbon sequestration adding an additional $10-$20 to that cost per ton.
California Renewables Dream’n
By Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, May 30, 2017
Other Scientific News
Editor in Chief of World’s Best Known Medical Journal: Half of all the Literature Is False
By Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution, May 16, 2017 [H/t Timothy Wise]
[SEPP Comment: Blunt statements from Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet and Dr. Marcia Angell, longtime Editor in Chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ).]
Other News that May Be of Interest
Our Intellects Are Not Computers: The Abacus As Brain Part I
By William Briggs, His Blog, May 31, 2017
[SEPP Comment: Limits of artificial intelligence?]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Good Climate Hunting (D. J. Trump, writer, director)
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, June 1, 2017
A bit of humor.
U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked
By Peter James Spielmann, AP, June 29, 1989 [H/t Tony Heller]
Woman Killed By Bear Because Of Climate Change!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 30, 2017
[SEPP Comment: And ocean acidification causes shark attacks?]
1. Leaving Paris Climate Accord Takes Time
Trump can’t get the U.S. out of climate deal until 2020
By William Mauldin, WSJ, June 1, 2017
SUMMARY: According to the journalist, the process to leave the Paris Agreement is likely to unfold the following way:
“• According to the Paris agreement, countries can only exit three years after the effective date of the deal. That was Nov. 4, 2016, 30 days after a sufficient number of countries ratified the deal, which was reached in Paris in December 2015.
“• The Paris climate accord was reached as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, which took effect in 1994 and includes 197 countries, including the U.S. The convention was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1992 under former President George H.W. Bush. If Mr. Trump had taken the “nuclear option” and withdrawn from the UNFCCC, he could have taken the U.S. out of the Paris agreement in a year.
“• Starting in November 2019, Mr. Trump could send a written request to exit the Paris accord. The backers of the deal built in a delay in part to allow a global shift in climate politics to dissuade governments from exiting. The U.S. president could also change his mind by late 2019, just as the 2020 presidential campaign heats up.
“• After the UNFCCC receives Mr. Trump’s request, the U.S. will be out of the Paris agreement after one year, or as early as November 2020.
“• The real result of Mr. Trump’s move would only be apparent in 2025, when the targets of the Paris agreement become effective. The nonbinding U.S. target was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels. U.S. emissions in 2025 will depend on what Mr. Trump and other officials and courts do with domestic regulations governing coal power plants and vehicle efficiency.
“• Environmental groups say the Paris agreement was designed to be durable, and a future U.S. administration could get Washington back into the pact, assuming the U.S. stays in the underlying UNFCCC.
“• Mr. Trump said Thursday the U.S. could renegotiate the Paris agreement or enter under new terms. But experts say such a process would be difficult, since nearly all nations agreed on the deal in 2015, and leading economies have said they would continue with the original deal if the U.S. leaves.
2. The News You Didn’t Hear
Reporters only want to talk about Russia, instead of what Team Trump is getting done.
By Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, June 1, 2017
SUMMARY: Some of the news that did not become widely-known includes:
“• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order to begin reopening Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve to oil and gas exploration, reversing the Obama administration’s ideologically driven 2013 shutdown. The order even aims at opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to production—a move that is decades overdue. This could not only buck up the listless Alaskan economy but cement the U.S. as an oil and gas powerhouse.
“• The Fish and Wildlife Service took steps that may stop the Obama administration’s last-minute endangered-species listing for the Texas Hornshell, a freshwater mussel. That listing, based on outdated science, threatens significant harm to the Texas economy and was done over the protest of state officials and local industry.
“• Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross surprisingly said that he was open to completing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, a far-reaching trade agreement being negotiated with the European Union.”
3. The $600 Billion Man
A new report highlights one cost of the Obama legacy.
By James Freeman, WSJ, May 31, 2017
SUMMARY: “As if taxes haven’t been high enough, the U.S. Government also forced Americans to spend an eye-watering $1.9 trillion in 2016 just to comply with federal regulations. That’s according to the latest annual “10,000 Commandments” report released today by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. ‘If it were a country, U.S. regulation would be the world’s seventh-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy,’ notes Mr. Crews. He adds that our regulatory tab is nearly as large as the total pretax profits of corporations.
“Mr. Crews has become one of the most hated men in Washington by tabulating the hidden costs—those not counted in the roughly $4 trillion of direct federal spending—that politicians and bureaucrats impose on the American economy. And nobody imposed more than Barack Obama. According to the Crews annual scorecards, the yearly cost of federal regulation soared by more than $700 billion in nominal dollars from 2008, the last full year of the Bush Administration, through Mr. Obama’s final full year of 2016. Adjusting for inflation, you can call Mr. Obama the $600 Billion Man.
“One measure of the amount of red tape spewing out of Washington is the number of pages of proposed and final rules printed in the Federal Register. ‘Of the top 10 all-time-high Federal Register page counts, seven occurred under President Barack Obama,’ notes Mr. Crews. And let’s hope that Mr. Obama’s latest record, set on his final lap in 2016, will never be broken. Mr. Crews reports that the register ‘finished 2016 at 95,894 pages, the highest level in its history and 19 percent higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.’”
4. NASA Probe to Explore the Sun’s Atmosphere for the First Time
Parker Solar Probe named after University of Chicago scientist who first wrote of solar winds in 1960s
By Shibani Mahtani, WSJ, May 31, 2017
SUMMARY: “NASA announced here Wednesday that it will launch an unprecedented mission to fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere, zooming within 4 million miles of the surface and withstanding temperatures of up to 2,500 Fahrenheit.”
“This is the first time a satellite will fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere, hoping to answer questions including why the atmosphere, known as the corona, is hotter than the surface of the sun itself and other questions about space weather. The spacecraft and instruments will be protected by a 4.5-inch thick carbon-composite shield, NASA said.
“’We have not been able to answer these questions without being able to take a probe at the sun,” said Nicola Fox, the mission project scientist for the solar probe. Answers to these questions are “key to us being able to put the last pieces together’ about the sun’s atmosphere, she added.”
“The mission, which will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is fully funded, costing about $1.5 billion from development to launch.
“The whole mission will take about seven years, Dr. Fox said.”
“NASA says the mission was 60 years in the making, bolstered by Dr. Parker’s transformational research, in which he predicted the existence of solar winds. His research changed the way scientists perceive space and formed the basis for the solar probe.
“The mission is a culmination of research in the field of solar and heliophysics since then, said Thomas Zurbuchen, association administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA’s Washington headquarters. ‘We want to go down there…we built the machines robust enough to do that.’
“Understanding weather patterns in space, scientists say, will have real-life applications, since plasma and radiation from the sun could affect our planet. Space weather can influence everything including electrical grids and GPS systems, and further understanding of the atmospheric changes will help scientists find ways to minimize disruptions to these systems on earth.”