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The Next Energy Revolution

graphOver the last decade, the biggest change in energy was how and where hydrocarbons were removed from the earth. The United States led this change. However, a different kind of energy revolution will take place between now and 2025. While the last decade was about the energy buried in the earth and how to get it out, the next decade will be about how the energy already removed from the earth is moved across it. An energy-transit revolution has begun. The consequences of this next energy revolution will be geopolitical and important. –John Richard Cookson, The National Interest, 4 September 2015

America could soon be exporting a lot of oil. Momentum is building fast on lifting the ban on U.S. oil exports. Some believe the ban may not even live to see its 40th birthday this December. A powerful combination of forces, starting with the massive United States shale oil boom, cheap gas prices and the Iranian nuclear deal is propelling this move much quicker than anybody expected. The effort is picking up a lot of political support in both Houses of Congress. Barton said he hopes to give the American people a “Christmas present” by getting a bill on President Obama’s desk before the end of the year. –Matt Egan, CNN Money, 8 September 2015

In November 2014, the leaders of Saudi Arabia made one of the biggest bets in history. Their strategy was flawed, and they’ve already lost. In an OPEC meeting that month, Saudi Arabia announced it would maintain high oil-production levels despite falling prices. The Saudis were betting that by keeping prices low they could protect their market share and kill America’s energy renaissance—a rebirth driven largely by Texas, which produces 37% of America’s oil and 28% of its marketed natural gas. What the Saudis and the naysayers closer to home seem to have forgotten is that the free market is the greatest incubator of technological innovation. OPEC’s gamble to kill American innovation was a short-term strategy without an endgame, and no appreciation of how the strategy would spur greater efficiencies and innovation in the U.S. Call this a gentle reminder: It is never wise to bet against capitalism, especially in Texas. –Glenn Hegar, The Wall Street Journal, 2 September 2015

For most countries, the economic slowdown in China and the accompanying slump in commodity prices represent something between nuisance and pothole. For Russia, they are a catastrophe. Russia’s currency and economy, already squeezed by Western sanctions, have been sent into virtual free fall by slumping oil prices. The oil collapse has exposed deep cracks in Russia’s economic foundations: falling productivity, a shrinking labor force, uncompetitive industries, and private enterprise hemmed in by a kleptocratic state and crony capitalism. The loss of that wealth threatens to scramble the world’s geopolitical order, though there are no signs of that yet. There are parallels to the events that toppled the Soviet Union. Until the 1970s, oil and gas didn’t dominate the Soviet economy. But its days were numbered. –Greg Ip, The Wall Street Journal, 2 September 2015

Britain faces potential power shortages in the next four years. According to Mr Atherton the problem started with the Labour government under the former Prime Minister Tony Blair which committed Britain to unachievable targets for building renewable energy capacity. The suspicion is that Mr Blair went into European climate talks in 2007 not even knowing the difference between energy ‚Äì which covered everything from transportation to home insulation ‚Äì and electricity. Almost a decade later, this possible schoolboy error by Mr Blair and his negotiating team could lead to blackouts for the “first time in living memory”, Mr Atherton believes. –Andrew Critchlow, The Sunday Telegraph, 6 September 2015

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What’s the consensus of climate scientists? Why do we care?

chartHere’s a briefing about climate change, prepared for Politifact at their request. Unused, of course, since the reporter was just fishing for smears (here’s an analysis of what they published). However, it’s a useful introduction to this complex subject. What do we know about the consensus of climate scientists, and why does it matter? These are unedited emails, and so roughly written and unproofed. (2nd of 2 posts today.)

Initial Inquiry by Linda Qiu of Politifact, and my response

I’m a reporter with PolitiFact, the fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times. I’m currently looking into something Rick Santorum said: 57% of scientists “don’t buy into the idea that CO2 is the knob that’s turning the climate.” His campaign hasn’t gotten back to me on his source but one of your posts also has the figure, but it’s not quite what Santorum said. So I was hoping for your take on Santorum’s reading on your analysis — how accurate is it?

I have a lot of data about this. Here’s a quick data dump. I’m in the middle of something about this very subject, so don’t have time to compose. Tell me what more you’d like. I can provide links and cites for all of this. I work late, so deadlines are not a problem.

There have been many surveys seeking to determine the consensus of scientists and the subgroup of climate scientists (neither group having a clear definition) about the headline attribution statements of the IPCC. That is, how much of the warming since 1950 is attributed to us.  The IPCC states its findings in two parts: the finding, and the IPCC’s confidence in that finding. The latter is off little relevance to science, but obviously of great importance when taking public policy action. For example, it’s nice to know that all scientists believe “X”, but what if they have little confidence in that belief?

The standard measure of confidence is 95% (defining what this means is both complex and controversial, especially now with the replication crisis). The IPCC defines 90%+ as “very likely” and 95%+ as “extremely likely”.

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The Pope vs. America

pope selfiePope Francis has been brushing up on his English ahead of his arrival in Washington in September, and tickets to his U.S. events are already a hot commodity. But anyone expecting his message to be simply one of mercy and love could be in for a distinct surprise.

In his speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the pope of the poor could well deliver a harsh message for the world’s richest nation. For all the genuine warmth of his smile, his track record suggests he sees it as his job not just to comfort the afflicted, but also to afflict the comfortable. And however delicately he fine-tunes his language, the hard fact is that he believes the United States is as much a part of the problem as the solution.

For more than a century, popes have made nuanced criticisms of the free-market capitalism that drives the American dream. But Pope Francis, with an unprecedented vigor, is locking horns with much that Washington and Wall Street hold dear. Why does he take such a hard line?

In the two-plus years since his election, he has enchanted and bewildered the world in equal measure with his compassion and his contradictions. But he has also proved himself a wily and sophisticated politician. Understanding this side of Francis—capable of crafty maneuvering, unafraid of confrontation, ready to seek out unlikely allies—is essential for understanding the complicated effect he is having on American politics.

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Environmentalists Will Lose, And That’s Great News For Mankind

graphHere is the lede of Jonathan Chait’s long but optimistic piece on climate change (“This is the year humans finally got serious about saving themselves from themselves” says the subhead) in New York magazine:

Here on planet Earth, things could be going better. The rise in atmospheric temperatures from greenhouse gases poses the most dire threat to humanity, measured on a scale of potential suffering, since Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany launched near-simultaneous wars of conquest. And the problem has turned out to be much harder to solve. It’s not the money. The cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels, measured as a share of the economy, may amount to a fraction of the cost of defeating the Axis powers. Rather, it is the politics that have proved so fiendish.

Fighting a war is relatively straightforward: You spend all the money you can to build a giant military and send it off to do battle. Climate change is a problem that politics is almost designed not to solve. Its costs lie mostly in the distant future, whereas politics is built to respond to immediate conditions. (And of the wonders the internet has brought us, a lengthening of mental time horizons is not among them.) Its solution requires coordination not of a handful of allies but of scores of countries with wildly disparate economies and political structures. There has not yet been a galvanizing Pearl Harbor moment, when the urgency of action becomes instantly clear and isolationists melt away. Instead, it breeds counterproductive mental reactions: denial, fatalism, and depression.

Although Chait makes a number of fantastical economic claims, it’s worth focusing on the moral question: Is global warming really a more ominous threat to mankind than communism was—an ideology that, at best, condemned hundreds of millions to rot in poverty under totalitarianism or, at worst, left them to be massacred or starved to death? According to some sources, Mao’s government killed at least 45 million after 1949. An unimaginable number surely suffered. This was an expansionist ideology that fomented war in every part of the world.

Is global warming really a more dire threat to mankind than Islamic radicalism, which has convicted millions of people to be subjects of brutal theocracies, and billions more to be the targets of terror? Those thousands of Muslim refugees aren’t risking their lives in the waters of the Mediterranean because there’s been one-degree Celsius change in the temperature over the past century.

Is the threat of global warming worse than the threat of global poverty?

If you’re going to fear monger, measuring threats on a “scale of potential suffering” is the absolute best kind of fearmongering as it’s really no measurement, at all. Here on Earth, on a scale of tangible, real-world suffering, things have gotten considerably better—less hunger, less poverty, longer and freer lives—for a large chunk of humanity. Concurrently (but not coincidentally) most of this has happened when this climate-change crisis was gaining momentum.

Now, unlike coal, oil, gas, and market economics, an environmentalist has never lifted anyone out of poverty. But if you’re convinced that every wildfire and tornado is the fault of Koch Brothers, Ayn Rand and a recalcitrant GOP Congress, this moral structure probably makes some sense to you. If you believe the moral magnitude of climate change falls somewhere short of the killing of 70 million people (we don’t know the exact number World War II took), but is a more a pressing problem than mass hunger or disease or war, I can understand why you think doing nearly anything to stop it is okay. Like emulating one-party authoritarianism, for instance.

That’s where you will find hope. Our agreement with China has Chait very upbeat. Basically, Obama will issue some diktats through the Environmental Protection Agency, then in 2030, or some year around that time, when China’s carbon emissions are expected to peak, it promises it will implement some ambiguous action plan at some vague point in the future. All we need to do is trust them now and act. The agreement contains no binding language requiring any goals to be met. After that, it will be “enforced” by international diplomatic pressure. If we are good role models, however, China will do the right thing, as well.

But wait! Maybe it’s the Chicoms who are the role models. “China, in fact, has undergone an energy revolution far more rapid than anything under way in the U.S. — the country that supposedly couldn’t be shamed into action has, instead, shamed us,” writes Chait, who finds it amazing that things become efficient and productive as a nation become wealthier.

Do you feel shame?

China’s industrialization and capitalistic reforms have probably done more to alleviate poverty than any other state action. It’s one of the great stories of the late twentieth to early twenty-first century. One of the most tragic stories is that the same communist government holds billions hostage to that poverty by denying them access to the same reforms. One Chinese official claims that 82 million people in China live below the poverty line.  Those people, by the way, live under $1 a day, so they don’t drive cars or abuse their air conditioners and ruin the Earth. But Li Keqiang, premier of China, guessed that 200 million Chinese live on $1.25 a day or less.  If we applied the standards Americans typically use to measure, we would probably be looking at a population of poor far larger than the entire United States. But, hey, communists subsidize the inefficient solar panel industry with more dollars than we do.

Alas, in the United States process gets in the way. When Chait claims that politics are “fiendish,” he means Republicans are fiendish for their skepticism that curbing economic growth or signing on to some top-down state-driven plan is useful, doable, or needed. You won’t be surprised to learn, I imagine, that state intervention circumventing these Republicans and unilaterally implementing liberal policies is the ideal way to fix this mess and bring the Earth back into balance. Like the Chinese do it. China is not bogged down by “politics.”

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Two New Studies Warn Global Warming Will Cause Global Cooling (Not A Joke)

gulf streamOkay according to two new studies this is how the global warming enthusiasts say it’s going to work. Global warming is going to move the gulf stream (which circulates warm and across the Earth and makes cold water sink).. They say warming is going to mess up the gulf stream and other ocean circulation systems and cause the Northern Hemisphere to get cold. Simplified, their claim is that global warming is going to make things cold (you cant make this up).

AS reported in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald:

The research, by separate teams of scientists, bolsters predictions of disruptions to global ocean currents – such as the Gulf Stream – that transfer tropical warmth from the equator to northern latitudes, as well as a larger conveyor system that cycles colder water into the ocean’s depths. Both systems help ensure relatively mild conditions in parts of Northern Europe that would otherwise be much colder.

The papers offer insight into how rapidly melting Arctic ice could slow or even temporarily halt the ocean’s normal circulation, with possible effects ranging from plunging temperatures in northern latitudes to centuries-long droughts in south-east Asia. A fictional version of this scenario was depicted in the 2004 disaster film Day after Tomorrow, although most scientists believe the movie’s vision of ice sheets over New York and Europe are highly unlikely.

One study, by three scientists from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, uses computers to model how Greenland’s rapid thawing could affect the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the system that pushes cold, dense saltwater into the deep ocean and helps transport warm water northward, helping to warm Europe’s climate.

Well then…thank God the the ice caps are growing. A July 2015 article in the U.K. Telegraph called “How Arctic ice has made fools of all those poor warmists” reported:

In recent years there has been more polar ice in the world than at any time since satellite records began in 1979. In the very year they had forecast that the Arctic would be “ice free”, its thickness increased by a third. Polar bear numbers are rising, not falling. Temperatures in Greenland have shown no increase for decades

Forbes Magazine agrees:

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims ‚Äì that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

The Arctic Ice had a period of melting but as reported in Nature Geoscience:

However, we observe 33% and 25% more ice in autumn 2013 and 2014, respectively, relative to the 2010‚Äì2012 seasonal mean, which offset earlier losses. This increase was caused by the retention of thick sea ice northwest of Greenland during 2013 which, in turn, was associated with a 5% drop in the number of days on which melting occurred—conditions more typical of the late 1990s. In contrast, springtime Arctic sea ice volume has remained stable.  

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Whether or not the hypothesis about global warming will screw up the Earth’s watery currents is a moot point…because before that can happen the arctic has to melt…and it’s not melting.

A second paper, by a team of Texas scientists, sheds new light on how the Earth’s climate responded during a similar thaw from the planet’s geological past. About 12,000 years ago, rising temperatures at the end of the last ice age released huge volumes of cold freshwater, disrupting the ocean’s circulation systems and sending parts of the Northern Hemisphere back in to the freezer. Scientists refer to the era as the Younger Dryas period.

But what caused the thaw, there were no gas guzzlers back then, and approximately 12,750 years ago before big cars and coal plants, and 750 years before that thaw CO2 levels were higher than today. So if that melt was caused by greenhouse gases wouldn’t it have happen seven centuries earlier?

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Wake up Obama, climate change has been happening forever

obamaPresident Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.

Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo-op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.

Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”

News flash, Mr. President: Alaska has been buffeted by cyclical swings in climate for thousands of years. That’s true for the rest of the world, too. There was a 300-year-long Medieval heat wave, followed by a Little Ice Age that began around 1300, and then the 300-year warming period we’re in now.

The Anchorage Daily Times ran a front-page story in 1922 recording the “unheard-of temperatures” in the Arctic and glaciers disappearing. “The Arctic Ocean is warming up and icebergs are growing scarcer.”

Oblivious to the history of constant climate change, Obama pointed to Exit Glacier and said: “We want to make sure our grandkids can see this.”

He may get his wish, but it won’t be because of anything he’s doing. The current warming trend appears to be over, speculates Roger Cohen, a fellow of the American Physical Society. The Alaska

Climate Research Center reports almost no evidence of warming trends in Alaska since 1977.

Many scientists are predicting the onset of two or three centuries of cooler weather — which would mean bigger glaciers. That’s despite the world’s growing use of fossil fuels. No matter what humans do, temperature trends go up, and then down; glaciers expand and then recede; sea levels rise and then fall, explains Will Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton.

That doesn’t mean pollution controls are futile. We all want to breathe clean air. But don’t blame climate change on humans. There are bigger forces at work here.

Scientists disagree about what these forces are, and are researching better ways of accurately measuring temperature trends via satellite. Amid all this controversy and uncertainty about global climate change, Obama blindly insists that his theory of global warming “is beyond dispute” and attacks his critics as “deniers.”

Sounding more like an Old Testament doomsayer than a president, Obama warned in his Alaska speech that unless carbon fuels are restricted, “we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair: Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields no longer growing.” Sounds scary, but he’s on thin ice backing up those predictions.

Despite Obama’s professed concern for the people of Alaska affected by climate change, his visit was more about theatrics than helping locals. Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) lambasted

Obama’s job-killing new restrictions on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. Obama says the region’s “very fragile,” but Murkowski is more worried that the economy is fragile. “It’s clear this administration does not care about us and sees us as nothing but a territory,” she said.

It’s a demonstration of Obama’s appalling lack of priorities. The president told his Alaska audience that “few things will disrupt our lives as profoundly as climate change.” Really, Mr. President? How about the epidemic of cop shootings in the United States, or the drowned toddlers washing up on Mediterranean shores as families flee the Middle East, or ISIS beheading thousands of Christians?

Obama says that with climate change, more than any other issue, “there is such a thing as being too late.” Tell that to a cop’s widow or the father who watched his family drown.

Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

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Where Were the Polar Bears?

polar bearsAm I the only one who finds it incongruous that President Obama, when on a carefully choreographed trip to Alaska, even manning his own Instagram account to engage young people, to spotlight the effects of global warming—which he says is happening “right now”—announced the accelerated acquisition of ice breakers? During his trip, he told Alaskans that by the end of this century, Alaska will see “warming of between 6 and 12 degrees,” which he explained: “means more melting.” Six to 12 degrees is a lot of warming, therefore, a lot of melting—which would seem to require fewer ice breakers not more.

I applaud the attempt to catch up, as I’ve written previously, I think America is woefully behind in the Arctic—where Russia is increasingly aggressive. But you have to wonder what his speechwriters were thinking to have him asking Congress to spend more on ice breakers on the same trip where he’s predicting more warming.

Perhaps he really knows, what many scientists are claiming: Arctic ice is growing—with updated NASA data showing polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 (the year satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps) average. This, despite former Vice President Al Gore’s claim that the Arctic ice cap could be completely gone by now. In fact, according to the April 1896 edition of National Geographic, Alaska, glaciers have been retreating there since George Washington was president.

In a September 4 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Patrick Moore, one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, said: “It is a historical fact that the glacier in Glacier Bay began its retreat around 1750. By the time Capt. George Vancouver arrived there in 1794 the glacier still filled most of the bay but had already retreated some miles. When John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, visited in 1879, he found that the glacier had retreated more than 30 miles from the mouth of the bay, according to the National Park Service, and by 1900 Glacier Bay was mostly ice-free.”

Another thing surprised me about his trip. An AP report of Obama’s Alaska visit states: “every stop was elaborately staged to showcase the president in front of picture-perfect natural wonders. …the White House arranged for photographers and reporters to pull up alongside him in a separate boat, capturing stirring images of the president gazing wistfully from the deck at serene waters and lush mountain vistas.” Yet, with all this planning for dramatic effect, there were no polar bears—not even mentioned.

Well, one polar bear might have been spotted: Frostpaw. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has a polar bear costume (“made entirely out of synthetic materials,” according to the Vineyard Gazzette—which means made from petroleum products) that it drags out and a staffer dons to follow Obama, and remind him, as the press release says:

  • Rescind proposals to drill for oil in the Arctic and along the Atlantic coast;
  • Halt all new fossil fuel development on public land;
  • Cut greenhouse pollution from airplanes and other unregulated sources;
  • Reject, once and for all, the Keystone XL pipeline; and
  • Be an international climate leader.

CBD claims Frostpaw was dispatched to Alaska, but there are no reports that Obama got to see it.

Now, I understand that his three-day journey didn’t take him to locales where the real white bears frolic, but since they’ve become the symbol of Al Gore’s global warming scare, you’d think he’d at least mention them while he was in there—after all when people think of Alaska, they think of polar bears. What better imagery to evoke?

Once again, perhaps his speechwriters were aware of claims of falsified records and the besmirched Charles Monnett (whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement), and reports of rebounding polar bear populations. While they don’t get much mainstream press coverage, several scientists are reporting an unprecedented increase in the world’s polar bear population.

One of the foremost authorities on polar bears, Canadian biologist, Dr. Mitchell Taylor, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He said: “Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.”

Then there is Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia, who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career. She claims polar bears are threatened by too much ice. She’s released a new, in-depth report on the relationship between sea ice and polar bears, entitled Arctic Fallacy—but you don’t see her conclusions touted in the New York Times.

In his book, Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, biologist and ecologist Jim Steele argues: “glaciers have retreated and expanded numerous times since the end of the last ice age. Polar bear numbers are at record highs with approximately 25,000 bears. And Arctic sea ice, which had precipitously declined from the mid-2000s to 2013, has had a reversal since then, now equaling historic levels considered normal.”

But, if they don’t fit the accepted propaganda, we don’t hear about these reports.

Filmmaker J.D. King is trying to change that through a new film: Icebear. Following the success of his two previous films—Blue and Crying Wolf, King is in the midst of a Kickstart campaign (ending September 24) to fund the film. He explains: “It is very important to raise the money for the movie through crowdfunding. This needs to be a film by the people’s demand and support—so that it cannot be accused of being a product of a special interest group or organization.”

On the crowd-funding site, King offers a variety of facts about polar bears—with links to the source data. He explains: “The power of the media is great, as evident by how they’ve chosen to present only one side of polar bear story. They’ve used polar bears, misused science, and preyed upon people’s emotions all the while ignoring any facts that contradict the narrative they want to make reality. But if we’re not getting the whole truth about polar bears, why should we accept the larger narrative about man-made, catastrophic climate change?” This is why he wants to produce Icebear—but he needs our help. Will you kick in?

The polar bears are there—which is maybe why President Obama didn’t even mention them on his Alaska trip. He wanted to “spotlight the effects of global warming” and a rebounding polar bear population doesn’t fit the narrative.

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Obama’s deceitful, unsustainable energy decrees

solar farm desert

“That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent-seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business, and standing in the way of the future.”  

That wasn’t the Wall Street Journal lambasting the mandate- and subsidy-dependent renewable energy consortium. It was President Obama demonizing critics of his plans to replace carbon-based energy with wind, solar and biofuels, stymie the hydraulic fracturing revolution that’s given the United States another century of oil and gas ‚Äì and “fundamentally transform” and downsize the US and global economies.

The president thinks this legacy will offset the Iran, Iraq, Islamic State and other policy debacles he will bequeath to his successors. His presidential library exhibits won’t likely mention those foreign policy fiascoes or the ways his energy policies mostly benefit the richest 1% of Americans, especially political cronies and campaign contributors ‚Äì while crippling the economy and pummeling millions of families and businesses that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas and coal energy for their income and welfare. 

Mr. Obama and his regulators have already imposed enormous financial, labor, ozone, water, climate, power generation and other burdens on our economy ‚Äì mostly with trifling benefits that exist only in computer models, White House press releases, and rosy reports from advocacy groups that receive billions of dollars from his Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other agencies. On August 24, he announced another billion-dollar program to force America to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030: mostly wind and solar, plus a little more geothermal and biomass.  

Those sources now provide less than 8% of all electricity, so this is a monumental increase. If the president wants to take credit for any alleged benefits, he must also accept blame for the abysmal failures.

One of the biggest is Solyndra, the solar company that got $535 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans just before it went belly-up. A four-year investigation found that Solyndra falsified its financials, sales outlook and other business dealings and omitted material facts. However, the Department of Energy failed in its due diligence obligations and apparently buckled under White House pressure to approve the financing.

Par for the course, though, the Justice Department will not seek criminal indictments of any Solyndra officials, nor penalize any DOE apparatchiks for their willing incompetence. After all, a principal investor in the company (George Kaiser) was a major donor to Obama campaigns.

Of course, dozens of other companies also dined at the federal trough, before going under and costing us taxpayers many billions of dollars. But the administration wants more money and mandates ‚Äì and more rules that destroy conventional energy competitors ‚Äì to drive his climate and “transformation” agendas.

Meanwhile, he ignores the one truly and steadily innovative business that has generated real energy, jobs, wealth and tax revenues during his presidency – and largely kept the tepid Obama economy afloat: fracking. In fact, his bureaucrats are working to ban the technology on federal lands and regulate it into a marginal role elsewhere, even as the industry reduces its water use, keeps gasoline prices low, finds ways to produce oil at $45 per barrel, and proves its practices do not contaminate drinking water.

The president also ignores inconvenient facts about his “clean, eco-friendly” renewable energy utopia. For example, wind and solar facilities require vast land acreage and are increasingly moving into sensitive wildlife habitats, threatening protected and endangered birds, bats and other species.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia shale gas fields across Virginia to southern North Carolina would impact about 4,600 acres (12% of the District of Columbia), and nearly all that land would be restored to croplands or grassy habitats as soon as the pipe is laid. The fuel is destined mostly for existing gas-fired electrical generating units on a few hundred total acres. If all that gas were used to generate electricity, it would produce 190,500 megawatt-hours of electricity per day.

In stark contrast, generating the same electricity with wind would require 46,000 400-foot turbines on some 475,000 acres of land ‚Äì plus thousands of acres of towering transmission lines to urban centers hundreds of miles away. They would be permanent and highly visible eyesores and wildlife killers, crossing deforested mountain ridges and scenic areas, and generating electricity maybe 20% of the time. Building them would require millions of tons of concrete, iron, copper, rare earth metals from China’s ruined Baotou region, and petroleum for the monstrous bird- and bat-chopping turbine blades.

Energy analyst Robert Bryce says meeting the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan emission goals would require blanketing 34 million acres (an area larger than New York State) with wind turbines.

A 2013 study estimates that US wind turbines already kill some 573,000 birds a year – 83,000 of them bald and golden eagles and other raptors. Far better data from Europe, however, suggests that the annual US death toll is closer to 13 million birds and bats. And our wildlife agencies exempt wind companies from endangered species and other environmental laws. More turbines will multiply the carnage.

Moreover, we would still need the gas-fired units, operating inefficiently on standby spinning reserve status and going to full power dozens of times daily, whenever the wind stops blowing. Ditto for solar.

Using solar panels to generate 190,500 MWH per day would require 1.7 million acres of land ‚Äì akin to blanketing Delaware and Rhode Island with habitat-destroying panels ‚Äì plus long transmission lines and gas-fired units.  Los Angeles recently refused to buy power from a much smaller 2,557-acre solar project proposed for the Mojave Desert, because of impacts on desert tortoises and bighorn sheep.

President Obama never mentions any of this ‚Äì or the fact that greater natural gas use is reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which he claims have replaced the sun and other powerful natural forces in driving climate change. This April, US CO2 emissions fell to their lowest level for any month in 27 years. But now that he’s sent coal marching toward history’s ash heap, natural gas is next on his target list.

To top it off, all the billions of dollars, crony corporatism, campaign cash for helpful politicians, feed-in tariffs and Renewable Fuel Standards (mandates and diktats) ‚Äì and all the habitat and wildlife impacts ‚Äì will raise the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass share of the nation’s energy mix from 8% today to only 10% in 2040, to supply our growing population, Energy Information Administration analysts project.

Since 2006, US households received over $18 billion just in federal income tax credits for weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments. But the bottom 60% of families received only 10% of this loot; the top 10% got 60% of the total and 90% of the subsidies and tax credits for ultra-expensive electric vehicles, like the $132,000 Tesla Model S. Worse, that $18 billion could have drilled wells to provide safe drinking water for five billion people!

The United States depends on energy-rich fossil fuels, plus nuclear and hydroelectric power – not pie-in-the-sky ideas or smoke-and-mirrors solutions to imaginary climate catastrophes. So does the rest of the world. We cannot afford pseudo-environmental ideologies, climate fabrications and dictatorial decrees.

Germany’s Energiewende (mandated energy transformation) program also seeks to replace coal and nuclear energy with wind, solar and biofuels. It has made German electricity prices (including $31.5 billion in hidden annual subsidies) nearly ten times higher than in US states that still rely on coal for power generation. The program has already killed countless jobs and threatens to send still more energy-intensive companies overseas ‚Äì to countries that justifiably refuse to slash their hydrocarbon use, CO2 emissions or economic growth in the name of controlling Earth’s eternally changing climate.

Every winter, German, British and other European policies literally kill thousands of poor and elderly people who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly. Where is that vaunted liberal compassion?

Why would the United States want to proceed lemming-like down a similarly delusional energy pathway to economic ruin and the needless deaths of birds, bats and our most vulnerable citizens? Other than reelecting Mr. Obama, what did we do to deserve this? And how can we undo the damage?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

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The Pacific “Blob” And The Global Warming Pause

oceanSomething strange is happening to the north Pacific. It is setting sea temperature records, scrambling weather patterns, damaging ecosystems, and nudging up the global temperature. The scientists who have observed it call it after what it looks like on temperature maps of the Pacific ‚Äì behold the “blob.” The warmth of 2015 so far and the expectation that it will get even warmer has already given rise to headlines that the “pause” has ended and that global warming has resumed. However one does not follow from the other. The “blob” and the El Nino are weather events not climate, natural fluctuations and not long-term trends. Their contribution to world temperature does not represent a resumption of long term anthropogenic warming in the same way that the cool year of 2007 did not represent the onset of a rapid decline in global temperature. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 September 2015

We knew almost two years ago that there was something strange happening in the north Pacific. Usually in the Gulf of Alaska huge storms in the wintertime mixes the water down super deep and cools the ocean quite a lot … but we didn’t have those storms in the Winter of 2014-15. So the water stayed warm all Winter, and when Spring came the water was already warmer by several degrees than normal, and then of course it got warmer because of the Sun. These temperatures are above anything we have seen before. –Bill Peterson, NOAA Northwest Fish Science Center

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice sheets are melting at record rates and sea levels are rising. But there may be some good news amid the worry. Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed. To better understand global sea level rise, Winnick and Caves analyzed the middle Pliocene warm period, the last time in Earth’s history, approximately 3 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were close to their present values (350-450 parts per million). “Our results are tentatively good news,” Winnick said. “They suggest that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought. In particular, we argue that this is due to the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which might be more resilient than previous studies have suggested.” –Miles Traer, Stanford University, 3 September 2015

One of Britain’s top climate scientists has launched a blistering attack on actress Emma Thompson and the BBC, accusing them of ‘scaremongering’ over the speed of global warming ‚Äì and risking a worsening of the refugee crisis. Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office and a professor at Exeter University, launched his attack on Twitter about an interview Ms Thompson gave to Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis last Wednesday. The actress, a Greenpeace activist who that morning had taken part in a protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, warned that if the drilling went ahead, the world would be a staggering 4C hotter by 2030. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 6 September 2015

Nobody is taking much notice anymore of this kind of habitual [Greenpeace] campaigning. Now that even President Obama has given the green light to ‘drill-baby-drill’ the Arctic, greens are becoming ever more shrill and isolated. And because fossil fuels are cheap and abundant for decades to come, no country is willing to give up extracting, selling and using as much as remains economical. ‚ÄìBenny Peiser, Daily Caller News, 2 September 2015

I have come to the conclusion that the worst almost never happens — the vast majority of dire predictions by negative commentators and supposed experts are simply nonsense. Mankind developed a capacity to imagine terrible outcomes as an insurance policy so we could avoid threats and disasters. But being constantly in dread of fresh catastrophes is impractical and taints our judgment. Those who expect to be unhappy or ill or a failure are more likely to succumb to their anxieties. Always remember that throughout history the pioneers have been exalted, while the doomsayers are forgotten. –Luke Johnson, The Sunday Times, 6 September 2015

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Politifact tells us about American politics and science. We should listen.

orwellSummary: This vignette illustrates important aspects of the climate change debate, and why it has failed to gain sufficient support from Americans to pass large-scale public policy measures. For two decades journalists and scientists have cooperated to produce political propaganda, exaggerating and misrepresenting the work of the IPCC. Their failure should inspire us, showing a resistance to manipulation greater than many people expected (it surprises me).

My post, which started this kerfuffle

In July I published The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47%, which showed the hidden results of an excellent survey of scientists’ agreement with the IPPC’s attribution statements about the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in global warming. It was high, but lower than usually described — and below the standard for significance. The question has important implications; Obama’s sweeping Clean Power Plan rests on this finding (details here).

it attracted some attention on skeptics’ websites, and pushback from climate activists (both laypeople and scientists). Then GOP presidential candidate Rich Santorum cited this information, and the activists began their usual smear campaign. The facts are quite simple, for those who want to know.

The article at Politifact

Politifact started the cover-up with “Santorum cites flawed climate change figure, and misquotes it” by Linda Qui. She asked me for information. I gave her several thousand words (which I’ll publish tomorrow). She didn’t find anything useful for smearing me, so she ignored it.

Below are the relevant parts of her hit job. My responses follow each quote. Qui tells me she consulted Verheggen and “6 other climate scientists/people who study the consensus issue” “and they all agreed with the survey author”. As you will see below, all that work produced only the weakest of rebuttals. But we can learn much from their attempt.

(a)  Politifact’s big conclusion!

The real finding of the survey actually backs the idea of scientific consensus on climate change, despite varying levels of confidence, said Verheggen.

“It is clear from our survey that a strong majority of scientists agree that greenhouse gases originating from human activity are the dominant cause of recent warming,” he said. That’s consistent with most of the literature on scientific opinion about climate change, experts agreed.

“You don’t get anywhere near 57% when surveying the broad earth science community, and you get very close to full consensus when you ask the experts in climate science,” said Peter Doran, a professor of earth science at Louisiana State University.

National Science Board member James Powell surveyed what’s actually published in scientific journals, finding that the consensus in the literature is about 99.9%. And multiple independent studies have “asked scientists directly” and found consensus levels of around 97%, said William Anderegg, who studies climate change at Princeton University.  “Those studies were rigorously peer-reviewed and thus should be considered more credible than a blog post that misreads an institute report,” he said.

The four surveys Politifact mention asked in general terms about scientists’ agreement that there has been anthropogenic human warming.

 

  • Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” by John Cook et al (Environmental Research Letters, 22 April 2013) looked for studies that “implied that humans were causing global warming”.
  • Powell’s paper used Cook’s data to find studies rejecting “anthropogenic global warming.”
  • Stacy Rosenberg et al (Climate Change, August 2010; ungated copy here) asked scientists if they “can say with great certainty that global warming is a process that is already underway” and that “with great certainty that human activities are accelerating global warming.”
  • Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” by Dorlan and Zimmerman (EOS, 20 January 2009) asked similar questions: “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” and “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

 

These studies (and 5 others described here) find high levels of agreement with those broad statements. But such statements — Gallup-like polls — don’t provide a basis to restructure the world economy. Science is about precision, as found in the IPCC’s attribution statements, which is why they are so valuable. Here’s the key finding in AR5 about greenhouse gases (repeating more precisely the same finding in 2007’s AR4). Compare it with the above questions.

“more than half of the observed increase in GMST {global mean surface temperature} from 1951 to 2010 is … due to the observed anthropogenic increase in GHG {greenhouse gas} concentrations.”

The PBL survey tested agreement with this attribution statement, asking for their “confidence level” about it — more useful than asking about belief in anthropogenic global warming as a true/false proposition. Of course a precise (i.e., narrower) statement like the IPCC’s will get lower levels of agreement than the broad statements tested in previous surveys.

How many scientists agreed at the “extremely likely” level (which the IPCC defines as 95%+ level, the usual minimum standard for use in science and public policy)?  43% of all 1,868 respondents (47% excluding the “don’t know” group).

How many agreed at the “very likely ” level (90%+ in the IPCC’s reports), which is what AR4 and AR5 assigned? 57% (again, less excluding the “don’t knows”). A majority, although a small one.

These findings are surprisingly low, and so unmentioned by the authors of the PBL study. The reaction to my post shows the strong effort to hide them.

These findings of the PBL report are consistent with the previous studies (agreeing with anthropogenic warming), but provide more detail. By describing them as contradictory Politifact misleads its readers. Verheggen, Doran, Powell, and Anderegg participate in the deception (perhaps ignorantly, as they might not have read my post — but just joined in the smear like good boys).

Politifact’s big conclusion is a magician’s trick, moving the pea while the audience watches from 95% agreement that more than half of warming since 1950 is anthropogenic to the far broader agrees with anthropogenic warming.

That’s how the global warming crusade runs. Deception and misrepresentations are activists’ standard tactics. the campaign’s big lie: if you disagree with predictions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, then you deny global warming. By repetition they’ve embedded this “logic” in the minds of millions. They even indoctrinated children, such as this student at U NH, who responds to Cruz’s correct statement that the 2 NASA-funded satellite datasets show a pause in warming since ~2000 by saying “Ted Cruz insults University of New Hampshire, denies the earth is warming“.

Read rest…

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Amid Military Monsters, Obama Chases Junk-Science Chimera

warshipsPresident Obama flew to Alaska Monday to claim that global warming is a U.S. security threat. He would have been better off noticing the five Chinese warships and 40 Russian icebreakers off Alaska’s coast.

Burning thousands of gallons of fossil fuel and leaving an enormous carbon footprint, Obama jetted 4,400 miles to Alaska for three days, to talk about global warming (and sight-see). He took selfie-stick photos for his daily travelogue, danced with Alaska natives, and renamed North America’s highest peak, known officially as Mount McKinley for a century, the politically correct Native American name Denali.

Above all, his mission was to warn Americans about climate change, claiming rather absurdly that the late-summer melting of ice in the Alaska wilds was evidence of global warming, not the seasons.

“The impacts of climate change are real, and the people of Alaska are living with them every day,” he tweeted from the White House website. “It’s never been more important for us to address this challenge,” he wrote, signing it “-bo” to let readers know he did it himself.

It was just the tip of his melting glacier. Last May, he told graduating Coast Guard cadets that “climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.”

When a U.S. president has beliefs such as these, it’s no surprise that America’s challengers for global hegemony could not have chosen a better time to make show of force — just off Alaska.

It wasn’t merely that Russia made a show of patrolling with its 40 icebreakers, prompting Obama to say he was thinking of maybe acquiring another to add to America’s fleet of … two.

China sailed around the Aleutian Islands, sending five warships — three combat vessels, one supply replenishment ship, and one amphibious landing ship — to the edge of Alaska’s waters. The group might amount to a coordinated fleet maneuver that U.S. intelligence analysts have said China has not so far been able to project.

We do know that the amphibious landing vessel was sent out to project the “sea control” power of a blue water navy, something a defensive “sea denial” regional coastal fleet can’t.

These naval exercises also come at a time of heightened Chinese militarism, exactly when the old gray men of Beijing are in what’s believed to be a power struggle over an economic crisis of their own making. This week, China’s military held a vast Soviet-style military parade to demonstrate its military might, as Beijing’s oligarchs — quite a few who haven’t been seen in awhile, such as Jiang Zemin — watched.

The big show accompanies China’s rising military spending, its increased modernization, and its willingness to use its growing power.

China has not only threatened its Asian neighbors with that power, the parade — which wasn’t open to the public so much as the television cameras for projection abroad — was to show off China’s efforts to recruit allies in opposition to the U.S. Obama’s new ally Castroite Cuba was one. And we noticed that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was also in attendance.

The same day as the parade, China announced it would be laying off 300,000 of its 2 million land-based troops. In “Asia’s Cauldron,” Robert D. Kaplan wrote that far from being a sign of weakening, that is a sign of modernization.

“Military modernization is actually about smaller but more up-to-date force structures,” he wrote. It’s a likely shift from land-based forces to sea and air power, he noted.

It’s quite a chilling picture from a rising Asian power and a longtime rival — right in America’s northernmost state. Yet all our president could offer on this trip was his obsession with the junk-science of global warming. Monsters encircle us, and he’s chasing a chimera.

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Alaska a good site for eco-scare tour

obamaAlaska was an excellent selection for President Barack Obama’s scare campaign on climate change, during which he has warned entire countries could be submerged by rising oceans if global warming is not halted.

Obama has not mentioned, of course, that the draconian plan he has in mind will do virtually nothing to curb rising temperatures. It will force electric bills up for tens of millions of American families, however.

White House strategists who picked Alaska for Obama’s tour on behalf of his campaign to shut down coal-fired power plants should have read their history books.

Had they done so, they would have learned of a similar scare campaign during the early 1970s. Radical environmentalists warned then that construction of the Alaska pipeline would devastate caribou herds.

But by 2003, nearly 30 years after the pipeline had been completed, the Western Arctic caribou herd numbered about 490,000 animals – more than twice its pre-pipeline level. During the past decade, the caribou population has dropped substantially – but there is no reason to believe the pipeline is to blame.

But during the 1970s – at a time, by the way, when there were doom and gloom predictions about global cooling – radical environmentalists were quick to hop on the anti-pipeline bandwagon because of warnings about the caribou.

And before you ask, yes, energy fear mongers behind the caribou scare claimed the science on that, too, was settled.

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