Category — Climate Change
“Has Big Environmentalism increased net CO2 emissions by retiring existing or discouraging new nuclear (and hydro) capacity that would have produced more kilowatt hours than that being generated by new wind and solar capacity? It is time to do the hard math. Let the games begin!”
James Hansen is an energy realist amid his climate alarmism. And fortunately, we can use the analysis of the former to debunk the politics of the latter. And even more fortunately, the physical science of man-made climate change is moving away from Hansen’s high-sensitivity estimates to “global lukewarming” (the analysis of Chip Knappenberger, Roy Spencer, John Christy, and others—seconded by the very influential Judith Curry in numerous blogs for the mainstream.
In his just released analysis, “Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power and Galileo: Do Scientists Have a Duty to Expose Popular Misconceptions?, Hansen once again speaks energy/political truth to Big Environmentalism. This is at least the fourth time he has done so.
Inconvenient Truths: 2009, 2011, 2012
February 24, 2014 3 Comments
On February 12, the United States National Academies of Sciences (NAS) issued a news release inviting the public to a joint meeting with the UK Royal Society:
On Thursday, February 27th, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The UK’s Royal Society cordially invite the public to the release of Climate Change: Evidence & Causes, a new publication produced jointly by the two institutions. Host Miles O’Brien from the PBS Newshour will guide a discussion about the publication with authors Dr. Eric Wolff of the University of Cambridge (UK lead), Dr. Inez Fung of the University of California, Berkeley (US lead), Sir Brian Hoskins* of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, and Dr. Benjamin Santer* of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, and Professor Sir Paul Nurse,* President of the Royal Society, will kick off the event.
The publication, which is written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, is intended as a brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on some of the questions that continue to be asked. The publication makes clear what is well-established and where understanding is still developing. It echoes and builds upon the long history of climate-related work from both national academies, as well as on the newest climate-change assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As Captain Renault said in the classic 1942 movie Casablanca, “Round up the usual suspects.” Yes, the report “Climate Change: Evidence & Causes” has as authors a familiar crew of fuel alarmists. [Read more →]
February 17, 2014 No Comments
Cap-and-trade, carbon taxation, net social cost for carbon: all assume that increasing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases by mankind have injurious effects that are not accounted for in private activity. But the politically incorrect is intellectually correct: CO2 emissions make life better – even possible – for people, the economy, and the ecosphere.
Weighing risks, costs and benefits is fundamental to life. We do it every day – when walking, driving, showering, heating our homes, and using stairs, ladders and tools; and when balancing the cost of new payments versus the benefits of a better home or car. The alternative is hunkering down in a bedroom or cave – until a lightning bolt, tornado, hurricane or armed burglar disturbs our false sense of security.
That is why government agencies are required to assess the benefits and costs of proposed regulations. Otherwise, officials could simply tout and exaggerate the supposed benefits of a rule, minimize its heavy costs, or ignore the values of the activity or product they want to regulate.
They could focus on the alleged risks of using a chemical, while disregarding the many ways it enhances and safeguards lives. They could abuse their power, to drive agendas that actually reduce our health and welfare.
Fed’s ‘Social Cost of Carbon’
That is now happening with the federal government’s efforts to “prevent dangerous climate change.” [Read more →]
February 11, 2014 1 Comment
“When the history of the global warming scare comes to be written, a chapter should be devoted to the way the message had to be altered to keep the show on the road. Global warming became climate change so as to be able to take the blame for cold spells and wet seasons as well as hot days. Then, to keep its options open, the movement began to talk about ‘extreme weather’.”
- Matt Ridley, “Nobody Even Calls the Weather Average,” July 9, 2013.
Last fall and so far this winter, the list has grown to include:
- Trillions of dollars of storm-surge flooding
- Bigger snowfalls
- Future Winter Olympics cancellations
- Drying Great Lakes
- Increased severe U.S. thunderstorms
- Less fall coloring
- Devastated ocean fisherman: ‘Sometimes We’ll Catch 5,000 Pounds Of Jellyfish’
- Aggressive hornets
- Christmas Island red crab migration
- Depletion of Caribbean fresh water supply
- Stockholm, Sweden heat deaths
- Worse Lake Erie algae blooms
- More polar bear attacks
- Destroyed Lavender (Haute-Provence)
- Wild pigs rampage
- Snowy Owl invasion
- Threatened Costa Rica banana industry
- Starfish disintegration
- Syrian Uprising; future conflict
- Prospective Texas fish deaths
A cartoon illustrates the hilarity of the ever-expanding, often contradictory list: [Read more →]
February 5, 2014 5 Comments
“The determination of the social cost of carbon (SCC) as made by [federal agencies] is discordant with the best scientific literature on the equilibrium climate sensitivity and the fertilization effect of carbon dioxide—two critically important parameters for establishing the net externality of carbon dioxide emissions…. The [federal government] should act not just to revise the current determination of the SCC, but to suspend its use in all federal rulemaking.”
- Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger (Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute). “Comment on ‘Technical Support Document, Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866’,” January 27, 2014.
Federal legislative attempts to price and regulate carbon dioxide have failed. Cap-and-trade, which passed the House in 2009, died the next year in the Senate. A carbon tax, much discussed, has not gotten the traction to reach a House vote.
However, a back-door energy tax is alive and well in a monetary-damage value assigned to carbon dioxide emissions in regulatory justification. Under federal cost/benefit analysis, for example, an energy efficiency standard can become more onerous by assigning a monetary benefit of reduced CO2 emissions.
The determination of the social cost of carbon by the Interagency Working Group (IWG), detailed in the May 2013 Technical Support Document (updated in November 2013) is worse than highly subjective, thus an arbitrary calculation. It is knowingly improper, inaccurate and misleading. It should be expunged from all federal matters.
January 31, 2014 9 Comments
“Climate Change. A term, which attempts to take the natural weather pattern and attribute it to the activities of humans. Heavily adopted recently for use to promote cave living, the idea that humans are a noxious virus on planet Earth, and the practice of greater separation between the rich and the poor. I know the weather pattern is natural and everything we’re experiencing now has been experienced before, but I still feel all warm, fuzzy knowing that electricity companies are responsible for Climate Change and are being taxed accordingly because of it.”
- Excerpt, UrbanDictionary.com (satirical).
A Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this month, “It Isn’t Climate Change”, makes a valid point that recent “polar vortex” of subzero temperatures in the Midwest, East Coast, and Southern U.S. is not “climate change.” But this begs the question: what is climate change?
The term is used with such vagueness that it could never be used in a scientific experiment to meet Karl Popper’s test of falsifiability. The term has been made so politically correct that it has become Orwellian doublespeak.
In elementary school I learned that areas of the world that once were tropical jungles are now deserts and vice versa. So there is “climate change.” That no one denies, not even so-called climate- change “deniers.” James Hansen, himself associated with the alarmist wing of climate science, made this point clearly: [Read more →]
January 15, 2014 18 Comments
“Pauses as long as 15 years are rare in the simulations, and ‘we expect that [real-world] warming will resume in the next few years,’ the Hadley Centre group writes…. Researchers … agree that no sort of natural variability can hold off greenhouse warming much longer.”
- Richard Kerr, Science (2009)
That’s Richard A. Kerr, the longtime, award-winning climate-change scribe for Science magazine, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The article, “What Happened to Global Warming? Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit,” was published October 1, 2009.
The article is important in the history of climate thought because it captures neatly the (over)confidence of the scientists who turn to models to justify their faith that past overestimation will soon be reversed. Judith Curry’s recent discovery of F. A. Hayek’s Nobel Prize Lecture in Economics, The Pretense of Knowledge, marks a new front in the mainstream climate debate. 
Secondly, today’s explanation for the “pause” (a term used in Kerr’s 2009 article) is not mentioned back then—ocean delay.
Third, Kerr frames the debate in political terms with Copenhagen just ahead—and fails to interview or include the contrary views about how climate sensitivity might be less than the climate models assume in their physical equations.
Here is the guts of the Kerr article as the 5th year anniversary comes this year: [Read more →]
January 14, 2014 13 Comments
“The EPA acknowledges that the Timing Rule produces ‘absurd results’ that contravene congressional intent…. The Timing Rule clearly exceeds any discernible congressional intent and should be overturned.”
An amicus brief filed this week to the Supreme Court on behalf of five U.S. Senators argues that “Congress never intended for EPA to have authority to impose” Clean Air Act permitting requirements on stationary sources of greenhouse gases.
The brief, written pro bono by Theodore L. Garrett and Thomas R. Brugato of Covington & Burling LLP, bases its conclusion on my review of nearly 700 proposed bills on greenhouse gases that were introduced between 1989 and 2010.
Background on the Case
The Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA is reviewing one question: “Whether EPA permissibly determined that greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.” In other words, the Court is reviewing the agency’s April 2010 Timing Rule.
According to the Timing Rule, regulation of any air pollutant under any part of the Clean Air Act automatically triggers New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction and Title V operating permit requirements for “major” stationary sources of that pollutant. This means that “major” sources of carbon dioxide (CO2), the chief anthropogenic greenhouse gas, became subject to NSR and Title V permitting on the day the agency’s greenhouse Tailpipe Rule took effect (January 2, 2011).
The specific type of NSR permit required by the Timing Rule is called Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD). To obtain a PSD permit, a covered source must commit to meet case-specific emission limitations known as “best available control technology” (BACT).
The EPA acknowledges that applying the PSD and Title V programs to greenhouse gases leads to “absurd results” – unintended consequences that conflict with and undermine congressional intent. Congress intended for the permit programs to apply only to large industrial facilities, but literally millions of small, non-industrial facilities emit enough CO2 (250/100 tons per year) to qualify as “major” sources under the PSD and Title V programs.
To avoid a self-inflicted administrative meltdown, the EPA issued its June 2010 Tailoring Rule, which revises the “major” source applicability thresholds from 250/100 tons per year, as specified in the statute, to 100,000/75,000 tons per year. The Tailoring Rule is itself an absurd solution, because under the constitutional separation of powers agencies have no authority to rewrite congressional statutes. [Read more →]
December 19, 2013 8 Comments
The international global-warming theater is again in session. The doomed-from-the-start, out-of-time Kyoto Protocol of 2007 (“this agreement will be good for Enron stock!“) was followed by the failure of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. The frequent flyers are now in Warsaw in hopes of making progress towards the Paris, France finale in December 2015 for a global agreement to–in the United Nations’ formulation–keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
To say that the confab is off to a slow start is an understatement. First, Poland (the sponsoring country) held a two day conference touting its home grown coal industry. Australia is on track to eliminate its “socialistic” carbon tax and cutting ’green’ energy subsidies. And Japan declared its intention to deemphasize its CO2 reduction plans, adding “gloom” to the Warsaw conference.
All this comes on top of an inconvenient truth: European countries have failed to reduce CO2 emissions despite huge efforts that have impoverished electricity users and national treasuries. [Read more →]
November 19, 2013 2 Comments
“Given the current state of climate science, I don’t see evidence that these and other complex interacting factors stand a reasonable chance of being predicted, beyond what is possible through a basic understanding of historical variability.”
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released its first major global warming manifesto since 2007. Once again, the IPCC makes dramatic predictions of future warming and catastrophic consequences due to manmade carbon dioxide emissions. Typically, these predictions are reported as proven “findings” that have the same status as the readings of a thermometer.
But predictions are fundamentally different from measurements, and the more complex the system, the more difficult the prediction. The climate is a complicated combination of atmospheric, land, and ocean systems whose dynamics must be pieced together on scales from the size of a single cloud to wind streams spanning continents. Common sense should make us suspicious of any individual or group who claims a high degree of confidence in predicting it decades into the future–especially when that group doesn’t seem to acknowledge what kind of scientific breakthroughs would be necessary for such a task.
Industrial progress over the last 75 years has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 0.03% to the current value of 0.04%. It is very difficult to determine the exact impact of this change as it melds into the swirl of constant natural variability of the climate system, including changes in the intensity of solar radiation, poorly understood short and long-term thermal phenomena in the oceans, changes in the growth trends of carbon dioxide-sucking vegetation, and fluctuating volcanic emissions.
Given the current state of climate science, I don’t see evidence that these and other complex interacting factors stand a reasonable chance of being predicted, beyond what is possible through a basic understanding of historical variability.
November 12, 2013 7 Comments