Sunday, March 29, 2015

South Pole's icy edge is rapidly vanishing: Antarctic ice shelves have shrunk by as much as 18% in ten years, claims study

Amusing.  The ice loss has accelerated in the last decade.  But there has been no global warming in the last decade.  So the loss CANNOT be due to global warming.  If the data is sound -- a very big IF when looking at Warmist research -- the effect is probably due to sub-surface vulcanism  -- with a lot of that being revealed recently

Antarctica's icy edge is disappearing in warming ocean waters, with the last decade seeing the rate of ice loss increase dramatically.

This is according to a new study that has combined 18-years worth of ice shelf thinning data from three different sets of satellites.

The researchers claim that some ice shelves in West Antarctica have lost as much as 18 per cent of their volume in the last ten years.

Satellite data from 1994 to 2012 clearly shows the accelerating decline which could hasten the rise in global sea levels, scientists say.

The findings, published today in the journal Science, come amid concern among many scientists about the effects of global climate change on Earth's vast, remote polar regions.

During the study period's first half, to about 2003, the overall volume decline around Antarctica was small, with West Antarctica losses almost balanced out by gains in East Antarctica.

After that, western losses accelerated and gains in the east ended.

'There has been more and more ice being lost from Antarctica's floating ice shelves,' said glaciologist Helen Fricker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

The Crosson Ice Shelf in the Amundsen Sea and the Venable Ice Shelf in the Bellingshausen Sea, both in West Antarctica, each shrank about 18 percent during the study period.

'If the loss rates that we observed during the past two decades are sustained, some ice shelves in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas could disappear within this century,' added Scripps geophysics doctoral candidate Fernando Paolo.

The melting of these ice shelves does not directly affect sea levels because they are already floating.

'This is just like your glass of gin and tonic. When the ice cubes melt, the level of liquid in the glass does not rise,' Paolo said.

But the floating ice shelves provide a restraining force for land-based ice, and their reduction would increase the flow of the ice from the land into the ocean, which would increase sea levels.

'While it is fair to say that we're seeing the ice shelves responding to climate change, we don't believe there is enough evidence to directly relate recent ice shelf losses specifically to changes in global temperature,' Fricker said.


Weather Vain: Obama Uses Climate Hoax to Bully Govs

DESPITE the uncertainty expressed by his own FEMA head: "Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate said the frequency of tornadoes and hurricanes is cyclical, and he doesn’t know if global warming has anything to do with it. Should Obama's own FEMA head be denied funding?.

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy 'em! That’s the President’s new approach to climate change skeptics in conservative states. The Obama administration is apparently so desperate for support that it’s willing to blackmail governors into adding global warming to their disaster planning – or block their federal funds. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the conform-or-pay rules would go into effect next March. In the meantime, governors have a choice: they can bow down to the Left’s faulty science or lose millions of dollars in FEMA relief planning.

Under the new regulations, only states that tackle the effects of “changing environmental or climate conditions” in their long-term “hazard-mitigation plans” will qualify for funding. Specifically, governors must “identify tools and approaches that enable decision-making to reduce risks and increase resilience from a changing climate.” It’s a shocking amount of political arm-twisting, even for this administration.

Clearly, the rules were made to hurt – and it’s no secret whom. Republican Governors like Rick Scott (Fla.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Chris Christie (N.J.), Pat McCrory (N.C.), and Greg Abbott (Texas) have been openly critical of the administration’s climate push, and these guidelines are payback. Of course, many of these regions – including my home state of Louisiana – are coastal, meaning that they are especially vulnerable to storms and other natural disasters. And while FEMA promises that it won’t attach these same strings to hurricane, flood, or other post-disaster relief, the administration’s word is about as reliable as the Left’s science.

Interestingly enough, FEMA’s extortion plan comes on the heels of a pretty damning report from key environmental experts, who agreed last year that the White House’s National Climate Assessment is a “masterpiece of marketing” that crumbles like a “house of cards” under the weight of real-world evidence. In an open letter, the group of 15 blasted the government’s “climate models” for “dramatically fail(ing) basic verification tests. Nowhere do they admit to these well-known failures. Instead, we are led to believe that their climate models are close to perfection.” The real damage control started well before when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit that the world’s temperatures haven’t risen in 17 years. (If you thought the holes in the Ozone layer were big, you should see the ones in the Left’s credibility!)

Without any real science to prop up his agenda, the President is pulling a page from his abortion playbook: government extortion. Unfortunately, this kind of ideological hostage-taking is nothing new for the White House. When Catholic Charities wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the administration’s abortion views, HHS pulled the plug on more than $5 million in human trafficking grants, despite the fact Catholic Charities is among the most qualified organizations to render aid and assistance to the trafficked.

Obviously, the totalitarian tactics of this administration knows no bounds. “This story really brings together all the elements of Obamaism,” writes Dan McLaughlin. As HotAir puts it, “It’s legally dubious; it ignores Congress… it’s an obvious political pander to the Left with a bonus of putting right-wingers in a spot, even at the expense of placing citizens at risk; and it (mocks) state autonomy. Basically, it’s the environmental equivalent of executive amnesty. All that’s missing is 18-24 months of Obama statements denying that he’d ever do something like this before turning around and doing it.”


The Great Oxygenation Event

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser


Photosynthesis (PS) is the process by which algae and plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic matter, like the wood of trees. Any other organism on this planet that is not an alga or plant itself feeds on the former. Therefore, CO2 is the source of all life on earth. There is not a single organism that does not require the carbon atom as a basic building block.

Photosynthesis brings about another product, rarely mentioned but vital to all higher organisms on the planet, and that is molecular oxygen (O2). There is no other source of O2 on earth but photosynthesis. Therefore, without carbon dioxide there also would be no free oxygen in our atmosphere.
Oxygen (O2)

Without oxygen in the water there would be no fish. Without oxygen in the air there would be no mammals on land. Oxygen is the material organisms need to turn the plant-accumulated sun-energy into energy useful for our ability to move and propagate. Given its concentration in the air alone, nearly 21%, oxygen is approximately 500 times the level of CO2 that makes up 0.04% (even after burning all the fossil fuels for centuries). As you can see, there is little CO2 but plenty of O2 in the atmosphere.

Given the fact that all free molecular O2 in our atmosphere and water comes solely from CO2 via the photosynthesis (PS) process, you may wonder if this was a “slow and steady” accumulation of O2 or if there were epochs in the earth history that really got the PS process going in grand style. Indeed, the latter was the case and it’s what scientists commonly refer to as “the great oxygenation events” (GOEs). Actually, there were two such periods. The first one some two billion years ago (plus or minus a few million) and second one a billion-plus years later. Now, don’t get the idea that the GOE happened over night or even over a few thousand years. In geological terms such “short” periods are not even mentionable. No, each GEO took many millions of years.

The Great Oxygenation Event

However, the GOE is real, particularly the second one. It was a time of great plant exuberance on earth. Plants like the modern-day horsetail (Equisetum sp.) and the long-extinct scale trees were growing all over like mad. In some of the coal seams, their imprints can still be found. The GOE happened mainly during the (geological) Carboniferous period stretching from 350 to 300 million years ago. During these 50 million years, a great part of the atmospheric CO2 was converted by PS to O2.

Actually, the PS process was so active then that the O2 concentration in the air rose to 35%, nearly double the level it is today. The decline since took many more millions of years to distribute it “more justly” between the atmosphere and the ocean water. Today, the oceans hold much of that formerly “excess” molecular oxygen. But now back to the “evil” carbon dioxide.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

As mentioned already but worth repeating here: the entire supply of molecular oxygen on earth is derived from that CO2. Naturally (pun intended) the PS process did not just create the oxygen, it also had a “side effect” of reducing the atmosphere’s content of CO2. Around the time of the GOE, the atmosphere contained more than ten times the level of today and before that it was more than a 100 times that level.

Despite the planet’s continuous (and still continuing) attempts to keep the atmosphere supplied with an adequate level of that CO2 stuff it had steadily declined to a level of approximately 200 ppm (parts per million). At that concentration, plants simply become starved of available CO2 as its partial pressure can no longer sustain PS. Mother Nature’s PS process consumed more CO2 than all the thousands of volcanic vents and eruptions could push into the air. Luckily for all life on earth, the algae and plants did not die out and managed to slow down their CO2 consumption by “hibernating” until they could once more “breathe again freely” when the CO2 level had increased again. There is evidence in for that in the renewed growth of ancient redwood trees in California.

You’d think these facts alone would be enough to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all “anti-carbon-footprint-advisors” like the United Nations’ IPCC and many NGOs to reconsider. Not a chance. They are hell-bent to call it pollution. Even the U.S. Supreme Court said so (perhaps you can forward the link to this post or a copy to the court and/or to any of the elected officials in your area); they might just be interested in getting this info.

In any event, I think it’s an appropriate contribution to this year’s “Earth Hour” on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The WWF and other NGOs are asking you to curtail your “carbon footprint” for the “sake of Mother Nature.” Some folks then have a candle light dinner or candle light party.

That’s great, burn some candles at Earth Hour. It’s good, really, because burning candles produce more life-sustaining carbon dioxide than modern low-carbon-footprint electric lights.


Major peer-review scandal causes withdrawal of 43 published scientific papers

Peer review cannot prevent dishonesty or bias

There’s a lot of unsettled science going on these days. The peer-review system, which is supposed to serve as a quality assurance system, allowing credentialed experts to pass judgment on new research before it is published, is breaking down. The latest in a series of scandals involves 43 papers, but more are expected to follow.

Fred Barbash of the Washington Post reports:

    "A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.

    The publisher is BioMed Central, based in the United Kingdom, which puts out 277 peer-reviewed journals. A partial list of the retracted articles suggests most of them were written by scholars at universities in China, including China Medical University, Sichuan University, Shandong University and Jiaotong University Medical School. But Jigisha Patel, associate editorial director for research integrity at BioMed Central, said it’s not “a China problem. We get a lot of robust research of China. We see this as a broader problem of how scientists are judged.”

    Meanwhile, the Committee on Publication Ethics, a multidisciplinary group that includes more than 9000 journal editors, issued a statement suggesting a much broader potential problem. The committee, it said, “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.” Those journals are now reviewing manuscripts to determine how many may need to be retracted, it said."

Science has become a major industry, with the billions of dollars of government funding available not just in the US but worldwide providing incentives for cheating. Promotion in universities depends on publication in peer-reviewed journals, so desperate academics seek it, no matter how trivial or even phony the results. In addition, in medicine, climate science, and many other fields, huge financial stakes exist for non-scientists, leading to pressure on the peers who do the reviewing. As the Clmategate emails revealed, conspiracies among the peers who review can lead to suppression of research contrary to the interests of the conspirators.

The integrity of science – and the continued progress of mankind – depends on the efficacy of peer review. We are at a critical point, with the danger of phony science misleading us into dead ends and worse.


British regulator knocks back Warmist complaint

Decision of the Complaints Committee: 021014 Ward v The Mail on Sunday

1. Bob Ward complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Mail on Sunday had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Exposed: Myth of Artic Meltdown”, published on 31/08/2014.

2. The article reported that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years.

3. The complainant was concerned that the article gave the inaccurate impression that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed. He said that the article had omitted the fact that the Arctic sea ice extent in August 2014 had been the seventh-lowest recorded level since records began. He also said that the article had not made clear that the 2012 reading had been the lowest on record, nor had the article explained that, on numerous occasions, the ice extent had increased for one year, without reversing the overall decline.

4. Further, the complainant said that the article had inaccurately reported that there was no evidence that the number of polar bears were declining. He said that latest estimates indicated that, of the 19 sub-populations of polar bears, four are declining, five are stable and one is increasing; there was not enough data to estimate trends for the other nine sub-populations. The article had included a graph recording Arctic Sea extent over the last ten years headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years”. The complainant said that the graph was significantly misleading as the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014.

5. The complainant said that the newspaper had also inaccurately reported the comments made by the American politician Al Gore; it said that in 2007 Mr Gore had suggested that the North Polar Ice Cap could be completely gone in seven years. The complainant said that it had been significantly misleading to omit that, while he had cited one study which predicted that this would be the case, he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029.

6. The complainant said that the newspaper should acknowledge that the article was inaccurate and significantly misleading, publish his letter in full and provide an assurance that it would take greater care to ensure that future articles on this issue were accurate.

7. The newspaper said that the “myth” mentioned in the headline was the claim that the Arctic might be ice-free by 2014. The article had reported the unexpected increase in Arctic sea ice over the past two years, but it had made clear that the long-term trend remains in decline, caused, at least in part, by human activity. The newspaper said that the article had included a considerable amount of balancing material and had quoted several scientists.

8. In relation to polar bears, the article had acknowledged that that there was “no reliable data from almost half the Arctic, so it cannot say whether numbers are falling or rising”. It had not been significantly misleading on this point.

9. The graph headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years” had been accurate; readers could see for themselves how the levels of ice have gone down over the past 10 years, and up in the last two.

10. While the newspaper did not accept that the article was significantly misleading, it offered to publish a lightly amended version of the complainant’s letter. The complainant’s letter would make clear that he considered the article to be misleading.

Findings of the Committee

12. Topics such as the effects of climate change and global warming remain matters of intense discussion and debate. Under the terms of Clause 1, newspapers are entitled to publish controversial or unorthodox views on such issues, provided that they are not inaccurate or significantly misleading.

13. The article presented the author’s view that forecasts regarding the melting of Arctic ice had overestimated the rate of decline. The complainant did not dispute that measures showed that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years. The article had made clear that the long-term trend still showed a decline, and the coverage had included commentary from a number of scientists, expressing a variety of views on the matter, including one who had stated that he was “uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice had bounced back”, and warned against reading too much into the ice increases. The article had made clear that scientific opinions regarding the significance of the most recent data varied. In this context, the omission of the information that the measure in 2012 had been the lowest on record, and that 2014 had still been the seventh lowest since records began, was not significantly misleading. The article did not suggest that it had been established as fact that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed.

14. The article had made clear that the Polar Bear Specialist Group admitted that it did not have the necessary data to establish whether the numbers of polar bears was rising or falling. In this context, it had not been significantly misleading to suggest that there was no scientific evidence to establish that the number of bears was declining.

15. The article had been illustrated with a graph which plotted the Artic Sea extent in millions of square kilometres, titled “How melt has slowed over 10 years”.  While the Committee noted the complainant’s concern that the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014, in circumstances in which the complainant did not dispute that the graph had been plotted accurately, the Committee was satisfied that the presentation of the data had not been significantly misleading.

16. The complainant was concerned that the newspaper had misrepresented a speech by Al Gore. As Mr Gore had cited a study which projected that the Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2014, it had not been significantly misleading to omit that he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029. The Committee also noted that the newspaper had tried to contact Al Gore for comment on this matter. There was no breach of the Code. Nonetheless, the Committee welcomed the newspaper’s offer to publish a letter from the complainant.


It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer

It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer
by STEVE CHAMBERS March 24, 2015

The United States has the opportunity to use vast, untapped reserves of oil to make the world far safer, now and for generations to come.  These reserves would eliminate the world's concerns about where its oil would come from, how much it would cost, or whether it might be shut off by Mideast warfare or willful disruptions.  They would defund some of the world's worst regimes.  And they would be profitable at today's prices, so pose no economic burden and in fact would provide many economic benefits.  The only thing standing in the way of developing them is feverish environmental fear.

The world consumes about 92 million barrels per day of oil, or roughly 34 billion barrels a year.  The oil market is quite separate from the rest of the energy market.  Lawrence Livermore Labs provides data that show that 70% of oil consumption in this country fuels transportation (the rest going primarily to industrial uses as both energy and chemical feedstocks), while transportation burns oil for 92% of its fuel.  Therefore, the oil market is quite separate from other sources of electrical generation, whether coal, nuclear reactors, or windmills.  This pattern is similar around the globe.  Global consumption has been growing quite steadily at just about 1% per year and is likely to continue to do so, even allowing for the numerous initiatives to make transportation less dependent on oil, including electric vehicles.

The economic growth of China and India, along with smaller countries, makes continued oil consumption growth virtually certain, and they might actually force growth to accelerate.  Each of those two giants alone is likely almost to double current total oil consumption by the time their economies yield per capita incomes comparable to the developed world, which should happen in the next generation or two.  The faster they grow their economies, the faster global oil consumption will grow.

Supplying this growing demand are officially declared, proven oil reserves of approximately 1.6 trillion barrels, which would last approximately 47 years at current consumption levels - but which will dwindle much faster as Chinese and Indian consumption grow.  Almost half of these global reserves lie under the sands of the Mideast, and would outlast reserves in most other areas given the various current production rates, so the world would become more and more reliant on Muslim oil.  As terrorism has bitterly taught the world in the past 14 years, some of the revenues from these Mideast reserves are being used to spread virulent versions of Islamic ideology and its accompanying jihad throughout the world.  If it weren't for these oil revenues, militant Islam wouldn't be a major global problem.

Of these global proven reserves, the U.S. contributes only about 30 billion barrels, or less than 2%, despite the rapid increase of reserves from the shale oil fracking boom.  At the current consumption of about 19 million barrels per day, these reserves would only last 4 years if not supplemented by imports and further discoveries.  Canada officially contributes 173 billion barrels, the third largest in the world, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia; however, this number grossly understates the real potential in Canada.

The large majority of Canada's reserves come from the heavy oil in the sand formations of far northern Alberta.  These are variously estimated actually to contain between 1.6 and 2.5 trillion barrels - that is 1.0-1.6 times global proven conventional reserves.  Not all of these reserves can necessarily be recovered at current prices, but clearly the potential is enormous.  The lowest cost technology to tap these reserves is economic at about $60-65 per barrel (on a West Texas Intermediate oil price equivalent), according to the Canadian Research Institute, with alternative approaches requiring prices about $30 higher.

But the U.S. reserves are also grossly understated.  In the high scrub brush terrain of the Green River area of western Colorado, eastern Utah, and southwest Wyoming lie shale formations on or near the surface that are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels - twice the global proven reserves.  Pilot programs have demonstrated that these reserves would be economic at about $35-54 per barrel, per the U.S. Department of Energy.  Combining the reserves in the Canadian oil sands with those in the Rockies shales, North America could triple the world's reserves of oil, at today's prices.

Despite the prodigious profit potential of these reserves, only three companies have recently begun tentatively developing them.  This is because the vast majority of the reserves lie on Federal lands that are not available for development.

This was not always the case.  Towards the end of its last term, the Bush administration issued regulatory policies, over the objections of Congressional Democrats, making these reserves more accessible than they had been.  The Obama administration reversed those polices in November 2012.  The reason: concerns about anthropogenic climate change (ACC).

Proponents of ACC theories hate all forms of carbon energy, but they harbor a special animus for both Canadian oil sands and Rockies oil shales.  Producing them requires large amounts of heat, which requires burning natural gas or oil itself, significantly increasing the carbon footprint of each barrel of oil.  As a consequence, environmentalists not only block the development of the Rockies shales, but are also blocking the XL Pipeline that would safely and efficiently transport the Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries, where it could be efficiently processed in facilities that were built to handle heavy Venezuelan crude oil.

ACC proponents greatly overstate both the strength of their evidence and the consequences of the potential problems, as an increasing amount of research and findings is demonstrating, including from ACC-promoting scientists.  Indeed, even their common claim that, in the words of Vice President Kerry, "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists tell us" that ACC is an "urgent" problem turns out to be a fiction.

Many scientists, including MIT professor emeritus of meteorolgy Richard Lindzen, have repeatedly pointed to flaws in the ACC theories, most recently Lindzen in a Wall Street Journal article.  In his article, he not only points out that ACC promoters' own models have predicted rapidly rising global temperatures for the last 15 years while actual temperatures have been flat, but also that the proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide would be onerous for developed economies and crushing for developing ones.  Not incidentally, he also describes how Congressional devotees of ACC are trying to use the power of the Federal government to silence skeptics of accepted ACC wisdom.

Several panels of eminent economists, including many Nobel laureates, studied the likely impact of ACC under the aegis of the Copenhagen Consensus.  They, along with others such as energy specialist Alex Epstein (in his new book, The Earth is Not a God), have reached conclusions about ACC's economic consequences similar to those of climate scientists such as Professor Lindzen.  They have also pointed out that the policies environmentalists propose would hurt people in developing economies in the short and medium term and thus stunt their long term economic growth.  It's worth noting, incidentally, that the Copenhagen Consensus panels accepted the premise of ACC in reaching their conclusions.

Ironically, by hurting long term growth in developing countries, ACC proponents' policies would make it harder for the people in those countries to deal with the problems that they worry will occur.  If those developing economies instead grew and developed, their people would be able to adapt to and substantially mitigate the predicted negative impacts of ACC - if any in fact materialized.  Consequently, poorer countries are not concerned about addressing ACC.  They recognize a greater urgency to improve the economic lot of their people today and grow their income to the levels enjoyed by developed countries and won't sacrifice these gains to address problems that might or might not occur generations from now.  Nor are developing countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria, and China interested in suppressing their own oil production industries.

The ACC proponents' opposition to American oil is a fool's errand.  They can't stop everyone's oil from reaching the global market, just America's, but oil is fungible, so stopping American oil only is pointless.  Other countries also have large oil reserves, particularly the Venezuelans, who claim the world's largest reserves, at just under 300 billion barrels.  The large majority of these are oil sands, just as carbon-intensive as Canada's, that lie in the nearly inaccessible Orinoco basin.  Their production costs would be comparable to Canada's.  For the time being, the country's parlous economic and political situation are preventing production.  Yet even if Venezuela can overcome these problems, one must ask: Does the world really want this unstable nation and ally of Cuba and Iran to become the next Saudi Arabia?  Would the world not prefer to have the U.S. and Canada be the guarantors of oil security?

Even without the Venezuelans, other producers, such as Russia, Angola, and Nigeria, will bring new reserves onto the market, albeit probably at higher prices than North American producers would demand, and probably with their own political baggage.  High oil prices would be a grudgingly accepted consolation prize for environmentalists, as it might lead to more conservation.  But the price difference would likely be oil in a range a range of $90-110 from higher cost sources versus of $55-90 from the Canadian oil sands and Rockies' shale.  Is the limited conservation that this might induce enough to warrant preventing the U.S. from developing its huge reserves?  Consider the broader context.

Imagine the geopolitical impact of bountiful and moderately priced oil coming from two stable North American democracies.  The greatest impact would be on the militant Muslim petrostates, who are using their oil revenues as a weapon, exporting their extreme versions of Islam and funding terror and turmoil around the world.  Even more troubling, Iran's regime is currently in the process of trying to gain control the oil reserves of the Saudis, Iraq, and the other Mideast oil producers.  If it succeeds, it will be able unilaterally to threaten the non-Muslim world with oil disruptions - particularly if it obtains nuclear weapons.  But with virtually unlimited, moderate cost oil from North America, the oil receipts of Iran - as well as the Saudis - will be far below their current budgetary needs.  Not only will the Iranian regime have less money to fund its jihadist, expansionist plans, but the leverage it would hope to gain will virtually disappear, at least once the U.S. shale reserves are actually producing.  On the other hand, not developing these reserves will be an open invitation to the ayatollahs to continue to use oil as a sword of its jihad.

Moreover, the significant fiscal pressure that Iran would face for the foreseeable future might force the regime to curtail or even drop its nuclear arms program.  As a minimum, such constraints would force them to seek means other than oil exports to fund their regime and its vicious pet programs.  At best, the ensuing pressure on Iran's broader economy and people could precipitate merciful regime change.

This same economic vice would grip the Saudis and other militant Islamic petrostates, as well as Russia and Venezuela.  These bad actors would have to find other ways to finance their mayhem and ambitions.  Better yet, they would have to abandon them, to everyone else's benefit.

Consider also what this would mean for major oil consuming nations.  The Chinese regime would not have to worry about where its oil would come from, or whether disruptions in the Mideast could throttle its economic growth, leading to social unrest that might topple the regime and threaten the lives of the Party bosses.  This would affect their calculations about whether they need to devote so many of the nation's scarce resources to the blue water navy that it is now rapidly building to control sea lanes and dominate offshore oil reserves.  Perhaps with less uncertainty about oil, the Chinese government could be persuaded to be less expansionist and bellicose.

Meanwhile, India and the rest of the developing world would not have to worry about oil security, either, and would be able to focus their efforts and resources on other, more productive matters of economic development.  Furthermore, with secure, moderate cost energy, these countries should be able to grow more quickly than with higher cost oil.  Such higher growth would not only be a global good in its own right, it might enable some poor residents of an India or Tanzania, who otherwise might not survive to adulthood or receive an education, to develop technology that helps control the problems ACC might create- or demonstrate that there are no such problems in the first place.

Turning to Europe, its people would not be held in thrall by Muslim - or Russian - oil exporters.  This should have a liberating effect on their governments' attitudes towards these exporters and the Mideastern immigrants that are causing such burdens on their economies and disruption in their societies.  Stable, moderately priced oil would also produce much wider benefits for their economies.

Summarizing this geopolitical opportunity, America's vast oil reserves could be an important offensive economic weapon to help pacify, stabilize, and develop the world.  America could free the world from the risks of oil disruptions or price gyrations, not to mention the violence funded by Muslim and Russian oil revenues, to which the ACC proponents now subject us.

In addition to all those significant benefits, one must consider the substantial economic gains the U.S. would receive.  Our trade deficit would fall dramatically; every million barrels per day of oil exported would produce about $22 billion in revenue.  The U.S. Treasury would receive sizable windfalls from the combination of additional royalties on the oil produced and taxes on the profits of oil producers and income of workers.  Assuming an average royalty of 12.5%, reportedly the average for the last 100 years, for every additional 1 million barrels per day of production, the Treasury would receive about $2.7 billion.  If the Rockies could supply the incremental growth of the world over the next decade, that would reach roughly 10 million barrels a day in production, or exports of $220 billion per year (roughly half the trade deficit in 2013 of $472 billion) and royalties of $27 billion.  As the late Senator Everett Dirksen would have noted, we'd then be talking about "real money," even if the U.S. had to split the exports with Canada.

In addition to these benefits, the economy would reap many other rewards.  Well paying jobs would proliferate throughout the Rockies and along the routes that oil would follow for refining and export.  The benefits of these job increases would ripple throughout the economy.  Stable energy prices at reasonable levels would lower risk and hence allow higher returns on capital and greater productivity gains throughout the economy.  At the likely price levels, this situation might even help stimulate alternative, "clean" energy technologies by giving them a moderately high and stable price as a target.  Finally, greater geopolitical stability could even lead to a peace dividend.

The U.S. thus has the opportunity to make the world safer while substantially helping its own sluggish and debt-burdened economy.  Our choice is a simple but stark one: to use our energy as a weapon to defund and defang the jihad and a resurgent Russian empire while promoting global economic growth and stability; or to allow ACC proponents to perpetuate policies that endanger world peace and burden the global economy with high costs for dubious benefits.  Once we decide, the next step is simple.  The only thing Washington needs to do is to cut the red tape that is strangling our vast oil reserves (both Rockies shales and others on Federal land) and let private enterprise do the rest.

It's time for the American people to take a hard, clear-eyed, open-minded look at ACC worries and decide whether they really warrant leaving our oil weapon in its scabbard, despite all the good its use could do.  Already, poll after poll reports that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about economic matters, and are far more concerned about national security than they are about ACC, if they even mention anything remotely like ACC among their concerns.  If Americans conclude that ACC isn't the great global threat some claim, then we should elect a government that will wield American oil for the prosperity and security of the entire world.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, March 27, 2015

The latest "ad hominem" attack from a Warmist below

Even an alleged scientist, Ken Rice of U Edinburgh,  just cannot bear to mention any scientific data about climate.  His attack below on the skeptical Richard Tol in fact presents neither evidence nor reasoning.  It is a pure attack on the man himself. And such attacks are a classical informal fallacy in logic. They prove nothing.  Where is the data that prove Tol wrong?  There is none -- not a single solitary fact.  As any kind of a reply to Tol it is non-existent.  It's probably a reasonable expresion of faith though

Richard Tol has another article about how claims of a scientific consensus don’t stand up (you can read it here if you really want to). It’s the standard message that he’s been promoting for quite some time now and I really can’t bring myself to point out the flaws again; it’s just getting tedious. I’m also tired of always being a critic. I thought I might, instead, try to write something a bit more positive.

I think what Richard has done here is a fantastic example of how persistence can eventually pay off. If you have some kind of agenda, or a message you’d like to promote, just be persistent; eventually you will succeed in getting it out there. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re saying is strictly correct, or not. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re saying is balanced and objective, or not. It doesn’t really matter if what you’re arguing against is something you’ve already accepted as being true. Just keep going. Eventually you will succeed.

Ignore those who point out your errors and tell you that you’re wrong. Ignore those who point out that your behaviour leaves much to be desired. Few people are sufficiently persistent, and so they’ll eventually just give up. You’ll be left to promote your message, free from the criticisms of those who would rather your audience were informed, than misinformed.

Now, there are of course some big caveats. Your message does need to appeal to some kind of audience, ideally one with some power and influence. There’s no point doing this if you won’t actually achieve something. Your message also has to be at least plausible, and you do need to avoid promoting something that would be obviously objectionable and/or libelous. Of course, you’ll be reasonably safe from claims of libel, as most who typically complain about such things would probably be in your audience, rather than amongst those about whom you’re writing.

This strategy also isn’t for everyone. If you have any interest in maintaining some actual credibility, this may not be optimal. If, however, that doesn’t particularly bother you, then carry on. It can be a particularly successful strategy, as long as you have suitable persistence and little interest in what others might think of you.

So, there you go. People think that I can only be a critic, but sometimes I can see the positives in what those with whom I broadly disagree are doing. I think Richard is the living embodiment of the saying if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from this episode? Maybe this is a strategy worth considering. On the other hand, if you have any interest in maintaining a shred of dignity, possibly not. Similarly, if you would like the strength of your argument to be based on something other than your critics simply giving up, this may not be for you.


The Religion of Planet Earth

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

One of the more curious aspects of the climate change debate is that those who most loudly profess to follow the science don’t act much like scientists — proposing and persuading — as much as they do ideological enforcers, shaming and punishing those who disagree.

It’s not my field, but those who argue here — Terrence Corcoran, Rex Murphy — for alternative views to the advertised consensus are rigorous thinkers with arguments to be engaged. I try my best to read as a layman what I am able to grasp about the issue. I have a healthy skepticism, not so much about climate science, but that the settled science, we are told, fits together rather too neatly with the agenda of those arguing for every greater state control of economic life.

Given that the principal global economic priority must be the development of the poorer nations, and that their people have suffered far too long from too much government control, I doubt that their affliction will be ameliorated by a global climate treaty. Which presents two priorities often presented in moral clothing — the obligation to alleviate poverty and the proper stewardship of creation.

All of which came to mind reading the letter of resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2002 to 2015, the UN body which provides the imprimatur of orthodoxy for climate science. Dr. Pachauri flew as high as it gets in the climate stratosphere, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC alongside co-winner Al Gore in 2007. Dr. Pachauri resigned last week after sexual harassment allegations were made in his native India.

About the veracity of the allegations I have no knowledge, but his letter to the UN secretary-general included this startling confession: “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and the sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

There are no shortage of Christians who ground their ecological concern in their theology of creation, and certainly the pantheistic religions of the east there would provide similar resources. Yet to declare the care of Earth to be a religion all by itself seems rather careless use of language.

It is unlikely that Dr. Pachauri actually worships his own work. In any case, that would be just workaday vanity in the world of celebrity climate activism, and need not be dressed up in the language of salvation. Likely what he meant was that he places ecological matters at the heart of his worldview, evaluates all other data in light of that, and therefore derives an economic and political program that needs to be imposed on the global social order.

He likely thinks that is what a religion is. But that is the world of ideology, not the world of religion, especially not of biblical religion in the Christian tradition.

Religion is not an ideology, though it can be corrupted to become one. Religion treats as fixed those points of revelation that have as their object that which is unchanging, namely God. Yet their application to the social order precisely requires a response to changing circumstances, including the insights of other disciplines, including economics, politics, history and the environmental sciences. That’s why there is no such thing as Christian tax policy, or trade policy or climate policy. For example, Christians have it as a matter of divine revelation that concern for the poor is not optional, but essential. How to best assist the poor remains a matter of differing circumstances and consequently competing policy choices.

Religion which presents a complete model of the social order, rooted only in principles generated from within itself, has in fact become more of an ideology than a faith open to the truth of the world, both revealed (theology) and observed (science). That actually sounds more like the IPCC today than the pulpit.

A hallmark of the post-Enlightenment world has been the denigration of religious belief as closed-minded by the scientific establishment. There is no more establishment body than the IPCC. It’s a shame that Dr. Pachauri left it to his leave-taking to reveal that his own approach is more close-minded ideology than rational science. A theologian would be more open-minded.


Global Warming Is Killing Everyone

Climate change, formerly known as global warming, often takes center stage for Democrats. That’s not true of the electorate, but Democrats are undeterred. What is astonishing is the degree to which Democrats will mislead their constituents to grab the reins of power in Washington, DC.

Take newly elected Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who wooed voters by pledging to address man-made global warming with initiatives like cap and trade. On Feb. 4, Beyer wrote on his website, “In all, extreme weather events triggered over $110 billion in losses and almost 7,000 fatalities” in 2014. He reiterated that claim a month later in the Falls Church News-Press, in which he repeated, “More than 7,000 Americans lost their lives to climate change-fueled events last year.”

That’s pretty startling. And egregiously wrong. After Beyer’s assertion received backlash, spokesman Thomas Scanlon attempted to clear the air. “That number should be globally, not just in the United States,” he told PolitiFact. “We made an error in editing this column.”

Even still, the claim is deceptive. The statistic (which was actually 7,700) was derived from Germany-based insurer Munich RE, which tallies “global natural loss event.” According to researcher Peter Hoeppe, “We do not have the ability to identify the direct impact of global warming on fatalities caused by natural catastrophes, other than to say any fatality caused by the earthquake peril are not due to global warming.”

On that note, PolitiFact writes, “Of the 7,700 deaths, Munich RE estimated 850 were caused by earthquakes. The remaining 6,850 deaths, the company wrote, were caused by ‘weather-related’ events.”

But the evidence to back Beyer’s claim is essentially nonexistent. Michael Bastasch of The Daily Caller notes, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself says there’s ‘limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.’” Moreover, Bastasch adds, “Not only has weather not been getting more ‘extreme’ in the last century, mankind’s ability to withstand extreme weather events has increased globally. The International Disaster Database reports that more than 3.5 million people were killed by natural disasters in the early 1930s when the world population was about half what it is today. Fast forward to 2014 and only 7,700 people worldwide were killed by natural disasters (which includes earthquakes), according to Munich Re.”

Any loss of life is a tragic part of the human condition, but 7,000 individuals is a far cry from 3.5 million. We should be thankful for the protection we have today, largely driven by fossil fuels and other economic development in the face of ecofascist opposition. But advancing the climate agenda requires alarmism.

One final note: Beyer made a career owning and operating Volvo, Land Rover, Kia, Volkswagen and Subaru dealerships. If he sincerely believes that alleviating “the harmful consequences of global climate change is the existential crisis of our generation,” as he so adamantly professes, perhaps he should start by shuttering his fossil fuel-burning, CO2-belching businesses.


Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming

Is it morally permissible to allow “climate deniers” to appear in print and televised media?

Columbia University journalism students wrestled with this question recently at a screening of the new documentary, “Merchants of Doubt.” “Merchants,” based on the 2010 book by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, endeavors to smear skeptics of anthropogenic global warming as the henchmen of the fossil-fuel industry. The film is light on evidence, as I show here, but heavy on verve. Director Robert Kenner (“Food, Inc.”) traces the stories of sly 1950s tobacco reps who hired scientists to cast doubt on a growing consensus that smoking was unhealthy. The film’s implication, insinuated rather than demonstrated, is that global warming doubters are likewise mercenary.

If you buy that argument, then it makes some sense to keep “deniers” from deluding the public. In a room full of journalism students in training to ask tough questions and root out the truth, everyone bought it.

Global Warming Opposition Equals Propaganda

“It is a lie to say that global warming poses no danger,” New York Times reporter Justin Gillis told the crowd as part of a panel after the screening. He was responding to a question from the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, who had asked him whether news outlets present a “false balance” when they cite both proponents and skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. Since the science is “settled,” and “consensus” has been achieved, why not quote only the proponents? “Journalists care about the truth—that’s my only care in life, to find the truth,” Gillis added. “To act as if the evidence is half and half is to tell a lie. I refuse to perpetuate that lie.”

Wendell Potter from the Huffington Post recommended that newspapers create a new “propaganda beat” with reporters devoted solely to unmasking the “deniers” as frauds.
“Accurate information about climate change is a human right,” insisted Emily Southerd, campaign manager for the advocacy group Forecast the Facts. “Accurate information” in this case apparently means “consensus” information. Southerd shared that her organization is petitioning news stations to quit booking “deniers” like Marc Morano of, one of the “merchants” shown in the film. Wendell Potter from the Huffington Post recommended that newspapers create a new “propaganda beat” with reporters devoted solely to unmasking the “deniers” as frauds.

It’s hard to take such caviling seriously when the New York Times is running beguiling hit pieces on respected (but climate-skeptic) astrophysicist Willie Soon and cheering a McCarthyite investigation into seven other professors who expressed skepticism towards the idea that global warming is dangerous and man-made. In the United Kingdom last summer, after global warming-skeptic Lord Nigel Lawson appeared on the BBC, the head of the BBC Complaints Unit announced that “minority opinions and sceptical views should not be treated on an equal footing with the scientific consensus.” Lawson has not been on the BBC since.

Skeptics are not exactly popular in the media. Gillis acknowledged a tacit pact among print journalists to stop giving credence to climate skeptics. He called this an “enlightenment” that began ten or 15 years ago. American television, he noted, still lets a few skeptics onto the air; broadcasters have yet to come out of the Dark Ages.

Denying the Deniers

The merits of the term “denier” also got some play among the panelists. Southerd cast a strong vote in favor of the term: “these people need to be labeled what they are: climate change deniers.” Gillis explained the need to maintain the appearance of impartiality. “This is much like the abortion wars: what term you use signals what side you are on.” His own preference was to describe the “deniers” as “people who oppose climate science.” He was adamant, though, that these opponents-of-climate-science should never be called “skeptics”; all scientists are professional skeptics, and it would be inappropriate to honor the climate-doubters with such a term.

Paper trails indicate that federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest.
One member of the audience thought to ask about the funding for pro-anthropogenic global warming scientists. What if someone investigated the money that supports global warming research, and made a “Merchants of Doubt” sequel about the consensus scientists? An excellent question, especially since in the last 15 years pro-sustainability and global warming research has enjoyed nearly $400 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); $3 billion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; $600 million from the National Institutes of Health; $1.7 billion from National Science Foundation; and even $2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts.

No worries about that, Gillis responded: “99.9 percent of climate science is funded by the government.” That means, he explained, that each grant is disclosed by number to the public, making every transaction transparent and trustworthy.

But Gillis neglected to explain that studies from two different organizations have uncovered in this federally-funded research cozenage and artifice of exactly the sort “Merchants” espies in climate change doubters. Paper trails indicate that the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest by assigning research papers to be reviewed by members of the same organizations that produced the research in the first place. In response to concerns such as these, the House of Representatives is considering the Secret Science Reform Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act to try to bring transparency to the research these federal agencies use as the basis for their environmental regulations.

But none of this was relevant, apparently, in an evening’s conversation about threats to the integrity of climate science. Perhaps such obstinate belief in the credibility of global warming research should itself be labeled a kind of doubt-denialism.


Australia: Herbicide cancer claim cops a spray

The most common chemical used in Australia by farmers and gardeners to kill weeds “probably” causes cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

The finding by the French-based International Agency for Research of Cancers that the ­active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — glyphosate — is likely to be a carcinogen has shocked the agricultural sector.

The multi-weed killer remains approved for safe use in Australia, except around waterways, and throughout the world. The federal government’s Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has not commented on this week’s WHO finding or decided whether it plans to review the safety of glyphosate, which makes up the bulk of Australia’s $1.5 billion annual herbicide sales.

Since its invention by chemical company Monsanto in 1974, glyphosate has become the most common herbicide sprayed by all farmers worldwide, usually ­applied after autumn rain and before crops like wheat, barley and canola are sown to kill weeds.

Monsanto yesterday reacted with “outrage”, accusing the WHO cancer agency of “agenda- driven bias”. It claimed the ruling was inconsistent with decades of safety reviews and more than 800 studies showing glyphosate is safe for human health.

South Australian grain grower Mark Jaensch has been using Roundup and other cheaper or generic brands of glyphosate on his 500ha of crops for the past 30 years.

He is about to order another 600 litres of the herbicide today as he waits for a good autumn break on his Callington farm to signal the start of new weed growth, spraying time and, finally, crop sowing.

Ironically, his glyphosate chemical use has increased since the 1990s when he started using new “direct drilling” methods, sowing crop seeds directly into old stubble beds — without the usual ploughing to control weeds — in a bid to preserve soil moisture and prevent erosion, topsoil loss and dust storms.

“I’m reliant on it; we can’t put our crops in without (glyphosate), it would be hard to replace it,” Mr Jaensch said.

“But to be honest, I’m not too worried about this new (WHO warning); unless something comes out more concrete than ‘probably causes cancer’, I think it’s just scaremongering — I mean it’s not even classed as a dangerous poison on the label and you can still buy it in a spray can from the supermarket.”

Mr Jaensch said the chief difference from the 30 years ago was that he was now a better and safer user of herbicides such as Roundup.

His big tractor with its air-conditioned cab has charcoal filters to prevent him breathing sprayed chemicals, laws are much stricter about under what weather and wind conditions herbicides can be used, and most farmers now must undertake a safe chemical course before being able to buy products.

IARC report co-author and glyphosate expert Kate Guyton said the new finding of “probable carcinogen” was based on existing evidence from multiple studies of the effects of glyphosate on male agricultural and forestry occupational workers.

She said the report stopped short of saying the chemical conclusively caused cancer, or how much exposure would trigger cancer, but did find that scientists know people exposed to glyphosate in their daily jobs experienced a higher incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma than those not exposed to the chemical.

Other studies have found that glyphosate leads to DNA and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, which can lead to cancer.

“I don’t think home use is the issue; it’s [in] agricultural use this will have the biggest impact,” Dr Guyton said.  “For the moment, it’s just something for people to be conscious of.”

A recent study by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety and the University of Sydney found the incidence of cancer is lower in farmers, than in the general population, despite having the highest level of exposure to pesticides.

Federal Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said today he would seek advice from the government’s Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority on whether the safety of glyphosate use needed to be reviewed.

But Mr Joyce did not appear overly worried by the new World Health Organisation “probable carcinogen” warning.  “A literature review of existing research suggests there is limited evidence that potentially links glyphosate with cancer,” Mr Joyce said.

“We propose to seek advice from the APVMA whether, on balance, the position has changed [but] this [IARC finding] would appear to be a re-identification of a small number of old research papers.”


Oil and gas exports: one policy change, many benefits

By Marita Noon

“Businesses that sell to foreign markets put more people to work in high-quality jobs, offering more Americans the chance to earn a decent wage,” claimed the Obama administration’s Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a March 18 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion piece.

She makes a strong case for U.S. exports: “jobs in export-intensive industries pay up to 18 percent more than jobs not related to exports.” Her premise is: “The U.S. economy ended 2014 on the uptick, and exports added to the momentum.” Noticeably absent is any mention of the potential for “high-quality jobs” and economic “uptick” that would come from the export of America’s abundant oil-and-natural gas resources — something an executive order could expedite; something her office could champion.

Pritzker states: “From large enterprises and multinational corporations to small startups and local manufacturers, an increasing number of businesses are realizing that their customer base is no longer around the corner, but around the world. They understand that 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the U.S., and to succeed in the 21st century, they must find a way to reach consumers in ever-expanding markets.” Penny, this is especially true for American energy!

Due to the modern technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — developed and refined within our borders — the U.S. is producing more oil and natural gas than in decades. So much that we are nearly out of places to store it. We know how to produce it safely and cheaply. But, unlike the airplanes Pritkzer’s co-author Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co., builds, the oil-and-gas industry is prevented from sending its abundance to “foreign markets” — including our allies in Europe who are dependent on energy from a source that uses it as a weapon against them.

The same day WSJ published Pritzker’s piece, it featured a news story announcing: “some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up” on “hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China.” This, despite the fact: “Eastern European officials who were eager to wean their nations off of Russian gas welcomed the explorers.” It explains: “Wells in Poland and China can cost up to $25 million each, while American wells on average cost about $5 million” — resulting in overseas costs to produce a barrel of shale oil that are higher than what it can be sold for with the current world-wide low prices.

In trade negotiations, the U.S., according to the New York Times (NYT), “typically argues that countries with excess supplies should export them.” We have excess supplies of both crude oil and natural gas that has driven down prices — resulting in “trouble for an industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat in recent years.” We “should export them”—but we aren’t.

“Why can’t we export crude oil and natural gas?” you might ask — especially when the U.S. can export refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The NYT explains: “In 2011, the country pivoted from being the world’s largest importer of petroleum products to becoming one of the leading exporters.” At that point, for the first time in 21 years, refined petroleum became our number one export product — though Pritzker never mentioned that.

The “energy world changed.” But, as NYT points out, exports could soak up the excess production, “but there are still political hurdles.”

For crude oil, the problem is energy policy enacted before the “energy world changed.” Signed into law in 1975, after the 1973 Arab oil embargo shook the U.S. with high oil prices, the goal of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, according to the International Business Times, was “to stifle the impact of future oil embargos by foreign oil producing countries.” The result was a ban on most U.S. oil exports — though some exceptions can be made and the Commerce Department has recently given export licenses to two companies for particular types of oil. The WSJ reports: “Ten companies have applied for similar ruling to export oil.”

For natural gas exports, the problem is two-fold. Exporting natural gas is not prohibited, but it is not encouraged or made easy. In order to export natural gas, it must be converted into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — which is done at multibillion-dollar facilities with long lead times for permitting and construction that require purchase contracts to back up financing. Many potential customers for U.S. LNG are non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Currently, Breaking Energy (BE) reports, “the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued five final and four conditional approvals for LNG export to non-FTA countries.” The Financial Times says about two dozen U.S. LNG export facilities have been proposed with four “already under construction, which have contracts to back up their financing.” Last month, according to Reuters, looking to reduce dependence on supplies from Russia, Lithuania signed an agreement to purchase LNG from the U.S.’s first export terminal: Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass, which is expected to send its first cargoes by the end of this year.

Fortunately, as I predicted in November, there are fixes in the works that, as energy historian Daniel Yergin said, symbolize “a new era in U.S. energy and U.S. energy relations with the rest of the world.”

In January, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act to expedite DOE decisions on LNG export applications. It specifically requires a decision on any LNG export application within 45 days after the environmental review document for the project is published. Currently, applications to export natural gas to non-FTA countries require the Secretary of Energy to make a public interest determination which includes a public comment period. Not surprisingly, “environmental groups are lobbying the Obama Administration to veto the bill.” BE states: “The bipartisan bill could garner enough votes to gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.”

A month later, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with 14 co-sponsors, introduced a bill to end the crude oil export ban: HR 702. On March 25, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to debate and vote on the bill — though its passage is not as optimistic as the LNG bill. Bloomberg sees that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are weary, fearing “that they’d be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the ban is lifted.” Oil producers support lifting the ban, while refiners oppose it.

In October, David Goldwyn, the State Department’s coordinator for international energy affairs in the first Obama administration, said: “The politics are hard.” He added: “When the economics become overwhelming the politics will shift.” The NYT stated: The telltale sign of a glut will be a collapse in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price, the principal American oil benchmark, which is currently [October 2014] about $3 below the world Brent price.” It continues, “If the spread cracks open, the economic arguments for free export of domestic crude will probably win the day.”

That day may have come. On March 13, the WSJ editorial board announced: “WTI now trades 20 percent below the world market price.” Holman Jenkins, who writes the Business World column for the WSJ, says: “Oil producers are already being denied a premium of $12 a barrel by not being allowed to export this oil.” Thomas Tunstall, research director at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, reported: “Before the rapid increase in U.S. oil and gas production, WTI historically sold at a slight premium to Brent, typically about $1-$3 per barrel.”

“U.S. pump prices are mainly tied to the price of Brent crude, which is freely traded on the world market and is higher than it might otherwise be because of the ban on U.S. exports,” explains the WSJ. “If U.S. producers were allowed to compete globally, prices of Brent and WTI would converge over time, and U.S. gasoline prices would come down, all things being equal.”

Now, the “industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat” is in trouble. There have been some 74,000 layoffs in the U.S. oil patch since November.

If Congress could muster up the political will to lift the arcane oil export ban, the U.S. could emerge as a major world exporter, which according to the NYT, would result in the “return to a status that helped make the country a great power in the first half of the 20th century.” Yergin adds: “Economically, it means that money that was flowing out of the United States into sovereign wealth funds and treasuries around the world will now stay in the U.S. and be invested in the U.S., creating jobs. It doesn’t change everything, but it certainly provides a new dimension to U.S. influence in the world.”

Pritzker brags that the Commerce Department has “worked with the private sector to help businesses reach customers overseas; … to open new markets for U.S. goods and services; to reform the export-control process; and to overcome barriers to entry.” For U.S. oil-and-gas producers the biggest barrier to reaching customers overseas and opening up new markets is our own energy policy — something the administration and Congress have taken steps to fix. According to Bloomberg, if they knew the public was with them, lawmakers could easily save American jobs and investment, lower gasoline prices, help balance our trade deficit, aid our allies, and increase U.S. influence in the world.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Thursday, March 26, 2015

More stupid speculation and bad data from some arch-Warmists

The data behind the claim below is totally corrupt, almost hilariously so, (See here) but even if it were immaculate the inferences drawn below from it would still be very questionable

The North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation is not well understood and attributing a change in it to global warming is pure speculation.  Rahmstorf is an oceanographer so he should be particularly ashamed at lending his name to this.  But, then again, he claims that observed average temperature differences of a few HUNDREDTHS of a degree mean something, even though they are not even statistically significant.

And attributing changes in such a vast body of water to a temperature rise of less than one degree Celsius is on the face of it improbable anyhow

The Gulf Stream, the ocean current that brings mild weather to northern Europe and balmy conditions to the south east of the US, is slowing at its fastest rate in 1,000 years.

New research has revealed that the enormous currents that circulate warm and cold water around the Atlantic ocean has slowed by 15-20 per cent over the past century.

Scientists say that the increasing flow of fresh water from melting Greenland ice sheets may be driving the slowdown.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, an oceans physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: 'It is conspicuous that one specific area in the North Atlantic has been cooling in the past hundred years while the rest of the world heats up.

'Now we have detected strong evidence that the global conveyor has indeed been weakening in the past hundred years, particularly since 1970.

The findings suggest that as global temperatures rise due to climate change, areas that are warmed by the Gulf Stream could see temperatures fall, particularly in the winter. [Warming causes cooling, once again]

The Gulf Stream is a powerful current that forms part of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

This is a system of currents that are driven by the rising and sinking of water in different regions of the Atlantic.

Warm water from the equator is driven north towards the Artic where it cools, increases in salinity and sinks to the ocean depths.

This drives deep sea currents that pump water back to the equator, where it is warmed, rising to the surface and feeding the currents towards the pole.

In the Arctic, cold salty water sinks to the ocean depths, driving deep sea currents down to the equator where warmer water then rises to the surface and feeds the Gulf Stream.

The influx of warm water from the equator, which travels up through the Gulf of Mexico, past Maine and then up the west side of Britain and Norway, helps to warm weather systems in Northern Europe.

It makes winter conditions in much of northern Europe far milder than they normally would be, keeping Britain and the west coast of Norway largely snow and ice free through the winter months.

The researchers, whose study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the sea in the northern Atlantic is colder than predicted by computer models.  [What?  Another  model failure?]

They estimate that 8,000 cubic kilometres of fresh melt water haver flowed into the northern Atlantic from Greenland's icesheets between 1900 and 1970.

This fresh water is less dense than the salty water of the ocean and tends to float on the surface, disturbing the balance that causes cold water to sink in that region.

Usually freezing sea ice in the arctic causes the salinity of the ocean water to increase and so become more dense. Adding fresh water dilutes this effect.

Using recent sea surface and atmospheric temperature data, along with data from ice-cores, tree rings and sediments, they found that the changes in the ocean currents are unprecedented since the year 900AD.

However, the researchers also found that the cooling above the Northern Atlantic may also help to slightly reduce the effect of warming on the continents due to climate change.

They warn, however, that if the circulation weakens too much it could even break down completely. [How?]

Professor Jason Box, from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, said it appeared man-made climate change was responsible for the slow down of the Gulf Stream and may worsen as global temperatures increase.

He said: 'The human-caused mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet appears to be slowing down the Atlantic overturning – and this effect might increase if temperatures are allowed to rise further.'


Why do Climate Denial and Racism go Hand in Hand?

Once again Warmists are abusing the messenger rather than discussing the facts. And they attempt to link only two individual climate skeptics to racism.  So even if all they say is true and relevant, they have no statistically sound basis for any generalization.  A sample of two is most unlikely to yield accurate generalizations. It would certainly fail a test of statistical significance.  Two swallows don't make a summer any more than one does.  So the post below is yet another example of the low intellectual level behind most Warmist writing

Famously climate denying Senator Ted Cruz announced for  President this week.

Above, see   Senator Cruz’s extravagant praise for one of the 20th century’s most prominent Southern racist segregationists, Jesse Helms. There’s a little well-documented history there for those too young to remember.

I’ve posted before on the link between racism and climate change denial, and I’ve noted that Senator Jim Inhofe is to climate denial as Strom Thurmond was to civil rights.  Both clung to outmoded and terribly destructive irrational prejudice, long beyond what reason would dictate. Even Thurmond softened his racial rhetoric in later years – while Inhofe has grown only more bombastic and shrill.

Here is yet another example, in Senator Cruz open admiration for Jesse Helms. Maybe there’s an answer to this in the way the denialist brain functions, that’s an area for further research.


Science Museums Urged to Cut Ties With Kochs

Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers.

A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

“When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”

The letter does not mention specific companies, but it does name David H. Koch, who sits on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and has given tens of millions of dollars to those institutions....

....Chris Norris, a paleontologist and prominent blogger on museum issues, warned that if museums started removing board members or turning down donations, they risked damaging their reputations for objectivity. Doing so, he added, would enable “others to argue that the information they provide is partisan and not to be trusted.”


Fossil Fuel Divestment Activists Could Stand in the way of any Transition to Cleaner Energy

Nobody is likely to confuse tiny Brevard College in North Carolina, student population about 700, with the University of California system, with 233,000 students on 10 sprawling campuses. But they have at least one thing in common: Students and faculty members think they can help "save the planet" if their schools stop investing in companies that recover and process fossil fuels.

Faculty, students, and alumni from 17 schools, including Dartmouth, Georgetown, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania, have even created a donor-advised divestment fund to pressure their universities "to do the right thing and divest from fossil fuels." When a school complies, it will receive the donations and earnings given in its name.

Though the school is not a member of this "Fossil Free Divestment Fund," Brevard's trustees recently fell in line, voting to purge such stocks from the school's $25 million endowment.

While those promoting divestment on college campuses clearly believe in their cause, what they don't appear to understand is that divestment could actually slow America's transition to nonpolluting energy.

As Lisa Jackson, President Obama's first Environmental Protection Agency administrator, made clear in her July 2009 testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, U.S. action on climate change would have no impact on average global temperature if emissions in China, India, and the European Union continue to rise.

If the United States acting alone on climate change would have no practical impact, how much of an impact do you think the symbolic gesture of a few universities (or even a lot of universities) tinkering with their investment portfolios would have?

However, while divestment would have a negligible impact on climate change, it could have an impact on university earnings. That, in turn, could slow efforts to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

According to the National Association of College and University Business Officers, roughly $22 billion in university funds are invested in energy and natural-resource companies, about 5 percent of all university assets.

Harvard President Drew Faust, whose students staged a sit-in recently in support of divestment, observes that endowments are a "resource, not an instrument to impel social or political change."

Consider the University of California. In its wide-flung system, tens of thousands of students commute to class each day, so there's a practical side to the question as well. But there's also the matter of the reported $91 billion portfolio the chief investment officer manages, which helps fund academics, operations, pensions, research, and scholarships.

This is where divestment activists allow ideology to get in the way of practicality.

Universities already are on the cutting edge of technological advances that could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Divestment would hinder those efforts.

Robert Stavins, a professor of business and government at Harvard's Kennedy School and a lead author in three rounds of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says, "The real contributions of great universities to the fight against climate change will be through our products: research, teaching, and outreach to policy-makers. That is how we have made a difference on other societal challenges, and it is how we will make a real difference on this one."

While the vote by Brevard College's trustees may make students feel good, what divestment on a large scale could do is reduce the amount of money universities have to finance serious environmental research.

A bad idea at the best of times, selling oil and gas stocks in today's world of fossil-fuel abundance is an even worse idea. Crude oil prices have fallen dramatically during the past year, and the share prices of U.S. oil companies have followed the market down. Buying "high" and selling "low" is never a wise investment strategy - not for individual investors, not for institutions, and not for colleges and universities.

Universities can help chart America's energy future. But they can do this best in the classroom and laboratory, not by dumping their energy investments - especially at a loss.


An Obama prophecy fulfilled:  Electricity Price Index Climbed to New Record in February

The prophecy

The seasonally adjusted electricity price index climbed to a new record of 213.009 in February, up from 212.290 in January and from 206.404 a year ago.

The average price for a KWH of electricity—at 13.8 cents—was also the highest it has ever been in the month of February.

Electricity prices have not always risen in the United States.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual electricity price index, which measures the price of electricity relative to a baseline of 100, was 45.5 in 1913. By 1947, it had dropped to 26.6. By 1974, it had risen to only 44.1—meaning electricity was relatively less expensive in 1974 than it had been in 1913.

Electricity Price Index-February

Generation of electricity peaked in the United States in 2007, when the nation produced 4,156,745 million KWH of electricity, according the Energy Department’s Monthly Energy Review.

So far, the Department of Energy has only reported the electricity generation numbers for the first eleven months of 2014 (through November). But in those eleven months, the nation produced 3,748,649 million KWH of electricity, which is less than the 3,812,783 million KWH produced in the first eleven months of 2007.

That means the U.S. produced 64,134 million KWH less electricity--or 1.68 percent less--in the first eleven months of 2014 than it did in the first eleven months of 2007. At the same, according to Census Bureau estimates, the population of the United States grew from 301,621,157 in July 2007 to 318,857,056 in July 2014.

There has been a particularly dramatic decline in amount of electricity produced by coal in the United States since 2007. In the first eleven months of that year, the U.S. produced 1,845,881 million KWH of electricity using coal, according to the Monthly Energy Review. In the first eleven months of 2014, it produced 1,463,297 million KWH of electricity using coal. That is a decline of 382,584 million KWHs or 20.7 percent.

Average Price of KWH by Month

Increased production of electricity using solar and wind sources has not made up for the decline in coal power. In the first eleven months of 2007, the U.S. produced 550 million KWH using solar and 17,811 million KWH using wind—for a combined total of 18,361 million KWH for solar and wind.

In the first eleven months of 2014 that had increased to 17,360 million KWH using solar and 167,044 million KWH using wind for a combined solar-wind total of 184,404 million KWH from solar and wind—an increase from 2007 of 166,043 million KWH in solar and wind power.

That made up for only 43.4 percent of the lost production from coal.

Through November, the 184,404 million KWH of electricity produced in the United States using solar and wind equaled only 4.9 percent of the 3,748,649 million KWH electricity produced in the country in the first eleven months of 2014.

Data released by the BLS today also showed that the average price for a kilowatt hour (KWH) of electricity was 13.8 cents in February. That is the same as the average price in January of this year, but the highest price ever recorded for a February.

The average price for a KWH of electricity tends to hit its annual peak in the summer, decline in fall, hit its low point in winter and rise in spring. In July through November of 2012, the average price for a KWH was less than it had been in July through November of 2011. But in 2013 and 2014, the average price for a KWH set a monthly record in every month of the year. January and February of 2015 have continued that trend—with the average price of a KWH setting monthly records.

Annual Electricity Price Index

In June, July and August of 2014, the average price of a KWH hit  an all-time record of 14.3 cents.

While electricity prices have been climbing to new records in the United States over the past two years, that has not been the case with other sources of energy. The price indexes for gasoline and fuel oil have declined dramatically over the past year—although they did increase from January to February.

“The energy index rose 1.0 percent in February, ending a series of seven consecutive declines,” said the BLS in its monthly summary of the Consumer Price Index. “The gasoline index turned up after a series of sharp declines, rising 2.4 percent. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 5.3 percent in February.) The fuel oil index also increased after recent declines, rising 1.9 percent. The electricity index rose 0.3 percent in February after a 0.9-percent increase in January. The only major energy component index to fall in February was natural gas, which declined 2.0 percent following a 3.4-percent decrease the prior month. Despite the February increases, the gasoline and fuel oil indexes have declined sharply over the past year, falling 32.8 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively. The index for natural gas has also declined over the past year, falling 6.5 percent, but the electricity index has increased 3.2 percent.”

The overall seasonally adjusted price index went up only 0.2 percent in February. "Over the last 12 months," said the BLS, "the all items index was unchanged before seasonal adjustment."


Hypocrisy Alert: Obama Signs Executive Order To Lead On Climate Change

The week following the Obama’s taking two separate planes to Los Angeles, President Obama signed an executive order that will mandate the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels.

The President is committed to addressing the climate change threat – both by taking action here at home and showing leadership on the world stage. As part of his commitment to lead by example to curb the emissions that are driving climate change, today President Obama will issue an Executive Order that will cut the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels — saving taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs — and increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources to 30 percent. Complementing this effort, several major Federal suppliers are announcing commitments to cut their own GHG emissions.

Today, the Administration is hosting a roundtable that will bring some of these large Federal suppliers together to discuss the benefits of their GHG reduction targets or to make their first-ever corporate commitments to disclose emissions and set new reduction goals.

Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions supports the climate change agreement he made with China where the president committed the U.S. to lower emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 amounts by 2025.

The federal government will meet part of its emission reductions by using more clean energy and increasing the use of electric vehicles.

Unsurprisingly, Obama did not make any personal commitments to cut back on his family’s use of air travel to save the planet.



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