Icing The Hype
Feb 07, 2015
Divesting people of better living standards

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

"Disinvestment” of fossil fuel holdings is misguided, irresponsible, lethal - and racist

“Social responsibility” activists want universities and pension funds to eliminate fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios. They plan to spotlight their demands on “Global Divestment Day,” February 13-14. Their agenda is misguided, immoral, lethal...even racist.

A mere 200 years ago, the vast majority of humans were poor, sick and malnourished. Life expectancy in 1810 was less than 40 years, and even royal families lived under sanitation, disease and housing standards inferior to what poor American families enjoy today. Then a veritable revolution occurred.

The world began to enjoy a bonanza in wealth, technology, living standards and life spans. In just two centuries, average world incomes rose eleven-fold, disease rates plummeted, and life expectancy more than doubled. Unfortunately, not everyone benefitted equally, and even today billions of people still live under conditions little better than what prevailed in 1810. Bringing them from squalor, disease and early death to modernity may be our most important economic, technological and moral challenge.

Many factors played vital roles in this phenomenal advancement. However, as Julian Simon, Indur Goklany, Alex Epstein and the authors of this article have documented, driving all this progress were fossil fuels that provided the energy for improvements in industry, transportation, housing, healthcare and environmental quality, and for huge declines in climate-related deaths due to storms, droughts, heat and cold. Modern civilization is undeniably high energy - and 85% of the world’s energy today is still coal, oil and natural gas. These fuels support $70 trillion per year in global gross domestic product, to power virtually everything we make, grow, ship, drive, eat and do. The rest of the world deserves nothing less.

Demands that institutions eliminate hydrocarbon stocks, and society stop using fossil fuels, would reverse this progress, jeopardize people’s health and living standards, and prevent billions of still impoverished people worldwide from enjoying the living standards that many of us take for granted.

Trains and automobiles would not run. Planes would not fly. Refrigeration, indoor plumbing, safe food and water, central heating and air conditioning, plastics and pharmaceuticals would disappear or become luxuries for wealthy elites. We would swelter in summer and freeze in winter. We’d have electricity only when it’s available, not when we need it - to operate assembly lines, conduct classes and research, perform life-saving surgeries, and use computers, smart phones and social media.

Divesting fossil fuels portfolios is also financially imprudent. Fossil-fuel stocks are among the best for solid, risk-adjusted returns. One analysis found that a 2.1% share in fossil fuel companies by colleges and universities generated 5.7% of all endowment gains in 2010 to 2011, to fund scholarship, building and other programs. Teacher, police and other public pension funds have experienced similar results.

That may be why such institutions often divest slowly, if at all, over 5-10 years, to maximize their profits. One is reminded of St. Augustine of Hippo’s prayer: “Please let me be chaste and celibate - but not yet.” The “ethical” institutions selling fossil fuel stocks also need to find buyers who are willing to stand up to divestment pressure group insults and harassment. They also need to deal with hard realities.

No “scalable” alternative fuels currently exist to replace fossil fuels. To avoid the economic, social, environmental and human health catastrophes that would follow the elimination of hydrocarbons, we would need affordable, reliable options on a large enough scale to replace the fuels we rely on today. The divestment movement ignores the enormity of current and future global energy needs (met and unmet), and the fact that existing “renewable” technologies cannot possibly meet those requirements.

Fossil fuels produce far more energy per acre than biofuels, notes analyst Howard Hayden. Using biomass - instead of coal or natural gas - to generate electricity for one U.S. city of 700,000 people would require cutting down trees across an area the size of Rhode Island every year. Making corn-based ethanol to replace the gasoline in U.S. vehicles would require planting every single acre of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin in corn for fuel. Wind and solar currently provide just 3% of global energy consumption, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports; by 2040, as the world’s population continues to grow, hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy combined will still represent only 15% of the total, the EIA predicts.

Not using fossil fuels is tantamount to not using energy. It is economic suicide and eco-manslaughter.

Over the past three decades, fossil fuels enabled 1.3 billion people to escape debilitating energy poverty - over 830 million thanks to coal alone - and China connected 99% of its population to the grid and increased its steel production eight times over, again mostly with coal. However, 1.3 billion people are still desperate for electricity and modern living standards. In India alone, over 300 million people (the population of the entire United States) remain deprived of electricity.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, some 615 million (100 million more than in the USA, Canada and Mexico combined) still lack this life-saving technology, and 730 million (the population of Europe) still cook and heat with wood, charcoal and animal dung. Millions die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having the safe food and water that electricity brings.

Ending this lethal energy deprivation will require abundant, reliable, affordable energy on unprecedented scales, and more than 80% of it will have to come from fossil fuels. Coal now provides 40% of the world’s electricity, and much more than that in some countries. That is unlikely to change anytime soon.

We cannot even build wind and solar facilities without coal and petroleum: to mine, smelt, manufacture and transport materials for turbines, panels and transmission lines - and to build and operate backup power units that also require vast amounts of land, cement, steel, copper, rare earth metals and other materials.

Coal-fired power plants in China, India and other developing countries do emit large quantities of sulfates, nitrous oxides, mercury and soot that can cause respiratory problems and death. However, modern pollution control systems could - and eventually will - eliminate most of that.

Divestment activists try to counter these facts by claiming that climate science is settled and the world faces a manmade global warming cataclysm. On that basis they demand that colleges and universities forego any debate and rush to judgment on hydrocarbon divestment. However, as we have pointed out here and elsewhere, the alleged “97% consensus” is a fiction, no manmade climate crisis is looming, and there is abundant evidence of massive “pHraud” in all too much climate chaos “research.”

We therefore ask: What right do divestment activists and climate change alarmists have to deny Earth’s most destitute people access to electricity and motor fuels, jobs and better lives? To tell people what level of economic development, health and living standards they will be “permitted” to enjoy? To subject people to policies that “safeguard” families from hypothetical, exaggerated, manufactured and illusory climate change risks 50 to 100 years from now - by imposing energy, economic and healthcare deprivation that will perpetuate disease and could kill them tomorrow?

That is not ethical. It is intolerant and totalitarian. It is arrogant, immoral, lethal and racist.

To these activists, we say: “You first. Divest yourselves first. Get fossil fuels out of your lives. All of them. Go live in Sub-Saharan Africa just like the natives for a few months, drinking their parasite-infested water, breathing their polluted air, enduring their disease-ridden flies and mosquitoes - without benefit of modern drugs or malaria preventatives...and walking 20 miles to a clinic when you collapse with fever.

To colleges, universities and pension funds, we suggest this: Ensure open, robust debate on all these issues, before you vote on divestment. Allow no noisy disruption, walk-outs or false claims of consensus. Compel divestment advocates to defend their positions, factually and respectfully. Protect the rights and aspirations of people everywhere to reliable, affordable electricity, better living standards and improved health. And instead of “Global Divestment Day,” host and honor “Hydrocarbon Appreciation Day.”

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. Dr. Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc., in Washington, DC (www.MISI-net.com).


Jan 27, 2015
Exposed EPA Memo: Tie Fighting Global Warming To Americans’ ‘Personal Worries’

Michael Bastasch

An Environmental Protection Agency memo sent to top officials implored the agency to build up support for its agenda by tying its regulatory agenda to the “personal worries” of Americans.

“Polar ice caps and the polar bears have become the climate change ‘mascots,’ if you will, and personify the challenges we have in making this issue real for many Americans,” reads a memo sent around to top agency officials in March 2009, just months after President Barack Obama took office.

“Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will most have the chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat,” the memo reads. “Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of this issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly - and consistently - unpersuasive argument to make.”

“However, if we shift from making this about the polar caps and about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans,” the memo adds. “There will be many opportunities to discuss climate-related efforts this year. As we do so, we must allow the human health argument to take center stage.”

The EPA memo even says to use people’s children as a way to build up support for their efforts to fight global warming and ramp up clean air and water regulations.

“This justifies our work at the most base level. By revitalizing our own Children’s Health Office, leading the global charge on this issue, and highlighting the children’s health dimension to all of our major initiatives, we will also make this issue real for many Americans who otherwise would oppose many of our regulatory actions,” the memo reads.

The EPA memos were obtained by Chris Horner, attorney and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, through a Freedom of Information Act request. Horner found the memo in a trove of emails to former EPA chief Lisa Jackson’s secret email account, which used the alias “Richard Windsor.”

“What this memo shows is the recognition that EPA needed to move its global warming campaign away from the failed global model of discredited Big Green pressure groups and their icons,” Horner told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“In it, we see the birth of the breathtakingly disingenuous ;shift from making this about the polar caps [to] about our neighbor with respiratory illness,’” Horner said. It also shows the conviction that if they yell ‘clean air’ and ‘children’ enough, they, the media and the green groups will get their way.”

The memo was circulated as federal lawmakers were debating cap-and-trade legislation during Obama’s first term in office. A cap-and-trade bill passed out of the House in June 2009, but was eventually defeated in the Senate after opponents successfully tied the effort to a de facto energy tax.

Since this defeat, however, the Obama administration has been keen on focusing on the public health benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Near the end of 2009, the EPA found that greenhouse gases posed a threat to public health because they cause global warming. But greenhouse gases don’t directly impact public health, so the EPA relied on other ways to connect the dots.

When the EPA released the first-ever regulations on greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions in 2012, the agency touted the rule’s public health benefits, resulting from reduced amounts of traditional air pollutants coming from tailpipes.

More recently, the EPA said rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants would result in fewer asthma attacks, especially in children. But these alleged public health benefits come from reducing smog and other air pollutants, not carbon dioxide.

“Asthma disproportionately affects African-American kids,” said current EPA chief Gina McCarthy. “In just the first year these standards go into effect, we’ll avoid up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks - and those numbers go up from there.”

“These standards are also doing more than to just address public health. By the time these standards are fully in place in 2030, the average household will also save $8 a month on electricity and create thousands of jobs that can’t be shipped overseas,” McCarthy said.

The memo also mentions convincing “unchurched” Americans who belong to other activist groups to support fighting global warming.

“For many, environmental protection is about the caribou, polar bears, and sea otters,” reads the memo. “While our work certainly impacts all of these creatures, it obviously does not reflect our day-to-day work. It is important for us to change this perception, particularly among those who are critically impacted by [environmental justice] issues - but are otherwise ‘unchurched.’ (By unchurched, I mean they are not affiliated with a group or effort that would self-identify as EJ or environmentalist.)”

Read more from Larry Bell here.
He notes:  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that these new EPA rules will shut down hundreds of generators, cost the U.S. economy 2.3 million jobs and half a trillion in lost GDP over the next ten years, and add $289 billion in consumer electricity costs to lower household disposable incomes by $586 billion by 2030.


Jan 23, 2015
MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’

Howie Carr

An MIT professor of meteorology is dismissing global-warming alarmists as a discredited “cult” whose members are becoming more hysterical as emerging evidence continues to contradict their beliefs.

During an appearance on this writer’s radio show Monday, MIT Professor emeritus Richard Lindzen discussed the religious nature of the movement.

“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it,” he said. “You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!”

Lindzen, 74, has issued calm dismissals of warmist apocalypse, reducing his critics to sputtering rage.

Last week, government agencies including NASA announced that 2014 was the “hottest year” in “recorded history,” as The New York Times put it in an early edition. Last year has since been demoted by the Times to the hottest “since record-keeping began in 1880.”

But that may not be true. Now the same agencies have acknowledged that there’s only a 38 percent chance that 2014 was the hottest year on record. And even if it was, it was only by two-100ths of a degree.

Lindzen scoffs at the public-sector-generated hysteria, which included one warmist blogger breathlessly writing that the heat record had been “shattered.”

“Seventy percent of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing.”

Last week, after scoffing at Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a Senate vote on global warming, Lindzen was subjected to another barrage of diatribes. At his listed MIT phone number, Prof. Lindzen received a typical anonymous call:

“I think people like you should actually be in jail,” the male caller told him, “because you must know where this is all leading now...the people you support and take your money from to make these outrageously anti-human comments (also ‘know’wink… In other words, you’re a sociopath!”

Lindzen chuckled when the voicemail was replayed.

This writer asked him if, as has been alleged in some of the warmist blogs, he is taking money from the energy industry.

“Oh, it would be great!” he said with a laugh. “You have all these people, the Gores and so on, making hundreds of millions of dollars on this, Exxon Mobil giving $100 million to Stanford for people who are working on promoting this hysteria. The notion that the fossil-fuel industry cares - they don’t. As long as they can pass the costs on to you, it’s a new profit center.”

Lindzen said he was fortunate to have gained tenure just as the “climate change” movement was beginning, because now non-believers are often ostracized in academia. In his career he has watched the hysteria of the 1970’s over “global cooling” morph into “global warming.”

“They use climate to push an agenda. But what do you have left when global warming falls apart? Global normalcy? We have to do something about ‘normalcy?’”

As for CO2, Lindzen said that until recently, periods of greater warmth were referred to as “climate optimum.” Optimum is derived from a Latin word meaning “best.”

“Nobody ever questioned that those were the good periods. All of a sudden you were able to inculcate people with the notion that you have to be afraid of warmth.”

The warmists’ ultimate solution is to reduce the standard of living for most of mankind. That proposition is being resisted most vigorously by nations with developing economies such as China and India, both of which have refused to sign on to any restrictive, Obama-backed climate treaties. Lindzen understands their reluctance.

“Anything you do to impoverish people, and certainly all the planned policies will impoverish people, is actually costing lives. But the environmental movement has never cared about that.”


Dec 18, 2014
GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISTS ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH WHILE THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE FREEZES

By M.Vooro

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There is no doubt that winters have been getting colder in most parts of the world. According to NOAA, CLIMATE AT A GLANCE data, the trend of GLOBAL LAND and OCEAN WINTER TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES has been declining for 17 years or since 1998 at (0.06 C /decade).

The trend of GLOBAL WINTER LAND ONLY TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES declined at (-0.22C/decade.) So have the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER LAND ONLY TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES declined at (- 0.35C /decade) since 1998.

There is some evidence that the trend of NORTHERN HEMISPHERE LAND ONLY WINTER TEMPERATUREANOMALIES have actually been declining at (-0.18C/decade) since 1995 or 20 years. So winters have been cooling for 2 decades already, but not word about this from IPCC or NOAA.

Why are winter temperatures so important? Because very cold winters lead to cold spring and fall and if sustained over several years, to cold summers and lower annual temperatures as we have seen during 2014.

This pattern of declining temperature anomalies in every season of the year has been quite evident over the last several decades in the Northern Hemisphere. We mentioned previously that the trend of NH Land winter temperature anomalies showed a decline of (-0.18 C /decade) since 1995.  By 1998, the trend of NH Land winter temperature anomaly was declining at (-0.35 C/decade). Since 2002 it is (-0.54C/decade) and since 2007 it is (-0.81C/decade). The decline is steadily increasing.

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Since 2000, the NH spring land temperature anomaly also stopped rising and went flat between 2000 and 2007 after which it also started to decline at (-0.08 C/decade) Since 2005, the trend of the NH fall land temperature anomaly stopped rising and has been declining at (-0.05C/decade). Finally the trend of the NH summer land temperature anomaly stopped rising in 1998, was flat from 1998 to 2010 and has been declining since 2010 at (-0.7C/decade).

This pattern has led to a 17 year pause in the rise of global temperatures and could lead to 2-3 decades more of colder global temperatures. Rutgers University record of Northern Hemisphere snow extend since 1967, clearly shows and an increasing snow extent, especially since 1998.

Snow extent during the fall of 2014

Hemisphere fall snow extent was the highest in 47 years during the fall of 2014 at just over 22 million sq. km.

The trend of WINTER TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES for CONTIGUOUS US declined at (-1.79 F/decade) since 1998. There is some evidence that the trend of CONTIGUOUS US WINTER TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES have actually been declining since 1995 at (-1.13F/decade). The WINTER TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES for CANADA declined from an average of + 2.6 C during 1998-2000 to (-0.4C) by 2014 winter, or a cooling of some 3 degrees C.

A winter cooling trend is also apparent in EUROPE, and NORTHERN ASIA. I see this cooling pattern continuing until 2035/2045 when the oceans enter their cool phase as they did 1880-1910 and again 1945-1975.

Annual Contiguous US temperatures have been declining at (-0.36 F/decade) since 1998.

Global Annual temperatures have been flat since 1998 whether measured by land instruments or satellite data and the current climate models are falsely predicting warming 3 to 5 times higher than the current observable trend of temperature change. See the graph below showing the trend of CMIPS model mean (+0.21C/decade) and the observable actual global temperature trends (0.042C to 0.072 C/decade) from 1998 to October 2014.

Final comment

It is clear that there is little global warming in United States or the globe. Why are we even talking about CO2 levels and global warming in such an alarming way? If anything we should be concerned about the impact of falling temperatures. This cooler weather means a potential for more winter crop damage, winter snow and ice storms, more snow, major floods from spring snow melt, wind storms, and power outages as the cold and warm fronts meet more often and at bigger amplitudes. The net result is many areas may be unprepared for the current and more importantly the upcoming colder weather in terms of emergency planning, snow clearing infrastructure, heating fuel stocks( propane and natural gas) , local winter budgets , transportation needs , need to switch to more winter hardy crops , power outage repair capability and impact on local economy. It is time to get off this climate change due to global warming focus and concentrate on other more pressing and immediate problems that confront us today. US spent $55 billion dollars to cope with global cooling this past winter alone. The media recently reported that the US overall economy shrank 1% in the 2014 January to March quarter. The contraction in growth was blamed on a number of factors including an unusually harsh winter. These serious issues will be with us for the next 2-3 decades and may dwarf any global warming issues.


Dec 15, 2014
Science is being corrupted by political bias

Matt Ridley

As somebody who has championed science all his career, carrying a lot of water for the profession against its critics on many issues, I am losing faith. Recent examples of bias and corruption in science are bad enough. What’s worse is the reluctance of scientific leaders to criticise the bad apples. Science as a philosophy is in good health; science as an institution increasingly stinks.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics published a report last week that found evidence of scientists increasingly “employing less rigorous research methods” in response to funding pressures. A 2009 survey found that almost 2 per cent of scientists admitting that they have fabricated results; 14 per cent say that their colleagues have done so.

This month has seen three egregious examples of poor scientific practice. The most recent was the revelation in The Times last week that scientists appeared to scheme to get neonicotinoid pesticides banned, rather than open-mindedly assessing all the evidence. These were supposedly “independent” scientists, yet they were hand in glove with environmental activists who were receiving huge grants from the European Union to lobby it via supposedly independent reports, and they apparently had their conclusions in mind before they gathered the evidence. Documents that have recently come to light show them blatantly setting out to make policy-based evidence, rather than evidence-based policy.

Second example: last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a supposedly scientific body, issued a press release stating that this is likely to be the warmest year in a century or more, based on surface temperatures. Yet this predicted record would be only one hundredth of a degree above 2010 and two hundredths of a degree above 2005 with an error range of one tenth of a degree. True scientists would have said: this year is unlikely to be significantly warmer than 2010 or 2005 and left it at that.

In any case, the year is not over, so why the announcement now? Oh yes, there’s a political climate summit in Lima this week. The scientists of WMO allowed themselves to be used politically. Not that they were reluctant. To squeeze and cajole the data until they just crossed the line, the WMO “reanalysed” a merger of five data sets. Maybe that was legitimate but, given how the institutions that gather temperature data have twice this year been caught red-handed making poorly justified adjustments to “homogenise” and “in-fill” thermometer records in such a way as to cool down old records and warm up new ones, I have my doubts.
In one case, in Rutherglen, a town in Victoria, a recorded cooling trend of minus 0.35C became a reported warming trend of plus 1.73C after “homogenisation” by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It claimed the adjustment was necessary because the thermometer had moved between two fields, but could provide no evidence for this, or for why it necessitated such a drastic adjustment.

Most of the people in charge of collating temperature data are vocal in their views on climate policy, which hardly reassures the rest of us that they leave those prejudices at the laboratory door. Imagine if bankers were in charge of measuring inflation.

Third example: the Royal Society used to be the gold standard of scientific objectivity. Yet this month it issued a report on resilience to extreme weather that, in its 100-plus pages, could find room for not a single graph to show recent trends in extreme weather. That is because no such graph shows an upward trend in global frequency of droughts, storms or floods. The report did find room for a graph showing the rising cost of damage by extreme weather, which is a function of the increased value of insured property, not a measure of weather.

The Royal Society report also carefully omitted what is perhaps the most telling of all statistics about extreme weather: the plummeting death toll. The global probability of being killed by a drought, flood or storm is down by 98 per cent since the 1920s and has never been lower - not because weather is less dangerous but because of improvements in transport, trade, infrastructure, aid and communication.

The Royal Society’s decision to cherry-pick its way past such data would be less worrying if its president, Sir Paul Nurse, had not gone on the record as highly partisan on the subject of climate science. He called for those who disagree with him to be “crushed and buried”, hardly the language of Galileo.

Three months ago Sir Paul said: “We need to be aware of those who mix up science, based on evidence and rationality, with politics and ideology, where opinion, rhetoric and tradition hold more sway. We need to be aware of political or ideological lobbyists who do not respect science, cherry-picking data or argument, to support their predetermined positions.”

If he wishes to be consistent, he will therefore condemn the behaviour of the scientists over neonicotinoids and the WMO over temperature records, and chastise his colleagues’ report, for these are prime examples of his point.

I am not hopeful. When a similar scandal blew up in 2009 over the hiding of inconvenient data that appeared to discredit the validity of proxies for past global temperatures based on tree rings (part of “Climategate"), the scientific establishment closed ranks and tried to pretend it did not matter. Last week a further instalment of that story came to light, showing that yet more inconvenient data (which discredit bristlecone pine tree rings as temperature proxies) had emerged.
The overwhelming majority of scientists do excellent, objective work, following the evidence wherever it leads. Science remains (in my view) our most treasured cultural achievement, bar none. Most of its astonishing insights into life, the universe and everything are beyond reproach and beyond compare. All the more reason to be less tolerant of those who let their motivated reasoning distort data or the presentation of data. It’s hard for champions of science like me to make our case against creationists, homeopaths and other merchants of mysticism if some of those within science also practise pseudo-science.

In all the millions of scientific careers in Britain over the past few decades, outside medical science there has never been a case of a scientist convicted of malpractice. Not one. Maybe that is because - unlike the police, the church and politics - scientists are all pure as the driven snow. Or maybe it is because science as an institution, like so many other institutions, does not police itself properly.


Dec 09, 2014
EPA’s Man-Made Cooling Crisis

Larry Bell

As many prominent scientists predict a prolonged period of global cooling, new EPA regulations are likely to cause critical power shortages and consumer cost hikes.

Bloomberg reports that the Brattle Group, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting company, estimates that forced coal plant closures may boost utility prices for grids serving one-third of the U.S. population by as much as 25 percent. Hardest hit by this blizzard of bureaucratic bungling will be economically-disadvantaged residents in the Midwest and Northeast during cold winter months.

About half of the plant shutdowns are expected to take effect next year. Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP in New York projects that this will cut approximately 20,000 megawatts of current coal plant power by the end of 2015. That capability will be replaced by only about 4,000 megawatts of natural gas along with some renewables.

Standard & Poor’s is even more pessimistic. They project that 40 to 75 gigawatts - 75,000 megawatts - of coal units may be shut down by 2020. Among these, plant owners within America’s largest grid - the mid-Atlantic - plan to eliminate 11,578 megawatts of available output through 2015. That’s enough to supply more than 9 million homes.

Those shuttered coal plants which are eventually replaced with natural gas won’t nearly make up the difference. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. which manages a Manitoba to Louisiana network expects to see a power shortage of about 2,000 megawatts by 2016, with increasing deficits mounting after that.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA) 75 percent of the 35,374 megawatts in gas plant projects planned from 2014 through 2020 haven’t yet started construction. While many still await regulatory approval, BNP’s Viswanath said, “We are going through the lightest development cycle we’ve ever witnessed over the next decade and it’s in response to a period of very, very low power prices ... What we’re seeing is a net subtraction of supply.”

Despite the shale boom which has reduced natural gas operations costs to between $30-$35 per megawatt-hour, the transition from coal at about $25 will still run up expenses. Philip Moeller of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) told Bloomberg, “We are really in for a wild ride for five to six years because of the amount of coal shutting down in such a short amount of time and the transformation toward more gas being used to generate electricity.” He concluded, “Prices will definitely rise. The question is how much.”

That rise in electricity prices won’t likely create adequate investment incentive to replace EPA casualties. NRG Energy, Inc. CEO David Crane told Bloomberg, “When natural gas sets the marginal price of electricity, it not only makes it impossible to build any other type of power plant unless there is a market mandate but it also makes it impossible to build natural gas plants.”

All of this self-inflicted regulatory recklessness puts populations in northern regions at special risk. As David Crane lamented regarding last winter’s experience when power and gas prices surged: “The polar vortex scared us to death at NRG. If the polar vortex were to happen two years from now, I don’t know what would have happened in the Northeast.”

Such fear is well warranted. Even as atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise, many scientists predict that the past 18 years of flat mean global temperatures is a prelude to a long period of deep cooling. One of them is a top scientist with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) an organization made famous by alarmist theoretical model-based global warming predictions eagerly trumpeted in the mainstream media.

Commenting on the present temperature pause which he believes can extend for another decade, IPCC’s Dr. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences recently told Bavarian Radio, “That does not surprise climate scientists like me at all, as for us this is completely normal.”

U.S. and Russian solar physicists predict that Planet Earth may be heading into a very long cooling period correlated with periodically low sunspot activity. Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov who heads Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg believes that solar activity is waning to such an extent that that a deep freeze will last until the end of this century.

Observing that such events have occurred five times over the past 1,000 years, Dr. Abdussamatov points out, “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions.”

While eternal and dramatic climate changes have nothing to do human influences, a clear present crisis truly does. Real blame for this man-made calamity must be attributed to activist EPA anti-fossil fuel agendas premised entirely upon political science.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada.


Nov 22, 2014
Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’

Anthony Watts

Renewable energy

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At Google, we’re striving to power our company with 100% renewable energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, we see renewable energy as a business opportunity and continue to invest in accelerating its development. We believe that by helping power more of the world with renewable energy, we’re creating a better future for everyone. A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of REC, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope… Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

There is simply no getout clause for renewables supporters. The people who ran the study are very much committed to the belief that CO2 is dangerous - they are supporters of James Hansen. Their sincere goal was not to simply install a few solar cells, but to find a way to fundamentally transform the economics of energy production - to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. To this end, the study considered exotic innovations barely on the drawing board, such as self erecting wind turbines, using robotic technology to create new wind farms without human intervention. The result however was total failure - even these exotic possibilities couldn’t deliver the necessary economic model.

The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy - the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants - an obvious practical absurdity.

According to the IEEE article;

“Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.”

I must say I’m personally surprised at the conclusion of this study. I genuinely thought that we were maybe a few solar innovations and battery technology breakthroughs away from truly viable solar power. But if this study is to be believed, solar and other renewables will never in the foreseeable future deliver meaningful amounts of energy.


Nov 21, 2014
Study Finds Earth’s Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

NASA

The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years.

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. Study coauthor Josh Willis of JPL said these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.

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“The sea level is still rising,” Willis noted. “We’re just trying to understand the nitty-gritty details.”

Deep sea creatures, like these anemones at a hydrothermal vent, are not yet feeling the heat from global climate change. Although the top half of the ocean continues to warm, the bottom half has not increased measurably in temperature in the last decade. Image credit: NERC

In the 21st century, greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate in the atmosphere, just as they did in the 20th century, but global average surface air temperatures have stopped rising in tandem with the gases. The temperature of the top half of the world’s oceans above the 1.24-mile mark is still climbing, but not fast enough to account for the stalled air temperatures.

Many processes on land, air and sea have been invoked to explain what is happening to the “missing” heat. One of the most prominent ideas is that the bottom half of the ocean is taking up the slack, but supporting evidence is slim. This latest study is the first to test the idea using satellite observations, as well as direct temperature measurements of the upper ocean. Scientists have been taking the temperature of the top half of the ocean directly since 2005, using a network of 3,000 floating temperature probes called the Argo array.

“The deep parts of the ocean are harder to measure,” said JPL’s William Llovel, lead author of the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. “The combination of satellite and direct temperature data gives us a glimpse of how much sea level rise is due to deep warming. The answer is—not much.”

The study took advantage of the fact that water expands as it gets warmer. The sea level is rising because of this expansion and the water added by glacier and ice sheet melt.

While the upper part of the world’s oceans continue to absorb heat from global warming, ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the last decade. This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean as imaged by the NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System instrument on the Terra satellite.

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(Blue regions indicate thick cloud cover.) Image credit: NASA

To arrive at their conclusion, the JPL scientists did a straightforward subtraction calculation, using data for 2005-2013 from the Argo buoys, NASA’s Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellites, and the agency’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. From the total amount of sea level rise, they subtracted the amount of rise from the expansion in the upper ocean, and the amount of rise that came from added meltwater. The remainder represented the amount of sea level rise caused by warming in the deep ocean.

The remainder was essentially zero. Deep ocean warming contributed virtually nothing to sea level rise during this period.


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