Political Climate
Jun 28, 2015
Supreme Court rules against the EPA, for the poor and all of us; NOAA fiddles while our future burns

The Supreme Court decided against EPA’s rule to limit trace emissions of mercury and other substances from power plants.

This is good news.

The Court held that EPA failed to perform a meaningful cost-benefit analysis in promulgating the rule. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, held that, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.”

This rule has been termed the costliest regulation ever. It has already caused damage to our economy and, if fully implemented, could be even more devastating.

Professor Willie Soon and CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen co-authored an article regarding the EPA’s mercury rule that provides valuable perspective.  In it they note:

“The latest government, university and independent studies reveal that those power plants emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. However, U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tpy; Chinese power plants eject 400 tpy; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year!”

All these emissions enter the global atmospheric system and become part of the U.S. air mass.

Thus, U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe. Even eliminating every milligram of this mercury will do nothing about the other 99.5% in America’s atmosphere.”

You can read it in its entirety here.

As several news sources note, this Supreme Court ruling could also have implications for the President’s forthcoming plans to limit carbon emissions. Let’s hope it does -

Especially for the sake of working families and the poor.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce just released a study concluding EPA’s power plant carbon rule “would increase black poverty by 23 percent and cause the loss of 7 million jobs for black Americans by 2035.” The study also found that the EPA’ plan “would increase Hispanic poverty by 26 percent and cause the loss of 12 million jobs for Hispanic Americans by 2035.”

Of course, EPA may try to re-promulgate its mercury rule with a cost-benefit analysis attached.  If that analysis is done honestly, the rule will be exposed for the mistake it is.

In the meantime, we have reason to be pleased with this Supreme Court ruling. It provides some good news headed into the 4th of July.

For nature and people too,

Craig Rucker, Executive Director

NOTE: Seeking ALPHA comments: Coal stocks are rallying after the Supreme Court threw out the EPA’s first-ever rules requiring coal-fired power plants to cut emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, saying the agency should have weighed the cost of compliance in deciding whether to regulate.The ruling means the EPA must go back to the drawing board, which possibly could push any new emissions rules past Pres. Obama’s time in office.

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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Spells Trouble For Obama’s Climate Agenda
Clare Foran

Monday’s ruling could compel agencies to take costs into account when deciding to regulate.

President Obama has made it clear that his Environmental Protection Agency will use its regulatory power to install limits on carbon dioxide and toxic-air pollutants for everything from power plants to trucks.

But Monday’s Supreme Court decision against EPA is a reminder that the biggest threat to Obama’s green legacy and the sweeping regulatory agenda that the administration is racing to cement before the president leaves office comes from the courts.

The 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion penned by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that EPAviolated the law by failing to consider cost in deciding to regulate toxic-air pollution from power plants. That verdict is a setback to the administration at a time when all hands on deck are needed to defend the president’s climate agenda.

It creates uncertainty over the fate of a key pillar of the president’s efforts to curb air pollution and hands a fresh set of talking points to opponents of the rule as they argue that the administration overreached.

The biggest impact, however, may be felt down the road - and across the entire federal government.

Some legal experts contend that the ruling could send a message to federal agencies that they must demonstrate that they have taken cost into account when deciding to regulate - and that if an agency ignores cost, it does so at its own peril.

“This is a groundbreaking administrative-law case,” said Justin Savage, a former Justice Department environmental lawyer who served under the administrations of George W. Bush and Obama and a partner with the law firm Hogan Lovells. “It essentially says that when a statute is ambiguous an agency must consider costs.”

“The reason I’m struck by this and a bit troubled is that there’s a real question of whether this decision applies broadly. And I read it as applying broadly,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown law professor and senior climate-policy counsel to former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

If that precedent sticks, it could throw a wrench into the gears of the regulatory machine if agencies must devote additional time and resources making sure their cost calculations hold up in court.

“After this decision, an agency would not want to walk into court saying, ‘Your Honor, we did not consider costs at all when deciding to take regulatory action on an issue,’” said Jonathan Adler, an environmental law professor at Case Western Reserve University.

Even if the court decision does not set such a precedent, Republicans and industry challengers say Monday’s verdict proves that the administration overstepped the limits of the law.

“The mere fact that the EPA wished to ignore the costs of its rules demonstrates how little the agency is concerned about the effects it has on the American people,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after the ruling was handed down. “From its ozone, to greenhouse gas, to navigable waters rules, the EPA continues to burden the public with more and more costs, even as so many are still struggling to get by and improve their lives in this economy.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to side against the agency also serves as a painful reminder to the administration that it may not always see its regulatory actions upheld in the face of legal challenges.

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As usual, NOAA climate ‘scientists’ view tropical ocean temperatures with AGW biases

Due to a significant warming trend in the Nino-3.4 region since 1950, El Nino and La Nina episodes that are defined by a single fixed 30-year base period (e.g. 1971-2000) are increasingly incorporating longer-term trends that do not reflect interannual ENSO variability. In order to remove this warming trend, CPC is adopting a new strategy to update the base period.

The reality is the NINO34 has not changed at all since 1979. Most of the so called warming occurred in the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977 which moved the Pacific from a cold mode (cold PDO) favoring La Ninas to the warm phase (warm PDO) favoring El Ninos.

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Global monthly sea surface temperature (SST) in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, 170W-120W) of the central Pacific Ocean since 1979 according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center. Last month shown: May 2015. Last diagram update: 4 June 2015.

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The Pacific ocean down to 300 meters in the entire stretch from 130E to 80W showed no warming in that period.

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The tropical hot spot as shown in all greenhouse models where CO2 allegedly traps heat and warms the high atmosphere with the boosting effect of condensation from enhanced convection in an assumed moistened state is absent in both weather balloon and satellite data. This in turn is supposed to radiate down to warm the surface and oceans in the models. These failures along with the lack of warming for over 18.6 years in satellite and balloon data should totally invalidate the theory. Instead under pressure from ideologially driven politicians and green NGOs, the advocates spend much of ther time trying to find the hidden warming and adjusting data to make it seem to fit the theory.

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The many excuses for the so called ‘pause’ NOAA’s failed effort to erase are comical. The heat is hidden in the oceans is belied by the fact that a warming of the deep oceans would accelerate sea level rise and instead the sea levels rises have slowed to between 4 and 7 inches/century.  The solar cycles and the changes of the many solar factors shows a perfect fit to sea level changes (Nir Shaviv ) .

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Fiddling with the data
David Rothbard

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What could be more embarrassing for those who say climate science is “settled” than for scientific observations to reveal their dire predictions are not coming true?

Every day more scientific data emerge that poke cavernous holes into the warming narrative, and maybe that’s why some in the warmist camp are willing to tinker with the evidence.

Disturbingly, NOAA recently made a shoddy attempt to conjure up a 21st century “warming trend” by ignoring satellite data (the best available), and adjusting measurements from research buoys upward to match data from shipping, which is the least reliable.

Fortunately they didn’t get away with it.

Climatologists Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger were onto them. They pointed out that “the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12C, to make them ‘homogenous’ with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are ‘clearly contaminated by heat conduction’ from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use -whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.”

So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama Administration.”

Global warming pressure groups and the White House hope to keep our eyes off inconvenient data, either by manipulating it or distracting us with scare stories in the media, until after President Obama signs our energy future away at the UN climate conference in Paris.

Unfortunately for them, facts are facts.

The Earth is actually cooler than climate models project and the weather is normal. Extreme weather, as the data show, has been unusually tame.

Energy expert Tom Tamarkin and CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen have also done their part to expose some of the propaganda tricks being played by Green advocates to lock the world’s nations into a UN climate agreement while President Obama is still in office.

In their recent article, Tamarkin and Driessen remind us that, “no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2. And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change - allergies, asthma, ISIS and Boko Haram - don’t even pass the laugh test.”

Of course, the very notion of “settled” science is a direct contradiction of the scientific method.

If the data disprove a theory, the theory must change.

Shame on those who are trying to bend the rules.



Jun 15, 2015
The Pope, Poverty And Global Warming - Pope Francis is misled by the UN, Greens, Marxist advisors

Update:

Pope Francis has said he wanted the encyclical (text released - here) to be read by everyone - not just Catholics - and he notes in the introduction that the document is now part of the formal teaching “magisterium” of the Catholic Church. That could be read as a warning of sorts to climate skeptics, including many Catholics in the U.S. who have suggested they simply will ignore the encyclical since the pope’s views on the environment clash with their doubts about climate change.

Sorry as a lifetime practicing Catholic, I will ignore your encyclical and support my local church but no longer the Vatican. Your Scientific Advisory Board refused to hear from our side. We sent a contingent to Rome and a letter signed by 500+ multidenominational scientists, economists explaining how the athiest UN one world government plans will seriously hurt the poor. Unlike what you suggest providing energy - fossil fuels and agricultural technology to the poor saves and enriches lives of the world’s poorest people. Don’t lecture us on topics you know nothing about. The Vatican is said to be concerned about not making a mistake like they did with Galileo but ironically by listening to the phoney consensus idea, you will ensure the church will again be on wrong side of history. The so called scientist standing besides Pope Francis this Thursday believes that the population of the earth at 7 billion is unsupportable and the loss of 6 billion would be a good thing for the planet. Pray for us all. See an example of Shellnhuber’s junk science here. See comments on the paper here. He is so bad, he would fit right in on The Weather Channel.

See the Irony of the Encyclical as written here by Dr. Calvin Beisner.  See also the things in the encyclical you won’t hear from the mainstream media here.
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By Myron Ebell, CEI

A version, but perhaps not the final version, of Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change was leaked to and published by an Italian paper today.  For those who read Italian (not Latin), it’s available here This leak moved up the release of a short video by our friends at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which is their response.  It’s two minutes long and can be watched here:

Also, Fred Smith, founder and former president of CEI, published the article pasted below on Forbes Online today.

The key points to my mind are that global warming is a moral issue and that the effects of energy rationing policies, particularly on poor people, need to be considered.  That changes the moral equation.  Second, if alarmists push the Pope’s moral authority, then ask them whether they also agree with the Pope on abortion, population control, gender issues, gay marriage, etc.

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Fred Smith Contributor
I work to reduce regulation and expose its enormous costs.

The Pope, Poverty And Global Warming

The world waits in anticipation as Pope Francis and his advisers finalize an official Vatican statement on climate change and the environment - expected out this week. The Pope is reportedly worried about how climate change might impact the poor, and he is quite right to be concerned. But it is the environmental proposals currently being championed as solutions, however, that are the real threat. The most frequently cited policies for allegedly “dealing with climate change” - like raising prices on fossil fuels and taxing carbon dioxide emissions - would actually cause harm to energy-starved and impoverished nations around the world.

Environmental activists argue the continued use of fossil fuels will produce dramatic changes in the climate that will harm future generations. Therefore, if we succeed in capping greenhouse gases, many, especially the most vulnerable, will benefit. Opponents counter that restricting fossil fuel use will harm poor people today both by slowing economic growth and by denying them access to more efficient, dependable fuels.

Asking the poor of today to sacrifice their livelihoods and hopes in the name of reducing energy use would be a great injustice. Faster growth means more wealth and greater knowledge for future generations. Whatever challenges climate change may bring, our smarter, richer great-grandchildren will have better tools and more abundant resources to deal with them than we have today.

The Catholic Church has a history of resolving complex risk situations. For example, to ensure that saints were properly selected, the Church ensured that both sides of the case were heard. The Advocatus Dei made the case favoring that decision; the Advocatus Diablo - “Devil’s Advocate” - made the opposing case. One hopes that in addressing the morality of energy restrictions, both sides will be heard. The Vatican has heard the case for conventional environmental policies, having recently hosted a conference on this topic. Have they heard the opposing view?

Long before the theoretical effects of climate change are ever felt, the alarmist policies favored by United Nations agencies and major environmental advocacy groups would severely hobble developing countries’ economies. Replacing affordable and reliable fossil fuels with more expensive, less reliable alternative sources would increase the cost of energy around the world. That would be bad enough for low income people in developed nations. If forced on developing countries, it would be a humanitarian disaster.

The world’s poorest people already spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy. Increasing prices would block the shift in poorer nations from “biomass” fuels like dried animal dung to much healthier alternatives like propane and natural gas.

Increasing energy costs will slow the process of replacing backbreaking human labor with mechanical devices, as occurred over the past century in now-wealthy Western countries. The next stage of industrialization and prosperity will be blocked, as the factories and processes that the United States and Europe used to grow their economies in the 19th and 20th centuries will no longer be affordable - or possibly even allowed under international law.

The impact on individuals and families in poor countries will also be enormous. When a key economic input like fossil fuel energy artificially increases in price, virtually everything becomes more expensive. For the 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day, making everything they need to survive even marginally more expensive would be catastrophic.
None of this is to say that potential threats from future climate change should simply be ignored. If the world’s leaders - from heads of state to spiritual leaders like Pope Francis - want to help make the world a safer place, they should champion policies that improve society’s ability to cope with disasters, environmental and otherwise, and avoid those that hamper economic growth and innovation.

A wealthier world is a healthier world, and it’s the people at the bottom of the economic ladder who will benefit most from rising global prosperity. People of good faith have innumerable ways to help our fellow humans flourish and protect themselves from harm. Forcing them into perpetual energy poverty is not one of them. I hope Pope Francis will agree.



Jun 04, 2015
‘Ozone hole’ shenanigans were the warm-up act for ‘Global Warming’ - now a reprise

It’s Back. Slate reports the first hoax that opened the door to follow up ones like Acid Rain and then AGW is back in the news. The ‘fix’ never really worked because the problem never really existed. The Ozone hole was a natural phenomenon due to ice clouds forming at the end of the southern polar winter. It had never been seen before satellite and hasn’t changed since the world changed from CFCs to HFCs. But never mind. Now they are repeating the bad science and conclude HFCs are ‘powerful’ greenhouse gases. This from Slate.

You might remember that ozone gas - made from triplets of oxygen atoms -helps shield us from the sun’s harmful UV-B rays. Most of it is in the lower stratosphere, roughly six to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface, where it’s created naturally by the interaction of sunlight and regular oxygen. Other gases, particularly those containing chlorine or bromine, can make ozone molecules break apart. Starting in the 1970s, scientists suspected that the widespread use of industrial chemicals might be putting additional chlorine and bromine into the stratosphere. In particular, researchers worried about the chlorofluorocarbons used in fridges, air conditioners, and aerosol spray cans and the halon gases used in fire extinguishers. (Human technology also creates some ozone, but that stuff tends to stay close to the ground, where it causes a range of health issues.)

Meanwhile, fixing the hole in the ozone layer may end up worsening some other environmental problems. The hydrofluorocarbons we use in place of many CFCs don’t contribute to ozone depletion, but some of them have thousands of times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Given the projected boom in usage in the developing world - thanks to a growing appetite for refrigerators and air conditioners - these chemicals may end up being a major contributor to climate change. (Researchers estimate that HFCs could be one-fifth as problematic as carbon dioxide by the year 2050.) Earlier this month, the United States, Canada, and Mexico issued a joint proposal for a “phase down” in HFCs, which can be replaced in some applications with more eco-friendly options, like carbon dioxide, ammonia, or HFCs with lower global-warming potential. In November, the signatories of the Montreal Protocol will hold their annual meeting in Egypt, so we should hear more on this topic in the next few months.

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Back in 2011, this post was on Icecap.

Dr. Wil Happer of Princeton wrote “The Montreal Protocol to ban freons was the warm-up exercise for the IPCC.  Many current IPCC players gained fame then by stampeding the US Congress into supporting the Montreal Protocol. They learned to use dramatized, phony scientific claims like “ozone holes over Kennebunkport” (President Bush Sr’s seaside residence in New England). The ozone crusade also had business opportunities for firms like Dupont to market proprietary “ozone-friendly” refrigerants at much better prices than the conventional (and more easily used) freons that had long-since lost patent protection and were not a cheap commodity with little profit potential” (link).

Even James Lovelock agrees. James Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the chemical and physical environment. He later became concerned that global warming would upset the balance and leave only the arctic as habitable. He began to move off this position in 2007 suggesting that the Earth itself is in “no danger” because it would stabilize in a new state.

James Lovelock’s reaction to first reading about the leaked CRU emails in late 2009 was one of a true scientist. “I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn’t want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They’re not like that nowadays. They don’t give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: “Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work.” That’s no way to do science.

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.

Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science. I’m not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It’s the one thing you do not ever do. You’ve got to have standards.”

On a March 2010 Guardian interview, Lovelock opined “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing...We do need skepticism about the predictions about what will happen to the climate in 50 years, or whatever. It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.”

Will Happer further elaborated “The Montreal Protocol may not have been necessary to save the ozone, but it had limited economic damage. It has caused much more damage in the way it has corrupted science. It showed how quickly a scientist or activist can gain fame and fortune by purporting to save planet earth.  We have the same situation with CO2 now, but CO2 is completely natural, unlike freons. Planet earth is quite happy to have lots more CO2 than current values, as the geological record clearly shows.  If the jihad against CO2 succeeds, there will be enormous economic damage, and even worse consequences for human liberty at the hands of the successful jihadists.”

LIKE GLOBAL WARMING THE DATA DOESN’T SUPPORT THE THEORY

The ozone hole has not closed off after we banned CFCs. See this story in Nature about how the Consensus about the Ozone Hole and Man’s Role (with CFCs) May Be Falling Apart.

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The size of the hole has hardly changed since 1990 (enlarged here).

“As the world marks 20 years since the introduction of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, Nature has learned of experimental data that threaten to shatter established theories of ozone chemistry. If the data are right, scientists will have to rethink their understanding of how ozone holes are formed and how that relates to climate change. Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, did a double-take when he saw new data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2). The rate of photolysis (light-activated splitting) of this molecule reported by chemists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California1, was extremely low in the wavelengths available in the stratosphere - almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

“This must have far-reaching consequences,” Rex says. “If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being.” What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear.

Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate, but the conundrum is already causing much debate and uncertainty in the ozone research community. “Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart,” says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. “Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely,” agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. “Now suddenly it’s like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge.”

STILL COMING

Yet like the cultists whose spacecraft didn’t arrive on the announced date, the government scientists find ways to postpone it and save their reputations (examples “Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a Johns Hopkins earth scientist suggests” here and “Scientists Find Antarctic Ozone Hole to Recover Later than Expected” here

“The warmers are getting more and more like those traditional predictors of the end of the world who, when the event fails to happen on the due date, announce an error in their calculations and a new date.” Dr. John Brignell, Emeritus Engineering Professor at the University of Southampton, on Number Watch (May 1) PDF



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