Political Climate
Feb 28, 2008
Loss of Wind Causes Texas Power Grid Emergency

By Reuters, Houston

A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday. Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state. The grid operator went directly to the second stage of an emergency plan at 6:41 PM CST (0041 GMT), ERCOT said in a statement.

System operators curtailed power to interruptible customers to shave 1,100 megawatts of demand within 10 minutes, ERCOT said. Interruptible customers are generally large industrial customers who are paid to reduce power use when emergencies occur. No other customers lost power during the emergency, ERCOT said. Interruptible customers were restored in about 90 minutes and the emergency was over in three hours. ERCOT said the grid’s frequency dropped suddenly when wind production fell from more than 1,700 megawatts, before the event, to 300 MW when the emergency was declared. In addition, ERCOT said multiple power suppliers fell below the amount of power they were scheduled to produce on Tuesday. That, coupled with the loss of wind generated in West Texas, created problems moving power to the west from North Texas.

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Texas produces the most wind power of any state and the number of wind farms is expected to increase dramatically as new transmission lines are built to transfer power from the western half of the state to more populated areas in the north. Read more here.

Icecap Note: See a very thorough analysis of the “Observed Climate Change and the Negligible Global Effect of Greenhouse-gas Emission Limits in Texas” by SPPI here.



Feb 26, 2008
Yet Another Inconvenient Story Ignored by the Main Stream Media

By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That

Last week, I broke the story of a press release issued by NOAA where they publish an opinion smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming saying that “There is nothing in the U.S. hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts.” Many readers may recall that Al Gore used hurricanes prominently in An Inconvenient Truth, and mentions hurricane Katrina specifically. Gore claims that increased hurricane activity is caused by global warming. Last week, when the NOAA press release came out smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming, I wrote to my local newspaper editor, David Little, and said to him “Do you care to bet that AP and Reuters won’t run this story?” He responded: “I hope they do, it seems newsworthy to me.” Well here is is, 4 days later, not a peep.

Here is another story about a point from Gore’s AIT hit parade; Mount Kilimanjaro. Mr. Gore asserted that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming; “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.” That was in 2005 in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Deforestation seems to be causing Mount Kilimanjaro’s shrinking glacier. Researchers think deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the most likely culprit. Without the forests’ evapotranspiration of humidity into the air, previously moisture-laden winds blowing across those forests now blow drier. The summit, no longer replenished with water from those winds, started shrinking. Studies show the ice is evaporating through a process called sublimation. You can witness this effect at home, have you ever noticed that ice cubes left in your freezer tend to shrink with time?  Last year, a British Court ruled Gore’s point about Kilimanjaro not to be true.

So when a news story crossed my desk today that said: Mount Kilimanjaro: On Africa’s roof, still crowned with snow I had to wonder, will we see this one covered in the main stream media? Or maybe those beacons of truth over at Real Climate will make a note of it?  Don’t hold your breath. But, at least the New York Times travel section covered it. It seems more of a touristy thing to have snow on Kilimanjaro than a scientific issue of truth I suppose. Read more and see a time series collage of photos here.



Feb 26, 2008
Climate Orthodoxy Perpetrates a Hoax

By Gordon Fulks, The Oregonian

Governor Ted Kulongoski’s successful purge of George Taylor—Oregon’s former state climatologist and soon-to-be former director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University—has a clear message for scientists: agree with the governor or you too will disappear. Don’t hint that man-made global warming is the greatest scientific hoax of our time. It offends the governor.

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Many, like Taylor, are unwilling to support political agendas at odds with good science but also too polite to play the role of the little boy in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” They will quietly say, “Let’s look at the evidence concerning man-made global warming (more properly known as Anthropogenic Global Warming or AGW), because science is based entirely on evidence.” As a meteorologist, Taylor would show that the warm-up we saw peak in the 1990s was very similar to the warm-up in the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, before there was significant use of fossil fuels. He would also mention the sharp decline in global temperature this January, returning us close to where we were decades ago. Climate change is perfectly normal.

As a physicist, let me point out that our understanding of climate was not “settled more than a decade ago,” as global warming alarmists argue. Science is never settled, as Albert Einstein spectacularly demonstrated. Our knowledge of the interplay between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature has gone through three stages over the past 20 years. Al Gore correctly points out that early ice-core data gathered from glaciers around the world showed a very strong correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature over 650,000 years. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, most of us assumed that it regulated global temperature. By 1999, improving ice-core techniques produced a stunning reversal, showing that the global temperature changed many centuries before carbon dioxide changed. This proved that natural climate cycles were causing changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, probably by affecting how much remained dissolved in the oceans. Using new ice-core evidence, Caillon, et al. (Science, March 2003), concluded that “CO2 is not the forcing that initially drives the climatic system.”

This should have convinced alarmists that their scare was unwarranted. But too many would have been thrown out of work, and too many politicians would have lost a hot-button issue. So they ramped up the alarm, relying on ever-more-contrived theories to explain the ice-core data. In 2007, their last theoretical bastion crumbled. Climatologists announced that a fundamental signature of greenhouse gases, predicted by all U.N. climate models, is missing. There is no “hot spot” from CO2 -induced warming at tropical latitudes. Satellites and weather balloons show normal temperature profiles. The climate models are fundamentally flawed. (Douglass, et al., International Journal of Climatology, Royal Meteorological Society, October 2007.) Read more here.

Gordon J. Fulks, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.



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