Political Climate
May 23, 2018
Bad news for green energy lovers: US oil & gas are booming

By Robert Bryce, Manhattan institute

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Another day, another spate of headlines about the growing mess at Tesla.

Last week, the electric carmaker announced that its head of engineering, Doug Field, was taking a leave of absence to “spend time with his family.”

That news came just a few days after the company announced dreadful first-quarter financial results. As usual, the company posted a huge loss (nearly $785 million) and the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, promised that Tesla will soon - really soon, and he means it this time - begin churning out Model 3 cars by the thousands.

But the media’s infatuation with Tesla is overshadowing a story that’s far more important than the number of electric cars, solar panels and batteries that Tesla may (or may not) be producing.

Two days before Tesla announced its first-quarter results, the Energy Information Administration reported that US production of both oil and natural gas are at record levels.

In February, oil output hit 10.2 million barrels per day and gas production hit 87.6 billion cubic feet per day. The fact that US oil and gas companies are producing such prodigious quantities of energy - and by doing so, are saving consumers billions of dollars per year - should be headline news.

As my colleague at the Manhattan Institute, Mark P. Mills, has noted, the shale revolution has turned the US into an energy superpower. The combination of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other technologies, he says, has resulted in “the fastest and biggest addition to world energy supply that has ever occurred in history.”

How big is that addition? Over the past decade, merely the increase - I repeat, just the increase - in US oil and gas production is equal to seven times the total energy production of every wind turbine and solar project in the United States.

Climate-change activists like to claim that renewable energy can power the entire economy and that we should “do the math.” I couldn’t agree more - on the math part. In 2008, US oil production was about 5.2 million barrels per day. Today, it’s about 10.2 million barrels per day. In 2008, domestic gas production averaged about 55.1 billion cubic feet per day. Today, it’s about 87.6 billion cubic feet per day.

That’s an increase of about 32.5 billion cubic feet per day, which is equivalent to about 5.5 million barrels of oil per day. Thus, over the past decade, US oil and gas output has jumped by about 10.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Let’s compare that to domestic solar and wind production which, since 2008, has increased by 4,800 percent and 450 percent, respectively. While those percentage increases are impressive, the total energy produced from those sources remains small when compared to oil and gas.

In 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration, US solar production totaled about 77 terawatt-hours and wind production totaled about 254 terawatt-hours, for a combined total of 331 terawatt-hours. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day.

Simple division (10.5 divided by 1.5) shows that since 2008, the increase in energy production from oil and gas is equal to seven times the energy output of all domestic solar and wind.

This surge in hydrocarbon production has resulted in huge benefits to the US economy. Over the past half-decade, foreign and domestic companies have invested about $160 billion in new chemical-manufacturing facilities in the United States. A 2016 study by IHS found that lower natural-gas prices have created about 1.4 million jobs and increased disposable income by about $156 billion.

Those real-world gains are being lost amid the neverending hype over Tesla and Musk, who during the May 2 briefing referred to a “solar-battery-powered mega charger” and claimed that Tesla drivers can “have sort of like a mind meld with the car.”

The punchline here is obvious: chatter about mega chargers and mind melds captivates the masses. But the most consequential energy story in America isn’t happening at Tesla, or other “green” energy companies. It’s happening in the oil and gas business.

Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.



May 17, 2018
Don’t Tell Anyone, But We Just Had Two Years Of Record-Breaking Global Cooling

Inconvenient Science: NASA data show that global temperatures dropped sharply over the past two years. Not that you’d know it, since that wasn’t deemed news. Does that make NASA a global warming denier?

Writing in Real Clear Markets, Aaron Brown looked at the official NASA global temperature data and noticed something surprising. From February 2016 to February 2018, “global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius.” That, he notes, is the biggest two-year drop in the past century.

“The 2016-2018 Big Chill,” he writes, “was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average.”

Isn’t this just the sort of man-bites-dog story that the mainstream media always says is newsworthy?

In this case, it didn’t warrant any news coverage.

In fact, in the three weeks since Real Clear Markets ran Brown’s story, no other news outlet picked up on it. They did, however, find time to report on such things as tourism’s impact on climate change, how global warming will generate more hurricanes this year, and threaten fish habitats, and make islands uninhabitable. They wrote about a UN official saying that “our window of time for addressing climate change is closing very quickly.”

Reporters even found time to cover a group that says they want to carve President Trump’s face into a glacier to prove climate change “is happening.”

In other words, the mainstream news covered stories that repeated what climate change advocates have been saying ad nauseam for decades.

That’s not to say that a two-year stretch of cooling means that global warming is a hoax. Two years out of hundreds or thousands doesn’t necessarily mean anything. And there could be a reasonable explanation. But the drop in temperatures at least merits a “Hey, what’s going on here?” story.

What’s more, journalists are perfectly willing to jump on any individual weather anomaly - or even a picture of a starving polar bear - as proof of global warming. (We haven’t seen any stories pinning Hawaii’s recent volcanic activity on global warming yet, but won’t be surprised if someone tries to make the connection.)

We’ve noted this refusal to cover inconvenient scientific findings many times in this space over the years.

Hiding The Evidence

There was the study published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate showing that climate models exaggerate global warming from CO2 emissions by as much as 45%. It was ignored.

Then there was the study in the journal Nature Geoscience that found that climate models were faulty, and that, as one of the authors put it, “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models.”

Nor did the press see fit to report on findings from the University of Alabama-Huntsville showing that the Earth’s atmosphere appears to be less sensitive to changing CO2 levels than previously assumed.

How about the fact that the U.S. has cut CO2 emissions over the past 13 years faster than any other industrialized nation? Or that polar bear populations are increasing? Or that we haven’t seen any increase in violent weather in decades?

Crickets.

Reporters no doubt worry that covering such findings will only embolden “deniers” and undermine support for immediate, drastic action.

But if fears of catastrophic climate change are warranted - which we seriously doubt - ignoring things like the rapid cooling in the past two years carries an even bigger risk.

Suppose, Brown writes, the two-year cooling trend continues. “At some point the news will leak out that all global warming since 1980 has been wiped out in two and a half years, and that record-setting events went unreported.”

He goes on: “Some people could go from uncritical acceptance of steadily rising temperatures to uncritical refusal to accept any warming at all.”

Brown is right. News outlets should decide what gets covered based on its news value, not on whether it pushes an agenda. Otherwise, they’re doing the public a disservice and putting their own already shaky credibility at greater risk.



May 13, 2018
Comment on “Examination of space-based bulk atmospheric temperatures used in climate research”

NOTE:

One by one the long term temperature data sets have been ‘adjusted’ to better match greenhouse model projections. That includes some of the balloon and one of the satellite data sets (RSS) which had shown a distinct pause approaching 20 years. The recent paper by Christy etal (2018 showed why their analysis (UAH) is most trustworthy and that the changes made to RSS TLT data was based on the inclusion of shown to be dodgy data.

Regarding any particular, relevant temperature data, the magnitude and statistical significance of its Linear Trend’s Slope is irrelevant to the key question - which is ‘did increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration levels have a statistically significant positive impact on this temperature data’? For UAH TLT 6.0 data, this paper provides mathematically rigorous proof that it did not.

Besides the fraud involving official Global Average Surface Temperature data that the authors have previously demonstrated, there are a number of critical mathematical errors to which many well-intentioned climate scientists have continued to seem oblivious. These errors have led many climate scientists to claim that increasing CO2 concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on (properly measured) temperature. If this were truly the case, in the U.S., the Clean Air Act would force at least some level of regulation of CO2 emissions.

Regulations come with a huge penalty to our economy and therefore, it is absolutely critical that climate science deliver an unbiased test of this hypothesis. And, a great deal of work has been published related to this issue. But very little work directly addresses this critical hypothesis test using appropriate mathematical methods - and where all the work can be replicated by other experts in the relevant fields. This paper properly preforms such a hypothesis test.

If EPA elects to grant a Reconsideration of the 2009 Endangerment Finding as as a result of its ANPRM CPP Replacement Comment request, only research meeting these criteria will be viewed as relevant based on EPA’s announced new rules. This paper would pass such new rule tests and provide climate scientists with assistance regarding mathematical and process errors to avoid. As usual, all work was done on a Pro Bono basis.

-------------

PRESS RELEASE

Comment on “Examination of space-based bulk atmospheric temperatures used in climate research” by Christy et al (2018)
Research Report
Third Edition, May, 2018

EF DATA Comment on Christy et al Paper Final 042818V4

A just released peer reviewed Climate Science Research Report has once again proven that it is all but certain that EPA’s basic claim that CO2 is a pollutant is totally false. All research was done pro bono.

This research was carried out using as its temperature data the UAH TLT 6.0 atmospheric temperature data. UAH data has been clearly shown to be the very best data available (1) . This research involved the use of mathematical methods of econometrics specifically designed for structural analysis of time series data. These methods have been demonstrated to be highly credible when applied to data such as the UAH temperature data (2) .

The Christy et al (2018) paper discussed in this Research Report does provide lower temperature linear trend positive slope estimates than do many other researchers. However, quite properly, the Christy et al (2018) paper does not claim that this lower linear trend positive slope finding implies anything whatsoever regarding a proof that CO2 has had a statistical significant impact on the Earth’s temperature over the last 50 years or so (1).

This Research Report argues that this statistical significance issue must be addressed using appropriate mathematical methods. Such methods are once again used in this new research and prove that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations did not have a statistically significant impact on the UAH TLT 6.0 temperature data set over the period 1979 to 2016.

In fact, this Research Report demonstrates that there was a “Pause” in UAH TLT temperature trend increases over the 1995 to 2016 period. This is a time period over which atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by over 12.0%. 

Furthermore, based on a well-known solar activity forecast (Abdussamatov 2015 (3)) and specific assumptions on the other natural explanatory variables (i.e., volcanic and oceanic/ENSO activity), this new Research Report also provides a long-term forecast that UAH TLT temperatures are very likely to exhibit a declining trend over the period through 2026 at the least.

But, the Research Report points out that, even if temperature data had happened to have had a statistically significant downward sloping trend, it would not have guaranteed that CO2 had not had a statistically significant positive impact on temperature. It simply would have required the use of the proper mathematical tools to obtain the statistical results to have proved it. This is why all of the focus on the magnitude of the slope of linear temperature trends by most climate scientists makes no sense to analysts experienced in econometrics-based structural analysis.

Finally, making another key technical point, the Research Report argues against the use of reanalysis data in structural analysis since its use makes mathematically rigorous hypothesis testing virtually impossible.

The merits of the econometrics-based statistical methodology used in this Research Report and its predecessors versus that used in developing the Climate Models relied upon in EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding becomes more obvious every day, the explanation for which has been further discussed in highly relevant Congressional Testimony quoted at length in this Comment.
(4)

1 See: Link
2 See: Link
3 See: Link page S282
4 See: U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology March 29, 2017, Testimony of John R. Christy, pages 10-11, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama State Climatologist University of Alabama in Huntsville



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