By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
On Tuesday, IPCC Chairman R.K. Pachauri gave a rather remarkable interview on BBC, claiming that he welcomes a vigorous debate on the science of climate change. (See quote above.) Of course, the skeptics may continue to be a bit skeptical. Pachauri has called them “flat earthers” who should apply asbestos to their faces.
Given the revelations of ClimateGate, perhaps Pachauri is concerned about his job – one from which he claims he receives no income. Or, perhaps, he has genuinely undergone a remarkable transformation. We shall have to wait and see. An early indicator may be if the IPCC actually tries to test some of the critical assumptions in the computer models, such as that water vapor amplifies (is a positive feedback to) the slight warming produced by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Another indicator could be attempting to establish empirical parameters on the effects of aerosols that are “hiding true global warming.” The acid test will be permitting skeptics to write dissenting views in the “Summary for Policymakers.” (One can always dream.)
The BP oil spill continues to have considerable political ramifications, with vengeance as a motivating factor fro some. BP has been forced to set up, early, a $20 Billion fund to provide relief for those economically impacted by the spill – including those put out of work by the government’s declaration of a moratorium on all deep water drilling. As explained in last week’s TWTW, the administration attempted to justify this moratorium, claiming it was recommended by highly qualified engineers. The engineers would have none of that and stated they made no such recommendation for existing permits.
Efforts to control the extent of the spill are still underway. Unfortunately, in spite of administration claims that it has been in charge since day one, there still appears to be no one in charge and conflicting statements are the order of the day.
Politicians and the environmental industry are gearing up to make the most of this spill. Numerous articles and television broadcasts are long on adjectives and lurid photographs, but short on facts. What is the actual extent of the environmental damage? Clearly, no one can predict how long the aftereffects will remain, but it appears that once the well is shut off, most of the effect will disappear rather quickly.
What about the wildlife that is so frequently shown in photographs? US Fish and Wildlife has established a control center, monitoring affected birds, sea turtles, mammals, and reptiles. These are classified by alive or dead and by visibly oiled, no visible oil, or status pending. Visible oil on a dead animal does not mean the animal died from oil exposure. As of June 17, with 58 days of records, of the 1468 alive and dead birds collected, the total number of visibly oiled, dead birds was – 196 – a far cry from the impression one receives in the news reports. The data tables can be found at the web site: http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/pdfs/collection_06172010.pdf
The fate of the cap and tax law (Kerry-Lieberman bill – S-1733) is uncertain. The administration is using the oil spill to justify penalizing oil as well as coal – thus further penalizing American prosperity. Proponents are also bringing up the issue of American security – reliance on oil from the Mid-East. Thus, it is useful to examine the source of imported crude oil by region as reported by the Energy Information Administration for 2009. SOURCE
Of the 4,279,908 barrels of crude oil and similar products imported by the US, only 620,938 (14.5%) came from the Persian Gulf states which is less than the 899,370 barrels (21%) that came from Canada. The five major nations from which US imports oil are, in order: Canada, Mexico (10.5%), Venezuela (9.2%), Saudi Arabia (8.6%), and Nigeria (6.9%).
It is important to distinguish the uses of various fuels. Oil is the major transportation fuel and only about 1% of US electricity is generated from it. By contrast, coal is principally an electricity generating fuel with almost 50% of US electricity generated from it. As it is now being restructured, the targets of cap and tax will not only be electricity, but also transportation.
Last week, TWTW mentioned the review in Science of Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. This week the George C. Marshall Institute issued its comments on this book which focused on the attack on three of the Institute’s founders: Frederick Seitz, Robert Jastrow, and William Nierenberg. The comments on Seitz suffice for all. Oreskes-Conway accuse Seitz of consulting with R.J. Reynolds to discredit studies showing a link between cigarette smoking and cancer.
The Institute admits that Seitz did consult with R.J. Reynolds – to guide a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment in human health research and development at Rockefeller University, a leading bio-medical research institution. This effort funded the research by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who received a Nobel Prize for his work on prions. Strangely, the Science article made no mention of this scientific research. If this scientific research is somehow “tainted”, how should one consider research at Duke University, founded with tobacco money, or Stanford University, founded with railroad money, or that at many other universities?
Comments on the rigor of the Oreskes-Conway book are reserved for a later TWTW.
SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #19-2010 (June 19, 2010)
By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
EPA’s ‘analysis’ of the American Power Act (Kerry-Lieberman bill S-1733) is so bad, I wonder if a response to Scientific American is worthwhile.
1. It assumes a climate sensitivity that is not justified by any evidence
2. It ignores all forcings except CO2
3. It assumes that China and India will go along in rationing energy use
4. It uses the ‘magic’ 2 deg C threshold — for which there is no scientific evidence
5. It assumes that Floods, Droughts etc will all increase with temperature
6. It ignores the benefits of global warming and increased CO2
7. It uses made-up risk probabilities, disguised as science
1. Environmental Guilt and Original Sin
The Scientific Alliance, June 18, 2010 [H/t ICECAP,org]
[SEPP Comment: Thoughtful essay on new UN efforts to make the citizens of the developed world feel guilty for their prosperity, with the goal of expanding governmental control over them.]
2. Europe’s Determination to Decline
By Bjorn Lomborg, GWPF, June 11, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
3. The Immutable Law of the Potomac
4. BP Crew Focused on Costs: Congress
6. Climate junk hard to dump: Why would scientists allow themselves to be recruited to essentially political objectives?
By Peter Foster, Financial Post, June 15, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Clouding the Truth: A Critique of Merchants of Doubt
By William O’Keefe, CEO, and Jeff Kueter, President, George C. Marshall Institute, June, 2010
[SEPP Comment: George C. Marshall Institute’s rebuttal against the attack on its founders by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.]
Defending the Orthodoxy
Restating the IPCC’s reason for being
By Dr. R.K. Pachauri, BBC, June 15, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano]
Scientists want clear message on climate
By Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald, June 15, 2010 [H/t Bob Kay]
British Due Diligence – Royal Society Style
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, June 10, 2010
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Update on the Role of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in Global Warming
Roy Spencer, June 17, 2010
Trying to Hit a Mosquito with a Sledgehammer
World Climate Report, June 8, 2010
[SEPP Comment: More on the false claim that global warming will increase malaria. Over the 20th Century, the total area in which malaria is endemic has fallen dramatically.]
Threat From Ocean Acidification Greatly Exaggerated
By Matt Ridley, GWPF, June 15, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
[SEPP Comment: Meta-analysis cited at end of article provides strong rebuttal to those claiming disastrous ocean acidification.]
The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider
By Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, June 13, 2010
The first climate sceptic?
By Christopher Booker, EUReferendum, June 13, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
[SEPP Comment: A defense of Margaret Thatcher’s views on global warming against those who claim otherwise.]
Global Average Sea Surface Temperatures Continue their Plunge
Roy Spencer, June 18, 2010
Cap and Tax
What The Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes: How can it be that you pay more to the IRS than General Electric?
By Christopher Helman, Forbes, April 1, 2010,
[SEPP Comment: GE, a major leader in the Cap and Tax lobbing group US CAP, paid no US corporate income tax last year.]
By Ben Lieberman, NY Post, June 18, 2010 [H/t Martin Mangino]
‘Balance’ is crucial in global-warming prescription
By Ben Lieberman, Washington Times, June 17, 2010
A cap-and-dividend way to a cleaner nation and more jobs
By Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins, Washington Post, June 18, 2010
[SEPP Comment: The economic analysis was done by a law school? How much of the dividends will the government take from the top?]
Billions for Green Jobs – Whatever They Are
[SEPP Comment: No one knows what the promised green jobs are?]
Carbon prices have plummeted in the US.
By JoAnne Nova, June 19, 2010
“But it begs the question of what kind of economic recovery it is, if it doesn’t need …power?”
BP Spill and Aftermath
Will oil drilling become a pipe dream?
By Robert Higgs, Washington Times, June 16, 2010
Trim the ‘Experts,’ Trust the Locals
By David Brooks, NYT, June 17, 2010
Slippery Start: U.S. Response to Spill Falters: Officials Changed Their Minds on Key Moves, and Disagreements Flared Between Agencies; Boom Taken Away From Alabama
Scientists Try to Gauge Potential Long-Term Environmental Impact
Science on drill ban questioned
By Stephen Dinan, Kara Rowland, Washington Times, June 17, 2010
Brazil unlikely to be deterred from deepwater riches
By Jonathan Wheatley, Financial Times, June 16, 2010
Environmentalists Use Oil Spill as a Rallying Cry
By Kate Galbraith, NYT, June 13, 2010
Unstoppable coal and the search for transport liquids
By Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times, June 14, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
[SEPP Comment: Globally, the share of primary energy production from oil is falling; the share from coal is increasing.]
The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd.)
By James Delingpole, Telegraph, UK, June 16, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
Bill Gates: Energy Visionary? (Energy Manhattan project, yet again)
By Robert Michaels, Master Resource, June 18, 2010
Cold Yucca Mountain: Is Carbon Capture & Sequestration the Coal Industry’s Gordian Knot?
By Eric Loewen, George C. Marshall Institute, June 13, 2010 [H/t Tom Sheahen]
[SEPP Comment: Will CCS be a trap for the coal industry similar to Yucca Mountain becoming a trap for the nuclear industry?]
Does money grow in wind farms?
Wind turbines are a poor way to harness energy – but very good way to generate public subsidies
By Andrew Galligan, Telegraph, UK, June 13, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
Europe’s Green Energy Portfolio Up in Smoke?
By Stephen Leahy, IPS, June 7, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
For Gulf, Biofuels Are Worse Than Oil Spill
EPA On The March
The Senate’s global-warming circus: Overreaching EPA goes rogue
By Iain Murray, Washington Times, June 15, 2010
News Sources Ignore EPA’s 1 in 100 Odds of Livable Future Without the American Power Act
By Susan Kraemer, Scientific American, June 19, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Fantasyland!]
Comments on EPA proposed new Formaldehyde Toxicity Regulations
By Linda Wennerberg, NASA HQ, [H/t ACSH]
Comments from NASA on the Formaldehyde Tox Review (PDF) (3 pp, 72 KB, about PDF)
“EPA sets the noncancer estimate and the age-adjusted cancer slope factor that result in an equivalent air concentration of 1-3ppb. As noted in the NRC 2007 report, human breath has often been measured to contain levels in excess of 1-3 ppb, raising the question of choice of an action level that is likely at or below the level found in the environment. EPA does not provide justification of setting of a level less or equal to normal thresholds of formaldehyde found in the human body.” (Boldface added)
Miscellaneous Topics of Possible Interest
What’s wrong with the sun?
By Stuart Clark, New Scientist, June 14, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
War and Peace … and Climate Change
Tol & Waner, Reviewed by NIPCC, June 18, 2010
[SEPP Comment: In his classic work, HH Lamb noted that cold periods were often times of war.]
Effects of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Cuttlefish Eggs and Embryo Development
Lacoue-Labarthe, et al., Reviewed by NIPCC, June 14, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Unlike some studies supported by EPA which use hydrochloric acid to simulate the effects of increased dissolved CO2, these researchers actually increased the dissolved CO2. They found that increased dissolved CO2 may be beneficial to cuttlefish. Will such research be considered in NOAA and EPA “ocean acidification” claims?]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Save Taxpayer $$$: Eliminate Alternative Medicine Research
By Steven Salzberg, Forbes, June 16, 2010 [H/t ACSH]
San Francisco Passes Cellphone Radiation Law
By Jesse McKinley, NYT, June 15, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Do cell phones emit more radiation than some government supported procedures for alternative medicine?]
Spot the difference: How today’s airbrushing PC censors decided Churchill could do without his cigar
By Beth Hale, Mail Online, June 15, 2010 [H/t ACSH]
Boxer Declares Climate Change as the Greatest Threat, But Opponents Slam Theory
Fox News, June 15, 2010 [H/t Howard Hayden]
Human race ‘will be extinct within 100 years’, claims leading scientist
By Niall Firth, Mail Online, June 18, 2010 [H/t Malcolm Ross]