Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Europe’s Industry Bosses Demand EU Action On Soaring Energy Prices

March 1, 2014

EUObserver, 28 February 2014

Benjamin Fox

EU leaders must address rising energy prices and climate policies which are crippling the bloc’s manufacturing sector, according to a manifesto signed by more than 100 industry bosses. 4 million manufacturing jobs across Europe have been lost since 2008.

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4 million EU manufacturing jobs have been lost in the past five years (Photo: arbyreed)

One hundred and thirty seven chief executives, including the heads of Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal, and Rio Tinto, signed up to a paper published by the International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC) Europe on Thursday (27 February).

“EU economic recovery and reversing trends in employment will not happen without industry,” the paper states.

EU leaders will gather in Brussels on 21 and 22 March for a summit focused on the EU’s industrial competitiveness and how to reinvigorate the bloc’s rapidly eroding manufacturing base.

The EU’s manufacturing sector has been in steady decline for the past 20 years and now accounts for just 15 percent of economic output. Meanwhile, 4 million manufacturing jobs across Europe have been lost since 2008, according to the European Commission’s latest figures.

EU industrial output, up to March 2012.

EU industrial output, up to March 2012.

The continent’s industrial powerhouse, Germany, along with the Nordic countries and most of northern Europe, is still performing relatively strongly. But what is of most concern is that some of the bloc’s crisis-countries, such as Spain, Italy, and Greece, all of which are now remodelling their economies on increasing exports, have all seen steep falls in their manufacturing output since 2000.

The commission estimates that every euro of industrial production generates another 50 cents in other parts of the economy and has called for “an industrial Renaissance” in Europe. It wants industry to account for 20 percent of the bloc’s GDP by 2020.

Firms are particularly keen for leaders to address rising energy costs which are now between two and three times higher in the EU than in the US. Lawmakers should complete the EU’s internal energy market and “speed up the exploration of shale gas in an environmentally acceptable way,” according to the industry paper.

But the EU remains under pressure to reconcile a need to re-energise its industrial base with its environmental commitments.

In January, the commission unveiled plans to revise its greenhouse-gas reduction target to 40 percent in 2030 compared with 20 percent in 2020.

The carbon goal would be the only legally binding one on governments after 2020, replacing all national targets for renewable energy.

But governments appear to be minded towards meeting the demands of industry instead.

Full story

100+ CEOs From Europe’s Manufacturing Industry Call For New EU Energy & Climate Strategy
IFIEC Europe, 27 February 2014

This morning, a Manifesto signed by 137 CEOs representing EU manufacturing industry was published by IFIEC Europe. It calls upon Heads of State to adopt a set of measures to align the EU’s industry, energy & climate policies.

“This initiative, representing more than 1 million direct jobs from various sectors and countries all over Europe is exceptional”, explains Fernand Felzinger, the President of IFIEC Europe. “It can only be explained by the severity of the crisis impacting the EU 28 manufacturing industry”.

The analysis of energy prices and costs in Europe issued by DG Energy on January 22nd confirms it: EU industry does suffer from an important disadvantage in total energy and climate costs in comparison with competing regions of the world. Such high energy price disparities like the one with the US (energy prices 2 to 3 times higher here) lead to significant changes in the economic structure and have far-reaching effects on investments, production and trade.

Can we do something about it? “Yes, because regulatory costs (subsidies for renewables, taxes, grid costs, etc.) are among the main reasons for this widening price gap” answers Peter Claes, Vice-President of Ifiec Europe. And these are surcharges resulting from public policy, not from market movements.

“These ever increasing surcharges create an unprecedented burden for manufacturing industries which cannot pass through these costs to their customers” explains Philippe Darmayan, the CEO of Aperam, a global leader for stainless steel and a large power consumer. There is no other solution than allowing full offsetting of these costs. “But industry is also a solution provider” adds Peter, “for example, via voluntary demand response”.

Unfortunately, the situation for natural gas is more complex since the main solution stays in our external suppliers’ hands. Implementing the internal energy market and diversifying our supplies, including indigenous production is an absolute necessity. “Ignoring the shale gas option would be a big mistake” says Steinar Solheim, IFIEC’s Chairman for Gas. “The Council has to set the course towards cost-competitive and secure energy. This is the number one priority for Europe’s energy-intensive industries” stresses Hubert Mandery, Director General of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).

EU’s emerging climate policy measures really matter for the future of the companies signing the manifesto. Here lies the other root cause for increasing cost disadvantages with major competing regions. “The EU must give industry a clear signal that highly efficient industrial production is welcome and encouraged to grow within the EU, also in future” says Volker Schwich, President of VIK, the German member federation of IFIEC.

“We urgently need concrete measures to enable the manufacturing industry to grow in Europe” concludes IFIEC’s President. Will the upcoming Council of Heads of State come with real solutions? 137 CEOs and many more desperately hope so.

Full Manifesto

Germans Suffer €52 Billion Export Loss Due To Green Energy Policy
Financial Times, 27 February 2014

Jeevan Vasagar

Germany’s exports would have been €15bn higher last year if its industry had not paid a premium for electricity compared with international competitors, according to an analysis published on Thursday. Germany’s manufacturing suffered €52bn in net export losses for the six-year period from 2008 to 2013.

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Despite Germany’s strong export performance in re­cent years, Europe’s biggest economy has been dented by the nation’s costly shift to renewable energy, IHS consultants said in a report.

They found that the energy price differential be­tween Germany and its five leading trade partners cost the nation’s manufacturing sector €52bn in net export losses for the six-year period from 2008 to 2013.

The figure was calculated by linking changes in the net volume of German manufacturing exports to changes in energy costs, using an economic model that accounted for other variables such as exchange rates.

Almost 60 per cent of the total loss (or €30bn) came in energy-intensive industries: paper, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, non-metallic mineral products and basic metals.

Smaller companies were disproportionately affected, the analysis found. Unlike heavy energy users such as BASF and ThyssenKrupp, small companies are not eligible for exemptions from the energy bill surcharges that cover the costs of the move to clean energy.

The report also looked at investment decisions and found that direct investment abroad had accelerated over time at the expense of domestic investment. Energy cost was an important driver of this shift, said IHS.

A look at the behind the scenes legal battle with the EPA over the ‘social cost of carbon’ and looming carbon tax

February 25, 2014

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Anthony Watts

WUWT has been granted exclusive first access to this new legal document challenging the EPA’s proposed use of calculations on SCC.

While this submission to OMB from Attorney Menton may look forbiddingly legalistic document to many WUWT readers, a number of you may well have signed one or more of the Amicus Briefs and other materials cited in it.It is important to read this because it provides a window into the future of a potential carbon tax in the USA.

I consider it a “must read” for those of you who are very concerned about the EPA’s current and proposed CO2 –related regulations. EPA uses its Social Cost of Carbon estimates to justify all such regulations. And, these estimates are also being used as recommended starting points for future carbon taxes. Enough said as to why it makes sense to read and think about the submission?

If not, you will note it begins by showing that using IPCC’s own words, its estimates of Climate Sensitivity must be treated using what the mathematics of decision theory would call “under “Complete Ignorance Uncertainty.” Therefore, EPA’s reliance on IPCC is hardly justified.

Next, it argues that, in the court room, EPA’s own Endangerment Finding was predicated on three easy to understand “Lines of Evidence,” where each has now been shown to be invalid.

The three lines of evidence used by the EPA are A. B. and C.

amicus_epa4

The hot spot has not appeared, surface temperatures are stalled, and climate models aren’t modeling reality, yet, in the arcane world of the court system, EPA presses on as if these problems don’t exist.

Finally, it points out that the methodology now being used to calculate the SCC estimates is total nonsense for EPA’s purposed use, yet they are being considered “good to go” at this stage of the game.

Attorney Francis Menton provides this introduction:

OMB is currently seeking submission of comments with regard to the report titled “Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon” document dated November 26, 2013. This document is the precursor for planned regulatory actions in the Administration’s ongoing war against carbon-based energy, and potentially also for legislative actions that could include a carbon tax.

I submitted a comment letter to OMB late last week, which you now have. The comment letter mainly addresses the climate sensitivity issue. It address both IPCC’s science arguments and those of EPA. The counter argument to EPA’s Endangerment Finding is based on science arguments spelled out in three Amicus briefs, one submitted to the DC Circuit and two others to the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with the so-called Greenhouse Gas case that was argued today in the Supreme Court. I was the lawyer in the Merit Stage Supreme Court Amicus, where I represented a group of scientists and economists.

I hope your readers find this submission interesting and informative.

Here is the submission:

================================================================

Francis J. Menton, Jr.
Attorney at Law
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York, 10019

Ms. Mabel Echols
NEOB, Room 10202
725 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20503

Re: OMB request for public comments (“Request for Comments”) (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/11/26/2013-28242/technical-support-document-technical-update-of-the-social-cost-of-carbon-for-regulatory-impact) as to Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, November 26, 2013

Dear Ms. Echols:

OMB’s Request for Comments states a particular interest in comments on:

The selection of the three IAMs for use in the analysis and the synthesis of the resulting SCC estimates, as outlined in the 2010 {Technical Support Document } TSD, the model inputs used to develop the SCC estimates, including economic growth, emissions trajectories, climate sensitivity and intergenerational discounting;

The present Comment focuses solely on Climate Sensitivity, which is obviously the most important parameter in the SCC analysis process as currently defined, and about which there has been much debate.

In the Request for Comments, OMB makes several statements describing how its SCC estimates were derived, and that therefore inform this Comment. Among those statements are the following:

The current estimate of the social cost of CO 2 emissions (SCC) has been developed over many years, using the best science available, and with input from the public. . . .

Recognizing that the models underlying the SCC estimates would evolve and improve over time as scientific and economic understanding increased, the Administration committed in 2010 to regular updates of these estimates. . . .

The TSD (Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon, United States Government, February 2010), at page 4, gives information on the key assumptions from which the SCC estimates were derived. It states that:

III. Approach and Key Assumptions

. . .

It is important to recognize that a number of key uncertainties remain, and that current SCC estimates should be treated as provisional and revisable since they will evolve with improved scientific and economic understanding. The interagency group also recognizes that the existing models are imperfect and incomplete. . . .

The U.S. Government will periodically review and reconsider estimates of the SCC used for cost-benefit analyses to reflect increasing knowledge of the science and economics of climate impacts, as well as improvements in modeling. In this context, statements recognizing the limitations of the analysis and calling for further research take on exceptional significance. The interagency group offers the new SCC values with all due humility about the uncertainties embedded in them and with a sincere promise to continue work to improve them.

At page 5, the TSD then describes the methodology by which the SCC estimates were derived:

A. Integrated Assessment Models

We rely on three integrated assessment models (IAMs) commonly used to estimate the SCC: the FUND, DICE, and PAGE models (1).. . .

These models are useful because they combine climate processes, economic growth, and feedbacks between the climate and the global economy into a single modeling framework. . . . There is currently a limited amount of research linking climate impacts to economic damages, which makes this exercise even more difficult. Underlying the three IAMs selected for this exercise are a number of simplifying assumptions and judgments reflecting the various modelers’ best attempts to synthesize the available scientific and economic research characterizing these relationships. . . .

The three IAMs translate emissions into changes in atmospheric greenhouse concentrations, atmospheric concentrations into changes in temperature [emphasis added], and changes in temperature into economic damages. . . . These emissions are translated into concentrations using the carbon cycle built into each model, and concentrations are translated into warming based on each model’s simplified representation of the climate and a key parameter, climate sensitivity. Each model uses a different approach to translate warming into damages. Finally, transforming the stream of economic damages over time into a single value requires judgments about how to discount them.

From the direct quotes above, it is clear that the SCC values that are derived from this process are critically dependent on “a key parameter, climate sensitivity” the value of which in turn is completely unknown. To illustrate, uncertainty about even the expected value of this parameter was still so high that, in late 2013, no “best estimate” could even be made. In fact, the current Request for Comments states that it relies on information from the most recent IPCC Report, AR5 of October 2013:

The revised Technical Support Document that was issued in November, 2013 is based on the best available scientific information on the impacts of climate change. We will continue to refine the SCC estimates to ensure that agencies are appropriately measuring the social cost of carbon emissions as they evaluate the costs and benefits of rules. (Printed October 2013 by the IPCC, Switzerland. Electronic copies of this Summary for Policymakers are available from the IPCC website http://www.ipcc.ch and the IPCC WGI AR5 website http://www.climatechange2013.org. or http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI_AR5_SPM_brochure.pdf © 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

However, the very IPCC Report being relied on concedes at footnote 16 on page 14 that “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given . . . .” From page 14 of Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science Basis, Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers:

The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. . . .Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence) 16. . . .

Footnote16: No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies. (Emphasis added.)

This footnote 16 literally means that as recently as late last year, given the scientific information available, the IPCC did not deem it possible to develop a credible “best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity.” This statement is extremely relevant in that this climate sensitivity parameter is obviously the most important parameter to the entire SCC analysis. Mathematically speaking, what does not being able to provide a Best Estimate for the equilibrium climate sensitivity imply? First, it means that IPCC is clear that it has not been able to develop a credible subjective probability density function for the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter. Second, it means that the IPCC admits that it does not have a credible mean, mode or median value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter. In the mathematics of Decision Theory, this situation is called Complete Ignorance Uncertainty.

It should be obvious that no SCC estimates should be published until a credible climate sensitivity probability distribution is developed. This multi- agency effort has relied on the IPCC work, but IPCC’s own results imply that the U.S. government should stop publishing any estimates of SCC until such a credible distribution exists.

Furthermore, the U.S. should base its SCC on its own estimates of this critical parameter. In its finding, EPA relied on the claim by IPCC of 90-99% certainty that observed warming in the latter half of the twentieth century resulted from human activity. EPA bases its own 2009 Endangerment Finding on what it calls three “lines of evidence,” all derived from IPCC work. 74 Fed. Reg. 66518. However, each of these three lines of evidence has been shown to be invalid by empirical data cited in a recently submitted merit stage Amicus submitted to the Supreme Court in case UARG v. EPA. This Amicus can be found at

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v2/12-1146_amicus_pet_scientists.authcheckdam.pdf

Three quotes from this brief regarding each of the three Lines of Evidence are in order:

There is no longer any doubt that the purported tropical “hot spot” simply does not exist. Thus, EPA’s theory as to how CO2 affects global average surface temperature—EPA’s first line of evidence—has been falsified.

Those data thus demonstrate that EPA’s second line of evidence—the claim that there has been unusual warming on a global, this is, worldwide, basis over the past several decades—is invalid.

The models EPA relied on as its third line of evidence are invalid. That is not surprising because EPA never carried out any published forecast reliability tests. And, as discussed above, EPA’s assumed Greenhouse Gas Fingerprint Theory simply does not comport with the real world. Thus, models based on that theory should never have been expected to be valuable for policy analysis involving an Endagerment Finding that so critically affects American energy, economic, and national security.

With each of EPA’s three Lines of Evidence purporting to support their Endangerment Finding shown to be invalid, EPA has no proof whatsoever that CO2 has a statistically significant impact on Global Temperatures. In fact, many scientists feel no such proof exists. A Cert Stage Amicus brief to the Supreme Court also regarding UARG v. EPA stated as follows (at pp. 20-21; http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/GW-Amicus-2013-05-23-Br-of-Amici-Curiae-Scientists-ISO-Petitions-fo…2.pdf )

Amici believe that no scientists have devised an empirically validated theory proving that higher atmospheric CO2 levels will lead to higher GAST. Moreover, if the causal link between higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations and higher GAST is broken by invalidating each of EPA’s three lines of evidence, then EPA’s assertions that higher CO2 concentrations also cause sea-level increases and more frequent and severe storms, floods, and droughts are also disproved. Such causality assertions require a validated theory that higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations cause increases in GAST(2). Lacking such a validated theory, EPA’s conclusions cannot stand. In science, credible empirical data always trumps proposed theories, even if those theories are claimed to (or actually do) represent the current consensus.

Footnote 2: Indeed, empirical data also shows that the claim that there have been such phenomena is itself invalid. Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists in Support of Petitioners Supporting Reversal, at 22-26, Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 09-1322 (CADC June 8, 2011), ECF No. 1312291.

In fact, EPA has ignored this and earlier warnings that an Endangerment Finding could be flawed. On October 7, 2009, thirty-five very well regarded scientists put a letter to EPA in its associate docket. See 74 Fed. Reg. 18886 (Apr. 24, 2009). Its recommendation was a follows:

Recommendation

We feel strongly that the EPA must not only rigorously address all four of the additional questions outlined at the outset, but also deal with at least the 18 supporting issues. As can be clearly seen by an analysis of the different fields of knowledge and academic skills required to answer the 18 detailed questions listed above, no one scientist should feel comfortable answering each and every question. And yet, without thoughtful, fully-informed judgments on all of the questions by the scientists who are expert in the particular issue area, the EPA should not feel comfortable issuing an Endangerment Finding in support of CO2 regulation. Because of the need to have only those highly qualified to provide answers to each of the questions outlined above, we strongly suggest that the EPA grant the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Petitions, and in particular, adopt its recommendation regarding the use of the an on-the-record hearing conducted pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §§ 556-57.

While following such an analysis process may well be more arduous than planned, the implications of ill-founded CO2 regulation could be truly catastrophic. Hardly a day goes by without another prominent scientist joining the ranks of those who reject the conclusion of the IPCC that the primary driver of the Earth’s climate system is CO2 emissions from human use of fossil fuels rather than other natural forces.

The EPA has the authority to hold on-the-record hearings under the Clean Air Act using procedures based on 5 U.S.C. §§ 556-57. As the Administrative Conference of the United States said, such authority should be exercised whenever (a) the scientific, technical, or other data relevant to the proposed rule are complex, (b) the problem posed is so open-ended that diverse views should be heard, and (c) the costs that errors may impose are significant. See 1 C.F.R. § 305.76-3(1) (1993). The Chamber noted in its petition that “it is hard to imagine a situation where each part of this test is more easily met.” We concur and urge the EPA to hold a formal, on-the-record hearing before proceeding with any proposed Endangerment Finding.

EPA never responded to this letter. One can only hope that this multi-agency effort steps back from its current approach of reliance on IPCC and other clearly biased parties and takes a hard look at whether there is truly any proof that, in the real world, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations impact global temperatures to a measurable degree. At this point, there would appear to be no such proof. This implies that the SCC project should either be cancelled or at the least put on hold until this matter is resolved.

Regarding the importance of using unbiased parties, the September 26, 2011 EPA Inspector General’s Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes, which was also filed in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, No. 09-1322, is highly relevant. This document catalogues the procedural deficiencies found by the EPA Inspector General regarding the EPA’s peer review and data review methodologies used in promulgating EPA’s December 15, 2009 Endangerment Finding on greenhouse gases including CO2 emissions. Like the October 7, 2009 scientists’ letter quoted above, this review suggested that the EPA could have used a Science Advisory Board mechanism to avoid such deficiencies. Specifically, it stated that:

EPA did not conduct a peer review of the TSD that met all recommended steps in the Peer Review Handbook for peer reviews of influential scientific information or highly influential scientific assessments. EPA’s peer review policy states that ‘for influential scientific information intended to support important decisions, or for work products that have special importance in their own right, external peer review is the approach of choice’ and that ‘for highly influential scientific assessments, external peer review is the expected procedure.’ According to the policy, external peer review involves reviewers who are ‘independent experts from outside EPA.’ The handbook provides examples of ‘independent experts from outside EPA,’ that include NAS, an established Federal Advisory Committee Act mechanism (e.g., Science Advisory Board), and an ad hoc panel of independent experts outside the Agency. The handbook lays out a number of procedural steps involved in an external peer review. Id. at 44.

It would certainly seem that this multi-agency effort should not proceed without delving into the facts involving climate sensitivity estimates and EPA’s Endangerment Finding. Over-reliance on the IPCC analysis must stop due to obvious inherent bias in keeping this wealth transfer mechanism alive.

To illustrate at Climate Day at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual policy-themed gathering of the global elite, a highlight was a panel focused on the link between climate change, economic growth and poverty reduction, featuring former Vice-President Al Gore, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Not a single panelist noted that attempts at climate change mitigation through governments’ forcing curtailed use of fossil fuels could conflict with their poverty reduction efforts. To quote from the merit stage Amicus brief mentioned above:

Meanwhile the United States is on the cusp of an energy revolution of hydrocarbons from unconventional oil and natural gas sources that is having the effect of rapidly increasing the supply and decreasing the price of carbon-based energy. See, e.g., IHS, American’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the U.S. Economy, Volumes I, II, and III, September 2013. IHS sees the energy revolution as adding millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the U.S. economy, all based on burning carbon fuels and emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. EPA looks upon this prospect with horror, and the stationary source PSD permitting program is precisely the means it sees available to stop it before it can get too far.

Artificially raising the price of energy is the same thing as impoverishing the American people. It is shocking and disgusting that our government would intentionally pursue such a goal, particularly without any scientific basis whatsoever to do so . . . .

Finally, the currently calculated SCC estimates are being used to justify proposed EPA regulations, and also as input regarding proper carbon tax levels should a future Congress elect to move in this direction. Even assuming that the proposed climate sensitivity estimates were scientifically validated — which has been shown above not to be the case – an appropriate U.S. carbon tax trajectory should not be based solely on what economists call externalities, even while ignoring direct effects on jobs and wealth generation. And, these SCC externality estimates are for the entire world, not just the U.S.

Clearly, America’s initial conditions in terms of its fossil fuel resources, its economic growth prospects, its debt levels, and so forth, matter, if the government is going to arbitrarily increase U.S. energy prices via such carbon taxes. And, it matters a great deal what other key countries are assumed to do as well in this regard. In short, for many reasons, the current SCC estimates are not only worthless; they are extremely dangerous to put forward by this task force as credible input to U.S. energy, economic and national security-related policy analyses.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Francis J. Menton, Jr.

===============================================================

This letter is also available in PDF form here: EF_OMB_Menton_Letter022014Final

Driessen and Bezdek on Carbon Benefits

February 16, 2014

This is an easy one.

Carbon as a product of burning fossil fuels is a positive.

Greenie antagonism is insane. Thanks Driessen and Bezdek

Carbon benefits exceed costs by up to 500:1
EPA “cost of carbon” analyses ignore huge benefits of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

The Environmental Protection Agency, other government agencies and various scientists contend that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming and climate change. They use this claim to justify repressive regulations for automobiles, coal-fired power plants and other facilities powered by hydrocarbon energy.
Because these rules are costing millions of jobs and billions of dollars, a federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) devised the “social cost of carbon” concept – which attaches arbitrary monetary values to the alleged impacts of using hydrocarbons and emitting carbon dioxide. SCC estimates represent the supposed monetized damages associated with incremental increases in “carbon pollution” in a given year.

With little publicity, debate or public input, in 2010 the IWG set the cost at $22 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Then, in 2013 (again with little notice), it arbitrarily increased the SCC to $36/ton, enabling agencies to proclaim massive, unacceptable damages from “carbon,” and enormous benefits from their regulations. Recently, the Department of Energy used the $36 formula to justify proposed standards for microwave ovens, cell phone chargers and laptops!

The SCC allows unelected bureaucrats to wildly amplify the alleged impacts of theoretical manmade climate disasters, exaggerate the supposed benefits of rules, minimize their costs, and ignore the value to society of the facility, activity or product they want to regulate. That is exactly what is happening.

Fundamental flaws in the SCC concept and process make the agencies’ analyses – and proposed rulemakings – questionable, improper, and even fraudulent and illegal. A new Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI) analysis examines this in detail.

1) Executive Order 12866 requires that federal agencies “assess both the costs and the benefits of the intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” (EO 12866 was issued by President Clinton in 1993.) A recent Office of Management and Budget statement notes that careful consideration of both costs and benefits is important in determining whether a regulation is worth implementing at all. Indeed, any valid and honest benefit-cost (B-C) analysis likewise requires that agencies consider both the benefits and the costs of carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide emissions.

Thus far, the EPA and other government agency analyses, press releases and regulatory proposals have highlighted only the alleged costs of carbon-based fuels and their supposed effects on climate change. They have never even mentioned the many clear benefits associated with those fuels and emissions.

2) EPA claims the government is “committed to updating the current estimates, as the science and economic understanding of climate change and its impacts on society improve over time.” Given the Obama Administration’s history and agenda, it is highly likely that SCC values will only increase in forthcoming updates – with literally trillions of dollars at stake.

3) The IWG methodology for developing SCC estimates is so infinitely flexible, so devoid of any rigorous standards, that it could produce almost any estimates that any agency might desire. For example, its computer models are supposed to combine climate processes, economic growth, and feedbacks between the climate and the global economy, into a single modeling framework.

However, only limited research links climate impacts to economic damages, and much of it is speculative, at best. Even the IWG admits that the exercise is subject to “simplifying assumptions and judgments, reflecting the various modelers’ best attempts to synthesize the available scientific and economic research characterizing these relationships.” [emphasis added] Each model uses a different approach to translate global warming into damages; transforming economic damages over time into a single value requires “judgments” about how to discount them; and federal officials have been highly selective in choosing which “available scientific and economic research” they will utilize. As objective outside analysts have concluded, this process is “close to useless.”

4) The differences in the 2010 and 2013 SCC estimates are so large, and of such immense potential significance, as to raise serious questions regarding their integrity and validity – especially since, prior to 2010, the “official” government estimate for carbon costs was zero!

Finally, and most importantly, the agencies hypothesize almost every conceivable carbon “cost” – to agriculture, forestry, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But they completely ignore every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of emitting carbon dioxide! Just as incredibly, they have done this in complete disregard of EO 12866 … and the OMB ruling that careful consideration of both costs and benefits is important in determining whether a regulation is worth implementing at all. Had they followed the law and B-C rules, they would have found that:

Hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide benefits outweigh the cost by as much as 500 to 1!

In other words, the costs of EPA and other restrictions on fossil fuel use exceed their benefits by 50:1 (using the 2013 SCC of $36/ton of CO2) or even 500:1 (using the 2010 SCC of $22/ton). The entire process is obviously detrimental to American lives, jobs, living standards, health and welfare. Yet it is being imposed in the name of preventing highly speculative “dangerous manmade climate change.”

The successful development and utilization of fossil fuels facilitated successive industrial revolutions, launched the modern world, created advanced technological societies, and enabled the high quality of life that many now take for granted. Over the past 200 years, primarily because of hydrocarbon energy, people’s health and living standards soared, global life expec¬tancy more than doubled, human population increased eight-fold, and average incomes increased eleven-fold, economist Indur Goklany calculates.

Comparing world GDP and CO2 emissions over the past century shows a strong and undeniable relationship between world GDP and the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. In fact, the fossil fuels that provide the vast bulk of the world’s total energy needs – and from which CO2 is an essential byproduct – are creating $60 trillion to $70 trillion per year in world GDP! That relationship will almost certainly continue for the foreseeable future. Today, 81% of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. For at least the next several decades, fossil fuels will continue to supply 75-80% of global energy.

That means any reductions in United States fossil fuel use or carbon dioxide emissions will be almost imperceptible amidst the world’s huge and rapidly increasing levels of both. In fact, the World Resources Institute says 59 nations are already planning to build more than 1,200 new coal-fired power plants – on top of what those nations and Germany, Poland and other developed nations are already building

However, hydrocarbon use has also helped raise atmospheric concentrations from about 320 ppm carbon dioxide to nearly 400 ppm (from 0.032% of the atmosphere to 0.040%). The Obama Administration (wrongly) regards this slight increase as “dangerous.” That is an erroneous, shortsighted perception that improperly ignores the enormous benefits of this increase in plant-fertilizing CO2.

Carbon dioxide truly is “the gas of life,” the basis of all life on Earth. It spurs plant growth, and enhances agricultural productivity. Plants use it to produce the organic matter out of which they construct their tissues, which subsequently become sources of fiber, building materials and food for humans and animals.

Carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by humans 1961-2011 increased global crop production by some $3.5 trillion, plant biologist and CO2 expert Craig Idso calculates. Human CO2 emissions will likely add $11.6 trillion in additional benefits between 2013 and 2050 – based on actual measurements of CO2-induced plant growth and crop production, not on computer models, Idso estimates.

Carbon dioxide benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the SCC – no matter which government reports are used. In fact, any estimate for “social costs of carbon” is hidden amid the statistical noise of CO2 benefits.

Prodigious amounts of fossil fuels are required to sustain future economic growth, especially in developing countries. If the world is serious about increasing economic growth, reducing energy deprivation, and increasing or maintaining living standards, fossil fuels are absolutely essential. Their benefits far outweigh any conceivable costs, and will continue to do so for decades to come.

These undeniable facts must form the foundation for energy, environmental and regulatory policies. Otherwise, regulations will be far worse than the harms they supposedly redress.

_________

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow 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.

Turbine Infra-Sound Over Ten Years

February 16, 2014

Ten Year Study On Infra Sound Wind Turbines

infrasound

Turbine Infra-Sound Over Ten Years Infrasound What Is It ?

Infrasound What Is It ?

The 7 ton blades of the Falmouth wind turbines outside tips of the blades can spin up to 180 miles per hour when the wind turbines are operating during during high winds. The sound and vibration is the same as when you jump rope and the rope goes by your ears except magnified thousands of times from a wind turbine.

Infrasound and regulatory noise is the primary issue for those concerned about their health around wind turbines. Prior to the installation of the Falmouth wind turbines wind studies done for other communities including warnings about two different distinct types of sound : A. Regulatory & B. Human Annoyance. The reference to the two different types of noise in noise reports between 2005 and 2007 caused so much concern with local residents the projects ended. The Falmouth wind reports never mentioned the two types of noise.

What exactly did they mean by Human Annoyance was that actually infrasound ? Why was the reference to two types of sound dropped from the Falmouth wind turbine studies ? Is this the smoking gun of when the state made the mistake of siting wind turbines too close to residential homes ? I believe this is when they dropped the ball and have refused to get out in front of the catastrophic politically embarrassing mistake of siting wind turbines too close to homes.

The owners of the turbines sold in Falmouth was the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative now the Mass Clean Energy Center.They were stuck with two politically embarrassing commercial wind turbines stuck in a warehouse in Texas since 2005 and were unable to sell them at auction in 2008. Keep in mind at the time the noise reports at the time for these type of turbines referred to two different types of noise. The turbines were sold to Falmouth with the reference to two types of noise dropped from fatal flaws studies done at previous sites.

When the two politically embarrassing wind turbines were sold in Falmouth the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in 2009 changed its name to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and deleted most of the web site information from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. All the personnel from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative are at the Mass Clean Energy Center. Why the name change and deletion of files ? It’s never been explained.

Infra sound has been tested by the US Military since the 1950s. There is no doubt that it exist because the police and military use it as a weapon on crowds or opposing forces. The sounds cause headaches, sleep problems, concentration problems etc. These are immediate problems but what are the long range 10 year issues ? There are 200 residential homes around the wind turbines in Falmouth. How many people are being affected by the wind turbines today ? If you live in one of the two hundred homes check yourself and your family .When you wake up in the morning do you feel tired and just say I must be getting older. Do you forget things. How much has your health changed in the last four years.

They have a study out now about infrasound done over a ten year period. It may be worth reading :

https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/low-frequency-noise-and-health-a-wind-turbine-case-2007-2013/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Report: 95 percent of global warming models are wrong

February 13, 2014

Report: 95 percent of global warming models are wrong

Environmentalists and Democrats often cite a “97 percent” consensus among climate scientists about global warming. But they never cite estimates that 95 percent of climate models predicting global temperature rises have been wrong.

Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says that climate models used by government agencies to create policies “have failed miserably.” Spencer analyzed 90 climate models against surface temperature and satellite temperature data, and found that more than 95 percent of the models “have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH).”

“I am growing weary of the variety of emotional, misleading, and policy-useless statements like ‘most warming since the 1950s is human caused’ or ‘97% of climate scientists agree humans are contributing to warming’, neither of which leads to the conclusion we need to substantially increase energy prices and freeze and starve more poor people to death for the greater good. Yet, that is the direction we are heading,” Spencer wrote on his blog.

CMIP5-90-models-global-Tsfc-vs-obs-thru-2013 (2)
From: DrRoySpencer.com

Climate scientists have been baffled by the 17-year pause in global warming. At least eight explanations have been offered to explain the lapse in warming, including declining solar activity and natural climate cycles.

Some scientists have even argued that increased coal use in China has caused the planet to cool slightly. But there does not seem to be any solid agreement on what caused global surface temperatures to stop rising.

The latest explanation from climate scientists is that Pacific trade winds have caused the planet to stop warming. Stronger winds in the last two decades may have forced warmer water deeper while bringing cooler water to the surface.

“The net effect of these anomalous winds is a cooling in the 2012 global average surface air temperature of 0.1–0.2 degree Celsius, which can account for much of the hiatus in surface warming observed since 2001,” wrote Australian researcher led by Matthew England of the University of New South Wales.

“This hiatus could persist for much of the present decade if the tradewind trends continue; however rapid warming is expected to resume once the anomalous wind trends abate,” the Aussie scientists added. “Volcanoes and changes in solar radiation can also drive cooler decades against the backdrop of ongoing warming.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/11/report-95-percent-of-global-warming-models-are-wrong/#ixzz2tE8RGgp2
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/11/report-95-percent-of-global-warming-models-are-wrong/#ixzz2tE864Wsm

23 Texas wind farm hosts sue over noise, nuisance

February 10, 2014

AEI NEWS

In what may be an unprecedented move, 23 Texans who host wind turbines on their property have filed suit against two different wind farm developers, claiming that companies “carelessly and negligently failed to adequately disclose the true nature and effects that the wind turbines would have on the community, including the plaintiffs’ homes.”

The plaintiffs host hundreds of turbines on projects developed by Duke Energy and E.ON, and as a Duke spokesman noted, they did consent to the placement of the turbines. However, the lawsuit stresses that the companies told residents the turbines “would not be noisy, would not adversely impact neighboring houses and there would not be any potential health risk.”

This court challenge stands apart from most previous nuisance suits, nearly all of which been filed by non-participating neighbors of wind farms (ie, local residents who are not hosting turbines themselves). Most annoyance surveys suggest that wind farm hosts are less likely to be bothered by turbine noise than non-participating neighbors, and many wind projects make an effort to spread the financial benefits to include some non-host neighbors, because of suggestions that broader project participation will increase community acceptance. In this case, however, the plaintiffs are receiving lease payments and tax benefits that will exceed $50 million over the life of the projects.

Among the plaintiffs are Willacy County Commissioner Noe Loya, who is said to “no longer enjoy sitting outside because of the loud noise,” with turbine noise inside and outside his home “disturbing the peace and making it difficult to enjoy living there.” Another plaintiff, a local Justice of the Peace, “has difficulty sleeping, cannot have his windows open (and) cannot enjoy the sound of nature, due to loud noise from wind turbines.” The lawsuit also claims that some residents have abandoned their homes. In addition to noise issues, the suit includes visual impact, property value, and health effects claims.
E.ON spokesman Elon Hasson, says the company is reviewing the suit. “We develop all of our wind farms in a safe, state-of-the-art and responsible manner. . . We believe these claims will be shown to have no validity.”

UPDATE, 1/31/14: Spokesmen from both companies issued statements noting that one claim of the suit—that the companies had no plans to remove the turbines at the end of their useful life—is false, and stressed their ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the machines. They more generally dismissed the other accusations, as well.

The suit was filed in State District Court in November. In December, the companies requested that it be moved to federal court, where U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle has called for a response from the companies by February 6.

Ed. note: Some wind development leases I’ve seen explicitly preclude hosts from filing nuisance suits. There is limited information online about this case, and it’s unclear whether the plaintiffs’ contracts include such restrictions; if they do, then the legal case may be open-and-shut, or it may be that the crux of the legal challenge is the veracity and completeness of information provided to hosts prior to signing contracts. (It may be worth noting that lease agreements don’t usually include “gag clauses” against speaking publicly about noise or other post-construction experiences; confidentiality clauses usually cover only financial terms and development plans.)

The Polar Vortex: Climate Alarmism Blows Hot And Cold

February 3, 2014

Dr Larry Bell

There is certainly no dispute regarding the fact that climate changes, and does so for many reasons. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming and cooling. The first warming occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.

The second warming shift began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year…although this later warming is reported only by surface thermometers, not satellites, and is legitimately disputed by some. (There’s some background on this in my June 18 column.)

Incidentally, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time. As for continued warming (up until a recent 17-year “pause”), we have been witnessing a pretty constant trend of temperature increases ever since the last “Little Ice Age” (not a true Ice Age) ended in about 1850.

Eugene Robinson cited a January 2 article in the journal Nature arguing that human-generated carbon emissions will lead to even greater warming than was previously anticipated. This will allegedly result from the impact of warming on cloud cover causing average global temperatures to possibly rise a full 7° F by the end of the century.

The study’s lead author, Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales, told the Guardian newspaper that this: “would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous” and “would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much the tropics.”

Some other January articles posted in Nature might be noted as well. For example, an unsigned editorial in the January 16 issue titled “Cool Heads Needed”, warns that unusual cold weather doesn’t prove or disprove the theory of that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming that “climate skeptics” have “celebrated”. It also theorizes that “global warming might in fact be contributing to the string of abnormally cold U.S. winters in recent years”, yet also observes that “the average global temperature… has plateaued since 1998.”

The editorial admits that: “plenty of questions remain … Exactly how sensitive is Earth’s climate system to increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases?” It finally concludes that “if the past is any indication, we may have to live with a fair degree of uncertainty.”

Another Nature journal article of the same date titled “The Case of the Missing Heat” by Jeff Tollefson reviews research on why “the warming stalled” in 1998. He reports “the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field.”

Tollefson then claims that: “climate skeptics have seized on the temperature trends as evidence that global warming has ground to a halt. Climate scientists, meanwhile, know that the heat must be building up somewhere in the climate system, but they have struggled to explain where it is going, if not into the atmosphere.”

Then his wrenching dilemma: “Some have begun to wonder whether there is something amiss in their [climate] models.”

Something amiss in their models…is that truly possible? Golly, I thought only radical “skeptics” entertained that rash possibility!

And by the way, there are also some really smart climate scientists who believe that the global climate warming “pause” we have been experiencing since the time most of today’s high school students were born will not only continue, but now introduces a much longer-term cooling cycle. As I discussed in my January 21 column, Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov who heads Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg predicts that: “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).

Abdussamatov and others primarily link their cooling predictions to a 100-year record low number of sunspots. Periods of reduced sunspot activity correlate with increased cloud-forming influences of cosmic rays. More clouds tend to make conditions cooler, while fewer often cause warming. He points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that: “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”

But back to that “polar vortex” thing. As Eugene Robinson and other members of the Four-Alarm Fire Brigade insist, with the planet obviously in flames, those numbing temperatures over much of the country (the ones we “skeptics/denialists” are so eager to flaunt) must be an anomaly…a rare exception… certainly not something that can be correlated with any natural climate change that would suggest a possible cooling trend. Giving it a special, exotic-sounding name is a great way to distinguish this from a common old run-of-the-mill weather phenomenon.

Actually however, it’s really not such a new name after all. And the warministas are right that it apparently has nothing to do with global warming, with human fossil-burning carbon emissions, or with flatulent cattle and kangaroos either for that matter.
Princeton University physicist Dr. Will Happer provides a good thumbnail sketch of the physics involved in an interview posted on Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website. Emphasizing that polar vortices have been around forever, he explains: “The poles have little sunshine even in summer, but especially in winter, like now in the Arctic. So the air over the poles rapidly gets bitterly cold because of radiation to dark space, with negligible replenishment of heat from sunlight.”

Dr. Happer continues: “The sinking cold air is replaced by warmer air flowing in from the south at high altitudes. Since the Earth is rotating, the air flowing in from the south has to start rotating faster to the west, just like a figure skater rotates faster if she pulls in her arms. This forms the polar vortex. The extremely cold air at the bottom of the vortex can be carried south by meanders of the jet stream at the ends of the vortex.”

Happer concludes that “we will have to live with polar vortices as long as the sun shines and the Earth rotates.”

My meteorologist friend Joe Bastardi notes two fairly recent examples when Arctic polar vortices dropped blasts of very cold air into the U.S. One occurred during January 1977, and the other came along at the time of President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in January 1985…when Chicago’s temperatures then reached a record low of 28°F below zero.

As a matter of fact, a polar vortex back in 1777 can potentially be credited with influencing the course of American history. That was just before the Battle of Princeton when Cornwallis’s men marched south of New York City in an attempt to trap George Washington’s small Continental Army in Trenton. Fortunately for the home team, a vortex swept across New Jersey which enabled Washington to avoid encirclement by evacuating his troops and artillery over frozen roads. Upon reaching Princeton, they successfully attacked the British garrison.

Can we thank climate change, global warming, or even global cooling for that? Well, while it did occur near the end of that last Little Ice Age, probably not. But let’s at least finally give that polar vortex some long overdue recognition.

Do we face a disastrous century due to global cooling?

January 25, 2014

Michael Barone

Are we facing a dangerous period of global cooling? That’s not a question that many have been asking. But reports that there has been a sharp reduction in sunspot activity raises that possibility. It has happened before. In his book Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, historian Geoffrey Parker writes:

“The development of telescopes as astronomical instruments after 1609 enabled observers to track the number of sunspots with unprecedented accuracy. They noted a ‘maximum’ between 1612 and 1614, followed by a ‘minimum’ with virtually no spots in 1617 and 1618, and markedly weaker maxima in 1625-26 and 1637-9. And then, although astronomers around the world made observations on over 8,000 days between 1645 and 1715, they saw virtually no sunspots: The grand total of sunspots observed in those 70 years scarcely reached 100, fewer than currently [the book was published in 2013] appear in a single year. This striking evidence of absence suggests a reduction in solar energy received on earth.”

The result of the “Maunder Minimum” of sunspots was a so-called Little Ice Age, with significantly colder temperatures in the temperate zones, low crop yields to the point of famine and, Parker writes, “a greater frequency of severe weather events—such as flash floods, freak storms, prolonged drought and abnormal (as well as abnormally long) cold spells.”

Global warming alarmists have been claiming for decade that increases in carbon dioxide emissions associated with human activity will produce disastrous climate events. Certainly if carbon dioxide emissions were the only factor affecting climate, increases in those emissions would indeed produce global warming. Inconveniently for this theory, world temperatures have not increased in the last 15 years. But surely there are other things that affect climate, including variations in solar activity—sunspots. And as Bjorn Lomberg has often written, global cooling would be much more dangerous to human beings than global warming. Parker’s 697-page book (no, I haven’t read the whole thing) is an account of the political and demographic disasters in a global cooling century. Something to think about the next time you hear warnings of the inevitable disasters coming thanks to global warming.

Two Decades of Overestimated Global Warming

January 22, 2014

In a Commentary published in the Opinion and Comment section of Nature Climate Change, Fyfe et al. (2013) introduce their study of the subject by (1) stating that “global mean surface temperature over the past 20 years (1993-2012) rose at a rate of 0.14 ± 0.06°C per decade,” and by (2) noting that this warming rate was “significantly slower than that simulated by the climate models participating in Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5).” And so it was that they went on from there to look for a reason as to why such a discrepancy should exist.

The first step of the three researchers was to compute average simulated global temperatures only at locations where corresponding observations existed – which makes a lot of sense, since a person doesn’t go looking for oranges in an apple orchard – and in doing so, they obtained “an average simulated rise in global mean surface temperature of 0.30 ± 0.02°C,” which was more than twice as great as the real-world measured rate of warming.

But wait! Fyfe et al. report that the inconsistency between observed and simulated global warming was even more striking for temperature trends computed over the past fifteen years (1998-2012), for which period they say the observed trend of 0.05 ± 0.08°C “was more than four times smaller than the average simulated trend of 0.21 ± 0.03°C.” And they also point out that the observed trend over this period, which was not significantly different from zero, actually suggested “a temporary ‘hiatus’ in global warming,” further citing the studies of Easterling and Wehner (2009) and Fyfe et al. (2011) in this regard.

And any number that is divided by zero really is infinite, which suggests that CMIP5 simulations of global warming over the period 1998-2012 could in this sense truly – but partially tongue-in-cheek – be considered to be infinitely too large, which is about as wrong as it is possible to be wrong.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

References
Easterling, D.R. and Wehner, M.F. 2009. Is the climate warming or cooling? Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL037810.

Fyfe, J.C., Gillett, N.P. and Zwiers, F.W. 2013. Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years. Nature Climate Change 3: 767-769.

Fyfe, J.C., Merryfield, W.J., Kharin, V., Boer, G.J., Lee, W.-S. and von Salzen, K. 2011. Skillful predictions of decadal trends in global mean surface temperature. Geophysical Research Letters 38: 10.1029/2011GL049508.

Councillor under fire after suggesting Calgary’s bad winter brings global warming into question

January 21, 2014

Calgary Herald

SEANCHU
Rookie city councillor Sean Chu thinks he’s found strong arguments against climate change: it’s cold in Calgary and icy in the Antarctic.

Chu, who is skeptical that man-made climate change is a real phenomenon, has been widely chided — by Mayor Naheed Nenshi, among others — for publicly questioning climate change this weekend, based on recent weather.

“So quiet from global warming alarmists about the ice stuck ship & yyc weather, it’s deafening. Is it b/c the weather’s been so freaking cold?” he said in a tweet, referring to a Russian research vessel that had recently been stranded in Antarctic ice.

Although it’s become common for climate change skeptics such as celebrity billionaire Donald Trump to dispute climate science because of winter weather, the scientific consensus argues the extreme winter weather could actually be a symptom of climate change.

The concepts of weather and climate aren’t interchangeable; weather is atmospheric condition in a given time or place, while climate measures longer-term trends.

On its “climate change facts” website, the United States Environmental Protection Agency states that a few unusually cold winters are not impossible amid global warming.

“In fact, extra snowy winters can be expected. In a warmer climate, more water vapour is held in the atmosphere causing more intense rain and snowstorms,” the U.S. agency states. “As the climate warms, we do expect the duration of the snow season to decrease — however, as long as it is still cold enough to snow, a warming climate can lead to bigger snowstorms.”

“I’m not denying there is no global warming,” Chu said. “I’m saying, ‘Hey, there are two sides of the story. I want to see everything.’”

Chu said in an interview he believes the research behind man-made climate change is not conclusive and that there is evidence that suggests otherwise.

He said he has heard reports of other unusual weather, including dozens of deaths during a cold snap in normally snow-free Taiwan, where the councillor was born. Calgary has had a particularly brutal winter so far, with the snowiest December in more than a century and several days below -20 C. And many global warming contrarians have revelled in the seeming irony of a Russian ship getting stuck in Antarctic ice last month on a climate research expedition, during the frozen continent’s summer.

Sixty per cent of Canadians believe that science conclusively states climate change is real and man-made, according to an Environics survey of Canadians last November — the highest point since 2007.

The Canadian political consensus on climate change has also grown, making the publicly skeptical likes of Chu a true rarity. In October, Alberta’s Wildrose party added greenhouse gas fighting to its agenda, after Leader Danielle Smith was criticized last election for questioning climate science.

Much of Calgary municipal policy is based on the reality of climate change, from waste management plans and energy efficient building practices to citywide urban planning, said Coun. Brian Pincott.

He said the debate has been long settled.

“I find it disappointing that somebody in a position of authority and responsibility is not aware of those larger issues,” said Pincott, a founder of Calgary’s branch of the Sierra Club.

Reaction on Twitter to the politicians’ climate remark was swift and damning.

“Nailed it. You’re quite the scientician,” tweeted Chris Turner, a journalist and author of War on Science, a book that critiques the Harper government’s environmental policy and “muzzling” of scientists.

“What are your views on evolution?” Alex Middleton wrote.

Others supported Chu, giving him credit for speaking his mind. “Finally some common sense at Calgary city hall,” Jeff Fortin wrote.

Nenshi entered the fray, initially responding with a single word: “Wow.”

He expressed surprise winter had become a “talking point” on climate science. Nenshi asked if global warming critics have also been talking about the “killer heat wave” in Argentina, where it’s currently summer. “That’s called ‘seasons,’ ” Nenshi wrote.

Chu knocked out an incumbent to become Ward 4 councillor last October.

Chu said he welcomed debate on climate change, but he was surprised by the negative response to his musings.

“Obviously, they are not quiet,” he said with a laugh. “That’s OK. That is what the discussion is all about, to make us better.”

rsouthwick@calgaryherald.com

jmarkusoff@Calgaryherald.com


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