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Why Mass. Lags On Patrick’s Wind Power Goal

March 29, 2014

By Bruce Gellerman March 24, 2014

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A wind turbine is seen at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock in late 2008. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Five years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick set an ambitious goal: He declared that by 2020 the state should develop enough wind-generated electricity to power 800,000 homes. Patrick said a quarter of that wind power should come from turbines located on Massachusetts land.

But with half the time gone, we’re still far from reaching the governor’s goal for wind power.

After Delay, Hoosac’s Built

Dec. 3, 2012, was an overcast day in Berkshire County, but that didn’t dampen Patrick’s enthusiasm. He went to the rural northwest corner of Massachusetts to mark the near-completion of the Hoosac Wind Power Project, the largest in the state — 19 huge turbines built on two mountain ridges in the towns of Monroe and Florida.

“You don’t want them everywhere, but when you think about what they’re doing in terms of a clean, renewable and reliable source of electricity, it adds to the beauty,” Patrick said. “I think they’re quite elegant.”

But when it comes to wind power, beauty is in the eye — and ear — of the beholder. Opponents sued Hoosac, calling the 330-foot-tall turbines eyesores, loud and unhealthy. The lawsuits doubled the permitting time and the initial cost estimates.

After eight years of delay, the state’s highest court settled the matter. The $90 million Hoosac wind farm was built.

And Patrick was finally able to claim Massachusetts was on its way to meeting his ambitious wind energy goal.

“When I first took office, there were three wind turbines in the commonwealth and three megawatts of wind energy capacity installed, all throughout the state,” he said. “Since then, Massachusetts has experienced one of the fastest rates of wind energy development in the whole nation — more than 30-fold increase in our wind energy capacity. In fact, more this year alone than all previous years combined.”

But in the year since Patrick gave this speech, only one new wind turbine has been built in Massachusetts. And if the governor’s ambitious goal is to be met, we’ll need a dozen wind farms the size of Hoosac.

But Paul Copleman — a spokesman for Iberdrola Renewables, which owns Hoosac — says the Spanish company has no plans to build more wind farms in Massachusetts, even though under state law utilities are required to buy an increasing share of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like wind.

NStar buys all the electricity Hoosac produces. It’s enough to power 10,000 homes a year, saving 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually, compared to a fossil fuel plant.

“Our fuel is free,” Copleman said. “The wind is always free, so what that enables us to do is to deliver a fixed source of power for as long as the wind is blowing. So there are very few variable costs to the operation of the facility.”

Dozens Of ‘Dead Wind’ Projects

Hoosac’s 19 turbines make it by far the largest wind farm in the state. But if Virginia Irvine has her way, it’ll also be the last.

“To be honest I thought that wind was really great myself,” she said.

That was until Boston-based First Wind announced plans to build a 10-turbine wind farm on a mountaintop in Brimfield, in Irvine’s backyard.

“I moved here for the quiet, for the rural character, and to be able to go out my backdoor, put on my cross-country skis, and go into the woods,” she said at her home.

The steady breeze on West Mountain caught First Wind’s attention in 2010 — enough wind, it estimated, to power 15,000 homes.

The company studied the site, held meetings with residents, and designed plans to erect the 400-foot-tall turbines less than a mile from Irvine’s home. She fought back, and helped organize the group called No Brimfield Wind.

But it was profit, not protesters, that sealed First Wind’s fate in Brimfield. The company pulled the plug on the project when it discovered there wasn’t enough wind on the mountain to make it financially feasible.

“Oh yeah, we won,” Irvine said. “First Wind has not, you know, put in a project in Massachusetts. They only do big projects. They went up to Maine.”

And Irvine went on to co-found Wind Wise, a statewide organization to help others fight against land-based wind projects.

Irvine says she’s not against wind farms, that they’re great in Texas and Iowa, but not Massachusetts, which ranks 35th in potential land-based wind — most along the coastline.

“It doesn’t fit,” she said. “We’re the fifth most-densely populated state in the country. And wind turbines generate very little electricity. It takes a thousand wind turbines to equal the Pilgrim nuclear plant.”

There are 44 wind projects currently operating in Massachusetts. They generate less than 0.6 percent of the state’s electricity needs and just a fifth of the terrestrial wind energy goal set by Patrick. By Irvine’s calculations, there are 49 wind projects that never got off the ground; she calls them dead wind. And 13 projects are in limbo, or still in the permitting process.

INTERACTIVE MAP: NOTES: Locations are approximate; only includes projects greater than 100 kilowatts. SOURCE: Virginia Irvine, co-founder of Wind Wise Massachusetts, a grassroots anti-wind organization; the state would not confirm these map items.

Wind farms decimate world’s endangered bird populations

March 23, 2014

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Hat tip to Quixotes last Stand: http://quixoteslaststand.com

Original article, in Swedish:

http://www.natursidan.se/nyheter/bilder-fran-nar-en-havsorn-kolliderar-med-vindkraftverk/

March 12 2014

Google Translation:
August Thomasson, young birder and photographer from Sösdala in central Skåne, was at his job Monday out riding in the plains west of Kristianstad. When he walked around the Vinnö meadows, along came an eagle gliding low over him. It slips away for a moment towards a wind turbine but turns shortly thereafter back at him.

- “But soon afterwards it flies slowly away towards the turbine again. As it turned the last time I start slowly walking towards the bike, says August. I give the eagle a last look and see that it just passes the turbine. Then it happened that should not happen. The eagle getting hit by a wind blade underneath and plunges downward. A little bit panicked I bring out the camera and manage to get off a few pictures.”

Unaware that it guts were hanging out from the falling bird and in the belief that the small pieces that came off in the collision were feathers, he bikes in panic until reaching it, to possibly help the injured bird.

- “My hopes sank fast when I got to the eagle and found it in four parts.”

A tragic end for an eagle in just its second year of life.

Link to August Thomasson’s blog: http://augustthomasson.weebly.com/

Beware of the strong images:

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Comments from Save the Eagles International:

The raptor in the above pictures is a young white-tailed (sea) eagle.

A very substantial number of eagles from various species has been killed by wind turbines around the world. Here is just a tiny sample: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3071

Various eagle species are being extirpated from Scotland, Spain and other countries where wind turbines are being built en masse. Yet many reports from independent engineers show that intermittent wind farms are not reducing CO2 emissions because they force fossil fuel power stations to operate less efficiently or on stand by, burning fuel for nothing. And economists have demonstrated that they destroy far more jobs than they create, mainly because of their high cost which causes power bills to rise.

Other ill effects of wind farms include the Wind Turbine Syndrome, the decimation of birds and bats in general, substantial financial losses to neighbors (drop in property values), loss of amenity of the countryside and resulting negative effects on tourism, water contamination (from lubricating oil, detergents for the blades, rare earth components), fires, blade throws, ice throws, effects on the national debt, fuel poverty, etc.

In short, wind farms are a calamity, whose only purpose is to finance political parties – see: http://wcfn.org/2014/02/28/wind2050-a-dystopian-society/

Note: President Obama gave a dispensation for the wind industry from any penalties for killing endangered or protected species. It is estimated 600,000- 900,000 birds and a similar number of insect controlling bats are killed by wind turbines. Can you image a similar action by the President if even a small number were being killed by fossil fuel plants?

Occam’s Razor and Climate Change

March 22, 2014

The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Professor Keven Trenberth once campaigned for the scientific world to accept the alarmist view of climate change as the “null hypothesis”, the baseline theory against which all other theories must be measured.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/03/trenberth-null-and-void/

The reason Trenberth faced an uphill battle to have his view accepted, and ultimately failed, is that the simplest explanation of contemporary climate change does not involve Anthropogenic CO2.

As Professor Phil Jones of the CRU once admitted in an interview with the BBC, the instrumental record contains periods of warming which are statistically indistinguishable from the 1990s warming – periods of warming which cannot have been driven by anthropogenic CO2, because they occurred before humans had made a significant changes to global CO2 levels.

Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years, at a similar rate to the 24 year period of warming which occurred between 1975 and 1998. There was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere to have driven the 1860s warming, so it must have been driven by natural variation.

So how does Occam’s Razor apply to this observation?

According to the definition in Wikipedia, the principle of Occam’s Razor states “that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.”

From Wikipedia, the reason why Occam’s razor is important:

“To understand why, consider that, for each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible, more complex, and ultimately incorrect alternatives. This is so because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypothesis. Ad hoc hypotheses are justifications that prevent theories from being falsified. Even other empirical criteria like consilience can never truly eliminate such explanations as competition. Each true explanation, then, may have had many alternatives that were simpler and false, but also an infinite number of alternatives that were more complex and false. However, if an alternate ad hoc hypothesis were indeed justifiable, its implicit conclusions would be empirically verifiable. On a commonly accepted repeatability principle, these alternate theories have never been observed and continue to not be observed. In addition, we do not say an explanation is true if it has not withstood this principle.

Put another way, any new, and even more complex theory can still possibly be true. For example: If an individual makes supernatural claims that Leprechauns were responsible for breaking a vase, the simpler explanation would be that he is mistaken, but ongoing ad hoc justifications (e.g. “And, that’s not me on film, they tampered with that too”) successfully prevent outright falsification. This endless supply of elaborate competing explanations, called saving hypotheses, cannot be ruled out—but by using Occam’s Razor.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam’s_razor

In other words, if we reject the principle of Occam’s Razor, we open the door to accepting theories of arbitrary, ultimately infinite complexity. A theory created by researchers who do not accept the principle of Occam’s Razor cannot be falsified, because the theory can always be tweaked in arbitrary ways to avoid falsification.

So why does applying the principle of Occam’s Razor force us to reject the theory that anthropogenic CO2 is the main driver of contemporary climate change? The reason is that nature has produced periods of warming similar to the recent warming, without any significant contribution from Anthropogenic CO2.

So we have two competing hypothesis for what is driving contemporary climate change:-

1. Observed natural variation, which has produced periods of warming statistically indistinguishable from the warming which ended in 1998.

2. Observed natural variation + an unproven assumption that Anthropogenic CO2 is now the main driver of Climate Change.

Clearly the second hypothesis fails the test of Occam’s Razor. In the absence of compelling evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has overridden natural variation, we have to accept hypothesis 1 – that observed climate change is the result of natural variation.

The climate is not hotter than it was in the past, periods such as the Holocene Optimum, or looking further back, the Eemian Interglacial. The warming which ended in 1998 was not faster, or of significantly longer duration, than similar natural warmings which occurred in the recent past.

Nothing about the current climate is outside the bounds of climatic conditions which could reasonably be produced by natural variation – therefore, according to the rules of science, we have to reject hypothesis which unnecessarily embrace additional unproven assumptions, unless or until such assumptions can be tested and verified, in a way which falsifies the theory that natural variation is still in the driver’s seat.

Global warming lecture cancelled due to unexpected snowstorm, which set seasonal record

March 17, 2014

March 13, 2014 by Daniel Greenfield

toronto-snowstorm-march-12-450x253Bike to work. Save the planet.

Warmists claim that they can predict that the world will end because too many people drive to work, yet they’re caught by surprise every time there’s a blizzard.

The NOAA forecast of a warm winter left many cities unprepared for the massive snowfalls. And it’s no better in Canada, where the warmists tell us that they can predict what the weather will be like in 2140 only to have their lectures canceled by an unexpected blizzard.

Concerned about climate change? Then you’ll want to check out Catherine Potvin‘s lecture at the University of Windsor this week.

Who is Potvin?

“Dr. Catherine Potvin is a world leader in the study of global change biology, particularly the intersection between climate change science and international policy.”

In other words, Potvin is more of an activist than a scientist.

Her ability to engage with a wide range of people, including indigenous communities in the jungles of Panama, world leaders in international treaty negotiations, and average Canadians, is living proof of her unique ability to distill complicated research and engage diverse audiences.

Like ordinary indigenous Canadian world leaders living in the jungles of Panama.

She practices what she preaches with respect to making individual and collective changes to our lifestyles, including cycling to work even during Montreal’s cold and snowy winters!

Apparently not.

You may be tempted to snicker at the irony that a discussion on climate change at the University of Windsor was called off due to Wednesday’s wild weather.

The bad news is that Windsor utterly smashed its winter snowfall record on Wednesday. The really bad news? This may not be the last blast of the year.

According to Environment Canada’s weather hotline, the March 12 snowfall total as of 9:30 p.m. at Windsor Airport was 12 centimetres — more than enough for this winter’s snowfall total to bust the previous all-time record.

“It’s a lot of snow, for sure,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson earlier in the day. “Unfortunately, given the forecast over the next couple of weeks, we could still be adding to it after that.”

Well who could have predicted that? Not a Climate Change expert apparently.

Don’t put your pension into Greens, Mrs Worthington…

March 7, 2014

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Guest Blogger

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

… Don’t put your pension into Greens. “Greens” are what the City boys in red suspenders with East End accents you could cut with a machete and Porsches you could scratch with a convenient latch-key call renewable-energy stocks. See the chart:

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As Bjørn Lomborg points out in a recent devastating graph, if you had been scared enough by the hockey-stick fable in the IPCC’s 2001 Third Assessment Report to invest $100 in Greens in 2002, you would now be the proud owner of $28, or quite a bit less than that after inflation.

But if you had followed Monckton’s Rule of Merry and Profitable Investment – listen very carefully to what the Government tells you, do the exact opposite, wait a decade or so, then collect in spades – you would have invested your $100 in oil and gas stocks. And you would now have a billfold crammed with $238, or 1000% more than the hapless investor in Greens.

These are remarkable figures. Oil and gas corporations have had to face ever higher taxes and ever tighter regulations in the name of Saving The Planet. Greens have been subsidized to levels so absurd they’re beyond Communist. Even with the millstone of taxation, regulation and ministerial hate-speech, oil and gas stocks have done well. Even with frequent epinephrine overdoses of taxpayer subsidy and paeans of official praise, Greens – as the red-suspenders brigade would put it – are down the toilet.

That is a remarkable contrast. Not the least reason for it is that all forms of so-called “renewable” energy are monstrously, irremediably inefficient. Currently, my favorite example is the sappy UK Government’s subsidies to new electric autos.

Typical gasoline-powered auto engines are approximately 27% efficient. Typical fossil-fueled generating stations are 50% efficient, transmission to end user is 67% efficient, battery charging is 90% efficient and the auto’s electric motor is 90% efficient, so that the fuel efficiency of an electric auto is – er – also 27%. However, the electric auto requires 30% more power per mile traveled to move the mass of its batteries.

CO2 emissions from domestic transport account for 24% of UK CO2 emissions, and cars, vans, and taxis represent 90% of road transport. Assuming 80% of fuel use is by these autos, they account for 19.2% of UK CO2 emissions. Conversion to electric power, 61% of which is generated by fossil fuels in the UK, would remit 39% of 19.2%, or 7.5%, of UK CO2 emissions.

However, the battery-weight penalty would be 30% of 19.2% of 61%, or 3.5%, of UK CO2 emissions. So the net saving from converting all UK cars, vans, and taxis to electricity would be just 4% of UK CO2 emissions, which are 1.72% of global CO2 emissions. Thus converting all UK autos to electricity would abate 0.07% of global CO2 emissions.

But at what cost?

The cost to the UK taxpayer of subsidizing the 30,000 electric cars, vans, and taxis bought in 2012 was a flat-rate subsidy of $8333 (£5000) for each vehicle and a further subsidy of about $350 (£210) in vehicle excise tax remitted, a total of $260.5 million. On that basis, the cost of subsidizing all 2,250,000 new autos sold each year would be $19.54 bn. Though the longevity of electric autos is 50% greater than that of internal-combustion autos, batteries must be completely replaced every few years at great cost, canceling the longevity advantage.

The considerable cost of using renewable energy to bring down the UK’s fossil-fueled generation fraction from the global mean 67% to 61% is not taken into account, though, strictly speaking, an appropriate share of the very large subsidy cost of renewable electricity generation should be assigned to electric vehicles.

By contrast, what is the cost of doing nothing?

The Stern Report on the economics of climate change says 3 Cº global warming this century would cost 0-3% of global GDP. We’re not going to get 3 Cº warming, or anything like it, so make that, say, 1% of GDP.

But the cost of making global warming go away by methods whose unit cost per Celsius degree of global warming abated is equivalent to that of the UK Government’s mad subsidy for electric autos works out at 74% of global GDP. So it is 74 times more expensive to act today than to adapt the day after tomorrow. Oops!

In fact, the cost-benefit ratio may be even worse than this. Now that both RSS and UAH have reported their satellite-derived monthly temperature anomalies for February 2014, the monthly Global Warming Prediction Index can be determined, based on the simple mean of the two datasets since January 2005.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report last year backdated the models’ projections to 2005, and reduced the central estimate of the next 30 years’ global warming by almost half from the equivalent of 2.3 Cº per century in the pre-final draft to the equivalent of 1.3 Cº per century in the final draft.

Even this much-reduced projection continues inexorably to diverge from the unexciting reality that global temperature has stabilized.

The brainier and more honest advocates of the official story-line know that events have rendered their demands for near-zero CO2 emissions no longer tenable.

Yet they continue to make their strident demands that the West should, in effect, shut itself down. They do so for the following interesting reason. They know that the high-sensitivity theory they said they were more sure about than anything else is nonsense. They know the world will warm by perhaps 1 Cº this century as a result of our activities, and that is all, and that is not a problem.

They also know that within not more than seven years the mean of all five global-temperature datasets may well show no global warming – at all – for 20 years. They know that if CO2 concentration continues to rise at anything like its present rate it will become obvious to all that they were spectacularly, egregiously, humiliatingly in error.

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They have concluded, unsurprisingly but furtively, that their only way out is to insist that the science is even more settled than ever and that CO2 emissions must be cut even faster than before.

Then, when global temperature fails to rise as they now know it will fail to rise, they can say that the Pause has happened because CO2 emissions have been stabilized by the policies they so profitably demanded, rather than because the Pause would have happened anyway.

Indeed, one or two of the more flagrantly dishonest global warming crooks are already beginning to claim that the Pause is their doing. One has only to look at the ever-rising gray CO2 curve on the graph to see there is no truth in that.

However, the day of judgment is at hand. A fraud case is being quietly, painstakingly assembled, spanning three continents. When the last pieces of evidence have been carefully collected, half a dozen people will face trial for the serious, imprisonable offense of fraud by misrepresentation.

When that day comes, watch the rats who have over-promoted this profoundly damaging scare scurrying for cover in case they are next. Then, and only then, the scare will be over.

[ALL: Be aware that replies WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY go into the "Review" bin for specific moderator review IF they contain the word "fraud" ... (or meet certain other criteria.)
Since, on this thread, it is VERY LIKELY that the "fraud" word will be used or referenced in many replies, EXPECT DELAYS for your replies until they are accepted. Mod Team]

EPA’s Unnecessary New Gas Regulation

March 2, 2014

Fairly soon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to finalize new restrictions on the sulfur content of fuel – restrictions that are both costly and unnecessary. Although the nation’s refiners have already reduced average sulfur content by 90 percent – from 300 parts per million (ppm) to 30 ppm — EPA’s new Tier 3 rule would mandate a further reduction from 30 to 10 ppm.

Simple cost-benefit analysis demonstrates the new Tier 3 rule is misguided:

According to a study by ENVIRON, removing the last bits of sulfur from gasoline would provide negligible, if any, environmental benefits. Baker & O’Brien found the rule will actually increase CO2 emissions at U.S. refineries because of the energy-intensive hydro treating equipment needed to meet the new standard.

If finalized, the rule could lead to $10 billion in new capital costs; the annual compliance cost is $2.4 billion, equating to a potential increase of between 6 cents and 9 cents per gallon to the cost of making gasoline, according to a study by Baker & O’Brien.

The EPA’s proposed under three-year timeframe leaves little opportunity for refiners to design, engineer, permit, construct, start up, and integrate the new machinery required – forcing an accelerated implementation that adds costs and potentially limits the industry’s ability to supply gasoline to consumers.

EPA has failed to provide the evidence that this new standard would appreciably improve air quality. In fact, EPA’s proposed 10 parts per million standard is completely arbitrary — not at all supported by science.

The current Tier 2 standard is still providing sulfur reductions, and tailpipe emissions from our nation’s vehicle fleet will continue to drop under existing regulations as more new cars and trucks come into the market that can take advantage of today’s advanced, cleaner burning fuel. We can all agree that protecting the public’s health and the nation’s environment is important. However, EPA’s Tier 3 regulations for gasoline go too far, too fast.

Sincerely,

Jack Gerard
President and CEO
API

Renewable energy in decline, less than 1% of global energy

March 1, 2014

CHICAGO, February 28, 2014 – The global energy outlook has changed radically in just six years. President Obama was elected in 2008 by voters who believed we were running out of oil and gas, that climate change needed to be halted, and that renewables were the energy source of the near future.

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But an unexpected transformation of energy markets and politics may instead make 2014 the year of peak renewables.

In December of 2007, former Vice President Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for work on man-made climate change, leading an international crusade to halt global warming. In June, 2008 after securing a majority of primary delegates, candidate Barack Obama stated, “…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…” Climate activists looked to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference as the next major step to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The price of crude oil hit $145 per barrel in June, 2008. The International Energy Agency and other organizations declared that we were at peak oil, forecasting a decline in global production. Many claimed that the world was running out of hydrocarbon energy.

Driven by the twin demons of global warming and peak oil, world governments clamored to support renewables. Twenty years of subsidies, tax-breaks, feed-in tariffs, and mandates resulted in an explosion of renewable energy installations. The Renewable Energy Index (RENIXX) of the world’s 30 top renewable energy companies soared to over 1,800.

Tens of thousands of wind turbine towers were installed, totaling more than 200,000 windmills worldwide by the end of 2012. Germany led the world with more than one million rooftop solar installations. Forty percent of the US corn crop was converted to ethanol vehicle fuel.

But at the same time, an unexpected energy revolution was underway. Using good old Yankee ingenuity, the US oil and gas industry discovered how to produce oil and natural gas from shale. With hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, vast quantities of hydrocarbon resources became available from shale fields in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

From 2008 to 2013, US petroleum production soared 50 percent. US natural gas production rose 34 percent from a 2005 low. Russia, China, Ukraine, Turkey, and more than ten nations in Europe began issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing. The dragon of peak oil and gas was slain.

In 2009, the ideology of Climatism, the belief that humans were causing dangerous global warming, came under serious attack. In November, emails were released from top climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, an incident christened Climategate. The communications showed bias, manipulation of data, avoidance of freedom of information requests, and efforts to subvert the peer-review process, all to further the cause of man-made climate change.

One month later, the Copenhagen Climate Conference failed to agree on a successor climate treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Failures at United Nations conferences at Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012), and Warsaw (2013) followed. Canada, Japan, Russia, and the United States announced that they would not participate in an extension of the Kyoto Protocol.

Major climate legislation faltered across the world. Cap and trade failed in Congress in 2009, with growing opposition from the Republican Party. The price of carbon permits in the European Emissions Trading System crashed in April 2013 when the European Union voted not to support the permit price. Australia elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the fall of 2013 on a platform of scrapping the nation’s carbon tax.

Europeans discovered that subsidy support for renewables was unsustainable. Subsidy obligations soared in Germany to over $140 billion and in Spain to over $34 billion by 2013. Renewable subsidies produced the world’s highest electricity rates in Denmark and Germany. Electricity and natural gas prices in Europe rose to double those of the United States.

Worried about bloated budgets, declining industrial competitiveness, and citizen backlash, European nations have been retreating from green energy for the last four years. Spain slashed solar subsidies in 2009 and photovoltaic sales fell 80 percent in a single year. Germany cut subsidies in 2011 and 2012 and the number of jobs in the German solar industry dropped by 50 percent. Renewable subsidy cuts in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom added to the cascade. The RENIXX Renewable Energy Index fell below 200 in 2012, down 90 percent from the 2008 peak.

Once a climate change leader, Germany turned to coal after the 2012 decision to close nuclear power plants. Coal now provides more than 50 percent of Germany’s electricity and 23 new coal-fired power plants are planned. Global energy from coal has grown by 4.4 percent per year over the last ten years.

Spending on renewables is in decline. From a record $318 billion in 2011, world renewable energy spending fell to $280 billion in 2012 and then fell again to $254 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg. The biggest drop occurred in Europe, where investment plummeted 41 percent last year. The 2013 expiration of the US Production Tax Credit for wind energy will continue the downward momentum.

Today, wind and solar provide less than one percent of global energy. While these sources will continue to grow, it’s likely they will deliver only a tiny amount of the world’s energy for decades to come. Renewable energy output may have peaked, at least as a percentage of global energy production.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/environment/renewable-energy-in-decline-less-than-1-of-global-energy-11004/#fU6ROQhF1RIUSmLl.99

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.

20140125_EUD000_0

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.


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