Bird Conservancy Files Suit Against Wind Turbines

August 3, 2014

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D.

American Bird Conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with “multiple violations of federal law” in granting wind turbine permits. At issue is the FWS’s controversial proposed rule that would allow wind power facilities to kill protected golden and bald eagles for periods of up to 30 years. Currently, eagle kill permits are valid for only five years.

The 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act imposes fines and jail time on people who kill eagles, either intentionally or accidentally. As part of its policy to push renewable energy, however, the Obama FWS in 2009 inserted an exemption into the law, allowing permits for wind turbines to eagle kills “accidentally” even when such kills are foreseeable when building wind farms.

Sacrificing Eagles for Wind Power
In its lawsuit, the American Bird Conservancy specifically cites the 1940 statute in stating the FWS is violating federal law. The FWS added the 2009 provision administratively; Congress played no role when the FWS unilaterally amended the law.

The FWS estimates wind turbines in the United States kill 440,000 birds each year, but many environmentalists say the number is much higher. A peer-reviewed study published last year in the Wildlife Society Bulletin reported U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats each year, including 573,000 birds.

“Americans take pride in the fact that Bald Eagles are once again a common sight in many places across the country. Their popularity and symbolic importance suggests that the American people are not going to tolerate the deaths of many to wind turbines,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, National Coordinator of American Bird Conservancy’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program, in a press statement.

‘So Sue Me’
Energy analyst Marita Noon says the American Bird Conservancy suit is fitting considering President Obama’s bold challenge for people to sue his administration.

“President Obama has proudly challenged, ‘So sue me.’ The American Bird Conservancy is to be applauded for stepping up with a lawsuit against the administration’s policy of executive overreach and favoritism,” said Noon.

“While the law prescribes fines and jail time for those who accidentally kill bald and golden eagles, under Obama the FWS modified the law by allowing the favored wind industry ‘kill permits’ that permit wind turbine operators to murder the majestic birds by chopping them up,” Noon explained.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., (bcohen@nationalcenter.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Kansas Newspaper Embarrasses Itself on Wind Power

August 3, 2014

By James Taylor
Environment and Climate News

Wind power apologists say and write the silliest things. Whether economic illiteracy, political mendacity, or some other reason is to blame, Big Wind shills serially embarrass themselves by making claims that wouldn’t even make the multiple choice options for “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” Here is an example published this morning by a newspaper in Kansas:

Patrick Lowry at the Hays Daily News published an article about staffers for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) wordsmithing Brownback’s statement that he would like to see the state phase out its renewable power mandates. Lowry utilized this news hook to display his embarrassing lack of knowledge about economics (or, as more cynical readers may say, propagate a deliberate and mendacious effort to misinform Daily News readers about energy economics).

Lowry began his wind power shilling by claiming the primary objective of folks who don’t want to be forced to purchase expensive wind power is “protecting long-standing interests of the oil industry.” Oil, however, is not used for electricity production. Oil is used to power motor vehicles. The “long-standing interests of the oil industry” might be in play if putting a propeller beanie on a Mack truck would allow said truck to barrel uphill at 70 mph, but I am wagering that even 99 percent of 5th graders know that putting a small wind propeller on an automobile is no substitute for gasoline.

Lowry further embarrassed himself by claiming that forcing consumers to purchase higher-priced electricity has “bolstered significantly” the Kansas economy.

“The relatively new wind energy business sector is reliant on subsidies, tax credits and forced mandates for energy companies to attract any private venture capital. It’s an expensive proposition, one that will not make it in the marketplace if left to its own devices. Not until that storage problem is solved. But that is precisely why the industry deserves taxpayer support. If turbines aren’t producing, there will be no research on how to maximize that energy,” Lowry argued.

Lowry acknowledged wind turbines “aren’t producing” enough to be economically competitive. He admitted Big Wind needs special “subsidies, tax credits and forced mandates” merely to remain in business. And somehow, forcing such an expensive failure of an industry on electricity ratepayers is good for the economy?

While Lowry believes government research investments in battery storage for wind power may someday make wind power cost-competitive (despite decades of government and private research investments having already failed to do so), forcing expensive wind power on Kansas now, while any such illusive technological breakthroughs are still a pipe dream, has done just the opposite of “bolster[ing] significantly] the Kansas economy. This has merely driven up the cost of living in Kansas much faster than would otherwise be the case, and making it harder for people to pay their bills is counterproductive to the state’s economic well-being.

Given such pitiable efforts to make the case for wind power, I will help Lowry along and present the best argument wind power apologists have to offer: wind power companies pay money to farmers and ranchers who allow wind turbines on their land, which enriches those farmers and ranchers. The problem with this argument, however, is wind power companies don’t simply wave a magic wand to create the rent money given to farmers and ranchers. Instead, the wind power companies raise electricity prices for all electricity customers throughout the state to pay the few farmers and ranchers who host the turbines. In a most unappealing manner, this is taxing the many to pay the few and redistributing money from poor and middle-class electricity customers to pay rich landowners.

Wind power apologists say and write the silliest things….

Actually understand climate change

July 30, 2014

By Joseph Bast
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 2 a.m.

The column by Frances Beinecke (“Despite misinformation effort, U.S. is targeting climate change,” July 11) recites all the tired myths and cliches of the global warming movement but offers not one iota of evidence. One would have hoped the leader of an organization with an annual budget of more than $100 million would be better informed about an issue as important as climate change.

Then again, most of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s budget relies on exaggerating and misrepresenting the truth about climate change.

Most of Beinecke’s claims are not only wrong, but obviously false, starting with the claim that 97 percent of climate scientists believe “our climate is changing in dangerous ways, and pollution from human activity is causing it.” No survey of climate scientists has ever found that. Reliable surveys show some two-thirds of climate scientists do not believe we have sufficient data to understand or forecast future climate changes. Thousands of articles in the peer-reviewed literature refute the alarmists’ claim.

Beinecke claims “extreme weather cost our country more than $140 billion,” but she doesn’t tell us how much of that was due to man-made global warming. In fact, she cannot. There is compelling evidence that weather has become less extreme in recent decades even as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen. There’s been no increase in global temperatures for 17 years. How can recent weather events be attributed to something that isn’t happening?

Beinecke cites a survey that found “70 percent of Americans accept climate change as real, and perhaps more importantly, want their leaders to combat it.” But another survey found only 20 percent believe the scientific debate is over, and likely voters rank global warming dead last in surveys that ask them to rank the important issues facing the nation.

More importantly, virtually no one is willing to pay the $3,900 a year the Heritage Foundation estimates a carbon tax would cost the average household. That tax would barely amount to a down payment on the cost of reducing emissions enough to affect the climate. When it comes to actually doing something to combat global warming, the American people are solidly on the side of the skeptics.

President Barack Obama, according to Beinecke, is courageously calling for action to “reduce carbon pollution from power plants.” But even the president’s own scientists admit his proposed regulations would reduce global temperatures in 2100 by a mere two one-hundredths of a degree. According to Ben Zycher, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, “a 40 percent U.S. emissions reduction — more than double the Obama goal — would reduce temperatures by six one-hundredths of a degree.” Is that what the American people want? Why do Obama and the NRDC want this?

Beinecke claims power plants in the U.S. are allowed to emit carbon dioxide because of a “loophole” in the nation’s clean air laws. This is also false. The legislative record clearly shows Congress never intended the laws to include carbon dioxide, and every administration before the current one acknowledged that fact.

Beinecke says the Obama administration’s proposed regulations on power plants could stimulate new investment and lower electricity bills. This is pure fiction. The best estimate of the net cost is more than $50 billion a year and the loss of nearly a quarter-million jobs. Even Obama admitted, when campaigning for office, that under his plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Was he telling the truth then? Why is he telling us something different now?

Beinecke claims the number of global warming skeptics is “dwindling rapidly.” No doubt she wishes that were the case, if only to keep the NRDC’s direct mail machine humming and generating the millions of dollars that support her and her staff.

In fact, the American people have figured out that global warming is not a crisis. They are increasingly calling for the repeal of the taxes, regulations and subsidies passed at the height of the global warming scare. The same backlash against global warming extremism is occurring in other nations around the world, most recently in Australia, where the Senate voted to repeal a hated carbon tax.

Too bad Beinecke didn’t bother attending the climate change conference she chose to criticize. She would have seen more than 600 scientists, economists, policy experts and concerned citizens coming together to actually understand climate change rather than use it to scare people into making contributions or embracing a radical political agenda.

But it’s not too late for her … or for anyone reading this column. All the presentations were recorded and are available online at climateconference.heartland.org.

Joseph Bast is president of the Heartland Institute.

Public Support is Strong, Bipartisan for Energy Development

July 29, 2014

As far as American voters are concerned, energy is not a partisan issue. New polling shows strong majorities across the political spectrum support increased domestic oil and natural gas production and agree it is good for the economy and our national security. What’s more, Democrats, Republicans and Independents are all more likely to vote for candidates who support increased production and offshore drilling.

The national telephone poll, conducted for API by Harris Poll among 1,012 registered voters, found that:

77 percent support increased production of America’s oil and natural gas resources, including 92 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Independents and 66 percent of Democrats.

68 percent support offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas resources, including 80 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Independents and 61 percent of Democrats.

68 percent would also be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports offshore drilling and producing more oil and natural gas from here in the U.S., including 80 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Independents and 59 percent of Democrats.

Only 28 percent think the federal government does enough to encourage the development of oil and natural gas resources in the U.S., including just 12 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of Independents and 40 percent of Democrats.

80 percent agree that producing more domestic oil and natural gas could help strengthen America’s national security by lessening the negative impacts of political instability occurring in other parts of the world.

Unfortunately, federal energy policy is often at odds with the wishes of the American people. While production on private lands is soaring, production on federal lands dropped 28 percent for natural gas and 6 percent for oil between 2009 and 2013, according to the Congressional Research Service. And a full 87 percent of federally controlled offshore acreage remains off-limits to exploration even though development in the Atlantic alone could support 280,000 new American jobs and $51 billion in revenue for the government. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s recent decision to issue permits for modern geological surveys in the south and mid-Atlantic is a positive step, but more action is needed. To create more jobs, grow the economy and increase revenue, the federal government should listen to the American people and say yes to domestic oil and natural gas.

87 percent chart July 2014 reducedSincerely,

Jack Gerard
President and CEO
API

2 Charts Show Why Wind Power Won’t Solve the Carbon Problem

July 29, 2014

When discussing electricity, the words “carbon dioxide” invariably come into play. The utility industry’s use of carbon based fuels is responsible for roughly 40% of the generation of this greenhouse gas domestically. Alternative power options are often held up as the solution to this problem. But wind turbines are a great example of why this isn’t true—and these two graphs show why.

Getting into wind
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL ) has made a big commitment to wind power. This mid-western utility got just 3% of its power from wind in 2005, which happens to be the backdated starting date for CO2 emission regulations being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By 2020, however, wind is projected to make up 22% of the company’s generation.

That’s a huge increase, with coal taking most of the hit. However, even after the rapid wind power growth coal will still account for 43% of Xcel Energy’s power pie. Natural gas, which is cleaner than coal but still emits carbon dioxide, and nuclear power will throw in another 30%. And the Texas experience with wind power shows why:

14_06_25-eia-texas-wind-power-volatility-graphic_large
Source: EIA

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), “At 8:48 p.m. on March 26, wind generation on the electric grid covering most of the state of Texas reached a new instantaneous peak output of 10,296 megawatts (MW). At that moment, wind supplied almost 29% of total electricity load.” While that’s impressive, note the use of the word “instantaneous” as you look at the graph above.

The power generated by wind turbines is anything but constant. It juts up and down with often severe moves. For example, before and after hitting that peak, wind turbines in Texas were only producing around 2,000 MW of power. It’s not because someone in Texas turned the turbines off, it’s because the wind stopped blowing. That’s why Xcel Energy isn’t giving up on the base-load trio of coal, gas, and nuclear.

I have the power!
This trio is controlled by the utility and can be run as hard as needed. Nuclear, for example, is usually run between 80% and 100% of capacity. Coal and natural gas tend to run at lower levels, but could easily be pushed higher if needed. The important thing is that how hard these power sources are worked is within the control of the utility.

In fact, the next graphic shows how important the interplay between nature-controlled wind and man-controlled power is. Look at the lines for wind and coal. When wind is up, coal is down. And when wind is down, coal is up. The same dynamic is true for natural gas.

14_06_25-eia-capacity-factors-for-coal-nulcear-wind-and-gas_large
Source: EIA

This isn’t a fluke — it’s because utilities like Excel need to have a reliable power source to offset the peaks and valleys of an inherently unreliable fuel source. It’s the same reason why Southern Company (NYSE: SO ) is building 1.5 gigawatts of nuclear and coal plants right now. It wants to maintain its flexibility.

For example, in 2020, the company expects to have the option to generate as much as 50% of its power from coal or gas, whichever is cheaper. Nuclear, meanwhile, is expected to run at a steady state of around 18%. Renewables? Well, they are just small slice of the pie at 8% of total capacity in 2020.

Note, however, that renewable sources provided 4% of Southern Company’s power last year, despite coming in at 6% of the utility’s total capacity. And the 4% is elevated by the fact that hydro, which tends to run at high capacity rates, is a big part of the mix. Despite investing in solar and wind, Southern Company isn’t willing to give up the control offered by natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants.

Good and bad
Renewable power like wind turbines is a wonderful thing. However, it isn’t an answer to the CO2 problem. The generation profiles of Xcel energy and Southern Company prove this out. Expect the wind to become an increasingly important utility player, but don’t expect it to kill coal, gas, or nuclear anytime soon.

Exposing the dangers of wind turbines to animals and humans

July 16, 2014

15 July 2014

To the government of Denmark,

Allow me to bring your attention to several press releases by our organisation, the World Council for Nature. Press releases that have been picked up by numerous news media around the world, and which cast an unfavourable light on the Kingdom of Denmark.”

http://wcfn.org/2014/06/07/windfarms-1600-miscarriages/

http://wcfn.org/2014/06/23/another-horror-story-from-denmark/

http://wcfn.org/2014/07/10/denmark-wind-turbines-disrupt-menstruation/

The first release draws attention to the 1,600 stillbirths of mink puppies, many exhibiting deformities, which occurred this year at a long-established mink farm which has wind turbines as new neighbours. The second quotes the mink farmer complaining that, “when the wind blows from the South West (where the wind turbines are), mother minks attack their own puppies.” And the third relates the closing of a plant nursery because its female employees complain of irregularities in their menstrual cycles, including unusual bleeding, since the installation of wind turbines nearby. The Danish media had already reported these tragic news, in the following articles:

https://worldcouncilfornature.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/2014-07-03-danish-article-on-plant-nursery-paper-edition.pdf

http://www.tv2east.dk/artikler/kaempevindmoeller-lukker-planteskole

http://jyllands-posten.dk/opinion/breve/ECE6846968/mink-som-forsoegsdyr/

http://www.maskinbladet.dk/artikel/tidligere-miljominister-vil-aendre-vindmollebekendtgorelse

http://www.tvmidtvest.dk/indhold/mink-amok-over-vindmoellestoej

http://aoh.dk/artikel/vindmller-giver-vanskabte-hvalpe

As far as we were able to find out, the response of your government to these health warnings has been to ignore them. When they were brought to the attention of your Minister of Health, Nick Hækkerup, by Member of Parliament Karina Adsbøl at a hearing on the health effects of wind turbines, Mr. Hækkerup turned a deaf ear to the matter: VIDEO Karina Adsbøl

Is ignoring the issue part of your policy for handling well-documented harm done by wind turbines, especially by those of the new, bigger variety? (See the work of Professor Henrik Møller, recently fired from Aalborg University at what appears to be the instigation of the wind energy lobby. Profs. Møller and Christian Pedersen demonstrated conclusively, in a peer-reviewed article a year or so ago, “the bigger they are, the more infrasound they produce.” Inconvenient truths on wind turbines are unwelcomed in your country, it would appear.)

One can’t ignore the facts that infrasound travels as far as 40 km, and that peer-reviewed studies have shown that chronic exposure at shorter distances can cause Vibro-Acoustic Disease. (VAD encompasses a long list of ailments, ranging from tinnitus to cardiac dysfunctions, cancer, and birth defects.) In their research on low frequency noise (including infrasound), Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira and her colleague Dr. Castelo-Branco found that young horses can develop limb deformities when raised in the vicinity of wind turbines (1). Their study also found that the members of the family breeding these horses suffered themselves from VAD.

But the above are just small samples. Globally, cases abound of farm animals gravely affected by wind turbines (1). As for people, thousands of windfarm neighbours suffer from sleep deprivation, headaches, nausea, vertigo, tinnitus, etc. (Sleep deprivation, alone, triggers a host of ailments, ranging from stress and difficulty working and concentrating, to car accidents and a weakened immune system.)

With respect to deformities and stillbirths, it stands to reason that humans can be affected just as are minks and cattle, especially when economic and employment constraints prevent them from moving away from the wind turbines. (The story of the women employed by the garden center, mentioned above, is eloquent and tragic in this regard) (3).

The evidence of adverse health effects from wind turbines has been mounting for years. Let’s note the independent research of Nina Pierpont, M.D. (Johns Hopkins), Ph.D. (Princeton University), who described in detail the symptoms she uncovered through interviewing windfarm victims. (Dr. Pierpont published her 300-page report as, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment,” 2009) (4).

We must add to this the widely available, published work of Dr. Alec Salt and colleagues at the Cochlear Fluids Research Lab, Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, Missouri). Professor Salt has demonstrated that infrasound produced by wind turbines can indeed dys-regulate inner ear function, triggering the cascade of symptoms documented by Dr. Pierpont. Infrasound can readily do this, despite the fact it cannot be heard audibly. For decades the wind industry has clung to the fallacy that, “If you can’t hear it, it can’t hurt you.” Salt, a professor of Otolaryngology, has demolished that myth.

There is also the widely reported clinical experience of Dr. Steven Rauch, physician, Medical Director of Harvard Medical School’s renowned Clinical Balance and Vestibular Center. Dr. Rauch was recently interviewed by The New Republic:
“Dr. Steven Rauch, an otologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a professor at Harvard Medical School, believes WTS [Wind Turbine Syndrome] is real. Patients who have come to him to discuss WTS suffer from a “very consistent” collection of symptoms, he says. Rauch compares WTS to migraines, adding that people who suffer from migraines are among the most susceptible to turbines. There’s no existing test for either condition but “Nobody questions whether or not migraine is real.”

“The patients deserve the benefit of the doubt,” Rauch says. “It’s clear from the documents that come out of the industry that they’re trying very hard to suppress the notion of WTS and they’ve done it in a way that [involves] a lot of blaming the victim” – see: “Big Wind Is Better Than Big Oil, But Just as Bad at P.R.,” by Alex Halperin in The New Republic, June 16, 2014

The list of studies and other research on the health effects of wind turbines is too long for including in this letter. Instead, we direct you to the list published by Dr Sarah Laurie, Australian physician and CEO of the Waubra Foundation:
LIST of Dr. LAURIE

We applaud the fact that, under prodding from windfarm victims, your government has begun investigating the health effects of wind turbines. Unfortunately (or is this intentional?), the scope and methodology of the investigation appear to overlook the following, commonsensical, measures:

First, there must be a rigorous epidemiological study, if necessary using case-crossover data, as Dr. Pierpont, a population biologist besides being a physician, demonstrated.

Secondly, wind turbine ILFN (infrasound and low-frequency noise), must be measured down to 0.1 Hz within the homes of windfarm victims complaining of illness. That is, noise measurements should be taken within their homes at night, windows closed, when the wind is blowing from the direction they perceive as problematic.

Thirdly, there must be a moratorium on the installation of new wind turbines until these studies are completed, published, and commented upon by the scientific and clinical community.

The World Council for Nature’s primary goal is the conservation of biodiversity. We believe a mentally healthy human population and governments acting responsibly, according to transparent and honest science, are the necessary means for achieving this.

We look forward to your response to our concerns.

Sincerely,

Mark Duchamp, Chairman

References

(1) http://wcfn.org/2014/03/31/windfarms-vertebrates-and-reproduction/

(2) http://wcfn.org/2014/06/07/windfarms-1600-miscarriages/

(3) http://wcfn.org/2014/07/10/denmark-wind-turbines-disrupt-menstruation/

(4) http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/wind-turbine-syndrome/what-is-wind-turbine-syndrome/

ALSO
New post from Denmark: http://wcfn.org/2014/07/10/denmark-wind-turbines-disrupt-menstruation/ says in part:

The Danish press reports the case of a garden centre (nursery) going out of business because of nearby wind turbines. Headaches are frequent among employees, and female workers complain of unusual bleeding and problems with their menstrual cycles. They are worried that more serious illnesses may follow. Five have recently resigned. The owner is now closing his business for fear of being held liable should a child be born with deformities, as happened to numerous mink puppies at a fur farm near wind turbines in Jutland (1).

Boye Jensen, the owner of Lammefjordens Perennials, is 67. He started his nursery 43 years ago, and it became a prosperous business with 15 employees and annual sales of 12 million krones (equiv. $ 2.1 million). He was planning to continue working for another 6-7 years, then sell the nursery. But his business is now worth nothing, creating an enormous financial loss.

He is discussing with his lawyer whether to sue Vattenfal, the company that owns the wind turbines, or the Municipality of Holbaek, which approved their installation 400-700 metres from his nursery. He expects to go to court and seek damages worth several million krones.

“Green” Energy Industry Suspected Of Red Kite Cleansing To Clear The Way For Windpark Permitting

July 13, 2014

By P Gosselin on 7. Juli 2014

The dispute over windpark development on some of Germany’s most idyllic landscapes is heating up rapidly and massively. And should the dispute continue on its current trajectory, it won’t be long before the ugly contraptions get stopped for good.

The dispute reached a boiling point recently with windpark opponents suspecting green energy activists of poisoning birdlife in order clear the way for an unobstructed windpark permitting.

According to south Germany’s online Stuttgarter Nachrichten, a number protected red kites have been found poisoned by the E 605 herbicide – in rural areas that just happen to be sited for the installation of large-scale industrial windparks.

Under Germany’s wildlife protection laws, wherever the predatory red kites are found to be nesting, green energy developers are promptly denied permits to install their turbines. But if red kites are nowhere to be seen, then wind-park developers stand a far better chance of getting the go-ahead. Angry windpark opponents are now pointing the finger at the windpark proponents for the poisoning. The Stuttgarter Nachrichten writes, however, that there’s no proof.

The Stuttgarter Nachrichten writes that a number of poisoned red kites were found at several locations in southwest Germany.

‘Systematically’ rare predatory birds are being killed wherever they find themselves in the way of large windparks, some wind-power critics are now surmising. That in the recent days in Pfalzgrafenweiler in the district of Freudenstadt also a dead peregrine falcon has been found, which according to police died from chloralose, just makes the situation more explosive.”

But windpark proponents are calling the accusations unfounded, and claim that poisoning the birds would even have the opposite effect: The bird would be put higher up on the endangered list, and thus make permitting of wind turbines even more unlikely. Other “green” activists call the accusations “speculation”.

The Stuttgarter Nachrichten ends its article writing that one fact is certainly beyond speculation: “The gloves have come off when it comes to the dispute over the transition to green energies.”

- See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2014/07/07/green-industry-suspected-of-red-kite-cleansing-to-clear-the-way-for-windpark-permitting/#sthash.jGY86bB3.dpuf

Government Data Show U.S. in Decade-Long Cooling

July 1, 2014

Data Set Changes Makes It Hard To Tell Real Story

Forbes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor citing issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely cited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

USCRN-network-1

Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend. Nevertheless, the 10-year cooling period does present some interesting facts.

Source: National Climatic Data Center, NOAA
Source: National Climatic Data Center, NOAA

First, global warming is not so dramatic and uniform and alarmists claim. For example, prominent alarmist James Hansen claimed in 2010, “Global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup … effectively illustrat[ing] the monotonic and substantial warming that is occurring on decadal time scales.” The word monotonic means, according to Merriam-Webster Online, “having the property either of never increasing or of never decreasing as the values of the independent variable or the subscripts of the terms increase.” Well, either temperatures are decreasing by 0.4 degrees Celsius every decade or they are not monotonic.

Second, for those who may point out U.S. temperatures do not equate to global temperatures, the USCRN data are entirely consistent with – and indeed lend additional evidentiary support for – the global warming stagnation of the past 17-plus years. While objective temperature data show there has been no global warming since sometime last century, the USCRN data confirm this ongoing stagnation in the United States, also.

Third, the USCRN data debunk claims that rising U.S. temperatures caused wildfires, droughts, or other extreme weather events during the past year. The objective data show droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events have become less frequent and severe in recent decades as our planet modestly warms. But even ignoring such objective data, it is difficult to claim global warming is causing recent U.S. droughts and wildfires when U.S. temperatures are a full 0.4 degrees Celsius colder than they were in 2005.

Even more importantly than the facts above, the USCRN provides the promise of reliable nationwide temperature data for years to come. No longer will global warming alarmists be able to hide behind thinly veiled excuses to doctor the U.S. temperature record. Now, thanks to the USCRN, the data are what the data are.

Expect global warming alarmists, now and for the foreseeable future, to howl in desperation claiming the USCRN temperature data are irrelevant.

Of course, to global warming alarmists, all real-world data are irrelevant.

PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: MORATORIUM ON COAL PLANT CLOSURES ESSENTIAL

June 27, 2014

PDF

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recent events in New England and elsewhere in the U.S. have demonstrated that policies which hurt the U.S. coal fleet are placing the reliability, affordability, and security of America’s electric supply system at risk:

• These policies will significantly increase wholesale electric rates – and could increase them by as much as 80 percent – according to Dr. Julio Friedmann, Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).1

• The increases will be especially harmful in certain states – such as Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wyoming (Figure EX-1).

• Severe economic hardship will be imposed on people who can least afford it – low income families, minorities, children, and the elderly.
Therefore, policymakers, regulators, and electric utilities should institute an immediate moratorium on the premature closure of coal power plants and should reverse planned closures where possible.

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 8.18.35 AM
Figure EX-1: Potential 2020 Electric Rate Increases From Coal Plant Closures

During the winter of 2014, coal was the only fuel with the ability to meet demand increases
for electricity, providing 92 percent of incremental electricity in January/February, 2014
versus the same months in 20132 (Figure EX-2).

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 8.18.44 AM
Figure EX-2: What Showed Up for Work During the Polar Vortex?

During the winter of 2013 – 2014:

• Businesses in New England and other parts of the U.S. were curtailed because of a lack of gas infrastructure.

• Natural gas power plants also had a problem getting fuel due to infrastructure issues and at one point many of them had to go offline.

• Gas-based electricity prices increased 1,000 percent as coal and oil plants scheduled for closure picked up the load.

• Without coal, parts of New England, the Midwest, and other regions would have experienced brownouts and blackouts that would have been economically
disastrous and would have compromised public health and safety; in many instances it could have been life threatening.

This past winter demonstrated in real time the value of the existing coal fleet. Americans were harmed as the relentless cold indicated that prudent utility practices require large, baseload coal plants to stabilize the grid, keep society functioning, and maintain electricity availability. Many regions suffered; for example, in late January and early February 2014 some locations in the Midwest experienced gas prices as high as $35/MMBtu, and the Chicago Citygate price exceeded $40/MMBtu (Figure EX-3).

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 8.18.52 AM
Figure EX-3: Chicago Citygate Natural Gas Prices, February 2013 – 2014 (Dollars per MMBtu) Source: NGI nationalgasintel.com

Government policies that drive over-dependence on natural gas to replace baseload coalput the U.S. electric supply at risk and also endanger:

• The 60 million households who need gas for heating.

• A vast array of firms that use gas in daily operations.

Recent experience in New England and elsewhere represents a troubling indication of the implications of removing coal plants from the electricity generation mix:

• Spot prices of natural gas and electricity may spike significantly.

• Utility bills become unaffordable for many families during price spikes.

• Energy shortages could occur.

• What little industry is left in the Northeast may be forced to leave.

• Average electricity rates in New England are already more than 40 percent higher than the national average and may be headed to be 150 percent higher.

• New York’s electricity prices are now the second highest in the country – only the geographically isolated state of Hawaii has higher prices.

New England is merely the precursor to the national problem which is emerging. With the projected closure of 60 gigawatts (GW) of coal plant capacity, virtually the entire U.S. is rapidly reaching the brink of significantly higher prices for electricity and being unable to meet either the summer or winter peak demand for power. Unless immediate steps are taken to halt coal plant closures:

• Within the decade entire regions (New England, Florida, California, the Southwest) may be at risk.

• Vast areas of the American Heartland from the Southeast to the Plains could face the difficult choice of using gas for either electric power or meeting the heating needs of millions of families, businesses, and farms.

• Forecasts indicate that by 2020, natural gas capacity will exceed coal, nuclear, and hydro capacity combined, creating a lack of diversity of supply issue.

The American Public Power Association has demonstrated the difficulties of replacing coal in electricity generation, and found that there must be continued reliance on America’s largest energy resource:

• The U.S. has by far the world’s largest coal supply, nearly 30 percent of the global total.

• Most existing coal-fueled power plants are less expensive than natural gas for electricity generation.

• The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that coal’s price advantage will continue and grow larger for the next three decades.

• U.S. coal used for electricity generation has increased 170 percent since 1970 as key emission rates (SO2, NOX, PM10) have been reduced by 90 percent.3 Greater use of advanced technologies will continue this progress.4

• Advanced “supercritical” technology is highly efficient, and other state-of-the-art technologies result in a key emissions rate that is two-thirds lower than the existing fleet with carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates as much as 25 percent lower than the oldest plants. Current policies are driving reduction of coal generation creating increased dependence on natural gas. However, activist groups and government officials have indicated their desire to reduce natural gas usage as well.

• Activist groups supporting the “Beyond Coal” campaign have initiated a “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign to oppose hydraulic fracturing.5

• Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz contends that natural gas is “too carbon intensive” and must be phased out of electricity generation by 2050. 6

• White House Senior Counselor John Podesta has endorsed the phase-out of natural gas in the electric power sector beginning in 2020. 7

• Ronald Binz, recent nominee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said of gas: “On a carbon basis, you hit the wall in 2035 or so with gas. I mean, you do. And it’s certainly helping my state [Colorado]…but we also have to understand that without [carbon capture and storage],
I think that’s a dead end, a relative dead end – it wouldn’t dead end until 2035 or so – but that’s when we’re going to have to do better on carbon than even natural gas can do.” 8

Current policies for electrical generation threaten the abundant, reliable and affordable electricity Americans have come to rely upon; they drive coal out as a source of electrical generation, creating heavy reliance on natural gas. In the next phase, natural gas will be driven out as well. This will affect natural gas availability for direct use and power, making electricity more expensive and scarce to Americans and hurting economic growth.
In sum, policies that erode the U.S. coal fleet are placing the reliability, affordability, and security of America’s electric supply system at risk. Prudence requires an immediate moratorium on coal power plant closures and planned closures should be reversed where possible.

References:
1. Aaron Larson, “CCS Could Increase Coal-Fired Electric Generation Costs By 70%–80%,” Power Magazine, February 13, 2014.
2. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Electric Power Monthly, February 2014.
3. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Monthly Energy Review, Feb 2014; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “National Air Pollutant Emission Trends, 1900-1998 and 1970-2013;” EPA Air Markets Program Data; EIA Electric Power Monthly, March 2014.
4. EPA “National Air Pollutant Emission Trends, 1900-1998 and 1970-2013;” EPA Air Markets Program Data; EIA Electric Power Monthly, March 2014; EIA, 2012 data on coal plant heat rates.
5. http://content.sierraclub.org/campaigns/beyond-natural-gas.
6. Lisa Song, “Moniz: Shale Gas Boom a Low-Carbon Solution – for Now,” InsideClimate News, February 21, 2013.
7. Darryl Banks and Gwynne Taraska, “U.S. Natural-Gas Use Must Peak by 2030,” Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C., July 2013.
8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAOTt_rR0lo&feature=youtu.be&t=30m17s.5

Obama Climate Report Finds Sky Falling

May 28, 2014

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By Larry Bell

If you thought Chicken Little was a little chicken, perhaps he was just a little ahead of his time. As trumpeted in The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) released by the White House earlier this month, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.”

Even if you somehow imagined that dramatic climate changes haven’t been going on throughout our planet’s history, have no doubt that this ain’t just any old ordinary climate change conditions they’re talking about. Nope, you can be certain that it’s about global warming influences that our fossil-fueled smokestacks and SUVs are causing. And you can also bet your bippy that they’re all considered to be bad.

As Dr. Judith Curry, chairwoman of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences observes: ”The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change.” She continues, “Worse yet, is the spin being put on this by the Obama administration.”

Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville takes this “spin” criticism a bit farther. He states that part of the report “is just simply made up. There is no fingerprint of human-caused versus naturally caused climate change.”

Meteorologist and Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman doesn’t have a very high opinion of the NCA either. He refers to the report as a “litany of doom”, calling it a “total distortion of the data and an agenda-driven, destructive episode of bad science gone berserk.”

The 829-page report’s oft-quoted banner headline is that “extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or intense.” The summary overview asserts that evidence confirming that this trend which is already “disrupting people’s lives” tells an “unambiguous story.”

Well, at least that’s the big message until you get to the fine print in the body of the report which acknowledges that, oops, maybe that evidence is a lot more ambiguous than they wish to have us believe. Here they admit “trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornados, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.”

The report also observes: “There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900.”

In fact, many of those claims are more than uncertain. They are most certainly wrong.

Take hurricanes for example, where a century-long trend is actually down. In 2013 the National Hurricane Center stated: “There were no major hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin for the first time since 1994. And the number of hurricanes this year was the lowest since 1982.” The U.S. is experiencing the longest period without major Category 3, 4, or 5 hurricane landfall strikes since the Civil War era. The global frequency of tropical hurricanes is now also at a historical low.

As for tornadoes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that Dorothy is safer than ever back in Kansas. They tell us: “There has been little trend the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.” NOAA’s U.S. Climate Extremes Index of unusually hot or cold temperatures finds nothing to be alarmed about either. Five years during the past 10 have recorded temperatures below the historical mean, and five have been recorded above.

But what about that catastrophic CO2-induced global warming all those really “sophisticated climate models” have warned us about? Well, apparently it has taken a cool shady siesta. Even NOAA admits that there has been a “lack of significant warming at the Earth’s surface in the past decade” and a pause “in global warming since 2000.”

Last year they stated: “Since the turn of the century, however, the change in Earth’s global mean surface temperature has been close to zero.”

And those “abnormal” extreme drought and moisture conditions we have been witnessing? Well again, maybe not so much after all. Floods have been occurring since the writing of the Old Testament, and California is no stranger to droughts.

While parts of the country have indeed experienced higher than average drought/moisture conditions over the past 10 years, four of those years have been below average and six have been above. Conditions during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s when atmospheric CO2 levels were higher were more extreme. And by the way, U.S. floods haven’t increased in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.

Wouldn’t you think that instead of urging us to build arks in our back yards, the Obama administration would wish to take some credit for all this good news? Perhaps remember that this is the president who promised on the night he won the Democratic nomination that it was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

You gotta hand it to him for modesty.

Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada.

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/LarryBell/Obama-Climate-Report-NCA/2014/05/27/id/573515#ixzz32xqRsq9J


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