Do we face a disastrous century due to global cooling?

Michael Barone

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

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

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

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

Two Decades of Overestimated Global Warming

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

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

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

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

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

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

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

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

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

Calgary Herald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said the debate has been long settled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MoveOn Announces Effort to Slow Fracking Boom, Which will Hurt the Poor and Middle Class

BY: Lachlan Markay
January 10, 2014 2:15 pm

Leading left-wing advocacy group announced a new effort on Thursday to oppose innovations that are propelling the country towards a new abundance of domestically produced energy.

MoveOn bemoaned in an email to supporters the “troubling trend” of increased energy production, which is reducing the U.S. trade deficit, creating well-paying jobs, stabilizing global energy prices, and undermining the economic engine behind some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

MoveOn announced the creation of a new effort called “#FrackingFighter,” which “seeks to slow down the fracking boom that is anticipated to occur across the United States in 2014 and beyond.”

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing, an innovative oil and gas technique, has sent U.S. energy production skyrocketing, MoveOn said. It vowed to slow or reverse that trend.

Many environmentalist groups say they want government to adequately regulate the practice. MoveOn took a more radical approach, pushing activists to work “to ban fracking in their local communities.”

The effort was unveiled the same day that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data showing that increased U.S. production is keeping global oil prices stable, reducing the U.S. trade deficit, and eating away at the global market share of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting States (OPEC).

MoveOn is aware of the trend, but says it is a negative – or “troubling” – one.

“Natural gas production in the United States, led by fracking, is predicted to increase by 56 percent over the next 26 years—propelling the country ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil and gas producer,” the group’s email said.

Energy industry experts see hydraulic fracturing and the energy production boom it has unleashed as an economic positive for the nation.

“American shale gas is changing the balance of competitiveness in the world economy, giving the U.S. an unanticipated advantage,” according to Daniel Yergin, author of the Pulitzer-winning book The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power.

“Indeed, inexpensive natural gas is fueling a U.S. manufacturing renaissance, as companies build new plants and expand existing facilities,” Yergin wrote in a Wednesday column.

EIA data on the oil and gas sector shows that it is currently one of the few bright spots in the American economy.

Employment in the oil and gas sector increased by 40 percent from 2007 through 2012 EIA noted in a recent report, compared to a mere 1 percent increase in the labor market generally.

Oil and gas industry employees make an average of $121,400 per year, according to a recent survey, significantly more than the average American worker. The industry’s growth in wages has “helped fuel the biggest jump in U.S. wages in more than five years,” CNN reported in 2012.

The shale boom has also reduced energy prices in areas of the country that sit near large shale formations or have access to networks of oil and gas pipelines.

Pennsylvania, which has embraced hydraulic fracturing, is by far the fastest-growing natural gas producing state in the country. Its gas prices, meanwhile, are significantly lower than neighboring New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) has blocked the practice.

MoveOn’s efforts to scuttle technologies that have enabled these trends could put the group at odds with some of the nation’s labor unions, which have traditionally been MoveOn allies.

A host of labor unions backed a group founded in 2011 called Clean Growth Now that advocated for hydraulic fracturing and criticized Cuomo for his inaction on regulations that, at present, prohibit the practice in the state.

Union members protested the New York fracking moratorium, which they said was preventing job growth in a promising industry.

The fracking boom also has macroeconomic and even geopolitical implications, experts say.

“The geopolitical impact is already evident,” Yergin wrote. “For example, Iran is now seriously at the table in nuclear negotiations, which might well not have happened were it not for tight oil.”

Tom Donilon, the Obama White House’s former national security adviser, bolstered that assessment in a recent speech at the Aspen Institute.

“I’m not so sure that we could’ve pulled off the sanctions that we pulled off in Iran absent the increased production in energy,” Donilon said. “Our ability to produce and increase our production by over a million barrels per day was pretty critical.”

Some oil-rich Middle Eastern nations have publicly voiced concern about increased U.S. oil production, saying it may undermine their own oil-fueled economies.

New shale oil discoveries, Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal recently told the Toronto Globe and Mail “are threats to any oil-producing country in the world.”

Yergin predicts that Middle Eastern OPEC nations “will continue to be an arena of great geopolitical importance, and its oil will be essential to the functioning of the global economy.”

“Overall, however, the shale-energy revolution does provide a new source of resilience for the U.S. and enhances America’s position in the world,” he wrote. “The emergence of shale gas and tight oil in the U.S. demonstrates, once again, how innovation can change the balance of global economic and political power.

MoveOn considers that a “troubling trend,” and is determined to put a stop to the innovations behind it.

Alarmists: Americans Too Stupid to Understand Climate

New polling data show the American public is growing increasingly skeptical of an asserted climate crisis. Alarmists have responded by claiming Americans are not smart enough to make proper decisions on climate policy.

The Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication released a survey showing only 15 percent of Americans are “very worried” about global warming, compared to 23 percent who believe global warming is not happening at all. A plurality of Americans – 38 percent – believe global warming is happening but are only “somewhat worried” about it.

Most Americans don’t expect to be personally affected by global warming. Only 38 percent of Americans believe they will personally be harmed a “great deal’ or even a “moderate amount” by global warming.

Survey author Edward Maibach bemoaned the results and claimed Americans do not understand global warming issues.

“Our findings show that the public’s understanding of global warming’s reality, causes, and risks has not improved and has, in at least one important respect, gone in the wrong direction over the past year,” said Maibach.

Meanwhile, Christiana Figueres, executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, blamed America’s democratic institutions for blocking progress on global warming. Figueres said political gridlock in the U.S. Congress is “very detrimental” to reducing America’s carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, Figueres praised China and its totalitarian regime as “doing it right” to address global warming.

According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, Chinese carbon dioxide emissions have tripled since 2000. U.S. emissions, by contrast, have declined by nearly 10 percent since 2000.

Let the wind subsidy blow away

Chicago Tribune Opinion

The wind production tax credit has long outlived any public policy usefulness. Late in 2013, Big Wind fought fiercely to renew its expiring subsidy but failed. We hope that means many members of Congress see this as a mature industry that long ago outgrew its infancy and understand that the nation’s new wealth of lower-cost natural gas has profoundly rewritten U.S. energy economics.

In the early 1990s, with dreams of cheap and clean wind energy ascendant, Congress lavished a generous subsidy on power from the tall, twirling turbines. The wind industry responded, and since then has increased its installed generating capacity 30-fold.

For 20-plus years the subsidy has been intermittent, although not as unreliable as the winds that drive the turbines. The most recent authorization, a 2013 extension tucked into the federal budget deal that avoided the so-called fiscal cliff, expired Dec. 31. Applause, please, for our do-little Congress: What’s known as the wind production tax credit has long outlived any public policy usefulness. Lawmakers now being urged by industry lobbyists to renew the subsidy retroactively instead should let it blow away.

We say this with no animus toward the bucolic concept of wind energy, whose clean-and-green image is to electrical generation what puppies and kittens are to the animal kingdom. Our concern is the reality of subsidized wind energy at a time when natural gas is more plentiful, and cheaper, than Washington could envision in the 1990s. Today wind generation is a comparatively expensive proposition that, whenever its tax subsidy temporarily has vanished, has seen the new construction of wind farms all but vanish too. These welfare payments to the industry have incentivized private investors to sink money into wind projects that, without the federal freebie, they’re eager (and probably smart) to avoid.

Like its cousins, the ethanol and solar industries, the wind lobby basks in political correctness and political favoritism: Big Wind, too, has grown comfortable in its dependence on federal and state governments that decide which energy industries will be winners or losers — discrimination enforced by squeezing taxpayers or rigging regulations.

News about eagles killed by turbines is an issue separate from government coddling, but one now emerging as a public relations debacle. In late November, Duke Energy agreed to pay $1 million in fines in the first criminal case brought against a wind company over the killings of federally protected birds, 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds slain at two wind projects in Wyoming. Robert G. Dreher, an acting assistant U.S. attorney general, explained the violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act: “In this plea agreement, Duke Energy Renewables acknowledges that it constructed these wind projects in a manner it knew beforehand would likely result in avian deaths.”

Duke said it is working with federal officials and field biologists to determine when it should shut down its turbines to limit bird deaths. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is investigating similar cases elsewhere — and has referred seven of them to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.

Motor vehicle drivers, illegal hunters and deaths by poisoning kill more eagles than turbines do. But growing publicity about wind farms chewing up eagles undercuts the industry’s promotion of itself as environmentally friendly. The National Audubon Society and other conservation groups are especially exercised about a new federal rule, announced in December, that lets wind farms obtain 30-year permits to lawfully kill bald and golden eagles. Many Americans who only have heard about neighbors of wind farms criticizing the turbines’ thrumming noises will have a far easier time relating to criminal cases based on huge blades pulverizing wildlife.

All of which pins the Obama administration between its dueling political loyalists: environmentalists learning about the 30-year eagle kill permits, and fans of renewable energy sources that don’t spew carbon dioxide.

Wind energy’s peculiar problem is that, because wind blows erratically, companies that rely on it also need backup generating capacity — typically fossil-fueled — for days when customers want electricity but the air is still.

The obvious solution here is for Congress and the White House to stop manipulating the tax code as America’s de facto energy policy: Thorough federal tax reform should sunset this arbitrary favoritism for wind energy and other politically favored industries.

Late in 2013, Big Wind fought fiercely to renew its expiring subsidy but failed. We hope that means many members of Congress see this as a mature industry that long ago outgrew its infancy and understand that the nation’s new wealth of lower-cost natural gas has profoundly rewritten U.S. energy economics.

The wind lobbyists will be back in 2014, pleading for more handouts from American taxpayers. Tell your members of Congress that a government $17 trillion in debt — and still borrowing heavily — can’t afford to keep protecting this industry from cheaper competition.

Reality Check on Climate and Energy

It is perfectly reasonable to be green minded and work towards conservation of our resources and clean air and water. But CO2 has been incorrectly blamed for the natural cycles of temperatures and weather extremes of drought, flood, hurricanes, tornadoes, heat and cold.

Instead of a health hazard, CO2 is plant food and has helped greatly improve global crop yields and feed the increasing population. Thanks to improved hybrids and farming practices and increased CO2, a 50-year trend of remarkable growth in world grain production has followed. Since 1960, global wheat and rice production has tripled, and corn production is almost five times higher.

CO2’s claimed increase in temperatures has been falsified. For 17 years, global warming has stopped for 17 years. Cooling here in the northeast has replaced warming in winters during that same period. This has been true even as CO2 has risen 11%. In Europe, the green agenda has led to great increases in the cost of energy, winters turned sharply colder. In the last decade 280,000 Brits have died from the cold while 10,000 from summer heat.

In the United States, the number of high heat extremes have been declining since the 1930s. 23 of the 50 state all time heat records occurred in the 1930s and 39 before 1960. More cold than heat extremes have been set since the 1940s. The claims about high temperatures months and years is with ‘adjusted’ (manipulated) data. The actual heat and cold records are unadjusted.

The tropical heat build-up in the atmosphere and oceans, one of the key outputs in ALL the climate models, is not seen in the weather balloon or satellite data or the dense ocean buoys we use to track El Nino and La Ninas down to 300 meters depth in the last 3 to 5 decades.

Sea level rise has slowed dramatically from the 20th century, and there is no upward trend in incidents of droughts and floods. Hurricane activity globally is at a 34 year low. “Superstorm’ Sandy was a borderline Category 1 storm. Eight Category 3 or greater storms hit the Atlantic coast from 1938 to 1960. The total tornado count this year was over 140 incidences less since records started in 1953. The number of wildfires are the lowest since modern records began in 1985.

The arctic icecover bounced back over 50% with one of the coldest arctic summers on record while new records for ice were set in Antarctica, even trapping a research ship this past month, during the Antarctic summer. Snow was supposed to become increasingly rare. 4 of the top 5 snowiest years for the northern hemisphere have been in the last 6 years. In just 4 years, we have had more east coast snowstorms this decade than any in history.

The great physicist Richard Feynman said not matter how smart you are, who you are or how beautiful your theory, if data doesn’t support your theory, it is wrong. Einstein noted a model or a hypothesis cannot “prove” anything. But data can invalidate a hypothesis or model. Einstein described the “Key” to science well when he said: “The case is never closed.” “Many experiments may prove me right but it takes only one to prove me wrong.”

In the case of global warming, we have many examples proving it wrong, but with the political motivation of heavy funding exceeding $79B the last decade, data is ignored with claims of a consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton wrote “Historically the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is settled.”

By claiming both sides of every weather extreme, they have created an unfalsifiable hypothesis. They want you to believe every weather event proves their hypothesis. The most recent example is the controversy over the ‘polar vortex’. Though this is a common phenomenon somewhere around the hemisphere most every winter and has occurred in the United States often in the cold decades of the last decade, they believe thy can convince you and your SUV are responsible.

The public and scientists in Europe have become unsettled. Europe has had 5 straight brutally cold winters and scientists are said to be “baffled” that their models have failed them. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered ministers to ‘ditch the green crap’ blamed for driving up energy bills and making business uncompetitive. In Germany 600,000 homes had their electricity turned off during the last brutal winter as electricity prices skyrocketed. Now the country is rushing to build 10 coal fired plants to lower costs. In the UK 12 million people are said to be in fuel poverty, having to choose between heating and eating. If we follow Kuster’s RES plan, we would lose 1 million jobs by 2020 and average families will pay $2,400 more per year for electricity (Kreutzer, 2010).

Why would the governments of the world go down this path? To save the planet?

UN climate official Ottmar Edenhofer in November 2010 admitted “one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.” Instead, climate change policy is about how “we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…”

Energy future is in innovation, not regulation

The United States depends on coal for nearly 40 percent of its electricity supply, with 48 of 50 states using coal for electricity generation to some degree. At the same time, U.S. electricity demand is expected to grow 28 percent by 2040. Coal must be a part of the energy mix to meet that growing demand.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed sweeping new standards to severely restrict emissions from all future coal power plants. What do these cumbersome regulations mean for an America only just beginning to recover from the longest recession in its history?

Simply put, the proposed regulations will effectively ban the construction of new, modern, low-emission coal-fueled power plants, significantly increase electricity prices, and essentially abandon our most abundant and affordable domestic energy resource.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is not currently commercially available. By imposing CCS requirements on new coal-fueled power plants, EPA’s proposed regulations halt any plans for new plants, and the promising advances in technology such plants would bring.

Worse yet, the proposed rules for new plants will work in tandem with pending rules for existing plants that will cause many to shut their doors for good. Indeed, more than 175 existing, low-cost plants are likely to be shuttered in the next three years, and EPA has not viable plan to replace that lost generation capacity.

As a result, consumers and businesses alike will be saddled with skyrocketing electricity costs. Among the hardest hit by these regulations will be lower and middle class Americans who rely on reliable access to low-cost electricity to manage household and business costs. And the heart of America’s economic growth – the small businesses that produce the majority new jobs in our country – will be further inhibited by increased expenses.

Fortunately, there is a better path forward – one that provides American businesses and families continued access to low-cost, reliable coal-fueled electricity, while also enhancing our energy security, advancing the Administration’s climate goals and improving our environment.

First, EPA should actively promote the construction of new high-efficiency coal plants, which would reduce carbon and other emissions continuing the technological innovation that has led to major emissions reductions over the last several decades.

From 1970 to 2012, emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated, due to continued investments in new technologies. Innovation, not increased regulation, will create the next generation of advanced clean coal plants and bring new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, to the marketplace.

Regulations that prevent today’s utilities from improving these technologies by upgrading existing plants and building new state-of-the-art facilities effectively shuts the door to future innovation and use of our nation’s abundant, low-cost coal resources.

Second, EPA should encourage oil field operators to use carbon emissions from existing plants to enhance oil recovery from oil fields. Geologic injection and storage operations for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and other purposes have been used safely in many locations of the U.S., and other areas of the world, for decades.

Accelerating the use of carbon emissions for EOR turns such emissions into a resource, and unlocks additional oil supplies previously not economically recoverable. In turn, this can help keep gasoline prices lower, further reduce carbon emissions, and continue to advance the commercial potential of carbon capture and geologic storage.

This alternative to excessive, stifling regulation is a major win for the American economy, consumers and the environment. It would provide continued access to cleaner, low-cost, coal-fueled electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to more reasonable gasoline prices.

It is imperative that policy-makers in Washington understand that the key to our global energy future lies in innovation, not regulation. To dramatically reduce emissions we must advance deployment of supercritical technology. As we have proven time and time again, there is no problem that American innovation cannot solve if we are given the opportunity to do so.

Coddington is a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of KMCL Law.

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Nuclear power recommended by global climate change leaders

To those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power:

As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem. Global demand for energy is growing rapidly and must continue to grow to provide the needs of developing economies. At the same time, the need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming ever clearer. We can only increase energy supply while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions if new power plants turn away from using the atmosphere as a waste dump.

Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power

We understand that today’s nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently. Innovation and economies of scale can make new power plants even cheaper than existing plants. Regardless of these advantages, nuclear needs to be encouraged based on its societal benefits.

Quantitative analyses show that the risks associated with the expanded use of nuclear energy are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with fossil fuels. No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.

While there will be no single technological silver bullet, the time has come for those who take the threat of global warming seriously to embrace the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as one among several technologies that will be essential to any credible effort to develop an energy system that does not rely on using the atmosphere as a waste dump.

With the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology that has the potential to displace a large fraction of our carbon emissions. Much has changed since the 1970s. The time has come for a fresh approach to nuclear power in the 21st century.

We ask you and your organization to demonstrate its real concern about risks from climate damage by calling for the development and deployment of advanced nuclear energy.


Dr. Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute

Dr. Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of Adelaide and the National Center for Atmospheric Research