The Strange Absence of Science in the Paris “Treaty” Discussion

Alan Carlin | May 5, 2017

The climate topic du jour is whether President Trump should abandon the Paris non-treaty “treaty.” Most of the discussion seems to revolve around esoteric legal issues concerning what the US is allowed and not allowed to do as a result of President Obama’s agreement to the “treaty” without Senate consent. I find most of the arguments propounded by climate skeptics on this topic to be sound and perceptive. What I find odd is that I have yet to see any discussion of what climate change science might say about the wisdom of continued US “participation” in the Paris “treaty.” In other words, is there any reason why the US should want to abide by the “treaty?”

The purpose of the “treaty” is to provide a framework for developed countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases primarily by reducing their use of fossil fuels. The reason people use fossil fuels is that for most uses they are the most efficient way to supply the energy humans need to supplement their own energy use that will improvetheir health and welfare. The climate alarmists have exploited the public’s understandable lack of knowledge concerning climate science to argue that the developed countries (but usually not less developed countries) should give up some or preferably all fossil fuel use in order to avoid alleged catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). Although they have never proven that changes in CO2 emissions will even change global temperatures, that has not prevented them from urging/coercing others to spend other people’s money on their unproven or now almost certain false claims.

The Most Important Issue: Would It Accomplish Anything if “Successful?”

After the dismal failure of their Kyoto Treaty to achieve this end, the alarmists have tried a second approach called the Paris accord or “treaty,” and flouted the US Constitutionby claiming that the “treaty” is not really a treaty. Whether all this is worthwhile ultimately hinges on whether there are sufficient benefits from reducing fossil fuel use to make it worthwhile to give up the many uses humans have found for them. If there are not, humans should not agree to give up any uses of fossil fuels, or waste time and resources on efforts to bring this about. That includes non-treaty “treaties.”

As explained previously, the best current science shows that there are no significant reductions in global temperatures that would result from reducing fossil fuel use, let alone CAGW. And there are much more efficient and effective ways to reduce real pollution from fossil fuel use. Climate alarmism “science” is simply what Richard Feynman called “cargo cult” science. It is long past time to abandon it as well as “treaties” trying to implement it.

Has Science Lost its Way?

By Michael Guillen Ph.D

Science’s reproducibility crisis.

For any study to have legitimacy, it must be replicated, yet only half of medical studies celebrated in newspapers hold water under serious follow-up scrutiny — and about two-thirds of the “sexiest” cutting-edge reports, including the discovery of new genes linked to obesity or mental illness, are later “disconfirmed.”

Though erring is a key part of the scientific process, this level of failure slows scientific progress, wastes time and resources and costs taxpayers excesses of $28 billion a year, writes NPR science correspondent Richard Harris/

The single greatest threat to science right now comes from within its own ranks. Last year Nature, the prestigious international science journal, published a study revealing that “More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments.”

The inability to confirm research that was published in highly respected, peer-reviewed journals suggests something is very wrong with how science is being done.

The crisis afflicts even science’s most revered ‘facts,’ as cancer researchers C. G. Begley and Lee Ellis discovered. Over an entire decade they put fifty-three published “landmark” studies to the test; they succeeded in replicating only six – that’s an 11% success rate.

A major culprit, they discovered, is that many researchers cherry-picked the results of their experiments – subconsciously or intentionally – to give the appearance of success, thereby increasing their chances of being published.

“They presented specific experiments that supported their underlying hypothesis, but that were not reflective of the entire data set,” report Begley and Ellis, adding this shocking truth: “There are no guidelines that require all data sets to be reported in a paper; often, original data are removed during the peer review and publication process.”

Another apparent culprit is that – and it’s going to surprise most of you – too many scientists are actually never taught the scientific method. As graduate students, they take oodles of courses in their chosen specialty; but their thesis advisors never sit them down and indoctrinate them on best practices. Consequently, remarks University of Wisconsin-Madison biologist Judith Kimble: “They will go off and make it worse.”

This observation seems borne out by the Nature study, whose respondents said the three top weaknesses behind science’s reproducibility crisis are: 1) selective reporting, 2) pressure to publish, and 3) low statistical power or poor analysis. In other words, scientists need to improve on practicing what they preach, which is: 1) a respect for facts – all of them, not just the ones they like, 2) integrity, and 3) a sound scientific method.

The attendees of the so-called March for Science made a lot of noise about wanting more money and respect from the public and government – what group wouldn’t want that? But nary a whisper was heard from them or the media about science’s urgent reproducibility crisis. Leaving unspoken this elephant-sized question: If we aren’t able to trust the published results of science, then what right does it have to demand more money and respect, before making noticeable strides toward better reproducibility?

Michael Guillen  Ph.D., former Science Editor for ABC News, taught physics at Harvard. His novel, “The Null Prophecy,” debuts July 10. 

14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States

by The Elephant’s Child

July 7, 2013, 7:19 am

abandoned wind turbines 2

The towering symbols of a fading religion, over 14,000 wind turbines, abandoned, rusting, slowly decaying. When it is time to clean up after a failed idea, no green environmentalists are to be found. Wind was free, natural, harnessing Earth’s bounty for the benefit of all mankind, sounded like a good idea. Wind turbines, like solar panels, break down.  They produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them.  The wind does not blow all the time, or even most of the time. When it is not blowing, they require full-time backup from conventional power plants.

Without government subsidy, they are unaffordable. With governments facing financial troubles, the subsidies are unaffordable. It was a nice dream, a very expensive dream, but it didn’t work.

California had the “big three” of wind farm locations — Altamont Pass, Tehachapi, and San Gorgonio, considered the world’s best wind sites. California’s wind farms, almost 80% of the world’s wind generation capacity ceased to generate even more quickly than Kamaoa Wind Farm in Hawaii. There are five other abandoned wind farms in Hawaii. When they are abandoned, getting the turbines removed is a major problem. They are highly unsightly, and they are huge, and that’s a lot of material to get rid of.

Unfortunately the same areas that are good for siting wind farms are a natural pass for migrating birds. Altamont’s turbines have been shut down four months out of every year for migrating birds after environmentalists filed suit. According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society 75-110 Golden Eagles, 380 Burrowing Owls, 300 Red-Tailed Hawks and 333 American Kestrels are killed by the turbines every year. An Alameda County Community Development Agency study points to 10,000 annual bird deaths from Altamont wind turbines. The Audubon Society makes up numbers like the EPA, but there’s a reason why they call them bird Cuisinarts.

Palm Springs has enacted an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio Pass, but unless something else changes abandoned turbines will remain a rotting eyesores, or the taxpayers who have already paid through the nose for overpriced energy and crony-capitalist tax scams will have to foot the bill for their removal.

President Obama’s offshore wind farms will be far more expensive than those sited in California’s ideal wind locations. Salt water is far more damaging than sun and rain, and offshore turbines don’t last as long. But nice tax scams for his crony-capitalist backers will work well as long as he can blame it all on saving the planet.

MARCHES FOR SCIENCE VS. ACTUAL SCIENCE

EPA-climate-march-portugal-3-jt-170429_12x5_1600

Over the weekend, various ill-informed leftists marched around the world in support, ostensibly, of the Earth’s climate. As usual, ignorance was plentiful while knowledge of anything relevant to climate science was invisible.

If you want to learn something about climate science, as opposed to political propaganda, go here to read an important, just-released paper by Dr. James P. Wallace III, Dr. John R. Christy and Joseph S. D’Aleo, which has been endorsed by a number of other prominent climate scientists.

The paper is titled “On the Existence of a ‘Tropical Hot Spot’ & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding.” As you likely know, the EPA’s outrageous finding that emissions of carbon dioxide, which is necessary for essentially all life on earth, endanger public health or welfare was the basis for the Obama administration’s war on affordable energy.

Like any legitimate scientific paper, it is hard to summarize. I will try, but you really should read the whole thing.

The models on which global warming alarmism is based all critically hypothesize a “tropical hot spot” which is the alleged “signature” of human-caused warming. In fact, however, no such tropical hot spot exists:

Adjusting for just the Natural Factor impacts, NOT ONE of the Nine (9) Tropical temperature time series analyzed above was consistent with the EPA’s [Tropical Hot Spot] Hypothesis.

That is, adjusting for just the Natural Factor Impacts over their entire history; all nine of tropical temperature data analyzed above have non-statistically significant trend slopes—which invalidates the THS theory. Moreover, CO2 did not even come close to having a statistically significant impact on a single one of these temperature data sets. From an econometric structural analysis standpoint, the generic model worked extremely well in all 9 cases.
***
These analysis results would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot, caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world. Also critically important, this analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 14 temperature time series that were analyzed.

Thus, the analysis results invalidate each of the Three Lines of Evidence in its CO2 Endangerment Finding. Once EPA’s THS assumption is invalidated, it is obvious why the climate models they claim can be relied upon, are also invalid.

It is remarkable that anyone would argue for the superiority of a half-baked theory, as described in a model, over empirical observation. Certainly no competent scientist would do so. Yet that is what is happening in the global warming debate. As we have documented many times, leftists, knowing they are losing the argument, have resorted to altering surface temperature records, over which they have jurisdiction, to conform to their theory. This is, in my opinion, the worst scandal in the history of science.

If the principal natural factors–solar, volcanic and ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) activity–are taken out of the equation, there has been no net global warming in recent years:

Screen-Shot-2017-05-01-at-6.54.02-PM

The conclusion, based on empirical evidence:

The above analysis of Global Balloon & Satellite atmospheric temperature as well as Contiguous U.S. and Hadley Global Average Surface Temperature data turned up no statistical support for suggesting that CO2, even taken together with all other omitted variables, is the cause of the positive trend in the reported U.S. and Global temperature data.

In fact, it seems very clear that the Global Warming that has occurred over the period 1959 to date can be quite easily explained by Natural Factor impacts alone. Given the number of independent entities and differing instrumentation used in gathering the temperature data analyzed herein, it seems highly unlikely that these findings are in error.

I have tried to excerpt understandable paragraphs, but there is plenty of raw science in the article, e.g. (footnotes omitted):

One final question remains that has not yet been explicitly dealt with herein. It is, can the existence of the CO2 equation really be confirmed so that simultaneous equation parameter estimation techniques must be utilized to confirm CO2’s statistically significant impact on temperature? In the Preface, the authors referred to a specific paper for a proof. Below very significant additional proof is provided.

With CO2 determined to be not statistically significant in the structural analysis of the 13 temperature data sets as summarized in Section XXIII immediately above, the equation system described in the Preface can be seen to be recursive which permits parameter estimation of the CO2 equation in the system by ordinary or direct least squares.

An explicit form of the CO2 equation referred to in the Preface is:

[1] (∆C- cfossil)t = a + b*Tt + c* CO2,t-1

Where

(∆C – cfossil)t, is the efflux of Net non-fossil fuel CO2 emissions from the oceans and land into the atmosphere and cfossil is CO2 emissions from Fossil Fuel consumption.

Tt is UAH Tropical TLT Ocean temperature. The expected sign is positive.

CO2,t-1 on the right-hand side is a proxy for Land use. The expected sign is negative, because as CO2 levels rise, other things equal, the CO2 absorption of the flora increase.

As shown in Table XXIV-1, applying ordinary least squares to this equation yields a high Adjusted R square (0.64.) The coefficients have the correct signs and are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.

The science is fascinating, but you don’t have to be a scientist to understand why global warming hysteria is wrong. Here are the indisputable, basic facts:

* The earth’s climate has been changing for millions of years. We are currently living in a geologic era characterized by ice ages. I like to point out that 15,000 years ago–the blink of an eye–the place where I live was buried under ice somewhere between a half mile and a mile thick. Scientists have theories, but nothing approaching knowledge about why wild swings in the earth’s climate have occurred over the last million years. One thing we know for sure is that it had nothing to do with mankind’s emission of carbon dioxide.

* We are living in a relatively cool era. Since the end of the last Ice Age, the earth has been warmer than it is now most of the time–most experts say, about 90% of the time. So if temperatures rise a little, it is hardly a surprise.

* A reasonable (although debatable) scientific argument based on energy transfer can be made that a doubling of CO2 would raise the earth’s average temperature by 1 degree centigrade. Everyone agrees this would be a good thing.

* To generate scary headlines, alarmists speculate that various positive feedbacks would increase that possible 1 degree temperature gain to somewhere between 3 and 6 degrees. These feedback theories are speculative at best. Really, we know they are false, since higher temperatures over the past 500,000 years have not caused any sort of runaway temperature increase.

* Global warming alarmism is based solely on models, not on observation. But we know the models are wrong. They predict far greater warming than has been observed over recent decades. A model that has been proved wrong is worthless. It can’t be resuscitated by after-the-fact selective, politically-motivated tweaking.

That, really, is all you need to know.

The Case for Pulling the U.S. Out of the Paris Climate Accord

EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt has argued that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a bad deal for the U.S. because it doesn’t bind China and India. But that implies it could be fixed by imposing the same ruinous terms on developing countries—which would in fact just spread the damage. The real reason for pulling of the Paris Accord is that it is a futile gesture based on empty and dishonest premises.

The first thing to note is that the same computer models that say global warming is a problem also say that Paris will not fix it. If one were to graph the standard warming projections over the next century with and without Paris, the two lines overlap almost exactly. Whatever greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration we would have reached in the year 2100 without Paris, we will reach it shortly thereafter with. For all its costs, the Paris treaty will have almost no effect on global warming, and by depleting global income it will make it harder for countries to adapt and innovate in responseto whatever changes occur. Thus not only does Paris not solve the problem, it arguably makes it worse.

This, by the way, was equally true of the earlier Kyoto Protocol: all cost and no benefit. Under current technology and economic realities we have only two options: do nothing and adapt to whatever changes the climate will undergo over the next century, or take a lot of costly and futile actions today and adapt to whatever changes the climate will undergo over the next century. There has never been a third option involving costly actions today that stop the climate from changing.

Paris binds countries to meet their self-imposed Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs. The Obama Administration submitted an NDC that committed the U.S. to a twenty six percent reduction in GHG emissions below 2005 levels by 2025 through specific regulatory measures, all of which were enacted by Executive Order rather than by passing laws in Congress. It amounts to an attempt by one Administration to bind all future Administrations despite lacking legislative warrant. If the U.S. NDC was supposed to be legally binding then it should have gone through Congress. And now that some of those measures have been repealed by the current Administration, it is dishonest to keep the existing NDC as part of the Paris Agreement.

Paris embeds an inconsistency between calling for the use of the “best available science” while also prejudging what that science is allowed to say. The Accord’s preamble calls climate change an “urgent threat” even though mainstream climate science and economics does not imply this, instead placing global warming rather low on the list of problems confronting the world. The Agreement enshrines the ill-defined and arbitrary target of holding “the” global average temperature to 2oC above pre-industrial levels while completely ignoring the critical question of how it should be measured. Nor does it say how much of the warming is natural and should not be counted against the 2oC limit. This omission alone makes the overall target absurd, since it could bind the world to taking actions to prevent the sun from shining brighter.

The Paris Agreement also veers into absurdity by its political and ideological language, requiring countries to address extraneous themes like gender equity, biodiversity, poverty eradication, migrants, disabled persons, a “just transition of the workforce,” “creation of decent work,” and so on. Having larded the treaty with social justice slogans, its authors cannot be surprised if they become points of contention. It is not surprising that conservative governments will dislike these items, and if the authors respond that they can simply be ignored, then they should not have been in the treaty to begin with.

Finally, a proponent might acknowledge all these problems yet still defend Paris as a “good first step” in the expectation that later steps will yield big benefits.  But this is flawed reasoning. In any well-structured policy transition the first step yields the highest benefits at the lowest cost—the so-called low hanging fruit. Subsequent steps cost more and yield less, until the point is reached where costs exceed benefits and the process stops. Paris, like Kyoto, cost too much to implement while yielding unmeasurably small benefits. Subsequent steps will only be worse. It is a bad first step on a road to nowhere.

Pulling out of the Paris treaty would send a signal that the U.S. will not bind itself to bad deals based on hype and empty slogans. If this is the best global climate diplomacy could come up with then it is time to pursue other options.

And What Is The Scientific Basis For Imposing Energy Poverty On The Masses?

Yes, I’m old enough to remember when governments thought it was a big part of their responsibility to enhance the well-being of the people.  In the area of energy, that meant pursuing policies that would lead to lower prices and greater availability for things like electricity and gasoline.  Crazy, eh?  But then everything got turned on its head.  In 2009 we got a President who, shortly after taking office (March 18, 2009), promised “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”   And he clearly thought that that was a good idea, even a moral imperative.  Henceforth we will use the force of government to pursue the intentional impoverishment of the people!  When Congress declined to act on the “cap and trade” plan, Obama then proceeded via executive actions and regulations with efforts designed to increase the cost and decrease the availability of energy — things like the Clean Power Plan, refusing to grant permits to pipelines, hobbling the coal industry, and so forth.

And thus we come to the big demonstrations by the Obama/Democratic/progressive factions this past weekend that I have called the March for Poverty.  But, to be fair to them, they called their demonstrations the “March for Science.”  If you have read yesterday’s post, you will know that I think that “science” is a process of challenging hypotheses, rather than a body of fixed and  unchallengeable established knowledge.  Is there any sense in which the people asserting a moral necessity of “saving the planet” through impoverishment of the people can legitimately claim the mantle of “science”?

It’s not particularly easy to pin down everything that the march itself might have stood for, given the profusion of groups and spokespersons associated with it.  So, to get a handle on the deep thinking behind the legal end of the climate movement, I thought to listen in today to a webinar put on by the Harvard Law School Open Lecture Series, featuring Professor Jody Freeman.  She’s the Director of the Harvard Law School Environment Law and Policy Program, and previously worked for the Obama administration, among other things in designing the (failed) cap and trade legislation.  She’s the Zeke Emanuel Obama’s climate regulations!

I’ll bet you think that a Harvard-sponsored webinar on environmental policy would be conducted at a high and sophisticated level, so high indeed that humble you probably couldn’t even understand it.  Don’t be silly!  This program was really an insult to the intelligence of any listener who knew anything at all about the subject matter.  From all you could tell, poor Ms. Freeman was completely uninformed about the state of the science that underlies all Obama-era climate and energy regulation, in particular EPA’s Endangerment Finding.  (The alternative hypotheses, no better for Ms. Freeman, is that she was being intentionally deceptive.)  Although she did not address the EF directly in her prepared remarks, in a Q&A portion Ms. Freeman got a specific question as to the state of the science underlying the EF, and the prospects for its being revoked.  Her answer was that the EF will be very hard to impossible to revoke, because the “science” is “extremely strong” and the underlying evidence “overwhelming.”  The one source she mentioned for her confidence was the IPCC (whose latest report dates from 2013).  Of course, she completely failed to address the major challenges to the EF that are out there and well-known to everybody familiar with the issues.

So, what is the latest on the actual, real science?  The answer is that the EF has been totally invalidated by the accumulation of empirical real-world evidence.  Many readers here may be familiar with my post from last September, “The ‘Science’ Underlying Climate Alarmism Turns Up Missing.”   There, I reported on the issuance of a major Research Report from Wallace, Christy and D’Aleo asserting that, using basic statistical techniques applied to empirical evidence, they had invalidated each of the three “lines of evidence” on which EPA claimed to base its EF.  And now, just yesterday, it so happens that Wallace, Christy and D’Aleo have released a new, updated and expanded version of the Research Report.  Here is a link to the Report itself.  Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller was the first to report on the story, headline “New Study Calls EPA’s Labeling Of CO2 A Pollutant ‘Totally False.'”  Excerpt:

A new study published by seasoned researchers takes aim at the heart of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to issue regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions.  The study claims to have “proven that it is all but certain that EPA’s basic claim that CO2 is a pollutant is totally false,” according to a press statement put out by Drs. Jim Wallace, John Christy and Joe D’Aleo.  Wallace, Christy and D’Aleo — a statistician, a climatologist and meteorologist, respectively — released a study claiming to invalidate EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding, which allowed the agency to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.  “This research failed to find that the steadily rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 14 temperature data sets that were analyzed,” the authors say in the release for the second edition of their peer-reviewed work.  “Moreover, these research results clearly demonstrate that once the solar, volcanic and oceanic activity, that is, natural factor, impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no ‘record setting’ warming to be concerned about,” the researchers say. “In fact, there is no natural factor adjusted warming at all.”

And the Research Report is just one — although perhaps the most important — of many demonstrations of the invalidity of the EF.  In his testimony before Congress on March 29, John Christy (one of the authors of the Research Report) also pointed, for example, to the fact that after some thirty years of collecting temperature data, the level of temperatures measured by satellites and weather balloons falls far below the level predicted by the IPCC climate models.

In actual science, when there is a credible demonstration that a hypothesis has been falsified, it becomes incumbent upon the proponents of the hypothesis either to explain or distinguish the claimed falsification, or to abandon the hypothesis.  When the “ether” hypothesis was falsified by the Michelson/Morley experiment, it was rather quickly abandoned.  But then, the “ether” hypothesis was not invested with particular political baggage.  By contrast, when Galileo expounded on the Copernican heliocentric view of the universe, that was viewed as a challenge to his authority and prestige by Pope Urban VIII, who had Galileo tried and imprisoned.  Fortunately the facts, and the scientific method, won out in the end.  Does anybody today have a good word to say for Urban VIII?

The scientific method will also win out in the end in the matter of the current climate hysteria.  It will not help the climate hysterics that they have attempted to claim the label of “science,” when in fact they have no idea even what science is.  And, unfortunately, “the end” may not come all that quickly, and many, many people stand to be impoverished by the craziness in the meantime.

Elimination of Clean Power Plan Restores Balance to EPA Policymaking

By 

Electrical power lines as sun sets in background

With his presidential executive order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, President Trump took an important first step to restore balance in environmental regulatory policymaking through his order that the Environmental Protection Agency review and withdraw the Clean Power Plan. In its stated purpose, the executive order calls for environmental regulations that “comply with the law, (and) are of greater benefit than cost.”

This balance is not new policy, but dates back to the original legislative intent when federal environmental laws were first adopted. During his 1971 testimony in support of passage of the Clean Air Act, Ralph Nader testified that to “simply enforce the pollution laws” without examining the “problem of environmental layoffs or closedowns” “would be too narrow a policy and a cruel one at that for workers” and could lead to a “regime of fear and economic insecurity … spread(ing) through the blue-collar labor force.”

Nader’s concern became a reality with the EPA’s adoption in 2015 of the CPP — largely considered the most sweeping regulation in EPA history. The CPP mandated overhaul of competitive electricity production in the United States by imposing aggressive new standards on power plants and prioritizing carbon content over affordability, reliability and safety. Under the premise of climate change, former President Obama sought to impose a regulatory burden that would have resulted in punishing costs to the poor and working class without achieving any substantive benefit addressing worldwide temperatures.

Using the EPA’s own data, the most optimistically calculated returns the CPP was predicted to deliver were a 0.01 degree Celsius decrease in global temperature by 2100 and a reduction of global sea level rise by 0.01 of an inch — less than the thickness of three sheets of paper. In her testimony before Congress, former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy sought to justify the CPP as “enormous benefit in showing sort of domestic leadership.” The EPA’s uplifting of symbolism over real impact isn’t new. A year earlier, confronted with the “one-one hundredth of a degree” benefit from the CPP, McCarthy responded in saying that “the value of this rule is not measured in that way (by temperature data). It is measured in showing strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action.” The executive order recognizes that environmental regulatory policymaking should accomplish much more than mere symbolic gestures.

These anemic returns are in sharp contrast to the projected annual $29 billion regulatory cost for the CPP. In Texas alone, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas estimated that the CPP would increase energy costs for consumers by up to 16 percent by 2030. These additional costs would hurt some more than others — increases in energy prices are disparately burdensome on the poor.

On average, low-income households spend more than three times the percentage of their income on electricity, heating and cooling than higher-income families do. And it doesn’t stop there. Energy price and availability are directly tied to human health and welfare. According to a 2011 survey of low-income households, high energy bills saw 24 percent of households go without food for a day, 37 percent went without medical or dental care, and 19 percent had a member become sick due to lack of heating in the home.

A 2015 National Black Chamber of Commerce study estimated that the increase in electricity rates caused by the CPP would severely affect “low-income groups, blacks and Hispanics,” and would cost U.S. consumers $284 billion more for energy in 2020 than they did in 2012. Household electricity prices under the rule would rise an average of $1,652, or about $240 more per year.

Besides failing to deliver meaningful improvement in environmental quality, the CPP failed as a policy because of the cost of the regulatory burden not only on the economy as a whole but upon each individual American. Access to reliable, affordable electricity in today’s society is a necessity, not a luxury. Across the world, primitive energy systems still shackle 1.3 billion people to crushing poverty. Clean, stable power and electricity, delivered at scale and on demand is fundamental to human thriving.

The president’s executive order recognizes that the foundation of good environmental regulatory policymaking requires finding the balance between substantive benefit and cost. The order protects against the Clean Power Plan’s radical regulations for the purpose of a merely symbolic gesture — a gesture that would have left little benefits, punitive harm and forgotten Americans in its wake.

Hump Day Hilarity: Mann-o-War at the House Climate Science Hearing

/

Josh writes:

On this historic Brexit day the fun has not been confined to this continent. Over in the US they have had a ‘hearing’ on Climate Science with three of the world’s most eminent climate scientists. Michael Mann was there too.

The Hearing- Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. On the Panel were Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. John Christy. Dr. Michael Mann, and Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

Worth watching (nearly) the whole thing.

Josh
www.cartoonsbyjosh.com


Added: links to written testimony are within each name. – Anthony

Witnesses

Dr. Judith Curry

President, Climate Forecast Applications Network; Professor Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology

[Truth in Testimony]

Dr. John Christy

Professor and Director, Earth System Science Center, NSSTC, University of Alabama at Huntsville; State Climatologist, Alabama

[Truth in Testimony]

Dr. Michael Mann

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Pennsylvania State University; Director, Earth System Science Center (ESSC), Pennsylvania State University

[Truth in Testimony]

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

Professor, Environmental Studies Department, University of Colorado

[Truth in Testimony]


UPDATE: From Marc Morano at Climate Depot

AP’s Borenstein calls out Michael Mann for a whopper: ‘Mann said he didn’t call Curry a denier. But in his written testimony he called Curry ‘a climate science denier’

New Hampshire economy needs power to grow

By MICHAEL SUNUNU

A recent paper published by the Carsey School of Public Policy on New Hampshire’s electricity future provides a distorted view of our energy markets. Elected officials and the general public should understand the flaws in this analysis.

The authors state “We find evidence that near-term levels of demand and supply pose no threat to grid reliability.” This statement downplays the need for additional energy infrastructure in the region, presumably to ensure that public money continues to flow to favored solar, wind and energy efficiency interests.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, their findings are without substance. In fact, in the 2013-2014 winter, our region was a few hours away from a severe electric grid event that would have resulted in major blackouts and brownouts.

Since that time, instead of bringing more non gas-fired baseload generation assets online we have seen two nuclear plants close or announce closure. This is why Gordon van Weile, president of ISO-NE, has been discussing the need to address serious problems coming over the next several years. Unless and until there is new infrastructure in the region, we will face continuing threats to our electric grid.

Beyond the issue of reliability, the authors are critical of transmission investments made over the past decade. Using 2015 data, they argue that the high cost of electricity is due to these investments and not the high cost of energy supply, but here in New Hampshire that is just not true. The Eversource average retail rate for electricity in January 2017 was 18.25 cents. Only 2.2 cents was transmission cost, making up 12 percent of the total, which is consistent with national averages. Distribution cost was 4.4 cents, which also matched the national average of about 24 percent of the bill. Far more expensive was the supply charge of 11.2 cents, much greater than the national average.

The authors further attempt to show the benefits of energy efficiency. They compare New England versus national GDP increases between 2005 and 2015 and contrast this with total energy consumption. The New England economy grew 9.7 percent while energy use declined 9.6 percent. Nationally, GDP grew 15.2 percent while electricity consumption fell 3.4 percent. They argue that we are improving our energy intensity versus the rest of the country, but what they fail to acknowledge is that our region is growing a lot slower than everywhere else, and our electricity prices likely have something to do with that. In fact, they omitted the inconvenient truth that during that period our region lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs and that most of the drop in electricity demand is due to the loss of our industrial base (residential demand has increased despite hundreds of millions of dollars in energy efficiency investments.)

Our distorted and expensive electricity markets are driving good, high-paying manufacturing jobs out of New England. That is what is driving the “energy intensity” metrics, and it is not something to be proud of — it is something we need to fix.

It is difficult to make the case that the past 10 years of transmission reliability projects have been bad investments. Between 2005 and 2008, New England spent about $600 million a year on electric reliability agreements, uplift charges, and congestion costs. By developing transmission projects, the region is better able to move electricity from producers to consumer. The grid is more reliable and the cost of moving that electricity is much less.

Between 2009 and 2016, the same charges were more than $500 million less each year. That’s over $4 billion of savings for electricity users, with ongoing savings for decades to come.

The Carsey authors’ conclusions are as flawed as their distorted data. Our region has serious energy problems that need to be addressed. The authors want to delay any major infrastructure projects and funnel more funding into renewables and energy efficiency, hoping that over time we can figure out what to do. What they don’t acknowledge is that the supporters of this paper are the same groups fighting energy infrastructure projects in the region, turning what should be a few years of siting, permitting and construction into decade-long quagmires. We will soon have another 2013/2014 winter, but we will have fewer reliable generators, no additional natural gas resources and potentially a less reliable transmission grid to manage a crisis.

Let’s hope our elected officials and decision makers do more homework than the Carsey School did and address the real problems before a day of reckoning comes.

Michael Sununu is a selectman in Newfields.