Monday, December 08, 2008


Below is an email from Prof. George Chilingar [], one of the best-known petroleum geologists in the world and the founder of several prestigious journals in the oil and gas industry

Please allow me to pose an important question to you. Why are we going to spend trillions of dollars sequestering CO2 to mitigate global atmospheric warming, while our empirically-tested temperature models (e.g., see “Greenhouse Gases and Greenhouse Effect”, published in the last issue of Environmental Geology, or “Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission”, published this year in Energy Sources Journal) shows that increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere causes cooling rather than warming?

In the dense earth’s troposphere, the heat from the Earth’s surface is mostly transferred by convection, approximately 67%. Radiation accounts for approximately 8%. Why is this important fact ignored by most scientists?

Also, why do peaks in the solar irradiation precede the peaks in the CO2 concentration in atmosphere? The answer is that as the temperature increases, CO2 evaporates from the ocean water, which is a great storehouse of CO2. Is the cause and effect reversed in the mind of many scientists? What is the common cause of “simultaneous” warming on Earth, Mars, Pluto and Jupiter? This is more than coincidence.

Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climate changes using restrictive regulations are doomed to failure because the global forces of nature are at least 4-5 orders of magnitude greater than the available human controls (e.g., see recently published, 2007, book by Elsevier Publishing Co. entitled "Global Warming and Global Cooling. Evolution of Climate on Earth").

This is a critical issue because to misappropriate limited financial resources will create a deeper global economic crisis and pull away sorely needed moneys that currently help underdeveloped nations and the poor around the world.

When Silvio Berlusconi brilliantly stated that fighting global warming is like battling windmills, he was obviously referring to Don Quixote de la Mancha fighting imaginary monsters based on distorted perceptions.

Unfortunately the “Global Warming” issue has become an emotionally-, politically-, and economically-motivated issue that has warped into a form of religious dogma founded on erroneous perceptual beliefs in the face of contradicting facts. Like a religion, it is becoming a sacred cow, impossible to touch.

As far as alternate sources of energy are concerned, do the proponents of this issue realize that all alternate sources of energy put together will satisfy only around 35% of the World demand for energy?

The reality is that in order to survive we will need to take, at the minimum, 2 tracks simultaneously. The first one is to tap all available sources of energy: oil shales, geothermal, gasification and liquefaction of coal, expanding drilling for oil and gas offshore and in Alaska; also adapting cars to run on natural gas and hydrogen. The second one is to explore alternate sources of energy, but not because of combating global warming. Most importantly, clean energy is necessary for health reasons (e.g., respiratory and other health related issues).

Finally, we must also plan to eventually stop burning petroleum in our cars because it is a far more valuable resource than human kind currently appreciates. Petroleum is a critical component for medical and other highly valued applications, in particular plastics. Is it an understatement to state that if we run out of petroleum we will be in great trouble?

As a petroleum engineer and geologist, I can assure you that drilling for oil and gas offshore and in Alaska can be done in an environmentally safe manner.

Another feedback mechanism that is not in the models

Collapsing antarctic ice sheets, which have become potent symbols of global warming, may actually turn out to help in the battle against climate change and soaring carbon emissions.

Professor Rob Raiswell, a geologist at the University of Leeds, says that as the sheets break off the ice covering the continent, floating icebergs are produced that gouge minerals from the bedrock as they make their way to the sea. Raiswell believes that the accumulated frozen mud could breathe life into the icy waters around Antarctica, triggering a large, natural removal of carbon dioxide from the at mosphere.

And as rising temperatures cause the ice sheets to break up faster, creating more icebergs, the amount of carbon dioxide removed will also rise. Raiswell says: 'It won't solve the problem, but it might buy us some time.'

More here


A new US military report has come under scrutiny for asserting that the scientific data on what is causing global warming is "contradictory" - a position one leading specialist said indicates the government still hasn't fully embraced the urgency of climate change.

The long-range planning document, published Thursday by the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for developing blueprints for future military strategy, is intended to provide a "basis for thinking about the world a quarter of a century from now."

But a section of the 56-page report on climate change and natural disasters prompted criticism yesterday from some leading specialists who said that spreading the inaccurate perception that the causes of climate change remain an open question could result in government agencies not taking the issue seriously enough.

The report, titled Joint Operating Environment 2008, states that "the impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent - and controversial - national and international concern.

Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer." It adds: "In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory."

That last line in particular was singled out at a panel discussion hosted yesterday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, on the topic of climate change and national security. Sharon Burke, a former Pentagon and State Department official who is now a specialist at the Center for a New American Security, said the report was factually "wrong" and "out of line," saying that there is a wide consensus that human activity, namely the production of greenhouse gases, is responsible for global warming.

Other specialists had similar reactions when they read the report."It's very wrong," said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work was cited in the military report. "The jury is not out" on what is causing global warming, he added. "I don't know where that statement came from, but it's pretty bizarre."

Emanuel also took issue with the report's assertions about future storm intensity."Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, although we argue how much," he said in an interview.

The Joint Forces Command maintains that it is fully cognizant of the threat posed by climate change, saying the purpose of the report was not to debate what is or isn't causing global warming. "We are in complete agreement that climate change will be a national security driver in the future," said Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, director of strategy for the command. "We are focused on the implications of climate change. We see what is happening. What is causing it is not in our purview. The commanders have to deal with the effects." He added in an interview yesterday: "Don't take away that we think it is any less important."

More here


JIM RATCLIFFE, the reclusive billionaire behind Ineos, Britain’s largest private company, has warned Gordon Brown that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost if the prime minister commits Britain to tougher EU curbs on carbon emissions.

Ratcliffe issued the warning in a letter last week that was also signed by Paul Thompson, chief executive of GrowHow, the UK’s last remaining fertiliser manufacturer, and Steve Elliott, head of the Chemical Industries Association.

It is part of a feverish, last-ditch effort by the chemicals industry and other big energy users to force changes to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week in Brussels, where they are expected to sign off on a bloc-wide climate-change package.

The industry argues that the next phase of the ETS — which proposes to incorporate industries now excluded from the programme such as chemicals, cement and glassmakers from 2013 – will lead to “carbon leakage” as companies relocate to countries where they are not forced to pay to pollute. The chemical industry employs, directly and indirectly, 600,000 people in the UK.

In its current form, the ETS will impose carbon-emissions caps on industrial polluters from 2013 and force them to pay for 100% of their permits by 2020. Ratcliffe said that doing so would be “truly horrendous” for the industry and make it uncompetitive. Instead, he says that chemicals manufacturers should be allocated permits for free and agree on less stringent pollution caps because they compete against rivals in countries not subject to such rules.

Ratcliffe, who has been locked in crisis talks with banks after a sharp downturn in business put his company in danger of breaching covenants, said: “We believe there is a significant danger to our 60 billion pound industry if phase three of EU ETS becomes law in its current form. "Chemical businesses situated throughout the UK, especially in the north of England and central Scotland, with 80% of them foreign-owned, will be ‘decimated’, putting almost 200,000 jobs at risk,” he added.

Emissions permits go for 15.49 euros per tonne, but are expected to roughly triple when phase three of the ETS begins in 2013. The energy industry, one of the largest polluters, has already accepted that it will have to pay for 100% of its permits from 2013.

It is thought that EU leaders may have been persuaded by the industry’s arguments and will soften their stance. An increase in free allocations to polluting sectors will bring howls from environmentalists who claim that the industry is overdramatising the threat posed by the ETS.

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary who met European ministers in Poznan, Poland, for talks on climate change last week, said: “The [climate] package must retain its environmental integrity. This means a commitment to reducing our emissions by 30% following a global deal.

“It means a tough and declining cap in the ETS and an ambitious increase in the auctioning of ETS allowances. It means addressing competitiveness, but only on the basis of firm evidence of sectors at genuine risk of carbon leakage.”


Tax on livestock farting planned

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law. Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which is one of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution. "This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the proposal.

It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog. The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He said he has talked to a number of livestock owners about the proposals, and "all have said if the fees were carried out, it would bankrupt them."

Sparks said Wednesday he's worried the fee could be extended to chickens and other farm animals and cause more meat to be imported. "We'll let other countries put food on our tables like they are putting gas in our cars. Other countries don't have the health standards we have," Sparks said.

EPA spokesman Nick Butterfield said the fee was proposed for farms with livestock operations that emit more than 100 tons of carbon emissions in a year and fall under federal Clean Air Act provisions. Butterfield said the EPA has not taken a position on any of the proposals. But farmers from across the country have expressed outrage over the idea, both on Internet sites and in opinions sent to EPA during a public comment period that ended last week.

"It's something that really has a very big potential adverse impact for the livestock industry," said Rick Krause, the senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. The fee would cover the cost of a permit for the livestock operations.

While farmers say it would drive them out of business, an organization supporting the proposal hopes it forces the farms and ranches to switch to healthier crops. "It makes perfect sense if you are looking for ways to cut down on meat consumption and recoup environmental losses," said Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman in Washington for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "We certainly support making factory farms pay their fair share," he said.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Haleyville in northwest Alabama, said he has spoken with EPA officials and doesn't believe the cow tax is a serious proposal that will ever be adopted by the agency. "Who comes up with this kind of stuff?" said Perry Mobley, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's beef division. "It seems there is an ulterior motive, to destroy livestock farms. This would certainly put them out of business."

Butterfield said the EPA is reviewing the public comments and didn't have a timetable for the next steps.


Australia's top climate adviser warns: don't go alone on global warming

Slowly backing away from the Messianic nonsense

CLIMATE change adviser Ross Garnaut has warned that developed nations will be unable to avert global warming by simply setting exemplary emissions targets in the hope that developing nations will follow, saying China and India must join a global action plan from the start if there is to be any hope of success. As Climate Change Minister Penny Wong prepares to fly out today for talks in Poland on a post-Kyoto agreement, Professor Garnaut says the current framework is obsolete, arguing that there must be progress on a global plan within months based on a per capita allocation of emissions.

Writing in The Australian today, he warns that reaching agreement on climate change will be harder than reaching accord on trade liberalisation or arms control. But time is running short if there is to be progress at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December next year, Professor Garnaut says. "Unless there is a coalescing of international support around clear principles through the first half of 2009, there is no prospect that a good agreement will be reached in December at Copenhagen," he writes. "In the absence of early constraints that hold developing-country emissions well below business as usual, no degree of constraint from developed countries will avoid high risks of dangerous climate change."

While global business leaders will today urge deep cuts to emissions in a communique signed by Westpac and NAB, Australia is expected on December 15 to announce a "soft start" to pollution-reduction targets of between 5 and 15 per cent by 2020.

Professor Garnaut argues that even a cut of 10 per cent by 2020 would be much more significant on a per capita basis than European targets of 20 per cent. He says equality on per capita emissions targets by developed and developing countries should be the long-term goal, and with Australia being one of the world's largest per capita emitters, a reduction of 10 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 "would represent a full proportionate contribution to a global effort".

"Most of the growth in emissions over the next two decades and beyond will be from the developing countries," Professor Garnaut warns. "No country acting alone not even the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, the US and China can cause the risks of dangerous climate change to fall substantially by its own actions alone. "Any allocation of emissions entitlements with any prospects of being accepted by most developing countries must be based on convergence towards low levels of per capita entitlements at some time in the future."

Senator Wong has played down the prospect of binding commitments this week, but a spokeswoman confirmed that the Government had outlined in submissions to the talks that "Australia considers that per capita effort is an important consideration in determining the action each country should take to reduce emissions as part of a global agreement". "This is a negotiation and Australia absolutely recognises our obligations as a developed nation to ensure that we reduce our carbon pollution," Senator Wong said yesterday.

In the past, nations including China have argued developed countries should continue bearing the burden of slashing emissions because they have created most of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere.

But Professor Garnaut said the approach to allocating emissions entitlements at Kyoto, and by default being taken into the discussions at Poznan, "will not serve". "Within principles designed to reduce global emissions through convergence over time towards equal per capita entitlements, a reduction of 10 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 in Australia would represent a full proportionate contribution to a global effort to hold concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalents to 550ppm," Professor Garnaut said. "It would represent a larger per capita reduction than was required of the US or the European Union. It would represent a larger per capita reduction for Australia than the European Union's implementation of its proposed unconditional commitment to reduce emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels."

He proposes the future agreement would need to include development assistance for complying developing countries to adapt to climate change. "It could be supported by WTO rules that constrained individual countries' measures to restrict trade with countries that are not reasonably complying with the requirements of an international mitigation effort," he said.

But the Climate Institute and the newly formed Global Climate Network will argue today that an emissions gap, or the difference between the developed countries' overall pollution reduction target and the global target with extra developing country effort, would cause an overshoot in the safe global pollution levels. "To close the gap and engage developing countries, developed countries need to bolster their 2020 targets and support proposals for multi-billion dollar investments in new clean technology in developing countries," Climate Institute director of policy Erwin Jackson said. "Australia can't help close the emissions gap if our target is just a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 and there is no plan to provide finance through emissions trading permit revenue or other sources."

Global business leaders are also urging Australia and other developed nations to agree on immediate deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders of 140 global companies have rejected arguments that the economic downturn is reason to tread softly, saying decisive action now will stimulate economic activity. They said even an immediate peak in global emissions would require a subsequent reduction of 50 to 85 per cent by 2050.



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