Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oceans warming or cooling?

There have been a couple of recent articles showing that the ocean is cooling. eg. Loehle, Craig. 2009. Cooling of the global ocean since 2003. Energy & Environment 20(1&2): 99-102


R. S. Knox and D. H. Douglass, 2009. Recent energy balance of Earth. International Journal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3.

But a recent article in "Nature" is headed "Robust warming of the global upper ocean". So which is right?

The warming found is actually not so robust. As the graph clearly shows, the uppermost layer shows cooling. But the lower layers show warming, progressively so, as we go deeper.

So what is going on? All explanations are probably moot but an obvious possibility is that the upper layers are most affected by surface temperatures and that recent cooler temperatures have cooled them more than the lower layers. And the lower levels reflect the two decades or so up to about the year 2000 when temperatures were warmer.

Big warming in a LOW CO2 era (1923)


Prominent Australian conservative disses global warming

The Liberal party is Australia's main conservative party. Liberal party politicians are as skeptical as Republican ones about global warming but that has yet to be translated into official Liberal party policy. Australia has an influential Green party so Green issues have to be treated very cautiously

Senior Liberal Nick Minchin says the globe is more likely to be cooling than warming and has slammed the Government's key climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, as "on the Government's payroll".

Amid fierce debate about the Government's carbon tax plan, Professor Garnaut yesterday warned the scientific case for climate change had strengthened the position that the Earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.

Senator Minchin - who led the Liberal Party's move to dump leader Malcolm Turnbull over his support for action over climate change - says Professor Garnaut, an economist, "knows nothing about the climate".

Speaking on Sky News, Senator Minchin said: "He's not a climate scientist. I don't think he has any authority whatsoever to speak on the climate".

While saying he respected Professor Garnaut, he said: "He's on the Government payroll, he's paid to ensure that the Government's desire to tax the hell out of us over this issue is substantiated by proclamations that the world is about to end".

Quoting a blog from an atmospheric scientist from the University of Alabama - whom he did not name - Senator Minchin said: "It's clear that the models, and we're dealing with models, have grossly overestimated the sensitivity of temperature to increases in CO2.

"I think what's occurred is that there was a warming period from about '75 to the year 2000. It was part of a natural cycle of warming that comes in 25, 30-year cycles. The world has basically stabilised in terms of temperature since about 2000. "There are many, many scientists who actually think we could be entering a cooling phase, and I for one think that is more than likely.

"We have stabilised in terms of world temperatures. There is a very powerful natural cycle at work, and if anything we're more likely to see a tendency down in global temperatures, rather than up."

On Thursday, Professor Garnaut released the fifth update to his 2008 report on climate change, specifically tackling climate science. He also released specific data on temperature, sea level rises and extreme events from recent years. "On the measurable phenomena, it does seem that certainly there's been no evidence of overstatement," he said.

"And it does seem to be a number of points of understatement, and I call that an awful reality because it would be much better if [the] opposite were true. "It would be much better if the evidence was showing the earlier signs had overstated things."

As the debate about a carbon tax heats up, an environmental economist has said it is a mistake for Australia to set a price for carbon before other countries do.

The Government's carbon tax will start in July next year and then morph into an emissions trading scheme, but the details of the tax and the amount of compensation are yet to be determined.

Australian National University Crawford School of Economics professor Jeff Bennett says the Government's policy will disadvantage local exporters, while other countries are lagging on the issue.

"The Prime Minister said we've got to do something or else we're going to be left behind - it's important to realise that first of all, very few countries around the world are doing much about this [pricing carbon]," he said. "And secondly, even if everybody did something about, if all nations in the world did what Australia's doing, still the impact on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would be so small, [it would] not have any real or meaningful impact on the pattern of climate across the planet.

"What that means is that the Australian economy is going to have this quite substantial cost imposed on it, with very little to show by way of benefit."


Solid facts and cost-benefit analysis would be more helpful

Today in The Age, Mr Ross Garnaut has been cited as saying: "It is an awful reality that no major developments in the science hold out realistic hope that the judgments of the 2008 review erred in the direction of overestimating the risks," Professor Garnaut said. He said he feared scientific projections to date might have been overly conservative.

I'm afraid, this contradicts what I have been reading and learning about the underlying science over these years. I've formed a view, supported by sufficiently persuasive evidence, that man-made global warming exists, but its ability to cause serious harm is merely a hypothesis, not scientifically proven truth. The following, in brief, is what I understand:

a) the current episode of MILD warming is PRIMARILY natural;

b) the impact of manmade CO2 is real but minimal, and unlikely to accelerate with increased CO2;

c) the benefits of increased CO2 appear to be significantly greater than costs;

d) the Earth held far greater levels of CO2 in its atmosphere in the past and did not experience runaway global warming. A large number of natural processes (plants, primarily) exist on Earth that check runaway effects;

e) projections of warming and sea-level rise by climate models have, so far, been grossly exaggerated; and

f) IPCC and many senior scientists from reputed institutions have published numerous false reports and ACTIVELY prevented healthy scientific debate .

Government funded institutions on this subject have lost credibility, particularly given the large number of independent scientific views that contradict government-supported findings. Group think is a common flaw in all governments, given strong incentives to shut out internal debate. On a matter as important as this, everyone needs to know the details and fully understand what is going on.

May I therefore request Mr Garnaut to point out the precise data that contradicts my findings (a) to (f) above?

In particular I'd need to see clear graphical evidence of correlations between CO2 and global warming over the past 100 million years. A good multivariate model with PROVEN predictive power (to predict ALL previous episodes of climate change) would help.

I'd also like to see a RIGOROUS and well-supported (with 100% proven facts) cost-benefit analysis. Based on all the evidence to date, I have formed the view that benefits of CO2 EXCEED costs.

Let's all keep our critical thinking hats on. As always, I remain open to changing my mind should theoretical and empirical evidence motivate such change. Listening to exhortations from anyone, now matter how respectable, is NOT the way I reach the truth.


President Obama’s Clean Energy Puppet Masters

With soaring gasoline prices jeopardizing economic growth and enraging the public, even a novice could recognize the political liabilities associated with rising energy costs.

Yet with all the palpable risks, President Obama, considered to be a gifted politician, is doubling down on his war on fossil fuels.

Following a bipartisan grilling of Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar at a U.S. House hearing about bureaucratic delays in approving deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration appealed a recent court decision ordering the department to expedite permits.

The Interior Department warned the court that forcing its hand could make the department “deny the applications outright.”

Obama’s stick-in-the-eye approach to oil exploration at a time when Middle East tensions are flaring sets the stage for a political backlash.

Given his rich history of anti-fossil fuel statements – including promises to make electricity prices “skyrocket” and to “bankrupt” coal-fired utilities – the President is vulnerable to criticism and public outrage.

Opposition political operatives must be drooling over the possibility of producing commercials with Obama’s voice pledging higher energy prices while the video shows gas stations displaying $4 a gallon or higher.

Why is Obama aggressively pursuing a policy that carries such political risk? One possibility is that Obama’s anti-fossil fuel strings are being pulled by billionaire investors such as George Soros and John Doerr and by big business CEOs who have made huge investments in renewable energy and the green economy.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has noted that Soros recently launched a green investment fund to cash in on clean energy technology. Carney has also described the connection between Soros’ support of liberal politicians and advocacy groups that promote green technologies.

In 2009, Soros pledged to invest one billion in clean-energy technologies and an additional $100 million in the Climate Policy Initiative, an organization “whose mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations’ efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.”

The matching investment in public policy is noteworthy. As Glenn Beck reported in his “Crime Inc.” segments on his Fox program, Soros seeks to boost his investments by leveraging his financial support for groups, such as the Center for American Progress, that actively promote Obama’s energy agenda.

Billionaire John Doerr, a managing partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also augments his financial investments with political advocacy.

Having investing early in Amazon and Google, Doerr is one of the top venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. Following this impressive track record in high tech, Doerr has shifted investment focus to clean energy.

Leaving free-market capitalism behind, Doerr used his influence to advance California’s global warming law, which will boost the prospects for his clean energy investments. When Proposition 23, a voter initiative to delay the implementation of the law, was on last fall’s ballot, Doerr donated $2.1 million to fund the campaign that led to its defeat.

Unlike Doerr’s high tech investments, clean energy requires political advocacy for marketplace success. The Achilles’ heel of clean energy is that it can’t compete with fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – on a cost basis.

Accordingly, the boot of government is needed to make fossil fuels more expensive while rewarding the wind and solar industries with lavish subsidies, thereby leveling the economic playing field.

When it comes to energy policy, Obama has not been America’s chosen one, bringing hope and change to the public. He seemingly prefers to be a ventriloquist’s dummy for climate change profiteers.

The failure of cap-and-trade did not end Obama’s onslaught. Facing a new Congress without a progressive majority, Obama used his executive powers to advance policies to drive fossil fuel-based energy costs higher.

Delays in oil drilling permits and a slew of EPA regulations including limits on greenhouse gas emissions are weapons to advance the green economy and bail out Obama’s billionaire masters.

While Soros’ connection to Obama is cloaked through advocacy groups, Doerr’s connection is in plain sight. Doerr was appointed to the President’s economic recovery advisory board. When that group disbanded, Doerr resurfaced in the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which is led by GE CEO Jeff Immelt. On a recent West Coast trip, Obama had a dinner meeting with high tech tycoons at Doerr’s home.

Like Soros and Doerr, Immelt has placed big bets on government laws and subsidies in order to profit from GE’s investments in renewable energy. With the wheels falling off the man-made global warming bandwagon, these business leaders are desperate for government action.

We may never know why Obama is putting his political career on the line for the likes of Soros, Doerr and Immelt.

What we do know, however, is that Obama’s war on fossil fuels is being supported by the rich and powerful - a collection of social and political elites.

Congress should reign in the president’s executive powers. Toward that goal, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 was recently introduced to block the EPA from controlling carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Importantly, the bill has drawn some bipartisan support but more Democrats, especially in the Senate, will be needed for the legislation to pass.

Senators such as Ben Nelson (D-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) among others must decide whether they will represent their constituents or side with Obama and his ruling class puppet masters.


Welcome to the Third World

As Britain suffered through its coldest December in a century, families were forced to choose between keeping homes warm and feeding their children nourishing meals – thanks to climate policies that have forced extensive reliance on wind power and deliberately driven energy prices skyward.

Barely two months later, the UK’s power grid CEO informed the country that its days of reliable electricity are numbered. Families, schools, offices, shops, hospitals and factories will just have to “get used to” consuming electricity “when it’s available,” not necessarily when they want it or need it. A new “smart grid” will be used to allocate decreasing electricity supplies, on a rolling basis or according to bureaucratic determinations as to which consumers most need available power – mostly from wind turbines that provided a pitiful 0.04% of Britain’s electricity during its coldest days last December.

Meanwhile, the EU’s Energy Commissioner warned that German electricity prices are already at “the upper edge” of what society can accept and businesses can tolerate. Taxes, levies and regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming are forcing companies to relocate to other countries and causing “a gradual process of de-industrialization” across Germany.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt called for a full and independent investigation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, its practices and suspect science. The IPCC no longer has integrity or credibility, he said, and some of its researchers “have shown themselves to be fraudsters.”

To all of which, the autocratic European Commission essentially said “Drop dead.” The EU, it decreed, will spend $375 billion (€270 billion) annually to slash CO2 emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

Welcome to the Third World, Europeans, where costly electricity is available only from time to time, at unexpected hours, depending on bureaucratic whims and how much power wind turbines and other “environment-friendly” generators can muster.

Is the USA next in line? The United States is reaping imaginary bounties from its $814-billion “stimulus” spending orgy. It hemorrhaged $223 billion in red ink during February alone – on its way to a projected 2011 deficit of $1.5 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office reports.

Over 13.7 million Americans remain unemployed; another 8.3 million are involuntarily employed only part-time; black unemployment stands at 15.3 percent; and gasoline prices have hit $4 per gallon, foretelling more rough waters ahead for the still fragile US economy.

America depends on abundant, reliable, affordable energy – 85% of it hydrocarbons. Coal generates half of all US electricity, and up to 90% in its manufacturing heartland – versus 1% from wind and solar. Newfound natural gas supplies promise a sea change in US energy supplies and electricity generation. However, oil still powers transportation, shipping and petrochemicals – and in 2010 the United States exported $337 billion to import 61% of this precious liquid fuel.

Thankfully, the Obama Administration, environmentalists and (mostly Democratic) politicians take this situation very seriously, and are doing something about it … according to their parallel universe.

Democrats are willing to trim up to $5 billion from the $3.8 trillion 2011 federal budget (0.15%), while Republicans insist that $57 billion (1.5%) should be “slashed.” As to reducing the deficit by increasing revenues, most of that discussion still centers on raising taxes on whatever “rich” people are still out there. On the energy front, things are truly disconnected from reality.

Unlocking America’s still abundant hydrocarbon resources and unleashing our innovative, hard-driving free enterprise system would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in leasing, royalty and tax revenues for federal, state and local governments. It would put millions back to work … help stanch the flow of red ink … keep tens of billions of crude oil spending and investment in America … and create enormous new wealth, instead of redistributing a dwindling pool of old wealth.

We must drill safely, use fuel more efficiently in vehicles and power plants, and get more from every underground reservoir. And we could do so, if government would allow it.

Just consider the incredible revolution that the genius of American capitalists has presented the world: hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to tap previously inaccessible oil and gas deposits. This technology has turned “depletion” and “sustainability” claims upside down. It has already doubled US natural gas reserves and given North America over a century of recoverable gas, at current consumption rates.

It is also unlocking oil wealth in the vast Bakken shale formation of Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Oil production there has already soared from 3,000 barrels a day five years ago to over 225,000 today. The US Energy Information Administration says it could reach 350,000 barrels a day by 2035; industry sources say it could top a million barrels by 2020. Related oilfield employment has soared from 5,000 to over 18,000 in the same five-year period, and could eventually reach 100,000 jobs. At $100 a barrel, even 350,000 barrels a day could mean $1.6 billion in annual royalties, from Bakken oil alone.

The new Made in America technology is already changing energy, economic and political landscapes in Europe, and will soon do so across the globe. It is a technologically possible and economically affordable solution that generates bountiful jobs and revenues – as opposed to pixie dust solutions that require perpetual subsidies and address speculative problems. Offshore and ANWR drilling could do likewise.

Unfortunately, the White House, Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, and too many in Congress, courts and state legislatures are determined to restrict and obstruct this hydrocarbon revolution. They want to select business winners and losers, force America to convert to expensive, subsidized, unreliable, land-intensive wind, solar and ethanol power – and tell people how much energy they can have, and when.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is using groundless claims about possible groundwater contamination to delay fracking operations. Because Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade, she has rewritten the Clean Air Act to label plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide a “pollutant” and restrict CO2 emissions from power plants, refineries and other facilities. That will further increase energy costs for families and businesses, forcing more companies to lay more people off or close their doors – even as China and India build new coal-fired power plants every week, sending global CO2 levels higher and higher.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has shut down leasing and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, put tens of thousands out of work, ignored court orders to end his moratorium, and issued decrees that make millions of additional onshore and offshore acres off limits to drilling. He has blocked exploration in ANWR because its oil riches won't make us energy independent (as though even massive wind, solar, ethanol and electric car programs would do so).

President Obama wants oil, gas, coal and electricity prices to “skyrocket,” to make “green” energy appear more attractive. Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to “boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe” – over $8 per gallon! Most of all, these anti-hydrocarbon politicians want a self-sustaining political-environmentalist-industrial-public sector union complex based on government subsidies to favored industries and companies, in exchange for campaign contributions that will keep them in power.

This palpable, intolerable insanity must end. It’s time to tell Congress we need real energy for real jobs, real revenues and a revitalized America. And we need it now.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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