Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Snappy Comebacks For Candidates

In order to win an election, a candidate needs to have carefully thought out, well-rehearsed one-liners to respond to difficult questions. Obama was very good at that in the 2008 elections - "I don't feel responsible for what Bill Ayers did when I was seven." "They call me a socialist because I shared my sandwich in elementary school." Completely irrelevant non-sequiturs, but they did the trick.

Suppose you are a candidate and are asked "which climate scientists don't believe in global warming?"

All scientists believe that the climate changes and that man has some effect on the climate. But how much? Richard Lindzen is MIT's top climatologist, and he doesn't believe that humans are having a catastrophic impact on the climate. Same for Freeman Dyson, the world's most brilliant living physicist. There are tens of thousands of others who do not believe that we are having a catastrophic effect on the climate.

Hurricanes are getting worse, how do explain that?

In the year 1900, the city of Galveston was flattened by a hurricane, and 8,000 people died. Do you think that Hurricane Irene was worse than that?

The US has been hit by only one hurricane during the last 36 months - one of the quietest three year periods in history. It has been six years since a major hurricane hit the US. But in the year 1888, the US was hit by seven hurricanes - including two majors. Why do you think hurricanes are getting worse? Did Al Gore tell you that?

Fires are getting worse, how do you explain that?

In the year 1871, dozens of cities around the Great Lakes burned to the ground along with millions of acres of forest. Thousands of people burned to death in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Chicago burned to the ground. Do you think the fires in Texas this year were worse than that?

Heatwaves and droughts are getting worse, how do you explain that?

In June 1934, every region of the country was over 100 degrees, and 80% of the country was suffering drought. Do you read your Steinbeck in high school? You should know this already.

Floods are getting worse, how do you explain that?

In 1927, Vermont had their worst flood on record. That same year, the Mississippi River had it's worst flood in history. In 1931, three million people died in a flood in China. Do you think this year's floods were worse?

Tornadoes are getting worse, how do explain that?

NOAA data shows that severe tornadoes have declined since April 1974, which was the worst month in history for severe tornadoes. 24 of the 25 deadliest US tornadoes occurred prior to 1956. Tornadoes are certainly not getting worse.

What about other countries?

Australia has been having severe droughts and floods for as long as people have lived there. Pakistan had much worse floods in the 1970s. They blamed it on global cooling at the time.

Is this the worst year in history?

There have been many years with comparable or worse weather in the 1880s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1970s. We have recently been blessed with a long spell of mild weather, and just don't remember.


Sampling of Inconvenient Questions for Climate Fear Promoters

This list is from 2008 but should still be useful

How do you explain that global temperatures according to UN data have not increased since 1998 and there has been no significant warming since 1995?

(See: MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen’s March 2008 presentation of data from the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office found the Earth has had “no statistically significant warming since 1995.”- (LINK Here and Here)

Are you aware that even the UN IPCC does not consider climate models to be “predictions” or “forecasts” but merely emission scenarios?

(See high-profile UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, referred to climate models as “story lines.” “In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers ‘what if’ projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios,” Trenberth wrote in journal Nature’s blog on June 4, 2007. He also admitted that the climate models have major shortcomings because “they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.” (LINK)

Are you aware of multiple scientific studies showing the medieval warm period (before SUV’s and human emissions) to be warmer than current temps?

See: 1) A November 2007 study published in Energy & Environment found the Medieval Warm Period “0.3C warmer than 20th century” The study was authored by C. Loehle and titled “A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies.” http://www.ncasi.org/publications/Detail.aspx?id=3025  -

2) A June 29, 2007 scientific analysis by Gerd Burger of Berlin’s Institute of Meteorology in the peer-reviewed Science Magazine challenged a previously touted study claiming the 20th century had been unusually warm. Excerpt: “Burger argues that [the 2006 temperature analysis by] Osborn and Briffa did not apply the appropriate statistical tests that link the proxy records to observational data, and as such, Osborn and Briffa did not properly quantify the statistical uncertainties in their analyses. Burger repeated all analyses with the appropriate adjustments and concluded “As a result, the ‘highly significant’ occurrences of positive anomalies during the 20th century disappear.” (LINK)

How do you explain that CO2 levels have been much higher in the Earth’s history, but have not coincided with human or animal extinction?

(See: Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack of U of Pennsylvania: “There have been times in Earth history when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 5, 10, even 15 TIMES the present concentration, and the climate of Earth still supported animals not unlike ourselves.” (Link)

Can you explain why Greenland has cooled since the late 1930’s and 1940’s?

See: (See: Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt – July 2007 - Link)

Can you explain why Antarctic sea ice has expanded to record levels in recent years?

(See: Peer-reviewed study finds Antarctic fails to warm as climate models predicted – May 7, 2008 – (LINK)  & Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth – March 27, 2008 – (LINK))

Are you aware that Arctic Sea ice has EXPANDED in 2008?

(See: Arctic ice INCREASES by nearly a half million square miles over same time period in 2007 - July 18, 2008 – (LINK) )

Are you aware of the multiple peer-reviewed studies blaming Arctic sea ice reductions on many factors not related to man-made carbon emissions?

(See: Numerous Peer-Reviewed Studies Show Natural Causes of Arctic Warming and Ice Reduction - Jan. 2008 – (LINK))

Are you aware that the Earth is currently in one of the coolest periods in its geologic history?

(See: Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack is a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. Giegengack noted that the history the last one billion years on the planet reveals “only about 5% of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice.” Giegengack also noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler.” - (Link Here & Here)

Are you aware that a recent U.S. Senate report features more than 500 scientists dissenting from man-made climate fears—more than 10 times the number (52) of UN IPCC scientists who signed off on alarmist (and media hyped) Summary for PolicyMakers in 2007.

(See: U.S. Senate Report of over 400 (now 500 dissenting scientists and growing) (For Full Senate Report) See also U.S. Senate Report released in July 2008: ‘Consensus’ On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008 (Link))

Are you aware that many solar scientists and geologists are now warning of a possible coming global cooling?

( See comprehensive report: Global COOLING: 2008 So Far Coolest For at Least 5 Years Says - Plus: Geologist: ‘Global warming of the past 30 years is over’  - Part 1)

How do you explain that an analysis in peer-reviewed journal found COLD PERIODS – not warm periods

– (See INCREASES in floods, droughts, storms, famine – Quaternary Science Reviews April 24, 2008 - (LINK))

How do you explain the recent U.S. government report which found Hurricanes declining, NO increases in drought, tornados, thunderstorms, heat-waves?

The only increases were in computer model scenarios of the future (See: U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) report shows Hurricanes declining, NO increases in drought, tornados, thunderstorms, heat-waves – June 20, 2008 – (LINK)


Even warmist Revkin doesn't sound completely convinced that CO2 is driving fluctuations in Arctic sea ice

Q. Ignatius Rigor was among those who pointed me to a particularly important one-time "flush" (my term) of thick old ice around 1989-90 that had an enduring impact on the proportion of older ice from then on. See this animation by Rigor:

... Is that kind of non-linear event replicated much by models?

Also, given the short time scale of satellite observations, does such pulse-style ice behavior add uncertainty to efforts to link greenhouse-driven warming to recent (post 2000) sea-ice behavior?

... [A] 2. Regarding the attribution: As shown in Fig. 1 of my 2009 PNAS paper, sea ice usually recovers within one year or so from extreme loss events [but if the feedbacks are so positive, why would this happen?] (same conclusion can be drawn from figure 3 of the RealClimate post).


New paper suggests current warm period is natural & shows warming decreases storms

Added this week to The NIPCC Report, a new paper bears "witness to the millennial-scale climate oscillation that has sequentially brought the world the Roman Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cold Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the Current Warm Period naturally, without any need to invoke a similarly oscillating atmospheric CO2 concentration, which further suggests that the Current Warm Period would likely have developed as it has even if the Industrial Revolution and its associated anthropogenic CO2 emissions had never occurred."

The paper also shows global warming results in "less storminess, in contradiction of the common climate-alarmist claim that it typically does just the opposite." In addition, the paper shows sea level rise in the Baltic Sea has greatly decelerated over the past 8000 years.

Reference: Reimann, T., Tsukamoto, S., Harff, J., Osadczuk, K. and Frechen, M. 2011. "Reconstruction of Holocene coastal foredune progradation using luminescence dating -- An example from the Swina barrier (southern Baltic Sea, NW Poland)". Geomorphology 132: 1-16.

Working on the Swina barrier at the southern end of the Baltic Sea, which consists of two sandy spits or depositional landforms (Wolin and Uznam) that extend outward from the seacoast, Riemann et al. (2011)established what they describe as "a detailed and reliable chronology" of these landforms, based on optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of the coastal sediment succession, where the sediment history was derived from the degree of podzolisation, which is based on the much earlier work of Keilhack (1912), who "sub-divided these dunes into three generations (brown, yellow and white) and established a 'classic' dune classification system for the southern Baltic Sea coast." And this sediment history reveals much about the climate history of the region.

The five researchers report that following the Roman Warm Period, which they say "is known for a moderate and mild climate in Europe" that produced brown foredunes, there is a hiatus between the brown and yellow dunes from 470 AD to 760 AD that "correlates with a cold and stormy period that is known as the Dark Ages Cold Period," which they say "is well known as a cooling event in the climatic records of the North Atlantic (Bond et al., 1997; McDermott et al., 2001) and in marine sediment cores from Skagerrak (Hass, 1996)," and which is also associated with a phase of increased aeolian activity in northeast England reported by Wilson et al. (2001).

Next, as expected, comes the Medieval Warm Period. And last of all, Riemann et al. write that "the cold and stormy Little Ice Age (Hass, 1996) correlates to the formation of the transgressive white dune I in the sediment successions, which were dated to between 1540 and 1660 AD," adding that "the Little Ice Age is documented in North and West Europe in plenty of coastal dunefields, and resulted in sand mobilisation and development of transgressive dunes (e.g., Clemmensen et al., 2001a,b, 2009; Wilson et al., 2001, 2004; Clarke et al., 2002; Ballarini et al., 2003; Clemmensen and Murray, 2006; Aagaard et al., 2007; Sommerville et al., 2007; Clarke and Rendell, 2009)," due to a colder climate and increased storminess related to periodic shifts of the North Atlantic Oscillation (Dawson et al., 2002).

Noting that "the systematic accretion of foredunes is accompanied by a moderate climate and a progressive plant cover," the German and Polish scientists go on to say that foredune instability is "related to aeolian sand mobilisation within phases of a decreased plant cover caused by colder and stormier conditions."

And thus it is that numerous sets of dune-derived data bear witness to the millennial-scale climate oscillation that has sequentially brought the world the Roman Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cold Period, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the Current Warm Period naturally, without any need to invoke a similarly oscillating atmospheric CO2 concentration, which further suggests that the Current Warm Period would likely have developed as it has even if the Industrial Revolution and its associated anthropogenic CO2 emissions had never occurred.

And on another note, the results of Reimann et al., together with those of the many other researchers they cite, clearly demonstrate that in this particular part of the world warming brings less storminess, in contradiction of the common climate-alarmist claim that it typically does just the opposite.


Call to abolish British carbon floor price

This sounds very similar to Luther's attack on the sale of indulgences

Ministers should abandon a central pillar of their energy policy and abolish a carbon floor price that amounts to a "tax" on British industry, according to the head of the manufacturers' association.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, told the Financial Times that UK companies were deeply concerned by the cost of the government's ambition to cut carbon dioxide emissions and expand renewable energy.

"There's a fundamental view that the direction of travel, in terms of particularly the renewables targets and the taxation, is wrong," he said.

The last Budget announced a floor price on carbon emissions from 2013 onwards. The aim is to tip the balance of the UK energy mix in favour of nuclear power and renewable technologies by making it more expensive to generate electricity using coal or gas.

But one consequence will be rising electricity bills across the board, with energy-intensive manufacturing particularly exposed. The EEF calculates the floor price will cost British industry œ250m when it begins in 2013 at a rate of œ16 per ton of carbon. The price will then rise each year to reach œ30 per ton by 2020, which would cost industry œ1.2bn.

Business groups have previously urged the government to provide compensation for the extra cost or delay the policy's introduction. But Mr Scuoler said: "We are calling for its abolition." The measure was, he added, "not in line with the government's stated policy of rebalancing the economy, regenerating the British manufacturing sector, encouraging exports".
Chart: carbon floor price

Mr Scuoler described the floor price as "clearly a tax on business", pointing out that no other European Union country is planning a similar measure. This unilateral decision would damage Britain's competitive position.

"Perhaps we in the UK, an advanced economy, should accept - maybe - that our electricity prices will be more expensive than China, India, perhaps even North America," said Mr Scuoler.

"But why on a unilateral basis would you wish to push us into a situation where our cost of energy is more expensive than even our EU partners? There's a non-sequitur there that lies uncomfortably on our shoulders."

The coalition has adopted the toughest carbon reduction targets in the developed world, promising to cut British emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. To achieve this, it aims to generate 30 per cent of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, compared with 7 per cent today.

Such ambitions require investment of œ200bn in new energy infrastructure by 2020, a burden that would inevitably cause electricity bills to rise. Mr Scuoler said: "British manufacturing has a right to be somewhat disappointed."

"Given the rhetoric and some very positive messages from the coalition government post-recession about the importance of British manufacturing, the importance of exporting and the importance of the sector in general, many of these policies are not matched up to that rhetoric," he added.

The government has promised a compensation package before the end of this year to help companies affected by its energy policies. Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, argues that his reforms will cut bills in the long term by reducing the UK's exposure to volatile oil prices. "Getting off the oil hook will make our economy more independent, more secure and more stable," he said earlier this year.

Mr Huhne has argued that his policies will save consumers money whenever oil prices exceed $100 per barrel.

But his analysis is controversial, with experts pointing out that gas prices are the key determinant of electricity bills - and they are becoming less dependent on oil.

Mr Scuoler said: "I'm fearful that some elements of government could be viewing environmental and climate change policy as an article of faith and not adequately using analytical and empirical evidence to support informed decision-making".


Switch to natural gas underway in N. America

Particularly for big trucks

It used to be that natural gas producers holding onto a limited supply of coveted product didn't need to spend time and money on marketing. But with a recent push by energy firms to furiously tap vast shale deposits across North America for the fossil fuel, those days are over.

An abundance of cheap natural gas has industry players the continent over clamouring to advertise the fuel's use for anything from power generation and home heating to the latest craze - transportation.

Espousing the virtues of the cleaner-burning fuel - which produces one-fifth less carbon dioxide than diesel when burned in the engines of heavy trucks, according to Shell Canada - the Canadian arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC revealed this week its big plans to develop infrastructure and promote liquefied natural gas for transportation.

Shell Canada is the most recent to get in the game, joining Encana Corp., Talisman Energy Inc. and other competitors in doing its part to get North America running on natural gas.

The Dutch energy giant's Calgary subsidiary is spearheading the effort by the global firm by promising to supply heavy-duty trucks starting next year with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its Shell Flying J truckstops across Alberta.

At first, the firm will source LNG from a third party while it builds a liquefaction facility to cool gas into a liquid that can power trucks, at its Jumping Pound gas processing facility about 30 kilometres west of Calgary - to be ready by 2013.

Shell won't reveal how much it intends to spend on the effort or its broader push to develop new markets for LNG in transportation, including partnerships announced this week with marine transportation company Wartsila North America, gas-powered engine manufacturer Westport Innovations, General Electric's transportation division and its plans to develop LNG solutions for the mining industry.

"Globally, Shell has been in the LNG business for about 45 years," says Bob Taylor, Shell Canada manager for commercial fuels, business development and marketing.

"Over the past couple of years we've looked at how we can produce LNG in smaller units for things like this, which are really inland applications and transport."

Taylor couldn't offer up how much it would cost trucking companies to refuel but Encana, which is working on a similar project, gave its take.

Eric Marsh, executive vice-president of Canada's top natural gas producer, said depending on the location in North America, LNG for trucks could be 25 to 40 per cent cheaper than diesel and truck companies could pay off the larger price tag of the vehicles in one to four years. "The fuel savings pays off that additional expense," Marsh said.

Encana is building its own liquefaction facility in Strathmore, AB, and hopes to have it done later this year, he noted, pointing to existing projects to build LNG gas stations to fuel trucks operating in the Haynesville shale play in the southern United States with Atlanta Gas and Light committing to supply the product long term - and a potential future plant between Texas and Louisiana.

Encana has 15 drill rigs in Canada running on natural gas, there are other efforts underway to have LNG trucks built for and supplied by Encana as well as compressed natural gas (CNG) projects, including the company's plan to have all its vehicles run on CNG, targeting 200 by the end of 2011.

"It's a new market for Encana and just another great opportunity for us to utilize our vast natural gas resource to create additional markets for us," Marsh said.

Meanwhile Talisman, to find buyers for its British Columbia shale resources, has a deal with South African petrochemical giant Sasol Ltd. to look at building a gas-to-liquids facility in the province that would churn out transportation fuels such as jet fuel and diesel, which fetch far higher prices than natural gas.

Gordon Currie, Calgary-based oil and gas research analyst with Salman Partners Inc., said he's watched Encana and Talisman both look for ways to market gas, a switch from when firms used to have no trouble selling all they could produce.

And chairman and CEO Jeff Boyce of junior producer Sure Energy Inc., a company Currie covers, recently donated $1.5 million of his own money to an Ontario university to fund research into using natural gas in vehicles.

"I think this is a reflection of the fact that we have, now, more natural gas than we know what to do with," Currie said, noting his view "big" infrastructure investment will have to be made before the average car on the road runs on gas.

Damon Fordham, leader for U.S. transportation practice for energy consultancy Project Performance Corp., noted there's been good uptake for natural gas use in urban transit vehicles such as buses, which typically come back and park in the same place to refuel. "The fuelling infrastructure can be controlled more than in public passenger cars," Fordham said.

Alicia Milner, president of Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance, admits there are uptake challenges with natural gas for transportation, but a Natural Resources Canada report earlier this year offers a consensus view: start with medium and heavy vehicles that return to base to refuel then focus on major trucking corridors. "To see a major like Shell invest to create corridors, is an early-stage movement but very encouraging."

Truck operators are worried about the higher price of LNG-powered trucks and lack of resale market, as well whether vehicles will perform, Milner admitted.

Two deployments of LNG vehicles over the next couple of months - 50 trucks by Vedder Transport in British Columbia and 180 from Robert Transport in Quebec and Ontario - are key, she said. "These early projects will be great in creating market confidence in Canada," Milner said.

Todd Thurlow, a senior vice-president at Pace Global energy consultants, said the "tremendous" opportunity he foresees for growth in LNG as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks comes with a front-end cost, though.

"There's something in the order of a $2-billion investment in infrastructure (in the United States) required to make this fuel widely available to heavy-duty trucks," Thurlow said.



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