Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chinese scientists diss global warming

They have surveyed the available scientific evidence and find only uncertainty in it. The Abstract of their paper is below. The full paper is here (PDF)
Global warming, human-induced carbon emissions, and their uncertainties

By FANG JingYun et al.

In recent decades, there have been a number of debates on climate warming and its driving forces. Based on an extensive literature review, we suggest that (1) climate warming occurs with great uncertainty in the magnitude of the temperature increase; (2) both human activities and natural forces contribute to climate change, but their relative contributions are difficult to quantify; and (3) the dominant role of the increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (including CO2) in the global warming claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is questioned by the scientific communities because of large uncertainties in the mechanisms of natural factors and anthropogenic activities and in the sources of the increased atmospheric CO2 concentration. More efforts should be made in order to clarify these uncertainties.

Climate threat is now local, not global

Since there's nothing happening globally, this is a logical step -- for them

Der Spiegel reports today how the UN has just come out with a new report that now claims the big threat is local heat waves and freak storms. That’s quite a change from global-wide warming and sea level rise.

Remember how for years and years UN scientists, armed with their mighty models, warned the planet faced massive hurricanes, rapid sea level rise to global-wide warming? Funny how we’ve been hearing very little about that lately. We’ve gone from “global warming” to “spot heating” and local storms.

Maybe it has something to do with the hard statistics showing no real hurricanes hitting the USA in over 3 years or so. In fact it’s been yet another year with not a hurricane hitting the coast. Indeed tropical cyclone activity looks everything but out of control, and has been taming big time for 20 years! See: Ryan Maue. Can’t dupe the public with that anymore.

Even worse (if you’re an alarmist) is that sea levels are dropping! See Steve Goddard’s site here. They’ve been showing a declining trend over the last couple years. Oh dear! oh dear! The models never predicted that.

These disappearing horrors, once their favorites, have turned into shock and awe over the warmist camp. It’s panic time for them. How on Earth are they now supposed to spread fear and panic when all their old horror scenarios are dissolving before their very eyes?

The answer of course is to trot out new ones, this time they’re using horrors where the statistics are incomplete, thus making it difficult to disprove alleged increasing trends. Not only that, their models have suddenly begun to show they’re coming! And we all know how flawless their models are.

Der Spiegel reports today on how a new UN study has now just come up with local extreme heat waves as the next man-made climate disaster. It’s perfect – man-made heat waves are now lurking somewhere out there, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting regions and fry unprepared citizens. It could happen anywhere, and you may be next! The UN cites Russia and Texas as compelling evidence. Also waiting to ambush locally are storms and flash floods, so says the UN.

But even Der Spiegel is not so convinced and adds: "This year other studies show no increase in weather extremes: Winter storms in the northern hemisphere have been trending less, report scientists in the magazine ‘Tellus’. The same goes for river flooding in USA. That US rivers are being influenced by man-made climate change cannot be discerned, the US Geological Service summed up in October.”

Global sea level rise and global-scale warming are obviously dead. Looks like a tough road ahead for warmists and their desperate efforts to keep the climate Halloween party going.


Graft Grows with Government Gifts to Green COs

If you thought the green company graft ended when the Department of Energy’s Cash by Suckers program expired at the end of September, you are mistaken.

The Cash by Suckers program was the DOE program under which failed solar company Solyndra stuck taxpayers with a half-a-billion dollar bill.

Yet despite the expiration of one program, the US government is still giving money to so-called “green” companies under another Obama program. But rather than giving money as loan guarantees as the DOE was doing, this money is an outright gift to private companies with no strings attached by the US Treasury.

According to a press release by US Geothermal, the company just received a bridge loan in anticipation of a $10 million cash grant from the United States Treasury under its Section 1603 program.

The Section 1603 program was designed to pay for “green” purchases under the, ahem, American Recovery Act. In essence, it makes the $10 million received by US Geothermal a gift from US taxpayers to the company.

And that’s just the tip of the government’s green largesse for US Geothermal, a company that generates power through geothermal energy. At the end of August the company received a $100 million loan guarantee under Obama’s Cash by Suckers program just as the program was set to expire. Interestingly the project lender for the US Geothermal loan isn’t a private bank, as usual, but rather the Federal Financing Bank, a bank wholly-owned by US taxpayers.

Generally under the DOE loan program the taxpayers have only been on the hook for 80 percent of the loan.

But in the case of US Geothermal via the Federal Financing Bank, the US government is effectively on the hook for the entire $100 million loan because US taxpayers own the bank.

The Solar Energy Industry Association, the lobbying arm for the nationwide solar scheme, says that the US government has thus far “awarded 3,156 grants (2,982 for solar electric technology and 174 for solar heating & cooling technology) for more than 6,300 projects totaling $1.33 billion and supported over $4.44 billion in solar investment in 46 states,” under the Section 1603 program.

When they talk about supporting solar investment what they really mean is that they gave solar investors gifts of $1.33 billion courtesy of the US taxpayer.

In fact, the Washington Post recently detailed how the US government has spent $171 billion in various energy schemes since 1961 with little or nothing to show for it.

“Not a single one of these much-ballyhooed initiatives is producing or saving a drop or a watt or a whiff of energy,” writes Steven Mufson in the Post, “but they have managed to burn through far more taxpayer money than the ill-fated Solyndra.

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute’s Downsizing Government echoes the claim of waste when he writes:

Federal energy research has a poor track record. With regard to fossil fuels research, for example, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded: “Federal programs have had a long history of funding fossil-fuel technologies that, although interesting technically, had little chance of commercial implementation. As a result, much of the federal spending has not been productive.” That is a polite way of saying that these programs have been a waste of taxpayer money.

So why has the Obama administration continued to pin their hopes on jumpstarting the economy with green schemes that fail the economy and the taxpayer?

Because the schemes fill political coffers. According to Heritage, a new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer shows that 80 percent of the money from the DOE Cash by Suckers program went to companies that were supporters of Obama.

According to Schweizer:

[A]n examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.

Indeed, Goldman Sachs, which has contributed close to $40 million in political donations since 1989 with 60 percent of it going to Democrats, owns 5 million shares of US Geothermal.

Still, don’t bank on the company, even with government help.

Officers have been selling the stock since last year at prices above $1.00 while institutions have liquated 4.8 million shares recently.

The stock has traded down to .48 cents recently with a market capitalization of about $40 million on total revenue of $3 million.

How do you pay interest on a $100 million loan with $3 million in revenues? A $10 million gift from the federal government is a good start. But as to the rest?

Go ask our Investor-in-Chief Obama.


EPA: By 2025, Pigs Will Fly

Washington’s press corps this afternoon dutifully parroted the White House announcement that by 2025, cars must get 54.5 mpg. And we’ll put humans on Neptune.

The EPA said the new 900-page regulation will require a 5 percent gain in fuel efficiency per year, will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, and will provide “net societal benefits of $420 billion,” whatever that means. These are carnival-barker numbers. “Drink our serum and you’ll be a foot taller!”

But for harder numbers, how are the automakers doing on the more immediate EPA mandate of 35.5 mpg by 2015? They’re not even close.

Take, for example, the best-selling car in America: the brand-new, totally redesigned, state-of-the-art, four-cylinder, base model 2012 Toyota Camry (255,000 units sold far this year) that will still be Toyota’s standard-bearer three years from now. Its fuel economy is just 28 mpg. That’s the average American car.

Indeed, 15 years ago, the Camry got 23 mpg, meaning that its fuel economy has improved at 1.5 percent each year. Now the high priests of the EPA are requiring that it improve 5 percent per year over the next 15 years.

And they’ll mandate magic wands to get us there.


Will Blocking Keystone XL Increase GHG Emissions?

Greenies don't care. They know what they hate

Last week, after three years of environmental review, public meetings, and public comment, President Obama postponed until first quarter 2013 a decision on whether or not to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline — the $7 billion, shovel-ready project to deliver up to 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Obama’s punt, which Keystone opponents hope effectively kills the pipeline, is topic-of-the-week on National Journal’s Energy Experts Blog. So far, a dozen ”experts” have posted, including yours truly.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention at all over the past 40 years, you may suspect that most Keystone opponents want to kill the pipeline just because they hate oil and oil companies — even as they fill up their tanks to drive to the next demonstration. Bill McKibben, lead organizer of the anti-Keystone protest rallies outside the White House, lives in Vermont. On the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert asked McKibben: ”You’re from Vermont? Did you ride your bicycle down here? Or did you ride ox cart? How did you get down here? Or do you have a vehicle that runs on hypocrisy?”

If we take them at their word, McKibben and his climate guru, NASA scientist James Hansen, oppose Keystone because they believe it will contribute to global warming. How? The cutting-edge method for extracting oil from tar sands is a process called steam assisted gravity drainage. SAGD uses natural gas to heat and liquefy bitumen, a tar-like form of petroleum too viscous to be pumped by conventional wells, and burning natural gas emits carbon dioxide (CO2). So their gripe is that replacing conventional oil with tar sands oil will increase CO2 emissions from the U.S. transport sector. Maybe by only 1% annually,* but to hard-core warmists, any increase is intolerable.

Enter the Law of Unintended Consequences. If McKibben and Hansen succeed in killing the pipeline, petroleum-related CO2 emissions might actually increase!

Charles Drevna of the National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) made this point on the aforementioned National Journal energy blog:
A study last year by Barr Engineering found that shipping more Canadian oil to Asia and shipping more oil from other parts of the world to the United States would increase greenhouse gas emissions, because of the long sea voyages. Barr Engineering called this the crude oil shuffle. So using more Canadian oil in the United States would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Barr Engineering study analyzes the impacts on CO2 emissions of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that effectively bars U.S. imports of Canadian tar sands oil. Because global petroleum demand is growing, Canada would continue to produce tar sands oil even if the USA adopts an LCFS. However, instead of shipping the oil to the USA, Canada would ship the oil to China. At the same time, to meet U.S. demand that the LCFS does not allow Canada to fill, Middle East countries would ship oil to the USA that would otherwise go to China. The Canadian oil re-routed to China and Mideastern oil re-routed to the USA would travel by tankers, which burn fuel and emit CO2. Longer transport routes mean higher CO2 emissions. From the report:
Under the base case, crude is transported approximately 8,500 to 9,000 miles from Edmonton [Canada] to Chicago and from Basrah [Iraq] to Ningbo [China]. Under the crude shuffle case, total transport distance nearly triples, with crude transported approximately 22,300 to 22,700 miles from Basrah to Chicago and from Edmongton to Ningbo. Resulting GHG emissions are approximately twice as high on a total basis (for any of the crude displacement scenarios considered). . . .Under all scenarios considered, the crude shuffle results in emissions that are approximately twice as great as the emissions associatd with current base-case crude transport patterns.

Although killing Keystone would not ban imports of Canadian tar sands oil, as would an LCFS, it would effectively block much of the forecast 830,000 daily barrels of tar sands from reaching U.S. refineries. That, in turn, would induce similar re-routing of international oil flows. Each barrel “shuffled” to more distant markets would have a bigger carbon footprint than a barrel of Canadian crude shipped via Keystone to the USA.

* The State Department estimates that full operation of the Keystone pipeline would produce incremental greenhouse gas emissions of 3 million to 21 million metric tons of CO2 annually (ES-15). For perspective, the U.S. transport sector in 2009 generated 1,854.5 million metric tons of CO2.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

There Are No “Natural Resources”

Resources are created by human activity. I made exactly that point in 1974 -- JR

His name is not found in economics textbooks or histories of economic thought. Where it does appear, his Germanic surname is often misspelled. His contribution is virtually unknown in the world’s vast mineral-resource industries today. Government policies owe little or nothing to him. Yet Erich Zimmermann (1888–1961) developed a new theory to explain why fixity and depletion were the wrong way to view minerals in an economic and business sense.

Zimmermann’s 1933 World Resources and Industries began a line of analysis that would explain a paradox of economic life—the growth of supposedly “depletable” supply, whether measured as current production or known reserves. …. Economists from Jevons forward focused on a conception of known resource quantities that, by definition, depleted as they were mined and consumed. Future production costs would rise as mining progressed from superior to inferior deposits. Resource prices were destined to increase in the face of continuing demand and, certainly, demand growth. The increasing scarcity of mineral resources might be gradual or rapid, but the direction was not in doubt, even allowing for improved exploration and extraction technology.

Zimmermann rejected this outside-in view that saw resources as a knowable, fixed quantity. Such a perspective was for the natural sciences, not economics. Instead, he started from the inside out: “the appraising mind of the economic decision-maker.” Resources, defined as “the environment in the service of man,” exist only from “human wants and abilities.” Resources without man are not resources. The interaction between man and environment is central.

Resources to Zimmermann are not fixed, permanent things but what technology creates for want satisfaction at any moment in time. Coal and copper were not resources once and may not be resources at some future time. Resources come in and out of existence, part of what economist Joseph Schumpeter would call creative destruction. “Creating the better,” Zimmermann stated, “we must often destroy the good.” Different resources, Zimmermann continued, are more than variety; they are potential substitutes. Substitution grows from the cumulative nature of scientific discovery where “each invention gives rise to numerous others.” This insight would be seized by later thinkers to bring Zimmermann’s functional theory of resources to a grand conclusion—recognition of the vast potential of man to overcome, even overwhelm, diminishing returns and the “fixity” of resources….

Physical to functional; objective to subjective; absolute to relative; static to dynamic—Zimmermann presented a real world theory to help intellectuals, industrialists, and policymakers solve the paradox of nondepleting depletable resources.



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1 comment:

slktac said...

Not everyone finds the Keystone Pipeline questionable because they don't like oil. My objection is it goes through the middle of an aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer is vital to the Midwest. If we are going to transport oil shale through or above that aquifer, there has to be demonstrable ways of dealings with leaks and spills. Not theoretical ideas--the company must PROVE it can handle a leak or spill and remove the oil with only traces left. Then we can talk.