Monday, November 14, 2011

The ocean acidity hoax

There all sorts of holes in the acidification scare but Jo Nova wanted to hit the thing well and truly on the head. So she got a distinguished chemist to spell out some of the problems with the scare in great detail. The technically-minded will want to read the whole paper but for others I reproduce her summary of it below

First a comment of my own on the ironies involved, however: If the earth really WERE warming that would reduce the acidity "problem", because warmer water would outgas CO2. It is only the present situation where CO2 levels are increasing WITHOUT any temperature rise that could theoretically cause a problem. So whichever way you jump, the Warmist argument loses: Either the earth is not warming or there is no acidity problem -- JR


The ocean acidification threat is a big can of worms. I asked Professor Brice Bosnich to help create a quick reference page on the chemistry and was pleased he could find the time to help. Here’s everything you wanted to know about the basics…

He explains what pH means, and points out that:

Ocean pH varies by 0.3 naturally.

Claims of acidification since 1750 are based on dubious models and few observations.

There are reasons to assume that marine life will not be overly affected by an increase in ocean acidity due to atmospheric carbon dioxide:

Ocean life evolved and survived far higher levels of CO2 for millions of years in the past.

Marine organisms actively create carbonate shells (using energy) which means crustacea, corals and molluscs aren’t automatically prey to pH changes in the same way that say a limestone rock would be.

The world’s oceans may have warmed a mere 0.17C since 1955, hardly a significant threat to marine life.

We also find out that acidic water is added to the ocean from rainfall and floods (and he explains why raindrops will always be acidic).

SOURCE






German Professor Slams Global Warming Science – Calls Mann’s Hockey Stick “A Very Very Nasty Fabrication”

Video at source -- in German

Michael Kr├╝ger at our friends Science Skeptical brings us this jewel of German dissent. Professor Dr. rer. nat. Richard Dronskowski at Aachen Unisversity brings loud applause from what appears to be a lecture hall full of his students as he slams the AGW science and the hucksters behind it.

At the 1.10 mark he calls Al Gore’s film An Inconveninet Truth “inconsistent” and reminds us how scientists warned of cooling” in 1970s. At the 2.25 mark he brings up Michael Mann’s hockey stick chart: "No chart has been so falsified as the hockey stick chart. It’s an embarrassment for the IPCC.”

A little later he referred to it as a “nasty fabrication” that was debunked by a “Canadian think tank”. Dronskowski reminds his audience that the scientists are talking about “tenths of a degree” with error margins “of a full degree” and that “nobody can believe it”. At the 3:42 mark he again repeats: “This hockey stick curve was a very very nasty fabrication designed to spread fear”.

At the 4.00 min mark he shows the GISS temperature chart and reminds us at the 4.50 mark that: "It was supposed to get warmer, but the temperature hasn’t gone anywhere."

He cautioned the audience that “the datasets are very shaky”. At the 5:45 mark he brings up consensus, and states emphatically: "There is absolutely no consensus. Zero consensus!”

And then slams Al Gore’s claim that CO2 caused warming, and not vice versa. At the 7.20 mark he tells the audience that there is huge money in the game…”$100 billion a year flow because of climate change” and calls the government’s attempt to limit the temperature when they can’t even limit health insurance costs as “madness”. At this point the audience applauds loudly.

He then slams the corruptive effects that the funding has on academics: “I know colleagues who run entire institutes only with climate. There’s no way for them to back down, otherwise the institute will be ruined.”

At the 8.25 mark he reminds the audience: "I want to be clear. There is no causal effect! No consensus! Correlation is not proof!”

To illustrate the point he shows how US domestic oil production is a function of rock music quality, which brings thunderous applause from the audience.

This is indeed a surprising development for Germany. Prof Dronskowski should not wake up tomorrow morning and wonder why many other German scientists, who are swimming in climate funding, are suddenly no longer talking to him.

Prof. Richard Dronskowski a chemist and physicist. he has a faculty position at the Solid State and Quantam Chemistry Deapartment at the RWTH Aachen and is the winner of the Otto-Hahn-Medaille Award of the Max-Planck Society. He’s a member of the Collegium of the German Resarch Society, member of the German Physical Society and the American Chemical Society.

SOURCE









Following The Paper Trail Of Mike’s Nature Trick

Steven Goddard

As of 1999, temperatures were going the wrong direction for 70 years, and something had to be done about it



James Hansen and USHCN fixed this in 2000, and made temperatures do what they were supposed to do.



After the adjustment, 1934 and 1998 got relatively shifted by 0.7C. A move which would make Bernie Madoff jealous



So how did they do this? Mainly by adding on to post 1960 temperatures, as seen below.



Tree rings didn’t agree with the phony adjustments, and didn’t show any increase in temperatures after 1960. So Michael Mann had to step in with his nature trick. He replaced the tree ring data post 1960 with the adjusted thermometer data. Then he blamed his and Hansen’s junk science on CO2 affecting the trees.



More HERE (See the original for links)








Global Warming Could Soon Land cuddly Pika on the Endangered List (?)

The American pika, a short-legged, hamster-sized fur ball that huddles in high mountain slopes [AP] and inhabits 10 Western states, may become the first species in the lower 48 states to be listed as endangered due to global warming. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide by May 1 whether or not the pika, whose populations are dwindling, should be studied in depth and included on the endangered species list.

Studies have shown that the little animals have already been forced to higher altitudes because of rising temperatures; one study in particular, from 2005, showed that pikas lived at 5,700 feet above sea level at one point, but now average higher than 8,000 feet. They are now running out of mountain and face possible extinction if average temperatures continue to push higher [The Guardian]. The pika is “feeling an exaggerated brunt of global warming. Unlike others, it can’t move north. It’s stuck” [AP], said Greg Loarie, an environmental lawyer.

Part of the problem is that the pika’s peculiar traits are suited for alpine conditions: dense fur, slow reproductivity and a thermal regulation system that doesn’t do well when temperatures get above about 78 degrees. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room with these guys,” [geologist Erik] Beever said, referring to the small difference between pikas’ mean body temperature and the temperature at which they die [AP]. But not everyone agrees that the pika is endangered. While they face serious threats in certain parts of the West where global warming is expected to produce the most drastic temperature changes in the country, their populations seem to be holding steadier in other areas, such as the Sierra Nevada mountains.

More HERE

Only one problem: It has NOT been warming in the areas where pikas are "dying out". It has in fact been cooling. Steve Goddard has the graphs and links to prove it.




In Energy War, Obama Surrenders US without a Shot

We are in an economic war—and it is bigger than Republicans and Democrats battling over tax increases and spending cuts. It is global.

The stock market has gone up and down, based on news of Europe’s financial solutions one day, and demise the next. Their success or failure impacts the global economy—including the United States.

The various troubled countries: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain are often referred to as the PIIGS. While there are myriad reasons for their difficulties, one not discussed on the nightly news is their lack of natural resources. By comparison, the BRIC countries—those with growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are rich with resources, which they maximize.

America has an abundance of natural resources, yet our policies keep them locked up. We can’t drill in the Gulf. ANWAR is off limits. Mining is nearly impossible due to regulations. “Endangered species” threaten existing supplies.

Meanwhile resource discoveries are being made the world over.

Last week, Repsol announced a new discovery in Argentina—estimated to be more than 900 million barrels of oil. The oil shale find is reported to be Repsol’s largest ever. Argentina’s potential has attracted investment from both majors and independents. Argentina’s rising energy consumption and higher prices make Repsol’s success especially welcome, representing a potential windfall for the country. Argentina is not crying.

On October 20, a “giant” gas discovery was announced off the coast of Mozambique. It is reported that the results of the exploration well “exceed pre-drill expectations and confirm the Rovuma Basin as a world-class natural gas province.” Then, one week later, word came out that the find was 50% greater than originally estimated with up to 22.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. Estimates are expected to increase. Infrastructure, including LNG facilities, will have to be built to support the recent exploration successes with the natural gas expected to be brought to the market in 2018.

The day before the original Mozambique “giant” discovery announcement, it was reported that companies such as ExxonMobil would invest $100 billion to develop and upgrade oil fields in Iraq. The investment is expected to up Iraq’s oil production to at least 6.8 million barrels of oil a day by 2017—making Iraq one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil.

Also, on October 19, reports came out saying that the North Sea Statoil discovery is bigger than originally estimated with a potential of 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent—which would make it the third-largest find ever made on the Norwegian shelf. Production is expected to begin by 2018.

One day earlier, October 18, service provider Odebrecht announced plans to triple its revenues over the next three years. In support of Brazil’s vast deepwater oilfields, the company is spending $5 billion in equipment, from drilling ships and floating oil platforms to pipeline-laying vessels. Odebrecht says: “This year we should [have] revenues of about $500 million and we are going to double that next year, and be at $1.5 billion by 2013.”

This, all in the past couple of weeks.

In late-December 2010, 16 trillion cubic feet of gas was found off the cost of Israel in what is being called the Leviathan Field. The Julia Field was discovered in 2008 in the Gulf of Mexico and is called one of the greatest discoveries of the Gulf with an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil—but the Interior Department is now fighting ExxonMobil over its control.

Clearly there is no energy shortage.

While Europe is not rich in energy resources, they do understand their importance. They know they need energy.

Last week, on November 8, the Nord Stream Pipeline opened and began delivering Russian gas to Germany. With proposed plans to close their nuclear power plants by 2022, Germany needs the resource from Russia—though it does raise the specter of dependence on Russia/Russian energy control. Work is underway to build pipelines from other sources, which will minimize Russian domination.

Two days later, on November 10, President Obama announced a delay of more than a year to the true-shovel-ready XL Pipeline that would have created thousands of jobs and reduced America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The pipeline would have brought both Canadian and northern US oil to refineries in the southern United States. Instead of diversifying our energy supplies and suppliers, we remain reliant on unfriendly countries.

Some might point to the November 8 announcement of a “modest expansion” in offshore leasing to indicate a change in the Obama administration’s attitude—though, in light of his ideological opposition to oil, gas, and coal, the proposed plan is more likely the result of public and industry pressure and the upcoming presidential election. Many of the most promising energy resources in the world will still be off limits.

Worldwide, more and more energy resources are being discovered, developed, and delivered. In the United States, not so much. In the global economic war, America is not poised to win.

SOURCE





A Stupid Energy Policy

If lawmakers really cared about consumers, they would ditch expensive renewable energy mandates that require a subsidized market for resources that are not practical on a large scale. It’s a classic case of putting the cart before the horse; policy came before practical application.

The Department of Energy (DOE) reports that 24 states and the district of Columbia have renewable energy mandates ranging from Maine’s high of 40 percent to Pennsylvania’s low of 8 percent. Also known as a “Renewable Portfolio Standard” (RPS), these policies require that energy providers ignore practicality and price in order to obtain a minimum amount of electricity by a specific date from sources that environmental zealots consider “renewable,” such as solar and wind.

Five other states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont, placate special interest groups while remaining more realistic with “non-binding goals” rather than an RPS.

Does it matter if the resources don’t exist to fulfill the RPS? No. Government will subsidize the manufacturing of those resources. Does it matter if those resources are little more than science projects? No. Government still will subsidize them.

The U.S. doesn’t have a corner on the market of misguided energy policy. Europe is also a major contributor to the myth of enlightened energy policies.

These mandates are rooted in a clean, green fantasy, and a market must be invented to fulfill it. If that isn’t ridiculous enough, government then cannibalizes the market it created by subsidizing companies where the market is already saturated.

Colorado, with its 30 percent RPS, is a perfect case study of an energy absurdity. In particular, its highly subsidized solar panel industry likely is contributing to a global decline in the market that threatens the very fantasy it is trying to fulfill.

General economics of the solar industry

To say the taxpayer-supported solar panel industry is struggling is an understatement. The Economist explains that subsidized manufacturing and purchasing distorted the market. Prices declined but subsidies didn’t. As a result, global “demand for solar panels doubled last year driven by soaring growth in Germany and Italy.”

American manufacturing, much of it subsidized with taxpayer guaranteed loans, ramped up in response to European demand as well as the push to meet U.S. state renewable energy mandates.

What a difference a year makes. Facing a massive debt crisis and the enormous cost of the subsidies to European electricity consumers, governments greatly reduced their subsidies and demand for solar panels plummeted.

The Economist concludes that the market is grossly oversaturated. “In expectation of more roaring growth, the world’s panel-making capacity was tripled over two years, 2010-11...Much of the excess capacity is being shut down, yet there are already plenty of unwanted panels out there. To avoid being stuck with old stock—a ruinous prospect when prices are falling rapidly—panel-makers are now slashing margins.”

This is a disaster for U.S. solar panel manufacturers, even low-cost ones. With a saturated market and cuts in European subsidies, manufacturers are stuck with panels they can’t sell at cost.

First Solar

Tempe-based First Solar, manufacturer of one of the world’s cheapest thin-filmed panel, is in a world of hurt. Its stock price has crashed from a 52 week high of $175.45 to under $50.

Just recently, First Solar CEO Rob Gillette was fired and replace with co-founder Michael Ahern. Not even Ahern has complete faith in the company he started. He sold off “notable quantities of First Solar stock over the years, including about $150 million worth in March and August of this year, and $142 million in February 2010.”

Reuters reports a “massive oversupply of solar panels and the plummeting costs of polysilicon panels are putting pressure on First Solar's core business. The firm's thin-film panels are among the industry's cheapest, but Chinese-made polysilicon panels are still cheaper—and increasingly so.”

“It has become a familiar story in the solar industry—and a key reason why Solyndra, another thin-film solar panel maker, fell apart. Government subsidy cutbacks have reduced demand, while cheaper panel prices have given an edge to Chinese manufacturers.”

If the largest producer of the least expensive, thin-filmed panels is struggling under the weight of too much supply (including cheap Chinese panels), not enough demand, and not enough taxpayer money, why would we subsidize more solar panel manufacturers and further distort the market? Good question.

Colorado, with help from the federal government, has done just that.

Narrowly Avoiding a Colorado ‘Solyndra’

In early 2009, then newly appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) touted the prospects of Ascent Solar, a Colorado solar panel manufacturer, and the plans for a new facility to add as many as 200 new jobs for the state’s “New Energy Economy.” Then-Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Mark Udall, joined their fellow Democrat in offering pleasant platitudes about the “green energy” panacea.

Ritter was effusive with his praise and optimistic about Ascent’s future. “The New Energy Economy is leading Colorado forward and will be one of the keys to bringing us out of this recession. Colorado and Ascent Solar’s success are a model for how America can and must re-tool our entire economy,” declared Ritter. Even the local media couldn’t help but promote such rosy projections.

Fast-forward less than two years. Ascent, perhaps recognizing the fragility of the market, or at the very least, an unprofitable business model, conducted a “market pivot” and a change in business strategy. That switch meant cutting staff—instead of growth of nearly 200 jobs Ascent pared its staff back by half, mostly in production.

All of this occurred while Ascent had reached the ‘due diligence’ phase of the infamous DOE loan guarantee program, with the firm asking for $275 million in taxpayer assistance. But the change in business plans forced Ascent to reconsider its application and the request was quietly pulled—receiving almost no media coverage months after the announcement of DOE consideration.

The decision elicited just a few lines in its 10-Q filing for the first six months of 2011. “On February 23, 2011, the DOE informed us that our submission was selected for due diligence review by the DOE. Timing and funding requirements under the loan guarantee program did not correlate with our revised business plan and consequently, in April 2011, we informed the DOE that we were withdrawing our submission from further consideration under the program,” said Ascent.

Or perhaps it also had something to do with the $85 million write-down that Ascent would incur in altering its business plan, on top of the nearly $90 million in losses it had already accumulated in just five years. Measured against just a little more than $8.6 million in sales over the same time frame, Ascent was nowhere near profitability.

The DOE, however, saw fit to advance the company’s application to the ‘due diligence’ phase. But it would not be American taxpayers on the hook this time, as Asian investors made a $437 million last-minute bailout of the company.

But the consolidation of companies isn’t an indicator of the health of the industry, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A worldwide price plunge in solar manufacturing has forced weaker (read: not viable) companies to merge or close.

So, without government subsidies there would be almost no supply of solar modules, but without government subsidies there is almost no demand. Artificial markets are doomed to failure. At this juncture, only low-cost Chinese manufacturers may stay afloat with more limited competition, while that country maintains a near-monopoly on the precious, non-green rare earth minerals critical to solar manufacture. Oh boy.

Despite Ascent’s retraction, Colorado is home to DOE recipients, including Goldman-Sachs subsidiary Cogentrix and its $90.6 million loan, and the darling of local Democratic donor Pat Stryker’s Abound Solar, which received a $400 million guarantee.

GE plans to build the country’s biggest solar plant in Colorado, a $300 million project. Their source for inspiration? First Solar. Both make the more harmful Cadmium telluride panels. And who does GE put directly at risk in the fragile solar market? According to the New York Times, it’s Abound Solar.

All while GE itself stands to receive more than $1.5 billion in government loans and grants for a windmill project in Oregon, despite being a company with $170 billion market cap and paying virtually no federal income taxes in 2010.

Considering that almost any DOE or any government subsidy these days is charged to the country’s credit card as debt financing, these government subsidies are actually turning into the dollars that China uses to subsidize its own solar firms. Financing not only your company but also that of your competition is sheer government malfeasance and economic suicide.

Conclusion

To say that both national and state energy policies on renewables – especially solar – are absurd is unfair to the word absurd. The fantasy of “green energy” as policy requires that government mandate, create, and, then, subsidize an economically impractical source of energy. It makes no sense. Just look at Ascent, Abound, Solyndra, First Solar, and, of course, consumers .

The Independence Institute’s environmental policy center estimates that Colorado’s RPS will cost Xcel Energy (our primary electricity supplier) ratepayers more than $100 million in 2011 alone. That’s just one year in one state.

In its most recent compliance plan, Xcel admits what many “green” energy zealots won’t, that without massive taxpayer subsidies, renewable energy isn’t economically viable.

Europe is also realizing how expensive it is and is slashing subsidies. A recent report predicts electricity prices will go up 100 percent by 2050.

At least one elected official in the U.S. has come to his senses. Maine Governor Paul LePage recently stated that his state must get rid of its job-killing 40 percent RPS because it raises energy costs putting the state at an economic disadvantage.

It is time for more common sense such as Gov. LePage demonstrated. Government must stop enabling the fantasies of green energy zealots with renewable energy mandates and massive taxpayer subsidies for failed companies and their science projects.

SOURCE

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