Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The current U.S. climate extremes are due to global warming -- Natch

Everything is, after all (Even though we haven't had any global warming since 1998). Anthony Watts is a bit more specific:

I cringe every time I see stories like the one being pushed in the Associated Press today by AP science writer Seth Borenstein: My Way News - This US summer is `what global warming looks like' Even Drudge picked it up.

The amount of unsupported speculation trying to be passed off as science is nothing more than the classic appeal to authority. In this case, the "authority" is NCAR's Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a man with so much hatred for alternate viewpoints that he refused to remove the holocaust word "denier" from his keynote address to the American Meteorological Society.

This reminds me of the Russian heat wave of 2010. The same people made essentially the same comments, then months later the peer reviewed literature (published by NOAA researchers no less) said that it was caused by natural variation.a blocking high pressure pattern. That was followed up by another paper saying the same thing:

We have essentially the same thing happening here, a persistent quasi-stationary weather pattern, part of the normal natural variation.

As for the derecho [a long-lived, straight-line windstorm], it is hardly new. The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877. Further, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has catalogued them through the years. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, climatology, the Washington DC area gets a derecho about once every four years:

As I said in my essay, The idea that the recent derecho is linked to global warming is pure folly spun by people that wish to exploit any remotely plausible situation for political purposes. It happens on a regular basis, for example when they try to link tornado outbreaks to global warming:

Or how about the disparity in "weather is not climate except when we say it is" blame game: New York Times Blames 2009?s Record Cold on Natural Factors - But Blamed Record Warmth in 2000 on Man-Made Global Warming!

Given how badly global warming is faring in the minds of the public according to the last Washington Post/Stanford poll: Global warming no longer Americans' top environmental concern, poll finds is clear they are desperate to sell any connection because the public will probably not hear about the science studies that will follow.

It is another shameful attempt to do just that by Dr. Kevin Trenberth aided by Seth Borenstein's media bully pulpit. I will give Borenstein at least one credit though, he asked Dr. John Christy what he thought about it and printed it:

"history is full of such extremes, said John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He's a global warming skeptic who says, "The guilty party in my view is Mother Nature."`

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

"Great Green Fleet" sails, meets stiff headwinds in Congress

A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon's controversial green fuels initiative.

In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the Navy has taken to calling the "Great Green Fleet," the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.

Conventionally powered ships and aircraft in the strike group will burn the blend in an operational setting for the first time this month during the 22-nation Rim of the Pacific exercise, the largest annual international maritime warfare maneuvers. The six-week exercise began on Friday.

The Pentagon hopes it can prove the Navy looks as impressive burning fuel squeezed from seeds, algae and chicken fat as it does using petroleum.

But the demonstration, years in the making, may be a Pyrrhic victory.

Some Republican lawmakers have seized on the fuel's $26-a-gallon price, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel. They paint the program as a waste of precious funds at a time when the U.S. government's budget remains severely strained, the Pentagon is facing cuts and energy companies are finding big quantities of oil and gas in the United States.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the program's biggest public booster, calls it vital for the military's energy security.

But to President Barack Obama's critics, it is an opportunity to accuse the U.S. leader of pushing green energy policies even if they don't make economic sense. The bankruptcy of government-funded solar panel maker Solyndra last year was a previous example of that, they say.

Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed outrage over the costs of the fuel at a hearing earlier this year.

"I don't believe it's the job of the Navy to be involved in building ... new technologies," he said. "I don't believe we can afford it."

But the U.S. Defense, Energy and Agriculture departments are moving ahead with their plans, jointly sponsoring a half-a-billion-dollar initiative to foster a competitive biofuels industry.

Mabus and officials at the Energy and Agriculture departments announced on Monday that they would make $30 million in matching funds available for companies working to produce large-scale biofuels plants. A second phase sometime next year is expected to provide another $70 million in follow-on funding.


Monbiot retreats again: Admits "peak oil" was wrong

He also likes nukes these days

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil - the decline of global supplies - is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike.

Among environmentalists it was never clear, even to ourselves, whether or not we wanted it to happen. It had the potential both to shock the world into economic transformation, averting future catastrophes, and to generate catastrophes of its own, including a shift into even more damaging technologies, such as biofuels and petrol made from coal. Even so, peak oil was a powerful lever. Governments, businesses and voters who seemed impervious to the moral case for cutting the use of fossil fuels might, we hoped, respond to the economic case.

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.

A report by the oil executive Leonardo Maugeri, published by Harvard University, provides compelling evidence that a new oil boom has begun. The constraints on oil supply over the past 10 years appear to have had more to do with money than geology. The low prices before 2003 had discouraged investors from developing difficult fields. The high prices of the past few years have changed that.

Maugeri's analysis of projects in 23 countries suggests that global oil supplies are likely to rise by a net 17 million barrels per day (to 110 million) by 2020. This, he says, is ''the largest potential addition to the world's oil supply capacity since the 1980s''. The investments required to make this boom happen depend on a long-term price of $70 a barrel - the current cost of Brent crude is $95. Money is now flooding into new oil: a trillion dollars has been spent in the past two years; a record $600 billion is lined up for 2012.

The country in which production is likely to rise most is Iraq, into which multinational companies are now sinking their money, and their claws. But the bigger surprise is that the other great boom is likely to happen in the US. Hubbert's peak, the famous bell-shaped graph depicting the rise and fall of American oil, is set to become Hubbert's Rollercoaster.

Investment there will concentrate on unconventional oil, especially shale oil (which, confusingly, is not the same as oil shale). Shale oil is high-quality crude trapped in rocks through which it doesn't flow naturally.

There are, we now know, monstrous deposits in the US: one estimate suggests that the Bakken shales in North Dakota contain almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia (though less of it is extractable). And this is one of 20 such formations in the US. Extracting shale oil requires horizontal drilling and fracking: a combination of high prices and technological refinements has made them economically viable.

So this is where we are. The automatic correction - resource depletion destroying the machine that was driving it - that many environmentalists foresaw is not going to happen. The problem we face is not that there is too little oil, but that there is too much.

There is enough oil in the ground to deep-fry the lot of us, and no obvious means to prevail upon governments and industry to leave it in the ground. Twenty years of efforts to prevent climate breakdown through moral persuasion have failed, with the collapse of the multilateral process at Rio de Janeiro last month. The world's most powerful nation is again becoming an oil state, and if the political transformation of its northern neighbour is anything to go by, the results will not be pretty.

Humanity seems to be like the girl in Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth: she knows that if she eats the exquisite feast laid out in front of her, she too will be consumed, but she cannot help herself. I don't like raising problems when I cannot see a solution.

But right now I'm not sure how I can look my children in the eyes.


The Green Energy Myth

John Stossel

Last week, another subsidized company, Abound Solar, joined Solyndra in bankruptcy. Taxpayers lost $70 million. Sterling Burnett, of the National Center for Policy Analysis, lists other companies you funded. 6 went bankrupt:

- Solyndra: (awarded $528 million)

- Beacon Power ($39 million)

- EnerDel ($118 million)

- Babcock & Brown ($178 million)

- Solar Trust of America ($2.1 billion)

- Abound Solar ($400 million)

Many more struggle:

- A123 ($300 million): One factory, financed by government money, made defective batteries.

- Fisker Auto ($529 million)'s electric cars shut down in their testing phase. Why? Because Fisker used A123's defective batteries.

- First Solar ($3 billion) had the worst performing stock on the S&P 500 in 2011.

- Johnson Controls ($299 million): When Obama spoke at this company's headquarters in Michigan last August, he said this company builds high-tech batteries that help America lead the world in manufacturing. But now they shut down a US plant.

- Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million): One auditor of Nevada Geothermal expressed "significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

- AREVA ($2 billion): Shareholders of AREVA lost over 60% of their money last year.

- SunPower ($1.2 billion): This company hired the son of the Congressman who helped it secure a government-backed loan. At one point, it was the sixth most shorted stock on the New York Stock Exchange. It was sued for a variety of reasons, including "gross mismanagement, breach of fiduciary responsibility, unjust enrichment and abuse of control."

- BrightSource ($1.6 billion): This company spends more than half a million dollars on lobbying, and hired Joe Biden's former Chief of Staff. It admits that its cash condition is "perilous," spent millions of dollars on relocating turtles, and cancelled its IPO because of "poor market conditions."

Unlike private investors, bureaucrats aren't guided by profit and loss. Your tax money pays for daydreams, and for projects backed by the bureaucrats' friends.

Sadly, the loan guarantees will continue. Both parties support crony capitalism. Welfare for the rich is good politics. But it sure is bad for America.


Shale gas is giving the Greenies just what they have been asking for

How frustrating for them! What will they do now? Easy answer: Move the goalposts

For US energy-related carbon emissions, fuel switching to gas is back to the future. After the first quarter, the USA's 2012 emissions are falling sharply again and may drop to 1990 levels, or just slightly above that important milestone, according to data in EIA's latest Monthy Energy Review.

America's energy related carbon emissions fell about 7.5%, during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011. And first quarter 2012 emissions are approximately 8.5% lower than emissions in the first quarter of 2010.

Total energy carbon emissions were 5,473 million tons in 2011 and last year fell below the 1996 mark of 5,501 million tons.

The first quarter 2012 reduction of 7.5% makes it possible that this year emissions will fall back essentially to the 1990 level of 5,039 million tons. That is shockingly good news.

The 1990 level of carbon emissions is an important measuring stick, as it is often used as a critical data point for judging progress in reducing a nation's carbon emissions.

Why are US carbon emissions plummeting back to 1990 levels?

First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production, as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency. Yet, the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, is the key driver of falling carbon emissions, especially in the last 12 months.

As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal's 100 year reign on top of electricity markets. Let's remember the speed and extent of gas's rise and coal's drop: coal had 52% of the market in 2000 and 48% in 2008.

Apart from power production, reductions of carbon emissions from the transportation sector since 2007 are pushing down US Carbon emissions. First quarter 2012 transportation emissions declined by about 0.6%, compared to the same period in 2011. Rising fuel efficiency and some switching to lower carbon fuels are the main causes of falling transportation emissions.

The bottom line is that America's carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011.

But the shale gas revolution makes a reality many things recently thought impossible. It was thought impossible to slash carbon US carbon emissions back to 1990 levels by 2012. It was thought impossible to massively, quickly cut carbon emissions and, at the same time, have lower energy bills.

Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!


Shale gas reserves looking very good in Britain

Despite the desperate hopes of the many who want to dismiss any impact of UK shale as inconsequential, that old trouble called facts keeps getting in the way.

The recovery rate of Cuadrilla's 200TCF resource would range from 5 to 40%. How large the recovery would be depends on the results of further drilling and future technology. To argue today that it wont' mean much is rather pointless, especially because "only" a 5% recovery rate for example still would supply over four years of total UK usage. That sounds like a yawn until understanding at today's prices it would have a value of 'only' œ70 billion pounds taxable at 62%.

Cuadrilla are on the public record as saying that their estimate is conservative, but an investor presentation by Igas just to the south of the Cuadrilla concession shows that the scale of the Bowland resource shows potential to expand. Igas are already on the record as saying that their first serious exploration for shale at Ince Marshes near Ellesmere Port Cheshire show a recoverable reserve of over 4 TCF. This from the Chairman's statement shows how the company is now positioning themselves:
Since 1 January 2011 we have moved from being a non-operated partner having equity interests in CBM licences under appraisal, to delivering material hydrocarbon production, having full control (as operator) and ownership (100% in most cases) of our assets and having early indications of significant shale resource potential.

Just as DECC has a sentimental attachment to Peak OIl, many UK operators continue publicly to talk about CBM. CBM was the reason most got their license in the first place, but luckily under UK regulation the license is for hydrocarbons including gas and oil thousands of feet below the coal layer. CBM has trundled along for years. I continue to be amazed how companies can do almost nothing in the way of activitiy but still continue to exist, but shale is changing the dynamics at least at Igas:
Successful appraisal of our unconventional resource potential continued with Ince Marshes-1 well, which was spudded on 4 November 2011. This well was planned to log and core the coals in an area around which less was known than elsewhere in our portfolio. The entire coal sequence was encountered shallower than anticipated and the decision was taken to continue to drill into the deeper horizons to better understand the geology and resource potential of the area. While it was anticipated that shale would be encountered, the results of the drilling, the logs and samples received, completely surpassed our expectations. We encountered and logged a significant Bowland Shale section of approximately 1,000ft. The well was TD`d in the Bowland Shale due to the limitations imposed by the CBM well design criteria. The well was suspended so that it might be re-entered and deepened at a later stage to fully appraise the entire thickness of the Bowland Shale. The logs and samples were sent for independent analysis. These results indicate a resource in excess of twice the pre-drill estimate and with the total organic carbon (?TOC?) observed between 1.2 and 6.9 (average 2.7) and initial analysis of the samples support our view that we may have discovered a potentially world class shale resource. Clearly, further wells and analysis are required to fully appraise the shales and critically flow tests need to be performed, however our results combined with those of operators in neighbouring licences in the Bowland Shale are extremely encouraging.

Combine the caution of public statments by public companies and English reticence, and extremely encouraging sounds like just that. As I've noted before 1,000 feet of shale is world class shale all by itself. Within the investor presentation geological data allows us to make some educated guesses.

We already know that Cuadrilla have revealed over 3,000 feet shale at Preece Hall. The question is how big is the resource. Cuadrilla have been stymied by the seismicity issue from investigating further to see a) if they can get the gas out of the ground and b) if Preece Hall was a fluke and there isn't much gas elsewhere.

Igas figures show what could be confirmation that the Cuadrilla and Igas PEDL's have a lot of gas, since now we see that forty miles south of Preece Hall the Bowland Shale is still 1000 feet thick. In other words, the surface extent is as healthy as the thickness.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)


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