Monday, December 10, 2012

Lots of fun today:

Cherries anyone?

The academic journal article below is amusing.  It could almost be a classic case study of cherrypicking.  They say that warming over the past 20 years has been consistent with predictions but omit to mention a that ALL that warming took place in the first 10 years!  In other words, the CURRENT trend is the opposite of what they predicted

Assessment of the first consensus prediction on climate change

David J. Frame et al.


In 1990, climate scientists from around the world wrote the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It contained a prediction of the global mean temperature trend over the 1990–2030 period that, halfway through that period, seems accurate. This is all the more remarkable in hindsight, considering that a number of important external forcings were not included. So how did this success arise? In the end, the greenhouse-gas-induced warming is largely overwhelming the other forcings, which are only of secondary importance on the 20-year timescale.


Pesky!  Examining the evidence for global warming makes you more skeptical

Even when the "evidence" is presented by Warmists!

Republicans and Democrats have been sharply divided on the issue: a recent Pew Research Poll found that 85 percent of Democrats believe in climate change while less than half of Republicans do. And a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that conservative media outlets like FOX News and the Wall Street Journal routinely present misleading information on the state of climate science, while free-market organizations such as the Heartland Institute have planned anti-climate change educational programs.

Cook and his colleagues wanted to see what actually would change conservative minds. He asked a group of 225 people to fill out a survey, in which they rated their belief in human-caused climate change on a scale of 1 to 5. The survey also asked respondents to rate their belief in a free versus regulated market, as well as their distrust of climate scientists.

Cook identified those individuals with strong free-market beliefs as conservatives. (Past studies have shown that holding free-market beliefs correlates strongly with identifying as a Republican and with holding socially conservative views on gay marriage, abortion and other hot-button issues, Cook told LiveScience.)

Then, one group read a statement presenting evidence for climate change, while others read statements emphasizing the scientific consensus. A third, control group got the original survey, but without any climate statements.

None of the statements moved the needle very much, on average, but those who waded through facts about climate change reported more skepticism than those who read no statements about climate change at all.

But those reading about the scientific consensus were more convinced about the reality of climate change than were controls.

"It's quite counter-intuitive and not what I expected," Cook said. He plans to investigate why this contradiction exists in follow-up studies.


NYT ignores snow facts

The excerpt from their latest bit of Warmist propaganda below is derived from the work of "doctoral candidates in earth science at the University of New Hampshire".  They imply that winter snow on ski slopes is declining. Is the UNH a diploma mill?  Sounds like it from the quality of their Ph.D. students.  Just 5 minutes googling got me the the following three recent headlines from Australia, Britain and California which tell the opposite story:

Best start to ski season in a decade

Snow across Britain brings early start of ski season

California Ski Resorts to Open Early

But Leftists are never bothered by the facts of course

Snow can be an entrancing sight or an exhausting burden, but for communities dependent on winter sports, it is one thing above all else: revenue.

In recent years, however, the cold cash that used to fall from the sky, giving an economic lift to 38 states, has become less reliable. Winters are getting warmer, less snow is falling, and snow seasons are starting later and ending earlier.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the climate-themed industry group Protect Our Winters takes a look at the possible impact of climate change on the nation’s $12.2 billion snow sports industry and the 211,900 jobs it supports.

According to the research, which focused on data from 1999 to 2010 and was conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire, the downhill ski industry takes in about $1 billion less revenue in a poor snow season than it does in a good one. A bad snow year subtracts anywhere from 13,000 to 27,000 jobs.

Projections by climate scientists indicate that winter temperatures could rise by anywhere from 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, and the length of the snow season in the Northeast could be cut in half.

“Winter as we know it is on borrowed time,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, a co-author of the report with Matt Magnusson. Both are doctoral candidates in earth science at the University of New Hampshire.


Britain gives millions in 'climate aid' to tackle flatulent Colombian cows... plus £31m to Turkish wind farms and funding for talks with Kenyan 'rain-makers'

Millions of pounds of British  taxpayers’ money is to be spent on a scheme aimed at reducing the flatulence of Colombian cattle, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

A £15 million grant to ranchers and other organisations in the South American country is part of a £2.9 billion package of ‘climate aid’ to developing countries which critics have called ‘ludicrous’.

The initiative aims to improve animal diets by cultivating trees and plants on their grazing lands – in doing so reducing the amount of methane escaping through belching and flatulence.

As well as being seen as a waste of money, the scheme has darker undertones, with The Mail on Sunday learning that the recipients, Colombian ranchers’ organisation Fedegan, has been linked to a murderous paramilitary group.

Our investigation unearthed:

*    A total of £14 million of climate aid finance to projects in Uganda, despite the Government recently stopping all aid to the country because of corruption.

*    £31 million of British money going to Turkey – a middle-ranking economy – to help develop geo-thermal and wind power.

*    The Department for International Development (DFID) funding meetings between tribal ‘rain-makers’ and meteorologists in Kenya.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘After an Autumn Statement where people are making significant cuts, to have a £2.9 billion budget for a   random collection of projects which have questions hanging over them as to whether or not they are corrupt is just an extraordinary waste of money.

‘The Government does not exist to make charitable donations – that’s something people should do privately. We’re looking for a further £10 billion of cuts and this seems to me the easiest place to start.’

Fedegan is one of three bodies due to share £15 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The group has long been linked to the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), a collection of  far-Right paramilitary groups designated a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Hundreds of Fedegan’s farmers have been accused of helping to fund the AUC. Though supposedly demobilised in 2006, the paramilitaries have held on to their weapons and now operate as criminal gangs responsible for hundreds of assassinations and kidnappings.

Former Fedegan president Jorge Visbal Martelo was arrested in March over his alleged links to  paramilitary groups. He is awaiting trial on conspiracy charges. Current president Jose Felix Lafaurie has denied the paramilitary links.

But in an article published this year, the respected Colombian weekly Semana asked: ‘How deep-rooted is corruption in Fedegan?’

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) left such questions to the World Bank, which concluded that Fedegan was a ‘suitable partner’.

Another recipient of UK climate funding is Uganda, where £14 million will go to ‘small-scale projects’, mainly to generate hydro-electricity. The country was recently placed top of the East African bribery index – and 40 per cent of its citizens are said to have experienced bribery in dealings with the police, the judiciary, tax and land authorities.

One of the biggest recipients of Government climate finance is the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF), to which the UK has given or pledged £620 million.

The CTF bankrolls projects from Thailand to South Africa, and is spending £155 million on renewable energy schemes in relatively wealthy Turkey.

Another recipient of UK taxpayers’ money was a £25 million research study, part of which involved teaming meteorologists with ‘rain- makers’ in western Kenya.

They make their predictions by watching the movement of ants and the measuring the wind using the tops of earthenware bottles.

Last night DECC said that supporting developing countries in cutting emissions was a ‘sensible investment’, and added that ‘turning our back’ could ‘cause a range of impacts including conflict over resources, political upheaval and more extreme weather events’.

Questioned on Fedegan, it said it was ‘satisfied’ with the World Bank’s ‘thorough assessment’ and that the tree-planting idea had been shown to be successful.

Turkey, the DECC said, was a ‘middle income country’ and so eligible for funding, while the money for Uganda was not passing through the country’s government, but through the private sector, with  protocols in place to prevent corruption.


New Energy Revolution Is Shaking Up Old World Order

By Nigel Lawson

Thirty years ago, I was Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and one way and another I have been a close observer of the energy scene ever since.

In all that time, I have never known a technological revolution as momentous as the breakthrough that has now made it economic to extract gas from shale.

Geologists have long known that shale — a finely grained rock created from compressed mud, which sits in layers — contains, trapped in it, massive amounts of gas, and in some cases, oil.

But getting it out of the ground is a tricky business. Below the North Sea, natural gas forms in sandstone and when a drill reaches the gas, it flows out.

But shale gas is locked in dense rock. Energy companies must drill a well hundreds or thousands of feet deep to reach the layer of shale — which can be just 50ft thick — and then turn the drill sideways to bore horizontally.

Water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the hole under enormous pressure until the rock cracks, allowing gas locked up in the shale to escape and flow upwards into the well.

This process is called hydraulic fracturing — or ‘fracking’ for short.

Until recently, the cost of extracting the gas has been prohibitive. But the combination of two innovative technologies — horizontal drilling and fracking to release the natural resources — has changed all that.

The consequences are difficult to exaggerate. Not just in terms of the economic benefit of a new and abundant source of relatively cheap energy, but in geopolitical terms, too.

Until now, the West has been heavily dependent for its supplies of oil and gas on an unstable Middle East and an unreliable Russia. Crucially, all that has changed because gas and oil-bearing shale is scattered throughout the world — including in Britain.

This has shaken up the old world order — and the global balance of power is being permanently transformed before our eyes.

The dramatic news emerged a few weeks ago that the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer in 2017.

America is already the world’s largest natural gas producer, and it is estimated that, by 2035, almost 90 per cent of Middle East oil and gas exports will go to Asia, with the U.S. importing virtually none.

For decades, the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, has had to shape, and sometimes arguably to misshape, its foreign policy in the light of its dependence on Middle East oil and gas. No longer: that era is now over.

For decades, too, Europe has been fearful of the threat that Russia might cut off the gas supplies on which it has relied so heavily.

No longer: that era will very soon be over, too. Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the newfound energy independence of the West is a beneficent game-changer in terms of world politics as much as it is in the field of energy economics.

Hardly a week goes by without new shale gas and oil deposits being discovered in America. As these new sources of energy are developed and extracted, energy costs are falling because of continuing technological innovation and economies of scale. And there are sizeable shale gas deposits in the UK, too.

At long last, at least part of the coalition Government has woken up to the significance of the shale gas revolution.

In his Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new gas strategy designed to promote the fastest practicable exploitation of the UK’s shale gas deposits.

He explained: ‘I don’t want British families to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.’

In years to come, this may well be seen as a major turning point for the UK economy, when everything else in this year’s Autumn Statement has long been forgotten.

Gas, in liquefied form, is a globally traded commodity, and we will benefit from the cheap gas that is likely to transform the energy market for the rest of this century, wherever it is produced.

But transport costs can be significant, and the greatest benefit for the UK economy will clearly come from the development of our own indigenous shale gas deposits.

These are early days, and we do not yet know how much commercially exploitable shale gas there is in the UK. But the signs are encouraging. The first large discovery to be explored, the Bowland shale under the Blackpool area of Lancashire, turns out to be a thicker seam than any in the U.S.

The company behind the exploration has announced that Blackpool is sitting on one of the biggest shale gas fields in the world — with a reserve of 200 trillion cubic feet lying under the Lancastrian countryside.

To put that figure in perspective, it’s enough gas to keep the UK going for 50 years and create more than 5,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, shale gas production in the U.S. has rocketed from virtually nothing to 20 per cent of its gas supply in less than a decade. As a result, the price of gas in the U.S. has collapsed from $12 per thousand cubic feet in 2007 to around $3 today. Currently, known shale gas reserves alone will supply the U.S. with more than 100 years of gas at today’s consumption levels. By 2035, almost half of all U.S. natural gas output is projected to come from shale.

Over the past couple of years, huge shale reserves have been identified throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia, too. In Europe, the chances of finding shale gas are, from a geological perspective, as good as in the U.S.

For the world as a whole, technically recoverable gas resources are now conservatively reckoned to amount to around 16,000 trillion cubic feet. In short, as a result of the shale revolution, the Earth can now provide us with about 250 years’ worth of gas supplies.

The so-called ‘peak oil’ theory, which suggests that within the foreseeable future the world will run out of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — has never looked more absurd.

While the world’s shale gas reserves appear to be massive, they could even be dwarfed by global oil shale reserves in sedimentary rock, which contains solid organic material that can be converted into an oil-like product when heated.

According to the U.S. government, oil shale deposits in an area called the Green River Formation in the western United States are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil — three times more than the whole world has consumed in the past 100 years.

The economic and political repercussions of such discoveries cannot be understated. The cheap energy brought about by the shale gas revolution, for example, is already boosting the U.S. economy.

Indeed, sections of U.S. manufacturing are even repatriating their activities from China.

Sadly, however, Europe’s leaders have wholly failed to face up to this energy revolution and many European policy-makers are blocking shale gas developments.

This is despite the fact that gas-fired power stations emit roughly half the carbon dioxide that coal-fired power stations do, which is why the U.S. is the only country to have significantly reduced its CO2 emissions in recent years.

By going for those green energy targets, countries such as France and Germany are making their energy-intensive industries increasingly uncompetitive. Germany’s largest companies have warned that they are already losing out against their U.S. competitors thanks to rising energy costs.

The green lobby, of course, is terrified that, despite the promotion of expensive and heavily subsidised wind power at the heart of the Energy Bill — a subsidy paid to a considerable extent by poor householders through their bills to wealthy landowners with wind turbines — the emergence of large supplies of cheap gas will make this policy unsustainable.

Hence the scare stories, lapped up by the BBC in particular, about shale oil and gas extraction causing earthquakes and pollution of the water supply.

Needless to say, there is no substance whatever in these scares. As a joint study by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy Of Engineering has pointed out, the so-called Blackpool earthquakes caused by fracking last year were, in fact, barely perceptible tremors (no worse than a heavy lorry passing by your house) of a kind that occur quite frequently every year, sometimes caused by coal mining, sometimes naturally.

Scare stories about fracking leading to water pollution are equally unfounded, with upwards of a mile of solid rock separating the shallow aquifers from which we draw our drinking water from the deep deposits where the shale gas is to be found and where the fracking occurs.

The bottom line is that, contrary to the peak oil fantasists, fossil fuels are going to become more available, not less.


Energy Prices are the Fiscal Cliff

Marita Noon
The stalemate going on in Washington about the fiscal cliff highlights the two very different economic viewpoints held, not just in Washington, but across America: more government, more taxes; less spending, lower taxes. But there is a third prong that is largely absent from the discussion: growth and creating new wealth—and energy can play a big role, but it, too, has two divergent sides.

To have success, both sides need to feel that they are getting what they want.

Energy should be part of the current fiscal cliff discussions because all recessions since 1973 have been preceded by a spike in oil prices. In the last decade, we’ve seen a consistent climb in oil prices—with the average household’s gasoline expenditure now more than double what it was in 2002—coupled with a steady decline in Gross Domestic Product.

High energy costs are a drag on the economy—which is important to Republicans. But they also mean less federal and state tax revenues and lower revenues endanger entitlement programs—which are important to Democrats. Earlier this year, it was announced that Social Security is going to run out of money three years earlier than projected last year. The 2012 Social Security Trustees report states: “This is the largest actuarial deficit reported since prior to the 1983 Social Security amendments, and the largest single-year deterioration in the actuarial deficit since the 1994 Trustees Report.” The report cites “many factors.” However, it blamed “a surge in energy prices in 2011” for “lower average real earnings levels over the next 75 years than were projected.”

Energy can give both sides what they want. To achieve this, Democrats will need to understand that oil is important and Republicans will need to acknowledge that there is some role for government to play. Can both parties feel that they are getting what they want without sacrificing their core principles?

A new proposal put forth by the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC—a project of Securing America’s Future Energy [SAFE]) believes that there is a bipartisan solution that can improve the US economy, promote fiscal stability, and protect national security.  ESLC brings together two sides that don’t typically communicate, yet have a common interest: energy security. One side is made up of high-volume oil consumers such as FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola, Waste Management, and Royal Caribbean International—and is chaired by FedEx’s Fred Smith. The other side is composed of former military leaders committed to improving US energy security through reduced oil dependence—led by former Marine Corps Commandant General P. X. Kelley. The oil consumers understand that rapid swings in prices directly affect the bottom line. The military leaders understand that US dependence on foreign oil limits our flexibility on foreign policy. Without the need for middle-eastern oil, our approach to Libya might have been totally different.

These two sides have come together and drafted: A National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation. At a press conference where the proposal was released last week, co-chairs Smith and Kelley said: “As long as our nation remains dependent on oil, restoring economic growth and stabilizing our fiscal outlook will be undermined by the manipulated and volatile prices of a cartel-dominated global oil market. This report offers a framework for policymakers to leverage domestic energy abundance in support of mitigating the urgent and severe threat posed by oil dependence.”

Their plan includes some items that will be more attractive to Democrats and others with greater appeal for Republicans—though as Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO of SAFE explains it, most of the suggestions will happen anyway within the next 30 years, but the plan lays out a path to expedite America’s energy security and economic recovery.

For example, Democrats will appreciate the proposal’s suggested “Energy Security Trust Fund,” seeded with revenue from new production—not new taxes; diversifying the fuel base of the transportation sector; and the suggestion that the Department of Energy “reorient” itself toward R & D activities to catalyze technologies most likely to improve US energy security. While Republicans will warm to the plan’s ideas for development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf—with coastal states granted revenue sharing as an incentive; state participation in developing “best practices” for hydraulic fracturing; and improved federal permitting processes for major energy projects by streamlining authority, promoting transparency, and reducing frivolous litigation. Something for both parties—while benefitting America with a unified plan.

In our conversation, Diamond emphasized that the plan calls for government investment in R & D, not in individual companies. R & D is a role that has been historically and successfully held by government. If the concepts can stand on their own, the consumers will choose them. By contrast, current government “investing” picks winners and losers, and the heavy emphasis on wind and solar resources does nothing to improve energy security—hence the idea of the DOE “reorientation.”

Diversification of the fuel base for the transportation sector is important, even though the myth of peak oil has been shattered. Because of the global market, geopolitical crises can create a supply shortage, or cartels can slow production—both can cause price spikes. The report points out that both Canada and Norway are oil self-sufficient, yet they still face global pricing. By incorporating America’s abundant supply of natural gas and plug in electric vehicles where feasible, the US needs less foreign oil and is less susceptible to market manipulations with its volatility, and, additionally, the US market is more secure.

While the US natural gas and oil boom won’t result in greatly reduced oil prices, maximizing production can make our economy stronger, create jobs, and lower the trade deficit—and should be encouraged while protecting the environment.

As avoiding the fiscal cliff will require some give and take on both sides, the National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation proposal offers insight as to how the two sides could find a solution without sacrificing their core principles. The ESLC started with the goal: energy security—and then together mapped out ways to reach it. They didn’t put ideology first, as has been done on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Agendas are being set right now in Washington, DC, and the economic boost and energy security America’s resources and innovation can provide should be part of the solution.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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