Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Weak solar cycle 25 means keep your Long Johns
If the notion of global warming has gotten you all hot and bothered, here’s something to really worry about. What if just the opposite is occurring and global temperatures not only continue to remain flat, but get much colder for a very long time? In fact, that’s exactly what some highly credentialed and well-informed scientists are predicting.
Yes, and what if carbon dioxide, particularly that 3 percent of total atmospheric CO2 we humans produce, winds up being a bit player, at the very most, on the stage of climactic scene changes? Instead, imagine that the leading roles are performed by other actors, principally the Sun and oceans who follow scripts written, produced and directed by none other than that incomparable impresario, Mother Nature herself.
Where, Oh Where, Has that Global Warming Gone?
For starters, while it should be understood that climate really does change, it’s also appropriate to recognize that global temperatures have been essentially flat since at least 1998. Recent readings taken from more than 30,000 measuring stations and released in 2012 by the U.K.’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia University Climate Research Unit show that world temperatures hadn’t warmed over the past 15 years.
In fact, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time.
The past century has witnessed two generally accepted periods of warming (although whether or not the second can be proven will be debated by experts in an upcoming article…so stay tuned). The first occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.
The second possible warming, following a slight cool-down, may have begun in the late 1970s lasting until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Yet even if global temperatures actually did rise very slightly during that second period, the U.K. Hadley Center and U.S. NOAA balloon instrument analyses fail to show any evidence, whatsoever, of a human CO2 emission-influenced warming telltale “signature” in the upper troposphere over the equator as predicted by all UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global circulation models.
Climate change has been going on for a very long time…dating back to always. It actually began to occur even before the advent of flatulent dinosaurs, industrial smoke stacks and SUVs. And although temperatures have been generally mild over about the past 150 years (since the end of the last “Little Ice Age”…not a true Ice Age), we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal.
Spotlights on the Sun
Many scientific studies indicate that the global climate will soon enter a substantial cooling phase attributable to a weak new solar cycle. This is predicted due to important modulating cloud-forming influences of cosmic rays throughout periods of reduced sunspot activity. More clouds tend to make conditions cooler, while fewer often cause warming.
Solar output typically goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak. We are currently approaching the peak of “Solar Cycle 24,” yet sunspot numbers are running at less than half of those observed during other 20th century peaks. A paper released by the Met Office, the U.K.’s national weather office, projected a 92 percent chance that both Solar Cycle 25, and those taking place in following decades, will be as weak, or weaker than, a “Dalton minimum” of 1790 to 1830. That’s when average European temperatures fell by 2º Celsius.
Some prominent U.S. and Russian solar physicists predict that Planet Earth may very well be heading into a period of protracted cooling due to a lengthy spell of low sunspot activity … potentially entering another Little Ice Age. The last event of this type, which occurred in the middle of the 16th century, wasn’t broadly regarded as a good time. That period, lasting about 150 years, killed millions in Europe, ending soon after Washington’s troops suffered brutal winter temperatures at Valley Forge in 1777, and Napoleon’s experienced a bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.
Matt Penn and William Livingston of the U.S. National Solar Observatory and U.S. Air Force Laboratory believe that the Earth is entering a cooling phase based upon three different analyses of the Sun’s recent behavior. It is now in the final stages of Solar Cycle 24, “the weakest in more than 50 years.” They predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 soon arrives, “magnetic fields on the Sun will be so weak that few sunspots will be formed.”
Scientists at Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg have stated that solar activity is waning to such an extent that the global average yearly temperature will begin to decline into a very cold and protracted climate phase. Observatory head Habibullo Abdussamatov, one of the world’s leading solar scientists, member of the Russian Academy of Science, and director of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, believes that the deep freeze will last until the end of this century. He predicts that: “after the maximum of Solar Cycle 24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).
Dr. Abdussamatov points out that over the last 1,000 years deep cold periods have occurred five times. Each is correlated with declines in solar irradiance much like we are experiencing now — with no human influence. “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”
Many solar experts challenge Met Office claims that the greenhouse effects of man-made carbon dioxide are sufficiently strong to overwhelm potential solar cooling, much less to produce net warming. They point out that the Met’s assessment is based upon highly theoretical climate models that exaggerate CO2 influence, while failing to account for numerous other more important contributing factors.
Judith Curry, a well-known climatologist who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, finds the Met’s confident prediction of a “negligible” solar impact “difficult to understand”. She has stated that “The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the Sun”. As for a predicted warming pause, she said that many scientists “are not surprised”.
Curry also notes important contributions of 60-year Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperature cycles, observing that they have been “insufficiently appreciated in terms of global climate”. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific “flipped” back from a warm to a cold mode in 2008, and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip back in the next few years.
How Oceans Make Climate Waves
As pointed out in my recent article, “Meteorologist Joe Bastardi: Blaming Turbulent Weather on Global Warming is Extreme Nonsense,” changing climate and fluctuating weather consequences are driven primarily by natural changes in solar cycles, ocean temperatures and “stochastic events” such as volcanoes. The first two occur on various long-term cycles; decades and centuries with the Sun, and decades for the oceans. The stochastic events are random wild cards.
Right now we’re seeing the same kind of major events on a regional scale that occurred in the early 1950s. That was the last time the Pacific Ocean shifted its temperature phase from warm to cold when the Atlantic was in a warm phase, and globally, the Earth’s temperatures have fallen about 0.05° C in the last four years. The European and Far East winters also look very similar now to those in the 1950s. Alaska has once again turned much colder, just as it did then when the Pacific temperatures cooled and sea ice expanded.
Here in the U.S., a drop in tropical Pacific temperatures causes less moisture to be present in the atmosphere than when that ocean is in its warming state. That causes conditions to be drier, especially near and east of the Rockies, as well as in the Deep South. This is when we see hotter, drier summers; winters tend be warmer earlier, and colder later. We’re also seeing colder spring temperatures caused by a multi-decadal warming temperature shift in the Atlantic which has greatest influence in the late winter and spring, forcing what is called a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
Based upon ocean temperatures alone (not including solar influences), springs like this year in the lower 48 U.S. states, although not as extremely cold, can be expected to be more common during the next 5 to 10 years. We can also expect to witness increased tornado activity which is linked to the cold decadal Pacific shift and a cooling globe. This happens when cool air in northwest North America trying to find a pathway southeast collides with warm air coming from the south in a clash zone right in the center of our nation.
As Joe Bastardi observes, “Mother Nature is always searching for a balance she can never fully achieve because of the design of the system. It’s not unlike Aquinas’s search for the unmoved mover. We rotate around the Sun on an axis that tilts, with more land in the Northern Hemisphere than Southern Hemisphere. [Climate and] weather is a movie, so we have to keep an eye on what the director is up to.”
So while some alarmists have screamed about the northern ice cap melting due to warming, a condition actually caused by the Atlantic’s multi-decadal phase, the southern ice cap has increased to record levels. This is even a more impressive feat because, since being surrounded by water, it requires more cooling to freeze that ice than it does to warm cold dry air on continental surfaces that surround the Arctic Ocean. But as soon as the Atlantic goes into its cold mode, the northern ice cap will expand again as the southern ice cap shrinks. This is but one example of how the back-and-forth mechanism works.
Climate of Fear and Foreboding
Keep in mind that recent global warming alarmism has centered upon a temperature trend that began in the 1980s, occurring less than a decade after our planet came out of a three-decade cooling trend that led many to fear a coming Ice Age. As the late world-renowned atmospheric scientist Reid Bryson, formerly a leader in voicing Ice Age concern in the 1970s, said: “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, 2 million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” He went on to comment “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”
Also consider, as David Whitehouse at the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out, if current global temperature trends remain flat or become cooler, “it will mean that no one who has just reached adulthood, or younger, will have witnessed the Earth get warmer during their lifetime.”
Vladimir Bashkin and Rauf Kaliulin from the Institute of Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences state that warming during our past century is something we should have expected when coming out of a the Little Ice Age rather than resulting from any changes caused by human activities. Cold causes more disruptions for people than warming, and humanity has always prospered most during warmer periods.
Whether cooling continues or not, is there any reason at all to panic? No, but by the same token if, for any reason, global warming resumes as it probably will, again and again following intermittent cool-downs, let’s be grateful for the many human health and welfare benefits it brings. Let’s celebrate times when CO2-dependent agriculture flourishes over extended growing seasons, and when cold-related death rates decline. Also, in the unlikely event that we humans can and do have any influence on climate, let’s really hope that the good ol’ plant-nourishing CO2 we release will help rescue us from a truly chilling alternative.
In the meantime, however, it might be a good idea to hedge your bets. If I were you, I wouldn’t discard those flannel Long Johns just yet. There’s a very good chance that you are going to need them over the next many years.
Obama unveils his climate plan
Declaring that the world does not have time for “a meeting of the flat earth society” before it acts on climate change, US President Barack Obama has unveiled a package of measures to reduce American carbon emissions, lead global moves towards clean energy and prepare for the impact of climate change.
The President said questions about the cause and potential impact of climate change had been put to rest by the “overwhelming judgment of science”.
Mopping his brow as he spoke in 33 degree heat at Georgetown University in Washington DC, Mr Obama announced he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draft emission standards for new power plants this year and existing power plants next year. “Power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air for free,” he said. “It needs to stop.”
The plans are part of the effort to meet a previously stated goal to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.
The President said he would direct the State Department not to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline, planned to pipe oil from Canada’s vast tar sands oil reserves to America’s Gulf Coast, if it was shown the project would lead to “significantly” increased emissions.
And he has announced increased funding for clean energy technology with a view to doubling wind and solar production by 2020.
“The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest,” said Mr Obama. “So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late.”
He said 12 of the hottest years on record had been in the past 15 years and argued that gradually moving away from a carbon economy should not necessarily cost jobs.
Though the President called for an end to the partisan debate over climate change, he tacitly acknowledged that bipartisan action in Washington was impossible by creating a set of measures he could implement through administrative order rather than by trying to drive new laws through Congress.
He announced an end to US public financing of dirty coal fired power stations internationally and an end to tax subsidies of fossil fuels within the United States.
Tackling climate change has long been a goal of Mr Obama, though it has been delayed by his first term focus on healthcare reform and the Democratic Party’s loss of control in the House of Representatives in 2010.
The measures announced on Tuesday fulfill a promise – or threat - made in State of the Union address earlier this year, in which the President said, “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will."
“I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
The President said the United States should deepen its reliance on natural gas as a bridging fuel for the move away from dirtier energy sources.
The Republican Party’s Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell who represents the coal-rich state of Kentucky, said the plan was "tantamount to declaring a war on jobs. It's tantamount to kicking the ladder out from beneath the feet of many Americans struggling in today's economy."
Even before the White House had the announced the details the Republican House Speaker John Boehner said “I think this is absolutely crazy, why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs.' "
Before the White House had even posted a transcript of the speech on its website the President’s political machine, Organizing for Action had begun emailing its members calling on them to begin activism in support of the package.
What Obama announced:
* Cutting Carbon Emissions: Order the EPA to finish carbon pollution standards for new power plants this year and existing power plants in 2014. [Carbon pollution from power plants is currently unlimited.];
* Renewable Energy: Double electricity fueled by renewable energy by 2020 nationally and increase federal government use of renewable energy from 7.5 percent currently to 20 percent by 2020;
* Coal: End U.S. public financing of coal-fired plants overseas, exempting only those using the cleanest technology available in those countries;
* Taxes: End tax subsidies for fossil fuels;
* Autos: Develop post 2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles;
* Conduct first Quadrennial Energy Review and Climate Data Initiative to gather climate and energy data and make it publicly available;
International: Seek ambitious U.N. climate change treaty by 2015 and lead multilateral emission reduction efforts.
Green rules will leave Europe importing even dirtier fuel from elsewhere
Draconian green regulations risk putting European refineries out of business, leaving the continent importing more fuels from dirtier plants elsewhere in the world, Essar Energy has warned.
Volker Schultz, head of Essar’s Stanlow refinery, said the group was “really concerned about and will lobby hard against” a raft of EU measures that will disadvantage European refiners.
“If the EU goes out on a limb and imposes quite draconian measures on European refineries, forcing refineries to shut and therefore less environmentally friendly refineries elsewhere will have to take up slack, you don’t help local communities and you don’t help the global environment,” he warned. “We need a level playing field.”
Refineries are already struggling with overcapacity and Mr Schultz said that more refineries would close, potentially in the UK, even without the burden of green rules.
Mr Schultz was speaking as Essar Energy finally delivering some cheer for shareholders with full year results beating analyst expectations, helping the group’s share price rise 3 to 122p.
Essar also revealed that it was in early stage talks with companies exploring for "coal bed methane" gas in the north-west of the UK over possible supply arrangements for its Stanlow refinery. The site recently underwent a conversion to being powered by natural gas from the grid.
Climate Expert von Storch: Why Is Global Warming Stagnating?
Climate experts have long predicted that temperatures would rise in parallel with greenhouse gas emissions. But, for 15 years, they haven't. In a SPIEGEL interview, meteorologist Hans von Storch discusses how this "puzzle" might force scientists to alter what could be "fundamentally wrong" models.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, Germany has recently seen major flooding. Is global warming the culprit?
Storch: I'm not aware of any studies showing that floods happen more often today than in the past. I also just attended a hydrologists' conference in Koblenz, and none of the scientists there described such a finding.
SPIEGEL: But don't climate simulations for Germany's latitudes predict that, as temperatures rise, there will be less, not more, rain in the summers?
Storch: That only appears to be contradictory. We actually do expect there to be less total precipitation during the summer months. But there may be more extreme weather events, in which a great deal of rain falls from the sky within a short span of time. But since there has been only moderate global warming so far, climate change shouldn't be playing a major role in any case yet.
SPIEGEL: Would you say that people no longer reflexively attribute every severe weather event to global warming as much as they once did?
Storch: Yes, my impression is that there is less hysteria over the climate. There are certainly still people who almost ritualistically cry, "Stop thief! Climate change is at fault!" over any natural disaster. But people are now talking much more about the likely causes of flooding, such as land being paved over or the disappearance of natural flood zones -- and that's a good thing.
SPIEGEL: Will the greenhouse effect be an issue in the upcoming German parliamentary elections? Singer Marius Müller-Westernhagen is leading a celebrity initiative calling for the addition of climate protection as a national policy objective in the German constitution.
Storch: It's a strange idea. What state of the Earth's atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? Are we going to declare war on China if the country emits too much CO2 into the air and thereby violates our constitution?
SPIEGEL: Yet it was climate researchers, with their apocalyptic warnings, who gave people these ideas in the first place.
Storch: Unfortunately, some scientists behave like preachers, delivering sermons to people. What this approach ignores is the fact that there are many threats in our world that must be weighed against one another. If I'm driving my car and find myself speeding toward an obstacle, I can't simple yank the wheel to the side without first checking to see if I'll instead be driving straight into a crowd of people. Climate researchers cannot and should not take this process of weighing different factors out of the hands of politics and society.
SPIEGEL: Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, outside Berlin, is currently Chancellor Angela Merkel's climate adviser. Why does she need one?
Storch: I've never been chancellor myself. But I do think it would be unwise of Merkel to listen to just a single scientist. Climate research is made up of far too many different voices for that. Personally, though, I don't believe the chancellor has delved deeply into the subject. If she had, she would know that there are other perspectives besides those held by her environmental policy administrators.
SPIEGEL: Just since the turn of the millennium, humanity has emitted another 400 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet temperatures haven't risen in nearly 15 years. What can explain this?
Storch: So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We're facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn't happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year.
SPIEGEL: Do the computer models with which physicists simulate the future climate ever show the sort of long standstill in temperature change that we're observing right now?
Storch: Yes, but only extremely rarely. At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.
SPIEGEL: How long will it still be possible to reconcile such a pause in global warming with established climate forecasts?
Storch: If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.
SPIEGEL: What could be wrong with the models?
Storch: There are two conceivable explanations -- and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.
SPIEGEL: That sounds quite embarrassing for your profession, if you have to go back and adjust your models to fit with reality…
Storch: Why? That's how the process of scientific discovery works. There is no last word in research, and that includes climate research. It's never the truth that we offer, but only our best possible approximation of reality. But that often gets forgotten in the way the public perceives and describes our work.
SPIEGEL: But it has been climate researchers themselves who have feigned a degree of certainty even though it doesn't actually exist. For example, the IPCC announced with 95 percent certainty that humans contribute to climate change.
Storch: And there are good reasons for that statement. We could no longer explain the considerable rise in global temperatures observed between the early 1970s and the late 1990s with natural causes. My team at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, was able to provide evidence in 1995 of humans' influence on climate events. Of course, that evidence presupposed that we had correctly assessed the amount of natural climate fluctuation. Now that we have a new development, we may need to make adjustments.
SPIEGEL: In which areas do you need to improve the models?
Storch: Among other things, there is evidence that the oceans have absorbed more heat than we initially calculated. Temperatures at depths greater than 700 meters (2,300 feet) appear to have increased more than ever before. The only unfortunate thing is that our simulations failed to predict this effect.
SPIEGEL: That doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
Storch: Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth. The end result is foolishness along the lines of the climate protection brochures recently published by Germany's Federal Environmental Agency under the title "Sie erwärmt sich doch" ("The Earth is getting warmer"). Pamphlets like that aren't going to convince any skeptics.
It's not a bad thing to make mistakes and have to correct them. The only thing that was bad was acting beforehand as if we were infallible. By doing so, we have gambled away the most important asset we have as scientists: the public's trust. We went through something similar with deforestation, too -- and then we didn't hear much about the topic for a long time.
SPIEGEL: Does this throw the entire theory of global warming into doubt?
Storch: I don't believe so. We still have compelling evidence of a man-made greenhouse effect. There is very little doubt about it. But if global warming continues to stagnate, doubts will obviously grow stronger.
SPIEGEL: Do scientists still predict that sea levels will rise?
Storch: In principle, yes. Unfortunately, though, our simulations aren't yet capable of showing whether and how fast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will melt -- and that is a very significant factor in how much sea levels will actually rise. For this reason, the IPCC's predictions have been conservative. And, considering the uncertainties, I think this is correct.
SPIEGEL: And how good are the long-term forecasts concerning temperature and precipitation?
Storch: Those are also still difficult. For example, according to the models, the Mediterranean region will grow drier all year round. At the moment, however, there is actually more rain there in the fall months than there used to be. We will need to observe further developments closely in the coming years. Temperature increases are also very much dependent on clouds, which can both amplify and mitigate the greenhouse effect. For as long as I've been working in this field, for over 30 years, there has unfortunately been very little progress made in the simulation of clouds.
SPIEGEL: Despite all these problem areas, do you still believe global warming will continue?
Storch: Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more -- and by the end of this century, mind you. That's what my instinct tells me, since I don't know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct. Our models certainly include a great number of highly subjective assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.
SPIEGEL: What exactly are politicians supposed to do with such vague predictions?
Storch: Whether it ends up being one, two or three degrees, the exact figure is ultimately not the important thing. Quite apart from our climate simulations, there is a general societal consensus that we should be more conservative with fossil fuels. Also, the more serious effects of climate change won't affect us for at least 30 years. We have enough time to prepare ourselves.
SPIEGEL: In a SPIEGEL interview 10 years ago, you said, "We need to allay people's fear of climate change." You also said, "We'll manage this." At the time, you were harshly criticized for these comments. Do you still take such a laidback stance toward global warming?
Storch: Yes, I do. I was accused of believing it was unnecessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the case. I simply meant that it is no longer possible in any case to completely prevent further warming, and thus it would be wise of us to prepare for the inevitable, for example by building higher ocean dikes. And I have the impression that I'm no longer quite as alone in having this opinion as I was then. The climate debate is no longer an all-or-nothing debate -- except perhaps in the case of colleagues such as a certain employee of Schellnhuber's, whose verbal attacks against anyone who expresses doubt continue to breathe new life into the climate change denial camp.
SPIEGEL: Are there findings related to global warming that worry you?
Storch: The potential acidification of the oceans due to CO2 entering them from the atmosphere. This is a phenomenon that seems sinister to me, perhaps in part because I understand too little about it. But if marine animals are no longer able to form shells and skeletons well, it will affect nutrient cycles in the oceans. And that certainly makes me nervous.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Storch, thank you for this interview.
Just a week after China agreed to buy $270 billion worth of oil from Russia over the next 25 years, America is ready to stick a knife into the ailing coal industry while teeing up regulations that will severely hamper natural gas. When the deal is announced, up to 280 coal-fired units could be forced closed, taking more than 40,000 megawatts of power offline.
If you think it's going to be replaced by wind and solar you are greatly mistaken. The coal plants affected by the unleashing of the EPA are mostly in the following states:
> West Virginia
> North Carolina
Those states have no solar or wind projects in the works, and it really wouldn't make a difference since only 3,000 megawatts of power is in the offing for all solar projects. Moreover, these projects have come at an immense expense to taxpayers while yielding very few benefits. It's mostly crony capitalism at its best. Take for instance the Topaz Solar project in California. After being penciled in for $1.9 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees, a series of critical management mistakes caused the loan to be pulled ... in steps Mr. Buffett.
Warren Buffett and his Mid America Energy bought out ownership from First Solar and cut a 24 year deal with Pacific Gas and Electric to purchase overpriced solar power at above market prices. PG&E has no choice since California has mandated utilities must generate one third of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This mandate is another tax on ratepayers, including taxpayers and home and business owners.
In fact, it is estimated the sweetheart deal California Valley struck with the state will result in PG&E paying $463 million above rate over the lifetime of its existence. This project received a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee and will have to pay no property tax. So, when President Obama says electricity has to go higher to fulfill his goal it wasn't a lie. On the contrary, this is going to be extraordinarily painful to average Americans. So, what are the benefits? The industry will tell you solar savings around the world have thus far been equivalent to taking 1.1 million cars off the road and planting 138.3 million trees.
Before we dethrone Johnny Appleseed, let's be clear, no trees have been planted and not a single car has been replaced.
The biggest insult is the lack of permanent jobs being created from all our taxpayer dollars ... or, as the White House calls it: "investment."Current solar projects, manufacturing, bio fuels, and wind development cost American taxpayers $17.2 billion and will yield a grand total of 1,188 permanent jobs
Obama's "war on coal"
Did the New York Times Scrub ‘War On Coal’ Quote By Obama Advisor?
Looks that way — first up, in the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper wrote:
"Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, tells the New York Times “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Later today, President Obama will give a major “climate change” address at Georgetown University.
“Everybody is waiting for action,” Schrag tells the paper. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
Obama’s speech today is expected to offer “a sweeping plan to address climate change on Tuesday, setting ambitious goals and timetables for a series of executive actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare the nation for the ravages of a warming planet,” according to the Times."
Here’s the full context of Schrag’s quotation:
"Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who is the head of Harvard University’s Center for the Environment and a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change, said he hoped the presidential speech would mark a turning point in the national debate on climate change.
“Everybody is waiting for action,” he said. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
If you follow the link provided by Halper, the quote by Schrag — and indeed any mention of his name — is missing, though it shows for the moment in the cached version in Google
The revised version of the article however, has been de-Schrag-ed, despite at least one early commenter referencing the quote:
Ever since current editor Jill Abramson famously said in 2011, “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” — only to have that quote airbrushed out hours later, it seems like the Times’ touch-up artists have gone into overdrive, removing doubleplusungood crimethink remarks, even after they’ve been quoted by dozens of blogs and Websites — and in this case, the Drudge Report and Instapundit — before the Gray Lady has tossed the original quote down the Memory Hole. But then, each time they airbrush an article, the original quote becomes magnified that much more.
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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
Posted by JR at 4:03 PM