Friday, July 26, 2013

Obama Admin Colludes with Sierra Club to Make Arizona Energy Prices Skyrocket, Against DoE’s Own Science

During his big economics speech, President Barack Obama declared that America is open for business. Laying aside the fact that the president stole that line from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, even as he made the statement he was surely aware that it is not true. The Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama continues to scuttle through political procrastination, springs to mind. ObamaCare’s devastating impact on unemployment wins the argument.

The fact is, the Obama administration is colluding with environmental lobby Sierra Club on a closed-door deal that will drive energy prices in Arizona skyward for the sake, supposedly, of improving visibility at the Grand Canyon. The proposed new EPA rule on the Navajo Generating Station would double or triple water rates, cause electric rates to skyrocket and partially shut down a vital energy plant – despite a federal study that says the rule won’t do anything to help the environment. Jim Thompson, writing in Coal & Energy Price Report, says the EPA-Sierra secret deal is “imminent.” Thompson also names names:

Discussions of this “deal” have been taking place behind closed doors with the federal government, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, and select tribes since March – without allowing all Arizonans to participate.

The Department of Energy conducted a study that shows that the stunt that the EPA and activists are pulling in Arizona won’t do what they claim that they intend for it to do.  So what’s really going on: They’re enacting Obama’s war on coal behind closed doors. Arizonans get to foot the bill through sharply higher rates on their utilities, without being heard on the EPA’s new rule. Obama’s EPA and the lobbying groups have shut citizens out of their talks, despite the fact that the Clean Air Act mandates open processes and dialogue when the EPA considers new rules.

The DoE study is here, and the relevant part begins on page 5. The DoE found that the “body of research to date…is inconclusive as to whether removing approximately two-thirds of the current NOx emissions from Navajo GS would lead to any perceptible improvement in visibility at the Grand Canyon and other areas of concern.”


CIA wants to control the weather, climate change

The CIA is funding a study examining various ways mankind can geo-engineer the planet -- blocking or limiting the sunlight that reaches the Earth, stripping carbon dioxide from the skies, seeding the clouds and so on.

The project, a panel called “Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts,” is backed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA -- and the U.S. intelligence community.

That’s spy-talk for the CIA, William Kearney, a spokesman for NAS, told Mother Jones.

So why would the trenchcoat troops meet with the eggheads?

"It's natural that on a subject like climate change the Agency would work with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security," Edward Price, a spokesman for the CIA, told Mother Jones. He refused to confirm the agency's role in the study.

Conspiracy theorists love to argue that various world governments seek to control the weather; they cite “chemtrails” and cloud seeding and so on. The topic has even pervaded popular culture, from “The Simpsons” to “The X-Files.”

The group’s first two meetings, May 20 and June 19, were closed-door in their entirety, save for a list of participants.

On July 17 in Washington D.C., closed-door morning and evening meetings book-ended a public session, however, offering a peek into the group’s plans -- and it’s nothing worthy of Fox Mulder’s time, explained Edward Dunlea, study director with the National Academies.

“Nothing involved in this study is classified at all,” Dunlea told “We’re doing an evaluation. This is an assessment of what is known in the science literature about some of the proposed engineering techniques -- both solar-radiation management and carbon-dioxide removal.”

Dunlea declined to cite the CIA by name.

“All of our sponsors are interested in this topic as a part of the larger climate-change discussion, which has economic, environmental and national-security ramifications,” he said.

A 2008 study by the National Intelligence Council concluded that climate change posted a serious threat to national security.

“Climate change and climate-change policies could affect … domestic stability in a number of key states, the opening of new sea lanes and access to raw materials, and the global economy more broadly -- with significant geopolitical consequences,” it said.


Australia: Skeptical professor's  dismissal could face scrutiny

MACQUARIE University's sacking of Murry Salby, a scientist whose work casts doubt on the orthodox climate change thesis, may face scrutiny by the International Council for Science.

Distinguished physicist Marie-Lise Chanin, who is a French representative on the Paris-based council suggested the Salby case was a matter for the council's committee on "freedom and responsibility in the conduct of science".

"I am scandalised by what happened to Murry Salby," said Dr Chanin, a founding member of the Academy of Europe and an expert on the role of the stratosphere in climate.

Cases before that committee have included government threats to scientific freedom, detention of scientists and assassination attempts against physicists.

Macquarie, which recruited Dr Salby from the US in 2008 to fill its chair of climate science, this year refused him permission to travel to Europe to present research findings which he said countered "reckless claims" about the role of mankind in greenhouse gases.

"Modern changes of atmospheric CO2 and methane are -- contrary to popular belief -- not unprecedented," Dr Salby says in an email to supporters detailing his falling out with Macquarie.

He has been a critic of the government's Climate Commission, which includes two Macquarie academics among its members.

Asked about the case, Dr Salby said he could not say much because it was "headed to court".

The university said his sacking had nothing to do with scientific freedom. A Macquarie spokesman said Dr Salby was dismissed for "failure to fulfill his teaching obligations, repeatedly and consistently over several months" and for going to Europe anyway "despite repeated written instruction not to travel".

Contrary to policy, he used a Macquarie credit card to buy a ticket through an external travel agency, the spokesman said.

Dr Salby was refused permission because the trip clashed with his teaching duties, not because of the nature of the research findings he wanted to present, the spokesman said.

Dr Salby said the teaching was imposed "without discussion, in breach of my contract, and reduced my role to . . . menial support". Macquarie disputed this, saying that although Dr Salby was employed under a program to bring in research stars, standard conditions required "a commitment" to teaching.


Why Is Obama Lying on Climate Change?

The fact that President Obama has been spreading lies about climate change to support his actions directing the Environmental Protection Agency to impose costly new restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions was exposed last week at a Senate hearing. The lie? Spoken with his trademark don’t-you-dare-question-me confidence during a November 2012, press conference, Obama said: “What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing—faster than was predicted even ten years ago.” Then at a Chicago fundraiser on May 29: “We also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago.” He’s likely said the same thing several times in the intervening months.

The hearing: “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now” was held on Thursday, July 18, by the Environment and Public Works Committee—chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Because Democrats control the Senate, they get more witnesses at a hearing than Republicans. Thursday’s hearing had two panels. Each had three experts (invited by the Democrats) who supported the “alarmist’ position on global warming held by most Democrats and two (invited by the Republicans) who could be called “skeptics.”

During the Q & A time with the first panel—which included the Democrat’s star: Heidi Cullen of Weather Channel fame, Ranking Member Senator David Vitter (R-LA) asked: “Can any witnesses say they agree with Obama’s statement that warming has accelerated during the past 10 years?” After an awkward (to say the least) silence, Cullen tried to change the subject by saying that we need to be looking at longer time periods then ten years and then, ultimately, acknowledged that the warming has slowed, not accelerated. A few minutes later, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made sure no one missed the point. He repeated Obama’s claim and then asked: “Do any of you support that quote?” Again, silence.

Even the witnesses brought in by the Democrats couldn’t support Obama’s false data. But, there were other interesting aspects of the nearly four-hour-long hearing.

Chairman Boxer, in her opening statement, proclaimed: “Predictions of climate change are coming true right before our eyes.” She added, “We can look out the window and see the evidence of climate change mounting around us.”

I find it interesting that Boxer started off with “predictions.” In preparation for the hearing, the Minority—led by Vitter—produced an important report: “Critical Thinking on Climate Change: Questions to Consider Before Taking Regulatory Action and Implementing Economic Policies.” The 21-page report’s introduction states: “Over nearly four decades, numerous predictions have had adequate time to come to fruition, providing an opportunity to analyze and compare them to

today’s statistics. … This report posits that as the developing world has greatly expanded its use of fossil energy and CO2 emissions have increased, then the predictions and claims regarding human influence on climate patterns should be apparent and easily proven.” The remaining 19 pages are filled with predictions and claims—including Obama’s—that are false or foolish, such as Former Vice President Al Gore’s on December 13, 2008: “The entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years.” And a 1989 statement from the Associated Press: “Using computer models, researchers conclude that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide by two degrees by 2010.” Each set of predictions and claims is countered by “The Latest Science.” Reading the report, you’ll find that the claims often contradict the data.

Back to Boxer. She starts with dramatic predictions about heat waves, tropical storms and hurricanes—which will be more frequent and intense.

The first witness was Cullen, Chief Climatologist at Climate Central—who continued with the “extreme weather events” theme: “The impacts of human-caused climate change are being observed right here and right now in our own backyards and neighborhoods.” She said that warming is happening very, very quickly and that it is expected to accelerate. She talked about extremes seen every day:

    More heavy downpours, (a non-meteorological term)
    More heat extremes,
    Increase in hurricane activity,
    Increase in flood magnitude, and
    Southwest increase in droughts and wildfires.

While Boxer and Cullen set the stage, as witnesses number 9 and 10, Roger Pielke, Jr., and Roy Spencer provided the final act in Thursday’s theater.

Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and the author of Climate Fix, started with seven “take-home points” that totally eviscerated Boxer and Cullen’s “extreme weather” claims. Showing a series of charts and graphs that can be found in his written testimony, Pielke convincingly proved: “It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” The fact of the matter is (From Pielke’s testimony):

*   Globally, weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%).

*    Insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.

*   Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.

*    There are no significant trends (up or down) in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970 (when data allows for a comprehensive perspective), or the overall number of cyclones.

*   Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.

*   Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

*    Drought has, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and has been covering a smaller portion of the US over the past century.

Pielke’s comments are all the more noteworthy when you realize that he generally believes that humans are influencing the climate system “in profound ways.”

Last, but surely not least, was Roy Spencer who holds a Ph.D. in Meteorology and has spent his entire career in research—specifically satellite information retrieval techniques and global temperature monitoring. Spencer has served NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies. He agrees with Pielke—and every other panelist that at least some of the recent warming is human-caused: “We probably are having some influence, but it is impossible to know with any level of certainty how much influence.”

Spencer tore apart the oft-quoted figure that 97% of scientists support the global warming consensus. He explained that it’s actually 97% of the published papers that acknowledge some human influence—which is “therefore rather innocuous, since it probably includes all of the global warming ‘skeptics’ I know of who are actively working in the field. Skeptics generally are skeptical of the view that recent warming is all human-caused, and/or that it is of a sufficient magnitude to warrant immediate action given the cost of energy policies to the poor. They do not claim humans have no impact on climate whatsoever.”

Why is Spencer “skeptical?” For many reasons, but one involves data he showed covering the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period and the Modern Warm Period. He said: “While today’s hearing is entitled “Climate Change; It’s Happening Now,” it couldhave been entitled “Climate Change: It’s Happened Before.” He explained: “The last 2000 years of proxy reconstructed temperature variations for the Northern Hemisphere shows that the Modern Warm Period (today) is not significantly different from the Medieval Warm Period of ~1000 years ago, or the Roman Warm Period of ~2000 years ago.

Spencer also demonstrated the failure of the computer model predictions upon which the IPCC based their projections of global warming. He offered a chart demonstrating the 73 models used and their predictions vs. the actual temperature measurement from two satellite datasets and four weather balloon datasets. “The level of disagreement between models and observations is quite striking.” Spencer pointed out: “The magnitude of global-average atmospheric warming between 1997 and 2012 is only about 50% that predicted by the climate models. …The level of warming in the most recent 15-year period is not significantly different from zero, despite this being the period of greatest greenhouse gas concentration. This is in stark contrast to claims that warming is ‘accelerating.’” He concludes: “It is time for scientists to entertain the possibility that there is something wrong with the assumptions built into their climate models. …and so far their error rate should preclude their use for predicting future climate change.”

Spencer’s testimony mentioned the “cost of energy policies to the poor”—which brings up another interesting contrast presented at Thursday’s hearing: the economics. As each of the Senators gave his or her opening statements, the Democrats—who claim to be the champions of the poor—never mentioned the cost, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) exclaimed: “To save the planet will be expensive!” He proposed: “serious legislation to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions” and called for “bold action,” saying: “the US must lead the world.” He’s introduced legislation for a tax on carbon. (Realize that the same week the hearing was held, Australia’s new Prime Minister announced that he “will ‘terminate’ the country's carbon tax early ‘to help cost of living pressures for families and to reduce costs for small business.”)

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) addressed “the President’s intent to pursue a costly regulatory roll out” which he said: “demands proof of sound science as well as transparency.”

The economists on the panel where those invited by the Republicans. Diana Furchtgott-Roth was one of them. She’s been chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, chief of staff at the Council of Economic Advisers, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Domestic Policy Council under President George H.W. Bush, and an economist on the staff of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers.

I talked to Furchtgott-Roth after the hearing. She told me: “They don’t seem to be interested in whether or not climate change is really occurring. They are not interested in facts. They want a carbon tax because it will give them unlimited power and unlimited power means unlimited campaign contributions.” Furchtgott-Roth pointed out how a carbon tax would hurt the economy and how the expensive proposed solutions would disproportionately affect low-income Americans. A chart she presented shows, based on Department of Labor data, that “those in the lowest fifth of the income distribution spend an average of 24 percent of income on energy, compared to 10 percent of the income for those in the middle fifth, and 4 percent of income for those in the top fifth.” She presented several less costly options for climate change mitigation—if greenhouse gasses are really the problem—but felt they fell on deaf ears.

A lot of data was presented at the Senate hearing—much of which was obviously unsettling to the “alarmists.” During the Q & A, the “skeptics” were less attacked on the content of their testimony than they were on personal issues.

Boxer called out the two economists: Furchtgott-Roth and Dr. Robert P. Murphy, Senior Economist, Institute for Energy Research, because their organizations receive some funding from the oil and gas industry. Furchtgott-Roth pointed out that she’s been writing on these issues since long before becoming a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) attempted to portray Spencer as a knuckle-dragging Bible thumper for his views on evolutionary theory. Spencer laughed, asked where that was coming from, and then told Whitehouse he’d be happy to show the stronger science arguments for design at another time. Clearly, Whitehouse’s comments were inappropriate, considering the topic at hand.

In his opening comments, Sanders smugly called the hearing an “Alice in Wonderland hearing” because the people within the room were “living in two separate worlds.” Clearly, they are. But those two worlds accurately represent the American population—though in differing percentages. At the “Alice in Wonderland hearing” the Majority supports the “alarmist” view, which encourages a carbon tax and other “expensive” solutions. In the real world, the majority doesn’t see climate change as a pressing problem—hence the shift to dramatic “extreme weather events.” Americans prioritize economic growth over protecting the environment—a recent survey puts climate change at number 21 in a list of top concerns. In her written testimony, Furchtgott-Roth stated: “Americans know that no reduction in global warming will occur if America reduces greenhouse gases without similar action by China and India, and these countries have not agreed to comparable steps.”

The hearing’s “take-home points:” Obama lied. Boxer and Cullen’s predictions are false. The models are inaccurate. So, for this we are going to ruin the economy and disproportionately hurt the poor?


Germany’s Biggest Energy Company Considers Fleeing Europe

European Plants May be Moved to Emerging Markets

German utility E.ON is considering dismantling some European power plants that have been mothballed because of poor profitability and relocating them to faster-growing emerging markets such as Turkey, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

The radical idea underscores the dire situation facing many utilities in Europe, where the combination of weak energy demand caused by the economic crisis and the rapid expansion of renewable energy is undermining the conventional power-generation business.
E.ON isn’t the only company considering drastic measures. On Tuesday, Swedish utility Vattenfall AB, opened the door to the sale of its power business in continental Europe. E.ON’s main German rival, RWE AG, has warned it could shut down a fifth of its power plants.

One of the plants that E.ON could pack up and ship overseas is the 430-megawatt combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Malzenice, Slovakia, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking. If E.ON’s calculations prove that a move is economically viable, the plant could be moved to Turkey, which is a more attractive market with stronger energy-demand growth, the person said.

E.ON expanded into Turkey earlier this year in partnership with local conglomerate Haci Omer Sabanci Holding. Together, the companies plan to develop around 8,000 megawatts of power generation capacity by 2020, equivalent to around 10% of Turkey’s overall capacity.

E.ON has invested around €400 million ($526 million) in the gas-fired Slovakian plant, but it will go offline in October less than three years after it was commissioned because it has been making a loss, E.ON said earlier this month.

Power plants fueled by gas are suffering the most in Europe because of a combination of high fuel prices and intense competition from cheaper coal supplies. The surge in production of wind and solar energy is also reducing demand for gas-fired power, because these forms of renewable energy compete directly with facilities like Malzenice in serving peak electricity demand.

Since it began operating in January 2011, the Malzenice plant has operated for only around 5,600 hours, well below its target of 4,000 hours to 5,000 hours per year, E.ON has said.
E.ON isn’t alone in its troubles. Germany’s largest power producer by capacity, RWE, has also warned that it is struggling to operate its fleet of fossil-fuel power plants profitably. Chief Executive Peter Terium has said that around one-fifth of the company’s 50 gigawatt power generation capacity is at risk of being shut down.

Swedish state-controlled utility Vattenfall wrote down the value of its power plants by €3.5 billion Tuesday, blaming low power prices and muted energy demand across Europe.

Oystein Loseth, the company’s chief executive said he didn’t expect the European power market to recover in the foreseeable future. Vattenfall will now consider the full or partial sale of its continental European business, although it will retain full control of its operations in the Nordic region.


UK Energy Companies May Shut Down Power Plants To Receive Subsidies

Tim Webb

The boss of one of Britain’s biggest energy companies has warned that the Government’s new plan to stave off the growing threat of blackouts could increase the risk of the lights going out.

Under the plan announced this month, the owners of mothballed power plants would be offered lucrative subsidies to rush them back into action during times of peak demand.

But Keith Anderson, the chief corporate officer of Scottish Power, said that energy companies could deliberately mothball plants that they would otherwise have kept open to make them eligible for the payments. This would cut Britain’s precariously thin spare generating margin even further.

“Please let’s not create the wrong signals in the market,” he said. “If you put in place a mechanism to encourage mothballed plants to come back on the system, then you are encouraging people to mothball plants. You have to think through very carefully the consequences. We need to have more detailed conversations to make sure we do not have unintended consequences and make the situation worse.”

Other power companies share Scottish Power’s concerns. National Grid, which is carrying out a consulation into the plan, admitted that many believed it amounted to “interference” in the market.

Mr Anderson wants the Government instead to bring forward its so-called capacity auctions, scheduled to start in 2018, which will pay energy companies to provide generating capacity available a long time in advance.




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 or here


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