Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Doubts about the hiding ocean heat
The latest episode in the claim that heat is "hiding" in the ocean is here, reporting a study led by a Prof. England. Just a few preliminary notes:
The study offers an explanation for the pesky fact (for Warmists) that there has been a "standstill" in the earth's temperature for about 17 years. Prof. England calculates that stronger winds in the Pacific in recent years would have pushed hot surface water to below 700 meters and that the heat is just lurking there to come up again some time and warm us. So the heat is not absent, just hiding.
There is much to note there. The first is that Prof. England has spent at least a decade denying that there has been a temperature standstill. Yet when it suits him he suddenly admits it. His attachment to the facts is clearly very opportunistic and not at all confidence-inspiring. Would his calculations survive scrutiny by someone who knows all about fluid dynamics?
Secondly, he implicates a NATURAL process in what it going on -- something Warmists have always sedulously avoided. Why could not ALL the processes involved be natural? And there is every reason to regard the standstill as natural and requiring no particular explanation. It is entirely consistent with the meandering pattern of slight temperature changes over the last century or more.
Thirdly he speculates that the warm water is hanging out below 700 meters, when the extreme limit of the mixing layer is normally given as 200 meters. How did it get down there?
And how long is that "hot" water going to stay down there? It is very cold in the ocean deeps so normal convective processes would ensure that the "hot" water would rapidly become cold. As such it's unlikely to warm anything in the future -- JR
Uncertainty! Halt in Global warming is a hot topic in science circles
The standstill is certainly pesky for Warmists but it is in fact an incidental flaw in their claims. The BIG flaw in their claims is that the gentle temperature rise seen for the last century or so will stop and suddenly take a great leap upwards instead. That is pure prophecy based on very weak theory. Successful scientific predictions are generalizations from known existing processes. Warmism is just a leap in the dark which dismisses existing knowns
First it was dismissed as imaginary, then it was called a statistical blip. Now it’s become one of the hottest topics among climate scientists: why has global warming stopped?
Since the late 1980s, we’ve been told that our planet is warming up with potentially disastrous consequences. Leading climate scientists have declared – with increasing confidence – that the fault lies with mankind, with our reckless use of greenhouse gas-generating fossil fuels.
Yet not everyone has gone along with this scientific consensus. Some have argued that the 0.8C rise over the last century is just natural variation. Others have insisted it’s due to faulty measurements.
But some have claimed that while global warming may have once been underway, it isn’t any more.
They point to the graphs of average global temperatures, which show a seemingly inexorable rise from the mid-1970s onwards, reaching a peak in 1998 followed by… stasis. For the past 15 years, the graphs show no discernible trend.
The claim that global warming is on hold was first made in 2006 by Prof Bob Carter, an earth scientist from James Cook University, Australia.
At the time, the claim was deeply controversial, and was challenged on the entirely reasonable grounds of insufficient evidence. Yet since then the evidence for a pause in the upwards trend has grown.
Climate scientists continued to argue it was a statistical blip, but now even leading advocates of man-made global warming accept that the pause is real, and demands explanation.
Last month, the leading science journal Nature – not known for its denial of climate change – looked at the current best guesses as to the likely cause of the pause.
Top of the list, ironically, is the phenomenon widely blamed for the record-breaking peak global temperature in 1998: El Niño.
Known to scientists as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso), this is a notorious family of weather patterns that breaks out every three to eight years in the Pacific Ocean.
Its origins lie in the complex interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean. Each year the sun’s warmth causes a huge build-up of heat in the Pacific, plus powerful convective air currents in the atmosphere.
By the end of the year, some of this heat is offloaded by currents from the western coast of South America, triggering winter rains in Australasia.
But every so often, there’s a much larger westward surge of heat, affecting ocean temperatures and air flow across the whole Pacific.
The result is a powerful El Niño effect, accompanied by a change in air pressure known as the Southern Oscillation – and worldwide climatic upheaval.
The 1997-8 El Niño event was particularly dramatic, and is widely blamed for everything from floods in Chile to droughts in Indonesia. It is also thought to be the cause of that sudden spike in global temperatures.
But almost immediately afterwards, colder waters from deep within the Pacific moved in to the same area. This is now seen as part of an even grander weather cycle, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
And when something as vast as the Pacific gets cooler, it’s likely to have global consequences.
This has now been confirmed by computer models based on actual temperature data from the Pacific taken over several decades.
Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, have shown that the resulting PDO cooling is enough to mop up the underlying global warming trend – making it appear to have stopped dead.
To climate-change sceptics, this will sound like fiddling with computer models until they give the “right” answer. So many weather cycles have now been identified that the explanations based on them look suspiciously like the gear-packed “epicyclic” models the Greeks used to prop up the idea of an Earth-centred solar system.
In fairness, climate scientists are discovering more complexity rather than merely inventing it. Even so, what’s needed is that acid test of any credible scientific theory: a verifiable prediction – which is what climatologists are now seeking.
The most obvious is that, if the PDO really is the cause of the pause in global warming, it will flip around, causing a sharp rise in global temperatures.
That turnaround may be underway right now.
According to reports in Nature, strong tropical winds are already driving warm water back into the El Niño zone of the Pacific. The western part of the ocean has now acquired a 20cm swell compared with the east – and you don’t need a computer to tell you that can’t last forever.
As climate scientist Dr Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, memorably put it in Nature: “At some point the water will get so high that it just sloshes back”.
And when it does, the resulting release of heat will trigger a sudden resumption of global warming.
Or, rather, it should. For, as with so much in climate science, things aren’t that simple.
There’s another influence on our climate that’s puzzling scientists – one that could throw any prediction out of whack: the sun.
Like our climate, the sun goes through cycles, marked by the rise and fall in solar activity, as measured by sunspot numbers.
These cycles last roughly 11 years, and the current one reached its peak last year.
What bothers scientists is that it wasn’t much of a peak. In fact, it was the most feeble for more than a century.
This has led to speculation that the sun is starting to wind down to a level of activity not seen since the late 1600s – which just happened to coincide with a period when the Earth became much colder.
The causal link between solar activity, sunspots and global temperatures is far from fully understood.
What is clear, however, is that it could make a mockery of climate predictions – and with it those scientists hoping to revive the case for action on global warming.
Center for American Progress -- Big Green
The Center for American Progress (CAP) has emerged as a leading liberal think tank. But what role do its corporate donors play in its policy positions?
This is the first in a series of articles by The Daily Caller News Foundation investigating this question — and TheDCNF has found that the progressive think tank used its influence and networking to forward corporate agendas.
CAP was founded by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta in 2003 as an alternative to the conservative Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and in its relatively short lifespan has gained much notoriety on the Washington, D.C. policy scene.
Podesta has been able to bring on other prominent former Democratic officials, such as Clinton Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner and former White House official Neera Tanden, who now serves as CAP’s president.
The liberal think tank has been active on virtually every major policy issue in the last decade, including energy and climate policy, as well as pushing federal health-insurance reform through backing Obamacare.
“As progressives, we believe America is a land of boundless opportunity, where people can better themselves, their children, their families, and their communities through education, hard work, and the freedom to climb the ladder of economic mobility,” CAP’s website reads.
“We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest, harness the strength of our diversity, and secure the rights and safety of its people,” the think tank’s bio continues. “And we believe our nation must always be a beacon of hope and strength to the rest of the world.”
Podesta recently took a position back at the White House as an Obama administration senior adviser. Before he left CAP, the think tank released a list of 58 corporate donors, including Google, General Electric and major insurance companies. The move was supposed to improve the institution’s image, but it was met with intense criticism from the left.
“Mr. Podesta, named a senior adviser to President Obama, is not currently a lobbyist and therefore does not have to worry about the Obama administration’s self-imposed ban on hiring lobbyists to administration jobs,” writes The New York Times. “But he will nonetheless arrive at the White House after having run an organization that has taken millions of dollars in corporate donations in recent years and has its own team of lobbyists who have pushed an agenda that sometimes echoes the interests of these corporate supporters.”
CAP argues, however, that only about $2.7 million of its $42 million budget last came from corporations or foundations run by corporations. And despite the criticisms over supporting their donor’s corporate agenda, CAP argues it is not under corporate influence.
“The Center for American Progress has always been fiercely independent — our views are shaped by what we think the best solutions are to improve the lives of all Americans,” said Neera Tanden, CAP’s president. “Donations, be they from individuals or corporations, do not guide or determine our work. Period. Indeed, we have advocated numerous policies that would impinge on corporate interests — from tax policy to government subsidies; our interests are simply to provide ideas to solve the country’s problems.”
While they may argue against corporate influence, a favorite talking point of the post-Occupy left, CAP’s policy promotion and lobbying efforts have indeed benefited at least some of its donors. As the NY Times wrote: “The defense contractor Northrop Grumman gave money to the left-leaning Center for American Progress … as the nonprofit group at times bemoaned what it called the harmful impact of major reductions in Pentagon spending.”
“Pacific Gas and Electric sent in a donation as Mr. Podesta championed government incentives to promote solar energy and other renewable sources that the California company buys more of than nearly any other utility,” the Times added. “The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was also a donor because of what it said was the Center for American Progress’s advocacy for patients’ rights — and just as the debate heated up in Washington over potential cuts to the Medicare program that covers Lilly’s most profitable drugs.”
Exhibit One: The Greenwashing of BMW
CAP has billed itself as an independent voice that promotes progressive solutions to complex policy problems. But the disclosure of their corporate donors has called into question the extent of their “independence”.
BMW of North America has been a member of CAP since 2009. The auto group was having trouble promoting its “green” image and turned to the lobbying firm run by former German Foreign Minister and early leader of the German Green Party Joschka Fischer. As it turned out, Fischer’s firm had a strategic partnership with the Albright Stonebridge Group which is run by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and features CAP distinguished fellow and former Clinton Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carol Browner. The former EPA chief also served as a climate advisor to President Obama.
BMW brought on Fischer’s firm in 2009 to develop a “sustainable and environmentally friendlier business,” reports the German newspaper Der Spiegel. It was likely through Fischer’s connection to Albright Stonebridge that got them in touch with officials from CAP.
It wasn’t long before CAP held an event in October 2009 called “Driving the Transformation” about eco-friendly transportation which was used to tout how BMW’s being a leader in terms in being environmentally conscious. The event’s featured speaker was Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management and CEO for the BMW Group.
“Reithofer emphasized that BMW is ahead of the clean car curve thanks to its 28 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1997 to 2008,” reads a summary of the hearing. “For Reithofer, keeping up with society’s expectations for energy-efficient vehicles is the key to survive in the car industry over the coming years. Clean transportation is both a moral imperative and good for business.”
“And any good business knows to how diversify,” the summary continued. “Reithofer said the world’s ‘transportation future will require a mix of mobility options,’ including modern combustion engines, efficient diesel, and hybrids. He said that BMW is committed to pushing energy-efficient technology to the next level.”
The event also featured Fischer, who said that energy-efficient cars are one way the rest of the world can raise their living standards without contributing to global warming. CAP, however, did not disclose in the event’s summary that Fischer had been hired by BMW to promote their sustainability efforts or that he was partnered with Albright Stonebridge — a CAP donor.
This was not all CAP did for BMW, however, as the group also wrote articles touting the car company’s efforts to clean up its act and help make eco-friendly vehicles. In August 2011, CAP published a piece entitled “It’s Easy Being Green: Sustainable Motor Works.” BMW would have already been a member of CAP for about two years by then.
The article, which reads more like a BMW press release, talks about how BMW was focusing on leading the auto industry in “clean energy” and protecting the environment. CAP also mentioned how BMW’s South Carolina plant which is listed as number three “on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the 20 strongest on-site generation clean power users,” according to CAP.
It was leaked in 2012 that BMW had been part of CAP’s Business Alliance, which requires members to donate between $25,000 and $100,000 annually. The Business Alliance comes with many perks, including private meetings with CAP policy analysts and top officials and invitations to VIP events with federal officials.
What does this mean?
CAP used its influence and position as a progressive think tank to promote BMW’s green credentials. The liberal think tank is influential in environmental circles as it employs former EPA chief Browner — who also works at Madeline Albright’s firm.
Regardless of whether or not BMW is genuinely a leader in sustainability, CAP has greatly benefited from its partnership with BMW — getting donations from the company since 2009. All CAP had to do was promote the company’s environmental agenda.
Another thing this episode illustrates is the connections between Albright’s lobbying group and CAP. Both Podesta and Albright served under President Clinton and have since appeared at events together. Albright serves on CAP’s Board of Directors and even employs CAP fellows.
Former EPA chief Browner was a founding principal of the Albright Group, the predecessor to Albright Stonebridge, as well as a founding board member of CAP. Browner currently serves as a senior fellow at CAP and as a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that CAP national security fellows Richard Verma and Brian Katulis both also work for Albright Stonebridge. Verma works as a counselor at Albright Stonebridge, working on global trade issues. Katulis works as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge dealing in international issues.
An Albright Stonebridge spokesman said “we regard the Center for American Progress as an important hub of policy development and analysis in Washington, and the Albright Stonebridge Group is proud to lend its support to CAP and contribute to its mission.”
CAP did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF.
There is No Global Warming and Will Be None for Decades
By Alan Caruba
I recently received an unsigned email about my Sierra Club commentary in which I pointed out that it opposes traditional forms of energy and made a passing reference to Obama’s lie that “climate change”, the new name for global warming, was now "settled science.”
Global warming was never based on real science. It was conjured up using dubious computer models and we were supposed to believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could actually predict what the climate would be twenty, fifty, or a hundred years from now.
The writer of the email disagreed with me. “lol you are a f**king idiot. you don’t believe there is global warming going on? you need to let your prejudices go and stop basing your views on what your political stance is…do you research you f**king faggot.”
Now, not everyone who believes in global warming is as rude as this individual and certainly not as ignorant, but his message suggests that those who do not believe in it do so as the result of “a political stance” when, in fact, our views are based on science.
Anyone familiar with my writings knows that a lot of research is involved. In my case, it dates back to the late 1980s when the global warming hoax began to be embraced by politicians like Al Gore who made millions selling worthless “carbon credits” while warning that “Earth has a fever.”
A small army of scientists lined their pockets with government grants to produce data that supported the utterly baseless charge that carbon dioxide was causing the Earth to warm. They castigated other scientists or people like myself as “deniers” while we proffered to call ourselves sceptics. They were joined by most of the media that ignored the real science. And the curriculums in our schools were likewise corrupted with the hoax.
Then, about 17 years ago the Earth began to cool. It had nothing to do with carbon dioxide—which the Environmental Protection Agency deems a “pollutant” despite the fact that all life on Earth would die without it—and everything to do with the SUN.
A few days after the email arrived, two-thirds of the contiguous U.S.A. was covered by snow. As this is being written, Lake Superior is 92% frozen, setting a new record. As of February 5, the entire Great Lakes system was, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 77% covered with ice.
On February 1st, NOAA and NASA held a joint press conference in which they released data about 2013’s global surface temperature. They made reference to a “pause” in the temperature that began in 1997. Dr. David Whitehouse, science editor for the BBC, noted that “When asked for an explanation for the ‘pause’ by reporters, Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA and Dr. Thomas Karl of NOAA spoke of contributions from volcanoes, pollution, a quiet Sun, and natural variability. In other words, they don’t know.”
Both of these government agencies, along with others like the EPA and the Department of the Interior are staffed by people who understand that their employers are deeply committed to the global warming hoax. One should assume that almost anything they have to say about the “pause” is based entirely on politics, not science.
Then, too, despite the many measuring stations from which data is extracted to determine the Earth’s climate, there is a paucity of such stations in COLD places like Siberia. Stations here in the U.S. are often placed in “heat islands” otherwise known as cities. If you put enough of them close to sources of heat, you get thermometer readings that produce, well, heat.
People in the U.S., England, Europe and other areas of the world who do not possess Ph.ds in meteorology, climatology, geology, astronomy, and chemistry have begun to suspect that everything they have been told about global warming is false. Between 1300 and 1850 the northern hemisphere went through a mini-ice age. After that it began to warm up again. So, yes, there was global warming, but it was a natural cycle, not something caused by human beings.
Nature doesn’t care what we do. It is far more powerful than most of us can comprehend.
This brings us back to the Sun which determines, depending on where you are on planet Earth, how warm or cold you feel. The Sun, too, goes through cycles, generally about eleven years long. When it is generating a lot of heat, its surface is filled with sunspots, magnetic storms.
When there are few sunspots, solar radiation diminishes and we get cold. Scientists who study the Sun believe it may encounter another “Maunder minimum”, named after astronomer Edward Maunder, in which the last “Little Ice Age”, between 1645 and 1715, occurred. The Thames in England froze over as did the canals of Holland froze solid.
There is no global warming and scientists like Henrik Svensmark, the director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute, believes that “World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more.” I agree.
The Sierra Club hates energy
By Alan Caruba
If I told you that you should hate coal, oil and natural gas, you might think I was crazy and you would be right. Everything we do involves these three energy reserves and the U.S. has so much of them that we could be energy independent of the rest of the world while, at the same time, exporting them.
When you think about energy reserves, think about the hundreds of thousands of jobs they represent. Then think about the huge revenue in leases and taxes they represent to the government that needs to reduce its debt. Ultimately, though, try to imagine a nation that does not utilize petroleum in thousands of ways or fails to tap its enormous coal and natural gas reserves to generate the electricity upon which that everything depends.
I recently received an email from the Sierra Club praising the President’s State of the Union speech in which he claimed that climate change — by which they mean global warming — is real and that the science is “settled.” No, the science entirely refutes it — except if one means that the climate has always been a state of change. The most recent climate change is 17 years of cooling that has gifted us with record-breaking cold as far south as Florida.
What Sierra Club focused on was Obama’s call for “new sources of energy” other than the traditional ones. He was referring to solar and wind energy. A recent news article on CNSNews noted that “Solar power, which President Barack Obama promoted…accounted for 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply in the first nine months of 2013, according to data published by the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration.”
According to the EIA, “the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office…From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent.”
Some might take this as a good thing, but “electricity has gotten more expensive since 2008 — with the electricity price index at an all-time high.” So we are paying more while getting less.
The Sierra Club, however, criticized Obama saying “As long as his administration keeps throwing lifelines to old sources of energy like oil and gas, we won’t be able to lead the world on clean energy solutions like wind and solar.” They called for an “end to oil and gas fracking on public lands.” What they are not saying is that the Obama Administration has virtually put an end to any exploration and extraction of energy sources on public lands. And you can forget about the massive reserves estimated to exist off-shore of our coasts.
In early January, Mark D. Green, the editor of Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, examined the reality of our vast energy sources. Keep in mind that every product we purchase is dependent in some way on oil. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil” that provide power for our vast transportation needs and thousands of other uses. Oil is the basis for the creation of plastic. Try to imagine living without anything that does not utilize plastic in some fashion.
As for natural gas, experts predict that lower prices as more is discovered via fracking, will increase industrial output 2.8 percent by 2015 and 3.9 percent by 2025. Policies that would allow the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas would generate between $15.6 billion and $73.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and help reduce our deficits and debt.
The Sierra Club doesn’t want to see the U.S. benefit from coal, oil, and natural gas. It wants to see the landmass filled with solar farms and thousands of wind turbines that would not produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nation, let alone a major city. Because they are unpredictable, all require the backup of traditional plants.
Nor does the Sierra Club make any mention of the Obama Administration’s war on coal that has forced 153 plants to shut down. It’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that would require new plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not commercially available! Nor is there any reason to capture carbon dioxide, the gas that is the “food” that every single piece of vegetation requires; a gas that plays virtually no role at all in the Earth’s climate.
As this is being written, the State Department just released a report that would clear the way for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada after a 5-year delay by the Obama Administration. Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and natural gas. If the U.S. cannot gain access to the oil, it will go to China and other nations.
The prospect of the pipeline was rejected by the Sierra Club. Friends of the Earth announced that it would join with the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and other radical Green groups to hold vigils around the nation Monday to protest its possible approval and construction.
The Sierra Club is not only lying to its members, it is lying to all of us when it says: “Getting all of the energy we need without using fossil fuels is no longer a question of whether we can—but whether we will.” We can’t, we shouldn’t, and we won’t…but we must wait until Obama is no longer in office and, as early as the 2014 midterm elections, we must rid our nation of his supporters in Congress.
Then we will watch our nation’s economy expand with more jobs and more revenue.
The ignorance and hypocrisy behind oil export bans
Help consumers, security, environment by eliminating prohibition on exporting US oil and gas
US oil and gas production was already declining, when the 1973 Arab oil embargo sent oil and gasoline prices skyrocketing and created block-long lines at gas stations. Increased domestic production could have eased the supply and price crunch, but the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill had resulted in congressional leasing and drilling moratoriums on federal offshore and onshore lands.
Though it voted 50-49 to build the Alaska pipeline, Congress refused to allow more drilling. Instead, it legislated a 55-mph speed limit, mileage standards for vehicles and a ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil. The speed limit was eventually lifted, but drilling bans expanded, the mileage rules tightened, the export ban remained, and the United States increasingly imported more oil at higher prices.
However, quietly and under the federal and environmentalist radar, America’s oil industry improved and expanded its horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka, fracking) technologies – on state and private lands, where DC regulators and pressure groups had little sway. The unprecedented boom that followed sent US oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (propane) production sharply upward for the first time in decades. America’s oil output rose 30% just between 2011 and 2013, to 7.4 million barrels per day. The Green mantra that we were depleting petroleum supplies was smashed on the fractured rocks of reality.
Suddenly, the United States was importing less oil than at any time since 1995; millions of oil patch and related jobs were created; frack state royalty and tax revenues skyrocketed; natural gas prices plummeted; and the cheaper fuels and feed stocks fostered a US petrochemical and manufacturing renaissance. The fracking revolution also enabled companies to export more gasoline, kerosene, lubricants, solvents, asphalt and other finished products (since the government never banned refined product exports). Those exports have greatly improved the nation’s balance of trade and gross domestic product.
Now many American producers want the misguided export ban sent to history’s dust bin, so that they can ship crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to foreign ports. Numerous other companies support their call for change. Asia needs the energy, they note, to fuel its growing economy and support its inadequate petroleum production infrastructure. Europe needs it because too much of its natural gas comes from Russia, which charges high prices and sometimes engages in energy blackmail, and because EU fracking bans and global warming/renewable energy policies have sent business and family energy prices into the stratosphere and killed millions of jobs. The United States as a whole would also benefit.
Congress should terminate the ban. (Or President Obama could void it with yet another unconstitutional executive diktat, to counter his job-killing mandates.) Proffered reasons for perpetuating the prohibition reflect a poor grasp of energy markets, misguided self interests and simple hypocrisy.
US oil production is expected to increase by some 780,000 barrels per day in 2014, rising to 9.6 million per day by 2019. The nation’s refining capacity is at record levels, for light, heavy, sweet and sour crude. Exports would provide and important outlet for some of this crude, encouraging further exploration, protecting jobs, further revitalizing our economy, and ensuring continued royalty and tax revenues.
Opening more publicly owned lands to leasing, drilling and fracking would magnify these benefits many times over. These resources belong to all Americans, not only to those who oppose energy development or want to use anti-hydrocarbon policies to undermine economic growth and job creation. Expanded fracking operations on all these lands would further expand supplies, by making otherwise marginal plays more economic to produce, reinvigorating old oil and gas fields, prolonging oil field life, and ensuring greater resource conservation, by leaving far fewer valuable resources behind in rock formations.
Concerns that ending the ban would hurt consumers are misplaced. Indeed, for reasons just given, the opposite would happen. Expanding domestic supplies will keep OPEC at bay, stabilize global supplies and prices, and make the United States less reliant on imports and less vulnerable to supply disruptions.
What’s truly ironic and hypocritical here is that this sudden concern about consumer prices comes from members of Congress and self-styled environmental and consumer groups who have led the wars on leasing, drilling, fracking and hydrocarbons – while supporting expensive, land-intensive, water-hungry ethanol and biofuel programs. All these policies hurt consumers, by driving up energy prices. And who can forget President Obama’s pledge that electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies, or former Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s wish that gasoline cost $8-10 per gallon, as it does in Europe.
Companies like Dow Chemical and Delta Airlines would thus be better advised to support expanded petroleum exploration and production (for which their voices have rarely been above a whisper), than to continue campaigning for an extended oil and gas export ban.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman (!) Ron Wyden (D-OR) also displayed woeful ignorance about energy matters when he recently expressed concern about proposed LNG exports worsening propane shortages that have left many families shivering this winter. Propane is naturally occurring natural gas liquids; it has nothing to do with exports. LNG is liquefied (compressed and super-cooled) natural gas. Moreover, the propane shortage is due to pipeline maintenance and repair problems in late 2013, coupled with unusual demand for propane last fall to dry corn for ethanol production.
(Mr. Wyden’s remark brings to mind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s famous comment: “I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.” Memo to Ms. Pelosi: Natural gas is a fossil fuel. And these are the people who are dictating and running our energy and economic policies!)
Furthermore, these pseudo-converts to consumer protection are claiming concern that the current $9 per barrel difference between US and global oil prices could shrink if some oil is exported. They say Barclays Bank predicts that eliminating the export ban could add $10 billion a year to gasoline costs. However, US gasoline expenditures totaled $335 billion in 2012. So this potential increase works out to just 3% of an average household’s $2912 gasoline expenses. That’s $87 a year, $1.67 a week – half the price of one Starbucks Latte Grande. The consumer impact of America’s massive land lockups is much higher.
Even worse, increasingly tougher automobile mileage standards result in countless injuries and deaths.
One more ironic and hypocritical aspect of all this is that ban proponents want US oil and gas to remain in the USA, rather than letting some of it support our European allies. Let Europe produce its own oil and gas, or get it from the OPEC and Russian extortionists, they say. And yet these same “ethicists” have long demanded that the United States keep its own vast petroleum supplies locked up, while we deplete other countries’ assets and put their ecological treasures at risk from production-related accidents.
President Obama himself has said the Saudis should send us more oil, when global supplies tighten – rather than using his pen and phone to tell his energy overseers to produce more here at home. The US has also criticized China for restricting exports of rare earth metals – and selling only electronic, solar panel and wind turbine components made with rare earths – while we block US rare earth mining.
Manmade climate change alarmists should also remember that natural gas exports will reduce coal use overseas, which will in turn reduce those dastardly emissions of plant-fertilizing, life-giving carbon dioxide. (Not surprisingly, 350.org chief Bill McKibben claims that aggregate life-cycle CO2 emissions from gas production and use will “almost certainly” be worse than coal. This is utter nonsense. It’s also worth noting that life-cycle energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution associated with electric car rare earth metals, production, charging and use are almost certainly worse than coal or natural gas.)
The bottom line is simple. Exporting US oil and natural gas will benefit American workers, families, consumers, balance of trade and government revenues. We must not let provincial views, anti-hydrocarbon ideologies or misinformed policy positions perpetuate this antiquated ban.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. 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
Posted by JR at 6:40 PM