Friday, January 23, 2015
Obama: Climate Change is the Greatest Threat
Not radical Muslim terrorism, not an unsecured border, not an ever-growing federal debt that now exceeds $18 trillion, not the fact that 109 million live in households on federal welfare programs. These are not the greatest threats facing us today.
"No challenge--no challenge--poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.
Although he referred to it as "climate change" and not "global warming," the president immediately followed his declaration that this was the greatest threat to future generations by stating that fourteen of the hottest fifteen years "on record" have occured since 2000.
"2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record," said Obama. "Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century."
Obama said that he is not a scientist but that the "best scientists" are saying that human beings are "changing the climate" and that "we" need to "act forcefully" in response to this.
"I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act," said Obama. "Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But, you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe."
President Obama then said that the U.S. military is saying that "climate change" is causing immediate risks to our national security--although he did not explain exactly what this meant or how the "Pentagon" had arrived at this conclusion.
"The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security," said Obama. "We should act like it."
The president then pointed to things he has done to counter these vague "immediate risks."
"That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it," said Obama.
"That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history," he said. "And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action."
He then cited his work on the issue with the Communist government of the People's Republic of China.
"In Beijing, we made an historic announcement: the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions," said Obama. "And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got."
If global "climate change" caused by human action is indeed the greatest threat facing future generations and it therefore must be stopped, as President Obama argues, it will necessarily take a global authority with the power to stop human beings from engaging in the actions that cause "climate change" to avert that threat.
U.S. light dimmed with Obama energy policy
By Marita Noon
The unity march, following the brutal attacks in Paris, reminded us all of America’s absence on the global stage.
I wondered: “How has the state of our Union gone from being the shining city on the hill, to a country whose light has dimmed?” I thought about the policies and initiatives President Obama — the leader of the free world — has put in place. I could think of none that have increased our international influence, but many that have minimized it by hurting America economically.
At Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address (SOTU), he will likely tick off a list of accomplishments designed to polish up his legacy and make us feel good, while distracting us from reality — a look-here-don’t-look-there tactic.
Within that list he will likely include, as he did last year, America’s growing energy independence — every president’s goal for the past several decades. He will address how America’s energy abundance has lowered gasoline and heating oil costs for consumers. Both are true — though no thanks to his policies, but rather in spite of them. We probably will not hear that while oil production under President Obama is up 61 percent on state and private lands, it is down 6 percent on the federal lands his policies influence.
Expect the SOTU to tout his environmental bona fides, but not to mention that he has committed the U.S. to extreme cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, while the world’s biggest offenders carry on increasing emissions — business as usual.
“The Indian government has launched a crackdown on Greenpeace and other U.S.-linked environmental groups after intelligence officials accused climate activists of harming the country’s economic security,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The story adds: “groups are being targeted for campaigning against India’s coal-based energy industry, the source of 80% of the country’s domestic power production and a linchpin of the government’s economic development plans.” And: “India rejects arguments by green activists that it must move away from coal energy, saying the alternative would be to keep its citizens in poverty.” India’s government has begun “to chip away at the regulations that domestic and foreign industries claim have stifled investment and economic growth.”
India obviously understands that abundant, available, and affordable energy forms the linchpin of economic growth. While India chips away at regulations, the Obama administration continues to pile them on — first against coal-fueled electricity generation, and now aimed at the oil-and-gas industry. His policies, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the new methane regulations announced on January 14 (just to name two) will kill jobs and raise energy costs. (Both the CPP and the new methane regulations aim to reduce so-called greenhouse gases that alarmists claim are the drivers of climate change. The CPP: carbon dioxide; the methane regulations: methane that leaks from oil and gas wells.)
The CPP, announced in June, will ultimately cause hundreds of coal-fueled power plants to shut down prematurely. These power plants supply America with reliable and cost-effective energy — and our comparatively low-priced electricity helps gives us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
In addition to job losses and higher rates, the CPP poses risks to electricity reliability. In November, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released a review of the CPP which, according to Reuters, states that “such a rapid transition will damage capacity margins, make it harder to maintain aspects of power quality and leave the grid vulnerable to extreme weather.” The review found that due to the planned transition, which would change coal from providing base-load power to a “load-following role,” the CPP “could actually raise emissions” — negating the supposed benefits the CPP claims to create. NERC concluded: the CPP “is pushing too far too fast and does not pay sufficient attention to the question of electricity reliability, pushing up costs and increasing the risk of power failures.”
Karen Lugo, Founding Director of Alliance of Resolute States, told me: “At its core, the Clean Power Plan transfers power over state energy priorities to the federal government and leaves states as mere branch offices. If this is finalized, the states will be subject to the tyranny of federal agency fads like the Social Cost of Carbon index, the pseudo-science that drives the Clean Power Plan.”
Regarding the newly announced methane rules, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states: “To regulate new oil and gas sources, the EPA is using the same part of the Clean Air Act it already uses to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.”
The new rules, scheduled to be finalized sometime next year, are “designed to help the administration meet a commitment it made in Beijing in November to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” However, even the Energy Information Administration admits that, while domestic oil production has nearly doubled and natural-gas production is up by about 50 percent since 2005, “methane emissions from the sector have dropped roughly 15 percent over that period through 2012.” Because methane is a valuable commodity, innovations in the industry have successfully captured it and ongoing improvements will continue the emissions downward trend.
In response to the EPA’s announced methane rules, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) issued the following statement:
“Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline. This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape. Our success has been — and should continue to be — rooted in new efficiencies created through technology and innovation, a commitment to continued safety enhancements, and greater permitting certainty. Our goal should be to modernize our energy infrastructure for the 21st century and continue to welcome successes in reducing emissions and delivering new sources of affordable energy to consumers who need it. These should be the priorities that we focus on, not creating new layers of bureaucracy that could smother such promising innovation.”
Others “argue that the administration has created a solution in search of a problem.”
The Washington Times states: Obama is “once again placing himself firmly on the side of environmentalists and opposite the oil-and-gas industry.” It adds: “The announcement also sets up yet another political fight with Congressional Republicans, who, along with many in the energy industry, panned the proposal as another unnecessary federal overreach that will stunt economic growth and hamper fuel production.” USA Today’s reporting includes: “The oil-and-gas industry has objected to the new regulations, saying they would curb what have become record levels of energy production.” Yet, the EPA claims the new rules “wouldn’t hamper the growth of the oil-and-gas industry.”
The WSJ reports: “In addition to directly regulating methane, the EPA plans to expand a rule it imposed on the oil and gas industry in 2012 that focuses on reductions of traditional pollutants” and “the administration left the door open for more expansive regulation later on.”
It is expected that the SOTU will push for an increase in the minimum wage — though I doubt he’ll address the loss of quality jobs in the energy sector, as a result of his policies.
While the oil-and-gas industry sheds jobs as a result of the low price of oil (somewhat a victim of its own success), Obama could announce some initiatives that could help stem the losses. In the SOTU, President Obama could offer his support to Congress’ plans to lift the 4-decade-old oil export ban, which would provide additional customers for U.S. oil and give our allies a friendly source to meet their needs. Likewise, he could call on the Department of Energy to expedite approval of applications for liquefied natural gas export terminals — something a new Senate bill proposes.
The SOTU would be a perfect time to address drilling on federal lands. One of the reasons the oil industry is reeling, is that most of America’s new production is “nonconventional” — meaning that it requires expensive technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to extract. But, easy-to-access, i.e. cheap, oil in off-limits federal lands awaits leasing and development. Opening up some of those sites could transfer production to lower-cost locales — saving jobs and increasing our energy security in the process.
Instead, we’re apt to hear about GM introducing new electric cars — despite the high cost and the public’s resistance. Expect to hear a touting of growing implementation of renewable energy, but not about wind energy projects going bankrupt once the government subsidies dry up.
The list of policies that have plunged America into darkness on the global stage could go on and on. I’ve addressed just a few impacting our energy status and security. Being a bright light in the world requires a strong economy — which, as India knows, needs energy.
Private Sector, Not Obama, Created Lower Gas Prices
In President Obama’s State of the Union preview, he touted low gas prices as an example of positive economic results. “America is now in a position to really turn the page,” he said and cited in part the fact that “gas prices have dropped.”
No doubt, the plunge in gas prices from $4 per gallon to just over $2 has benefited the economy. Drivers enjoy the cost savings at the pump each week; many families are saving upwards of $400 monthly in lowered fuel costs. Lower energy costs also bolster employment growth as goods can be produced less expensively. As transportation costs decline, retail prices decline as well.
But can the president claim credit for these savings? Not so much.
Recall that during the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama mocked those who insisted that drilling could alleviate the high cost of energy. “…You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill and step three is keep drilling,” proclaimed the president. His rant continued, “We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years. Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan – especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge…. anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about – or isn’t telling you the truth.”
In word and in deed, Obama has made no secret of his abhorrence of the oil, gas and coal industries. Through regulation at EPA, through a virtual drilling moratorium on federal lands, and by not building pipelines, the president has done almost everything imaginable to stop domestic oil production. For him to take credit for cheaper energy is like Brandon Bostick taking credit for the Seattle Seahawks going to the Super Bowl.
Just compare the figures for crude oil and natural gas production on federal lands in fiscal year 2013 (the latest data available) vs. 2009. On federal lands, crude oil production declined more than 6 percent; natural gas production plunged nearly 30 percent. Meanwhile, on private land crude oil production skyrocketed 61 percent while natural gas production increased nearly 33 percent.
And make no mistake. Even these gains in private sector production were realized in spite of the Obama administration’s best efforts. Consider the EPA’s Sue and Settle scheme which puts prime private energy-producing acreage off-limits as a result of giveaways to environmentalist groups.
Don’t expect to see any contemporary natural gas and drilling executives showcased as Obama guests at tonight’s State of the Union. But in the end, the people most responsible for America’s energy revival have been Floyd Farris (of the Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation) the inventor of hydraulic fracturing and Harold Hamm, the driller in North Dakota who put these new technologies into action creating tens of thousands of jobs.
The private sector delivered the domestic energy boom and lower gas prices—despite attempts by anti-carbon ideologues and misguided bureaucrats.
Is climate change really that dangerous? Predictions are 'very greatly exaggerated', claims study
Since 1990, scientists have used complex models to predict how climate change and manmade greenhouse emissions will affect the world.
But a team of experts - including an astrophysicist, statistician, and geography professor – has claimed these models ‘very greatly exaggerate’ the effects of global warming.
Using a simpler, solar-based model, the researchers arrived at figures that are more than half those previously predicted.
The paper, ‘Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model’, was written by Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, astrophysicist and geoscientist Willie Soon, Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware David Legates, and statistician Dr Matt Briggs.
It has been peer reviewed and is published in the journal Science Bulletin.
Mathematical equations used for large climate model typically require supercomputers that perform calculations quickly - some make more than 80 million calculations an hour.
Sophisticated climate models take into account the amounts of animals and plants, or biosphere, the hydrosphere’s oceans and other bodies of water, sea ice and ice sheets in the cryosphere, and the geosphere, that measures tectonic variations such as volcanic eruptions and moving continents.
By comparison, the team’s simple model looked at temperatures caused by so-called anthropogenic radiative forcings and consequent ‘temperature feedbacks’ over a given timeframe.
Anthropogenic radiative forcings, put simply, are measured by the difference between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth, and the energy that is radiated back to space.
A temperature feedback is created by albedo - the amount of shortwave radiation from solar energy reflected by Earth.
Ice and snow is highly reflective, so has a high albedo, for example. This means the majority of sunlight that hits snow is sent back towards space.
When ice and snow melts, as temperatures rise, the darker soil or grass lowers the albedo.
This increases the ground’s temperature, causing more snow to melt, leading to a further rise in temperature.
Both of these measurements can be used to suggest global temperatures, radiation and energy levels in the atmosphere and the Earth.
The researchers tested their so-called ‘simple’ model and its global warming predictions against the complex models used by climate scientists.
In particular, those complex models involved in the UN and World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. They also compared their predictions against real-world temperature changes.
The paper claims that the measured, real-world rate of global warming over the past 25 years, equivalent to less than 1.4° C per century, is ‘half the IPCC's central prediction in 1990.’
In 1990, the UN's climate panel predicted with ‘substantial confidence’ that the world would warm at twice the rate that has been observed since.
According to the study, another error made by the complex climate models, include the assumption that ‘temperature feedbacks’ would double or triple direct manmade greenhouse warming.
The simple model instead found that feedbacks could reduce warming.
Also, modellers are said to have failed to cut their estimate of global warming in line with a new, lower feedback estimate from the IPCC.
‘They still predict 3.3°C of warming per CO2 doubling, when on this ground alone they should only be predicting 2.2°C - about half from direct warming and half from feedbacks,’ said the researchers.
The impact on the Earth could already be considered dangerous, the report claimed.
‘Though the complex models say there is 0.6°C manmade warming "in the pipeline" even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases, the simple model - confirmed by almost two decades without any significant global warming - shows there is no committed but unrealised manmade warming still to come.’
Once these errors are corrected, the researchers predict that the most likely global warming in response to a doubling of CO2 is not 3.3°C, but 1°C or less.
And, even if all available fossil fuels were burned, less than 2.2°C warming would result, they claim.
Author Dr Willie Soon, an solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: ‘Our work suggests that man's influence on climate may have been much overstated.
‘The role of the sun has been undervalued. Our model helps to present a more balanced view.’
‘A high-school student with a pocket scientific calculator can now use this model and obtain credible estimates of global warming simply and quickly, as well as acquiring a better understanding of how climate sensitivity is determined,’ added statistician and co-author Dr Matt Briggs.
‘As a statistician, I know the value of keeping things simple and the dangers in thinking that more complex models are necessarily better.
‘Once people can understand how climate sensitivity is determined, they will realise how little evidence for alarm there is.’
While Lord Monckton said: 'Our irreducibly simple climate model does not replace more complex models, but it does expose major errors and exaggerations in those models.
‘For instance, take away the erroneous assumption that strongly net-positive feedback triples the rate of manmade global warming and the imagined climate crisis vanishes.’
MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’
An MIT professor of meteorology is dismissing global-warming alarmists as a discredited “cult” whose members are becoming more hysterical as emerging evidence continues to contradict their beliefs.
During an appearance on this writer’s radio show Monday, MIT Professor emeritus Richard Lindzen discussed the religious nature of the movement.
“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it,” he said. “You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!”
Lindzen, 74, has issued calm dismissals of warmist apocalypse, reducing his critics to sputtering rage.
Last week, government agencies including NASA announced that 2014 was the “hottest year” in “recorded history,” as The New York Times put it in an early edition. Last year has since been demoted by the Times to the hottest “since record-keeping began in 1880.”
But that may not be true. Now the same agencies have acknowledged that there’s only a 38 percent chance that 2014 was the hottest year on record. And even if it was, it was only by two-100ths of a degree.
Lindzen scoffs at the public-sector-generated hysteria, which included one warmist blogger breathlessly writing that the heat record had been “shattered.”
“Seventy percent of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing.”
Last week, after scoffing at Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a Senate vote on global warming, Lindzen was subjected to another barrage of diatribes. At his listed MIT phone number, Prof. Lindzen received a typical anonymous call:
“I think people like you should actually be in jail,” the male caller told him, “because you must know where this is all leading now… the people you support and take your money from to make these outrageously anti-human comments (also ‘know’)… In other words, you’re a sociopath!”
Lindzen chuckled when the voicemail was replayed.
This writer asked him if, as has been alleged in some of the warmist blogs, he is taking money from the energy industry.
“Oh, it would be great!” he said with a laugh. “You have all these people, the Gores and so on, making hundreds of millions of dollars on this, Exxon Mobil giving $100 million to Stanford for people who are working on promoting this hysteria. The notion that the fossil-fuel industry cares – they don’t. As long as they can pass the costs on to you, it’s a new profit center.”
Lindzen said he was fortunate to have gained tenure just as the “climate change” movement was beginning, because now non-believers are often ostracized in academia. In his career he has watched the hysteria of the 1970’s over “global cooling” morph into “global warming.”
“They use climate to push an agenda. But what do you have left when global warming falls apart? Global normalcy? We have to do something about ‘normalcy?’”
As for CO2, Lindzen said that until recently, periods of greater warmth were referred to as “climate optimum.” Optimum is derived from a Latin word meaning “best.”
“Nobody ever questioned that those were the good periods. All of a sudden you were able to inculcate people with the notion that you have to be afraid of warmth.”
The warmists’ ultimate solution is to reduce the standard of living for most of mankind. That proposition is being resisted most vigorously by nations with developing economies such as China and India, both of which have refused to sign on to any restrictive, Obama-backed climate treaties. Lindzen understands their reluctance.
“Anything you do to impoverish people, and certainly all the planned policies will impoverish people, is actually costing lives. But the environmental movement has never cared about that.”
2014 as the mildest year: Why you are being misled on global temperatures
OR: Why I should have been an engineer rather than a climate scientist
By Roy Spencer
I’ve been inundated with requests this past week to comment on the NOAA and NASA reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record. Since I was busy with a Japan space agency meeting in Tokyo, it has been difficult for me to formulate a quick response.
Of course, I’ve addressed the “hottest year” claim before it ever came out, both here on October 21, and here on December 4.
In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement. I knew this from the politically-savvy scientists who helped organize the UN’s process for determining what to do about human-caused climate change. (The IPCC wasn’t formed to determine whether it exists or whether is was even a threat; that was a given.)
I will admit the science has always supported the view that slowly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels should cause some warming, but the view that this would is any way be a bad thing for humans or for Nature has been a politically (and even religiously) driven urban legend.
I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.
We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.
What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.
What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS or AGU scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.
Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends.
Reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn’t matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn’t the warmest within the margin of error. Who wants to bother with “margin of error”? Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn’t have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo. I said this six weeks ago, as did others, but no one cares unless a mainstream news source stumbles upon it and is objective enough to report it.
In what universe does a temperature change that is too small for anyone to feel over a 50 year period become globally significant? Where we don’t know if the global average temperature is 58º or 59º or 60º F, but we are sure that if it increases by 1º or 2º F, that would be a catastrophe?satellitet
Where our only truly global temperature measurements — the satellites — are ignored because they don’t show a record warm year in 2014?
In what universe do the climate models built to guide energy policy are not even adjusted to reflect reality, when they over-forecast past warming by a factor of 2 or 3?
And where people have to lie about severe weather getting worse (it hasn’t)? Or where we have totally forgotten that more CO2 is actually good for life on Earth, leading to increased agricultural productivity, and global greening?:
It’s the universe where political power and the desire to redistribute wealth have taken control of the public discourse. It’s a global society where people believe we can replace fossil fuels with unicorn farts and antigravity-based energy.
Feelings now trump facts.
At least engineers have to prove their ideas work. The widgets and cell phones and cars and jets and bridges they build either work or they don’t.
In climate science, whichever side is favored by politicians and journalism graduates is the side that wins.
And what about those 97% of scientists who agree? Well, what they all agree on is that if their government climate funding goes away, their careers will end.
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 1:39 AM