Friday, October 23, 2015
Sen. Sanders Demands DOJ Go After Exxon For ‘Covering Up’ Global Warming
Just the usual attack on big companies that is a socialist's bread and butter. Exxon in fact were very responsible in what they did. They refused to push speculation as fact. Had they any shred of scientific caution, the Green/Left would have done the same. But to the hate-driven mind of Sanders, warming is fact. One wonders if he has ever heard of the "pause" or the "hiatus" -- JR
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging it to investigate claims levied by liberal news outlets that the oil giant Exxon Mobil “covered up” evidence about man-made global warming.
“It appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote to DOJ Sec. Loretta Lynch. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”
Sander’s argues that reporting by journalists with liberal outlet Inside Climate News (ICN) shows Exxon “scientists both that climate change is real and that it was caused in part by carbon pollution” from the company’s oil and gas operations. Sanders has now joined the ranks of environmentalists and academics calling for federal investigations into fossil fuel companies funding studies and groups skeptical of man-made global warming.
ICN alleges that not only did Exxon’s own research find that global warming is caused by fossil fuels, it buried the research to protect its business interests. Exxon put “muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed,” ICN reported.
Since ICN’s report came out, there’s been a renewed effort to get the Obama administration to prosecute or investigate fossil fuel companies skeptical of global warming.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben argues that “as early as the late 1970s, Exxon scientists were briefing top executives that climate change was real, dangerous, and caused by their product” adding that in “the early 1980s, their own climate models were predicting—with great accuracy—the track the global temperature has taken ever since.”
“Should the DOJ muster its courage to go after this most profitable and connected of companies, the roadmap is already well laid out by the two investigations,” McKibben said in The Nation.
Before ICN’s reporting gained traction, Democratic lawmakers launched their own investigations into fossil fuel interests skeptical of global warming. Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse even called for the government to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute skeptical groups.
“In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies… alleging that the companies ‘engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,’” Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.
Ironically, Exxon is not a group that’s skeptical of global warming. The company supports taxing carbon dioxide emissions and uses an internal carbon price as part of their economic and financial forecasting.
Exxon says market-based efforts are the best ways to address global warming, but the company “is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research, and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options.”
No, Greenies, Exxon Did Not Hide ‘The Truth’ About Global Warming
by James Delingpole
This column is sponsored by my kind friends at ExxonMobil: the Gaia-raping, children-of-the-future-murderers you can trust!
No, of course it isn’t really and that’s my only serious beef with ExxonMobil. It ought to support its media defenders but it doesn’t.
So what if it’s a big oil company? Big oil companies make the world go round. So what if its annual revenues, if expressed in GDP, would make it one of the world’s 30 largest countries? That’s capitalism.
But there’s one thing about ExxonMobil I find hard to excuse. And that’s the way that instead of trying to defend the values of industrial civilization which have made it so rich and powerful, it has instead all too often squandered its PR, CSR and research budgets not rewarding its friends but giving succour to its enemies.
Sure for a period it supported the Competitive Enterprise Institute to the modest tune of around $300,000 a year. (Not a lot when your annual profits can be as much as $40 billion). But the money it has given to liberal causes vastly outweighs anything it has given to free market ones: for example the $100 million (yes that’s million, not thousand) it donated to Stanford in 2002 to help launch its Global Climate and Energy Project.
Some might call this ‘investment in the future’. I’d call it greenwashing. Or, worse than that, Danegeld.
It’s a form of protection money paid to the green Mafia to ensure they go easy on your main business. Except they don’t. Just like the Vikings, just like the mobsters, when you bribe them to stay away they only keep coming back for more.
This is the background context against we should judge the outrageous and iniquitous proposals by various green activists that ExxonMobil should face prosecution on RICO charges for having knowingly concealed “the truth” about climate change.
Their claims are based on two articles which appeared in the liberal media and which – at least in the authors’ perfervid imaginations – showed Exxon ignoring its scientists in the 70s, 80s and 90s and setting out deliberately to conceal “the truth” about global warming.
Well I’ve read the articles – one at the Inside Climate News website, the other at the LA Times – and both are a classic case of what you might call “tell not show.”
That is, it is clear from their accusatory tone (“What Exxon knew about Earth’s melting Arctic”; “top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions”) that the authors believe Exxon was guilty of something seriously amiss.
But in vain do you search the body of the text for any damning evidence that might justify all this righteous rage. In fact if anything, Exxon emerges from this non-scandal rather well: socially responsible; mindful of due diligence; properly concerned about the security and future of its core business and of the needs of its shareholders; keen to keep abreast of the latest science.
The story goes like this: from the late 70s to the mid 80s, Exxon dedicated a chunk of its then-annual $300 million research budget looking into the effects of CO2 and the possible risks of man-made global warming.
“Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” said one of its technical experts in 1978.
“There are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered” an in house corporate primer said in 1982. “Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”
“Models are controversial,” as their head of theoretical sciences was honest enough to put it in a May 1980 status report on Exxon’s climate modelling programme. “Therefore, there are research opportunities for us.”
All this is no more than you would have expected scientists in that field to say in that particular era, as man-made-global-warming theory was becoming increasingly fashionable. By raising these issues, they were simply doing their job. Note, however, the caution of their phrasing. “Present thinking holds”; “might”; “potentially”; “might not be.” The science wasn’t certain and neither were the scientists: they were merely raising Exxon’s awareness of possible future scenarios.
What’s more, even though this fashionable new theory was detrimental to Exxon’s business model, Exxon still – to its enormous moral credit – chose to publish its research anyway in a series of papers and monographs.
Then in the mid-Eighties, Exxon began changing its tune. Its discretionary budget had been hit by the collapsing oil price and it had, perhaps, begun to recognise that the science on global warming was being manipulated by hucksters like NASA’s James Hansen and climate activist Senator Tim Wirth and that fossil fuel producers were now their public enemy number one – for reasons more to do with green ideology than science.
In 1997, Exxon’s chairman and CEO Lee Raymond was among business leaders who argued successfully against America’s adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. He said:
“Let’s agree there’s a lot we really don’t know about how climate will change in the 21st century and beyond. We need to understand the issue better and fortunately, we have time. It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be significantly affected whether policies are enacted now or 20 years from now.”
Does any of that statement strike you as crackpot or extreme or parti-pris?
Rather, I’d suggest, it accords much more closely with what we now know about climate change than anything Exxon’s scientists were saying in the early 80s. Indeed, if Exxon had chosen to act on some of the more extreme scenarios painted by the in-house experts, they would not only now be looking very silly but they’d also be out of business.
Exxon, let it be stressed, were quite right to be cautious on catastrophic man-made global warming theory. This was never a cover up. This was a company responding sensibly and proportionately to the evidence available at the time – and taking a stance which has subsequently been vindicated by observed reality.
We knew it! September broke heat record
And in his credulous way our old faithful Seth Borenstein publicizes the claim. No mention of the egregious data-fiddling that Warmists at NASA and elsewhere do. And no mention of the much less fiddlable satellite data
This past September was the hottest ever worldwide -- the seventh monthly record set this year.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated a global temperature for September of 60.62 degrees (15.9 degrees Celsius), beating the record set in 2014.
Seven of the nine months this year have broken monthly global heat records, tying 1998 for the most monthly heat records broken. This year, only January and April did not surpass records going back to 1880.
The Only Global Warming Chart You Need from Now On
The Powerline guys have just caught up with something I have been pointing out for years. Excerpt below
When I make charts and graphs, I generally make it a practice to scale the vertical axis of a chart from zero (0) to the upper bound of the range. Compressing a chart’s vertical axis can be grossly misleading.
But what if you display the same data with the axis starting not just from zero, but from the lower bound of the actual experienced temperature range of the earth? I had never thought of this until an acquaintance sent it along today:
A little hard to get worked up about this, isn’t it? In fact you can barely spot the warming. No wonder you need a college education to believe in the alarmist version of climate change. No wonder the data (click here for original NASA data if you want to replicate it yourself) is never displayed this way in any of the official climate reports.
If this chart were published on the front page of newspapers the climate change crusaders would be out of business instantly.
81 Major Corporations--Including Google, Facebook, Coca Cola, General Motors--Sign WH Pledge to Back Global Climate Change Deal
Just PR. They know nothing much will happen
Eighty-one major corporations with operations in the U.S.--including Google, Facebook, Apple, Coca Cola and General Motors--have taken a White House pledge “to demonstrate their support for action on climate change and the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.”
Signing the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge shows a continuing commitment to action preventing global warming and is intended to set an example for other companies to pursue similar policies, according to a statement released by the White House.
It also shows the signatories’ support for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held this November in Paris. “The Pledge...voices support for a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations.”
The 81 companies “have operations in all 50 states, employ over 9 million people, represent more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion,” the White House said.
“We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms,” the pledge states.
The president announced last November that he wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
To accomplish that goal, Obama held a roundtable with top CEOs this week to discuss ways in which they can help to fight climate change in the U.S. and around the world.
“Historically when you start talking about an issue like climate change the perception is that this is an environmental issue - it’s for tree-huggers - and that hard-headed business people either don’t care about it or see it as in conflict with their bottom lines,” the president said Monday at a press briefing after the meeting.
However, the president said that the 81 companies that signed the pledge view his long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions by almost 6 million tons through 2030 as a positive step.
“This conversation has confirmed what we’ve known for quite some time, which is that considerations of climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energies are not only not contradictory to their bottom lines, but for these companies they’re discovering that it can enhance their bottom lines,” Obama said.
The American Business Act on Climate Change promises new low-carbon company investments of at least $140 billion and the use of new renewable energy totaling more than 1,600 megawatts.
Individual companies have added their own goals, such as cutting carbon emissions up to 50 percent, increasing the efficient use of water by up to 15 percent, using 100 percent renewable energy sources, and seeking zero net deforestation in their supply chains.
Some federal agencies and private-sector collaborators made previous commitments to fight climate change and support food resilience as part of the Climate Data Initiative introduced by the president in March, 2014, according to a July 29, 2014 statement from the White House.
Obama previously met with 13 major companies on July 27 to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, according to a White House statement.
Three of them--Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and General Motors--received billions of taxpayer dollars in government bailouts under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Shaking out the lies surrounding earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing
The Great ShakeOut, the annual “PrepareAthon” that advocates earthquake readiness, took place across the globe on October 15, at 10:15 AM — 10/15 @10:15. Unless you have a child in a participating school, the “Ready Campaign” may have passed without your awareness. I grew up in Southern California, where earthquakes were so routine, we paid them no mind; we didn’t have earthquake drills.
But that was then. Now, the Great ShakeOut is a global campaign. Now, Oklahoma has more earthquakes than California — and students in Oklahoma participated on 10/15 at 10:15. As if choreographed, Oklahomans had a reminder 4.5 earthquake just days before the drill.
The anti-fossil crowd has declared the cause. Headlines claim: “Confirmed: Oklahoma Earthquakes Caused By Fracking” and “New study links Oklahoma earthquakes to fracking.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow gleefully teased the earthquakes in Oklahoma as “the story that might keep you up at night.” On her October 16 show, she stated that Oklahoma’s earthquakes are: “The terrible and unintended consequence of the way we get oil and gas out of the ground. …from fracking operations.” Yet, when her guest, Jeremy Boak, Oklahoma Geological Survey Director, corrected her, “it’s not actually frackwater,” she didn’t change her tune.
Despite the fact that the science doesn’t support the thesis, opponents of oil-and-gas extraction, like Maddow, have long claimed that the process of hydraulic fracturing is the cause of the earthquakes. Earthworks calls them “frackquakes” because the quakes, the organization says, are “fracking triggered earthquakes.”
The anti-crowd doesn’t want to hear otherwise. If you were to fully read the two previously mentioned news reports (linked above) that declare “fracking” as the culprit, you’d see that the actual text, and the study they reference, doesn’t say what the headlines insinuate. The 2014 study they cite, blames the earthquakes “on the injection of wastewater from oil and gas operations” — which as Boak told Maddow is not “actually frackwater.” Even the Washington Post announced: “Fracking is not the cause of quakes. The real problem is wastewater.”
But the ruse goes on. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers announced: “The fracturing fluid seems to be lubricating existing faults that have not moved in recent years. The fracturing process is not creating new faults, but are exposing faults that already exist.”
Earthworks believes that states like Oklahoma are not doing enough to solve the problem. Its website says: “Despite the increasingly apparent threat posed by fracking-related earthquakes, many states are ignoring the issue.”
In fact, many scientific studies have been, and are being, done — as once the cause is determined, a remedy can be found. These studies, as the Washington Post reported, have concluded that “wastewater” is the problem.
If you don’t know what it is or how it is being disposed of, “wastewater” sounds scary. It is often called “toxic” — although it is naturally occurring. This wastewater, according to a study from Stanford researchers, is “brackish water that naturally coexists with oil and gas within the Earth.” As a part of the drilling and extraction process, the “produced water” is extracted from the oil and/or gas and is typically reinjected into deeper disposal wells. In Oklahoma, these wells are in the Arbuckle formation, a 7,000-foot-deep sedimentary formation under Oklahoma.
“Industry has been disposing wastewater into the Arbuckle for 60 years without seismicity,” Kim Hatfield told me. He is the chairman of the Induced Seismicity Working Group — which includes members from a variety of entities including the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Energy and Environment, and Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. Hatfield continued: “So, we know some level of disposal is safe. We need to figure out the exact mechanism by which this wastewater injection is triggering these seismic events and modify our procedures to prevent them.”
Addressing water quality, Hatfield explained that in the area of the seismicity, ten barrels of produced water — which contains five times more salt than ocean water — is generated for each barrel of oil.
The Stanford study, done by Stanford Professor Mark Zoback and doctoral student Rall Walsh, found that “the primary source of the quake-triggering wastewater is not so-called ‘flowback water’ generated after hydraulic fracturing operations.” Zoback, the Benjamin M. Page Professor in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, states: “What we’ve learned in this study is that the fluid injection responsible for most of the recent quakes in Oklahoma is due to production and subsequent injection of massive amounts of wastewater, and is unrelated to hydraulic fracturing” — which is contradictory to the premise on which the study was launched.
Explaining the study, Walsh said: “it began with an examination of microseismicity — intentionally caused small quakes like those resulting from hydraulic fracturing,” which he referred to as their “jumping off point.” When I asked Walsh if he was surprised to find that fracking wasn’t the cause of the earthquakes, he told me: “We were familiar with the few cases where hydraulic fracturing was known, or suspected to be associated with moderate sized earthquakes. In the areas of Oklahoma where the earthquakes first started (just outside of Oklahoma City) we knew that the extraction process was predominantly dewatering, not hydraulic fracturing, which led us to suspect that produced water would be the source of the issue, even before we did the volume calculations to show it.”
Science writer Ker Than reports: “Because the pair were also able to review data about the total amount of wastewater injected at wells, as well as the total amount of hydraulic fracturing happening in each study area, they were able to conclude that the bulk of the injected water was produced water generated using conventional oil extraction techniques, not during hydraulic fracturing.” Additionally, Boak told me: “Less than five percent is actually frackwater.”
“So what?” you might ask. The distinction is important as there is an aggressive effort from the anti-fossil-fuel movement to regulate and restrict—even ban—hydraulic fracturing. The more scare tactics they can use, the more successful their efforts. They are unimpeded by truth. Remember the disproven claims about fracking causing tap water to catch on fire and those about fracking contaminating drinking water?
Now, you can add “Oklahoma earthquakes caused by fracking” to the list of untruths propagated by the anti-fossil-fuel crowd. The true headline should read: “Oklahoma earthquakes not caused by fracking.” But, that conflicts with their goal of ending all fossil-fuel use. More than ninety percent of the new oil-and-gas wells drilled in America use hydraulic fracturing. Therefore, if they can ban fracking, they end America’s new era of energy abundance and the jobs and economic stimulus it provides. Groups like Earthworks seem to hate the modern world.
Here some advice from singer Taylor Swift might be warranted. Instead of “getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,” after all, she says: “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate,” her solution is: “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake. Shake it off.”
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 1:37 AM