Thursday, May 10, 2018

Stanford science reformer Ioannidis exposes himself as incompetent or insincere — take your pick

Steve Milloy

I’ve always suspected that Stanford University professor John Ioannidis was only posing as a science reformer. His commentary in PLoS against the EPA science transparency rulemaking validates that.

Ioannidis pretends care about the quality of science. He has even published his claim that:

"Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted"

Yet in his new article attacking the Trump EPA’s science transparency proposal,

Ionnidis praises the very secret science and science fraud that brought the EPA proposal about:

As readers of this page and my best seller “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA” know, there is nothing remotely scientific or honest about the Harvard Six Cities and Pope ACS studies, or the alleged HEI review. The only thing that was “rigorous” was the fraud.

At the very least, Ioannidis has made no effort to learn the facts. At worst, he has been co-opted by Doug Dockery, Arden Pope and the EPA-funded air pollution mafia into aiding and abetting their fraud. Either way, Ioannidis has exposed himself.


I am certainly amazed that Ioannidis praises those rubbishy air pollution studies.  I have over time reviewed a lot of them (e.g. here and here and here) and found that they were all naive about controls to the point of making their findings at best moot.  A very simple demolition of the garbage mentioned above is here.  Note that the alleged 2005 confirmation of the original results was simply a re-analysis of the original data that did nothing to address the lack of basic controls -- JR

How Green Is My Planet?

The revelation this week that CO2 had just reached 410 ppm is just the most recent negative climate “tipping point” being reached.

This news was accompanied by the usual links to future apocalyptic warming events and predictions of the Earth spiraling into planetary doom.

According to the self-proclaimed guardians of the Earth, we need to enact strict regulations and taxes to reduce our use of fossil fuels to forestall these predicted harmful events that are occurring due to our “sins of emission.”

Yet, the proposed solutions to this theoretical man-made warming, such as the Paris Climate Accord, are necessarily economically harmful to the developed nations, while increasing energy costs for all. Full enactment represents a great transfer of wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots.”

According to Bjorn Lomborg, an economist from the University of Copenhagen, the Paris Accord would strip $1.5 trillion per year from the economies of the world, yet only forestall less than one-third of a degree Fahrenheit in warming by the year 2100.

The facts belie the “heated” rhetoric and apocalyptic visions forecast by supporters of human-driven catastrophic warming. We find that the predictions of doom are just that, predictions and speculation based on climate models that don’t model climate very well at all.

According to Congressional testimony by Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy in 2016, his comparison of 100 climate model runs used to support the Paris Accord overpredicted warming in the tropics by 2.5 times to 3 times too much.

So, rather than relying on speculation of what may occur 30 or 50 years in the future based on these failed models, we should review what is actually happening today in the real world.

After hundreds of years of rising temperatures and 100+ years of steadily increasing CO2, should we not be able to recognize some of these predicted climate calamities by now?

What we find is an Earth that is prospering, it is “greening,” and it is thriving precisely due to rising temperatures and increasing CO2.

A review of what is actually happening with droughts, intense heat waves, and forest fires, to name a few, show that they are in long-term decline and the experts point to increasing worldwide soil moisture content to be the primary reason.

Rising temperatures lead to higher water vapor in the atmosphere and thence to increased precipitation. An increase in the CO2 fertilization effect serves to decrease the size of the plants’ pores and reduce transpiration needed, leading to lessened water usage, leaving moisture in the ground.

These two factors, working in tandem, have largely been responsible for what is likely the biggest untold story about our Earth and its changing climate: an amazing greening of the Earth is taking place.

According to NASA scientists, 25 to 50% of the Earth is “greening,” reflecting increasing vegetation and only 4% is “browning,” or showing a decline in plant life. Probably the best example is the southern Sahara (Sahel) where 300,000 square kilometers of the former desert are turning into a lush grassland and the NASA experts tell us it is due to climate change.

We are also told that the human consequences of global warming will be severe and lead to famine and increases in mortality owing to rising temperature and extreme weather-related, however, as you might have guessed, just the opposite is occurring.

Food production, fueled by technological advances and human innovation, but also turbocharged by CO2 fertilization, increased soil moisture, and longer growing seasons continues to set records year after year, with no end in sight.

Temperature-related mortality studies show that 15 to 20 times as many people around the world die early deaths due to cold than from heat, so any additional warming would prevent millions of premature deaths due to temperature.

Finally, according to a study in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, deaths in the U.S. due to extreme weather have plummeted 98% over the last century.

The Earth is not spiraling into a man-made climate catastrophe, but rather it, and humanity, are thriving and prospering greatly due to our changing climate and increasing carbon dioxide. Sleep well, you aren’t destroying the planet.


Haley: No to UN global pact for the environment

A proposal for bringing international environmental law under one legally binding treaty at the United Nations will be up for a preliminary vote later this week at the U.N. General Assembly. The United States U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tells Fox News in a statement that the U.S. won’t support the measure.

The Global Pact for the environment has the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, and is being sponsored by France at the world body. It seeks to consolidate what it calls the “fragmented nature of environmental law,” and “codify” it, and make it accessible to all citizens.

In a statement to Fox News, Haley said that, “When international bodies attempt to force America into vague environmental commitments, it’s a sure sign that American citizens and businesses will get stuck paying a large bill without getting large benefits. The proposed global compact is not in our interests, and we oppose it,”

First launched in Paris just weeks after President Trump took the U.S. out of the Paris agreement on climate change, the pact was drawn up by a group of 80 legal experts from 40 countries. At the opening event Macron was joined by the former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, who offered his support to it, telling Agence France-Presse that the issue was not a political one.

In September, Macron set out the goals of Global Pact at the United Nations. He said the framework would “establish rights, but also duties for mankind.”

Macron urged quick adoption in his speech, “I very strongly believe that the world is ready for this and that it’s our responsibility.” Guterres also gave his support to the pact at the meeting.

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, and author of the new book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” charged that, “This new global environmental pact will have more teeth and cover more aspects of human civilization than the U.N.-Paris climate pact. This new environmental pact is looking to be the U.N. Paris agreement on steroids because they are making it binding, and it appears even wider in scope.”

One United Nations diplomat told Fox News that, “the unknowing and uncertainty is what makes us so nervous, because you just never know where this can go and it could open up a Pandora’s Box.”

That Pandora’s Box, critics fear, includes fears over national sovereignty and new regulations and costs on businesses.

Catherine Tinker, visiting associate professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and an expert in international environmental law, pointed to the hundreds of multilateral agreements that are already in place.

Tinker told Fox News, “While the global pact for the environment is well-intentioned, and may well serve as a guideline for some states, I am unconvinced of the need for a general treaty of this sort. There are in the neighborhood of 1,500 multilateral environmental agreements negotiated and ratified by various states in the last 40 years — these are binding. There are numerous voluntary commitments such as the Paris Agreement and the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We don’t need new laws, what we need is implementation.”

A vote on the French draft resolution is likely to take place this coming Thursday.


Russia’s ‘keep it in the ground’ ploy to stifle American oil

Just 1 percent — that’s the share of all-electric vehicles to total new U.S. car sales today.

You don’t have to be an auto retailer to know that electric vehicles are not pushing gasoline-powered cars and light trucks off the showroom floor. Virtually all of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were gas burners.

Even with tax credits and other incentives, such as taxpayer-financed charging stations, few Americans are rushing out to buy EVs. And if the tax incentives are stripped away, EVs would be much less competitive.

Those numbers have major implications for the U.S. oil industry. Oil is one of America’s critical fuels for good reasons: its abundance and relatively low cost.

We produce nearly 10 million barrels a day — and we use more oil now than at any time in our nation’s history. The demand for oil is expected to continue to rise through 2030, and then plateau, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Today, the U.S. ranks among the world’s leading oil producers, undercutting the ability of OPEC and Russia to influence global oil prices. Thanks to innovations such as sophisticated data analytics and automation, the oil price at which deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is economical has fallen sharply, to just $40 to 50 per barrel.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently predicted that U.S. oil demand will stay strong through 2020, expanding at an annual rate of 1.3 million barrels per day. Our country’s vast oil reserves and ongoing research into low-carbon gasoline will keep oil at the top of the list of energy sources even if EV sales suddenly were to take off here at home and abroad.

If every passenger vehicle in the world were converted to an electric-powered one, the global demand for oil would decline by just 20 percent. And don’t forget that EVs are only as green as the grid from which they draw power.

Although coal-fired generating plants are going the way of the dodo, natural gas will continue to be utilities’ fuel of choice for years to come.

More to the point, even allowing for a hypothetical spike in EV sales, the global gasoline demand for light vehicles is expected to roughly triple by the mid-2030s. Meanwhile, levying special taxes on electic vehicles — or switching from motor fuel taxes to a tax per mile driven — will be required so that EV owners help pay for building and maintaining roads and bridges. 

But a threat is hanging over oil. What is most ominous is the spread of the destructive idea that, because of climate change, all fossil fuels, including oil, must be kept in the ground. Russia bears some of the blame for that underhanded campaign, using social media to twist American public opinion against oil production to achieve its own devious goal: push up world oil prices.

With Russia’s help, the keep-it-in-the-ground movement threatens to impede the production of oil offshore and stifle hydraulic fracturing in shale formations. At the same time, Russia is spearheading opposition to the construction of new oil and natural gas pipelines. Because of the Depression-era Jones Act, which requires shipments between U.S. ports to be carried on American-flagged and -crewed vessels, additional pipeline capacity is essential for delivering heating oil to markets in the Northeast where it’s needed the most.

If the keep-it-in-the-ground crowd is successful, domestic oil supplies will drop and prices will rise, harming oil-using industries and consumers. Every $10 per barrel hike in crude prices is like a $70 billion tax increase on Americans. The recent spurt in gasoline prices was a taste of what will happen if the keep-it-in-the-ground movement takes hold.. 

Given that Russia’s involvement in U.S. domestic affairs is likely to be a major political issue over the next few years, groups engaged in the keep-it-in-the-ground movement ought to rethink the economic and geopolitical consequences of their actions.

The coming transformation of the American passenger car fleet to electric vehicles is, for the most part, good news for the world. But the global demand for oil isn’t going away, no matter what the critics claim.


Foot-Dragging By State Regulators Imperils Energy Infrastructure Projects

Keeping America’s rapidly expanding economy humming along will require, among other things, a state-of-the-art energy infrastructure commensurate with the demands of technology-driven global competition.

When we stand in our own way, we fall behind, to the delight of global rivals eager to take advantage of our self-inflicted wounds.

A development in Virginia, one with national implications, illustrates the clash between rising to the challenge and drowning in bureaucratic inertia.

There, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which would transport natural gas from the energy-rich Marcellus Shale in West Virginia through central Virginia before turning south into North Carolina, is set to begin construction.

The project, a joint venture involving Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, and Piedmont Natural Gas, is targeted to be in service during the second half of 2019.

But the $5.1 billion, 600-mile project, after clearing a formidable gauntlet of federal and state regulatory hurdles, has run headlong into obstruction by an obscure body known as the Virginia State Water Control Board.

Multi-Layered Approval Process

As part of the federal and three-state approval process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent a year reviewing all river and stream crossings under a regulatory framework approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The Corps issued federal water quality permits for the ACP in January, but its action came a few weeks after Virginia’s State Water Control Board had thrown a monkey wrench into the process.

In December, the board, by a 4-3 vote, approved a permit for the ACP but, in an unprecedented move, delayed certification of the permit until studies of the project’s effect on sediments, karst, and erosion had been completed.

This came after the project had already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Even though the Army Corps of Engineers had reviewed and approved the waterways crossings in question, the State Water Control Board’s demand for additional and redundant studies delayed the start of construction until this spring.

What’s more, the board on April 12 further undermined the established regulatory approval process by allowing a 30-day comment period on whether the approvals the Corps granted for individual stream crossings by the pipeline adequately protect Virginia’s waters.

After the board has received and reviewed the public comments, there is nothing to keep it from coming up with new ways to subvert the established regulatory approval process.

Bait and Switch

Trust between regulators and developers is essential if infrastructure projects are to proceed in a timely and affordable manner. Creating regulatory uncertainty for all developers, not just for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, will make it harder and costlier to build public infrastructure.

This could establish a dangerous precedent in Virginia — and elsewhere — of approving a permit based on a clear regulatory framework and set of permitting requirements, and then threaten that permit months later by potentially revoking it and establishing a different regulatory framework and permit requirements.

Pipelines, like most energy projects, are inherently controversial and subject to vigorous public debate. But the approval process should proceed under the rule of law and not be undermined by regulators who willy-nilly replace an established regulatory framework with one more to their liking.

The shenanigans in Virginia will be closely watched elsewhere in the country, where opponents of pipelines or other energy projects will be tempted to copy-cat the arbitrary moves of the Virginia State Water Board.




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


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