Wednesday, December 03, 2008


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

The official Name of the Kyoto Accord is: KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. The objective of the Accord is to reduce the impact of observed increases in global temperatures using 1990 as the reference year for a target.

If we take the average global temperature in 1990 as a "zero reference", the average temperature for 2002 can be seen to be about 0.35øC, and the average temperature for the last 12 months is back down to about 0.05øC. The best fit linear trend since 2002 is about 0.025øC/year of cooling, and at this rate we will have met the Kyoto target of 1990 temperature in just two years without having done anything!

(Temperature graph is posted on the front page of the Friends of Science website )

If the Kyoto target of 1990 global temperature will be met in just two years in spite of the continued increase in CO2 emissions, doesn't it seem a bit odd that the world leaders are willing to sacrifice the global economy to reduce CO2 emissions as though CO2 emissions reductions, and not global temperature stabilization, was the objective of the Kyoto Protocol?


An email from Madhav Khandekar [], an IPCC reviewer:

I fully share the commentaries and views expressed by David Whitehouse & Paul Biggs yesterday. It is now generally accepted by most scientists (except some die-hard AGW adherents) that the earth's mean temperature has NOT (I repeat NOT) increased in the last few years, OR to be precise, NOT increased since about mid-1998, when the SSTs (Sea Surface temperatures) started to decline. Since then, SSTs have declined steadily over world-oceans and as a result the land area mean temperature has stayed essentially the same over Northern Hemisphere (due to large urban effects which the AGW adherents refuse to accept) while in the Southern Hemisphere the mean temperature has definitely declined, as shown clearly by the satellite data.

Yes, the 1980s and 1990s did see some warming, as commented by David Whitehouse, but the first decade of the 21st century is definitely cooler than the 1990s so far and should remain so over the next three years. This year 2008 will probably come up to about 0.39C above the 1961-1990 mean and that will make 2008 about 9th warmest in the last 15 years. The last year 2007 was seventh warmest, according to the UK Met Office (per Phil Jones), with mean temperature about 0.41C above 1961-90 mean, while 1998 still remains the warmest (hottest!) year in the last 150 years, with mean temperature about 0.52C above 1961-90 mean.

There have been NO major heat waves anywhere since the 2003 summer heat wave in Europe. Over North America 1998 summer was probably the hottest in the last 25 years and since then there have been NO major heat wave episodes. Over the Indian subcontinent, there have been No major pre-monsoon heat wave episodes, since June 1998, when parts of central & northern India experienced record-high temperatures of 47-50C for a couple of weeks.

In the Southern Hemisphere, there were no major heat waves anywhere in the last five years or so. The entire continent of South America was one of the coldest in 2007. The city of Buenos Aires received about 6 cm of snowfall in July 2007, the last time it snowed in the city was in 1918!

I like to ask my favorite question one more time: Where is Global Warmimg? Delegates attending the UNFCCC Meeting in Poland please take note: Global Warming has stopped!


Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics, has written a follow-on piece to his collaboration with Steve Rayner that appeared in Nature just over a year ago. (Time to Ditch Kyoto, a shorter version of The Wrong Trousers, PDF). Prins' follow on is published in the Delegate's Book to the Poznan Climate Conference, and I am happy to provide a copy here in PDF.

Here is an excerpt:
'Time to ditch Kyoto' elicited considerable public and professional reaction, as did the underpinning study in which we documented its central claims (The Wrong Trousers: radically rethinking climate policy, James Martin Institute, University of Oxford/Mackinder Centre, London School of Economics, November 2007 - available at the relevant websites). Last year, our position was seen by some to be heretical. Today, outside the circle of those officials, carbon traders, think-tankers, journalists and academics professionally involved in the promotion of the Kyoto approach, that is no longer so. Last year, we suggested that the objective of the Bali Conference in December 2007 should be to switch tracks to a radically different type of climate policy which might have a hope of producing real changes in the real world of emissions reductions. Has that in fact happened?

It has not. We enter the Poznan conference with the European Union's climate policy holed and sinking, but with the emergence elsewhere than in Europe of the principles of what a viable climate policy might actually look like. The challenge of Poznan is therefore the same as the challenge of Bali: namely to find a path from the 'Kyoto Road' to a new road based on a deal which has a chance of working. Such a deal will not involve the leading instruments of the current conventional wisdom among the expert community of climate policymakers. So what has happened between Bali and Poznan?

For the answer, read the whole thing (PDF): here.


The Real Cost of Global Warming

Legislation designed to address global warming failed in Congress this year, largely due to concerns about its high costs and adverse impact on an already weakening economy. The congressional debate will likely resume in 2009, as legislators try again to bal-ance the environmental and economic considerations on this complex issue. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to a 2007 Supreme Court decision, has initiated steps toward bypassing the legislative process and regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) is nothing less than the most costly, compli-cated, and unworkable regulatory scheme ever pro-posed. Under ANPR, nearly every product, business, and building that uses fossil fuels could face require-ments that border on the impossible. The overall cost of this agenda would likely exceed that of the legisla-tion rejected by Congress, reaching well into the tril-lions of dollars while destroying millions of jobs in the manufacturing sector.[1] The ANPR is clearly not in the best interests of Americans, and the EPA should not proceed to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and final rule based upon it.

Climate Legislation

Concern that carbon dioxide and other green-house gases are gradually warming the planet has emerged as the major environmental issue of the day, and certainly the most hyped one. Carbon diox-ide is a naturally occurring component of the air, but is also the ubiquitous and unavoidable by-product of fossil fuel combustion, which currently provides 85 percent of America's energy. Thus, any effort to substantially curtail such emissions would have extremely costly and disruptive impacts on the economy and on living standards.

For this reason, the federal government has been cautious about embarking on mandatory carbon reductions. In 1997, the U.S. Senate unanimously resolved to reject any international climate change treaty that unduly burdened the U.S. economy or failed to engage all major emitting nations, such as China and India. Although the Kyoto Protocol was signed by the U.S. later that year, neither President Bill Clinton nor President George W. Bush ever sub-mitted the treaty to the Senate for the required ratifi-cation. This has shown itself to be a wise move: Many, if not most, of the European and other devel-oped nations that ratified the treaty are failing to reduce their emissions due to the prohibitive costs in doing so.

Legislatively, Congress has thus far rejected every attempt to control carbon dioxide emissions. Chief among the legislative proposals in 2008 was S. 2191, the America's Climate Security Act of 2007, originally sponsored by Senators Joe Lieber-man (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA). This was a so-called cap-and-trade bill that would set a limit on the emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. Each power plant, factory, refin-ery, or other regulated entity would have been allo-cated rights to emit limited amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Those entities that reduced their emissions below their annual allotment could sell their excess allowances to those that did not--the trade part of cap and trade. The bill would start with a mandated emissions freeze at 2005 levels in 2012, and end with a 70 percent reduction by 2050.

In effect, this bill would have acted like a tax on energy, driving up its cost so that businesses and consumers are forced to use less.

Last June, America's Climate Security Act was withdrawn by its Senate supporters after only three days of debate. A Heritage Foundation analysis de-tailed the costs of the bill, which included a 29 per-cent increase in the price of gasoline, net job losses well into the hundreds of thousands, and an overall reduction in gross domestic product of $1.7 to $4.8 trillion by 2030.[2] At the time of the debate, gasoline was approaching $4 per gallon for the first time in history, and signs of a slowing economy were begin-ning to emerge. Economically speaking, the bill was one of the last items on the agenda that Americans wanted, and its Senate sponsors recognized that. Beyond the costs, the bill would have--even assum-ing the worst case scenarios of future warming-- likely reduced the earth's future temperature by an amount too small to verify.[3]

The debate is sure to resume in 2009, but the economic concerns about such measures remain. Though gasoline prices may be lower next year than the last time climate legislation came to a vote, unemployment will likely be higher as will unease about the overall state of the economy. Thus, the legislative effort to place costly restrictions on energy still faces an economic headwind. Notwith-standing the state of the economy, such measures will always fail any reasonable cost-benefit test given their high costs and environmental benefits that are marginal at best.

Regulation as an Alternative to Legislation

While proponents of greenhouse gas restrictions have lobbied for additional legislation, they have also tried to force the EPA to regulate carbon diox-ide as a pollutant under existing law. In 1999, an environmental activist group sued the EPA over its refusal to restrict such emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which in April 2007 ruled in a five-to-four decision against the EPA.

The decision did not require the EPA to change its position and begin regulating carbon dioxide from vehi-cle exhaust; it only required the agency to demonstrate that whatever it chooses to do complies with the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Nonetheless, the agency's detailed ANPR, published on July 30, 2008, appears to treat such regulation as a foregone conclusion. Although the ANPR is preliminary in nature, the level of detail (the ANPR and supporting documentation exceed 18,000 pages) suggests that the EPA has already decided to impose regula-tions that are unprecedented in their cost, complexity, and reach.

The reasons for Congress's reluc-tance to enact global warming legisla-tion are every bit as relevant to the debate over whether or not the EPA should achieve the same results through regulations. This is espe-cially true given the many shortcomings of the Clean Air Act as an instrument for regulating carbon diox-ide emissions--for which the statute was not intended. In effect, the measures detailed in the ANPR would require action at least as costly as com-parable cap-and-trade bills, and likely more so given the added difficulty of doing it in a much more con-voluted fashion.

Regulating Vehicles--and Almost Everything Else

Because no technology exists to date that offers the possibility to filter out carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicle exhaust, the only way to reduce emissions is to use less fuel. In the ANPR, the EPA contemplates higher gas mileage standards for motor vehicles beyond those already scheduled to be imposed in accordance with the 2007 Energy Inde-pendence and Security Act. The EPA also discusses strict requirements for everything from airplanes to ships to trains to lawnmowers, all of which could be subject to new design specifications and usage limi-tations as well as fuel economy standards, as described in painstaking detail in the ANPR.

Beyond regulating anything that is mobile and uses energy, the ANPR also contemplates targeting anything that is immobile and uses energy--com-mercial and non-commercial buildings, large and small businesses, and farms. Under the Clean Air Act, once carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles are regulated, emissions from stationary sources must also be controlled under the New Source Review (NSR) and other Clean Air Act pro-grams because they apply to all pollutants subject to regulation anywhere else in the statute. Even if the agency tries to rein in the reach of its regulation, it will almost certainly face litiga-tion by environmentalists opposing such restraint.

Given that the existing threshold for regulation under the Clean Air Act--250 tons of emissions per year, and in some cases as little as 100 tons per year--is easily met in the case of carbon dioxide emissions, the agency could impose new and onerous NSR requirements heretofore limited to major industrial facilities. Other Clean Air Act programs, such as the Title V permitting program and the hazardous-air-pollutants program, have even lower thresholds, creat-ing a regulatory maze both restric-tive and redundant.

Most pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act are trace com-pounds like ozone or mercury that are typically measured in parts per billion, so these threshold levels are sensible to distinguish de minimis contributors from significant ones. But carbon dioxide is not a trace compound, thus, existing Clean Air Act thresholds are ill suited. Background levels alone account for 275 parts per million, and even relatively small usage of fossil fuels could reach these thresholds. Thus, even the kitchen in a res-taurant, the heating system in an apartment or office building, or the activities associated with running a farm could cause these and other enti-ties--potentially more than a million buildings, 200,000 manufacturing operations, and 20,000 farms[4]--to face substantial and unprecedented requirements. Churches, hospitals, schools, and government buildings could also be subjected to these requirements.

This type of industrial-strength EPA red tape that imposes an average of $125,000 in costs and takes 866 hours to complete[5] could now be imposed, for the first time, on a million or more entities beyond the large power plants and factories that have tradi-tionally already been regulated in this manner. Even more significant than the administrative costs is that all of these entities would be required to install costly technologies and operate under certain restrictions, as determined by EPA bureaucrats.

In sum, a host of complicated and redundant regulations could be applied to nearly every prod-uct, nearly every business, and nearly every build-ing in America that uses fossil fuels. The ANPR, if finalized in anything near its current form, would create an environmental regulatory scheme more costly and intrusive than all the others combined.

The Costs of the ANPR

Either through legislation or regu-lation, efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions will impose costs through-out the economy. For purposes of this analysis of the ANPR, the Heritage Foundation ignores the up-front administrative and compliance costs of imposing such an unprecedented crackdown both for regulated entities and for federal and state regulators. Heritage analysts instead assume the unlikely scenario of successful ANPR implementation and focus only on the cost of the rules in the form of higher energy costs.

The impact on the overall econ-omy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is substantial. The cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per house-hold. (See Chart 1.) Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. (See Chart 2). Note that these are net job losses, after any jobs created by compliance with the regulations--so-called green jobs--are taken into account. Hardest-hit are man-ufacturing jobs, with losses approaching 3 million. (See Chart 3). Particularly vulnerable are jobs in durable manufacturing (28 percent job losses), machinery manufacturing (57 percent), textiles (27.6 percent), electrical equipment and appli-ances (22 percent), paper (36 percent), and plastics and rubber products (54 percent). It should be noted that since the EPA rule is unilateral and few other nations are likely to follow the U.S. lead, many of these manufacturing jobs will be out-sourced overseas.

The job losses or shifts to lower paying jobs are substantial, leading to declines in disposable income of $145 billion by 2015--more than $1,000 per household.


Virtually every concern heightened by the eco-nomic downturn, especially job losses, would be exacerbated under the ANPR. As with cap-and-trade legislation, the EPA's suggested rulemaking would be poison to an already sick economy. But even in the best of economic times, this policy would likely end them. The estimated costs--close to $7 trillion dollars and 3 million manufacturing jobs lost--are staggering. So is the sweep of regula-tions that could severely affect nearly every major energy-using product from cars to lawnmowers, and a million or more businesses and buildings of all types. And all of this sacrifice is in order to make, at best, a minuscule contribution to an overstated environmental threat. Congress has wisely resisted implementing anything this costly and impractical. The fact that unelected and unaccountable EPA bureaucrats are trying to do the opposite is all the more objectionable.


Shaping Economic Analysis to Suit Climate Politics

Today's ClimateWire reports that California's proposed climate policy - known by its bill number as AB32 - has been soundly criticized by a distinguished panel of six internationally recognized economists with expertise in carbon policies: California intentionally skewed its analysis of the economic effects of its climate change plan, according to a review by state-commissioned economists. All six economists found the analysis deeply flawed, and several even said the state hand-picked data to improve the economic case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wow. When policy makers and experts shape an analysis to suit a political agenda some people have been known to throw around terms like a "war on science". Somehow I doubt that we'll hear any concerns about a "war on economics" being waged by the state of California.;-) More seriously, what is going on here is that advocates for certain policies face temptations to present those policies in the best possible light in order to increase the chances that the proposed actions will be adopted. As we've argued here for a long time, such biased analyses can be found across issues and the political spectrum, even in the case of California's carbon policy.

The fact that California's AB32 has failed peer review does not mean that it is necessarily a bad idea, it just means that policy makers and Californians really have no idea what the effects of the proposed policy will actually be when implemented. The consensus of the peer reviewers is that the costs of the proposed policy are likely to be much higher than the state's economic analysis suggests, and there are far more uncertainties than the analysis considers.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the state of California largely brushes off the peer review comments with the following rather amazing dismissal: "Economic modeling is not an exact science, and there will always be different opinions about assumptions and how to apply the available tools. This is to be expected."

So if economic modeling is really about opinions, of which there are many, then why in the world submit any such analysis for peer review? Below are a few excerpts from the peer review submissions, which include some very strong criticisms. The peer review report can be found here in PDF

Janet Pearce and Liwayway Adkins of the Pew Center on Climate Change write: "the analysis gives the appearance of justifying the chosen package of regulatory measures rather than evaluating it."

Matthew Kahn of UCLA writes (emphasis in original): "While I support the Governor's broad AB32 goals, I am troubled by the economic modeling analysis that I have been asked to read. AB32 is presented as a riskless "free lunch" for Californians. These economic models predict that this regulation will offer us a "win-win" of much lower greenhouse gas emissions and increased economic growth. According to my arithmetic and the information provided in Table I-2 of the Economic Evaluation Supplement, the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Pavley Light Truck regulations, the Low Carbon Fuel Standards and the building energy efficiency programs will together mitigate 95.6 MMTCO2 (57% of the AB32 2020 mitigation goal) at a net negative cost of $132 million per year. This would be a large free lunch! I would like to believe this claim but after reading through the Economic Analysis and the five appendices there are too many uncertainties and open microeconomic questions for me to believe this.

The net dollar cost of each of these regulations is likely to be much larger than what is reported in Table I-2 . . .

. . . AB32 is a gamble . . .

. . . I hope I am wrong about this but it appears that the model is based on "best case scenario" planning.

Robert Stavins of Harvard wites: "The California Air Resources Board (CARB) merits credit for having provided an economic analysis of its "Draft Scoping Plan" for achieving AB 32's targets, but for the reasons I describe in this brief memo, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the economic analysis is terribly deficient in critical ways and should not be used by the State government or the public for the purpose of assessing the likely costs of CARB's plans. I say this with some sadness, because I was hopeful that CARB would produce sensible policy proposals analyzed with sound scientific and economic analysis."


Global warming kills possum?

More Greenie attention-seeking lies. If the possum was on way to extinction anyway, how do we know that warming made any difference? They cite hot weather in 2005 but there was no global warming in 2005. Any extra heat at that time would be due to other, more local, weather influences

SCIENTISTS say a white possum native to Queensland's Daintree forest has become the first mammal to become extinct due to man-made global warming. The Courier-Mail reports the white lemuroid possum, a rare creature found only above 1000m in the mountain forests of far north Queensland, has not been seen for three years. Experts fear climate change is to blame for the disappearance of the highly vulnerable species thanks to a temperature rise of up to 0.8C.

Researchers will mount a last-ditch expedition early next year deep into the untouched "cloud forests" of the Carbine range near Mt Lewis, three hours north of Cairns, in search of the tiny tree-dweller, dubbed the "Dodo of the Daintree".

Scientists believe some frog, bug and insects species have also been killed off by climate change. But this would be the first known loss of a mammal and the most significant since the extinction of the Dodo and the Tasmanian Tiger. "It is not looking good," researcher Steve Williams said. "If they have died out it would be first example of something that has gone extinct purely because of global warming." [Fact-free assertion]

Professor Williams, director of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University, said the white lemuroid possum had been identified as highly vulnerable five years ago. "It only takes four or five hours of temperatures above 30C to kill this highly vulnerable species," he said. "They live off the moisture in the trees in the cooler, high-altitude cloud forests and, under extreme heat, they are unable to maintain their body temperature." He said record high temperatures in the summer of 2005 could have caused a massive die-off.

"Prior to 2005 we were seeing a lemuroid every 45 minutes of spotlighting at one main site at Mt Lewis," Professor Williams said. "But, in three years, in more than 20 hours of intensive spotlighting, none has been sighted."

Reef and Rainforest Research Centre chief executive Sheridan Morris said the "eyes of the world" would be on next year's the expedition to find the little creature. "If it has died out it will be devastating," Ms Morris said. "It is a big one, and a big one to bang the drum over. "It is equally as shocking as losing an iconic marine species like a whale or the dugong."

Source. And Andrew Bolt gives the lies a detailed debunking.


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