Sunday, April 05, 2015

Damning Study Challenges CO2-Temperature Relationship

The ongoing global warming hiatus, per satellite measurements, surprised climatologists because computer climate projections never indicated a short- or long-term reprieve. Scientists anticipated temperatures to move in tandem with steadily increasing levels of CO2 – which didn’t happen – and nevertheless they insist that it’s only a matter of time before warming re-emerges.  According to NOAA, the data also shows that global carbon dioxide measurements for the last seven days average around 400 parts per million, up from 380 ppm during the same period in 2005. Without question, CO2 measurements continue to climb, which begs the question: Why haven’t temperatures?

A damning new study reinforces what skeptics have long suspected: The relationship between the two isn’t as clear-cut as we’re led to believe. In what would otherwise be labeled a “game changer” outside the mainstream media, The Daily Caller writes, “A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought.

Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest.” The study is even listed on the American Meteorological Society website. As significant as the finding is, however, expect the study to receive the same conniving response from man-made global warming evangelists as do skeptics offering their viewpoint.


Obama’s CO2 Plan Will Only Avert 0.001 Degree Of Warming A Year

President Barack Obama formally submitted his plan to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to the U.N. Tuesday and a climate scientists has already pointed out a glaring problem: The plan will have virtually no impact on global temperatures.

Obama’s carbon dioxide reduction plan commits the U.S. to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — a promise he made last year to secure a pledge from China to reduce its own emissions.

But Obama’s plan will only avert 0.001 degrees Celsius of global temperature rises a year, according to climate scientist Chip Knappenberger with the libertarian Cato Institute.

Knappenberger notes that Obama’s climate plan mirrors a scenario where the U.S. reduces carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050. Using this assumption, Knappenberger calculates that only about one-tenth of a degree of temperature rise will be averted by 2100. This breaks down to about a one-thousandth of a degree of averted temperature rise every year over the next century.

The cost? It’s not clear, but EPA regulations aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector is projected to cost as much as $8.8 billion a year based on agency figures. Other studies put the cost much higher — a NERA study found the costs would be $41 billion per year.

Republicans have protested Obama’s recently unveiled climate plan, saying that it would be impossible for the U.S. to make such deep cuts to CO2 emissions.

“Even if the job-killing and likely illegal Clean Power Plan were fully implemented, the United States could not meet the targets laid out in this proposed new plan,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement.

“Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” McConnell said.

Democrats have backed Obama’s plan to reduce emissions. The White House says this plan will galvanize international support behind a global climate treaty — one they plan to impose without congressional approval.

“This ambitious target is grounded in intensive analysis of cost-effective carbon pollution reductions achievable under existing law and will keep the United States on the pathway to achieve deep economy-wide reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050,” according to the White House.

“The Administration’s steady efforts to reduce emissions will deliver ever-larger carbon pollution reductions, public health improvements, and consumer savings over time and provide a firm foundation to meet the new U.S. target,” the White House says.

International diplomats are preparing for a U.N. climate summit in Paris later this year. Delegates are expected to agree to a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, but it’s unclear if this agreement will have more teeth than Kyoto did.


The Backlash Against Obama’s Committing US to International Climate Agreement

Perhaps President Obama is frustrated he couldn’t pass climate legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, and perhaps this frustration was compounded by the historic losses his party suffered in the off-year elections. But whatever the cause, the president is working unilaterally to commit the U.S. to international climate agreements.

This week the president promised the U.N. he would lock the U.S. into a set of energy-crushing carbon restrictions over ensuing decades. With a December, all-eyes-on-me Paris climate conference in the balance, the Obama administration seems to expect Congress, the judiciary, and the states to go along with the Clean Power Plan, the central piece of Obama’s pledge to the U.N.

The Obama administration plan calls for emissions cuts of 26 percent-28 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2025. Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change for the State Department, said he has assured other nations Obama’s offer will stand even with Republican opposition: “Undoing the kind of regulation we are putting in place is very tough to do.”

His confidence is shared by others in the Obama administration. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the Clean Power Plan “will be legally solid. I don’t need a Plan B if I’m solid on my Plan A.” John Podesta, former White House advisor on climate before leaving in February, said of congressional efforts to block the Clean Power Plan through legislation: “Those have zero percent chance of working. We’re committed. … There are no takers at this end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in Congress criticized the Obama administration’s overconfident power grab. McConnell warned other nations that Obama’s actions should not be depended on: “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal.”

McConnell’s response joins a groundswell of opposition around the country to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—and for good reason. The Clean Power Plan to cut state CO2 emissions isn’t some esoteric policy debate to tickle the ears of D.C. bureaucrats. Although the plan is complicated and will require massive state and federal bureaucracies to manage, the aim of the Clean Power Plan is to fundamentally change how all Americans—from businesses to individuals—receive and use electricity.

Or as Harvard professor Laurence Tribe eloquently put it, “The Affordable Care Act may not compel health insurance consumers to eat or buy broccoli, but EPA seeks to interpret the Clean Air Act to allow it to regulate every watt used in growing broccoli and moving it to the market—as well as every watt used for any other activity within a State.”

The consequences for such a fundamental change would have serious consequences. Using the models employed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, The Heritage Foundation analyzed the impacts of what a 28.5 percent cut of CO2 emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2025 would do to the American economy—only a half-point above the range set by Obama in his proposal to the U.N. this week. The impact is significant, not only in the big picture but also for individual Americans:

An average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs
A peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs
500,000 jobs lost in manufacturing
Destruction of more than 45 percent of coal-mining jobs
To cap it off, the Clean Power Plan would have no noticeable impact on global temperatures—the purported reason for the U.N. climate treaty. Using the EPA’s climate model, climatologists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger created an online calculator for estimating the impact on global warming of various CO2 cuts. They find that even if the U.S. entirely eliminated CO2 emissions (no breathing, now) the moderation of any temperature increase would be less than 0.15 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. Throw all industrialized nations into this energy-suicide pact and still the warming is moderated by less than a third of a degree.

The science isn’t settled, but apparently the dogma is: Costly CO2 restrictions need not have any climate impact. It seems they are their own virtue.


Harry Reid Retires Amidst Green Energy Scandal

One scandal that could haunt Reid for his remaining time in the Senate (and possibly beyond) was reported on recently in the Washington Free Beacon and Courthouse News. It seems the Reid helped the green energy company, Ormat Technologies, a firm that owns and manages geothermal plants in California and Hawaii, secure nearly $136 million in economic stimulus funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Two former employees are suing the firm, claiming Ormat executives defrauded the United States of more than $130 million by reporting false information about two projects to get government grants, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Tina Calilung and Jamie Kell filed the lawsuit against Ormat Industries in 2013 under the False Claims Act to recover money the corporation allegedly obtained illegally from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

At the center of the complaint are Ormat’s two energy-producing geothermal plants known as North Brawley, in Imperial Valley, Calif., and Puna, in Hawaii.

Calilung, an economist who worked as Ormat’s asset manager, claims the company misrepresented the date the Brawley plant was put into service, intentionally drove up costs, and misrepresented the viability of the plant so that it could qualify for the funds. Indeed, she argues that the Brawley plant is losing money but Ormat is keeping it open and fighting the lawsuit in order to prevent the federal government from taking back the money it has granted the company as allowed under the law. After 2006, when the clawback provision lapses, Calilung believes Ormat will then close the plant rather then suffer decades of losses.

Calilung claims that Ormat misrepresented the Puna project as new, though it was an expansion of an already constructed facility. Only 8 megawatts of capacity was added to the  the 30 megawatts of original capacity, yet in its stimulus filings Ormat treated the existing capacity as eligible for the grant.

“But for these purposeful misrepresentations, Ormat would not have received Section 1603 funds to support these projects and such funds could have been invested by the U.S. Treasury into truly viable geothermal projects actually qualified to receive the funds,” Calilung said in the complaint.

Reid’s ties to Ormat are deep. The company runs geothermal plants in Nevada and Reid has been a big booster of the company in D.C. As reported in the Free Beacon, “Reid bragged about securing Ormat a $350 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) and took credit for expanding the Treasury program that the former employees say illicitly provided Ormat with millions more in taxpayer funds.”

By the same token, Ormat executives have generously supported Reid with donations for his election campaigns and causes. For instance Ormat Chairman, Yoram Bronicki, donated the maximum permitted amount to Reid’s 2010 reelection campaign.

The company has also donated to a nonprofit group founded by Reid’s top political operative, the Clean Energy Project (CEP) that employs two of his former aides as lobbyists.

The Nevada-based law firm McDonald Carano Wilson, a CEP donor with a partner on the group’s board, is representing Ormat in its 1603 litigation. One of the attorneys working on the company’s behalf, John Frankovich, a managing partner at McDonald Carano Wilson, has donated $4,500 to Reid. In 2011, Reid, then the Senate majority leader, praised Frankovich on the Senate floor, calling him “an outstanding lawyer.”

It is also worth noting that Ormat’s DOE award came a year after investors sued the company for allegedly inflating its stock price through “fraudulent accounting and overstated financial results.” Ormat settled the allegations in 2012 for $3.1 million.

So far Reid has stood by Ormat. That’s Reid, true to his donors rather then the people of the United States he has sworn to serve.


NEPA Guidance for CO2 Emissions Is Bad Policy Based on Bad Science

Marlo Lewis, senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, drafted a powerful rebuke of the Council on Environmental Quality’s recent draft guidance to require a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of potential climate change effects caused by increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions from federal projects and projects requiring federal permits.

Representatives from 14 research and policy organizations, including The Heartland Institute, and one university signed on to Lewis’s comments.

NEPA, passed in 1970, requires federal agencies to consider the environmental effects of any major federal, state, or local project involving federal funding, work performed by the federal government, or permits issued by a federal agency. It also established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which sets guidelines concerning the proper way for federal agencies to conduct and report environmental impact analyses.

The draft guidance would require major projects to account for greenhouse gas emissions and potential climate impacts. Lewis’s brief argues climate policy should not be made via NEPA.

Lewis and the co-signers, including myself, see the draft guidance as a case of bad policy based on bad science.

CEQ’s draft guidance is based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) acceptance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 assessment that claimed humans are causing catastrophic global warming. As Lewis points out, the IPCC report missed the “18-year-plus warming ‘pause;’ the growing divergence between climate model predictions and observations; studies finding lower climate sensitivity; studies finding no global trends in the behavior of tropical storms, floods, and droughts; and studies rendering climate catastrophe scenarios implausible for the 21st century.”

Lewis says requiring environmental impact assessments for potential climate effects of all major projects will result in Keystone XL-like delays and controversy becoming the new norm for federal or federally funded projects, tying up necessary and/or economically desirable infrastructure and other projects for years. In this scenario, only radical environmentalists and other leftists who wish to destroy capitalism win.

Importantly, CEQ’s decision to follow EPA’s endangerment finding ignores these facts:

Our predominantly fossil-fueled civilization did not take a safe climate and make it dangerous. Rather, households and industries empowered with cheap, plentiful, reliable fossil energy took a naturally dangerous climate and made it dramatically safer.
Because affordable energy and economic growth are keys to human mastery of climate-related risks, blocking energy-related-development projects will do more harm than good to public health and welfare.

Lewis’s letter concludes the NEPA review is an inappropriate framework for making climate policy. All the important evidence suggests project-related greenhouse gas emissions should not be a factor when determining whether agencies grant or deny permits for individual projects and, as a result, CEQ should withdraw the guidance.


More Britons support fracking than oppose it, says Greenpeace survey the environmental group tried to bury

More people in Britain back fracking than are opposed to it, a Greenpeace survey has found.

Some 42 per cent of those polled said they supported shale gas extraction, while 35 per cent disagreed with using the controversial technique.

The anti-fracking environmental campaign group was accused of trying to bury the inconvenient survey result.

The finding – hidden in a footnote to a Greenpeace press release – shows greater backing for the shale gas industry than other recent polls.

Only 24 per cent of people said they supported fracking in a Department of Energy and Climate Change public attitudes survey published in February.

A similar poll by YouGov in January put approval for extracting shale gas at 35 per cent and opposition at 41 per cent.

The Greenpeace survey, carried out by ComRes, found greatest support among men (56 per cent) and the over-65s (58 per cent). By contrast only 29 per cent of women backed fracking.

Other results of the study suggest the issue could help to swing the result in marginal constituencies at next month's General Election, the campaign group claimed.

Nearly a third of people would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports fracking in their area, the polling found.

Only 13 per cent would be more inclined to support them, although 44 per cent said it would have no impact on how they cast their vote.

At least 35 of the seats being targeted in the Tories' election strategy are in areas licensed for fracking, as are 11 Labour and eight Lib Dem seats held with a swing of two per cent or less.

One in ten Conservative voters, nearly a quarter of Lib-Dem supporters and a fifth of Labour backers said they were 'much less likely' to vote for a candidate in favour of fracking in their constituency.

More than 800 people standing to be MPs next month have signed a pledge declaring their opposition to shale gas organised by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

They include 100 Labour candidates, 105 Lib Dems, 403 Greens, 23 Plaid Cymru, seven SNP and seven Ukip candidates. No Conservatives have added their names so far.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of fracking industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said: 'This poll – ironically commissioned by people who oppose fracking – shows that when presented with the real facts about the safety and low environmental impact of shale gas operations, British people will support onshore oil and gas exploration.

'The poll also shows that 57 per cent people say that a candidate's support for fracking either makes them more likely to vote in their favour or no difference. Greenpeace's own facts simply do not support their rhetoric on fracking.'

A Greenpeace spokesman said: 'It's odd for the fracking industry to be welcoming these latest figures. Compared to a similar survey from a year ago, public support for fracking has actually fallen.

'Even Tory voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate opposing fracking in their constituencies than for someone who's in favour of it.

'The government and the fracking lobby have thrown the kitchen sink at propping up dwindling public backing for this risky industry, and they have very little to show for it.'



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