Monday, August 17, 2015

How Amusing! A Warmist attack on Prof. Judith Curry that is totally lacking in substance

Unlike the Left, I am not afraid to hear what people with different opinions to mine say.  So I read a fair bit of the stuff that emanates from the Green/Left.  It's mainly amusing for its feeble reasoning and boiling anger but occasionally something seems worth mentioning.  A recent attack on Judith Curry is a case in point.

I won't reproduce the attack as it is mostly abuse and is full of foul language but I give the source below for those who wish to check.  The attempted hit-piece is by the Tony Heller impersonator, Greg Laden, and is titled "As the World Burns, Episode I: Judith Curry & Mark Steyn, Partners in Slime".  Just the title tells you most of what you need to know, I think.

So does the article parade some new climate facts?  Of course not.  Warmists basically don't have any.  All they have is speculation, lies and abuse -- like pretending that statistically non-significant temperature changes exist.

The post seems to have been inspired by the fact that a well-known and senior climatologist, Wallace Broecker, said some derogatory things about "Hockeystick" Mann. Laden wants to discredit what Broecker said. How does he do that?

He points out that Broecker does not pull his punches.  If he thinks something is crap, he says so.  He is an energetic and  fearless critic. Therefore Broecker's adverse comments about Mann reflect ill will rather than a considered judgment.

I think you can see that, when I put Laden's argument in temperate language, it just does not hold up.  There is no evidence presented to say that Broecker has ever been wrong about anything.  We don't even have a critique of what he said about Mann.  All we have is an attack on Broecker's character: How typically Warmist.  And how infantile!

Did I say "feeble reasoning and boiling anger"?


A win for wildlife

By Robert Johns

The American Bird Conservancy,  where I am director of public relations, issued the following press release yesterday in response to a U.S. District Court ruling that the federal government should follow federal environmental law.

(Washington, D.C., August 12, 2015) The U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Jose has ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a plaintiff in the lawsuit, hailed the decision. “We are pleased that the courts agreed with us that improper shortcuts were taken in the development of this rule,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program. “The court found that important laws meant to protect our nation’s wildlife were not properly followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, putting Bald and Golden Eagles at greater risk.”

The court wrote: “… substantial questions are raised as to whether the Final 30-Year Rule may have a significant adverse effect on bald and golden eagle populations.”

In particular, the courts cited a lack of compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). “We’re ready to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the required NEPA analysis and formulate a better system to protect eagles from poorly-sited wind energy projects,” said Hutchins. “We must come up with a better system to assess the potential risks to birds and bats prior to a project’s siting and construction and to track and mitigate project impacts post-construction.”

The previous “eagle take” rule, adopted in 2009, provided for a maximum duration of five years for each permit to kill eagles. A key part of the court’s ruling held that:  “… FWS has failed to show an adequate basis in the record for deciding not to prepare an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) — much less an EA (Environmental Assessment) — prior to increasing the maximum duration for programmatic eagle take permits by sixfold.”

“ … While promoting renewable energy projects may well be a worthy goal,” the ruling continued, “it is no substitute for the [agency’s] obligations to comply with NEPA and to conduct a studied review and response to concerns about the environmental implications of major agency action. … Accordingly, the Court holds that FWS violated NEPA’s procedural requirements and that the Final 30-Year Rule must therefore be set aside and remanded to FWS for further consideration.”

The court cited concerns that had been raised by FWS staff during development of the 30-year eagle rule, stating: “The record [in the case] bolsters the Court’s conclusion, as FWS’s failure to adequately ‘address concerns raised by its own experts’ is cause for the Court to find a NEPA violation.”

ABC filed the lawsuit on June 19, 2014 in federal court against the Department of the Interior, alleging multiple violations of federal law in connection with the December 9, 2013 rulemaking. ABC contended that DOI violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and other statutes.

ABC believes that wind energy and other renewable energy sources can be encouraged without putting Bald and Golden Eagles, and other protected wildlife, at risk. Proper siting of turbines is critical: New ABC-funded research has revealed that more than 30,000 wind turbines have been installed in areas critical to the survival of federally-protected birds in the United States and that more than 50,000 additional turbines are planned for construction in similar areas.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one of ABC’s most important partners,” said ABC President George Fenwick. “We collaborate frequently, share many goals, and have enjoyed many successes together. However, FWS is encountering unprecedented financial constraints that lead to shortcuts and poor decisions. We hope that this court decision shines a light on the need for the Service to be fully empowered to do the job it is mandated to do. Our nation’s wildlife – and the agency appointed to protect it – deserve nothing less.”


Report: Danger of Government-Created Solar Bubble Bursting When Subsidies Expire in 2016

Federal subsidies have created a massive “green bubble” in the solar industry that is in danger of bursting when they expire next year, leaving taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars, according to a report by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA).

Homeowners and businesses that install a solar energy system are currently entitled to a 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which was initially passed by Congress in 2006 and extended for another eight years in 2008.

However, the ITC will drop to 10 percent for commercial and zero for residential properties on Dec. 31, 2016.

And even members of the heavily-subsidized solar industry, which provides less than one percent of the nation’s electricity, are worried that it cannot stand on its own without government handouts.

“The reality is that we will lose 100,000 jobs if we lose the ITC — and these are conservative numbers. Ninety percent of solar companies will go out of business,” Rhone Resch, executive director of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), told participants at PV American 2015 in March.

SEIA spokesman Ken Johnson said that lobbying Congress to extend the ITC beyond 2016 is the group’s “top priority.”

According to the TPA report, entitled From Washington to Wall Street: How Government Policies are Skewing Solar Investments, solar companies are currently “bundling and securitizing” third-party solar leases, similar to the activity that triggered the housing market collapse.

“Since most homeowners do not have enough tax liability to utilize the Investment Tax Credit and some state incentives, the leasing company can take advantage of subsidies the average homeowner cannot,” the report explained.

“Solar leasing companies then take hundreds or thousands of leases and PPAs [in which the homeowner pays the company for the solar power produced] and bundle them together to offer them to investors (banks, insurance corporations and corporate investors) as asset backed securities, using the homeowner’s lease or PPA payment to service the debt.”

But the report pointed out that after 23 years, production of wind power “dropped off significantly” when a similar $12 billion annual federal wind production tax credit was set to expire, warning that “solar could well suffer a similar fate.”

“Much like the government-created housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis, handouts at the federal and state level are creating a solar bubble that taxpayers are propping up, and it will the taxpayers and investors who take the hit when the industry comes crashing down,” the TPA report predicted.

According to a March report to Congress by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “the total value of direct federal financial interventions and subsidies [to the energy sector] decreased 23% between FYs 2010 and 2013, declining from $38 billion to $29.3 billion” even as domestic energy production “rose 10% from 73.7 quadrillion Btu in FY 2010 to 81.1 quadrillion Btu in FY 2013.”

However, during that same time period there was a $4.2 billion increase in solar subsidies, “from $1.1 billion in FY 2010 to $5.3 billion in FY 2013…reflecting a large increase in the installation of solar facilities utilizing the ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009] Section 1603 grant payments or the 30% Investment Tax Credit.”

TPA calculates that the total amount of federal subsidies, including loans, grants and tax incentives, amounts to about $39 billion annually in addition to generous state and local subsidies.

Yet despite these massive government subsidies, firms such as SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar energy provider, and other solar installation and leasing companies are operating at a loss,” the report points out.

“We’re concerned that taxpayers and consumers are going to be caught in this web. Because homeowners will be caught." TPA president David Williams told

"Because if a company goes bankrupt, who services those panels, who services the house to make sure that the panels are working correctly, what happens to the lease or to the loan, however they purchased these panels? Taxpayers.

"Because Congress has this penchant for bailing out companies, big and small. And I think that if the bubble does burst, you’re going to have a lot of members of Congress who don’t want to accept the failure of green energy and make sure that the people that did get these panels, and that they would actually prop up these companies with taxpayer funds,” he said.

He added that many homeowners who installed expensive solar systems because they wanted to “get off the grid” and reap a financial bonanza by selling electricity back to their local utility have been disappointed with their real-world results.

“They’re not receiving as much money as they thought because the peak usage time is in the evening and at night when the sun’s not out, and they’re generating most of their electricity during the day when they’re not using it. They don’t have the battery capacity to sell much of it back to the grid right now, so we’re not seeing the big windfall coming to homeowners selling their power back to the grid.”

Other homeowners who signed long-term leases for a rooftop solar array, which can cost between $15,000 and $50,000, are finding that the added monthly cost makes it harder to sell their homes, Williams added.

"No rooftop solar customer actually leaves (the grid)," said Kevin Geraghty, NV Energy's vice president of energy supply, pointing out that solar customers rely on the grid during the times when the sun is not shining.

Electric utilities use “net metering” to allow customers with solar panels to sell their excess electricity back to the grid.

But the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) points out that “since net-metered customers are both buying and selling electricity, they are relying on the grid more than customers without rooftop solar or other DG [distributed generation] systems.”

But “they also avoid paying for all of the fixed costs of the grid that delivers power when they need it,” EEI noted, creating higher electricity costs for other customers.

The institute recommends that net-metering rates be updated to ensure that “everyone who uses the electric grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times.” But if such policies are adopted, the cost of solar power would most certainly increase.

“We’re not against solar per se. If people want to put a solar array on top of their house, more power to them. But we want people to know exactly how much it’s costing the homeowner, the taxpayers, and the truth behind the amount of taxpayer subsidies that this industry is receiving,” Williams told

“Would the solar industry be viable without government subsidies?” asked him.

“That’s the $39 billion question. We need to see that,” Williams replied. “I hope it is. I hope that we can get to a point where solar power isn’t subsidized and it survives, because we really need an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy. But we can’t prop up an industry just because we think it’s cool and we like it.”

The U.S. is not the only country that is phasing-out solar power subsidies.

After heavily promoting solar power, the Spanish government cut subsidies to its solar companies last year, leaving them 22 billion euros in debt.

One of those companies – Abengoa SA, which is headquartered in Seville – received $2.8 billion from the US government in 2009, making it the single largest recipient of federal stimulus dollars.

In 2013, Abengoa opened the massive $2 billion Solana Generating Station near Gila Bend, Arizona, which was designed to produce a million megawatt hours of electricity each year.

However, two years later, Solana “is putting out roughly half that,” according to MarketWatch, and financial analysts say Abengoa faces a 76.9% probability of going bankrupt during the next two years.

Last month, UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd also announced plans to cut solar subsidies, which she said would help to reduce UK residents’ electricity bills.

“We can’t have a situation where industry has a blank cheque, and that cheque is paid for by people’s bills,” Rudd said.


HHS Secretary Pitches Clean Power Plan to Kids, With Reference to 'Cooties'

The Obama administration is pitching its Clean Power Plan (anti-coal plan) with a blog posted on the Health and Human Services website

"The only thing your kids should be afraid of catching in the backyard is cooties," says Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

That's one of the reasons why the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is "good for our children’s health," Burwell blogged last week.

She explained that the rule finalized this month by the Environmental Protection Agency will "leave the planet safer and healthier for our children and our grandchildren" by cutting carbon pollution from coal-fired plants.

Burwell then listed five reasons why the 1,560-page rule will help future generations:

-- Because breathing outdoors shouldn't send kids to the hospital. (A reference to children with asthma.)

-- Because the outdoors should be for running, not runny noses. (She says climate change is lengthening the pollen/allery seasons.)

-- Because they will get enough smoke around campfires. (Burwell links increased frequency of wildfires to climate change.)

-- Because the only thing your kids should be afraid of catching in the backyard is cooties. (She warns that illnesses such as tick-borne Lyme disease will become more frequent "as increased carbon pollution warms our climate.")

-- Because you have enough to worry about without the threat of extreme weather events. ("A warming climate caused by carbon pollution could contribute to severe cold spells and heat waves that threaten the lives of countless children and their families living in poverty," Burwell wrote.)

The blog includes a graphic claiming that the Clean Power Plan will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90% in 2013 and will “reduce the pollutants” that cause asthma attacks in children by 70% in 2030.

“The Clean Power Plan offers a future with a healthier economy, healthier environments and healthier childhoods,” Burwell wrote. “Together, we can bring our children a world that is a bit greener and a bit healthier.”

But critics, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), said the Clean Power Plan will reduce energy reliability, jobs, and economic growth.


House Committee Calls EPA’s Gina McCarthy Testimony ‘False and Misleading’

Committee requests McCarthy correct the record and be ‘truthful’ with American public

Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology wrote to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy and called her testimony at a hearing in July “false and misleading.”

On July 9, McCarthy testified to the House Committee on the transparency of the EPA’s regulatory agenda. Members of the committee asked McCarthy about the “secret science” that goes in to justifying EPA regulations because they want to ensure the data is available to the American people.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) asked McCarthy whether the agency had made data that was used to craft the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule public. While McCarthy said that the information was “available,” the Committee maintains that EPA did not provide any scientific or legal justification for the figures Lucas asked for.

“Your statement that the information and data requested in Mr. Lucas’ question was publicly available in the EPA docket was false and misleading,” the committee wrote. “Based on the Corps’ memorandum, it is apparent that the figures outlined in EPA’s final WOTUS rule were completely arbitrary and not based on any science.”

The letter cites three more examples during questioning at this particular hearing where the Committee deemed McCarthy’s statements either false or misleading.

It was at this same hearing that McCarthy said she did not know the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere, information fundamental to EPA’s regulations.

“Providing false or misleading testimony to Congress is a serious matter,” the committee wrote. “Witnesses who purposely give false or misleading testimony during a congressional hearing may be subject to criminal liability.”

“With that in mind, we write to request that you correct the record and to implore you to be truthful with the American public about matters related to EPA’s regulatory agenda going forward.”

Members who wrote and signed the letter to McCarthy include Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R., Ill.), Rep. Bill Posey (R., Fla.), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.), Rep. Randy Weber (R., Texas), Rep. Bill Johnson (R., Ohio), Rep. John Moolenaar (R., Mich.), Rep. Steve Knight (R., Calif.), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R. Ark.), Rep. Gary Palmer (R., Ala.), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R., Ga.), and Rep. Ralph Lee Abraham (R., La.).

“We will review and respond to the letter,” said Liz Purchia, deputy associate administrator at the EPA.


EPA Administrator: Climate Change Affects ‘Our Ability to Earn a Decent Living’


 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said on Tuesday that climate change affects “everything and everyone we love,” including our ability to secure a livelihood.

“Climate change is one of the most important issues tahst we face . It is a global challenge, but in many ways it’s also very personal to all of us, because it affects everything and everyone we love,” McCarthy said. “It affects our kids, our communities, even our ability to earn a decent living.”

McCarthy was speaking at the Resources for the Future think tank in Washington, D.C., where she lauded the Clean Power Plan, the new federal rule to regulate carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

She did not expand on how climate change affects people’s ability to earn a living, but according to the American Action Forum, the Clean Power Plan will mean thousands of people losing their jobs.

According to research done by the policy institute, the regulation would result in the shuttering of 66 coal plants and the loss of 125,800 jobs.

The research also found that coal generation would be reduced by 48 percent.

According to American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), using data from the federal Energy Information Administration, coal resources in the United States represent one-quarter of the world’s total coal supply. The U.S. has more than 260 billion tons of coal reserves and currently uses about 925 million tons of coal a year.

At this rate, the U.S. coal supply would last for 280 years, according to ACCCE.



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