Sunday, May 14, 2017

Making a muckle out of a mickle

My heading above is in Scots.  It means making something big out of something little.  It's the expression that leapt to mind when reading "More errors identified in contrarian climate scientists' temperature estimates" from diehard Warmist, Prof. John Abraham.  He has been refuted many times so I see no point in reproducing his effusion, let alone fisking it. His modus operandi is to present as established fact Warmist beliefs, with no supporting references to substantiate them.  He has to do that. Most of them are at best controversial if not outright false.

Like most Warmists he has to clutch at any straw that might support his beliefs.  And he has found a recent paper that appears to have given him an erection. I reproduce the abstract below.

The paper is not even about global temperatures.  It is about the Arctic only.  It reports minor disagreements in the way the satellite data for the Arctic is presented.  It does not address the fact that the various methods concerned give global temperatures that correlate around .90 and that the disagreements in reported temperatures are in hundredths of a degree.  But, most importantly, all the measurements show the same trend -- global temperatures flatlined for many years with the only rise coinciding with the recent El Nino weather oscillation. Naught for the comfort of Warmists there.

A Comparative Analysis of Data Derived from Orbiting MSU/AMSU Instruments

R. Eric Swanson


Spencer and Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently introduced a new method to process MSU/AMSU satellite brightness temperature data with their version 6 (v6) data. A comparison of UAH v6 north polar lower stratospheric (TLS) data with that from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) is presented, indicating a possible bias between 1986 and 1988. Comparing UAH and NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (NOAA) TLS data produces a similar result. An additional analysis utilizing midtropospheric (TMT) data also found a similar bias. Comparing the NOAA TMT data for the May 2016 release against UAH and RSS TMT evidenced another excursion, dated at the middle of 2005, that was corrected in later releases. These comparisons reinforce the concerns expressed by other analysts regarding the merging procedure for UAH v6, repeating similar concerns regarding the earlier UAH v5 products. Any biases in the UAH, RSS, or STAR products would impact the trends calculated for these products and could explain the differences between these trends. Biases in the UAH series would also impact the UAH TLTv6 lower-troposphere product, which is a linear combination of the UAH TMT, tropopause temperature (TTP), and TLS series.

A Warmist attempt to be objective


Land, energy and mineral lockdowns

Too many oil, gas, coal, rare earth and other vital resources are still off limits

Paul Driessen

President Trump has directed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review recent land withdrawals under the 1906 Antiquities Act, to determine whether some should be reversed or reduced in size.

The review is long overdue. The act was intended to protect areas of historic, prehistoric or scientific value, with areas designated as monuments to be the smallest size compatible with the proper care and management of objects or sites to be protected. The first designation, the 1,347-acre Devils Tower National Monument (NM) respected that intent, as have most designations since then.

However, some were enormous withdrawals; several were made with poor public outreach or inadequate consultation with people who would be most directly and severely affected; 26 of the 27 monuments to be reviewed are over 100,000 acres in size; and the final one involves deficient consultation.

Arguably the two greatest Antiquities Act abuses affected Utah. The 1,880,461-acre Grand Staircase Escalante NM was designated by President Clinton in large part to make billion-dollar coal deposits off limits. Even Utah Governor Michael Levitt did not learn of it until it was a done deal (Chapter Twelve). President Obama designated the 1,351,849-acre Bear Ears monument three weeks before leaving office, many Utahans say to make still more energy resources off limits to exploration and development.

Grand Staircase alone is equal to Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It and Great Bears together are larger than Connecticut. They are far larger than any of the national parks in Utah. And they are in addition to Utah’s five other national monuments, five national parks, four national recreation and conservation areas, thousands of miles of national trails, six national forests, 31 national wilderness areas, and millions of acres in other restrictive land use categories.

Some of these areas truly are unique, beautiful, spectacular. I’ve visited and hiked in many of them in Utah, other western states and Alaska. Our national parks in particular should be protected. But we have gone overboard, and far too many areas have been put in lockdown specifically to block energy and mineral development. Forest Service officials and Sierra Club officers have said so right to my face.

Eastern and Midwestern residents cannot imagine the extent or impact of Federal Government ownership, management and control of lands in the eleven westernmost states and Alaska. While federal agencies own just 0.3% of Connecticut and Iowa, and 0.6% of New York, they own, manage and control 63% of all land in Utah; 61% in Alaska and Idaho; 80% in Nevada; 29% to 53% in the other western states.

That means virtually every revenue-producing, recreational and other activity is regulated, restricted, prohibited or under attack in courts and other venues. No timber cutting in national forests, fostering massive wildfires. No vehicles, wheelchairs, energy or mineral exploration in wilderness and many other areas. Even grazing and watershed management are under assault throughout the West.

All of these restrictive designations should be reviewed by Congress and Executive Branch agencies.

As of 1994, when consulting geologist Courtland Lee and I prepared a detailed analysis, over 410 million acres were effectively off limits to mineral exploration and development. That’s 66% of the nation’s public lands – an area equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined. The situation is far worse today – posing a critical public policy problem.

Because of processes unleashed by plate tectonics and other geologic forces, these mountain, desert and other lands contain some of the most highly mineralized rock formations in North America. They almost certainly contain numerous world-class deposits of oil, gas, gold, silver, platinum, molybdenum and rare-earth metals – essential for modern civilization. They wait for us to find them, using modern prospecting technologies that can be carried in airplanes and backpacks, leaving barely a trace – but letting us know what is there, so that we can make informed land management decisions.

Environmentalists claim that even a single mine or oil well in these areas would destroy their wilderness character and ecological value. That is absurd, considering that many of these areas are the size of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont or even West Virginia. Moreover, unlike wind turbine and solar panel installations across thousands or tens of thousands of acres in perpetuity, modern mines and drill pads are comparatively small – and are restored back to natural conditions when the operations have concluded.

Equally important, wind and solar generate minuscule amounts of electricity, unreliably, at unpredictable times – and require far more land and workers per unit of output – than coal or natural gas. In fact, Coal generated an incredible 7,745 megawatt-hours of electricity per worker; natural gas 3,812 MWH per worker; wind a measly 836 MWH for every employee; and solar an abysmal 98 MWH per worker. That’s part of the reason why oil, gas and coal still provide 80% of America’s and the world’s energy.

America’s national security situation was affected when we depended on often unfriendly foreign sources for oil – before hydraulic fracturing unleashed record production from state and private lands.

Now we are dependent on different, still often unfriendly foreign suppliers for rare earth metals and other raw materials that are essential for smart phones and smart bombs, stealth fighters, digital cameras, computer hard drives, wind turbine magnets, photovoltaic solar panels, hybrid and electric car batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, catalytic converters, and countless other modern and future technologies.

China produces 97% of the world’s rare-earth oxides, largely controls world markets, and increasingly uses rare earths in-house, to manufacture products for sale overseas. That means most jobs stay in China, even though the rare earths are mined, processed and turned into finished products under environmental and worker health and safety standards that would get operations shut down instantly in the USA.

However, China’s estimated reserves are only one-third of known global reserves, and much less than that of potential economically producible rare earth resources – many of which could be in the United States. In fact, one of the largest known rare earth deposits is near California’s Mojave Desert. It had been in production, but legal actions, excessive regulations and low foreign prices forced a long suspension of operations, and Molycorp filed for bankruptcy in 2015, citing a heavy debt load and other problems.

That deposit underscores the enormous potential for finding billion-dollar deposits of numerous vital minerals right here in the USA – if we are permitted to look for them.

President Trump’s decisions to review Antiquities Act land closures, ease restrictions on onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling, and end stalemates over the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines are excellent steps in implementing his vision for American job creation and economic revitalization.

The President and Congress could also explore ways to get more oil flowing to the Trans Alaska Pipeline, which needs certain minimal amounts in the pipe for the oil to move during frigid weather. Recent discoveries along the North Slope have helped, and perhaps Prudhoe Bay’s declining oil production can be spurred some more by fracking. Ultimately, though, more Alaskan areas must be opened for drilling, and that will require White House, federal agency and congressional action.

Congress should also take a leadership role, by launching discussions about how much western state land really needs to remain under federal control, and how many of our best energy and mineral prospects really need to be kept off limits. Those land use policies severely affect job creation and economic opportunities for states, communities, families and our nation as a whole, for little environmental benefit.

Modern industrialized civilizations cannot long exist without the vital resources that come out of holes in the ground. Even wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars and internet services require a plethora of metals and other minerals – plus fossil fuel energy to extract those resources and convert them into usable products. It’s time to have a civil conversation about all of this.

Via email

EPA seeks governors’ input in rewriting Obama water rule

The Trump administration is reaching out to state governors for help in rewriting former President Barack Obama’s controversial water pollution rule.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt, along with acting Assistant Secretary for the Army Douglas Lamont, sent a letter Tuesday to governors asking for their “input and wisdom” on what bodies of water should be regulated by the federal government in the Clean Water Act.

Following an executive order President Trump signed in February, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on a two-step process to rewrite the Obama regulation known as the Clean Water Rule, which asserted federal power over small bodies of water such as wetlands and stream headwaters.

The agencies are first formally repealing that rule, and will then write a new version with a smaller reach to define the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act.
The Trump administration officials said they are prioritizing the role of states throughout the process, something they have accused Obama of not emphasizing.

Thirty-one states — mostly led by Republicans — sued the Obama administration to stop the 2015 rule, joining with business and industry groups.

“EPA is restoring states’ important role in the regulation of water,” Pruitt said in a statement.

“Like President Trump, I believe that we need to work with our state governments to understand what they think is the best way to protect their waters, and what actions they are already taking to do so. We want to return to a regulatory partnership, rather than regulate by executive fiat.”

The Tuesday letter went to the governors of each state and U.S. territory.

“We believe this is an important step in the process prior to proposing regulations that may have implications on federalism,” Pruitt and Lamont wrote.

The February executive order asks the agencies to write their new rule in the framework laid out by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States, and Pruitt and Lamont told the states they are carrying out that mission.

Scalia said in a 2006 plurality opinion that the Clean Water Act should only cover waterways that are “relatively permanent.”

Scalia’s opinion was only joined by four justices, and subsequent federal court decisions have not relied on that test. So the Obama administration instead followed a separate concurrence by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who concluded that waters with a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways should be covered.

The EPA started the outreach process to states last month in a meeting with state and local environmental regulators, during which EPA officials discussed possible approaches to the new rule under Trump’s executive order.

The administration plans to eventually propose a formal regulation to enforce its new definition, at which point it will invite public comments, making any necessary changes and then make the rule final.

A federal appeals court put a hold on the Obama rule in 2015, blocking its enforcement before it could take effect.


Largest US Solar Panel Maker Files for Bankruptcy After Receiving $206 Million in Subsidies

So much for "Green jobs"

The company once hailed as Europe’s largest solar panel producer filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, blaming cheap Chinese panels for flooding the market.

“The ongoing price erosion and the development of the business” has left the company “over-indebted and thus obliged to file for insolvency proceedings,” SolarWorld, which is also the largest U.S. solar panel maker, said in a statement.

The filing comes after SolarWorld was forced to lay off employees earlier this year. The company employs around 3,000 people, including 800 in Hillsboro, Oregon, and was one of the few German-based solar companies to survive a recent market downturn.

SolarWorld is only the latest bankrupt solar company to blame the Chinese. U.S.-based Suniva Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April, also citing stiff competition from Chinese solar panel makers.

Suniva even asked the Trump administration to increase tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports. SolarWorld backed the call, saying China has found ways to circumvent current tariffs.

“The case of Suniva dramatically demonstrates that the U.S. solar manufacturing industry still suffers from unfair trade,” Juergen Stein, U.S. president of SolarWorld, said in a statement.

“China now has managed to circumvent and violate existing trade defense measures in several ways and again incited a ruinous price race to the bottom, destroying U.S. manufacturing jobs,” Stein said.

Not everyone in the solar industry agrees increased tariffs would be a good thing. The U.S. company Sunnova sent a letter to the U.S. trade commission arguing the “imposition of tariffs on solar cells and panels will significantly harm the U.S. economy by destroying jobs.”

The Obama administration imposed tariffs up to 35 percent on solar panel products imported from certain Chinese manufacturers. The 2014 tariff doesn’t seem to have drastically changed the overall industry’s economics.

The solar industry’s biggest problem is likely the very mechanism that led to its rise: lucrative subsidies.

European subsidies, mostly in Germany, led to a massive expansion of the companies’ green energy industry, but eventually subsidies became their undoing as cheaper solar panels from China began to win out.

Cuts to subsidies in Europe only made things worse for the solar industry, further ensuring cheap Chinese panels would win out. A similar story played out in the U.S. where lucrative federal and state subsidies spurred green energy.

SolarWorld has gotten a whopping $115 million in federal and state grants and tax subsidies since 2012, according to the Union-backed group Good Jobs First. And that’s on top of the nearly $91 million in federal loan guarantees the company got during that time.

SolarWorld lost 80 percent of its stock value after it announced bankruptcy filings Wednesday.



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