People for the West -Tucson
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Newsletter, March, 2015
Raul Grijalva on witch hunt for climate skeptics
by Jonathan DuHamel
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-AZ), my very own Congressman, is a champion for pygmy owls and open borders.
In his new role as ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Grijalva is going after seven researchers ( Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Judith Curry, Steven Hayward, Roger Pielke, David Legates, and Robert Balling) who dared to present evidence that the government’s position on climate change is wrong. One of the allegations is that these “climate skeptics” are funded by “Big Oil” (not so) while ignoring the fact that “Big Oil” funds many environmental groups.
One of his targets is Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Pielke maintains a blog here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/
Pielke’s crime, according to Grijalva, is that he has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” This statement challenges the orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming.
Pielke’s 2013 testimony contained these heretical statements:
Globally, weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%).
Insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.
Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.
There are no significant trends (up or down) in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970 (when data allows for a comprehensive perspective), or in the overall number of tropical cyclones.
Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.
Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.
Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.
Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”
Pielke writes of this situation in a post on The Climate Fix. In that post Pielke notes:
Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none. He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).
Adam Sarvana, communications director for Natural Resources Committee’s Democratic delegation, reinforced the politically-motivated nature of the investigation in an interview:
“The way we chose the list of recipients is who has published widely, who has testified in Congress before, who seems to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community”
Let’s see – widely published, engaged with Congress, policy impact — these are supposed to be virtues of the modern academic researcher, right?
Grijalva sent a hypocritical letter to the president of the University of Colorado complaining about potential conflicts of interest on funding. (See letter here) Pielke notes in his post that when he testified before Congress, he disclosed his “funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated ‘witch hunt’ designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name.”
Pielke concludes his post by writing “When ‘witch hunts’ are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”
Dr. Roy Spencer, U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite and Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville has some comments on this development:
Among his comments are:
One of the biggest misconceptions about climate research funding is that government funding is unbiased. That is, the belief that government funding does not favor one outcome over another.
Government funding programs are, in part, formulated by government political appointees who prefer research with outcomes that support their government programs.
Similarly, university research scientists who provide peer review of proposals for funding favor those proposals which offer to make findings that everyone knows will help to perpetuate funding. After all, it is difficult to get Congress to agree to fund non-problems, and yet climate research funding has to continue in order for the current marching army of lifelong climate researchers to have jobs.
Follow the money, folks.
So, while we wait to see just how the current witch hunt plays out (which I am told has now been extended to some skeptical-leaning think tanks), let me ask:
1) Are you OK with the fact that U.S. energy policy has been informed by an international scientific organization (the IPCC) whose outgoing chairman this week admitted that global warming is his “religion”? Or that others in the IPCC have admitted their goal is global income redistribution? Is this the “unbiased” source of scientific information you want your government to rely on for energy policy?
2) Are you OK with the fact that U.S. government funding for non-human sources of climate change has been almost non-existent?
The governmental Goliath is coming after David. It will be interesting to see what happens.
On the other hand:
Expert team plans to examine ‘adjusted’ temperature data
By Christopher Booker, London Telegraph
Mother Nature has certainly been showing her amusement at those excitable claims last month that 2014 was “the hottest year on record”. In the north-eastern US, the past month has been the coldest since records were kept, and four of the five Great Lakes are on the verge of freezing over completely for the first time in living memory. Snow has fallen in Greece and across the Middle East as far south as Saudi Arabia, where locals gleefully building snowmen were greeted by a fatwa sternly pointing out that to make images of animate creatures was an offence against Islamic law.
How did we know that 2014 was “the hottest year ever”? This was based entirely on surface temperature data originally compiled by the US Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), but then translated into their own versions by the compilers of three of the five official temperature records. But as I explained in two previous articles, a growing number of experts across the world have been discovering that something very odd has been going on with these records. Again and again they found that, checking them against the raw data originally recorded by weather stations, this had then been comprehensively “adjusted”, almost invariably in the same direction.
Earlier data had been “adjusted” downwards, more recent data upwards, to show much more of a warming trend than the actual recorded temperatures justified. Often, as Paul Homewood demonstrated on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog – after checking many weather stations in South America and across the Arctic – a cooling trend over the past century had been transformed into a warming trend.
It was this that helped to explain why it was only the adjusted surface records which showed 2014 to have been “the hottest year on record”. The other two official records, based on satellite measurements, which only go back to 1979, show nothing of the kind.
What is now needed is a meticulous analysis of all the data, to establish just how far these adjustments have distorted the picture the world has been given. Although I cannot yet reveal any details, I gather that a responsible foundation is gathering an expert team to do just that. If the results confirm what has already been unearthed by Homewood and other analysts, from the US to New Zealand, this may indeed turn out to have been the greatest scandal in the history of science. Read full article
The Disparity Between IPCC Science Reports, Summary For Policymakers and Reality, Requires a Political Science Solution
by Dr. Tim Ball
The 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report was the most influential in establishing global warming as a serious threat demanding political action. It contained the infamous hockey stick that Richard Muller identified as, “the poster-child of the global warming community.” However, the Report also achieved another distinction, unknown to the media, public and politicians. Disconnect between the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and the Science Report Of Working Group I reached an extreme. Dr. Christopher Essex pointed out, in his excellent presentation for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) that the 2001 Science report says,
“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
That statement alone disqualifies the IPCC work as the basis for public policy.
Much of the so-called science the IPCC created was to amplify the threat of human produced CO2 to global warming. The political mandate was the ultimate arbiter of what and how an issue was included. Most people involved with the IPCC likely didn’t know what was going on. They saw funding and career opportunities, either as bureaucrats or academics. Most were graduates of the emerging “environmental science” programs and ideology with its, “humans are the problem so save the planet at all costs”, mentality. For a few, these were secondary to the real objective of using climate and CO2 specifically, as a vehicle for a political agenda. Read more
Solar Energy Subsidies Cost $39 Billion Per Year
by Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon
Despite billions spent in investments over decades, solar energy will only make up 0.6 percent of total electricity generation in the United States, according to a report released by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA).
“In spite of government’s best efforts to encourage innovation by solar energy companies and encourage Americans to rely more heavily on solar electricity, solar power continues to be a losing proposition,” the report said. “American taxpayers spent an average of $39 billion a year over the past 5 years financing grants, subsidizing tax credits, guaranteeing loans, bailing out failed solar energy boondoggles and otherwise underwriting every idea under the sun to make solar energy cheaper and more popular. But none of it has worked.”
Government support for the solar industry is vast, with at least 345 different federal initiatives that spread across 20 agencies, the report noted. The Pentagon has the highest number of solar programs, with 63, followed by the Interior Department, which oversees 37 programs. The Energy Department only manages 34 solar programs.
“This report is only the first step in asking the important questions about solar subsidies,” said David Williams, the president of the TPA. “Taxpayers need to know the truth about where their dollars are being spent.”
“Congress needs to stop these massive subsidies that are siphoning $39 billion a year from taxpayers,” he said. “If solar is ever going to be a viable energy source and industry, they need to wean themselves off the public dole.”
In addition to the federal government, which has spent $150 billion in the last five years, states also heavily subsidize the industry by offering tax breaks and 538 rebate programs. Read more
German Wind Power Fails – a Cautionary Tale
by Jonathan DuHamel
Germany is a leader in electricity production from wind turbines. In 2014, Germany had 25,000 wind turbines installed. Their total installed capacity rating is 39,612 MW. But as Pierre Gosselin reports, these turbines actually produced an average of only 5,868 MW or just 14.8% of rated capacity. Even wind turbine installations in the windy North Sea are delivering only 20% of rated capacity.
This story shows the folly of replacing fossil-fuel or nuclear generation of electricity with solar and wind. In Europe as a whole, infrastructure investment in renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass) has consumed 600 billion Euros with little to show for it except high electricity prices. See the full story on Wryheat.
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”– Thomas Jefferson
A closer look at the flawed studies behind policies used to promote ‘low-carbon’ biofuels
by Jim Erickson, University of Michigan News
Nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone, according to a University of Michigan researcher who reviewed more than 100 papers published over more than two decades.
Once the erroneous methodology is corrected, the results will likely show that policies used to promote biofuels—such as the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard—actually make matters worse when it comes to limiting net emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide gas.
The main problem with existing studies is that they fail to correctly account for the carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere when corn, soybeans and sugarcane are grown to make biofuels, said John DeCicco, a research professor at U-M’s Energy Institute.
“Almost all of the fields used to produce biofuels were already being used to produce crops for food, so there is no significant increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere. Therefore, there’s no climate benefit,” said DeCicco, the author of an advanced review of the topic in the current issue of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment. Read more
U.N. Official Reveals Real Reason Behind Warming Scare
Economic Systems: The alarmists keep telling us their concern about global warming is all about man’s stewardship of the environment. But we know that’s not true. A United Nations official has now confirmed this.
At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.
“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
The only economic model in the last 150 years that has ever worked at all is capitalism. The evidence is prima facie: From a feudal order that lasted a thousand years, produced zero growth and kept workdays long and lifespans short, the countries that have embraced free-market capitalism have enjoyed a system in which output has increased 70-fold, work days have been halved and lifespans doubled.
Figueres is perhaps the perfect person for the job of transforming “the economic development model” because she’s really never seen it work. “If you look at Ms. Figueres’ Wikipedia page,” notes Cato economist Dan Mitchell: Making the world look at their right hand while they choke developed economies with their left.
Obama’s Carbon Rules Could Cost Thousands of Manufacturing Jobs in Your State
by Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal
A new study predicts that more than a half million manufacturing jobs will be eliminated from the U.S. economy as a result of the Obama administration’s proposed regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions.
“Every state would experience overwhelming negative impacts as a result of these regulations, but especially those with higher-than-average employment in manufacturing and mining,” said Nick Loris, a co-author of study, which was completed by energy experts at The Heritage Foundation—the parent organization of The Daily Signal.
The researchers projected how many manufacturing jobs would be eliminated in each state and congressional district as a consequence of the carbon plan, which is the centerpiece of President Obama’s effort to combat climate change.
The results show that 34 states would lose three to four percent of manufacturing jobs by 2023, and nine other states would lose more. Read full article
Twenty good reasons not to worry about polar bears and climate change
by Dr. Susan Crockford at polarbearscience.com:
Here’s a new resource for cooling the polar bear spin.
1) Polar bears are still a conservation success story — with a global estimate almost certainly greater than 25,000, we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago.
2) The most recent status assessment for polar bears, published by Environment Canada in May 2014, shows only two subpopulations are “likely in decline,” down from four listed by the PBSG as declining in 2013 and seven in 2010 Read the rest
Endangered Species Act created environmental industry
You won’t find compromise in the vocabulary of many environmental groups.
When it comes to environmental groups, extremism pays. A review of the tax forms filed by many of the most active — and radical — groups operating in the Western U.S. shows that the top 10 groups received nearly $1 billion in contributions and legal fees.
If they wanted to, those groups could fully fund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species programs — for five years.
Instead, they go for the money. They snipe at the federal government and, as importantly, at farmers and ranchers. Many prefer to drag their targets into court instead of seeking compromises that would help species and allow farmers, ranchers and others to stay in business.
In fact, the litigation precludes such compromises.
“When you’re litigating something, you almost can’t really talk to anyone,” said Don Stuart, former American Farmland Trust Pacific Northwest director. He wrote a book about the clashes over the ESA.
The reasons for suing the government and ranchers are clear. Many environmental groups don’t like animal agriculture. They want a vegetarian lifestyle. And they don’t like large-scale farming. Anything they can do to get rid of ranching and large farms would be a feather in their cap.
But there’s more to it. Environmental organizations cannot raise money if they solve problems. They must make sure the problem remains, or they can’t produce the glossy ads and pamphlets and hold fund-raisers.
You’ll never hear an environmental group announce to its donors, “Well, we’ve solved that problem. Thanks for your help, and we’re now going to dissolve the group.”
Environmental groups need a perceived problem — preferably one that’s “getting worse and that, through your donations, we can make a difference.”
Here’s the format they use:
“The (insert an animal, fish or insect) needs your help. We will fight to save the (insert an animal, fish or insect). With your donation, we can save the (insert an animal, fish or insect) for our children and generations to come.”
The environmental groups came up with this formula decades ago, when Congress wrote the Endangered Species Act and President Richard Nixon signed it into law.
With its deadlines and protection not of species but of specific populations, the ESA was a gift to the environmental movement.
Suddenly, these groups had an open playing field to petition the government to protect local populations of salmon, smelt, wolves, owls, grouse and other critters as though they were the last of the species.
Take, for example, the gray wolf, which is protected as “endangered” in parts of the Lower 48 despite the fact that just over the border in Canada there are more than 50,000 — and about 10,000 in British Columbia alone. Yet under the ESA, American wildlife managers must protect wolves as though they are the last of a breed.
The ESA is the blunt instrument that turned environmentalism into big business. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or any other federal agency does not follow the letter of this poorly written law environmental groups drag them into court.
The result is not more protection for the (insert an animal, fish or insect) so much as a payday for the environmental group, which can then chalk up another “victory” in the “battle” to protect the (insert an animal, fish or insect).
It’s also another source of cash. The federal government must pay the environmental groups if they can convince a judge that the agency missed a deadline or failed to meet some other requirement.
For environmental groups, it’s a great deal. Groups spend all of their time suing the government and other bystanders. Instead of solving problems, they make sure the problems continue.
It’s like shooting fish in a barrel that the ESA provided.
“We do have some pretty terrific environmental protection laws,” Center for Biological Diversity spokeswoman Amaroq Weiss said.
For environmental groups, that is a statement of the obvious.
EPA regulation consequences:
Electric Water Heater Replacement
Effective next year, the federal EPA standard of electric water heater efficiency is going to be raised. The reason this is an issue is because the current water heater technology has reached its maximum efficiency potential: in short, starting next year, you’re not going to be able to buy an electric water heater like the one you have now.
New EPA compliant models will use what is called heat pump technology. What this means is that the new electric water heaters have an AC unit on top that pulls heat in from the air in the room to heat the water, rather than producing all the heat by itself.
So what? Well, there’s a couple of problems that congress didn’t think about when they wrote the law.
First of these water heaters are going to be about 2 feet taller than the water heater you have now. This might pose an issue in older homes where the water heater is in a confined basement space, or in smaller homes and condos where they squeeze the heater under a cabinet in the kitchen.
This may surprise you, but when your current water heater is empty, it actually isn’t that heavy. Plumbers regularly throw a 50 water heater up on their shoulder and carry it into a home. Adding an air conditioner more than doubles the weight. The lightest units tip the scales at close to 450 lbs. This means it will take two people to do what used to be a one person job, and guess who will be paying for that extra person to be there.
Heat pump water heaters need a lot of warm air to work. Several hundred cubic feet in fact, a lot more space than is in a closet or a small basement room. In addition to the height, this is another reason you might not be able to install one of the new water heaters where your current water heater lives. Oh, and whatever room you do end up putting it in is going to be as cold as a freezer.
You aren’t buying one appliance any more. You’re buying two: a water heater and an air conditioner. That’s why heat pump water heaters are twice as expensive as your old electric water heater was!
States Should Just Say ‘No’ – 10 Reasons EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Unlawful
by Marlo Lewis
EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CCP) would set carbon dioxide (CO2) performance standards for state electric power sectors. The standards are calibrated in pounds CO2 per megawatt hour. They translate into statewide emission-reduction mandates or caps. On average, states would have to reduce their power-sector CO2 emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Under §111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), a performance standard, whether for new or existing sources, must reflect the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) that has been “adequately demonstrated,” taking “cost” into account.
Performance standards must also be “achievable,” defined by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to mean achievable by the regulated industry as a whole (National Lime Association V. EPA, 627 F. 2d 416 at 443 ).
Finally, before EPA may promulgate “existing source performance standards” (ESPS), as it proposes to do through the CPP, the agency must first promulgate new source performance standards (NSPS), as it proposes to do through the Carbon Pollution Standards rule.
State policymakers should have no legal qualms about refusing to comply with the CPP. EPA’s proposal is unlawful on at least 10 counts. Read more
Asthma Justification for EPA Regulations Gutted by the Latest Science
By Paul C. Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels
From the Journal of Asthma and Clinical Immunology: “Taking the United States as a whole, living in an urban neighborhood is not associated with increased asthma prevalence.” Read more
Feds To Regulate Fake Fireplaces To Stop Global Warming
by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller
Better go out and buy a gas fireplace and stove soon before federal regulations make them more expensive. Federal officials are looking to regulate the energy usage of fake fireplaces as part of the Obama administration’s effort to fight global warming.
The Energy Department has proposed new regulations that would mandate that “gas-fired hearth products” like decorative fireplaces and stoves be more energy efficient and produce fewer carbon dioxide emissions. DOE says its rule would save $165 over the lifespan of the average hearth and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11.1 million metric tons through 2030.
The major change DOE demands is the end of continuously burning pilot lights that make it so fireplaces and stoves can be used at a moment’s notice. Instead, the DOE is mandating the use of electric ignition systems to save energy and fight global warming. Read more
DUMBEST QUOTE EVER?: WHAT’S THE SECRET TO DEFEATING THE ISLAMIC STATE, and stopping the ISIS slaughter of innocents? It’s a jobs program, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf suggests, saying the US ‘cannot win this war by killing’ ISIS terrorists, but instead should work to build up regional economies ‘so they can have job opportunities’. (Fox News)
Or is Nancy Pelosi still the leader with “But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”
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“In spite of much effort, the IPCC has never succeeded in demonstrating that climate change is significantly affected by human activities — and in particular, by the emission of greenhouse gases. Over the last 25 years, their supporting arguments have shifted drastically — and are shown to be worthless. It appears more than likely that climate change is controlled by variations in solar magnetic activity and by periodic changes in ocean circulation.” Dr. S. Fred Singer (see his full analysis)
“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC.
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” –George Washington (1793)
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