2017-04 APRIL

People for the West -Tucson

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 pfw-tucson@cox.net

Newsletter, April, 2017

Killing the Clean Power Plan and the “Social Cost of Carbon”

by Jonathan DuHamel

By executive order, President Trump has begun the process that will kill Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” which is based upon EPA nonsense called the “Social Cost of Carbon.” The Clean Power Plan has made electricity more expensive and less reliable by favoring solar and wind generation over fossil-fuel generation, all because of the alleged effect of carbon dioxide on global climate. (See link at the end of this article to see physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing more warming.)

The “social cost of carbon”(SCC) is a computer-generated artifice that puts a dollar figure on the alleged environmental and economic damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. This number is supposed to allow bureaucrats to offset the alleged damage through regulation and taxes, i.e., it will increase the cost of electricity. The computer models fail to take into account the benefits of carbon dioxide, such as making our crops more robust and more water efficient. Also, there is absolutely no physical evidence that our carbon dioxide emissions have any significant role in controlling global climate.

To read the grisly details of this scam, I recommend three articles:

Marlo Lewis, Hearing Shines Light on Social Cost of Carbon Sophistry

Ronald Bailey, The Social Cost of Carbon: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Obama’s ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Is at Odds with Science

To read about the benefits of carbon dioxide, see:

Craig Idso: The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide: Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Global Food Production

Lewis succinctly reports the basics of SCC:

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is the present discounted value of cumulative damages allegedly inflicted on society by an incremental metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over a period of decades to centuries.

Discernible in neither meteorological nor economic data, carbon’s social cost exists in the virtual world of “integrated assessment models” (IAMs) — computer programs that combine speculative climatology with speculative economics. By fiddling with non-validated climate parameters, made-up damage functions, and below-market discount rates, SCC analysts can get almost any result they desire.

What they typically desire is to make fossil fuels look unaffordable no matter how cheap, and renewables look like a bargain at any price. However curious as an academic exercise, when used to make or influence public policy, SCC analysis is computer-aided sophistry.

Lewis also notes: “Agencies have an incentive to periodically increase SCC estimates to make their regulations look more beneficial.”

The computer models fail to fully consider the positive side of rising carbon dioxide and a warming climate. Idso notes that the results of a wide-ranging study found that the aerial fertilization effect of carbon dioxide on crop production was substantial. “The results indicate that the annual total monetary value of this benefit grew from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011, amounting to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961-2011. Projecting the monetary value of this positive externality forward in time reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050.”

The Idso study also found that “With respect to human health, several studies have shown that the net effect of an increase in temperature is a reduction in sickness and death rate. A warmer climate, therefore, is less expensive in terms of health care costs than a colder one.”

The House Committee on Natural Resources recently held a hearing on the process and development of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) commented:

The Obama Administration has given itself – and future administrations – a mammoth blank check to stop any project based on a radical fantasy. The Social Cost of Carbon is exactly that – a social restructuring of the way Americans live their lives. This unprecedented authority, disguised as an innocuous guideline for regulatory analysis, is a dangerous ideological weapon for the Administration. The numbers can be so easily manipulated that it simply allows any Administration to pick winners and losers, but the American people and the American way of life will be the ultimate losers.”

In testimony before Congress, Dr. Judith Curry (Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) said that Obama’s proposed reduction of U.S. emissions of 28% “will prevent 0.03°C in warming by 2100.” Billions of dollars of economic disruption for an unmeasurable climate result.

Dr. Curry goes on to say (source):

“…these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct; if the climate models are over sensitive to CO2, then amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.

“The economic argument is rather dicey; economic impact models are far more uncertain even than climate models. The social cost of carbon estimates made by the White House require assumptions out to the year 2300 for drastic CO2 reductions to be cost effective.

“The public health arguments are even weaker. CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.”

SCC is another example of what H L Mencken warned us about: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” And “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

See also: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

 

The Mexican Wolf Controversy

by Jonathan DuHamel

Mexican wolves are nearly extinct in the U.S. and the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is in the process of declaring critical habitat. The main problem with these animals is that they prey on livestock and ranchers have, in some cases, suffered substantial loss. The FWS wants to extend the range of the wolf northward based on some sketchy evidence.

A new paper, “Clarifying Historical Range to Aid Recovery of the Mexican Wolf” (link) says that currently, “The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is an endangered subspecies indigenous to southwestern North America. There are at least 143individuals currently living in the wild in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, and about 240 in 48 captive-breeding facilities in the United States and Mexico. Efforts to recover the Mexican wolf have been underway for >30 years and disagreement regarding an accurate depiction of its historical range has figured prominently in recovery planning.” The paper recommends: “The historical range of the Mexican wolf should not be altered through the identification of similar habitat in other locations, the distribution of inadequately sampled molecular markers, or by theoretical arguments about movement capacity. Rather, it should respect the original descriptions that were made when the animal was still present on the landscape…” The map below shows the historic range (shaded) versus the proposed range (diagonal lines).

Another problem is that the wolves are inbred. In the paper “Genetic management and setting recovery goals for Mexican wolves” (link) the authors note:

“Mexican wolf recovery planning has spanned > 3 decades, yet federal and state planners have not reached consensus on how to structure recovery efforts with the remaining inbred founder lineages to maximize genetic diversity while balancing many other demographic and social considerations.” They suggest: “Releasing captive-reared wolves is problematic and often creates conflict in local human communities, but fostering of captive-born wolves into wild wolf packs is a viable means of increasing genetic diversity and decreasing habituated wolf-human conflict.”

A third problem with Mexican wolves is hybridization with dogs and coyotes. My Wryheat article: Are Mexican wolves in Arizona actually wolf-dog hybrids?discussed that problem. If, in fact, most of the Mexican wolves are now hybrids, they would be ineligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act. ☼

Is there a better way to protect endangered species?

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) should be repealed because it provides no positive incentive for conservation, it tramples on property rights, it destroys industries, it is very expensive, and it is ineffective. The ESA should be replaced with a voluntary, non-regulatory, incentive-based act. Make conservation profitable. Read more on Wryheat

Study: There’s A Better Way To Protect Endangered Species Than Gov’t

by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

Despite the good intentions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it’s not an effective tool for protecting and bringing back species on the brink of extinction, according to a study by Utah State University and the think tank Strata Policy.

Researchers believe the ESA may encourage precisely the opposite of what its designers intended, causing unintended consequences that harm the species it was designed to protect.

“You can measure the success of ESA in a few ways,” Megan Hansen, a policy director at Strata who was involved in the research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.”One measure would be to track the recovery of listed species. If the purpose of the act is to promote the recovery of species, it is reasonable to suggest that the ESA has failed in that area. Over the span of more than 40 years, just 34 species out of more than 2,245 species have been delisted due to recovery efforts — accounting for just 1.5 percent of all species listed.”

The researchers think voluntary private action may be a viable alternative to help species recover, since reforming the ESA would be difficult. Such action would also help limit the negative economic and social impacts of ESA. As it is currently implemented, the law puts much of the costs of protecting endangered species on citizens and private landowners. This discourages them from protecting the species. Read more

Protect Workers, Property Owners From Endangered Species Act Abuses

by Jonathan Wood

The Endangered Species Act, thanks to its crippling “take” prohibition, has been incredibly disruptive to rural communities, including many of those that supported Trump. For decades, that statute has encouraged environmental special interests to push for ever more species to be listed, to shut down economic activity they dislike. And, although countless jobs have been lost as a result, the statute has reaped only mediocre benefits, including a less than 2% recovery rate for listed species.

The Endangered Species Act is a powerful weapon for environmental groups because it forbids the “take” of any listed species, which prohibits essentially any activity that adversely affects a single member of a species or its habitat. This prohibition deprives owners of private property of the rights that most of us take for granted in owning land.

Consider, for instance, the people of southwestern Utah who cannot build homes, start businesses or protect the airport and cemetery from a local rodent because the rodent in question, the Utah prairie dog, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Read more

 

ENERGY ISSUES

Heritage Foundation report: Time to Unlock America’s Vast Oil and Gas Resources (link)

North American oil reserves (U.S., Canadian, and Mexican) total nearly 1.8 trillion barrels of recoverable oil. Lifting restrictions on energy production that have little, if any, environmental benefit, will add 700,000 jobs and $3.7 trillion in GDP through 2035.

Electricity expenditures for households will decline by up to 10.19 percent per year. For a family of four, this means an additional $40,000 of income by 2035.

The resulting energy—used all across the economy—becomes less expensive. Cheaper energy lowers the cost of doing business, making American companies more competitive and enabling them to invest and expand. ☼

Obama’s energy legacy: Oil, natural gas production on federal lands tanked

By Valerie Richardson, Washington Times

From 2008 to 2016, major indicators of federal onshore and natural gas operations declined, including the number of leases, acres leased, permits approved and wells being drilled, according to the Western Energy Alliance in Denver.

Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican and House Natural Resources Committee chairman, said that production on federally managed lands “was all but impossible under the Obama administration,” citing bureaucratic red tape and fewer leases offered.

The FY2016 figures reflect “the lowest amount of leased acreage for the years statistically available, since 1988,” with leased acreage during the eight-year period falling by 20 million. “These numbers reflect steadfast efforts by the Obama administration to squelch responsible energy development,” Mr. Bishop said. Production of natural gas on federal lands actually declined by 15 percent on federal land during the years of the Obama administration, while production on private lands increased during the same period by 66 percent. “There’s a reason federal production lags far behind private and state lands. The redundant regulation and red tape over the past eight years have had their intended effects. Read more

Huge Oil Find Could Save Alaska’s Oil Sector

By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com

Spanish oil firm Repsol SA just announced the largest onshore oil discovery in the U.S. in three decades, a 1.2 billion barrel find on Alaska’s North Slope. Repsol has been actively exploring in Alaska since 2008 and finally hit a big one.

The find came after drilling two wells with its partner, Armstrong Oil & Gas. Repsol says that it if it moves forward and develops the project, first oil could come by 2021. The field could produce 120,000 bpd, a significant volume given the predicament the state of Alaska finds itself in. Read more

Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy

By Jennifer G. Hickey, Fox News

A cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration.

Seven years after Aquion Energy received a $5.2 million stimulus-tied grant from the federal government, the Pennsylvania company on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company, which is now seeking a buyer, produces batteries to store solar and renewable energy. It had been touted as a rising star in the energy storage business, even attracting investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and millions more in state funding. Read more

 

CLIMATE ISSUES

New Literature Strongly Suggests CO2 Residence Time In The Atmosphere Is Exaggerated!

By P Gosselin

Hermann Harde of the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg described in a paper that appears in the May 2017 journal Global and Planetary Change and which is already available online presents a new approach that points to a much shorter residence time in the atmosphere. According to Harde, excess CO2 remains in the atmosphere on average only 4 years:

Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere

Climate scientists presume that the carbon cycle has come out of balance due to the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change. This is made responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years, and it is estimated that the removal of the additional emissions from the atmosphere will take a few hundred thousand years. Since this goes along with an increasing greenhouse effect and a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is of great importance for all future climate change predictions. We have critically scrutinized this cycle and present an alternative concept, for which the uptake of CO2 by natural sinks scales proportional with the CO2 concentration. In addition, we consider temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates, by which the paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate can well be explained. The anthropogenic contribution to the actual CO2 concentration is found to be 4.3%, its fraction to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era is 15% and the average residence time 4 years.” Read more (Link to abstract)

Segalstad: “Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.” (Source) table of 35 studies. ☼

New Book Destroys Agw Myth, Gets the Climate Science Right

By Jay Lehr

In Evidence-Based Climate Science: Data Opposing CO2 Emissions as the Primary Source of Global Warming, Don Easterbrook, a professor emeritus at Western Washington University, has compiled the definitive book slaying any argument mankind is having a significant impact on global temperature.

The papers collected in this work analyze scientific data concerning patterns of past climate changes, influences in changes in ocean temperatures, the effect of solar variation on global climate, and the effect of carbon dioxide on global climate. The book clearly presents an overwhelming amount of evidence that refutes arguments made by those promoting the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW). (source) ☼

How the Developed World Wastes $1.5 Trillion PER YEAR on the Basis of Useless Models

Alan Carlin     | January 5, 2017

One estimate is that the world is spending about $1.5 trillion per year on “green energy.” Never in the history of the world has so much been spent on the basis of so little valid science. The general circulation (computer) models (GCMs) relied upon by the UN and EPA consistently substantially overestimate the actual temperatures measured by both balloons and satellites and are inherently incapable of predicting climate due to its chaotic nature even if built in good faith. (Source) ☼

 

Scientific Papers Predict Cooling In Coming Decades

by Kenneth Richard

A new scientific paper authored by seven scientists affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences was just published in the scientific journal Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics.

The scientists dismiss both “greenhouse gases” and variations in the Sun’s irradiance as significant climate drivers, and instead embrace cloud cover variations — modulated by cosmic ray flux — as a dominant contributor to climate change.

A concise summary: As cosmic ray flux increases, more clouds are formed on a global scale. More global-scale cloud cover means more solar radiation is correspondingly blocked from reaching the Earth’s surface (oceans). With an increase in global cloud cover projected for the coming decades (using trend analysis), a global cooling is predicted. Read more

SOME THOUGHTS TO PONDER:

The liberal creed seems to be: “We care so much about poor people, climate change, income inequality and protecting the environment (or whatever the cause of the day) that there is no limit to how much money should be taken out of other people’s wallets to solve these problems.” – Stephen Moore

“One single object … [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.” —Thomas Jefferson (1825)

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams (1770)

“Any man who tries to incite class hatred, sectional hate, hate of creeds, any kind of hatred in our community, though he may affect to do so in the interest of the class he is addressing, is in the long run with absolute certainty that class’s own worst enemy.” —Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

“Liberty … was a two-headed boon. There was first, the liberty of the people as a whole to determine the forms of their own government, to levy their own taxes, and to make their own laws…. There was second, the liberty of the individual man to live his own life, within the limits of decency and decorum, as he pleased — freedom from the despotism of the majority.” —H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” — Thomas Jefferson (1824)

“The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)

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Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/

See my essay on climate change:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/climate-in-perspective/

The Constitution is the real contract with America.

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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.

PO Box 86868

Tucson, AZ 85754-6868

pfw-tucson@cox.net

Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor

Dr. John Forrester, Vice President

Lonni Lees, Associate Editor

 

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