People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, May, 2018
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
Renewable energy mandates and politics versus science
by Jonathan DuHamel
Competing renewable energy mandate legislation will appear on the Arizona ballot this fall. You can read about them in two Arizona Daily Star stories:
Neither addresses the real issue: electricity produced from utility-scale solar and wind is unreliable, expensive, plays havoc with electrical grid stability, and is not as green as advertized. Rather than play with tricky fixes, the Arizona legislature should repeal the Arizona Corporation Commission’s renewable energy mandate and forbid the ACC from mandating how electricity is generated. I can find no place in the Arizona Constitution nor in the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to impose such mandates.
For background of ACC action, read a report from the Goldwater Institute: “Rediscovering the ACC’s Roots: Returning to the Original Purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission” (link)
Here is the executive summary of the 26-page report:
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established through the state constitution to regulate corporations, public utilities, securities, and other investments. But in an unprecedented move, the Arizona Corporation Commission sought to single-handedly determine alternative energy policy in Arizona with a bold and unconstitutional energy mandate in 2006. This mandate forced energy producers to embrace state-favored alternatives instead of deciding for themselves which options are most attractive in Arizona.
Arizonans now face the real threat that the Arizona Corporation Commission will continue to seize power meant to be held by the state’s legislative branch. Important decisions about energy policy, corporate governance, and other areas have been removed from the legislative process which, for all its faults, offers more transparency, citizen input, and accountability than the opaque and bureaucratic proceedings of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The framers of the Arizona Constitution had serious concerns about the Commission’s potential to abuse its authority. Records of the state constitutional debate show the constitution’s authors intentionally limited the Commission’s powers to prevent interference with internal business decisions. The framers’ fears have been borne out.
The Commission’s attempt to act as the state’s de facto energy czar clearly oversteps its original role.
Arizona courts should re-establish a proper balance between the Commission and legislative power. Courts in other states with similar utility regulatory commissions already have concluded such agencies don’t have constitutional authority to mandate statewide policy. The Legislature also can reassert its authority by ordering an audit of the Commission that would recommend ways to streamline the agency and to restore it to its proper role. Finally, the state constitution could be amended to transfer necessary functions to other agencies and decommission the ACC to stop its policymaking power grabs, which Arizona’s founders specifically aimed to prevent.
See these articles for more detail:
The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity.
Political correctness versus science:
The alleged rationale for these mandates is that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to forestall dread global warming. But, there is no physical evidence that emissions from fossil fuels play a significant role in driving global temperature. See these ADI posts for more detail:
“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” I posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.
The “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming makes four major predictions of what we should see if the “greenhouse effect” is intensified by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. All four predictions are shown by physical evidence to be wrong.
An alternative hypothesis with observable evidence.
Results from climate models based on the assumption that carbon dioxide controls global temperature diverge widely from reality.
An overview of climate history
The fake climate consensus ☼
How Bad Is the Government’s Science? (It’s worse than we thought.)
By Anthony Watts
Policy makers often cite research to justify their rules, but many of those studies wouldn’t replicate.
Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong. John Ioannidis, now a professor of medicine at Stanford, made headlines with that claim in 2005. Since then, researchers have confirmed his skepticism by trying—and often failing—to reproduce many influential journal articles. Slowly, scientists are internalizing the lessons of this irreproducibility crisis. But what about government, which has been making policy for generations without confirming that the science behind it is valid?
The chief cause of irreproducibility may be that scientists, whether wittingly or not, are fishing fake statistical significance out of noisy data. If a researcher looks long enough, he can turn any fluke correlation into a seemingly positive result. But other factors compound the problem: Scientists can make arbitrary decisions about research techniques, even changing procedures partway through an experiment. They are susceptible to groupthink and aren’t as skeptical of results that fit their biases. Negative results typically go into the file drawer. Exciting new findings are a route to tenure and fame, and there’s little reward for replication studies. Read more ☼
Scientific Distortions in Fine Particulate Matter Epidemiology
James E. Enstrom, Ph.D., M.P.H., Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 23 Number 1 Spring 2018
The theoretical prevention of premature deaths from the inhalation of fine particulate matter is being used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to justify the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and multibillion dollar regulations across the U.S., including the EPA Clean Power Plan and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Truck and Bus Regulation. The epidemiology is severely flawed. Fine particulates probably make no significant contribution to premature mortality in the U.S. The publication of null findings has been blocked or marginalized and studies claiming excess mortality need to be reassessed.
There is strong evidence from two large national cohorts that PM2.5 does not cause premature deaths in the US. There is strong evidence that this relationship has been falsified by EPA, the Health Effects Institute, and leading researchers for more than 20 years. Better oversight to assure scientific integrity, such as access to data, transparency, and consideration of opposing views, is imperative. Read full paper ☼
The Parade of Impending Catastrophes
By Norman Rogers
There are organizations whose purpose is to save us from impending catastrophes. I’m not talking about the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Red Cross. I’m thinking of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Geographic Society, The National Audubon Society, The Environmental Defense Fund, The Population Connection, and many more. These organizations depend on impending catastrophes for their lifeblood, to say nothing of their revenue. So a shortage of real impending catastrophes is a problem. The solution has been to manufacture impending catastrophes.
A catastrophe is not manufactured out of thin air. Rather, one starts with a more or less scientific finding and inflates it into an impending catastrophe. The best made up catastrophes are speculative and resistant to clear analysis. Global warming is a catastrophe that happens 50 or 100 years in the future. You can’t argue decisively against it without waiting for 50 years. Read more ☼
The Sierra Club: Usurping Power from Elected Officials
by Donna Laframboise
TOP TAKEAWAY: When you give money to the Sierra Club, you’re doing three bad things. You’re funding non-stop lawsuits. You’re sabotaging democracy. And you’re ensnaring ordinary people in costly red tape. Read article ☼
STATE OF THE UNION
2018 edition of CEI’s 10,000 commandments
Ten Thousand Commandments is the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual survey of the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations, and how they affect American consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy at large.
Highlights from the 2018 edition include:
Federal regulations and intervention cost Americans $1.9 trillion in 2017.
Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year, more than Americans spend on any category in their family budget except for housing.
In 2017, 97 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,281 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 34 rules were issued for every law enacted.
If it were a country, U.S. federal regulation would be the world’s eighth-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy.
Many Americans are concerned about their annual tax burden, but total regulatory costs exceeded the $1.88 trillion the IRS collected in both individual and corporate income taxes in 2017.
Some 67 federal departments, agencies, and commissions are currently working on 3,209 new regulations in various stages of development.
The five most active rulemaking entities– the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Transportation, Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency–account for 1,359 rules, or 43 percent of all proposed regulations currently under consideration.
The 2017 Federal Register contained 61,308 pages, the lowest count since 1993 and a 36 percent drop from Obama’s 95,894 pages in 2016, the highest level ever recorded.
See https://cei.org/10kc2018 for links to the executive summary and 10 chapters.
Full report here: https://cei.org/sites/default/files/Ten_Thousand_Commandments_2018.pdf ☼
Yes, NOAA must adjust data — but its climate record really is quite wrong
By S. Fred Singer
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the official U.S. government custodian of information on weather and climate. NOAA monitors both, and keeps records of both, and also tries to predict future changes. Climate is generally defined as a time average of weather, extending over at least a few weeks.
NOAA does a reasonable job on the weather, but has been subject to much criticism for its handling of climate and is often accused of “cooking the data” for ideological reasons, related to energy policy.
It is important for the public to gain some perspective on such changes before indulging in wild accusations. Equally important, NOAA must use more transparency and not only announce data adjustments, but explain them so that reasonable people of goodwill will understand.
Much of the current criticism is clearly unfair. NOAA must adjust climate data for many reasons.
When a weather station is moved, its prior values have to be adjusted and this extends at times to neighboring stations.
Another non-ideological reason for adjusting data is the poor location of some of the stations. Meteorologists Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts have documented such examples; NOAA tries to keep track of them.
Some of the changes occur naturally. For example, trees grow up or are cut down, and the wind pattern changes at the weather station thermometer. Or, an airport opens up nearby and the traffic pattern changes in the vicinity.
On the other hand, some of the criticism is justified. I cite two instances:
First, there has been no change reported in surface temperatures since about the year 2000, indicating no current warming. This so-called “pause” (or hiatus) has generated much controversy. It suggests that CO2 has little influence on the planet’s climate change, and it affects energy policy in a profound way.
More serious, perhaps, is the continued failure of NOAA to recognize that its climate record is really quite wrong. This official record shows a warming at the beginning of the 20th century and also at the end. The first warming is genuine, the second warming is an artifact, based on an incomplete analysis of all of the available data.
Second, while the warming may exist in the surface record of weather stations, it does not exist in the atmospheric record. In fact, the gap between model results based on increasing CO2 and the atmospheric observations is continuing to grow. Scientists are at a loss in trying to explain the puzzling ineffectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
Could it be that CO2 is not warming the climate at all? It is a topic that bears investigation. NOAA has not tackled this problem, likely because of ideological reasons. NOAA probably considers CO2 as a “pollutant.” It has been slow to change, in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary.
There is still a discrepancy and disagreement between NOAA’s surface record and all other records of temperature in the last decades of the 20th century.
NOAA’s own radiosonde network shows no warming. All other data — including proxy data, such as tree rings, ice cores, ocean and lake sediments — show no warming between 1977 and 1997. NOAA does analyze the atmospheric temperature data as obtained by NASA satellites, but has taken no action to explain the deficiencies of the surface record.
We conclude that the reported surface warming does not really exist but is an artifact of instrumentation changes. Read original article ☼
Scientists Wrecked Their Own CO2-Forced ‘Polar Amplification’ Narrative
By Kenneth Richard
CO2 emissions exert no detectable effect on Arctic, Antarctic temperatures. The Arctic region is no warmer in recent decades than it was some 80 years ago, or before CO2 emissions began rising significantly. Read more ☼
From Tony Heller’s Real Climate Science Blog
The same old story:
Breaking news from NPR, Dec. 13, 2016: Researchers say the Arctic continues to warm up at rates they call “astonishing.”
Breaking news from Newcastle Morning Herald, Feb. 18, 1952: Dr. William S. Carlson, an Arctic expert, said last night that Polar icecaps were melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate and threatening to swamp seaports by raising ocean levels.
Breaking news from Rochester Democrat, Dec. 17, 1939: All the glaciers in Eastern Greenland are rapidly melting. (see more)
Note: Arctic warming and cooling is cyclical, and is controlled by ocean circulation patterns. It shows no correlation with greenhouse gases. ☼
Confronted With Severe Climate Change, Ancient Britons Kept Calm and Carried On
by George Dvorsky
Soon after the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age, our planet was vulnerable to abrupt and dramatic shifts in climate, including prolonged cold snaps that lasted for decades. New research suggests early hunter-gatherers living in the British Isles didn’t just manage to survive these harsh conditions—they actually thrived.
Ancient hunter-gatherers living at the Star Carr site some 11,000 years ago in what is now North Yorkshire didn’t skip a beat as temperatures plunged around the globe in the immediate post-glacial era, according to new research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. This latest research suggests abrupt climate change wasn’t catastrophically or culturally disruptive to this long-standing community, and that early humans were remarkably resilient and adaptable in the face of dramatic climate shifts. Read more ☼
Green Shock: Entire Forests Being Murdered to Produce Wood Pellet Biomass
by Eric Worrall
Greens have discovered to their horror that producing renewable wood pellet biomass requires a large supply of dead trees. Huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia are being chainsawed to create ‘biomass’ energy in Britain as the government attempts to reach targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to tackle climate change. A key part of government efforts to hit its green energy targets is to switch from generating electricity from burning coal to burning wood – or so-called biomass. It’s a policy that is costing taxpayers more than £700 million per year through a levy on their electricity bills.
The biomass industry and government argue that because wood is a renewable source of energy and trees can be replanted to reabsorb carbon dioxide this policy is good for the environment. The power station claims that burning pellets instead of coal reduces carbon emissions by more than 80 percent.
However, a simple experiment at a laboratory at the University of Nottingham to compare the carbon dioxide emitted when burning wood pellets found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon. Read more And, the experiment did not take into account the energy used in transporting wood pellets from Virginia to the UK. ☼
New Study: Battery Storage “Not an Economic Prospect”
Global Warming Policy Foundation
Consumers warned to avoid battery storage for rooftop solar systems
London 16 April 2018. Rechargeable batteries are said to be a way to extend the appeal of rooftop solar installations, storing the energy generated during the day for use at night. Home energy storage looks set to become big business: Tesla has already entered the marketplace, looking to apply its expertise in batteries to generate a new source of income. Other big-name motor manufacturers are expected to follow.
However, a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) reveals that consumers are in danger of being fleeced. The paper’s author, power engineer Dr Capell Aris, has examined the economics of battery stores and finds that in the UK their high cost means that they will never pay for themselves. As he explains:
“The price of batteries is relatively high, but the possible savings from adding them to a rooftop solar installation are quite limited, particularly as a fraction of the typical electricity bill. When you add up the costs and benefits, it is quite clear that they are a waste of money.” Read full paper ☼
Relying on renewables alone significantly inflates the cost of overhauling energy
by James Temple
Evidence points to the need for a broader range of clean power beyond just wind and solar.
by James Temple, MIT Technology Review
It increasingly appears that insisting on 100 percent renewable sources—and disdaining others that don’t produce greenhouse gases, such as nuclear power and fossil-fuel plants with carbon-capture technology—is wastefully expensive and needlessly difficult.
In the latest piece of evidence, a study published in Energy & Environmental Science determined that solar and wind energy alone could reliably meet about 80 percent of recent US annual electricity demand, but massive investments in energy storage and transmission would be needed to avoid major blackouts.
Relying on these intermittent sources alone would requiring building many more solar and wind farms to produce excess energy during particularly sunny and windy periods, plus huge storage systems that can bank hours’ or even weeks’ worth of power.
Just getting to 80 percent of demand reliably with only wind and solar would require either a US-wide, high-speed transmission system or 12 hours of electricity storage. A storage system of that size across the US would cost more than $2.5 trillion for a battery system. Read more ☼
Back in 2014, Anthony Watts pointed out an upcoming project called “Solar Roadways”. This was a project to put solar panels on roads. Hey, what’s not to like? Plenty of roadway space, put it to double use, we get free energy from the sun, right? So far, the $4.5 million project has generated just $36.86 worth of electricity. Read more ☼
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
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
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
People for the West – Tucson, Inc. is an Arizona tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation. Newsletter subscriptions are free.
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