Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #232

The Week That Was: July16, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

The Frederick Seitz Memorial Award: At the 34th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP), SEPP Chairman Fred Singer presented the annual Frederick Seitz Memorial Award to John Christy for his outstanding contributions to empirical science. No stranger to the readers of TWTW, Dr. Christy is the Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, part of the National Space Science & Technology Center, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the State Climatologist for Alabama. The National Space Science & Technology Center is funded by both NASA and the National Weather Service (NOAA).

In 1989, Christy and Roy Spencer (then a NASA/Marshall scientist) co-developed the method of measuring global atmospheric temperatures from satellite data. The data goes back to December 1978. Their landmark paper, “Precise Monitoring of Global Temperature Trends from Satellites,” was published by Science in March 1990. The abstract read, in part:

“Passive microwave radiometry from satellites provides more precise atmospheric temperature information than that obtained from the relatively sparse distribution of thermometers over the earth’s surface. Accurate global atmospheric temperature estimates are needed for detection of possible greenhouse warming, evaluation of computer models of climate change, and for understanding important factors in the climate system.”

For their achievement, the Spencer-Christy team was awarded NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1991 and a Special Award by the American Meteorological Society in 1996 “for developing a global, precise record of earth’s temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate.” In January 2002 Christy was inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

The data is published monthly, available for all to review. The satellite measurements have been a lightning rod for those who advocate that human emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), are causing significant global warming. There have been three relatively minor errors in the calculations that, when determined, were promptly corrected. Which is how science should work. The corrections involved orbital decay, orbital drift, and the cooling of the stratosphere. The measurement of temperatures, from the surface to roughly 50,000 feet (15 km) altitude, includes the layer for the “Hot Spot” and avoids the cooling stratosphere.

Calculations are now made by three separate groups, UAH, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and a group with the University of Washington. In addition, Christy uses four separate sets of radiosonde data from weather balloons to verify his work. The correspondence among these datasets is very close.

Also, Christy served as a contributor or lead author (2001) to the first four reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As state climatologist, Christy stated that, according to global climate models, the Paris Agreement to cut CO2 emissions will have an impact on temperatures so small that it cannot be measured. Further, he stated that based on research, if surface temperatures are used to estimate the greenhouse effect, daytime highs better serve the purpose than nighttime temperatures or averages. Daytimes highs are less influenced by changes in land use such as urbanization.

His experience as a missionary in Kenya taught Christy the importance of electricity to the poor in Africa, which is needed to prevent diseases occurring from use of traditional fuels, such as twigs, dung, and dead vegetation.

In 2014, his wife of 38 years died of cancer. Recently, he married Sherry Upshaw and will donate the prize money associated with the Award to her favorite charity.

John Christy exemplifies the perseverance, dedication to empirical science, and humanity befitting the Frederick Seitz Memorial Award.

See: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/247/4950/1558


Quote of the Week: “The future well-being of humanity will inevitably be closely linked to the advance of both science and science-based technology. We have gone too far in depending upon these twins born out of the Renaissance culture to turn back.” – Frederick Seitz, The Science Matrix, (1992)


Number of the Week: 34.6%


John Christy’s Recent Work: On February 2, 2016, Christy submitted written testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology that calls into question the educated guesses (assumptions) that form the basis of the fear of carbon dioxide caused global warming, now called climate change. We know that climate has been changing for hundreds of millions of years; the Greenhouse Effect takes place in the atmosphere; and CO2 is a greenhouse gas; but water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas.

Other things being equal, increasing CO2 will cause warming, not cooling. The question is what influence does an increase in CO2 have on the world’s temperatures? Other issues such as unusual weather, unusual sea level rise, etc. may follow from increased temperatures.

Tasked by the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, Jule Charney of MIT headed a committee to assess the impact of doubling of CO2. The committee gave an educated guess based on little global evidence. There were no realistic global temperatures. Land surface data were very sparse. Mostly, weather stations were in the economically advanced nations in the temperate regions – Europe and the US. At that time, there were, and are, few measuring stations in South America, Africa, or Asia. Except for Western Europe and Alaska, there are few measuring stations north of 40 degrees North and except for Australia, few in Southern Hemisphere.

At the time of the Charney report, global climate modelers guessed the influence of doubling CO2 would result in an increase in temperatures by about 3ºC ± 1.5 ºC. Further, the modelers assumed that any surface warming (from greenhouse gases – CO2) will be amplified in the atmosphere above the tropics centered at about 10 kilometers (33,000 feet) –the so-called hot spot.

The IPCC guessed that surface temperatures will approximate the atmospheric greenhouse effect and built its organization on that guess. Further, the IPCC and its followers guessed that global climate models will approximate future climate changes.

Thanks to work of Spencer and Christy, we now have global atmosphere temperature data to check these guesses (assumptions).

The atmosphere is not warming at a rate even near what the Charney report guessed. It is time to significantly lower the earlier guess.

The disparity between reported surface temperatures and atmospheric temperatures is growing. The surface data is unsuitable as a measure of the greenhouse effect.

The global climate models greatly overestimate actual temperatures and the disparity is growing enormously. The models cannot estimate future climate. Further, the hot spot, another guess, is missing in the atmospheric data.

In addition, the 1998 spike in temperatures and the 2015 rise, and 2016 drop in atmospheric temperatures is showing that both surface and atmospheric temperatures are affected by natural variations, such as El Niños and La Niñas. These natural phenomena contradict the IPCC’s assumption that the human influence on climate can be modeled without knowing the natural influences. As the Apollo and Space Shuttle veterans of the Right Climate Stuff Team reported, we cannot successfully model the human influences without successfully modeling the natural influences on climate. Another long recognized but largely ignored natural feature is clouds, which will become a topic under measurement issues.

It is time for the Climate Establishment to bring its assumptions in line with comprehensive atmospheric temperature data. See Challenging the Orthodoxy and http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/


DDP Climate Presentations: The meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP) had presentations on medical issues such as radiation protection standards, emerging diseases, emergency medical preparedness as well as presentations on other topics such as climate.

SEPP Chairman Fred Singer presented evidence that the reported late 20th century warming may be more an artifact of surface measurement than a genuine warming. It does not show up strongly in the atmospheric data. Further, as shown in the NIPCC publication, Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate (2008), there was a remarkable drop in the number of reporting surface weather stations, coupled by a strong shift, in the US at least, in percentages of weather stations located at airports. With abundant pavement, airports are subject to the urban heat island effect that may raise both daytime and nighttime temperatures. A shift in percentage of airport stations from say, 20% to 40%, may give a significant warming in measurements, where there was actually no such warming globally. Compounding this, is that the areas surrounding many airports have undergone strong economic development, increasing an urban heat island effect.

Ken Haapala gave a brief presentation on the problems of unreliable wind and solar power replacing electricity generation from fossil fuels. He emphasized the recent report by the Congressional Research Service showing that the enormous growth in oil and natural gas production in the US is occurring on private and state-owned lands, not on federal government controlled areas.

Tony Heller (Steve Goddard of Real Science) produced graphs showing how NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (NASA-GISS) and NOAA have used graphs with earlier temperatures lowered to give the impression of surface warming trend where there has been none.

Patrick Frank of the Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at Stanford demonstrated how the modelling techniques used in IPCC models compound measurement errors and give a false sense of accuracy.

Howard Hayden showed that past temperature changes were not correlated with CO2, giving rise to questioning many studies that focus on particular times in geological history as an example of current climate change.

Joseph Bast of The Heartland Institute gave a comprehensive review of NIPCC’s latest publication, Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming.

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC and the July 2 TWTW


Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico: BP announced that its 2010 Deepwater Horizon blow-out in Gulf of Mexico has cost the company almost $62 Billion. Eleven lives were lost. This staggering number reflects the incompetence of both the company and of Washington in addressing the problem. Compounding this incompetence were inflamed reports of major losses to wildlife and that the massive amount of oil will persist for years. As reported in the April 23, 2011 TWTW, over the year following the spill the US Fish and Wildlife service collected 2303 birds; 18 sea turtles, 10 mammals; and 0 other reptiles classified as dead with visible oil. This does not mean the oil killed them. Further, within about six weeks of capping the well, the oil slick disappeared. Apparently eaten by microbes common to the Gulf.

An upcoming TWTW will discuss current drilling in the Gulf. See links under Oil Spills, Gas Leaks & Consequences and the April 23, 2011 TWTW.


Senate Teach-In: On July 11, nineteen senators led by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took the Senate floor to attack fossil fuel companies and specific non-profits for their “web of denial” about climate change. Senators were assigned specific organizations to berate. Like many such “teach-ins”, this was a show of political propaganda rather than meaningful Senate business. This is another example of politicians and climate alarmists using highly exaggerated claims of the influence of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide, on temperatures. Then, they accuse others of downplaying the exaggerated influence.

In an op-ed in the Columbia Review of Journalism, Mr Whitehouse justifies his actions and states that some academics are to examine a network of front groups propagating “climate denial.” The named academics include Naomi Oreskes and Michael Mann, giving an idea of the quality of the research. See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt and Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt – Push-Back.


Lowering Standards: In its flagship publication, Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has long censored papers that produce evidence that the influence of CO2 on the earth’s temperatures is less than assumed (guessed at) in 1979. For example, some years ago both John Christy and Roy Spencer said they no longer submit to the magazine.

Now, AAAS is leading a group of 31 science societies in writing to Congress claiming:

“There is strong evidence that ongoing climate change is having broad negative impacts on society, including the global economy, natural resources, and human health.”


“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced. In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

It appears that the officers of the 31 science societies more desire to be fashionable than to examine physical evidence. The science society for which Ken Haapala was twice elected president is not part of this group; therefore, unfashionable. See links under Lowering Standards.


Dreaming Batteries. The magazine Scientific American reports that the utility serving west Los Angeles plans to shut down a gas-fired power plant used for “peak shaving” and replace it with a 100 MW battery consisting of more than 18,000 lithium ion battery modules. This will be a first.

The idea is that at night when wind power is high and electricity consumption is low, the battery will charge and be ready for the morning when wind and sun power is low and consumption is high. Then midday, when sun power is high and consumption low, the battery will recharge to be ready for the evening with low wind and solar power and high consumption. The article was a “puff-piece” with few details such as cost, etc.

This is the same state that is closing a fully functioning reliable, nuclear power plant in Diablo Canyon with two units of about 1100 MW each, operating at over 90% capacity. See links under California Dreaming, the June 25 TWTW, and, for a bit of humor, http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/new-mercedes/3021121


Aprils Fools Award: SEPP’s annual April Fools Award was announced on July 9 at the DDP meeting. The top vote-getting nominees were:

Bill Nye “The Non-Science Guy”

Angela “Brown-Coal” Merkel

Sheldon “RICO Them” Whitehouse

Ban “Mother Earth Day” Ki -Moon (Secretary General of the UN), and

Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann

The Winner Is — Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann who says you can watch climate change on TV and now is a go-to guy on integrity in science for Senator Whitehouse. See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt and Oh Mann!


Number of the Week: 34.6% The first year of the grand experiment to run El Hierro Island in the Canary Islands on 100% wind power and pumped storage is over. For the year, the total electricity produced by wind and pumped hydro was 34.6% of the electricity consumed. Diesel generators provided the remaining 65.4%. The daily, hourly, and 10-minute graphs are interesting – keep the lights flickering!

According to Roger Andrews, who made the calculations, the cost of the renewable electricity probably exceeded “€1.00/kWh and lowered the island’s CO2 emissions by approximately 12,000 tons at a cost of around €1,000/ton.” The major problem appears to be that the amount of water needed for pumped storage was greatly underestimated and the reservoirs greatly undersized. Wind fails far more frequently than planned. Something the battery planners in California should consider. See link under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind



1. Shale Drillers Adapting to Low Oil Prices, Report Finds

Production costs fell by as much as 40% in past two years, Wood Mackenzie report says

By Selina Williams, WSJ, July 13, 2016


Unable to link to study.

SUMMARY: The author states that according to report by the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, American shale now makes up the bulk of about nine million barrels a day of new oil commercially viable at long-term Brent oil prices averaging about $60 a barrel.

“Shale drillers have cut the costs of producing new supplies of oil by as much as 40% in the past two years by pushing for lower rates from the firms that provide equipment such as rigs, pipes and other services. The companies have also improved productivity at the wells themselves by better locating drilling sites to make the most of “sweet spots” in the reservoirs and other initiatives.

“The big winners here will be incumbent operators in the key shale oil patches in the lower 48 U.S. states, such as in the midcontinent and Permian Basin, including U.S. independents such as EOG Resources Inc., Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Continental Resources Inc. and Apache Corp. as well as oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the report said.

“However, companies looking to develop big new oil projects outside of U.S. shale fields haven’t been as successful, reducing costs by only 10% to 12%. This means that about four million barrels a day of conventional oil production coming from big new projects, including some ultra-deepwater developments in Angola and Nigeria, aren’t commercially viable at $60 a barrel, the Wood Mackenzie report said.”

According to the head of energy at Wood Mackenzie, U.S. shale oil will be the bulk of what is likely to be developed in the next few years.


2. Oklahoma Quakes Decline Amid Curbs on Energy Industry’s Disposal Wells

Drop attributed to restrictions on oil and gas companies’ pumping of wastewater from underground operations

By Erin Ailworth, WSJ, June 30, 2016


SUMMARY: The reporter writes: “The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has fallen 25% in 2016 compared with a year earlier, a decline attributed in part to actions by state regulators to police the oil and gas industry’s practice of pumping wastewater from its operations deep underground.

“The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry, earlier this year stepped up efforts to get companies to reduce the amount of wastewater they inject into hundreds of disposal wells, which have been blamed for a surge in earthquake activity in the state over the past decade.”

“While the results represent only a few months of activity, Oklahoma officials and geologists say the state’s efforts appear to be working, and may be starting to reverse the earthquake trend—a development likely to be welcomed by citizens in drilling areas.”

It may take some time before the current decline in earthquakes is fully realized.


3. Mission Accomplished for Climate Activists

Climate activists long for a carbon-reduction policy with teeth, so having Exxon step in as the first major U.S. oil company to join European energy companies in embracing a carbon tax was far better than pursuing a long-shot charge of climate-research deception.

Letter by Rob Shipley, WSJ, July 12, 2016 [H/t William Readdy]


SUMMARY: Citing an article on Exxon lobbying other energy companies to support a tax on carbon emissions, the author states:

“If the true goal of the state attorneys general and climate activists who were harassing Exxon (along with other groups producing research challenging the left’s climate consensus) was to get past research and into action, mission accomplished at Exxon without risk of an embarrassing loss in court.

“Climate activists long for a carbon-reduction policy with teeth, so having Exxon step in as the first major U.S. oil company to join European energy companies in embracing a carbon tax was far better than pursuing a long-shot charge of climate-research deception.

The IRS did not have to prove tax-law abuse by conservative groups in 2012 in order to shut them up during President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election—-prolonged audits did the trick. Banks that have spent billions of dollars in order to comply with onerous Dodd-Frank regulations may now prefer to stick with the regulatory regime they know rather than speak out against it (and anger Democrats).

“Harassment of corporate executives and boycotts of their businesses can stop corporate donations to conservative political causes, if other regulatory efforts to stifle free speech come up short.

“The state attorneys general claimed that Exxon and climate researchers deliberately understated the likelihood and dire consequences of dramatic climate change. Exxon is advocating a new carbon tax to mitigate the consequences of climate change. Speaking out in favor of a carbon tax covers a multitude of climate sins. It was time to take some of the heat off of Exxon.”


4. Old MacDonald Had a . . . Climate Offender

Worried about carbon from crops, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate America’s farms

By Bruce Dale, WSJ, July 10, 2016


The author is a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University, is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. Mr. Dale writes:

“A basic fact about agricultural products such as grains and oilseeds is that the carbon in them, called biogenic carbon, came from the atmosphere. Biogenic carbon will return to the atmosphere when these products are consumed, such as when human beings eat bread and then breathe out the carbon dioxide resulting from the breakdown of bread in the body. Biogenic carbon therefore cannot contribute to climate change.

“Why is the Environmental Protection Agency denying this basic fact of climate science? The EPA is counting biogenic-carbon emissions as if they were the same as fossil-carbon emissions. They are not the same. Carbon atoms emitted by burning fossil fuels are, in effect, on a one-way trip from the ground to the atmosphere, where they will stay for hundreds of millions of years. In contrast, carbon atoms taken from the atmosphere to make agricultural products are on a round trip from the atmosphere to farms then back to the atmosphere.

“The EPA intends to penalize American farmers and those who make modern energy and bioproducts such as plastics from agricultural feedstocks by treating biogenic carbon like fossil carbon. As part of its approach, the EPA is now attempting to regulate ‘sustainability’ in the farm field. “

According to Mr. Dale, these regulations are part of EPA’s new Clean Power Plan.

“The EPA is trying to put itself in charge of regulating farms—an outstanding example of ‘mission creep’ and bureaucratic overreach. Regulating agriculture is not the EPA’s job—we already have an Agriculture Department. The EPA’s approach would demand proof of exactly which farm produced every pound of corn, wheat, soy or cottonseed used by customers of those farms—a practical impossibility in the U.S. agricultural system.”



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