Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #252

The Week That Was – Dec 16, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President Science and Environmental Policy Project

Data Manipulation: As twice-elected president of a science society formed in 1871, with early members important to the beginning of climate measurements covering the US, this author has been very concerned with the manipulation of historic data that seems to have taken place over the past few decades. In effect, a warming trend seems to have been established in the data where one did not exist before. As we saw during Climategate, the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia “lost” historic data when data was mathematically adjusted.

Similarly, as researchers Joe D’Aleo and Tony Heller have demonstrated, the data entrusted to NOAA; and its subordinate organizations the US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC); seem to have been manipulated to give the illusion of a warming trend by lowering the earlier data. Now, Paul Homewood, of the UK, points out that NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (NASA-GISS) has changed its own data since 2011 without notification as to why. The adjustments to its December 2016 version give the illusion of a stronger warming trend than existed in their 2011 data.

Each of these changes can be small, but the cumulative effect of persistent changes can be significant. Sometimes revisions are necessary, but they should be publicly announced. These exercises, without full public disclosure, undermine the credibility of the agencies involved. Further, it is not clear if the historic data, prior to quiet revisions, continue to exist. Until these have been independently examined, any studies based on these surface temperatures are questionable.

Since the general Climate Establishment has not expressed alarm over these small, but persistent, adjustments, it is ironical that many in the Climate Establishment are expressing alarm over the preservation of existing climate data. Apparently, they fear that the Trump administration may secretly manipulate the manipulated. Any changes to the data should be made with full public disclosure, to include the effects of the changes on historic trends, with the historic data preserved.

As a side note: the historic data for states indicates that the 1930s was the hottest decade in the US. However, carbon dioxide (CO2) warming, as well as other greenhouse gas warming, should occur at night, with a lessening of energy flow from the earth to space. Thus, the lack of a warming trend in daytime highs does not mean there is no effect from CO2.

Given its address, perhaps NASA-GISS should be called NASA-Broadway to avoid assuming it is engaged in the same science that placed man on the moon. See links under Lowering Standards and last week’s TWTW on NASA-GISS.


Quote of the Week. “The data are reality. The model is fantasy. Why substitute fantasy for reality?” Statistician William Briggs


Number of the Week: 666


AGU Mysteries – Solar: Even though the 2016 meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco featured anti-Trump protests, it produced some interesting findings. In one presentation with press release, and paper to soon follow, solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) create shock waves that cause a warming and expansion of the upper atmosphere and trace amounts of nitric oxide, which cools it. (In the US, nitric oxide is classified as an extremely hazardous substance under the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986).

The warming and cooling of the upper atmosphere is an issue that has not been fully explained and no doubt researchers on the issue look forward to the publication of the paper.

As a side note, in his testimony of February 2, 2016, John Christy avoided the issue of uncertainty as to the warming and cooling of the upper atmosphere by limiting his comparison of the performance of global climate models against data to 50,000 feet and below. A similar limitation in altitude appears in the August 2016 paper by Wallace, Christy, and D’Aleo.

See links under Science: Is the Sun Rising?, Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?, Challenging the Orthodoxy, and After US Election – Opposed.


AGU Mysteries – Energy Flow: Willis Eschenbach and Anthony Watts had an intriguing poster at AGU. Formally displayed posters have now become commonplace at such conventions due to the lack of time and space for formal presentations. Using satellite measured water vapor data from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) for a 1°x1° gridded total precipitable water (TPW) dataset, the study estimated increase in dowelling longwave radiation from 1988 to 2015.

As expressed in TWTW for the past several weeks, the carbon dioxide warming theory expressed by the 1979 Charney report and accepted by the National Academy of Sciences has two components: a slight warming from CO2 and a more powerful warming from increased water vapor. Yet, the proposed warming of the atmosphere is not occurring after over 35 years, as shown in the work by Christy. The work by Eschenbach and Watts suggests that the expected increase in temperatures is not occurring because global climate is not nearly as sensitive to greenhouse gases as stated in the Charney report. Again, this lack of climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases brings into question EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases, especially CO2, endanger public health and welfare – the EPA’s endangerment finding.

This type of research is greatly needed. It would be desirable to see continuation of the work by Eschenbach & Watts. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy, and the past several TWTWs.


Improving the SEPP Web Site – Table of Contents: To make the web site a more effective resource, we have drafted a Table of Contents (TOC) for the 6,000 plus links we have added over the past 6 years. Scientific, energy, and policy issues are emphasized. Strictly political issues are largely ignored.

TWTW readers have requested an index for the web site, but a TOC should address their concerns. It will be easier to establish and maintain, with changes made as needed.

To make adding links into the TOC as easy as possible, we designed a program with a scheme based on alphabetical ranking followed by numerical ranking.

For example, the 4 major categories are alphabetical 1) Climate Science; 2) Energy; 3) Policy; and 4) Politics. Then, under Climate Science we have: 1.1 Acid-Alkaline Waters; 1.2 Agriculture Issues and so on. This scheme may not appear to be as logical as order of importance, but it should save considerable man-hours in classifying links as well as adding future classifications.

The proposed Table of Contents for the Web Site can be found at: http://sepp.org/display_toc.cfm. Only the proposed TOC appears, with no instructions, etc.

Comments are most welcome.


Models or Data? On his web site statistician William Briggs asks an important question: Why use models or statistics when simple data will do? This question can apply to global climate models. The models are not performing well where they should be performing the best – in the atmosphere, where greenhouse gas warming should be occurring. The impact on the surface of this warming is secondary. Further, surface data are highly influenced by other human activities, poor siting, poor coverage, and questionable maintenance.

Though not discussed, simple equations may better fit local conditions that modifying un-validated global climate models for regions. Regional data may be better for suggesting future climate change. Simultaneous equation models may be better for 30 to 50 year projections than the current climate models, which are producing highly questionable results in the near-term, not to speak of the long-term. See link under Questioning the Orthodoxy.


Political Games: President-elect Trump’s appointments continue to shake the establishment. As mentioned above, parts of the Climate Establishment, that have not been disturbed by the disappearance of historic data and questionable modifications, fear that under Trump, the data will disappear. The appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt for EPA Administrator is condemned by many, but Pruitt has adhered to the law when he has challenged EPA for overstepping its authority. Also, he has punished companies that broke the law.

Former Texas Governor Perry for head of the Department of Energy brings up other questions, such as his embrace of wind power. It is becoming increasingly evident in the UK, South Australia, and elsewhere, that the unreliability of wind brings a real hidden cost in the reliability of the energized grid, thus to consumers. As touched upon in the recent report on the South Australia blackout by the Australian Energy Market Operator, solar and wind have low inertia while heavy spinning systems such as turbines in coal-fired power plants have high inertia. The advantage with high inertia systems is that they maintain a given frequency in the grid, which is an energized system. Texas seems to have experienced problems on extremely cold nights when the wind does not blow.

The selection of Exxon President Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State brings up a host of objections, including his dealings with Russia. Also, he favored a carbon tax and questioned the work of those who questioned CO2-caused global warming. Yet, he has maintained a robust intelligence unit at Exxon gathering hard data on economic conditions and trends in countries in which Exxon does business. OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said: “He’s highly respected around the world, he’s deeply knowledgeable.” “There’s a very thin line between oil, diplomacy and geopolitics.” Also, Tillerson is respected by former Shell Oil President Hofmeister, an Exxon competitor. One should note that Exxon was not a major player in the shale revolution.

See links in three categories under After US Election, and under Energy Issues – Australia


92 Feet (28 meters) Under: As the Obama administration is preparing to depart, it seems to be venting a contempt for extraction industries. The out-going governor of North Dakota wrote about the Dakota Access pipeline:

“This particular pipe is state-of-the-art when it comes to safety. It will be buried 92 feet below the bottom of the Missouri River, it will be double the strength of pipe buried on land, and it will have sophisticated flow monitoring devices on both sides of the river with automatic shut-off valves.”

Very simply, the political appointees in the Corps of Engineers have no basis in safety concerns for cancelling permits for a pipeline, the laying of which is 99.98% complete. Developed in the 1930s, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in oil fields is a technique not generally used for other purposes until recent years with the development of mud motors, in the 70s and subsequent development of precision guidance systems (measurement while drilling (MWD)) in three-dimensional space. It is now widely used in urban areas for power, water, and sewer lines, etc.

Additionally, Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell claims the importance of science in this administration, while the Department cancelled a permitted mining operation in Minnesota, without evidence of harm, because it was in the region of (near?) a wilderness area. It is difficult to predict what other economic harm the administration will do in the next 5 weeks, whether the actions are within permitted powers or not. See links under EPA and other Regulators on the March and Energy Issues — US


No TWTW Next Week: With the Holidays, there will be no TWTW next week and there will be a brief one on the following week.


Number of the Week: 666. The new EPA report on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing to drinking water is 666 pages long, with a 50-page summary. The devil is in the details – there are none. The study presents no new data of hydraulic fracturing contaminating drinking water, beyond the issues discussed in the past. The issues are well controlled by state agencies. The report discusses “data gaps” preventing quantitative analysis. Yet, data is collected by state agencies and generally available on web sites. In the central issue of actual contamination, the report is almost as “data free” as the EPA endangerment finding.

Issues remain, such as treating and re-using fracking water with chemicals and sand, and treating and disposing of excess water, brine, from wells in certain areas such as Oklahoma. But this report is not particularly useful for these issues. See links under EPA and other Regulators on the March.


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TWTW has been accused of bias, and it is. It is more focused on what scientists can demonstrate by using evidence – hard data, and not so much on what they can think or speculate.

Thank you — whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or other holy days during this time, we wish you and your family happiness in this blessed season and a joyful new year.

Kenneth Haapala, President

Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

SEPP is a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in Virginia with the Federal Tax ID of #54-1645372.

The donated funds will be used exclusively in furtherance of SEPP’s charitable purpose and will not be used to fulfill any pledge, personal obligation, or lobbying activities. SEPP provides no direct benefit to donors as a result of their donations.



1. In Oil Face-Off, Saudis, Shale Both Claim Victory

Both sides look to take advantage of higher prices

By Benoit Faucon, Alison Sider and Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, Dec 15, 2016


[SEPP Comment: The battle was costly, but the consumer, standing on the sidelines, was the clear winner, though not recognized by the authors.]

SUMMARY: The authors write:

“A two-year battle for global oil supremacy that pit Saudi Arabia, head of the powerful oil cartel, against upstart U.S. shale producers left them both badly wounded but with each side claiming victory.

“The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries deal last month to cut oil production has sparked a powerful rally after crude prices had fallen in half over the past two years. That slide followed OPEC’s decision in late 2014 to maintain production levels, despite a global glut.

“For U.S. shale companies, it was two years of shrinking profits and mass layoffs as dozens of producers scaled back output or sought bankruptcy protection. But the survivors became much more efficient and are now eager to grab market share at their foreign competitors’ expense.

“’Definitely, the U.S. is going to win the next two years because OPEC is cutting and U.S. shale is taking off,’ said Scott Sheffield, chief executive of Pioneer Natural Resources Co., a U.S. producer that is already ramping up drilling in the Permian Basin.

“In Saudi Arabia, two years of lower oil prices have greatly slowed economic growth, widened a budget gap and led the government to slash fuel and other popular subsidies in moves that risked stirring public discontent.

“Yet the collapse in crude prices didn’t stop OPEC from gaining global market share as shale retreated. It also helped jump-start the kingdom’s plans to move away from a decades long dependency on oil. Saudi Arabia raised a record $17.5 billion with its first global bond deal in October.”

The budgetary losses for Saudi Arabia are significant – from a surplus of over 10% of GDP in 2011 to a deficit of over 10% in 2016 and an economic growth of 10% in 2011 to less than 2% in 2016 (for graphs see link under Energy Issues – Non-US).


2. Companies Should Report Possible Climate Costs, Say Global Executives

The information should routinely appear in financial statements, according to recommendations to be presented to G-20 leaders

By Jason Douglas, WSJ, Dec 14, 2016


[SEPP Comment: Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney of the Bank of England are showing their climate alarmism. Speculating on top of speculation.]

SUMMARY: The author writes:

“Companies should publish an assessment of the losses they could suffer through climate change as part of their routine financial statements, according to a panel of financial and business executives chaired by Michael Bloomberg.

“The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, headed by the former New York City Mayor, in a report Wednesday said that greenhouse gas emissions pose a serious risk to the global economy and investors need better information to assess which firms are most vulnerable to shifting weather patterns and related threats.

“’What gets measured better gets managed better,’ Mr. Bloomberg said in a letter to Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England and chairman of the Financial Stability Board, a group of global regulators, which commissioned the 73-page report.

The call for greater transparency over climate-related risks is part of a wider push to prod companies to disclose more climate-related information, a contentious effort that implies such issues are material to a company’s performance.

It also comes amid heightened uncertainty over the future of efforts to cut carbon emissions following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election in November. Mr. Trump has pledged to dismantle the Obama administration’s climate agenda and chose a global-warming skeptic to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The panel’s recommendations, which include broad suggestions applicable to all companies’ financial statements and specific proposals aimed at banks, insurers and the financial sector, will be presented to leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies in July.

Additional comment: The models cannot predict near-term climate change well. How can management assess future losses from climate change when, after 35 years of theory and billions of dollars in spending, climate scientists cannot?


3. High-Energy Rick Perry

Revive Yucca Mt.’s nuclear waste site, then close Energy down.

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 14, 2016


SUMMARY: The editorial states:

“Donald Trump is not without a sense of irony, as witness his choice of Rick Perry to run the Energy Department, which the former Texas Governor couldn’t even recall in a 2011 presidential debate and which he wanted to eliminate. Now is his chance.

“During three terms as Governor, Mr. Perry promoted the development of Texas’s vast oil and gas resources. He streamlined permitting while doling out subsidies for green energy. Under his stewardship, the state invested more than $50 million in algae, biomass, solar cells and other political indulgences.

“Jimmy Carter established DOE in 1977 to promote energy development and protect the nation’s nuclear resources. Nuclear security and modernization constitute nearly two-thirds of the department’s $30 billion budget, and most of this could be moved to the Defense Department. The remainder is primarily dedicated to scientific research and development, however broadly construed.

“The 2009 stimulus blowout gave the Obama Administration heaps of cash to throw at green companies, some of which like solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra and electric-car maker Fisker went kaput. The stimulus funding authorizations for most energy grants and loan guarantees have expired, and one of Mr. Perry’s responsibilities will be to wind down DOE’s investment portfolio.

“Another should be to shutter the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. DOE sets efficiency standards for 60 some appliances including televisions, furnaces, toilets and even showerheads. The Obama Administration cranked up the standards in part to disguise the costs of its renewable binge on consumer utility bills. DOE even attempted to ban the incandescent light bulb.

“But many high-efficiency appliances break down before their estimated lifespans, and the upfront costs often exceed long-term savings. DOE’s own data show that 64% of senior-only households and 59% of low-income consumers will spend more on a new high-efficiency dishwasher than they will recoup in energy savings. Mr. Perry may not be able to roll back rule-makings for each individual appliance, but he could impose a moratorium on new standards.

“If Mr. Perry won’t close Energy down, then he ought to work with Congress to revive the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Nevada that President Obama and Harry Reid tried to kill. DOE has paid more than $4 billion to settle lawsuits for breach-of-contract claims by nuclear power plants for not storing spent fuel. Cleaning up the waste will become even more urgent as more nuclear plants retire due to competition from natural gas.”

Additional comment: Adding to appliances breaking before calculated lifespans, homeowners are discovering other costs. For example, a high-efficiency water heater may not fit into the old space because insulation requirements made it too large. Doubtful that increased plumbing costs are included in government calculated “savings.”


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