Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #279

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Data Quality – Surface Temperatures: Writing in Energy Matters, Roger Andrews has begun an examination of efforts to adjust measurements to a preconceived idea. His first part deals with land-based, surface-air temperatures (SAT). Ideally, these are taken roughly at 5 feet +/- one foot (1.5 to 2 meters) above the ground, in the shade, over a grassy or dirt field, 100 feet from pavement, buildings, trees, etc. A Stevenson screen is the standard to provide shade and protection from precipitation. As research by Anthony Watts has shown, relatively few official measuring devises in the US meet these criteria, which have not been moved.

Adding to the difficulty of maintaining a database of proper measurements, NOAA (National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Ashville, NC, (formerly the National Climatic Data Center), which is entrusted to keep records, has frequently changed them. Thus, their database and the databases of other entities using them, such as NASA-GISS and Climatic Research Unit (CRU), are questionable.

Andrews explains that he has spent about 20 years reconstructing and analyzing data the SAT data, He has addressed a number of individual examples where it appears that data were adjusted to match theory. In this systematic effort, he focuses on the SAT from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA-GISS, on Broadway). He compares the old GISS with the new GISS temperatures globally, and by northern and southern hemisphere. Subtracting the old from the new produces a warming trend – indicating a bias. He found that a large part of this trend came from elaborate procedures under the guise of homogeneity adjustments. Even the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) dataset was infected, as Andrews shows for South America where cooling areas became warming areas.

The conclusions by Andrews give pause for any value of the use of the NOAA, NASA, CRU datasets in establishing climate models for predictions / forecasts. Andrews writes:

“The conclusions? In previous posts and comments I had said that adjustments had added only about 0.2°C of spurious warming to the global SAT record over the last 100 years or so – not enough to make much difference. But after further review it now appears that they may have added as much as 0.4°C.”

 

“…and that global surface air temperatures have increased by only about 0.7°C over this period, not by the ~1.1°C shown by the published SAT series.”

None of this is new. Joe D’Aleo has been sounding the alarm for years, alienating collogues at the American Meteorological Society, where he is a fellow. However, it is important to have different people familiar with high standards of data quality to review the work of others. No doubt some will challenge this analysis stating that Andrews is not a climate scientist. That approach is used against Steve McIntyre who is a consultant for mining companies. McIntyre along with Ross McKitrick exposed Mr. Mann’s faulty “hockey-stick.”

Andrews has a response to such criticisms.

“In my previous incarnation as a consultant in the mining industry I spent a lot of time verifying assay data bases (copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc etc.), and in doing so I learned all about the sanctity of raw data. You don’t adjust your raw data unless you have ironclad reasons for doing so. You either verify them or throw them out. Too many widows and orphans have been ruined by unscrupulous miners peddling bogus assays to do it any other way. The stock exchange regulators who ride herd on the public announcements of mining companies are very insistent about this, and woe betide anyone who tries to put one across on them and gets caught doing it.” [Boldface added.]

There are no penalties for manipulating climate data; perhaps there should be. From the attitudes expressed by Andrews and McIntyre, mining consultants are very scrupulous about details – data. Since many are concerned about climate change, it should be so for all climate scientists. If those who build mathematical models describing climate use poor data, then the models will describe the climate poorly.

That said, Andrews tests whether the warming trend is result of the urban heat island effect (UHI). He concludes it is not. Though, in part it may be due to a shift in location of instruments to airports, as Fred Singer has suggested. Andrews writes further:

“There is no grand conspiracy to foist non-existent global warming onto a gullible public. The reason some think there is one is that the data adjusters are under intense pressure to come up with the “right” results, which inevitably makes their findings somewhat less than objective. Global warming, AKA climate change, is a major growth industry that already gives employment to hundreds of thousands of people, including some very influential ones, and the bandwagon has to be kept rolling.”

No doubt, the bandwagon effect is highly influential among national scientific organizations. But, if carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming / climate change, we need credible data. It appears that by their data manipulations, NOAA and NASA-GISS are undermining their own credibility.

The difference of 0.4°C between the old and new data that Andrews calculates is significant when one considers that NOAA, NASA, etc. recently proclaimed that 2016 was the hottest year ever – by 0.04°C.

Amazingly, in addition to its National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA has “National Centers for Environmental Prediction” which proclaims its core values are Personal Accountability, Scientific Integrity, Honesty, and Trust. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and http://www.ncep.noaa.gov/director/strategic_plan/strategic_plan.pdf


Quote of the Week. “In my view, there is only one hope for humankind to emerge from what Carl Sagan called ‘the demon-haunted world’ of our past. That hope is science.

“But as Alston Chase put it, ‘when the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.’” – Michael Crichton

Number of the Week: 89–535 trillion USD this century.


EPA Endangerment Finding: The group known as Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council has submitted a second supplement to its petition to the EPA to reconsider its 2009 finding that greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, endanger human health and welfare. The supplement is based on a June paper by Wallace, D’Aleo, and Idso, questioning the SAT, dataset issued by NASA and NOAA. The work was reported in the July 8 TWTW. Although the work of Wallace, et al. is not linked to the work of Andrews discussed above, the work of Andrews supports the findings Wallace, et al. The new supplement uses the term Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) rather than Surface-Air Temperatures (SAT) used by Andrews. The questioned datasets are the same.

The datasets and the models relied upon by the EPA in its finding are faulty. Thus, the finding is based faulty logic, and should be reviewed. It appears that the administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is leaning towards a Red Team / Blue Team review of the issue. There are many differing views of such a review, with the climate establishment declaring it is not needed.

However, increasingly, papers and reports such as the one by Andrews are illustrating severe questions about the rigor of the work supporting EPA’s finding, and findings by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its follower, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). It will be interesting to see which national scientific organizations will continue to ignore objections to work of the IPCC and USGCRP.

SEPP filed a similar petition to the EPA with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), citing different rational. Objections to the petitions will be discussed in an upcoming TWTW. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Prevailing Myths of Wind: Writing in Energy Collective, with a link to informative slides, Gail Tyerberg addresses some of the myths concerning wind and solar power. One of the most prevalent myths is low cost. Even at low levels of penetration (low capacity), wind and solar are parasitic, they sap resources from reliable providers of electricity in the form of hidden subsidies that grid operators, utilities, and backup electricity generators must provide.

The grid is an energized system, maintained by grid operators who control the supply of electricity to meet demand. Even hydro power, which is now called an alternative source, is controlled. But, the grid operators and electricity producers cannot control solar and wind, particularly wind, which can be too much or too little with little notice. Tyerberg gives an overview of the problems erratic producers cause. See links under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind

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Political Games – Where’s the Quid? When former Virginia governor Bob McDonald was indicted with federal corruption charges almost immediately after his term in office, some observes asked where’s the crime? Where is the evidence a crime was committed? What McDonald appeared to do is similar to actions by past Virginia governors of both parties. In 2016, in a severe rebuke, the Supreme Court voted 8 to 0 to vacate McDonald’s conviction and in September the Justice Department dismissed the charges. The Court found that McDonald’s actions may have been distasteful, there was no “quid pro quo”, no this for that; therefore, no evidence of a crime.

The popular press is focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian President Putin. But, the press fails to ask where’s the quid pro quo?

According to the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, in 2016, over 35% of the government’s budget came from oil and gas. This is down from over 50% in 2014. The fall in oil prices and sale of assets have hurt the Russian government. Still, Europe remains that largest consumer of imported Russian natural gas and is a vital source of hard currency.

What has Mr. Trump done to help the Russian government? He pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, which would prevent developing countries from exploiting their enormous resources in coal to create much needed electricity. The agreement would have enhanced the value of Russian oil and gas exports.

In Poland, Trump announced that the US will become a powerhouse in oil and gas, exporting to markets needing these fuels. The threat of American exports of gas to Europe would place a ceiling on the value of Russian exports to Europe. If there was “a deal” with the Russia, Putin came up short. See links under Change in US Administrations and http://old.minfin.ru/en/statistics/fedbud/?id_38=25610.

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Changing Sea Levels: Measured sea levels vary according to prevailing winds and other weather conditions such as an El Niño. According to the latest NASA measurements, the acceleration in sea level rise has stopped and levels appear to be falling. Another illustration of the folly of using short-term measurements to project long-term trends. See links under Changing Seas

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EPA Listening Tour: The EPA is holding hearings on its proposed volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard. It is accepting written statements as well. The contact is macallister.julia@epa.gov.

The entire program is a folly created at a time when Washington became convinced that the nation would run out of oil. Such a folly should be repealed just like the “Power Plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978” about 30 years before. The act mandated “that no new baseload electric powerplant may be constructed or operated without the capability to use coal or another alternate fuel as a primary energy source.” See link under The Political Games Continue and Subsidies and Mandates Forever.

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Latest Fad: The UK has followed France in banning the sale of automobiles powered by fossil fuels (petroleum and diesel) by 2040. It will be interesting to see how this one works out. The fad of promoting autos powered by diesel turned ugly. The devises measuring nitrous oxides could be defeated or overridden, resulting acidic emissions. The major European manufacturers are admitting fault. Reader Malcolm Ross suggests that the well-known suppler of components, Bosch, is probably involved as well.

Several years ago, executives of US oil and automobile companies met to work out a solution to provide high-mileage diesels the public. However, no fuel solution could be designed to meet the EPA standards on nitrous oxides, without the addition of urea. Apparently, this solution was unacceptable due to a marketing image. Unfortunately, TWTW has been unable to locate any reports confirming these meetings and the results. One can speculate that, perhaps, there were no records kept in fear of someone in Washington proclaiming a collusion to prevent urea in fuels. See links under Questioning European Green and Energy Issues – Non-US

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Additions and Corrections: Several readers have written that they prefer the term “ocean carbonization” to “ocean acidification” because it more accurately reflects what may happen with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. TWTW will endeavor to use that term.

Reader Dick Hoese commented that the accepted range of the “Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is the Atlantic Ocean and it does not include the Pacific. He is correct, but personal observation and reports by others demonstrate that Blue Crabs are caught in the Sea of Cortez between Baha and mainland Mexico.

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Number of the Week: 89–535 trillion USD this century. A group headed by James Hansen, recently head of NASA-GISS and now of Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Columbia University Earth Institute wrote that: “Proposed methods of extraction such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or air capture of CO2 have minimal estimated costs of USD 89–535 trillion this century.” It is less costly to limit the use of fossil fuels to keep the global temperature from exceeding the 1880-1920 mean.

The abstract also states: “We show that global temperature has risen well out of the Holocene range and Earth is now as warm as it was during the prior (Eemian) interglacial period, when sea level reached 6–9 m higher than today.”

As stated in the June 17 TWTW, Euan Mearns calculated that the period between the beginning of the fall of temperatures at the end of the Eemian interglacial to any appreciable change in CO2 is over 14,000 years. Hansen, et al. make no mention of this in the Vostok ice cores. The disparity indicates that CO2 does not control the earth’s temperatures as Hansen and his groups have advocated. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.

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ARTICLES:

1. Al Gore’s Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts

Eleven years after his first climate-change film, he’s still trying to scare you into saving the world.

By Bjorn Lomborg, WSJ, July 27, 2017

https://www.wsj.com/articles/al-gores-climate-sequel-misses-a-few-inconvenient-facts-1501193349

SUMMARY: Lomborg believes CO2 is a major cause of global warming / climate change. He writes:

“The former vice president has a poor record. Over the past 11 years Mr. Gore has suggested that global warming had caused an increase in tornadoes, that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and that the Arctic summers could be ice-free as soon as 2014. These predictions and claims all proved wrong.

“’An Inconvenient Truth’ promoted the frightening narrative that higher temperatures mean more extreme weather, especially hurricanes. The movie poster showed a hurricane emerging from a smokestack. Mr. Gore appears to double down on this by declaring in the new film’s trailer: “Storms get stronger and more destructive. Watch the water splash off the city. This is global warming.”

“This is misleading. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—in its Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2013—found “low confidence” of increased hurricane activity to date because of global warming. Storms are causing more damage, but primarily because more wealthy people choose to live on the coast, not because of rising temperatures.

“Even if tropical storms strengthen by 2100, their relative cost likely will decrease. In a 2012 article for the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers showed that hurricane damage now costs 0.04% of global gross domestic product. If climate change makes hurricanes stronger, absolute costs will double by 2100. But the world will also be much wealthier and less vulnerable, so the total damage is estimated at only 0.02% of global GDP.

“In the trailer, Mr. Gore addresses ‘the most criticized scene’ of his previous documentary, which suggested that “the combination of sea-level rise and storm surge would flood the 9/11 Memorial site.” Then viewers are shown footage of Manhattan taking on water in 2012 after superstorm Sandy, apparently vindicating Mr. Gore’s claims. Never mind that what he actually predicted was flooding caused by melting ice in Greenland.

“More important is that Mr. Gore’s prescriptions—for New York and the globe—won’t work. He claims the answer to warming lies in agreements to cut carbon that would cost trillions of dollars. That would not have stopped Sandy. What New York really needs is better infrastructure: sea walls, storm doors for the subway, porous pavement. These fixes could cost around $100 million a year, a bargain compared with the price of international climate treaties.”

After describing the Kyoto Protocol, Lomborg writers:

“By 2030 the Paris climate accord will cost the world up to $2 trillion a year, mostly in lost economic growth, according to the best peer-reviewed energy-economic models. It will remain that expensive for the rest of the century. This would make it the most expensive treaty in history.

“And for what? Just ahead of the Paris conference, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change estimated that if every country fulfills every promised Paris carbon cut between 2016 and 2030, carbon dioxide emissions will drop by only 60 gigatons over that time frame. To keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, the world must reduce such emissions nearly 6,000 gigatons over this century, according to the IPCC. A “successful” Paris agreement wouldn’t even come close to solving the problem.

“Mr. Gore argues that the Paris approach pushes nations and businesses toward green energy. Perhaps, but the global economy is far from ready to replace fossil fuels with solar and wind. The International Energy Agency, in its 2016 World Energy Outlook, found that 0.6% of the world’s energy is supplied by solar and wind. Even with the Paris accord fully implemented, that number would rise only to 3% in a quarter-century.

“In part because of activists like Mr. Gore, the world remains focused on subsidizing inefficient, unreliable technology, rather than investing in research to push down the price of green energy. Real progress in Paris could be found on the sidelines, where philanthropist Bill Gates and others, including political leaders, agreed to increase spending on research and development. This is an important start, but much more funding is needed.

“Mr. Gore declares in his new film that ‘it is right to save humanity.’ No argument here. But is using scare tactics really the best way to go about it?”

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2. Shell Prepares for ‘Lower Forever’ Oil Prices

CEO touts cost-cutting, strategy shift for $1.9 billion profit

By Sarah Kent, WSJ, July 27, 2017

https://www.wsj.com/articles/royal-dutch-shells-second-quarter-earnings-rise-sharply-1501137915

“We are getting fit for the 40s,” Mr. van Beurden said, referring to a world in which oil prices are below $50 a barrel.

The reporter discusses the realization by Shell that high oil prices are not returning soon, baring a war. She writers:

“Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said the company has a mind-set that oil prices would remain ‘lower forever ‘—a riff on the ‘lower for longer ‘ mantra the industry adopted for a price slump that has proved unexpectedly lasting.

“‘We have to have projects that are resilient in a world where oil has peaked, ‘ Mr. van Beurden told reporters on a conference call discussing the company’s second-quarter financial results. ‘When it will happen we don’t know, but that it will happen we are certain. ‘

“The views of the British-Dutch oil company reflect the transition under way in a global energy industry grappling with the twin forces of an oil-supply glut and a looming consumer shift away from petroleum. These trends are even more pronounced for oil companies in Europe, where local and national governments are trying to phase out vehicles with internal-combustion engines, encourage electric automobiles and reduce overall carbon emissions.

“Experts differ on the timing of peak oil demand. In its most-guarded scenario, Shell sees oil peaking within the coming decade. The International Energy Agency says the timing will be more like 2040. The advent of declining demand—after decades of unrelenting growth—would likely erode the value of oil and the companies that produce it.

“On the other hand, U.S. energy giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. have said peak oil demand is still far off. And even when oil consumption eventually stops growing, Shell isn’t expecting it to drop off a cliff.

“ ‘It doesn’t mean it’s game over straight away, ‘ Mr. van Beurden said. ‘There will be a continued need for investment in oil projects. ‘

“Mr. van Beurden’s comments are broadly in line with Shell’s overall strategy of moving toward producing fuel for electricity, such as natural gas and even renewables, and focusing on keeping costs low. The company now produces more gas than oil. It is also building a massive wind farm off the Dutch coast and envisions spending as much as $1 billion a year on developing new energy sources such as renewables by the end of the decade.”

The article continues along these lines.

CONTINUE READING –>

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