Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #408

The Week That Was, May 2, 2020, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org,

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “In God we trust, all others bring data” – Motto of Apollo Team

Number of the Week: 1899, 2000, 1876, 1965, and 1918

Harold ‘Hal” Doiron, RIP: Apollo scientist Hal Doiron died in his sleep on the morning of April 28 from cancer. During his professional career, Doiron exhibited the best of a modern scientist – using the scientific method to create simulations of that could not be directly experienced or demonstrated by experiments. With a fresh Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, from The University of Louisiana-Lafayette, in 1963 Doiron joined the NASA team developing the Apollo Lunar lander. He helped develop the software for simulating the landing to aid in landing gear design, to avoid toppling and to absorb the energy that would occur on landing. Later, Doiron received his Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Houston.

As Doiron stated, there were no textbooks to follow, no guidelines to use, and if mistakes were made people would die. In short, they had to think outside the box, because there was no box. The leaders of that Apollo team, many from Canada, insisted on the highest level of scientific research to accomplish the goal. To properly simulate (model) what may occur, solid data, measurements, were needed. The Apollo team applied their motto: “In God we trust, all others bring data.”

After retiring from NASA, Doiron joined the Reed Tool Co., then involved with petroleum drills. Later, Doiron described the complications of designing a petroleum drill with the sensors desired as a real engineering problem. His efforts and those of others have led to petroleum drilling going from largely “roughneck” to truly high-tech. Measurement while drilling (MWD) include sensors for measuring direction (azimuth), inclination, speed (using accelerometers and magnetometers), rock formation density, porosity, and pressure, and a host of other data that are transmitted to the surface.

Later, Doiron went to McDonnell Douglas Space Systems where, among other activities, he led a team that addressed the pogo stick problem, common to many multi-stage rockets. Near the end of burn out of the first stage, a vibration would occur along the longitudinal axis, that potentially could result in significant, or dangerous, damage. Using the scientific method, the team developed a method of mitigating the pogo stick problem, in part, by establishing buffers to change the frequency of the vibration.

After he officially retired, Doiron helped establish the Right Climate Stuff Team that applied the scientific method to address the fear that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing dangerous global warming. Using surface data and the principles of conservation of energy, that team developed and validated a model showing that there was no scientific basis for that fear.

As Doiron stated in a video:

“Using the same scientific method that put the man on the moon,’ NASA scientists have concluded there is no climate ‘problem.’ Doiron noted that the slogan at NASA: was ‘In God we trust, all others bring data.’ ‘I am here to report today: Houston, we do not have a problem. It is impossible to think global warming will cause any problem especially when you look at the benefits of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. We are convinced that we don’t have a problem with fossil fuels. There is no problem.” [Boldface added]

For those who met him, and had the privilege of talking with him, Hal Doiron will long be remembered for his brilliance, his integrity – his humanity. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – Hal Doiron, RIP, and the April 8 & 15, 2017 TWTWs.


Confusing the Issues: With COVID-19 many global warming alarmists, including Al Gore, are asserting that the problems associated with COVID-19 are similar to the problems associated with dangerous CO2-caused global warming. The assertions are false. The problem associated with COVID-19 is lack of good data. As shown in last week’s Number of the Week, many countries are not collecting and reporting high quality data on infections, deaths, etc. from COVID-19. Consequently, the modelers are having difficulty establishing a realistic model of what is occurring.

With global warming, the problem is the modelers and the models they create, not the data. As discussed above, Hal Doiron knew that both high quality data and high-quality models are needed to address a complex problem. He insisted that models must be rigorously tested against physical evidence, data. The Right Climate Stuff Team did so against the best surface data available and found there is no global warming problem. TWTW prefers to use the more comprehensive and rigorous atmospheric data and finds there is no global warming problem.

Global climate models are failing because the modelers fail to rigorously test their models against the most important physical evidence. This is a failure of the modelers and the government entities who fund them. The one exception to the IPCC accepted climate  modeling failure is the Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Moscow, which shows no alarming warming.

Thus, we have an upper-bound analysis from proven modeling experts demonstrating there is no problem from greenhouse gas warming, and we have constant monitoring of the atmosphere where the greenhouse effect occurs showing there is no problem. Yet, the alarmists continue to ignore the physical evidence and claim there is a problem, based on their models untested against physical evidence. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Measurement Issues – Atmosphere, Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up., and http://www.mathnet.ru/php/organisation.phtml?option_lang=eng&orgid=1419


Dispatchable and Non-Dispatchable: The fear of carbon dioxide-caused global warming is driving many politicians to the false belief that they can control climate change that has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years by stopping carbon dioxide emissions. As usual, there are certain groups profiting from the fears and producing studies supporting the view that the world can easily convert to alternative sources of electricity such as wind and solar. One such group is the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BloombergNEF), which is claiming that wind and solar are becoming the cheapest form of new-build technology for both base load and peaking.

As usual, such reports omit a key part – the unreliability and unpredictability of wind and solar. A warning in the February 2020 report of the US Energy Information Administration on “Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2020” should give pause to those reading the BloombergNEF reports.

After Table 1b, page 7, the EIA report states:

“EIA evaluated LCOE (Estimated levelized cost of electricity) and LACE for each technology based on assumed capacity factors, which generally correspond to the high end of their likely utilization range. This convention is consistent with the use of LCOE to evaluate competing technologies in baseload operation such as coal and nuclear plants. Although sometimes used in baseload operation, some technologies, such as CC plants, are also built to serve load-following or other intermediate dispatch duty cycles. Combustion turbines that are typically used for peak-load duty cycles are evaluated at a 30% capacity factor, which reflects the upper end of their typical economic utilization range. The duty cycle for intermittent resources is not operator controlled, but rather, it depends on weather that will not necessarily correspond to operator dispatched duty cycles. As a result, LCOE values for wind and solar technologies are not directly comparable with the LCOE values for other technologies that may have a similar average annual capacity factor. Consequently, they are shown separately as non-dispatchable technologies. Similarly, hydroelectric resources, including facilities where storage reservoirs allow for more flexible day-to-day operation, generally have high seasonal variation in output. EIA shows them as non-dispatchable to discourage comparison with technologies that have more consistent seasonal availability. The capacity factors for solar, wind, and hydroelectric resources are the average of the capacity factors (weighted or unweighted) for the marginal site in each region, which can vary significantly by region, and will not necessarily correspond to the cumulative projected capacity factors for both new and existing units for resources in AEO2020 or in other EIA analyses.” Boldface added

For example, the power station at Grand Coulee Dam is rated at 7,079 MW, and it has a 36% capacity factor. However, it is more useful than a wind “farm” of similar nameplate capacity with the same capacity factor. Unlike ‘will-o-the-wisp’ wind power, the generators can be turned on or off at will to provide power as needed by simply opening or closing water valves.

In short, cost comparisons between reliable technologies and unreliable technologies contain huge problems and should be avoided. What is the cost of one kWh of midnight solar energy? The credibility of reports using these comparisons are immediately suspect. Last week, TWTW made a comparison between reliable combined cycle natural gas and unreliable offshore wind to give an indication on how many times more expensive offshore wind is (over 6 times). However, these are not firm numbers.

Also, TWTW is disturbed that EIA classifies all Hydroelectric as non-dispatchable. In many instances, such as the Columbia River system, it is very predictable. See links under Energy Issues – US, Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind, and https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.pdf


Hockey-Sticking: Michael “Hockey-stick” Mann was elected to the National Academy of Sciences this week. It may be useful to review how influential he was to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), particularly in its Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001). In the Summary for Policy Makers, Figure 1 showed the hockey-stick graph for the Northern Hemisphere from the year 1000 to 2000, with dramatic increase in temperatures in the last century.

But this is nothing compared with the Summary for Policymakers in the Synthesis Report. Figure SPM-10a shows dramatic increases in CO2 to 2100. The greatest estimate goes to 1000 parts per million (it is currently about 410 ppm). Then Figure SPM-10b shows corresponding increases in the Earth’s surface temperatures up to over 5.5 ºC above the 1990 baseline. According to the charts, we should be approaching an increase in Earth’s surface temperatures of about 1 ºC. If increasing greenhouse gases are causing increasing Earth’s surface temperatures, we should be having an even greater increase in atmospheric temperatures, which is not occurring. From 1990 to April 2020 the atmospheric temperatures have increased by about 0.5 ºC.

Mr. Mann’s influence goes beyond the IPCC. In his book, How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information, author Alberto Cairo falls completely for the hockey-stick (Chapter 5). He uses the graph (chart) produced by AAAS Science showing 10,000 years of temperatures with a hockey stick at the end. Simply because organizations use the name Science, that does not mean they apply the scientific method. The International Commission on Stratigraphy disagrees with the hockey-stick and finds that the earth has been going through cooling phases for the past 8200 years.

See links under Measurement Issues – Atmosphere, Oh Mann! and https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar3/syr/summary-for-policy-makers/


Elephant Seals: Elephant seal sightings have been increasing on Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands in the Puget Sound, Washington. Immediately, these events were claimed to be evidence of CO2-caused global warming. The unnamed “scientists” involved apparently did not check the history of elephant seal hunting.

Elephant Seals range from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Once abundant along the northern Pacific Coast, elephant seals were hunted for fine-burning lamp oil. In the 1880s Elephant Seals were considered extinct. Later, a small population was found on Mexico’s Guadalupe Island (and killed for scientific research). Later, other populations were found, and in 1922 they were protected by Mexico, and shortly thereafter by the US. Since, they have been slowly expanding their breeding grounds north, up the California coast. Global warming has nothing to do with new sightings. But thanks to hydraulic fracturing and high-tech drilling their oil is no longer needed. See links under Below the Bottom Line and https://www.marinemammalcenter.org/education/marine-mammal-information/pinnipeds/northern-elephant-seal/




Since 2012, SEPP conducted an annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:

  • The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
  • The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
  • The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
  • The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.

The eight past recipients, Lisa Jackson (12), Barrack Obama (13), John Kerry (14), Ernest Moniz (15), Michael Mann (16), Christiana Figueres (17), Jerry Brown (18), and AOC (19) are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on June 30. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you.


Number of the Week: 1899, 2000, 1876, 1965, and 1918. From 2015 to 2018 India suffered a prolonged drought. Thanks to modern transportation and agriculture the drought did not lead to mass starvation, as they often did in the past. Examining long term record from 1870 to 2018, researcher Vimal Mishra published his finding in the Journal of Hydrology. He identified the top five most severe meteorological and hydrological droughts in India during 1870–2018.

They were in 1899, 2000, 1876, 1965, and 1918. All the deadly droughts were linked with the positive phase of ENSO – the El Niño Southern Oscillation. The UN IPCC and far too many other research organizations focus on the human influence on climate change, particularly CO2 emissions, while ignoring the far more important natural changes in weather. See links under Changing Weather.



‘Biography of Resistance’ Review: When Bacteria Fight Back

Bacteria are devious organisms always ready to resist attack. To defeat the diseases they cause requires robust testing and transparent analysis.

By David Shaywitz, WSJ, Apr 29, 2020


A timely theme emerging from the history of resistance is the importance of measurement, robust testing and transparent analysis.

TWTW Summary: In reviewing the book by Muhammad H. Zaman, Biography of Resistance: The Epic Battle Between People and Pathogens, the Dr. Shaywitz, a physician-scientist, states:

“In 1918, an influenza pandemic ravaged the globe, infecting more than 500 million people and killing more than 50 million. Yet while the virus weakened the afflicted, it was a later bacterial infection in the lungs that was ultimately responsible for most of the deaths. Bacteria existed on the planet 3.5 billion years before us and apparently haven’t quite forgiven us for arriving.

“As we learn from Muhammad H. Zaman’s timely ‘Biography of Resistance,’ bacteria are devious one-cell organisms whose battles with each other over the millennia have led them to develop a remarkable range of weapons in the quest for survival. They are a source of potent antibiotics, what one might call natural poisons, to be directed at a foe. Indeed, many powerful medicines, such as streptomycin and erythromycin, are derived from bacteria. Yet bacteria have also evolved powerful mechanisms to resist attack—tightening their borders, for instance, or expelling a toxin. Each time we develop an effective drug, Mr. Zaman shows through a series of 35 loosely linked vignettes, the targeted bacteria figure out a way to beat it back—to resist.

“Bacterial resistance turns out to be pervasive and unconfined to the modern era of manufactured drugs. It can be found in microbes recovered from the far reaches of remote caves and in the gut flora (microbiome) of people who have lived entirely apart from Western civilization and its expansive pharmacopeia, like the Yanomami of South America and aboriginal populations in Australia.

“Though resistance may be perennial, bacterial exposure to modern antibiotics accelerates its development. As Mr. Zaman reminds us, Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, warned of this escalating warfare in his 1945 Nobel Prize address: ‘It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them, and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body.’ If prescribed antibiotics aren’t taken for the proper length of time, or if the drug quality is poor (a particular problem in less affluent countries), or if the medicine is taken reflexively rather than when needed (a common dilemma for American pediatricians confronted by anxious parents demanding treatment for a child’s viral illness)—then, in each case, bacteria are given a chance to refine their defenses.”

After discussing a few disagreements about who was first, the reviewer concludes:

“Even so, more than a few of Mr. Zaman’s portraits are admiring. A timely theme emerging from the history of resistance is the importance of measurement, robust testing and transparent analysis. Mr. Zaman describes Tore Midtvedt’s pioneering use of an early IBM mainframe, complete with punch cards, to inventory antibiotic resistance in Norway; Danish microbiologist Frank Møller Aarestrup’s analysis of latrines from international flights to compare global resistance rates; and U.S. Navy physician King Holmes’s doggedness in tracking down the source of resistant venereal disease among sailors docked in the Philippines. We come to recognize the value of—and need for—rapid, point-of-care tests, and we hear echoes of familiar tensions: A resistance mechanism originally isolated from a patient in India, and named after the city of origin, New Delhi, prompted an outcry from the Indian government in 2010.

“As Mr. Zaman observes, drug companies played a critical role in the production of penicillin in World War II and for several decades invested heavily in antibiotic research. More recently, though, they have turned their attention to areas like oncology, driven by basic economics. ‘Companies investing in antibiotics,’ Mr. Zaman explains, ‘are likely to lose money.’ To offset this pipeline gap, a national-security-focused government organization partnered in 2016 with Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institutes of Health to spur antibiotics innovation. At the same time, some physicians—like Joanne Liu, the former president of Médecins Sans Frontières—worry about yoking antibiotics to national security and thus, in their view, weaponizing health care.

“Antibiotic resistance is a global problem—a disease present in Karachi one day may arrive in Reno, Nev., the next—yet the same connectivity that has spread resistance has eased collaboration across borders. Mr. Zaman’s optimism—based on a ‘belief in human ingenuity, the vast reserves of natural treasures that are untapped, and the power of coming together’—is welcome, though not always easy to share. Still, his sense of urgency is irresistible.”


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