Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #256

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President Science and Environmental Policy Project

TWTW: Due to other commitments requiring refraining from public comments that may be misconstrued as suggesting policy, this TWTW will be short and comments restrained. Responses to correspondence will be limited. Thank you.

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Appropriate Science? Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Raul Grijalva have written to President Trump objecting to Ken Haapala’s unpaid, temporary position on the Department of Commerce transition, landing team. They correctly state Haapala has no advanced degree in natural sciences. Afterwards, the letter contains numerous errors, such as Haapala “has made a career out of denying the science behind climate change.”

Born in Massachusetts, immediately north of Senator Whitehouse’s home state of Rhode Island, Haapala learned in elementary school that many of the geographic features of New England and the northern US were formed by ice sheets and the subsequent melt. The last ice sheets began melting about 18,000 to 20,000 years ago, raising sea levels by about 120 meters (400 feet), as discussed in last week’s TWTW. Certain maps show deep canyons cut in the eastern continental shelf by rivers such as the St. Lawrence and the Hudson.

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Trump’s First Executive Actions Put EPA, CDC, & Dakota Pipeline Into a Tailspin

Via Climate Nexus – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

EPA Faces a Freeze & Friendly Fire: The EPA has been ordered to freeze all its grants and contracts, including programs for climate research, environmental justice, and pollution prevention, according to internal communications leaked anonymously to several outlets Monday evening. It’s unclear if the freeze is permanent, and EPA staff are under orders to not discuss the move outside the agency, the sources told press. News of the freeze and gag order comes a day after Axios leaked details of the transition team’s “agency action” plan for EPA, which accuses EPA of “us[ing] regulatory policy to steer the science” and recommends that the agency stop funding science and overhaul its internal science advisory process “to eliminate conflicts of interest and inherent bias.” Axios also quoted a Republican lobbyist who flags “dozens” of EPA-related executive orders coming down the pike in the next month. Sources: (Grant freeze: Huffington Post, ProPublica, Washington Post $, The Hill. Agency action plan: Axios, The Hill. EOs: Axios. Commentary: Vox, Brad Plumer analysis, Buzzfeed, Dino Grandoni analysis)

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #212

The Week That Was: January 16, 2016 – Brought to You by ww.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Administration’s Energy Plan: On January 5, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced the latest effort in the administration campaign against fossil fuels and reliable energy. There will be a moratorium on new leases to mine coal on federal lands for at least three years. Supposedly, the purpose is to overhaul the program that permits coal mining on federal lands (to include Indian lands) to make the pricing “fair.” The environmental industry (Big Green) has made the program controversial by objecting to it, claiming it contradicts the Administration’s Energy Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Big Green has been active in a program to demand that fossil fuels not be used (be kept in the ground). During this Administration, Big Green was successful stopping the use of Yucca Mountain for storage of waste from nuclear power plants. Combined with its opposition to hydropower, Big Green opposes all the major sources of reliable electricity generation, a position that the Administration is adopting in reducing the supply of coal.

If the effort is successful, we can expect future rulings from the Administration on reducing the supply of oil and natural gas, to the extent that the Administration proclaims it has the power to do so – even if the Administration’s perceived power will be highly contested in the courts. It is not a matter of what is moral or ethical; it is a matter of what the Administration believes it can do.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #204

The Week That Was: (November 7, 2015) – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Un-Validated Models: “The basic problem with the IPCC’s [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] extensive analysis of peer-reviewed, published research, from which it draws its conclusions regarding climate sensitivity to CO2 [carbon dioxide] and other GHG [greenhouse gases], is that it makes the critical mistake of giving any credence whatsoever to projections of future climate changes, and attribution of those changes, from output of un-validated climate simulation models. Moreover, in our opinion, the results of computer model studies should only be published in scientific journals if they are accompanied by supportive empirical observations. This conclusion is based on over a half-century of experience from many of our research team members, using models for critical decision-making in design and operation of spacecraft, where human safety was involved.

“Although computer models based on first principles are used extensively for design of commercial airplanes, bridges and buildings, engineers never base design decisions on output of un-validated computer models, and for good reasons supported by a grateful public. For what possible reason would it be appropriate to base public policy decisions regarding climate, with potentially severe unintended consequences, on un-validated climate simulation models, as the IPCC advocates and as adopted by the IWG [US Interagency Working Group] for SCC {Social Cost of Carbon] calculation?” (p.22)

“The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) research team is a volunteer group composed primarily of more than 25 retired NASA Apollo Program veterans, who joined together in February 2012 to perform an objective, independent study of scientific claims of significant global warming caused by human activity, known as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).” (p.11)

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #179

The Week That Was: May 9, 2015 Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Controversial Points: On her web site, Climate Etc., Judith Curry explores what she considers the most controversial points in climate science. The points must be agreed upon in order to resolve the controversies. To her, the two general issues are: 1) whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes and 2) how much the planet will warm in the 21st century?

From these general issues she develops the specific technical issues that need to be resolved, including:

  • “Causes of the 1900-1940 warming; the cooling from 1940-1976; and the recent hiatus in warming since 1998.  How are these explained in context of AGW being the dominant influence since 1950?
  • Solar impacts on climate (including indirect effects).  What are the magnitudes and nature of the range of physical mechanisms?
  • Nature and mechanisms of multi-decadal and century scale natural internal variability.  How do these modes of internal variability interact with external forcing, and to what extent are these modes separable from externally forced climate change?
  • Deep ocean heat content variations and mechanisms of vertical heat transfer between the surface and deep-ocean.
  • Sensitivity of the climate system to external forcing, including fast thermodynamic feedbacks (water vapor, clouds, lapse rate).
  • Climate dynamics of clouds: Could changes in cloud distribution or optical properties contribute to the global surface temperature hiatus? How do cloud patterns (and TOA and surface radiative fluxes) change with shifts in atmospheric circulation and teleconnection regimes (e.g. AO, NAO, PDO)? How do feedbacks between clouds, surface temperature, and atmospheric thermodynamics/circulations interact with global warming and the atmospheric circulation and teleconnection regimes?”

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Oil-Train Derailments in Canada Expose Folly of Anti-Pipeline Movement

By Kenneth P. Green – Re-Blogged From http://www.FraserInstitute.org

Four recent oil-train derailments—two in the United States and two in Canada accompanied by yet another drive-by rhetorical smear of the Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Barack Obama—have re-invigorated the debate over how Canadians and Americans transport oil. The most recent spills and explosions in Illinois, West Virginia and Ontario all involved long oil trains of about 100 cars. So far as we know, they all met the most recent railcar designs and regulatory requirements in the U.S. and Canada.

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