Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #269

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Hard Center? Writing in the “Hard Center” publication Merion West, Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Emeritus, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, presents a clear explanation of the major problems involved with blaming climate change on carbon dioxide emissions. He explores some of the memes used by the climate establishment, and its supporters. These are concepts frequently used and accepted by many people without logic or evidence. To Lindzen, these memes are evidence of the dishonesty of the alarmist position that carbon dioxide emissions are causing a climate catastrophe such as dangerous global warming.

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Global Fatcats Urge More Carbon Pricing, Climate Policy Continuity

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Nuclear Power Subsidies Threaten Wind and Solar Power… Proof That Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

NukeLifeline

The push to save U.S. nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar.

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Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #266

By Ken Haapala, President – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Bounding the Fear: Last week’s TWTW discussed a presentation by Hal Doiron of The Right Climate Stuff Team (TRCS). TRCS is a group of retired and highly experienced engineers and scientists from the Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station eras who have volunteered their time and effort to conduct an objective, independent assessment of the carbon dioxide (CO2)-caused global warming to assess the reality of the actual threat, and separate that from unnecessary alarm. They have applied the techniques they learned for space missions to this task. A rough engineering analogy is: How can they be confident that an astronaut will not cook or freeze in a space station or a space suit?

As a young engineer, Doiron approached the modeling of the lunar lander by bounding the risks. Similarly, he approached the problem of what would happen, in the worst case, with a doubling of carbon dioxide (CO2) by establishing an upper bound. The team created a simple, rigorous earth surface model using principles established in Conservation of Energy. He shows how the model is validated using 165 years of atmospheric greenhouse gas data and HadCRUT surface temperature data.

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What NPR Misses About Energy Jobs In America

[There seem to be a difference of opinion on the purpose of energy production. – Bob]

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

NPR_Energy

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran an ad with this opening line: “The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind.”

And then it showed men working on roofs: “The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels.”

The ad was directed at a group Obama was acutely aware he had to win over — white, working-class men. A quarter of those same men deserted Democrats in 2016, according to a New York Times analysis, and voted either for Donald Trump or a third-party candidate.

On Tuesday, President Trump is trying to start making good on his promises to many of those same white men — coal workers. The Trump administration is doing an about-face on President Obama’s climate and environmental policies. The president signed an executive order with a goal of taking restraints off businesses and boosting the coal industry.

“He made a pledge to the coal industry, and he’s going to do whatever he can to help those workers,” a senior administrative official said Monday ahead of the executive order’s signing.

Speaking at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, Trump said a “new era” in energy production is starting Tuesday.

Surrounded by about a dozen coal miners, he said, per NPR’s Jennifer Ludden, “You’re going back to work.” He pledged to “end the war on coal and have clean coal, really clean coal.”

But there are problems with both Trump’s nostalgic Make America Great Again coal promises and Obama’s radical vision for a reshaped economy.

Trump’s ignores the reality of a changing energy industry. Solar jobs, for example, have taken off over the past decade. The Obama administration tried hard to incentivize clean energy (so much so that it got caught up in the Solyndra scandal. The head of Solyndra was an Obama campaign bundler. Obama visited the company and touted it. His administration incentivized companies like it. In 2011, the government helped Solyndra refinance, but just months later, the company failed).

But solar now accounts for some 260,000 energy jobs in the country, the majority of which are held by installers. That’s almost four times the number of coal industry jobs, about 70,000, as of May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And that industry has been on a steady and steep decline over the past 30 years…

[…]

In the energy industry, solar is outpaced only by the oil industry, according to a major report by the Solar Foundation. And solar’s gotten cheaper to produce (despite Trump’s proclamations during the campaign that he loves solar except that it’s expensive).

[…]

NPR

Why do journalists, environmentalists and liberals (redundant, I know) confuse energy production with jobs programs?  The only way an economy can successfully grow in a healthy, robust manner is through increasing productivity.

What is ‘Productivity’

Productivity is an economic measure of output per unit of input. Inputs include labor and capital, while output is typically measured in revenues and other gross domestic product (GDP) components such as business inventories. Productivity measures may be examined collectively (across the whole economy) or viewed industry by industry to examine trends in labor growth, wage levels and technological improvement.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Productivity’

Productivity gains are vital to the economy, as they mean that more is being accomplished with less. Capital and labor are both scarce resources, so maximizing their impact is a core concern of modern business. Productivity enhancements come from technology advances, such as computers and the internet, supply chain and logistics improvements, and increased skill levels within the workforce.

Read more: Productivity Definition | Investopediahttp://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/productivity.asp#ixzz4cooRyEry
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Putting coal miners back to work will be a byproduct of increased coal production, not the purpose of it.

Here is a plot of U.S. energy production from oil & gas, coal, wind and solar power in million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe).

MTOE

Source: BP 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy

I used the production numbers for oil & gas and coal rather than the consumption numbers because U.S. fossil fuel employees don’t produce imported fossil fuels.  I used the consumption numbers for wind and solar because those were the only numbers (we don’t import or store wind and solar power).  I added oil and gas together because its the same group of employees who produce the oil and the gas.

Here is a plot of Mtoe per thousand employees:

MTOEperEmployee

Sources: BP 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (via FRED), The Solar Foundation and American Wind Energy Association.

Which energy employees are the most productive?

Even if I added in midstream and downstream fossil fuel-related employees, they would still be an order of magnitude more productive than wind energy employees and two orders of magnitude more productive than solar energy employees.

References

American Wind Energy Association

BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016

The Solar Foundation

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees: Mining and Logging: Coal Mining [CEU1021210001], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CEU1021210001, March 29, 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees: Mining and Logging: Oil and Gas Extraction [CES1021100001], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CES1021100001, March 29, 2017.

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Heartland Climate Change Conference

This was my first climate change conference and I had a great time. To hear the full talk by any of the speakers go to the Heartland.Org site here.

The most memorable statement is from Myron Ebell. Three U.S. elections “have turned on climate issues.” These are 2000, 2010, and 2016. In 2000 Al Gore lost because he lost West Virginia. This “was due entirely because someone named Buck Harless put,” in every voter’s mailbox a study he commissioned showing the effect on West Virginia’s coal industry and economy of Al Gore’s proposed policies. The 2010 election was turned by the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which caused the House Democrats to lose 20 seats and making the House of Representatives Republican. Finally, in 2016, climate change and the fossil fuel industry were explicit issues and Clinton and Trump were on opposite sides. The pro-fossil fuel side won the key fossil fuel states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky.

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