Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Problem With Electric Cars

At just 1% of the world's vehicles, mandates, bans and other regulations are becoming the "solution."

In spite of what you may have heard, electric cars don’t have the market share you might think. A new report from the Energy Information Administration reveals that although plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) (which include battery electric vehicles and hybrid plug-in electric vehicles) have reached 1.2 million in worldwide sales in 2015, such cars account for only 1% of vehicles in global use.

Why is this?

Some of it has to do with consumer preference — what people want to drive. Some of it has to do with public policy — that the government isn’t forcing people to get rid of their fossil fuel dependent cars. Yet.

Many countries realize that consumers prefer gas and diesel vehicles to electric ones and thus seek to remedy this “problem” by coercion. Britain and France have both vowed to ban the sale of gas and diesel vehicles by 2040. California’s governor has also made statements about phasing out traditional cars. These sorts of statements always carry with them a hidden coercive element, because, as research shows, people won’t switch if it’s up to their preferences. People will only switch if the government mandates it.

Driven by central planning authorities, governments and leaders hope to control the population’s preferences by simply changing their choices. Instead of “Which car do you want?” they hope to ask, “Which of these electric car options do you want? You have no other options.”

Coercion not only compromises the free-market ethic of choices, but it stands as a hallmark feature of totalitarianism and can be identified in practices of the former Soviet Union, modern Cuba and every other communist nation. Cuba’s communist dictatorship holds elections, but only gives the citizens communist “options.” The regime enforces “free and fair elections” by threatening to punish those who do not vote. Ultimately, government coercion does not allow freedom — of choices, of preferences, or of life in general.

Moreover, electric-car supporters seem to charge America with the greatest culpability in not being “green enough.” Yet recent data reveals that the U.S. has declined in emissions, while global emissions have increased. How? China.

China’s emissions account for 30% of the world’s emissions according to the Center for International Climate Research. China stands as the world’s largest polluter and according to the recent Global Carbon Project study, with an expected 3.5% increase in emissions this year.

When confronted with this reality, many environmentalists simply state, “Well, America should lead the way. We should be the world’s example.” Yet this hasn’t seemed to change China’s mind. Prudent policy toward cleaner global air should include confronting China with its problem, not simply cleaning up the U.S. as an “example.”

We should also be asking the question, “Who is getting all of the money?” The answer lies in government-subsidized electric car companies. Even Bloomberg observes, “Clean-energy vehicles still aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy.” Take, for instance, Tesla, which would have been underwater long ago if it had not been for government (i.e. taxpayer) money. The Las Angeles Times reports that Tesla, along with her sister companies Solar City Corp. (solar panels) and SpaceX (space exploration) have received roughly $4 billion dollars in government subsides.

In short, the entire premise of going “all electric” so far relies solely upon government money. This means that even if you don’t buy an electric car, your tax dollars are essentially paying for someone else’s — or at least covering the sales loss if they don’t sell.

The highly subsidized electric car business has become a sort of “cottage industry” for the federal government from which both electric car companies and the government benefit. Combined with the increased desire to coercively force consumers to purchase them while ignoring health concerns shows a lack of both intellectual freedom and free market purchasing freedom.

Ultimately the debate over electric cars should be about what you prefer to drive, not about what the government forces you to buy.



Figure shows ‘death knell’ of coal-fired power as countries agree to stop using coal for electricity

Unmentioned below is the way Britain keeps the lights on -- like burning woodchips at Drax and having vast banks of Diesel generators for when backup is needed.  Both produce lots of CO2 so their use is totally irrational

ONE country has revealed a huge drop in coal-fired power, as many countries agree to stop using coal for electricity.

MANY disagree about the future of coal but at least one statistic brings home the stark reality facing coal-fired power.

Overnight, the United Kingdom led a group of nations in pledging to stop using coal-fired power, revealing one figure that highlighted its dire future.

“In a few short years, we have almost entirely reduced our reliance on coal,” British Minister of State Claire Perry said at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

She revealed exactly how significant the drop had been with the share of electricity generated by coal in Britain dropping from 40 per cent in July 2012 to just two per cent in July of this year.

The huge 95 per cent drop will continue with Britain pledging to phase out coal altogether within 10 years.

It was one of 25 countries, states and organisations to sign the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” that will phase out coal-fired electricity completely and also place a moratorium on new power plants that don’t capture carbon emissions.

To cap global warming at “well under” 2C coal must be phased out in developed countries by 2030, and “by no later than 2050 in the rest of the world,” the countries said in the declaration.

Other signatories included Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and New Zealand.

Most of the enlisted countries don’t have far to go to complete a phase-out.

Deadlines range from 2022 for France, which has four coal-fired plants in operation, to 2025 for Britain, where eight such power stations are still running, and 2030 for the Netherlands.

But none of the countries that truly depend on coal fired power — which still provides about 40 per cent of the world’s electricity — signed on to the pledge.

In fact China has increased its coal consumption this year due to renewed infrastructure stimulus and a decline in hydropower because of floods and droughts, according to the Global Carbon Project.

The United States has also made a point of promoting the development of “clean fossil fuels” during the 12-day talks, which end Friday.

“This climate meeting has seen Donald Trump trying to perversely promote coal,” said Mohamed Adow, top Climate analyst at Christian Aid, which advocated for the interests of poor countries.

“But it will finish with the UK, Canada and a host of other countries signalling the death knell of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel in their countries.”

World Coal Association president Benjamin Sporton said 24 nations were still expected to use coal and will meet their carbon reduction targets using low-emissions technology.

Coal continues to play a major role in powering the Chinese economy, and will see “big increases in India and Southeast Asia,” he told AFP.

Making coal “clean”, Sporton acknowledged, depended on the massive expansion of a technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which carbon emitted when coal is burned is siphoned off and stored in the ground.

The UN’s climate science panel, and the International Energy Agency, both say that staying under the 2C temperature threshold will require using CCS.

The problem is that — despite decades of development — very little CO2 is being captured in this way.

There are only 20 CCS plants in the world that stock at least one million tonnes of carbon per year, a relatively insignificant amount given the scope of the problem.

One reason is the price tag: it costs about $US1 billion ($AU1.3 billion) to fit CCS technology to a large-scale, coal-fired plant.

“If you could develop cost-effective technology that would be permanent and work at scale, it could be a real game-changer,” said Alden Meyer, a climate analyst at the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“But you have to be realistic about the prospects.”


Big Government and Environmentalists Are Causing Massive Fires in Western States

The massive fires that took the lives of over 40 people in California were not the only devastating wildfires as of late.

Utah, Montana, and other states have been hit by destructive infernos that have left death and widespread property damage in their wake.

Forest fires—what firefighters call wildland fires—are undoubtedly a part of nature and can never be stopped entirely, but the measurable uptick in extraordinarily large fires is a trend that is causing intolerable amounts of damage.

Forest management policy has become calcified and centralized over the last half century, but there are some serious ideas that can turn things around.

Since the 1970s, the number of forest fires in the United States has remained fairly constant, but there’s been a significant uptick in the size of these blazes. The average wildfire is now twice the size of fires of 40 years ago.

Some have tried to pin the blame on climate change, but as a 2015 Reason Foundation study noted, climatic factors like higher temperatures and increased droughts “cannot explain the pattern of fires observed over the past century.”

“While it is possible that climate change has played a role in increasing the size of fires, the primary cause seems to be forest management practices, which have changed several times over the course of the past 200 years,” the study said.

The United States Forest Service, which manages most of America’s wilderness, made some big changes in the 1970s that many say have led to our modern predicament.

The selective clearing of forests, in which only certain trees are removed, had been highly successful in the past. But perverse incentives for the agency made clear-cutting, or uniformly chopping down trees, more common in the 1950s. This led to a backlash of lawsuits, environmentalist attacks, and unfortunately, more centralization in Washington for the Forest Service.

“In 1976 Congress tried to resolve the debate by instituting a comprehensive forest planning process,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “The resulting plans proved to be a costly mistake: The agency spent more than a billion dollars planning the national forests, but the plans were often based on fabricated data, and they did not resolve any debates.”

Nearly a half century of bureaucratic centralization and environmentalist initiatives have left forests overgrown, vulnerable to fire, and dangerous to individual property owners and the economies of many states.

California state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat, estimated that the recent fires may have caused over $3 billion in damages to his state.

California’s fires have gathered most of the media attention, but other Western states also have suffered immensely from out-of-control wildland fires in the past few years.

Last year alone, large wildfires hit nine states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, according to The Washington Post.

“Fires nationwide have consumed 8,036,858 acres—about 12,550 square miles, larger than the size of Maryland—since Jan. 1,” the Post reported.

A large fire near the town of Brian Head, Utah, burned 13 homes and over 93 square miles of land.

Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican, along with other Utah legislators and officials, made a short video in October explaining how better forest management could have prevented what became the most expensive forest fire in the state’s history.

In the video, they say the buildup of dead trees caused what should have been a small brush fire to balloon into something much worse. The video notes at the end:

The [United States Forest Service] and the [Bureau of Land Management], like helpless giants, are constrained by a self-imposed web of bureaucratic rules and regulations that impede and stop proper management options that could reduce these large catastrophic fires.

Now Congress is working on measures to stop the bleeding of an increasingly unmanageable problem.

The House recently passed a bill that would allow more aggressive tree clearing and local collaborative organizations to have more control of public land. It would also redirect funds from fighting fires to preventing fires, correcting what has become a major budgetary imbalance over the past few decades.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

What is clear is that, unlike the effects of many other natural disasters, there are proven ways, such as aggressively limiting overgrowth and clearing dead wood, to control the effects of wildfires and contain their damage.

Previous generations more effectively dealt with the problem, and federal and state policymakers would be wise to emulate and improve on what they did as we come up with our own innovative solutions.


Australia: One step closer for Kidston solar and pumped hydro generator

Pumped Hydro electricity is intrinsically an enormously expensive way to generate electricity.  You need two dams for a start.  So it will never be anything but the tiniest contribution to baseload.  No wonder the project below is "world first"!

The folk below, however, seem to have found two conveniently located existing dams so might have a workable project with taxpayer support

The world’s first integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project in Kidston is one step closer to being built as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced up to $5 million in funding to Genex Power Limited (Genex) to help bring the landmark project to financial close in 2018.

This morning, Genex Power Limited made an ASX announcement that ARENA, on behalf of the Australian Government, would provide up to $5 million to support pre-financial close activities.

The Kidston Stage Two is a hybrid solar and hydro project is expected to comprise a hybrid 250MW pumped hydro electricity storage (PHES) facility and 270MW solar PV, generating around 783GWh of renewable electricity per year and powering over 140,000 Australian homes.

The Kidston site is located 270km north west of Townsville and will utilise two existing gold mining pits as the reservoirs for the project to minimise construction time and costs.

The solar PV and PHES hybrid enables Genex to create a reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy generator that is entirely renewable. PHES will also be also be able to provide stability and support to the grid, including ancillary services.

During peak power demand periods water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off peak periods and when sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity primarily from the solar farm.

“Stage Two of the Kidston hydro and solar project is an important step in achieving a secure and reliable grid for Australia and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.

“Kidston will be the only grid connected solar project located in Australia’s solar red zone, providing consistent strong sun throughout the year, and combining it with pumped hydro will provide Queensland access to an entirely renewable flexible energy option,” he said.

ARENA’s funding will help the project reach financial close by mid-2018, with up to $4.5 million of the grant to be convertible at the Minister’s discretion.

ARENA has previously provided $4 million to Genex towards the technical feasibility study of the PHES portion of the project, and a further $8.9 million towards Kidston Stage One solar PV project as part of the $92 million large scale solar PV competitive round.

Genex Managing Director Michael Addison said: “Genex is grateful to the Australian Government for its continuing support of the Kidston Stage 2 project, and the help of ARENA in bringing this to fruition in the near future.

The continued support from ARENA is testament to the innovative nature of the project, and the growing importance of large scale energy storage in Australia’s energy system as it transitions,” he said.

Via email

NZ eyes climate refugees visa

Deputy PM and coalition partner Winston Peters is against ALL new imigration so this is unlikely to fly.  It would rapidly be abused if implemented

New Zealand wants to introduce a special visa category for Pacific Islanders who are refugees because of climate change.

New Zealand is proposing a special refugee visa for Pacific Islanders who are forced to migrate because of rising sea levels, the nation's new climate change minister says, as world leaders wrap up United Nations climate talks in Germany.

In the low-lying and vulnerable Pacific islands, the number of people moving within their own nations to flee worsening storms, sea level rise and other climate-related crises is still relatively small.

But countries like New Zealand are making plans now before climate migration grows into a regional emergency.

"We want to get ahead of this before it turns into a real problem ... we want to start a dialogue with the Pacific Island countries about this notion of migrating with dignity, if things get to that point," said climate minister James Shaw, leader of New Zealand's Green Party.

"One of the options is a special humanitarian visa to allow people who are forced to migrate because of climate change," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from the UN climate talks in Bonn, which were hosted by Fiji.

In 2014, a New Zealand judge granted residency to a family from Tuvalu, in part on humanitarian grounds related to climate change.

"The reason why we were throwing around an idea of a visa is because people who have been displaced by environmental conditions like rising seas and climate change aren't counted under the UN Convention on Refugees," said Shaw.

The 1951 UN Refugee Convention grants refugee status to those fleeing persecution, wars, and conflicts, but does not include climate change as a reason to seek asylum.

Australia has said it would invest $A300 million over four years to help Pacific Islands cope with climate change, but was not planning to implement a similar climate migration scheme.

"The best response, where feasible, is effective adaptation and internal relocation, rather than cross-border resettlement as a first response," a government spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

Shaw agreed that the main priority was to keep Pacific Islanders in their own communities, which means slashing carbon emissions to prevent rising sea levels.

The Paris climate agreement set a goal of ending the fossil fuel era this century and to limit warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5C.

New Zealand's new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made tackling climate change one of her top priorities and committed last month to erase the nation's carbon footprint by 2050.

Shaw said he hopes to have formal talks with Pacific islands early next year to discuss the idea of issuing humanitarian visas for climate migration.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, November 17, 2017

Avalanches of global warming alarmism

UN climate cataclysm predictions have no basis in fact and should not be taken seriously

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Throughout the United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapping up in Bonn, Germany this week, the world has been inundated with the usual avalanche of manmade global warming alarmism. The UN expects us to believe that extreme weather, shrinking sea ice, and sea level rise will soon become much worse if we do not quickly phase out our use of fossil fuels that provide over 80% of the world’s energy.

There is essentially nothing to support these alarms, of course. We simply do not have adequate observational data required to know or understand what has happened over the past century and a half. Meaningful forecasts of future climate conditions are therefore impossible.

Nevertheless, this year’s session has been especially intense, since the meeting is being chaired by the island nation of Fiji, a government that has taken climate change fears to extremes.

COP23 (the 23rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties on climate change) conference president, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, has called for “an absolute dedication to meet the 1.5-degree target.” This is the arbitrary and most stringent goal suggested by the Paris Agreement. In support of Bainimarama’s position, the COP23/Fiji Website repeatedly cites frightening forecasts made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

One prediction stated: “The IPCC recently reported that temperatures will significantly increase in the Sahel and Southern African regions, rainfall will significantly decrease, and tropical storms will become more frequent and intense, with a projected 20 per cent increase in cyclone activity.”

To make such dire forecasts, the IPCC relies on computerized models built on data and formulas to represent atmospheric conditions, and reflect the hypothesis that carbon dioxide is the principal factor driving planetary warming and climate change.

However, we still do not have a comprehensive, workable “theory of climate,” and thus do not have valid formulas to properly represent how the atmosphere functions. We also lack data to properly understand what weather was like over most of the planet even in the recent past. Without a good understanding of past weather conditions, we have no way to know the history, or the future, of average weather conditions – what we call the climate.

An important data set used by the computer models cited by the IPCC is the “HadCRUT4” global average temperature history for the past 167 years. This was produced by the Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, both based in the United Kingdom.

Until the 1960s, HadCRUT4 temperature data were collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the UK, and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations, and none of the Earth’s oceans (which cover 70% of the planet) had more than occasional stations separated from the next ones by thousands of kilometers of no data. Temperatures over these vast empty areas were simply “guesstimated.”

Making matters even worse, data collected at weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees F), and oftentimes no better than +/-1.0 degree C. Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine past or future global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful – and certainly nothing accurate or valid enough to use in making critical energy policy decisions.

Modern weather station surface temperature data are now collected using precision thermocouples. But, starting in the 1970s, less and less ground surface temperature data was used for plots such as HadCRUT4. Initially, this was done because governments believed satellite monitoring could take over from most of the ground surface data collection.

However, the satellites did not show the warming that climate activists and computer models had forecast. So, bureaucrats closed many of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations, while many stations in the vast frigid area of Siberia were closed for economic and other reasons. The net result was that cold temperature data disappeared from more recent records – thereby creating artificial warming trends, the very warming that alarmists predicted, desired and needed for political purposes.

Today, we have virtually no data for approximately 85% of the Earth’s surface. Indeed, there are fewer weather stations in operation now than there were in 1960.

That means HadCRUT4 and other surface temperature computations after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the sensitivity (accuracy) problems in the early data, and the fact that we have almost no long-term data above Earth’s surface, the conclusion is unavoidable:

It is not possible to know how or whether Earth’s climate has varied over the past century and a half. The data are therefore useless for input to the computer models that form the basis of the IPCC’s conclusions.

But the lack of adequate surface data is only the start of the problem. The computer models on which the climate scare is based are mathematical constructions that require the input of data above Earth’s surface as well. The models divide the atmosphere into cubes piled on top of each other, ideally with wind, humidity, cloud cover and temperature conditions known for different altitudes. But we currently have even less data above the surface than on it, and there is essentially no historical data at altitude.

Many people think the planet is adequately covered by satellite observations – data that is almost global 24/7 coverage and far more accurate than anything determined at weather stations. But the satellites are unable to collect data from the north and south poles, regions that are touted as critical to understanding global warming.

Moreover, space-based temperature data collection did not start until 1979, and 30 years of weather data is required to generate a single data point on a climate graph. The satellite record is far too short to allow us to come to any useful conclusions about climate change.

In fact, there is insufficient data of any kind – temperature, land and sea ice, glaciers, sea level, extreme weather, ocean pH, et cetera – to be able to determine how today’s climate differs from the past, much less predict the future. The IPCC’s climate forecasts have no connection with the real world.

Sherlock Holmes warned that “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this famous quote for fiction, of course. But it applies perfectly to today’s global warming debate, especially where the IPCC’s scary conclusions and forecasts are involved. Of course, this will not stop Bainimarama and other conference leaders from citing IPCC “science” in support of their warnings of future climate catastrophe.

We should use these facts to spotlight and embarrass them every time.

Via email. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition


EPA Deregulation Equals Discrimination?

The NAACP implies that Trump's deregulation initiatives at the EPA are — you guessed it — racist

The Obama administration facilitated the most onerous climate-related regulations ever devised. The Trump administration is doing just the opposite — giving agencies like the EPA a much-needed deep cleaning. But according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) along with the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), Trump’s deregulation initiatives are — you guessed it — racist.

That exact word isn’t found in the duo’s new “Fumes Across the Fence-Line” report, but it’s most certainly implied. The report surmises that minorities “are impacted by the negative health impacts of oil and gas facility operations because of discrimination.”

The study highlights these statistics: “More than 1 million African-Americans live within a half mile of existing natural gas facilities and the number is growing every year.” By extension, “Over 1 million African-Americans live in counties that face a cancer risk above the EPA’s level of concern from toxins emitted by natural gas facilities,” and more than “6.7 million African-Americans live in the 91 counties with oil refineries.”

“African-Americans are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than Caucasian Americans,” the report elucidates, “and they are 75 percent more likely to live in fence-line communities than the average American.” To summarize: “In the current regulatory environment, the disproportionate burden of pollution will only increase for low-income communities and communities of color.”

As Joe Biden is fond of saying, this is a bunch of malarkey. Even if you could so precisely quantify pollution’s disproportionate effects on minorities, it’s important to consider that many blacks are confined to areas that have been designated by the government (a.k.a. urban poverty plantations). Republicans promote economic freedom and prosperity, which would give minorities the incentive to escape these supposedly toxic housing areas (again, assuming it’s as bad as the report claims). Not to mention that regulation in general disproportionately affects the poor. Thus, deregulation helps them.

But part of the “fix,” the NAACP and CATF assert, is to permanently abandon oil and gas facilities. Economically, this is absurd. Furthermore, to insinuate that Republicans are racist malcontents because they want to bolster the economy and livelihoods helps nobody. Ben Carson had a point back in May when he opined, “I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.” Poverty and agendas that include bogus platitudes about “discrimination” in the energy sector go breathlessly together.


Democratic governors outsource climate campaigns to activist groups, emails reveal

It may look as if Democratic governors — not climate change activists — are driving the campaign to “fill the void” left by President Trump’s exit from the Paris agreement, but that’s not necessarily the impression left by behind-the-scenes emails.

Shortly after the June 1 launch of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a senior aide to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee warned Climate Nexus Executive Director Jeff Nesbit that some governors were considering withdrawing from the multistate coalition aimed at meeting the targets of the global warming accord.

“Can you call me asap?” Sam Ricketts, director of Mr. Inslee’s Washington, D.C., office, asked in a June 5 email. “Sounds like we states have some particular, and substantively very valid, concerns about how this coalition is messaged. If not met I think states will pull out.”

“OMG, come on. I’ve been dealing with this all weekend,” Mr. Nesbit responded. “We’re not messaging it incorrectly at this point. But yes, I’ll call you.”

It turns out that the governors who descended this week on the Bonn climate summit had plenty of help — not just from state aides, but also from a kind of shadow staff supplied by climate change advocacy groups and funded by liberal foundations in support of the ambitious foreign policy effort.

A cache of emails obtained via open records requests by Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner shows state employees relying on activists for organizational and communications work in what he described as “outsourcing government off the books.”

The relationship raises questions about whether the governors have crossed an ethical line by bringing in privately funded advocacy groups to help staff a multistate operation — apparently at no charge — and whether their time and resources constituted a gift that would need to be disclosed to the public.

“It is inarguable. They are being given very expensive staff time and services,” said Mr. Horner. “These governors should immediately release all details about the collusion with these groups, who themselves have a lot to answer for.”

The alliance of 14 states and Puerto Rico is led by Mr. Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Their offices did not respond immediately Tuesday to requests for comment.

“In all three of those states, a gift is anything of value,” Mr. Horner said in an email. “The gifts here include a report, and PR services yielding, for example, a New York Times story promoting their ‘leadership.’ We see they met to discuss private offers to hire staffers to be at politicians’ disposal.”

Who’s in charge? Who’s paying?

It’s not uncommon for governors to seek out the expertise of think tanks, universities, corporations and advocacy groups when preparing policy initiatives on matters such as energy, education and the economy.

But the email traffic from Mr. Inslee’s office indicates that activists play an outsize role in not merely advising but also running the day-to-day operations of the “bipartisan coalition of states,” which includes one Republican: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

The U.S. Climate Alliance website is operated by climate activists, not state staff, judging from another email exchange between Mr. Ricketts and Mr. Nesbit.

“How come governors aren’t even listed on the website?” Mr. Ricketts asked in a June 5 email.

Mr. Nesbit replied: “They will be! I promise. It’s controlled by WWF [apparently referring to the World Wildlife Fund]. They’re melting down over there. I’ll make sure the 9 governors are listed ASAP.”

Mr. Nesbit also wore the hat of press secretary, saying he needed to send a joint statement from Mr. Inslee, Mr. Brown and Mr. Cuomo to The New York Times.

“Do you have it? Is it approved? Is Inslee available to talk to the NYT and others today before Trump does his Rose Garden ceremony at the WH?” Mr. Nesbit asked in the June 1 email.

According to Mr. Nesbit, Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, provided its services free of charge and without a contract.

“We worked with them at no cost just as we work with a wide range of groups,” Mr. Nesbit said in an email to The Washington Times.

In September, the alliance issued a 12-page report that included extensive data from the Rhodium Group on the economic output and net greenhouse gas emissions of the 14 member states compared with the rest of the states.

Who compiled and paid for the report? Not Rhodium, according to a spokeswoman, although The New York Times described it at the time as “a new study by the research firm Rhodium Group.”

“U.S. Climate Alliance state staff put together the report using data that the Rhodium Group produced as part of previous projects which were funded by private philanthropy,” Rhodium spokeswoman Hannah Hess said in an email to The Washington Times.

The Rhodium Group is headed by former Hillary Clinton campaign climate and energy adviser Trevor Houser, who also co-directs the Climate Impact Lab.

‘A tsunami of Pulitzers’

Even before Mr. Trump announced his intention in June to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord, state employees in California, New York and Washington had discussed enlisting the help of outside advocacy groups.

Aimee Barnes, senior adviser to Mr. Brown, proposed reaching out to the Georgetown Climate Center, Under2 Coalition and others, saying that “it can’t always be us staff running around trying to corral each other for sign on.”

“We are fortunate that at the moment there are many resources keen to be at our disposal to support us further, but in order to make the best use of them, we need to tell them what we need,” Ms. Barnes said in a May 5 email.

Mr. Ricketts responded in a May 9 email by noting, “Theres of course a plethora of advocate and funder interest,” adding, “we can approach the different groups (G-town, Rhodium, UNF, whomever) about which of them will play a roll.”

A week later, Georgetown Climate Center Deputy Director Kathryn Zyla provided an update in an email sent to state staffers and climate change advocates.

“We also wanted to let you know that we are working with the Georgetown IT department to develop a platform that can assist this group with communications and shared resources, and will keep you posted. (Please let us know if you have any thoughts on key features for that platform.),” Ms. Zyla said in a May 16 email.

GCC spokesman Chris Coil said the group had no contract with the states. “We support state engagement on climate change (as we have done on a bipartisan basis for many years) free of charge,” he said.

Inslee senior adviser Chris Davis put in a plug for Ann McCabe and her team at the Climate Registry, calling them in a June 5 email “great partners who’ve covered our costs for COPs and provided extraordinary on site services and support.”

The Bonn climate summit, which runs through Friday, is officially known as COP23, or the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties, an annual event sponsored by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, a nonbinding accord calling for signatory nations to lower emissions in order to hold temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius this century, was hammered out at COP21.

Those attending COP23 included Mr. Brown and Mr. Inslee, as well as fellow alliance members Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who participated in a Monday panel on “U.S. state-driven climate leadership.”

“The U.S. Climate Alliance has a message for the world: We are here. We are your allies on climate change,” the alliance said in a Nov. 6 press release, which listed a Climate Nexus staffer as the contact.

Mr. Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris agreement unless the conditions were changed, saying it puts the U.S. economy at a “very, very big economic disadvantage.”

Is enlisting climate activists to assist state staff a problem if they are both acting at the direction of the governor? Mr. Horner asked how the media would react if, for example, the Koch brothers provide staffing on behalf of a Republican governor.

“This would unleash a tsunami of Pulitzers and hysteria if the political parties or priorities were changed,” said Mr. Horner. “Here is a real test for ‘good government’ activists — is this all right if the ‘right’ politicians and donors pushing the approved agenda outsource government?”


Do States Have a Role in Making Climate Policy?

No: It Won’t Work —and This Isn’t the States’ Role Anyway

Most state-level efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions cannot help being incoherent and ineffective. Consider Vermont, which has established a so-called renewable portfolio standard requiring the use of 75% renewable energy by 2032. That may be a laudable aspiration, but it ignores how energy markets work.

Vermont recently shut its emissions-free nuclear power plant, which accounted for the majority of the state’s electricity generation. Without renewable capacity to fill the resulting hole, the state began importing more electricity from other states, generated primarily with emissions-producing natural gas. Ironically, it had already banned fracking, the technology that extracts the natural gas that now keeps its lights on.

Meanwhile, rather than rapidly developing its own renewable resources, the state is leading a nationwide backlash against wind power: Vermont added no wind capacity during 2013-16. The issue featured prominently in last November’s gubernatorial race, which saw an anti-wind Republican beat a pro-wind Democrat by almost 10 points. And, just last month, state legislators approved strict noise limits that will further limit development.

Vermonters can confidently reject nuclear, coal, gas and wind from the comfort of their warm and well-lit homes because shirking responsibility for their energy supply has few consequences. They can draw electricity from a regional power grid and import energy-intensive goods by exhaust-belching truck. Their 75%-renewable goal presumes the availability of someone else’s nonrenewable plants to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Those plants will be operating affordably only if other states remain committed to a conventional grid.

But Vermont is not alone. Twenty-nine states have renewable portfolio standards, and lawmakers in both Massachusetts and California have recently proposed 100%-renewable mandates. If everyone tries to reach their goals, and more states feel compelled to join and out-green each other, the grid will fall apart.

This is not only irresponsible, but also fails to address climate change. Since nationwide carbon-dioxide emissions peaked in 2007, states with renewable portfolio standards have achieved smaller reductions, on average, than states without them. And even significant state-level achievements would mean little. The Obama administration acknowledged that its Clean Power Plan for cutting emissions in every state would not have meaningfully affected global temperatures.

The reality of climate change is that the overwhelming majority of future greenhouse-gas emissions will come from the developing world. American emissions cuts are justified primarily as a means of showing leadership. But the symbolic actions of former Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin and his colleagues are not going to lead developing nations away from their pursuit of economic progress.

Nor is it the role of state leaders, no matter how displeased with President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord, to offset or undermine our national government’s negotiating position on the international stage. California Gov. Jerry Brown is plainly incorrect when he defends his climate talks with China by saying California is a “separate nation.” No one, presumably, would countenance governors opposed to the Iran nuclear agreement traveling to Qatar to coordinate continued sanctions against the Iranian regime.

States will sometimes advance an economic, rather than environmental, rationale for their renewable-energy policies—boosting a promising industry. That strategy makes no more sense here than in any other industry, where politically motivated efforts at market distortion would be rightly recognized as foolhardy.
If renewables are as economically attractive as their proponents claim, then government mandates should not be necessary to spur investment and deployment. Conversely, state policy makers do neither their consumers nor their fledgling industries any favors when they mandate the purchase of things that the market doesn’t want. A strong case exists for funding precommercial research and development in a variety of speculative technologies, renewable energy included. But that already exists and has bipartisan support at the federal level.

States can supplement such efforts in their own universities. If they are looking for other ways to act on climate, they can encourage responsible urban planning and build infrastructure that will be resilient against stronger storms and higher seas. But they should limit their empty political gestures to ones that damage neither the nation’s energy markets nor its foreign policy.


Study: Cold kills 20 times more people than heat

Cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather, and it's not the extreme low or high temperatures that cause the most deaths, according to a study published Wednesday.

The study found the majority of deaths occurred on moderately hot and moderately cold days instead of during extreme temperatures.

"Although the risk of mortality due to extremely cold or hot days is actually higher, they are less frequent," said lead author Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The study — published in the British journal The Lancet — analyzed data on more than 74 million deaths in 13 countries between 1985 and 2012. Of those, 5.4 million deaths were related to cold, while 311,000 were related to heat.

Because the study included countries under different socio-economic backgrounds and with varying climates, it was representative of temperature-related deaths worldwide, the study said. The sharp distinction between heat- and cold-related deaths is because low temperatures cause more problems for the body's cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it added.

"Public-health policies focus almost exclusively on minimizing the health consequences of heat waves," Gasparrini said. "Our findings suggest that these measures need to be refocused and extended to take account of a whole range of effects associated with temperature."

This report backs up a U.S. study last year from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that cold kills more than twice as many Americans as heat.

However, both studies contradict data from the National Weather Service, which found hot weather to be the biggest killer, followed by tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. According to the service, cold is only the eighth-leading cause of death.

The discrepancy is likely because the weather service data is not as thorough and focuses more on the weather than the number of deaths caused by it.

"The NWS' fatality and injury information is derived from a database where the primary function is to collect weather reports and any details associated with an event's impact," Brent MacAloney, NWS Storm Data Program Manager said last year. "The fatality and injury information is only supplementary."

The most recent study doesn't project what its findings could mean for the future, particularly with climate change warming much of the globe over the next century.

"Extrapolating the results of this study for this purpose would only provide speculations not based on evidence," Gasparrini said. However, he has received a grant from the United Kingdom to study that and hopes "we will answer this question soon," he said.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Thursday, November 16, 2017

UN Climate Chief tries to laugh off her call for UN ‘centralized transformation’

She wants to be bigger than Hitler

By: Marc Morano

BONN, Germany — Climate Depot’s Marc Morano conducted an exclusive sidewalk interview with former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres as she was getting into a taxi during the UN climate summit in Bonn Germany on November 13, 2017.

Morano asked her about her message to President Trump and her own calls for a UN “centralized transformation” that “is going to make life of everyone on the planet very different.”

Morano to Figueres: “What about [your call for UN] “centralized transformation.” What about people who might be afraid the UN is essentially going to be a climate central power?

Figueres: (Laughs loudly)

Morano: That is your response?

Figueres: Now that is real humor. (Continues laughing as she ends interview and gets in waiting taxi.)

See: Flashback: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres seeks ‘centralized transformation’ that is ‘going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different’ –

‘The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn’t a guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective. This is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different’


President Trump is pushing America towards energy dominance

Despite what the media is spewing, President Donald Trump is continuing his push to improve the American economy. The President made not just energy independence a priority of his campaign and now administration, but energy dominance. The President knows the U.S. has been blessed with vast quantities of energy, but the previous administration spent eight years trying to kill the energy industry and the hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs that go with it. President Trump and Secretary Zinke are taking steps to correct eight years of bureaucratic war waged against the petroleum extract industry.

An independent study conducted by Rystad Energy released in 2016 estimates the U.S. now holds more recoverable oil than both Saudi Arabia and Russia. If the report is accurate, it would be worth an estimated $50 trillion. Even if the estimates are off by half, it is still $25 trillion just waiting for U.S. firms to pull out of the ground. Unfortunately, much of that is on federal lands.

On June 29, while speaking at the Department of Energy, President Trump outlined six concrete steps his Administration is immediately taking to promote strength and innovation in America’s energy sector. The President’s sixth step was crucial, stating, “Finally, in order to unlock more energy from the 94 percent of offshore land closed to development under the previous administration, we are creating a new offshore Oil and Gas Leasing program. America will be allowed to access the vast energy wealth located right off our shores.”

The administration is living up to that promise and is taking steps to ensure American energy dominance and create high paying jobs. The Department of Interior is proposing the largest oil and gas lease sale it has ever held. Next March, 76 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico of the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It is estimated there is at least 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Gulf of Mexico that is recoverable with current technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the petroleum extraction industry almost 180,000 people in the U.S. This does not include the truck drivers that deliver the supplies. This does not include the steelworkers making the pipes and equipment needed for the industry.

These are not minimum wage jobs. Entry-level jobs in the industry “roustabouts” start between $19-21 per hour, plus significant amounts of overtime according to Rigzone. These are jobs that require no skill and can be trained onsite. Rig foreman make $150,000+, while engineers and consultants make $200,000+. People in the petroleum extract industry pay a lot of federal, state, and local taxes, increasing government revenues across the board.

Contrary to popular belief, the industry is not made up of a few large corporations. The petroleum extract industry is a small business driven industry. Because everything involved in oil and gas production is highly specialized, from personnel transportation to the gloves rig workers wear, the oil and gas sector is made up of thousands of small businesses. Exxon or Shell may lease a plot, but they hire dozens of smaller companies to test for, extract and transport the product. Those companies, in turn, hire more companies and buy products to complete their part of the operation. One offshore platform can involve dozens of companies across the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated, “In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant.”

Elected officials up and down the gulf coast are applauding the move by the administration. They know the economic benefit these jobs will bring and the millions per year in royalties. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stated, “This will strengthen our state’s status as a leader in oil and gas exploration and create good jobs for hardworking Mississippians.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey stated, “As he has done time and again, President Trump has proven to the people of Alabama that he is a man of his word, and we are grateful to him and to Secretary Ryan Zinke for their determination to open a vast tract of American waters to oil and gas exploration. This decision is not only in the best interest of all Americans, it allows Gulf Coast states, like Alabama, to utilize our natural resources not only to provide energy for our nation, but increased economic opportunities for our people.”

President Trump is continuing to push for American energy dominance. The President is getting the government out of the way of the free market, so it can put people to work in good-paying jobs. Thanks to this administration the U.S. could very well be on its way to a Golden Era of American Energy.


Globalists Want Solar Tariffs When They Bailout Obama’s Foreign Cronies

If you heard that a Chinese company, controlled by a hedge fund, based in an offshore tax haven, had teamed up with a German company funded by a Qatari wealth fund, the same people behind Al-Jeezera, the Islamic propaganda wing, in order to file a petition at the International Trade Commission (ITC), would you believe their motivation is to help the American factory worker?

That is exactly what SolarWorld and Suniva are doing as these two foreign owned entities have joined together to petition the ITC to impose tariff protections for their products on the rest of the world.

The tariffs requested by these two failed companies and their global capital backers would double the price of solar panels. More than 1000 American companies in the Solar Energy Industries Association are opposed. The two foreign solar companies survived for years only because they received subsidies and protection from Obama and now they want tariffs in order to pay off German cronies of Angela Merkel and their Islamic financiers.

Consider who’s in favor of these tariffs:

Solar World is a German company run by Jurgen Stein and owned by Frank Asbeck, a crony and frequent travel companion of German chancellor Angela Merkel.  Their most prominent investor is the Qatar Foundation, an entity of the Qatari royal family which remains funded by the government of Qatar and would ultimately receive a payout should Solar World win this case before the ITC.  The Qatari government also funds the Islamic propaganda broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Suniva is the other company asking for tariffs.  They are Chinese-owned but controlled by a hedge fund domiciled in offshore tax haven Guernsey.  They paid a lobbyist married to Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff to get them $48 million in federal taxpayer subsidies under Obama, all while using prison labor in their factory.  Then, when they went bankrupt anyway, their New York operative, Jeremiah Silkowski, wrote a letter to the Chinese offering to liquidate the Suniva plant, lay off their workers, and drop the trade case in exchange for a $55 million payoff.

These two companies are the quintessential example of how global financial interests manipulate the DC swamp to fleece the taxpayer and sell out the American factory worker.

In this case, it is the American factories that are opposed to tariffs.  Solar manufacturing jobs have grown 58 percent in the last five years and those are largely concentrated in factories in the Midwest and Deep South that make steel racking and other metal equipment using American steel.  From Youngstown, Ohio to Huntington, West Virginia and down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, there are over 50 factories producing steel equipment for the solar industry, and none of them received federal subsidies or protection.  They’ve been succeeding all on their own.

But the globalists’ trade principles are clear: when tariffs hurt foreign companies, they’re bad; when tariffs give cash to the foreign friends of Obama, Hillary, and Merkel, all of a sudden they’re just fine.  The globalists just don’t care if the American factory worker in the Midwest loses his job, so long as the foreigners don’t lose anything.

President Trump made a strong commitment to defend American companies but, in this case, the global financial interests behind two failed foreign companies are trying to get a bailout on their bad investment by manipulating U.S. trade laws for their benefit and hurting many successful American companies in the process.  President Trump shouldn’t be fooled by this three-card monte of foreign financial capital – the Germans, and Qataris, and offshore hedge funds are trying to pull one over on him.   President Trump needs to back the factory workers of Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama, and say no to tariff bailouts for foreign owned solar speculators.


American business big at Bonn conference

They see it as good PR to be there, hoping that  the Greenies will leave them alone in future

On the fringes of the ongoing global climate summit in Bonn, US leaders will once again demonstrate their commitment to the issue, with a packed agenda of film screenings, panel discussions and cocktail parties where they will highlight the country’s carbon dioxide cuts.

Unlike past years, however, the leaders are from corporate America — not the White House.

US President Donald Trump sent a bare-bones negotiating team to the two-week long climate gathering that began Monday in Germany, after pledging to withdraw from the Paris climate accord earlier in 2016. Instead of holding an array of events highlighting naturally clean energy, it scheduled a lone panel discussion on how fossil fuels fit into a low-carbon future.

But the official US presence is buttressed by an army of company executives, governors, mayors and activists who will deliver a different message. Coca-Cola, Mars and HP are planning to tout US progress in cutting emissions. A Citigroup vice-president is set to elaborate on how finance can help the world reach the Paris goals. A Berkshire Hathaway executive is scheduled to discuss how markets can drive carbon reductions.

"We’re all playing a role in moving this forward," said Nate Hurst, HP’s chief sustainability officer. "Our customers, some of which are right here alongside us on these panels, and the investment community are expecting this."

The next two weeks may reveal whether the unofficial delegation will be enough to convince leaders in Beijing, New Delhi and Brussels to continue to fight climate change — or if the scepticism in Washington spurs them to back off as well.

Business leaders from Coca-Cola, Citigroup, HP, Mars and Microsoft are set to join those from Ingersoll-Rand, Target Corporation, Johnson Controls and other companies to emphasise their climate commitments.
"When the US government is engaged in a serious way and puts some of its political capital behind this, it makes a difference," said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, which represents dozens of renewable power, natural gas and other companies. "Without that, there is a possibility of backsliding and postponing the needed action."

Many of the events are being held at a "US Climate Action Centre" — a city-block-sized pavilion next to the formal negotiation site. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Hewlett Foundation and NextGen America, founded by hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, are the top funders of the pavilion. Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

The US government has said it will continue participating in climate negotiations until the country’s expected withdrawal from the Paris agreement in 2020. But there’s no sign of the enthusiasm that previous administrations brought to the issue, much less the kind of personal involvement that former president Barack Obama brought in the run-up to the 2015 Paris agreement.

The Trump administration is taking a different approach.

At the sprawling summit site, the US government is sponsoring a panel discussion on "the clean and efficient use of fossil fuels and nuclear power", as it works to persuade other countries they can meet their climate objectives without abandoning coal and natural gas. Expected participants include representatives from Tellurian, a liquefied natural gas company, and coal-producer Peabody Energy.

Only official government representatives have a formal role in the summit’s planned negotiations over how to validate countries’ carbon-cutting claims and take stock of progress in a few years.

"The bad news is obvious, which is this administration is a bunch of climate deniers, and we will look pathetic," said Carol Browner, who was Obama’s top climate adviser.
Under secretary of state for political affairs Tom Shannon is leading the US delegation, which includes members of the state department’s climate office. State department spokesman Yoon Nam declined to provide more specifics about the size and members of the US delegation, but it’s likely to be far smaller than the contingent of 93 US government participants who were registered for last year’s summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

While the US government presence will be decidedly low-key, the unofficial representatives of the US hope to make a splash. Representatives of the "We Are Still In" coalition representing nine states, 1,780 businesses and investors, 252 cities and counties and 339 colleges will use more than a dozen events at the US pavilion to showcase their action.

Business leaders from Coca-Cola, Citigroup, HP, Mars and Microsoft are set to join those from Ingersoll-Rand, Target Corporation, Johnson Controls and other companies to emphasise their climate commitments. The US chamber of commerce is hosting an event on the role businesses play facilitating dialogue on climate. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy plans to describe how clean-energy technology can be deployed globally to help satisfy carbon-cutting goals.

For companies, it’s good PR to make climate commitments and be present in Bonn. It’s also a matter of managing risks that they recognise as real, even as the science of climate change is still debated in Washington.

"Real things are happening in the real world, and that’s where our supply chains operate, that’s where our factories operate and that’s where our customers live," said Kevin Rabinovitch, global sustainability director with Mars. "It’s critically important to us to tackle some of these issues, to manage risks to our supply chain and to capture some of the opportunities that exist in this space."

Local political leaders are also trying to emphasize their role.

"The world needs to know that Donald Trump cannot stop us," said Washington state governor Jay Inslee. The rest of the world needs to realise "they’ve got good partners here and their efforts will not be in vain".

Trump is rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations seen as helping satisfy the US Paris agreement pledge to pare greenhouse gas emissions to between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. But he doesn’t have the authority to stop state-level policies, such as Washington state’s cap on carbon pollution or its initiatives supporting clean energy research and development, Inslee said.

Federal policy and regulations are important to ensure action by all states — even those with political leaders who are sceptical of climate science and eager to support coal.

Even as it rescinds regulations, Trump’s team has a positive story to tell. US emissions are declining, driven by state mandates for renewable electricity, cities and companies committing to 100% green power, and utilities switching from coal to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. The US is already halfway to the 26% goal Obama set out.

"The bad news is obvious, which is this administration is a bunch of climate deniers, and we will look pathetic," said Carol Browner, who was Obama’s top climate adviser. "The good news is a lot of the countries that are providing leadership on this issue know that all of these things are going on, and they see that there is another America."


The COP Ritual: Frustration Shows Up As Bonn Climate Summit Is Deadlocked Again

Developing countries are demanding money in addition to the $100 billion developed nations have promised to provide every year from 2020.

With more than half the schedule of climate change conference already over, frustration was beginning to show at the lack of progress on any of the key issues under discussion, including the issues of finance, loss and damage, and ‘pre-2020 actions’. Developing country negotiators lamented the fact that the United States, which has decided to pull out the Paris Agreement, was continuing to block any meaningful breakthrough on these issues and that other developed countries were not helping matters either.

“Other developed countries are hiding behind the United States on loss and damage and finance issues. And, I think they need to be called out on this. They need to be asked whether they would side with (US President) Donald Trump or with the vulnerable countries of the world and meet their responsibilities,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, echoing what many country negotiators were saying off the record.

A demand from the developing countries, asking for inclusion of ‘pre-2020 actions’ — a reference mainly to the obligations of the developed countries under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that has still three years to run — in the official agenda of the negotiations has still not been decided on, despite the expiry of two deadlines. The matter was to be decided on Saturday and then on Monday, but till evening on Monday consultations with various country groups was still continuing.

“Informal meetings (on ‘pre-2020 actions’) have been happening throughout the day. I am not sure whether there will be an outcome in the form of any decision by the end of the day today. Things are moving slowly, and there is hardly any significant progress on any important issue till now. But this is not the first time this is happening. We have seen such things at previous conferences as well. There are still four days to go and a lot happens on the last days,” an Indian negotiator said.

One major disappointment has been over the lack of any headway on issues related to finance, particularly that meant for loss and damages. Developing countries, especially the smaller island nations which also happen to be the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, have been demanding the setting up of mechanisms through which then can access financial help in the event of destruction caused by extreme weather events. This financial help needs to be in addition to the US$ 100 billion that the developed countries are obligated to provide every year from 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change.

One of the options being discussed is to raise money through taxes on fossil fuel industry. “Countries are looking for money that is additional to the US$ 100 billion, because loss and damage is additional to the mitigation and adaptation needs. The US$ 100 billion was agreed upon long before the issue of loss and damages became part of discussions at these negotiations. The kind of money we are looking at … has to come by levying taxes on fossil fuel industry that has caused climate change in the first place,” Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead at Christian Aid, said.

But the developed countries, mainly the US, have not been quite agreed to look at this, suggesting instead that insurance might be a good way to deal with the problem. “On loss and damage and finance, they (the US) have been taking a pretty hard line and that has started to cause some real anger,” Meyers said.

Even on the US$ 100 billion commitment, the demand that developed countries spell out the roadmap and enhance the proportion of public finance in their contributions, has largely been stonewalled. “Developed countries have not come prepared to put any new money on the table or make new pledges. So we are not expecting any strong outcome on this. The best we can hope for, we think, is to get some assurance that next year they will demonstrate stronger commitment,” Tracy Carty of Oxfam said.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Catastrophic warning about the fate of humanity is given by 15,000 scientists who claim human destruction of the natural world will lead to 'misery' and an 'irretrievably mutilated' planet

Utter nonsense, as we expect from Greenies.  Nothing significant happened in response to their earlier prophecy of doom.  So what did they do?  Apologize?  No way!  They just issued a new and more lurid warning.  When they get ANY prophecy right will be the time to take notice of them. There have been many warnings of doom over the last thousand years but, despite them all, life has steadily got better for mankind

That various species have decreased in numbers may be true, though species counts are notoriously unreliable.  But that is what you expect from species competition.  Introduced species either eat or outcompete native species in what is essentially accelerated evolution.

And the most invasive species of all -- mankind -- also outcompetes other species for land and other resources.  Greenies see that as deplorable but that very success is the foundation of the better lives we live today.  You can't pretend it is bad for us.

And not all species are equally affected.  Species that can coexist with mankind are having a rare old time. Never have rodents had it so good! And trees are included in that.  The alarmists deplore the number of trees being cut down but "forget" to mention the expansion of woodlands in the USA and other technologically advanced countries

And many of their other claims are also tendentious. Global warming has been trivial over the last century and there is still no good evidence that mankind is responsible it.  And the increase in CO2 has been beneficial rather than detrimental.  It has greatly greened the planet, with desert areas like the Sahel shrinking

And the population trend is up only in poor countries. In advanced countries it is down. If Greenies would stop obstructing development, much of the third world could advance to Western standards of living and the consequent birthrates.

I could go on and fisk the whole thing but I have no inclination to clean out the Augean stables.

In sum, the "warning" below is just an assemblage of all the old and ill-founded Greenie scares.  As such, it is totally worthless

A prophetic 'warning to humanity' giving notice of perils facing the Earth has been issued by more than 15,000 scientists from around the world.

Climate change, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and uncontrolled human population growth are all threatening mankind's and the Earth's future.

The letter, originally written in 1992 argued human impacts on the natural world were likely to lead to 'vast human misery' and a planet that was 'irretrievably mutilated'.

But a quarter of a century since a majority of the world's living Nobel Laureates united to sign a warning letter about the Earth, scientists argued too little was being done.

They pointed out that in the past 25 years:

- The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26 per cent.

- The number of ocean 'dead zones' - places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation - has increased by 75 per cent.

- Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.

- Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.

- Human population has risen by 35 per cent.

- Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29 per cent.

The message, posted online, updates an original Warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists and around 1,700 signatories delivered in 1992.

In the second warning letter to the globe, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries said humans had 'unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century'.

People should eat less meat, have fewer kids, consume less and use green energy to save the planet, the world's leading scientists urged.

'We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats', it said.

'By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.'

But now it required the public to pressure their political leaders to take more decisive action.

This could include more nature and marine reserves, tougher laws to stamp out poaching and trade in wildlife, better family planning and educational programmes, more vegetarianism and less food waste, and massively adopting renewable energy and other 'green' technologies.

Professor William Ripple at Oregon State University said: 'Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist.

'Scientists are in the business of analysing data and looking at the long-term consequences.

He said that those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm.

'They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path', Dr Ripple said.

'We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.'

The article 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice' notes 25 negative global trends.


Another declaration that ignores the evidence

This time it is the "2017 Global Carbon Budget".  All the factual statements below are true but all the interpretations are wrong.  CO2 levels DO NOT MATTER.  They don't cause warming.  In 2017 their levels are higher than ever but at the same time the planet is COOLING -- the exact opposite of the rule believed below.  Don't believe me?  Here are the numbers again:  The CO2 figures are here (see column 4) and the temperatures are here.

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry have renewed their climb after a three-year pause, driven higher by quickening economic growth and the failure to find alternatives particularly to oil, international researchers say.

Carbon emissions will rise 2 per cent in 2017 to almost 37 billion tonnes as the world economy heads for 3.6 per cent annual growth. Total emissions, including from land clearing, push that tally to 41 billion tonnes.

A slightly faster pace of GDP expansion in 2018 will also send emissions from industry and fossil fuel combustion higher for at least another year, according to the 2017 Global Carbon Budget.

"This year's carbon budget news is a step back for humankind," said Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth, a sponsor of the report.


Australia's lush street trees face grave threat if emissions keep rising (?)

How strange that a group called the "Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub" found a problem!  Could they have done otherwise?  It's all arrant nonsense anyway. Plants generally like warmth.  A popular street tree in Brisbane is the colourful Croton.  But it only grows to shrub height here.  In Darwin, where the climate is much hotter, it grows to tree height.  And even in Sydney cumquat trees are planted as an ornamental shrub.  But in far North Queensland they grow to tree height. Warmth is more likely to make the trees BIGGER.

And they have overlooked something that flows from their own Greenie theories.  What they are warning against is a CO2-caused temperature rise.  But elevated levels of CO2 have a fertilizing effect, and can cause plants to colonize places where they were not previously found -- as has happened in the Sahel.  So in the unlikely possibility that a couple of degrees of warmth were bad for some tree, the higher levels of CO2 could well counteract that.  But they have completely ignored that factor.  So the assumption below that present distribution is also a distribution limit is very shaky.  It's a typically one-sided Green/Left document below

Much-loved leafy streets and shady parks in Sydney and Melbourne are in jeopardy, according to new research that found climate change severely threatens the health of more than one-third of tree species in Australia's cities.

The federally funded study of 1.5 million trees in 29 council areas across Australia found that higher temperatures and urban heat means new tree species may be introduced, existing trees must be given special care and some trees may disappear in certain locations.

More than four in 10 houses in Australia's capital cities have a street tree.

Trees can greatly affect people's experience of a city - providing shade, places for recreation and a sense of place and heritage. They also cool the city, capture rain, slow stormwater and provide habitat for birds and other animals.

But the study found 24 per cent of all public trees, or 35 per cent of tree species, were at high risk from increased temperatures under a business-as-usual scenario in which emissions continue to increase to 2070.

Some 14 per cent of all public trees, or 22 per cent of tree species, were at high risk of increased temperatures if emissions were limited, in line with international commitments, in the years to 2040.

Trees were deemed at high risk when predicted temperatures were warmer than 97.5 per cent of locations where the species is found – making them particularly susceptible to drought, physiological stress and pest and disease outbreaks.

In the City of Sydney, 50 per cent of trees were at high risk under a business-as-usual scenario. They included brush box, rose gums, grey oaks and several eucalypt species.

In the Sydney council area formerly known as Marrickville, now part of the Inner West Council, a business-as-usual scenario put 40 per cent of trees at high risk, including casuarina she-oaks, black locusts and several eucalyptus species.

Some 32 per cent of trees were at high risk under business-as-usual in the City of Melbourne. They included rose apples and several species of elms, oaks and eucalypts.

Melbourne's inner north City of Moreland would see 26 per cent of trees at high risk under a business-as-usual scenario, such as purple-leafed plums, prairie crabapples and the narrow-leaved ash.

Darwin had the highest proportion of trees – 85 per cent - most at high risk if emission levels rose to 2070, while Ballarat had just 1 per cent at high risk.

Risks to trees were posed by both rising global temperatures and the urban "heat island" effect, where localised warming occurs due to dark-coloured and paved surfaces, buildings and the emission of heat from human activities.

The study was conducted by the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub, a consortium of four universities funded by the Department of Environment and Energy.

It said "changes to the composition and the traits of the urban forest will lead to changes in the sense of place and identity of cities."

"Many cities in south-eastern Australia have a strong European colonial heritage expressed in their many broad-leaved deciduous trees that is likely to change under future climates," it said.

Conversely, local native trees helped create unique city identities and connections to natural heritage and traditional Indigenous ownership.


Endocrine Disruption is a Medieval Spell in the Hands of Environmentalists

By Rich Kozlovich

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is back on the endocrine disruption (ED) bandwagon and it's important we understand the history of this issue in order to make sure more "new" science on ED's isn't being made up as was the "old" science on ED's. Truth is the sublime convergence of history and reality - unless you're the EPA - then truth is meaningless. We need to get that.

In chapter one of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring she talks about some community where "a strange blight" crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community".

Then she claims there were all sorts of maladies sickening and even killing the sheep, chickens, cattle, unexplained deaths among children and adults who would suddenly sicken and die....and the birds disappeared....and the people had done it to themselves. There was only one problem with this story. That town didn't exist! She even says it doesn't exist! Then goes on to claim some of these things are happening in a lot of communities - somewhere. Yet she conveniently fails to give a name to even one of those cities or towns. Why? Because these communities didn't exist!

Reality and green speculatory scare mongering rarely have anything in common, and time is the great leveler of truth. As the cancer scare was running out of steam, environmentalists needed a new voodoo scare. Endocrine disruption was just the thing. The National Academy of Science more accurately refers to them as hormonally active agents" (HAAs), a term that's bound to generate anxiety.

A 1996 book called Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?--A Scientific Detective Story, caught the public's attention, especially when they called these chemical "environmental estrogens".........[that] disrupted normal hormonal processes, even at low exposure levels generally accepted as safe." According to the book mankind's future was in serious jeopardy because ED' s were going to impact our fertility, intelligence, cause attention deficit disorder and even jeopardize our survival.

According to Geoffrey C. Kabat in his book Getting Risk Right, "hormones are chemical messengers secreted by ductless glands and travel through the blood stream to affect distant organs. Hormones play a role in orchestrating the body's growth, maintaining physiologic balance, and sexual functioning and development." "Once secreted a hormone must be transported via the blood stream to the target organ by a carrier protein. Once ether it binds to a receptor and the hormone-reception unit binds to a specific region of a cell's DNA to activate particular genes."

As Michael Fumento noted in his paper " Hormonally Challenged": "Virtually any real or possible human or animal health problem may be blamed on these chemicals, including cancer, birth defects, falling sperm counts, lesbian seagulls (giving rise to the term "gender benders" for HAAs), and alligators with shrunken members", impacting all life like some medieval witch's spell in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale instead of science.

In comes Steven F. Arnold of the Tulane University Center for Bioenvironmental Research who along with his gang published a study in June of 1996 "claiming that combinations of pesticides and PCBs were up to 1,000 times more potent as endocrine disruptors than the individual chemicals alone."

Carol Browner - head of EPA at the time - declared: "The new study is the strongest evidence to date that combinations of estrogenic chemicals may be potent enough to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, birth defects and other major health concerns." She went on to say: "I was astounded by the findings. Dr. Lynn Goldman, EPA pesticide chief, claimed "I just can't remember a time where I've seen data so persuasive … The results are very clean looking."

But time - the great leveler of truth - once again came into play. According the journal Science, Arnold was found to have "committed scientific misconduct by intentionally falsifying the research results published in the journal Science and by providing falsified and fabricated materials to investigating officials." It was also found "there is no original data or other corroborating evidence to support the research results and conclusions reported in the Science paper as a whole."

Steve Milloy noted: "by August 1997, Arnold was forced to retract his study from publication. His retraction stated, "We … have not been able to reproduce the results we reported." He later added, "I can't really explain the original findings."'

Six months after the Food Quality Protection Act was enacted (which required the EPA to identify chemicals which were HAA's) it was reported there wasn't a lab anywhere in the world that could replicate the Tulane study, and it was then formally withdrawn. Now we know why — he cheated. The penalty imposed on Arnold was a five-year ban from federal grants. Although a lifetime ban and perhaps even criminal prosecution would have been more appropriate — after all, he was found guilty of "intentionally falsifying" taxpayer-funded research".

He wasn't alone by the way, there's hermaphrodite frog study and the small phallus alligator study, but space makes it impossible to discuss them all.

Yet the endocrine disruption component of the FQPA remains requiring the EPA to identify chemicals which are considered HAA's. In 2001 they were spending 10 million dollars a year attempting to meet that requirement. But they've had trouble declaring chemicals as HAA’s. Why?

Well there's that time as the great leveler of truth problem.

I've followed this issue from the beginning and I knew the problem they were having was - and still is - separating the ED potential of synthetic chemicals versus those which are naturally occurring. And that's the rub.

In his book The Really Inconvenient Truths Iain Murray states:
"The entire theory that industrialization is causing severe endocrine disruption falls completely apart when exposures to naturally occurring endocrine modulators are taken into account. Plants naturally produce endocrine modulators called "phytoestrogens" to which human being are expose at levels that are thousands and sometimes millions of time higher than those of synthetic chemicals. Humans consume these chemicals every day without adverse effects some even contend these chemicals promote good health."

He goes on to say

"Laboratory experiments have shown that there are so-called "endocrine disruptors" present in forty-three different foods common in the human diet, including corn, garlic, pineapple, potatoes, and wheat. Most amusingly, soybean, that product so beloved by liberal environmentalists, is a particularly potent source of phytoestrogens"....."it appears that on average human beings consume just over 100 micrograms of estrogen equivalents a day from natural sources. Compare that to the amount of industrial chemical amount of 2.5 micrograms."

He also notes:

"As it turns out phytoestrogens are actually much more potent than the chemicals that act like estrogens. Our friend DDT, for instance, has a relative potency to natural estrogen of 0.000001, meaning it takes one million molecules to have the same impact of one molecule of real estrogen."

And what is the most potent ED the public is exposed to? Oral contraceptives! And that number is massive. Oral contraceptives are the most potent ED in the nation's waterways today. But EPA only screen and test pesticide chemicals, commercial chemicals and environmental contaminants because they claim pharmaceutical regulation is a Food and Drug Administration concern. That's an easy way for the EPA to avoid facing the fact if they "compared contraceptives and phytoestrogens these two sources would dwarf the impact of pesticides."

Solution? Repeal or seriously revise the Food Quality Protection Act, which has nothing to do with food, protection or quality. But it has had a great deal to do with creating the national bed bug plague.    And that really is a Medieval Spell!


Geochemist Says Oil Fields May Be Refilled Naturally

Abiotic oil, anyone?

COULD it be that many of the world's oil fields are refilling themselves at nearly the same rate they are being drained by an energy-hungry world?

A geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts says she believes that hitherto undetected gas and oil reservoirs lying at very great depths within the earth's crust could stave off the inevitable oil depletion much longer than many experts have estimated.

The scientist, Dr. Jean K. Whelan, whose research is part of a $2 million Department of Energy exploration program in the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans, has found evidence of differences in the composition of oil over periods of time as it flows from greater to shallower depths. By gauging degradative chemical changes in the oil resulting from action by oil-eating bacteria, she infers that oil is moving in quite rapid spurts from great depths to reservoirs closer to the surface.

Skeptics of Dr. Whelan's hypothesis acknowledge that oil is almost certainly flowing into certain reservoirs from somewhere, but say her explanation remains to be proved, as does the exact extent of the phenomenon.

A site in the gulf of particular interest to the Pennzoil Exploration and Production Company and several independent scientific teams, including Dr. Whelan's group, is Eugene Island Block 330, which is not an island but a patch of sea floor 700 feet beneath the water's surface. Discovered in 1972, an oil reservoir some 6,000 feet beneath Eugene Island 330 is one of the world's most productive oil sources; it has yielded more than one billion barrels, or 42 billion gallons, and is still going strong.

But Eugene Island 330 is remarkable for another reason: Its estimated reserves have declined much less than experts had predicted on the basis of its production rate.

Dr. Whelan's somewhat controversial hypothesis is a possible explanation.

Although the reservoir from which Pennzoil is pumping oil was formed at the time of the Pleistocene epoch less than two million years ago, oil now being recovered from the reservoir has a chemical signature characteristic of the Jurassic period, which ended more than 150 million years ago, Dr. Whelan said. The implication, she believes, is that highly pressurized oil from lower levels of "stacked" reservoirs is frequently breaking through geological barriers and "burping" upward, eventually reaching the reservoir from which oil is being pumped. The source of the pressurized gas Dr. Whelan believes to be powering the process is a bed of Jurassic period "source rocks," more than 30,000 feet deep, which are rich in very hot hydrocarbons.

Oil created during the Jurassic period from the decayed bodies of plants and animals that lived during the age of dinosaurs would initially have been a liquid, but in some cases, geological processes are believed to have gradually dragged oil reservoirs downward to great depths, where pressures are enormous and temperatures are greater than 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Under these conditions, oil is "cooked," decomposing into hydrocarbon gases consisting mainly of methane.

The methane, however, cannot exist in its normal gaseous form at such pressures and temperatures, but is transformed into a "supercritical fluid" -- neither a gas nor a liquid but something in between. Large amounts of oil can be dissolved in supercritical methane, and the oil-and-methane mixture is probably capable of flowing upward from deep reservoirs through faults, cracks and geological "plumbing" to higher reservoirs. At the higher levels where temperatures and pressures are lower, methane can no longer remain in its supercritical state, and the mixture of gas and oil separates into its respective components.

"It could be," Dr. Whelan said, "that at some sites, particularly where there is a lot of faulting in the rock, a reservoir from which oil is being pumped might be a steady-state system -- one that is replenished by deeper reserves as fast as oil is pumped out." Extensive fault systems like those along the California coast might offer such a geological environment, she said.

The discovery that oil seepage is continuous and extensive from many ocean vents lying above fault zones has convinced many scientists that oil is making its way up through the faults from much deeper deposits. Faulting associated with such seepage is common along the Pacific Coast, in parts of the North Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, among other areas, Dr. Whelan said.

The amounts and types of hydrocarbons lying at great depths are highly uncertain, because oil companies have had little incentive to sink exploratory wells to depths of 20,000 feet or greater. The cost of drilling increases exponentially with depth, and there are still ample supplies of oil in relatively shallow reservoirs.

Dr. K. K. Bissada, a geochemist at Texaco Inc. in Houston, is doubtful that a true steady state exists in reservoirs that seem to be refilling themselves.

"I think we pump oil out much faster than oil can come in," he said. "But from a long-term perspective, I believe that hydrocarbons are coming in from great depths and are filling the newer reservoirs at shallower depths.

"It's impossible to put a number on the rate at which this goes on," Dr. Bissada said, "but I could imagine that this kind of stacked reservoir system, with favorable geologic plumbing between the reservoirs, might refill the upper reservoirs in, say, 10 or 20 years. If we were to go back to some old oil field that had been abandoned 50 years ago, we might drill a test well, and we might find fresh oil. The trouble is that that kind of experiment is too expensive in the present economic climate."

A recent report from the Department of Energy Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development concluded from the Woods Hole project that "these new data and interpretations strongly suggest that the oil and gas in the Eugene Island field could be treated as a steady-state rather than a fixed resource."

The report added, "Preliminary analysis also suggests that similar phenomena may be taking place in other producing areas, including the deep-water Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan North Slope."

Dr. Thomas Ahlbrandt, chief of the United States Geological Survey's Petroleum Geology Branch in Denver, is among many skeptics who believe that the Woods Hole hypothesis has not been demonstrated, although experts appear to agree that an increase in estimated reserves is occurring at many sites.

"I have the impression that although the people who drilled at Eugene Island encountered a fault plane," Dr. Ahlbrandt said, "they did not find oil coming up through it. On the other hand, drilling is a high-risk proposition, and the fact that it didn't produce oil doesn't necessarily make the hypothesis wrong."

There is much evidence that deep reserves of hydrocarbon fuels remain to be tapped. A recent estimate by the Geological Survey of "conventional" oil resources within the 48 states and state waters offshore has doubled America's estimated oil reserves since the last estimate was prepared in 1989. Dr. Ahlbrandt said that the estimate of continental American oil resources was 60 billion barrels, up from 30 billion in 1989.

But Dr. Ahlbrandt hastens to add that this does not mean that prospectors are finding large new oil fields; it means that "people are becoming more clever at finding and extracting hydrocarbons from previously overlooked resources."

This results from a trend oil experts call "field growth."

In some cases, he said, an oil company may discover an oil field, pump it almost dry, and then, using new seismic techniques that produce three-dimensional images of the fine details of deep geological structures, discover that an unsuspected and untapped extension of the field exists in some new direction.

In other cases, Dr. Ahlbrandt said, prospectors may find new reservoirs by drilling beneath old ones, penetrating salt barriers that had obstructed seismic probes. Finally, oil companies sometimes unknowingly drill right through oil-rich deposits on their way to reservoirs they had identified at greater depths. From such drill holes, oil is sometimes discovered simply by piercing the drill casing with a few holes at relatively shallow depths and analyzing the fluid that flows into the pipe.

But petroleum experts agree that no one has more than a vague notion of how much gas and oil remain in the world, or how long it will last.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here