Monthly Archives: September 2011

EPA don’t follow their own guidelines, so why should anyone else?

EPA Rules … and how they don’t follow their own
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Most folks would not be surprised if I were to make the claim that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not properly consider the science when it issued its “Endangerment Finding” saying that CO2 was a pollutant and a danger to humanity. It is that scientifically unsupported finding that allows them to regulate CO2. (WUWT)

Flashback: Steve McIntyre on EPA Endangerment Finding
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Bishop Hill: Ain’t no science at the RSE

Ain’t no science at the RSE
Sep 29, 2011

I’m grateful to Messenger for pointing me to this excerpt from the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Facing up to Climate Change report. This is the winning entry for the schools’ climate change poster competition, held as part of the project. Why such a competition would be felt necessary by a learned society is beyond me, but here, such as it is, is what the combined eminences of the society felt we need to be doing to face up to climate change…

(Bishop Hill)

Roger Pielke Sr.: Can Climate Model Predictions Be Tested And Rejected As Providing Skillful Predictions? Of Course!

Can Climate Model Predictions Be Tested And Rejected As Providing Skillful Predictions? Of Course!

As usual Judy Curry has a very informative weblog post

Climate models as ink blots

In it, she writes the following

“What exactly does falsification of a prediction mean?  For an ensemble prediction, the prediction is said to have no skill if the actual realization falls outside of the bounding box of the ensembles (or whatever skill score for whatever variable has been decided in advance). A prediction with no skill does not imply falsification or rejection of a model. Falsification of a climate model is precluded by the complexity of a climate model”

I agree with her that one cannot falsify models. However, one can falsify model predictions. With respect to climate, multi-decadal model predictions can be falsified as models themselves are hypotheses and can be tested. They are, after all, engineering code, as large parts of the physics, chemistry and biology are parametrized using tunable parameters. Only the dynamic core of these models (i.e. advection, the pressure gradient force, gravity) are expressed in terms of fundamental physics.

Thus, while models cannot be verified, they can be rejected (i.e. those that fall outside of a selected envelope around the observations). Climate models are just hypotheses like any other hypothesis and need to be tested against real world data. (Roger Pielke Sr.)

Hmm… they’ve discovered the Asian Brown Cloud (basically from biomass burning, btw) affects ISMR

Aerosol particles dry out South Asian monsoons: study

Summer monsoons that provide up to 80 percent of the water South Asia needs have gotten drier in the past half century, possibly due to aerosol particles spewed by burning fossil fuels, climate scientists said on Thursday.

Monsoon rains are driven by looping air circulation patterns over India, and the aerosols appear to have interfered with these patterns, researchers reported in the journal Science.

Between 1950 and 1999, the drying was most pronounced in central-northern India, with a 10 percent drop in average June-September rainfall, the researchers said. The rest of India experienced a decrease of about 5 percent over the same period, they added.

This does not seem to be a direct consequence of greenhouse gas emissions, even though the burning of fossil fuels and biomass that produces the aerosol particles also emits climate-warming carbon dioxide, the researchers said. (Reuters)

Ocean Acidification — a little bit less alkalinity could be a good thing

Ocean Acidification — a little bit less alkalinity could be a good thing

In Brief: The oceans are not acidic, and will not become acidic in the foreseeable future. Many of the fears and alarming scenarios are based on models. Many scary headlines are based on studies of extreme pH values beyond the range of anything realistic.

Incredibly, hundreds of studies show that for pH changes that we are likely to encounter in the next 100 years, there is arguably a net benefit to underwater life if the oceans became a little less alkaline. (Jo Nova)

Cold-blooded critters move better when they’re warmer so that’s really dangerous for them, or something – more virtual world fantasizing

Climate change will show which animals can take the heat

ROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Species’ ability to overcome adversity goes beyond Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Climate change has made sure of that. In a new study based on simulations examining species and their projected range, researchers at Brown University argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn’t a simple matter of being able to travel a long way. It’s the extent to which the creatures can withstand rapid fluctuations in climate along the way that will determine whether they complete the journey.

In a paper in Ecology Letters, Regan Early and Dov Sax examined the projected “climate paths” of 15 amphibians in the western United States to the year 2100. Using well-known climate forecasting models to extrapolate decades-long changes for specific locations, the researchers determined that more than half of the species would become extinct or endangered. The reason, they find, is that the climate undergoes swings in temperature that can trap species at different points in their travels. It’s the severity or duration of those climate swings, coupled with the given creature’s persistence, that determines their fate. (EurekAlert)

Major fraud wins Californian case

Cap and trade wins California Supreme Court ruling
Bob Egelko

Over some environmentalists’ objections, the state Supreme Court voted Wednesday to let California air-quality regulators go ahead with a market-oriented cap-and-trade system of pollution credits to combat global warming while appealing a judge’s order to look harder at alternatives.

The order came in a case that has divided mainstream environmental groups, which support cap and trade, and antipoverty “environmental justice” organizations, which argue that the market approach exposes poor and minority communities to more pollution. (SF Chronicle)

Carbon scheme ‘open to fraud’
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A Bird-Brained Prosecution (Persecution?)

Indicting oil and gas companies but giving wind turbines a pass.

The Obama Administration’s hostility to oil and gas exploration is well known, but last week it took an especially fowl turn. The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota hauled seven oil and natural gas companies into federal court for killing 28 migratory birds that were found dead near oil waste lagoons. You may not be surprised to learn that the Administration isn’t prosecuting wind companies for similar offenses.

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Major development failure, brought to you by humungous government

No Drilling, No Jobs, No Money
Nicolas Loris

The Obama Administration lifted the moratorium on new permits and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but the same problem persists as it has for over a year now. There’s not a whole lot going on down there. (The Foundry)

Just because you are too dumb to exploit the resource yourself doesn’t mean you can stop others from doing so

Lawmakers warn oil company to abandon Cuban drilling plans
By Ben Geman

A bipartisan group of 34 House members is pressuring Spanish oil giant Repsol to abandon its plans to drill in deep waters off Cuba’s northern coast, warning that the company could face liability in U.S. courts.

Their letter to Repsol — which warns that its plans will “provide direct financial benefit to the Castro dictatorship” — joins existing concerns about the environmental risk of spills in the waters 60 miles from Florida’s coast. (E2 Wire)

Needed oil infrastructure just might go ahead

Enbridge, Enterprise plan biggest Cushing-Gulf line

Enterprise Products Partners and erstwhile rival Enbridge Inc have joined forces to reenter the race to ship oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast from the oversupplied Midwest with plans for the most ambitious pipeline in the region yet.

The companies said on Thursday they plan to build an 800,000 barrel per day pipeline, called Wrangler, to the Houston and Port Arthur refining hubs from Cushing, Oklahoma, for about $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Both have scrapped separate projects over the past two months.

The line, to start up in mid-2013 pending regulatory approvals and sufficient customer commitments, would be the largest of a series of planned lines that will help Canadian and U.S. producers get their crude to the premium Gulf Coast market, easing a glut of oil that has depressed prices in the midcontinental United States. (Reuters)

Fish (heart) oil platforms

North Sea platforms are fish magnets: researcher

Oil platforms in the North Sea are attracting more cod and haddock than previously thought and wind farm installations could be designed with reefs in mind to help attract fish.

Scientists have long been aware of the “reef effect” whereby artificial structures in the sea act as havens for fish, but a two year study by Aberdeen University academic Toyonobu Fujii has found structures in the sea attract more fish than previously thought. (Reuters)

Unconventional resources and why opportunities should be seized

Shale Oil Revolution: Could Israel Be Another Middle East Oil Giant?
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:58 Daniel Estrin, BBc News

Prospectors in Israel say hundreds of feet below the ground lies shale rock that can be converted into billions of barrels of oil. But environmentalists say it’s a disaster waiting to happen. (GWPF)

Gassing Up: Why America’s Future Job Growth Lies In Traditional Energy Industries
Thursday, 29 September 2011 08:05 Joel Kotkin, Forbes

In his new book, The Coming Jobs War, Gallup CEO James Clifton defines what he calls an “all-out global war for good jobs.” Clifton envisions a world-wide struggle for new, steady employment, with the looming threat of “suffering, instability, chaos and eventually revolution” for those who fail to secure new economic opportunities. (GWPF)

No, no. It’s too hard to extract and um, it’s probably not there anyway

What the frack?
Shale gas will not solve Britain’s energy problems
Oct 1st 2011

HAS Britain hit the jackpot in Blackpool? On September 21st Cuadrilla Resources, the first firm to drill for shale gas in the country, estimated that 200 trillion cubic feet of gas lie in an area near the seaside town in northwest England—nearly 40 times previous projections of all of Britain’s shale resources and, in theory, four times as much gas as is still recoverable from the North Sea, according to Oil & Gas UK, a lobby group. Cuadrilla hopes to drill 400 wells in Lancashire in the next decade.

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Must not allow cheap abundant energy

Green Panic: Brussels Desperate To Block Shale Revolution
Thursday, 29 September 2011 07:32 Nick Grealy, No Hot Air

Some people will be leaping on this story:

BRUSSELS—Oversights in REACH registration dossiers could mean the use of hazardous chemicals in hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas is technically illegal in the European Union, the European Commission told BNA Sept. 27.

Commission environment spokesman Joe Hennon said the Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) had examined REACH registration dossiers “for a selected number of chemical substances having a high probability to be used in shale gas operations,” and had found no instances of chemical safety assessments mentioning exposure scenarios related to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

We can see the headlines: Frackers use illegal chemicals. Of course this is simply an over eager group of pedants, whose priority may be as more to self-preservation than public protection. Let’s look at the case of one of the chemicals Cuadrilla Resources uses in the UK: (GWPF)

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