Monday, 20 December 2010

The Week That Was:

2010-12-18 (December 18, 2010)
Brought to You by SEPP (
The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW, including the full text of the articles, can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site:

Please forward this Newsletter to those interested in Science and Environmental Policy. Thank you. Forward.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no TWTW on December 25, 2010 - Christmas Day
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Fred Singer will be traveling again, this time to Southern California. His tentative schedule for the first and second week of January includes stops at JPL, Cal Tech, UCLA, Chapman U., UC-I, and Scripps Oceanographic Institute. For possible lectures open to the public, please contact
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Quote of the Week: "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles MacKay (1814-1889), Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds [H/t John M. Saul]
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Number of the Week: 2 raised to the third power equals 8
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By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
After the usual, last minute, frantic, late-night negotiations, the 16th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ended in Cancun, Mexico, last Saturday, December 11, with the typical announcement that a deal was agreed upon. Some news agencies, such as BBC, thought the deal important, others such as the New York Times thought it less so. The NY Times carried the article on the closing on page A 16, and did not have an editorial on the deal until December 16.

The agreement contained the usual provisions that the endless talks and meetings will continue to next year when a "real deal" can be reached at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. The current deal sets up a mechanism whereby developed nations will provide payments to developing countries. These payments are scheduled to go up to $100 Billion per year by 2020. Fred Singer puts it best - this would be a transfer of wealth from the poor in rich countries to the rich in poor countries.

Since there are no guarantees as to which countries will make such payments, in 2011 a real sense of urgency will strike the leaders of countries expecting such payments. As Japan pointed out in its position, the Kyoto Protocol that provides the justification for these endless meetings and proposed payments has a provision that none of the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol are obligated by it after 2012. Thus, the original signatories have no obligation to meet the emission restrictions they had agreed upon, much less make compensation payments to developing nations.

Perhaps the greatest heat the globe will experience in 2011 will come from those who insist that nations must continue "the process." Please see the articles under "On to Cancun" that were selected from sources generally considered to support the concept of human-caused global warming.
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Appropriately for the Cancun conference, Jim Hansen of NASA-GISS announced 2010 was the "hottest year on record." Hansen's year was a meteorological year that ended on November 30, but was compared with the calendar year for 2005 (not quite apples to apples) and, of course, based on NASA-GISS surface records. (SEPP questions the use of NASA-GISS surface records since they have been modified so many times that they greatly differ from the available raw data.)

Consulting Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo immediately rebutted Hansen's claims. In his rebuttal, D'Aleo produced a chart comparing the historic temperatures prior to 1980, as stated by NASA-GISS in 1980, with the historic temperatures as stated by NASA-GISS 2010. The difference is telling. Please see referenced articles under "Extreme Weather."
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The viability of wind power to provide electricity in developed nations with a well established grid is becoming an issue even among its traditional media supporters. The New York Times ran a two-part series on wind power bringing up some serious issues A third article raised the issue of increased dependence on China for rare earths that are required for the magnets in wind turbines as well as for other high tech uses.

Carefully read, the first article describes how China came to dominate the manufacture of wind turbines. China invited Western wind turbine companies to the country with a promise of virtually unlimited opportunity. Then, ignoring World Trade Organization rules, China required that these companies purchase parts locally. Obligingly, the Western turbine manufacturers taught Chinese suppliers their technology. Then China gave preference to Chinese turbine manufacturers who bought from Chinese suppliers at lower costs than available to Western companies located in China buying from the same Chinese suppliers. Through this procedure, China established the largest manufacturing capability for wind turbines in the world, and Western companies are being forced to close their manufacturing capability in Europe. Economists may describe such government actions as Mercantilism or those of a profit-maximizing monopolist.

Now that China has the largest wind turbine manufacturing capability in the world, according to the NYT, China is significantly cutting back on its installation of wind power, claiming it does not have the grid capacity to handle it.

Assuming its numbers are correct, the second NYT article states that wind turbines delivered to the US from China built by Chinese companies cost about $600,000 per megawatt (MW) while turbines delivered to the US from China built by a Western company cost about $800,000 per MW. This does not included instillation and other costs.

As long as the Federal and state governments have mandates and give subsidies for wind power, cost is not a major problem for wind farm developers whose returns are based on capital costs and receive cash payments from the Federal Government. Under the tax bill just passed, the 30% tax credit for alternative energy will continue to be a cash payment from the Federal Government to the alternative-energy developers. However, high costs will be a burden for the consumers who, under government mandates, must pay for these costs.

For example, the cost estimates for Cape Wind range from $900,000,000 to over $2.500,000,000. The first estimate comes from a web site that claims Cape Wind will save 113 million gallons of oil. Less than 1% of US electricity is generated from oil. Thus, the site is questionable. The second estimate is reported in a Boston Globe article stating it came from the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. The article also states that the cost of Cape Wind has not been announced by the developers.

The Cape Wind web site gives no estimate of cost, however it states the average annual output will be 170 megawatts (MW). Using the state estimates of cost, this results in an estimate of $14.7 Million per MW of average output. These estimates do not include the cost of back-up when nature decides not to cooperate.

The estimated costs for the first set of new nuclear power plants in the US are about $3.5 Million per MW. No doubt the costs will be higher. But operating at 90% capacity, nuclear plants appear to be a bargain even at twice the cost.

Please see referenced articles under "Whistling in the Wind."
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No matter how intelligent, no matter how many scientific credentials, many government officials appear to be oblivious to the needs of their citizens. For example, one would hope that the billions of dollars spent by the Department of Energy (DOE) are focused on making reliable energy more affordable. But it appears affordable, reliable energy is not the goal of DOE.

Further, it seems that many senior governmental scientists, including those employed by Congress, or employed in governmental agencies, have goals other than what is in the interest of the citizens, or in the interest of objective science. Please see Articles # 1, # 4, and # 5 below.
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NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 2 raised to the third power equals 8. Based upon physics, wind power is proportional to the velocity of the wind raised to the third power. If the wind velocity doubles, the power increases by a factor of 8. Conversely, if the wind velocity drops by one-half, the power drops to one-eighth. Slight variations in winds require complex, and difficult to maintain, gear-boxes in wind turbines, making harnessing the free wind a costly enterprise. Physical facts are often glossed over by the wind power advocates.
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ARTICLES: For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Cape Wind: Spreading the Pain
By Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, Dec 13, 2010

2. Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Drill'
Editorial, IBD, Dec 16, 2010

3. A Fine Clean Coal Mess
Duke Energy loses its bet on cap and trade
By Holman Jenkins, WSJ, Dec 15, 2010

4. Climate Change and Biodiversity
By Jonathan DuHamel, Townhall, Dec 13, 2010

5. The Congressional Research Service's dirty little Big Green secrets By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, Dec 16, 2010

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Challenging the Orthodoxy
Satellites pinpoint Northeast drivers of Urban Heat Islands
By Adam Voiland, Physorg, Dec 13, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: As NOAA and NASA-GISS are removing the Urban Heat Island effect from their historical data, others at NASA are discovering that it exists.]

The U.S. Should Halt All Funding For U.N.'s 'Global Warming' Scam
By Phyllis Schlafly, IBD, Dec 13, 2010

Deutsche's climate
By Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, Dec 13, 2010
[SEPP Comment: An earlier issue of TWTW discussed the questionable science of a report issued by Deutsche Bank's Climate Advisors, others such as Ross McKitrick is taking DB to task.]

Corporate irresponsibility
Deutsche Bank is putting its interest in making money off climate change ahead of the facts
By David Henderson, Financial Post, Dec 13, 2010
[SEPP Comment: More on Deutsche Bank's climate advice.]

Do You Believe In Magic Numbers?
By Paul Driessen, Townhall, Dec 11, 2010

A journalist who confuses journalism with propaganda
"Journalists who think Newspapers should lead the country." From the Weekend Australian
By Joanne Nova, Dec 18, 2010

Defending the Orthodoxy
Earth Observatory
Global Temperatures, NASA [H/t Jim Rust]
[SEPP Comment: Sad.]

On to Cancun
UN climate change talks in Cancun agree a deal
BBC News, Dec 11, 2010 [H/t Hans Schreuder]

Climate Talks End With Modest Deal on Emissions
By John Broder, NYT, Dec 12, 2010, Page A 16

A muted cheer for the Cancun agreement
Too many issues were left unresolved for the talks to be deemed an unqualified success. But progress was undoubtedly made
Observer editorial, Guardian, UK, Dec 12, 2010

Small Steps on Global Warming
Editorial, NYT, Dec 16, 2010

A climate deal that flatters to deceive
There was no advance on the vapid pledges made in Copenhagen which were deemed to be retrograde
By Dominic Lawson, Independent, Dec 14, 2010

Climate and the Law
Will the Supreme Court Empower Trial Lawyers to 'Legislate' Climate Policy?
By Marlo Lewis, Pajamas Media, Dec 11, 2010

Extreme Weather
2010 - Global Temperature and Europe's Frigid Air
By James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Makiko Santo and Ken Lo, GISS Surface Temperature Analysis, Dec 13, 2010

Arctic Oscillation spoiling NASA GISS party
By Joseph D'Aleo, ICECAP, Dec 15, 2010
[SEPP Comment: The historic record prior to 1980 is remarkably different as published in 2010 when compared to the record as published in 1980.]

BP Oil Spill and Aftermath
U.S. sues BP, 8 other companies in Gulf oil spill
Washington Times, Dec 15, 2010

Energy Issues
More evidence that economy is stalled because of Washington, Big Green policies
By Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, Dec 11, 2010

The Energy Equation; Practical Fact vs. Political Fiction
By Frank Burke, American Thinker, Dec 14, 2010

Officials Designate Public Lands for Solar Projects
By John Broder, NYT, Dec 16, 2010

Earthshaking Possibilities May Limit Underground Storage of Carbon Dioxide
Science Daily, Dec 13, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

Ethanol Kickback: Corn-Fed Hypocrisy
Editorial, IBD, Dec 14, 2010

Whistling in the Wind
To Conquer Wind Power, China Writes the Rules
By Keith Bradsher, NYT, Dec 14, 2010

China's Push Into Wind Worries U.S. industry
By Tom Zeller and Keith Bradsher, NYT, Dec 15, 2010

U.S. Called Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages
By Keith Bradsher, NYT, Dec 15, 2010

Tax cut bill could aid Cape Wind
Measure extends renewable energy credit from '09
By Mark Arsenault and Beth Daley, Boston Globe, Dec 11, 2010

"Clean Energy Standards: The Sky is the (Price) Limit
Master Resource, Dec 17, 2010

EPA and other Regulators on the March
We're Not OK With New Air Rules
Letter, WSJ, Dec 11, 2010
[The article may be behind a pay wall.]

Subsidies and Mandates Forever
U.K. Chooses Tough Route to Carbon Cuts
By James Herron, WSJ, Dec 16, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Reports state over 25,000 died of the cold last winter and many are freezing this winter. Yet, with over 10% of the population in "energy poverty," London is keeping a stiff upper lip. This may have been heroic in World War II, but may be something else today. The article may be behind a pay wall.]

California Dreaming
California Approves Stringent Pollution Curbs
By Felicity Barringer, NYT, Dec 16, 2010

California poised to enter carbon-trading market
By Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 16, 2010 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: After the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange speculators have another place to go. Will a particular bank be joining in?]

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see

Not All Ecosystems Respond Dramatically to Rising Temperatures
Reference: Hudson, J.M.G. and Henry, G.H.R. 2010. High Arctic plant community resists 15 years of experimental warming. Journal of Ecology 98: 1035-1041.

The Atlantic-Arctic Boundary Air Temperature
Reference: Wood, K.R., Overland, J.E., Jonsson, T. and Smoliak, B.V. 2010. Air temperature variations on the Atlantic-Arctic boundary since 1802. Geophysical Research Letters 37: 10.1029/2010GL044176.

The Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea
Reference: Keigwin, L.D. 1996. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea. Science 274: 1504-1508.

Cold-Related Mortality in Europe
Reference: Analitis, A., Katsouyanni, K., Biggeri, A., Baccini, M., Forsberg, B., Bisanti, L., Kirchmayer, U., Ballester, F., Cadum, E., Goodman, P.G., Hojs, A., Sunyer, J., Tiittanen, P. and Michelozzi, P. 2008. Effects of cold weather on mortality: Results from 15 European cities within the PHEWE project.American Journal of Epidemiology 168: 1397-1408.

Other Scientific Issues
Preliminary results for CERN CLOUD cosmic ray experiment
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 16, 2010
[SEPP Comment: For those who are following the experiments in the solar activity - cosmic ray cloud cover hypothesis, a few tantalizing comments but no clear results as of yet.]

A Frog Revival
World Climate Report, Dec 13, 2010
[SEPP Comment: First it was coal-fired power plants, and then it was fertilizer, then ozone, and then global warming. The winner is a fungus?]

First measurement of magnetic field in Earth's core
By Robert Sanders, Press Release, U of CA - Berkeley, Dec 16, 2010

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Scientists: It's not too late yet for polar bears
AP, Earthlink, Dec 15, 2010 [H/t Deke Forbes]

Antarctic Melting as Deep Ocean Heat Rises
By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News, Dec 14, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]
"Global warming is sneaky. For more than a century it has been hiding large amounts of excess heat in the world's deep seas. Now that heat is coming to the surface again in one of the worst possible places: Antarctica."

Arctic ice melt may promote cross-breeding, further imperiling endangered animals.
Mating between different species could lead to the extinction of many Arctic animals, because hybrid offspring are often less hardy, scientists say.
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times, Dec 16, 2010, [H/t Best on the Web]
[SEPP Comment: One can only imagine what happened after the last ice age.]

PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW, including the full text of the articles, can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site:

1 comment:

weather said...

To watch Global weather over Atlantic ocean,