Archive for February, 2010

Programming note


I am leaving today for a Grand Canyon river trip and won’t return until the end of next month.  A lot can happen in that time, but I will be incommunicado on the Colorado River and won’t find out about it until I return.  How many more IPCC-gates?  Will Pachy go?  More temperature data “adjusting” revelations?  We shall see.


New coal to oil process


“It could be a boon for the Canadian prairies.

Researchers in Texas say they have found a way of cutting the cost of producing gasoline by two thirds, taking advantage of the lowest grade of coal available – one that is abundant beneath the Canadian prairies.

A new refining process being perfected at the University of Texas at Arlington can turn the low-cost lignite coal, also known as brown coal, into oil at a fraction of the cost of importing crude oil from abroad.

“We’re improving the cost every day,” Rick Billo, the school’s dean of engineering, told a local television station.

“We started off some time ago at an uneconomical $17,000 a barrel. Today, we’re at a cost of $28.84 a barrel.”

As the price of crude oil continues to skyrocket – now overing near $80/barrel – being able to produce a barrel of oil at less than half of that price is an attractive proposition, especially for Canadian producers.

According to the Coal Association of Canada, there are major deposits of lignite coal in Southern Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, though only the Saskatchewan deposits are currently being mined.

Lignite was the source of up to 70% of Saskatchewan’s electricity last year.

The University of Texas hopes to license their technology in the next few months and start building the first micro-refineries to produce the cheaper oil in the next year.

Germany, Russia and the U.S. are currently the world’s leading producers of lignite coal.”  “Scientists find way to make cheap gas from coal”  h/t Larry Tomasson

Adjusting the U.S.


“And this is the “Temperaturegate” aspect: The NCDC’s massaging — they call it “adjusting” — has resulted in an increase in the rural values, from a raw value of 0.11oC/century to an adjusted value of 0.58oC/century, and no change in the urban values. That is, the NCDC’s treatment has forced the rural value to look more like that of the urban. This is the exact opposite of any rational consideration, given the growth of the sizes of and activities within urban locations, unless deception is the goal.”  “A Pending American Temperaturegate”  h/t Hide the decline

ETS crash and burn in Oz?


“THE Rudd government stares down the gun barrel of one of the greatest policy and political retreats of the past generation that confounds its election strategy and its policy credibility.  …

The latest decisive shift in Australian business opinion comes from the Australian Industry Group and its chief executive, Heather Ridout. “I think the political consensus on climate change both domestically and internationally is now fractured,” Ridout tells The Australian. “The emissions trading scheme is on life support.  …”  …

The Rudd government is stranded without any apparent game plan on its most important first-term policy (outside its response to the global financial crisis). It is rare for a national government to face this predicament in its first term. Labor seems unable to abandon its ETS yet unable to champion its ETS; it cannot tolerate the ignominy of policy retreat yet cannot declare it will take its beliefs to a double-dissolution election; it remains pledged to its ETS yet cannot fathom how to make its ETS the law of the land. Such uncertainties are understandable, yet they are dangerously debilitating for any government.  …

In the interim, Labor’s response is to launch a furious series of spins, diversions and alternatives.  …

Beneath such drum beating is a government whose world view on climate change is in eclipse and whose domestic political assumptions about climate change have been broken.

As a consequence Labor has lowered, dramatically, its ETS policy profile. Its tactic is to deny Abbott’s scare by playing down its ETS. Great tactics, but what’s the strategy? Where does this lead? Abbott’s bite may be diminished, but what happens to Rudd’s credibility? For how long does Labor stop talking about the moral challenge of the age? Is the ETS the policy that dare not bear its name?

Ross Garnaut brands the present phase “the waiting game”. But “the agony game” better captures Labor’s plight. Garnaut calls this “awaiting the international agreement” that “provides a sound basis for international trade in entitlements”. But awaiting the global conditions to make an Australian ETS viable looks like a long wait.”  “Labor in denial as ETS fairyland fractures

Only one difference, Bernie: the Nazi threat was real, catastrophic AGW isn't


“Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that people who do not take the threat of climate change seriously remind him of those who downplayed the growing threat of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s.

The climate change debate “reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s,” Sanders said during a Senate hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 budget …

He continued: “And during that period with Nazism and fascism growing — a real danger to the United States and Democratic countries all over the world — there were people in this Congress, in the British parliament saying, ‘don’t worry! Hitler is not real! It’ll disappear! We don’t have to be prepared to take it on.'””  “Bernie Sanders: Climate Change Skeptics Like Those Who Downplayed Nazism

Climate realism — it's all the fault of Big Oil, Big Coal, cars, and talk radio


“Many Americans are skeptical about global warming and that makes it harder to get a bill through Congress.  …

Such views, widespread in the U.S. heartland, drive conservative opposition to President Barack Obama’s bid to get a bill through Congress that would cap U.S. emissions of the greenhouse gases linked [by alarmists] to climate change.

“It’s a very different debate in Europe, where there is no discussion about whether climate change is occurring. But in the United States it is about whether it exists [wrong; it’s about causation, not existence],” said John Wright of pollster Ipsos.

It is a skepticism that … has been linked to the influence of U.S. talk radio, the “oil lobby”, an enduring love affair with cars, and a history founded on limiting the role of government.  ..

In other countries academics hold a more revered position … And so some of these Europeans look at America and say there is all this evidence, why don’t you believe? …”, said Michael Lindsay, a political sociologist at Rice University in Houston.

In interviews with Americans across the country, global warming is often seen as exaggerated, part of a plot to sabotage the U.S. economy or an intrusion in people’s lives.  …

This is also a theme driven home daily by conservative commentators in the media and by some high-profile talk-radio hosts who say that climate change is a hoax.  …

Some environmentalists blame the powerful U.S. oil lobby.

“I don’t think it’s that Americans are confused about global warming, it’s that they’re being confused,” said the incoming executive director of conservation group Sierra Club, Michael Brune, who blames big spending by oil, coal and other energy industries.”  “U.S. stands out for climate-change skepticism

Will the charade never end?


“Germany will host an extra session of U.N. climate talks in April

[Danish Climate and Energy Minister Lykke Friis, who presides over the U.N. negotiations,] said that 11 representatives of key nations decided at a one-day meeting at the headquarters of the Bonn-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat to add an extra session of senior officials from 194 nations in the Germany city from April 9-11.  …

The April meeting, of senior government officials, would be preceded by one-day preparatory talks among key groups of nations. The April talks would also decide if more U.N. meetings were needed before Cancun.”  “Bonn To Host Extra U.N. Climate Talks, Treaty Unsure

EPA backing off tailoring rule but will regulate small sources by 2016


EPA is also considering a modification to the [“tailoring”] rule announced in September requiring large facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year to obtain permits demonstrating they are using the best practices and technologies to minimize GHG emissions. EPA is considering raising that threshold substantially to reflect input provided during the public comment process.

EPA does not intend to subject smaller facilities to Clean Air Act permitting for greenhouse gas emissions any sooner than 2016.”  “Administrator Jackson Sends Letter to Senators

Adjusting Matanuska


“Say what? What could possibly justify that kind of adjustment, seven tenths of a degree? The early part of the record is adjusted to show less warming. Then from 1973 to 1989, Matanuska is adjusted to warm at a feverish rate of 4.4 degrees per century … but Matanuska is a RURAL station. Since GISS says that the homogenization effort is designed to change the ”long term trend of any non-rural station to match the long term trend of their rural neighbors”, why is Matanuska  being adjusted at all?”  “Fudged fevers in the frozen north

"Mass media" responsible for meltdown of carbon cult!


An assistant prof of “environmental studies” holds forth with the likes of notorious warmists Stephen Schneider and Naomi “no dissenting papers” Oreskes on why we pesky climate realists have been so successful — it’s all the fault of the “mass media”!:

“Mass media have been a key vehicle by which climate change contrarianism has traveled, according to Maxwell Boykoff, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor and fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.

Boykoff, an assistant professor of environmental studies, presented his research today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego. He spoke during a panel discussion titled “Understanding Climate Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies.”

Boykoff’s segment was titled “Exaggerating Denialism: Media Representations of Outlier Views on Climate Change” and discussed prominent pitfalls.

“One problem occurs when outlier viewpoints are not individually evaluated in context,” said Boykoff.  …

Such claims are amplified when traditional news media position noncredible contrarian sources against those with scientific data, in a failed effort to represent opposing sides, said Boykoff.  …

It also distracts attention from critical institutional and societal challenges regarding carbon consumption that calls citizen behaviors, actions and decisions to account.  …

“[It also] comes at the expense of appraising fundamental challenges regarding the necessary de-carbonization of industry and society,” said Boykoff.  …

Speakers Stephen Schneider from Stanford University [and] Naomi Oreskes from the University of California … joined Boykoff on the panel.”  “CU-Boulder prof speaks on mass media role in climate change skepticism