Archive for February, 2011

California continues dash off green cliff


“The state Senate acted Thursday to require California utilities to boost their use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to a third of total supply by the year 2020.

California law already requires utilities to get a fifth of their power from renewable energy.  …

Opponents said it would drive up electricity bills for homeowners and manufacturers. The additional costs would convince California companies, which already pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation, to move their jobs out of state, said Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).

“This is yet another nail in the coffin for our manufacturing sector in California,'” Huff said.  …

Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) … [said] the bill … could max out supplies and increase electricity bills by 15% to 20%, triggering another energy crisis in California.  …

The bill … now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass.”  “California Senate OKs renewable energy bill


New Hampshire wises up


“The New Hampshire House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly — 246 to 104 — for New Hampshire to become the first state to repeal an up-and-running global warming cap-and-trade energy tax system. The state senate is expected to follow suit with a similarly veto-proof repeal. The move has major implications both in the region and nationally.

Since 2008, New Hampshire has been one of the 10 members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a power plant-only cap-and-trade system that holds quarterly auctions requiring electric utilities to buy carbon dioxide permits.  …

RGGI was supposed to segue directly into a national cap-and-trade system …  Now that a federal bill is dead, RGGI is a lose-lose for everyone except the politicians who get to spend the money and the special interests receiving subsidies.

The overwhelming veto-proof, bipartisan vote today means that New Hampshire is now on a path to doing something that looked impossible just a couple years ago — repeal a cap-and-trade program. In the process, it could deal the death blow to cap and trade both regionally and nationally.”  “New Hampshire smacks down cap and trade

Job creators: EPA the biggest barrier to job creation


“The Environmental Protection Agency is the biggest barrier to doing business in the U.S., according to an analysis of a congressional survey.”  “Survey: EPA is biggest barrier to doing business”  The graph below is from “Industry Has Spoken… Will the President Listen?“.

Imperious unelected EPA bureaucrat: you'll take it and you'll like it


“As Congress considers legislation to curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy struck a tone of defiance rather than conciliation at the 14th Annual Energy, Utility, and Environment Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

McCarthy vowed to push forward with carbon dioxide restrictions proposed by EPA and ratchet up the pressure with additional restrictions in the near future.

The end goal, according to McCarthy at the late-January conference, is not a mere tweaking of current energy use and energy sources, but rather a fundamental overhaul of the nation’s production and use of energy . EPA is ready, willing, and able to drive this overhaul, McCarthy emphasized.

“We must transform the power sector in a way that meets the needs of the 21st century,” argued McCarthy, who repeatedly used the word “transform” to describe EPA’s goal for the nation’s energy use.  …

Responding to concerns about the economic damage often caused by EPA regulations, McCarthy struck an equally defiant tone.

“Concerns about cost and reliability always arise when we seek to overhaul industry,” said McCarthy, dismissing cost concerns.

“Industry always overestimates the costs” associated with new regulations, … McCarthy asserted.  …

These additional costs, McCarthy asserted, are not a serious concern because electricity is currently inexpensive.  …

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), however, the average retail price of electricity has risen 50 percent since 1999.”  “EPA’s McCarthy Strikes Defiant Tone About Global Warming Regulations

She wants to switch to windmills to save birds from the oilsands


Angry birds” h/t Tom Nelson

Politics, not science


“The Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works responded to the release of a letter by former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on the legal implications of the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. The letter was released by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Johnson’s letter came six months before EPA released the “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR): Regulating Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act,” which explored the multitude of scientific, technical, legal and economic problems associated with making an endangerment finding for GHGs under the CAA.  As former Administrator Johnson wrote in the ANPR:

“One point is clear: the potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of  the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land.

“I believe the ANPR demonstrates the Clean Air Act, an outdated law originally enacted  to control regional pollutants that cause direct health effects, is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases. Based on the analysis to date, pursuing this course of action would inevitably result in a very complicated, time-consuming and, likely, convoluted set of regulations.”

Notably, given these and other considerations, [the Bush] EPA ultimately decided not to issue an endangerment finding.

The Obama EPA, however, ignored these concerns and issued a positive endangerment finding in December 2009.  It is now dealing with the consequences: a regulatory morass that is stalling economic growth and keeping people unemployed — all for no meaningful impact on climate change.”  “EPW MINORITY STAFF RELEASES BUSH ADMINISTRATION VIEWS ON ENDANGERMENT

Congress gives you a choice: CFL or LED (but no light bulb)


“If broken indoors, compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs release 20 times the maximum acceptable mercury concentration into the air, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute for German’s Federal Environment Agency.  …

When broken, the bulbs released roughly 7 micrograms of mercury into the air, 20 times the British government’s recommended maximum exposure of 0.35 micrograms. Mercury levels remained elevated at floor levels for up to five hours after breakage.

There is no safe level of exposure to mercury.”  “CF light bulbs a serious health hazard to women and children due to mercury content

“Those light-emitting diodes marketed as safe, environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional lightbulbs actually contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, according to newly published research.  …

Low-intensity red lights contained up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law, but in general, high-intensity, brighter bulbs had more contaminants than lower ones. White bulbs had the least lead, but contained high amounts of nickel.

“We find the low-intensity red LEDs exhibit significant cancer and noncancer potentials due to the high content of arsenic and lead,” the team wrote in the January 2011 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, referring to the holiday lights.  …

Lead, arsenic and many additional metals discovered in the bulbs or their related parts have been linked in hundreds of studies to different cancers, neurological damage, kidney disease, hypertension, skin rashes and other illnesses. The copper used in some LEDs also poses an ecological threat to fish, rivers and lakes.  …

When bulbs break at home, residents should sweep them up with a special broom while wearing gloves and a mask, he advised. Crews dispatched to clean up car crashes or broken traffic fixtures should don protective gear and handle the material as hazardous waste.”  “LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study finds

Willi Dansgaard passes — L.A. Times botches obit


The L.A. Times notes the passing of pioneer ice core scientist Willi Dansgaard but neglects to mention that the “clear link between carbon dioxide and methane concentrations and global temperatures” found in his ice cores shows that CO2 and CH4 increase follows temperature increase, not vice versa:

Willi Dansgaard, a Danish paleoclimatologist who was the first to recognize that the Earth’s climatic history was stored in the Greenland ice cap, died Jan. 8 in Copenhagen, according to the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. He was 88.

His research, together with that of Claude Lorius of France and Hans Oeschger of Switzerland, revolutionized scientific knowledge of how the temperature and composition of the atmosphere have changed over the last 150,000 years, demonstrating a clear link between carbon dioxide and methane concentrations and global temperatures.  “Willi Dansgaard dies at 88; scientist who recognized climate record in ice cap

Some things never change


“When confronted with the fact that the current global temperature anomaly is not significantly different than the warmest part of the Medieval Warm Period, the Gorebots will resort to the claim that the rate of warming in the late 20th century was unprecedented.

That claim, like most other Gorebot claims, is false.

Here is the HadCRUT3 global temperature anomaly (GTA) for 1977-2010 plotted with the GTA for 1911-1944”

HadCRUT3 Global Temperature Anomaly 1911-1944 & 1977-2010

“Same as it ever was”… The rate of warming.

Court sends CARB back to the drawing board


In implementing California’s AB32 law, which strangles or drives away California industry by mandating CO2 emission reductions to 1990 levels, CARB (the California Air Resources Board) arbitrarily chose a cap and trade mechanism instead of “source-specific regulations” or a carbon tax, according to a San Francisco judge:

Petitioners contend that ARB’s [(California) Air Resources Board’s] discussion of alternatives is unsupported by facts or data and therefore gives the public no indication of why ARB chose the Scoping Plan over the other alternatives.

The FED [Functional Equivalent Document] contains a discussion of five alternatives to the Scoping Plan.  Alternative 1 describes the “no project” or “business as usual” alternative.  Alternative 2 is a variation of the stategies and measures proposed by the Scoping Plan.  Alternatives 3, 4 and 5 are programs that rely primarily on cap and trade, source-specific regulations, or a carbon fee.  …

ARB seeks to create a fait accompli by premature establishment of a cap and trade program before alternative[s] can be exposed to public comment and properly evaluated by the ARB itself.  ARB’s analysis provides no evidence to support its chosen proposal, and as Petitioners point out, data is available to analyze.  ARB argues Petitioners have not presented information on alternatives, particularly carbon fee mechanisms.  However, that is ARB’s responsibility.  ARB could have, and should have, used data from existing programs, studies and reports to analyze the potential impacts of the various alternatives.

The Court concludes that because ARB did not include any facts or data to support the conclusions stated in its alternatives analysis, it abused its discretion in certifying the FED as complete.

San Francisco Chronicle article:  “Calif. cap-trade plan dealt blow by S.F. judge