The Week That Was (Aug 16, 2008) brought to you by SEPP


Quote of the Week:

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." --Charles de Gaulle, French general and statesman.  And so is climate science – it should not be left to bureaucrats!


TWTW (Aug 2) told you about the horrors of the EPA staff’s plan to control CO2 (aka as controlling your life, all the way down to the use of lawnmowers).  To view the EPA-ANPR (and read at least the first few pages) go to

In July, the NOAA activists, lacking adult supervision, released for comment the draft of what’s called the Unified Synthesis Product (USP) from a decade or so of federal efforts called the Climate Change Science Program that have so far cost about $20 billion of your tax money.  The USP is supposed to provide the scientific underpinnings for the EPA’s proposed rulemaking.  To see this shining exemplar of propaganda trumping science, visit


1.  Our response to the CCSP-USP has three parts: (1) The human contribution to GW is insignificant.  (2) Sea-level rise is natural and beyond our control.  (3) Models are not able to predict global impacts – still less regional ones.  Overall recommendation: The CCSP-USP should be scrapped.


2.  Georgia court stops coal-fired power plant because of CO2 – raising serious national issues for any industrial or commercial enterprise.  It could stop economic growth and exacerbate social tensions.


3.  Faulty arguments used by global warmists


4.  Texas is fed up with corn ethanol – but EPA won’t relent


5.  Drilling will lower the current price of oil?


6.  Scared Senseless: Hyping Health Risks


7.  Energy Policy Held Hostage by Global Warming Dogma


8.  Ryan Air Strikes Back: You really have to love the Irish



“Chip” Knappenberger (of World Climate Report) comments on the CCSP-USP draft report and whether its shortcomings will be rectified in the final report:
I think otherwise, for if the authors really thought the draft report was in serious need on fixing, they would have allowed for more than just 28 days of public comment. …[but] perhaps 28 days is enough. For it is plenty of time for most rational people to realize just what a farce the CCSP report is and to demand that it be withdrawn, thrown out, and begun from scratch with authors who are more interested in portraying the actual state of the science, not standing it on its head. Anything less should be unacceptable.

New poll shows CO2 hysteria fading in the U.S.

Measurements by four major temperature tracking outlets reported that world temperatures dropped by about 0.65° C to 0.75° C during 2007, the fastest temperature changes ever recorded (either up or down). The cooling approached the total of all warming that occurred over the past 100 years, which is commonly estimated at about 1° C. Antarctic sea ice expanded by about 1 million square kilometers more than the 28-year average since altimeter satellite monitoring began. --- Prof Larry Bell (U of Houston), whose forthcoming book “Climate Hysteria” is dedicated to Al Gore: “whose invention of the Internet made this book possible, and whose invention of facts made it necessary.”


This is War!  We need to stop this enemy now.  Pentagon Helps Global Warming Fight
Officers commissioned for this fight to save the planet will have the latest training in PowerPoint presentations.  They can be identified by a patch on their shoulder depicting someone on horseback with a sword, charging at a wind turbine


"On a Planet 4degC Hotter, All We Can Prepare For Is Extinction"--headline, Guardian (London), Aug. 11


 "Eat Kangaroo to 'Save the Planet' "--headline, BBC Web site, Aug. 9




NB: The CCSP Unified Synthesis Product (USP) will likely replace the IPCC report as the source for all future debates/court cases/regulations.  EPA will rely on this report to justify its endangerment finding.  Comments filed on the CCSP USP will provide the basis for comments on the EPA ANPR.



Comments on

"Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Unified Synthesis Product Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, First Draft, July 2008"



NB:  Recommendations are bolded and set off thus  ***xxx***




I. Background Information on Commenter


Name: S. Fred Singer, Ph.D.

Organization: Science & Environmental Policy Project

Mailing Address: 1600 S. Eads St., Suite 712-S, Arlington, VA 22202-2907

Phone: 703-920-2744


Area of Expertise: Climate Science


II. General Comments


a. General comment #1:  The USP is an advocacy document and lacks any semblance of balance

The USP is an advocacy document, not an objective assessment.  As stated on p.15, it presents the “expert judgment of the author-team based on the best available evidence.”  But it seems to be based entirely on the unsupported assumption of human-induced (anthropogenic) global warming, or AGW.  The scientific arguments against AGW (for example, as presented in the NIPCC report [2008]) are ignored, even though they are well known to the government.  This serious lack of balance makes the USP of little value as a document to support government policy.  It fails to meet the legal requirements for an objective scientific assessment. 


b. General comment #2:  The USP lacks scientific documentation and cannot be taken seriously.

The USP throughout makes claims/assertions/statements that are unsupported; this is quite improper for a report that aspires to be taken seriously as a scientific document.  The USP should at least carry detailed references to published CCSP-SAP reports (only 10 published so far out of 21), to the 2007 IPCC report, or to publications in peer-reviewed journals – with page numbers and full quotes.


c. General comment #3:  The draft USP should be rejected.

In addition to the basic problems listed above, the USP suffers from a conflict of interest.  It was prepared by an author-team involved in writing the underlying CCSP reports.  As a result we do not have a unified synthesis product but a document that promotes a particular narrow perspective on climate science based on the prejudices of the editors.
***It is recommended that a new USP be prepared by an author-team that includes independent scientific experts.***




III Detailed Comments and Recommendations (on human contribution to climate change)


These detailed comments relate primarily to the USP claim [p.6] that “human induced climate change and its impacts are apparent now throughout the United States.”  This sentence is not known to be true; it is a conjecture at best and should not be stated as a fact.  ***It should be qualified as a mere possibility or dropped.*** 

This claim is not backed by any solid evidence within the report itself as we will detail below. 


1.  There is no scientific consensus


USP claims [p.6] that anthropogenic global warming [AGW] is “unequivocal.”  This word implies a general scientific consensus.  There is no evidence that such a consensus exists. 


a. We should note, for the record, that consensus never guarantees scientific truth.  Only data and observations can determine whether a scientific hypothesis stands or falls.


b. The idea of a scientific consensus, which has been strongly promoted by former Vice President Al Gore, seems to stem from a study published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes [2004], a professor of history of science at the University of California San Diego.  The study is based on sloppy research -- as evidenced by the fact that the author was forced to publish a correction [2005] admitting that she had overlooked 90 percent of the published abstracts whose examination led to her claim.  In any case, her claim of “consensus” is contradicted by numerous polls of scientists, by declarations and petitions signed by hundreds and even thousands of scientists, and by actual studies of published abstracts.  Specifically, we have polls taken by Bray and von Storch, declarations such as the Statement of Atmospheric Scientists [1992], the Heidelberg Appeal [1992], the Leipzig Declaration [1996], and the more recent Oregon Petition, originally by 19,000 scientists and now by more than 31,000 [], as well as a reexamination of published papers [Schulte 2008]. 


c. We note that the National Academy/National Research Council specifically denies that there is “unequivocal” agreement.  Their report “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions” [2001] states that “[b]ecause of the large and still uncertain level of natural variability inherent in the climate record and the uncertainties in the time histories of the various forcing agents (and particularly aerosols), a causal linkage between the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the observed climate changes during the 20th century cannot be unequivocally established. The fact that the magnitude of the observed warming is large in comparison to natural variability as simulated in climate models is suggestive of such a linkage, but it does not constitute proof of one because the model simulations could be deficient in natural variability on the decadal-to-century time scale” (p. 17) [from Fed Register, pg 52930; emphases added].



There is no scientific consensus about the cause of global warming.  ***Therefore, the term “unequivocal” should be deleted.***


2. Melting Ice


The USP mentions that “Arctic sea ice and the large ice-sheets on Greenland and parts of Antarctica are melting faster than expected.” [p.25]



“Faster than expected” simply means that the models used previously were inadequate and thus supports the suspicion that present models are similarly inadequate.  In any case, even if the observations are correct, they are largely irrelevant to the main issue since any kind of warming whether natural or anthropogenic will melt ice.  ***This fact should be clearly stated in the USP.***


3. The 20th Century is not unusual


The USP suggests, in a graph on page 19, that the 20th century is in some way unusual and the warmest in the last 1,000 years.  This graph, of course, will be recognized as the notorious “hockey-stick” curve, which was featured in the third IPCC Assessment [2001] but has been largely ignored in the latest IPCC report [2007]. 


a. It is somewhat surprising that the USP author-team would use a discredited graph in their report.  It is well accepted that the hockey-stick result, published by Mann, Bradley and Hughes [1999], is simply wrong -- especially after a thorough investigation by the National Research Council and by testimony of statistics expert Prof. Edward Wegman.  Its result is based on the misuse of statistical analysis and on the emphasis on a particular group of tree-ring data.  McIntyre and McKitrick [2003,2005], who first uncovered some of the problems of the hockey-stick, have shown that even a random set of data inserted into the MBH methodology would create a hockey-stick curve. 


b. Available publications using data from various independent sources show a Medieval Warming Period much warmer than the current one.  We are referring here to the proxy-data paper by Loehle [2007], the ocean sediment data of Keigwin [1996], and the ice-core data of Dahl-Jensen [1999].  Their graphs are shown in the NIPCC report [2008] as figures 2 and 3.  The Medieval Warm Period around 1000 AD is most clearly shown in figures 2b and 3b.  As far as we know these results have not been credibly challenged and therefore should be accepted.  ***The USP should make this fact quite clear.***


c. It is possible that the author-team was not aware of the hockey-stick when they decided to use the graph in their USP report.  Alternatively, they may have been aware of the current criticism but believe that the hockey-stick is valid.  In that case, one would look for an appropriate discussion somewhere in the USP report; but we found none.  It is also possible that the author-team was aware of the shortcomings of the hockey-stick but decided to display it anyway in order to convince the reader that human activities had somehow made the 20th century “unusual.”  If that is the case, then the author-team should be censored for using deceptive practices. 



Based on the historic record, the 20th century, during which CO2 levels rose sharply, is in no way unusual from a temperature point of view, indicating that the rise in CO2 has had little effect.  Any use of the hockey-stick graph should be considered as deceptive. ***The graph should be deleted from the USP***


4.  Correlation between CO2 and temperature does not prove AGW


The hockey-stick graph on page 19 also shows the rapid rise of CO2 emissions and CO2 levels.  It implies a correlation between CO2 and temperature.  However this is not the case.


a. In general, a correlation does not indicate causation.


b. During the past 100 years there were periods during which temperatures declined while CO2 levels increased, for example during 1940-75 -- and more recently, since 1998.  In other words, there was a negative correlation between temperature and CO2 – which certainly does not mean that CO2 would cause a cooling. 


c. The Vostok ice-core data show some striking correlations between temperature and CO2.  However, a closer examination with higher time resolution shows that the temperature increases preceded the CO2 increase by few centuries.  In other words, the temperature increase caused CO2 to increase, probably by releasing it from a warming ocean [Fischer 1999]. 



The CO2 temperature correlation suggested by the graph on page 19 is deceptive in that it would seem to indicate to the unwary reader that the CO2 increase is responsible for the temperature increase.  ***The graph and associated assertions should be eliminated.***


5. Climate Sensitivity is much smaller than calculated from models.


Following the IPCC [2001 and 2007], the USP suggests in the top graph on page 26 that the complicated temperature history of the 20th century can be fully explained by models that use both human and natural forcing.  We claim that this is an illusion and simply the result of using several adjustable parameters, chosen so that will produce agreement with the observed global average surface temperature.


a. The graph on page 20 shows the estimated magnitude of the various human and natural forcings.  While the forcing for long-lived GHG shows only a small uncertainty, in fact the uncertainty is a factor of 3 or larger and corresponds to uncertainty in Climate Sensitivity (CS) [defined as the temperature increase produced by a doubling of GHG forcing].  The IPCC gives values of CS between 1.5 and 4.5 degC.  Some models can give lower and higher values, depending primarily on the choice of cloud parameters.  In view of the large dispersion among model results, it would be interesting to know exactly which model the USP chose to fit the observations and why.  It would be instructive also to redraw the top graph on page 26 to show the result if models with different values of CS were used. 


b. Most all models implicitly use a positive feedback from water vapor to achieve their high values of climate sensitivity.  Recently, Monckton [2008] and Spencer [2008] have shown that the climate sensitivity is only a small fraction of that quoted by the IPCC, perhaps as low as 0.5 degC or even lower.  If that is the case, then the GH effect on climate would be of little significance. 


c. As seen from graph on page 20, the forcing effects from aerosols are highly uncertain, by at least 200% for the cloud-reflective effect.  Since the aerosol forcing is used in the construction of the top figure on page 26, it would be interesting to know which value of aerosol forcing was chosen and why. 


d. We note that under natural forcings the USP considers only total solar irradiance.  But TSI is small compared to the likely effects of changes of solar activity that lead to substantial changes in cloudiness [Svensmark 2007, Kirkby 2008, and other references].  Yet the USP, following the IPCC, completely ignores this major climate forcing.  The importance of changes in solar activity is persuasively demonstrated in the observed detailed correlation between C-14 and O-18 in stalagmites [Neff 2001; see also figure 14 in NIPCC].  C-14 is produced by cosmic rays and can be taken as a proxy for solar activity, which modulates the intensity of galactic cosmic rays reaching the earth.  O-18 is commonly taken as a proxy for temperature. 


e. Related to this discussion is the implied USP claim that natural forcings are not only very small but are so well known that any remaining change in temperature can only be explained by human activities.  It will be interesting to know how the author-team can explain the lack of warming since 1998, using the same parameters of climate sensitivity that led to the top graph on page 26.



The attempt to reproduce observations by models that use human and natural forcing is simply an exercise in curve fitting and therefore worthless.  It certainly does not constitute a validation of the climate models.  ***We recommend that the top graph on p26 and associated discussion be eliminated – unless the author-team can provide answers to the several questions posed above.***


6.  The “fingerprint” evidence against AGW


On page 26 USP states “the specific patterns of climate change show that it is primarily human-induced.”  This claim is contradicted by the data and graphs in CCSP Report SAP-1.1. 


a. The final (fourth) paragraph on page 26 states that climate models incorporating GH gas increases show warming at the surface and in the troposphere but cooling in the stratosphere.  This statement is misleading.  As clearly shown by the IPCC [2007] and CCSP-SAP 1.1 [2006], GH models show a tropospheric warming that is up to 3 times greater than the surface warming [see figure 1.3F from SAP-1.1, p.25].  But the observational evidence, also displayed in SAP-1.1 [see figure 5.7E p.116], shows the opposite.  Instead of increased warming, the data show a slight cooling in the tropical zone.  This disagreement between models and observations is shown more clearly in the SAP-1.1, figure 5.4G p.111.  A more detailed view of the disparity of the temperature trends is given in the research paper of Douglass et al [2007].  All these figures are reproduced in the NIPCC report [2008] as figures 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. 


b. This disparity clearly implies that GH gases are not responsible of the observed warming of the past 30 years.  The climate sensitivity is therefore quite small -- in agreement with Monckton and Spencer.  In other words, AGW is insignificant.  The cooling of the stratosphere has no bearing on the value of the climate sensitivity and is not in dispute.


c. There has been no considered response to the NIPCC [2008] claim that AGW is negligible.  Statements in blogs and elsewhere that there is some doubt about the quality of the balloon data are contradicted by the fact that the UAH satellite data agree with the balloon data of both NOAA group and Hadley Centre [Douglass et al 2007]. 


d. Another response has been that perhaps the uncertainties in the models and observations are so large that there is an overlap -- and therefore no disagreement.  This suggestion is far-fetched and belied by an examination of the evidence.  However, in the executive summary of SAP 1.1 (though not in the report itself), one finds an attempt to show the uncertainties in models and observations by plotting “range” instead of the usual “Gaussian distribution” [see figure 4G page 13 in SAP 1.1 and also figure 9B in NIPCC].  But the use of “range” is clearly inappropriate for statistic analysis [Douglass et al 2007], since it gives undue weight to “outliers.”



Far from giving support to the claim that GW is human caused, i.e., that AGW is the major cause of warming, the fingerprint method shows the opposite -- namely that the human component is negligibly small.  ***The USP should state this conclusion clearly – unless the author-team can respond credibly to the several points raised above.***


Overall Comment


The basic purpose of the Unified Synthesis Product is to serve as a basis for future regulatory policies.  The crucial issue therefore is to know whether natural factors or human factors are more important in shaping the climate.  The IPCC claims to be between 90 to 99 percent certain that human factors, in particular the release of GHG, are responsible for most of the observed climate warming of the 20th century.  On the other hand, the NIPCC report “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate” [2008] presents an opposing view.  Both reports are produced by teams of reputable international scientists; both reports are based on published research papers; both reports have been widely disseminated.  The IPCC Report presents no firm evidence to support its conclusion; the CCSP-USP similarly presents no evidence, as discussed above.  On the other hand, the NIPCC presents credible evidence against a significant human contribution to the warming observed over the last 30 years, the weather-satellite era.  If the NIPCC argument is accepted, then there’s little point to the CCSP-USP report and its conclusions and recommendations.



***Our overall recommendation in this Comment is that the Draft CCSP-USP report be rejected.  A new independent Synthesis Committee should be appointed in order to present policymakers with an accurate assessment of the diversity of scientifically supported conclusions regarding the role of humans within the climate system.  This must include also the evaluation of the vulnerabilities to important environmental and societal resources from both natural and human-caused climate variability and change.***


The scientific dispute of NIPCC vs. IPCC must be settled before any credible attempt is made to predict future climate change and its impact on the United States, especially its regional impacts.



I. Background Information


Name: S. Fred Singer, Ph.D.

Organization: Science & Environmental Policy Project

Mailing Address: 1600 S. Eads St., Suite 712-S, Arlington, VA 22202-2907

Phone: 703-920-2744


Area of Expertise: Climate Science


II. Sea Level Rise cannot be controlled


Sea level rise is the most feared consequence of a putative future warming.  The USP report does not produce any independent analysis of global sea level rise but ventures the opinion that sea level will rise between 2 and 5 feet during the 21st century [page 29].  It says “various methods of estimating future sea level rise suggest increases of 2 to almost 5 feet by the end of this century but even larger numbers cannot be ruled out.” 


a. No references are given; no sources are quoted.  The values cited are several times greater than those published by the IPCC-2007.  We suspect that the 2 to 5 foot figure corresponds to the range of 50-140 cm given in a published paper by Rahmstorf [2007] and that the even larger figure may refer to Hansen’s value of 600 cm [see figure 10 in the NIPCC Report].  Recently, Rahmstorf [2007] has published a ‘top down” approach to SL-rise prediction that exceeds the current IPCC estimates about threefold.  He simply assumes the rate of rise is proportional to global mean temperature and ignores the negative effects on sea level rise from ice accumulation in Antarctic and Greenland.  There is no theoretical basis to support his assumption – and indeed, it is contradicted by observational evidence: SL rise did not accelerate during 1920-1940 when the climate warmed rapidly and continued at the same rate even when the climate was cooling from 1940 to 1975 [Trupin and Wahr 1990; Holgate 2007; see also figure 18 in NIPCC]. 


Hansen [2006] has suggested even more extreme estimates of future SL rise – nearly 15 or even 60 times the mean IPCC value and 30 or even 120 times that of Singer [1997].  His 20-feet estimate is based on speculation about the short-term fate of polar ice sheets, assuming a sudden collapse and melting; his 80-feet estimate is derived by comparison with previous interglacials.  However, the MWP and the much greater warmings during the earlier Holocene showed no evidence of such imagined catastrophes.  Hansen and Rahmstorf can therefore be considered “contrarians” on this issue. 



Coral and peat data show that sea level has been rising of between 7 and 9 inches per century during past millennia [Toscano and Macintyre 2003, see also figure 17 in NIPCC].  Since this rate of rise has been unaffected by short-term warming or cooling, we may safely assume that it will continue to do so in the future – at least until the next ice age, at which time sea levels will drop.  ***USP should delete its speculative estimates of future sea-level rise.***



I. Background Information


Name: S. Fred Singer, Ph.D.

Organization: Science & Environmental Policy Project

Mailing Address: 1600 S. Eads St., Suite 712-S, Arlington, VA 22202-2907

Phone: 703-920-2744


Area of Expertise: Climate Science


II. Use of Models for Regional Forecasts is Not Appropriate


a. The USP makes regional predictions about temperature and precipitation by using an average of some 15 climate models (as stated on page 36).  However, we know that this procedure hides the strong disagreements among individual models and is therefore deceptive.  We have for example the experience from the National Assessment report [2000] “Climate Change Impacts on the United States” [available at].  (The NACC report failed the test of the Data Quality Act and was finally considered to be not an official report of the US government.)


It used two climate models of high sensitivity to calculate regional temperatures, soil moisture, and precipitation.  The striking disagreement of soil moisture results is shown in a graph by Kerr [2000].  On precipitation, the models again disagree strongly.  For the 18 regions of the United States nine regions show opposite results.  For example, one model shows North Dakota turning into a swamp, the other shows it turning into a desert – as seen in  figure 16 of NIPCC [2008]. 


b.  A separate issue is how the USP constructs its  “average model.”  We would like to know whether they simply averaged the 15 models (giving each model equal weight) or whether they averaged all of the individual model runs, i.e., an average of some 50 separate runs.  There is no discussion about the procedure and no justification is given.


c.  USP states on page 23: “Currently rare extreme events become more common.”  This statement is not supported by evidence.  In addition, it is a matter of simple statistics that as the length of the observation period increases, so must the probability for the occurrence of extreme events -- even if there’s no change in the mean climate.  The USP report does not seem to allow for this purely statistical effect.



If climate should warm in the 21st century, then overall global precipitation should increase because of increased evaporation from the ocean.  However, current models seem to be incapable of determining the future pattern of precipitation. ***The USP should show the regional results from each of the 15 models separately – in order to exhibit the major disagreement among models – all of which is now hidden from the reader by using an “average” value.  The author-team should also supply answers to the several questions raised above.***





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Douglass, D.H., J.R. Christy, B.D. Pearson, and S.F. Singer.  2007. A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions. Intl J Climatology (Royal Meteorol Soc). DOI:10.1002/joc.1651.


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Supreme Court decision aiding environmental groups, hurting coal plant developers

By Stephanie I. Cohen, Aug. 8, 2008

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Coal power plants are having a hard time finding the welcome mat as concerns about global warming and carbon emissions become pivotal issues in the permitting fight for new coal-fired power plants. Across the nation, legal battles have been fought and won against the building of plants being fueled by coal, and environmentalists and the coal industry are in pitched battle in scores of other fights.

The Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign keeps tabs on proposed coal plants across the country and has claimed "victory" in halting the development of 67 traditional coal-fired power plants with dozens of more cases underway. Their newest ally may be judges and state lawmakers who are giving greater scrutiny to proposed coal-fired power plants, even in traditionally energy-friendly states.

In March, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, blocked two new coal-fired power plants from being built because they would have released 11 million tons of greenhouse gases. In June, the Florida Public Service Commission unanimously rejected a request by Florida Power & Light to build a $5.7 billion coal-fired power plant that critics said would pollute the Everglades. A 1,200 megawatt coal-fired power plant destined for Georgia is the latest case to hit a permitting snag after Sierra Club petitioned air permits issued by the state regulators and raised concerns about the amount of carbon dioxide that would be pumped into the air.

The fact that the coal plant faced opposition isn't unusual. That opponents focused on the plant's carbon dioxide emissions and argued that the state must consider alternative technology to address climate change is new. Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club's coal campaign and an environmental lawyer, said traditional coal-fired power plants and the carbon dioxide they release are fueling global warming. The group is targeting 80 power plants currently on the drawing board or in the permitting process. These rejections and a look at the Georgia case show how these groups hope to use the courts to impose carbon emissions limitations on the power sector in the absence of a federal mandatory policy regulating carbon emissions.

What impact decisions to nix coal plants will have on national energy supplies and growing electricity demand is uncertain. Roughly 50% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. is produced from coal, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's statistical arm. As nuclear power plant proposals remain years away from becoming reality and natural gas prices continue to climb, the absence of additional coal plants that provide low cost generation could pose a problem for energy consumers. "With growing electricity demand and the retirement of 45 gigawatts of capacity, 263 gigawatts of new generating capacity...will be needed by 2030," the agency said in its' Annual Energy Outlook for 2008.

Environmental lawyers and critics of coal power plants say they have a Supreme Court decision to thank for recent success, pointing to the high court's 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, where the court ruled that carbon dioxide is an "air pollutant" under the Clean Air Act and that EPA has the authority to regulate it.

The Longleaf energy plant in Georgia is the latest project to be held up and the Supreme Court decision was cited by the presiding judge's in her decision. The plant, proposed by LS Power and Dynegy (DYN) , would have been the first coal-fired plant built in Georgia in over 20 years, in a state where coal is the primary fuel for electricity generation. The plant would provide power to roughly 1.2 million customers in Georgia, according to the company.

But in late June, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore overturned the decision by state regulators to issue the plant an air permit, saying state environmental officials failed to take the plant's carbon dioxide emissions into consideration. In her decision, Moore said the plant "as permitted would annually emit large amounts of air pollutants, including [eight to nine] million tons of carbon dioxide." Referring to the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, Moore said "there is no question that [carbon dioxide] is "subject to regulation" under the Clean Air Act.

Moore is the first judge to apply the Supreme Court's decision to emissions from an industrial source. The "decision is one of the first court rulings to squarely address the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions" for permits for projects such as coal plants that may increase air pollutant emissions, Sanjay Ranchod, a lawyer at Paul Hastings, said in a client note.

Although the Georgia decision doesn't have immediate national implications, it could have ramifications in Georgia beyond the Longleaf plant unless the court of appeals overturns the verdict. LS Power and Dynegy have appealed, though the court has the discretion to choose whether it will hear the case. "Air permits for other proposed coal-fired power plants in Georgia must set limits on carbon dioxide emissions unless the decision is reversed on appeal," Ranchod said in his note.

Environmental groups are prepared to use Moore's decision as precedent to advance other cases. Greenlaw, a nonprofit organization that provides legal support on environmental issues, is now challenging a smaller 854-megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed also for Georgia and expects Moore's decision in the Longleaf case to be applicable if the state environmental agency issues a permit but declines to measure carbon dioxide emissions.

But there is a clear disagreement when it comes to interpreting the Supreme Court's decision. Lawyers for the Longleaf plant in their appeal motion filed last week called Moore's decision a "ruling of startling scope." They argue that Moore misinterpreting the Supreme Court's decision and say that neither Georgia law nor the Federal Clean Air Act require an emission limitation on carbon dioxide. "Congress nor the state of Georgia has passed any law, nor has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or Georgia's Environmental Protection Division or has any other environmental agency promulgated any regulation, nor has any other court anywhere in the country issued a ruling that requires an air pollution source to limit its [carbon dioxide] emissions," the appeal filing notes.

In a filing urging the appeals court to consider the case, business groups said the judge's decision "by judicial fiat" would "make Georgia the only jurisdiction in the nation to impose carbon dioxide emission controls under the [Clean Air] act." These groups led by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce are calling on the appeals court to overturn Moore's decision, saying it will have a broad impact beyond coal-fired generation sites. "Judge Moore's ruling applies not only to coal-fired power plants, but to natural gas, oil and biofuel plants as well. If not reversed, it would severely hamper Georgia's ability to supply reliable and affordable power to its fast-growing population," George Israel, president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

Industry and environmentalists agree on this point. The Sierra Club's Nilles says the decision affects the building of refineries, paper mills and steel mills. "If you are a massive [industrial] source of carbon emissions this [decision applies]," Nilles said. "Any sizable new building that relies on [carbon dioxide]-producing natural gas for heat would be susceptible to regulatory delay -- from office buildings and shopping malls to churches, schools and hospitals," Israel said.

The appeals court is expected to make a decision about whether it will hear the case in the next month or so. If the court declines and Judge Moore's decision stands, carbon emissions could become a de facto part of the permitting process for dozens of other power plants.



From an Aug 11 letter by SFS to science journalist Andrew Revkin of NY Times


Yes, Andy, you are right about one point: Journalists should point out that there are some climate issues in which there is general agreement between warmists and skeptics.  For example, that CO2 is increasing -- most likely as a result of the use of fossil fuels.


But you jumped too fast and ignored the crucial contested issue:  the magnitude and importance of the impact of this CO2 increase.  Is it significant or insignificant?   This is the crux of the disagreement between IPCC [2007] and the NIPCC [2008] report "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate"


So let me ask you again, for the n-th time:  Which do you consider the strongest evidence in support of the IPCC conclusion?  What makes them "90-99 percent" sure?   Here are some possible choices -- in order of increasing sophistication:


1. All (or most) scientists agree  [FALSE; the principal Gore argument]

2. The 20th century is the warmest in 1000 years [the "hockeystick" argument]

3. Glaciers are melting, sea ice is shrinking, polar bears are in danger, etc  [but cannot tell the cause]

4. The weather has been unusual: Hurricane Katrina etc

5. Greenhouse models all agree that the climate should warm

6.  Sea levels are rising  [always have been and will]

7.  Correlation -- both CO2 and temperature are always increasing  [not true]

8. Models using both natural and human forcing accurately reproduce the detailed behavior of 20th century global temperature. 

9. Natural forcings are known well enough so remaining warming must be human-caused  [Hah!]

10. Modeled and observed PATTERNS of temperature trends ("fingerprints") of the past 30 years agree  [they do not; they disagree]


You might take a poll among yr readers and post the result.  I would really be interested in knowing and glad to supply a response.


Best                                      Fred



At what price will corn be so expensive that the federal government will decide that it is time to stop driving up the price of food, asks Texas Governor Rick Perry?

In 2005, Congress imposed a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate requiring the addition of biofuel in gasoline; in 2008, nine billion gallons of ethanol were required to be blended in, and even more will be required in 2009.  As a precautionary measure, Congress gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to waive the new mandates if they turn out to have unforeseen, negative consequences.

And they have, says Perry.  The price of corn has spiraled out of control:

o   In 2004, the cost of corn hovered around $2 per bushel; now it is close to $8.

o   In April 2008, Perry asked the EPA to cut the grain-based ethanol mandate in half for one year.

o   In response, the agency opened a comment period and received more than 15,000 comments, most of which supported the request.  But in August 2008, the EPA decided to deny the request.

The EPA claims that the mandates are not causing sufficient damage to warrant action.  However, denying Texas's request "is a mistake that will force families to bear a heavier financial burden to put food on the table than necessary and harm the livestock industry," says Perry.  Instead, he continues, the United States should follow Texas's lead and begin developing technology that makes use of the available additional sources of renewable energy, such as the development of nonfood bioenergy, which has a minimal impact on food production and the environment.

Further, Perry states that if forcing Texas ranchers to close their doors because they can no longer feed their livestock is not sufficient damage to warrant action, than what is?


Source: Rick Perry, "Texas is Fed Up With Corn Ethanol," Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2008.


In a recent Environmental Policy Outlook, Kenneth P. Green noted that high food costs are not the only reason to be skeptical of ethanol's promise, saying that the fuel would do little or nothing to increase our energy security or stabilize fuel prices. Instead, it will increase greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollutant emissions, fresh water scarcity, water pollution, land and ecosystem consumption, and food prices. Related articles appear below.


Ethanol and the Environment, by Kenneth P. Green
AEI Environmental Policy Outlook
Full Text:


The Ethanol Delusion, by Kenneth P. Green
Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Full Text:


Ethanol's Bottom Line, by Robert W. Hahn
Article in the Wall Street Journal
Full Text:

================================'s latest effort, a comprehensive takedown of everything that's wrong with ethanol subsidies (and yet under 8 minutes long!). Featuring Nick Gillespie, Ron Bailey, shills for Big Corn, and a transpartisan rogues gallery of politicians ranging from Sen. John McCain to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley. 

    Online, with extra links and background at


S. Fred Singer

Letter to Editor, WashPost


Your editorial (“Snake Oil” Aug. 12) deals with some of the false claims by the NRDC, which opposes offshore oil leasing by the federal government, mainly for environmental reasons.  (You might well have questioned whether tankers bringing in foreign oil are really safer than pipelines from US wells offshore.)  Yet you support the dubious NRDC claim that our future lies in wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels.


You overlooked another false NRDC claim, that granting offshore and Alaska leases won’t lower the price of oil for many years.  Bad economic rezoning.  Let’s imagine you are the Saudi oil minister and you know for sure that additional oil will come on the world market, say, within 3 to 5 years, and collapse the world price.  What would you do today?  Why, sell as much as you can while the price is still high – even if this lowers the current  price.


The writer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, author of a monograph on the future price of world oil and developer of a price forecasting model.



According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), sacrificing America's coastal waters to offshore oil drilling will not make a real difference in gas prices.  Although there is some truth to this statement, the claims of offshore drilling opponents are not always factual, says the Washington Post.

In fact, there are three "truths" that deserve to be challenged, continues the Post.

(Truth #1) Drilling is pointless because the United States has only three percent of the world's oil reserves:

o   This refers only to known oil reserves and is based on old data gathered by outdated equipment.  In 2006, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimated that the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) could hold 45 billion barrels worth of oil.

(Truth #2) The oil companies are not using the leases they already have:

o   According to MMS, there were 7,457 active leases as of June 8, 2008; of those, only 1,877 were classified as "producing."  However, many leases cannot meet the requirements to be considered "producing" (an estimated 130,000 barrels of oil a day), yet they still do exploratory drills and build the infrastructure necessary to market the oil.

(Truth #3) Drilling is environmentally dangerous:

o   Between 1993 and 2007, there were 651 spills of all sizes at OCS facilities that released 47,800 barrels of oil.  With 7.5 billion barrels of oil produced in that time, that equates only to 1 barrel of oil spilled per 156,900 barrels produced.

The NRDC has it right: Our future lies in wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels and nuclear resources; but oil and gas will be instrumental to the U.S. economy for many years to come, adds the Post.


Source: Editorial, "Snake Oil," Washington Post, August 12,

2008.   [Courtesy NCPA]



In his new book, "Hyping Health Risks," Geoffrey Kabat shows how activists, regulators and scientists distort or magnify minuscule environmental risks.  But he is more concerned about a less reported problem: The highly charged climate surrounding environmental health risks can create powerful pressure for scientists to conform and to fall into line with a particular position.

Specifically, he examines four of the most persistent and controversial issues in public health:

o   Linking cancer to man-made chemicals.

o   Linking cancer to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

o   Linking cancer to radon.

o   Linking cancer and heart disease to passive smoking.

In each, Kabat found more bias than biology:

o   Regarding linking cancer to man-made chemicals, Kabat notes that the "politicization of breast cancer (which) led initially to the carrying out of the studies (is) based on weak hypotheses and inadequate methods."

o   In the case of EMFs and cancer, Kabat explains, in detail, how several epidemiologists slanted their studies so that they could justify further funding for their EMF research.

o   In the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators were eager to charge that residential exposure to radon -- a gas that arises naturally from certain geological formations -- was a major cause of lung cancer; however, it turned out that 90 percent of the lung cancer that the EPA's studies attributed to radon was actually associated with cigarette smoking.

o   Finally, Kabat takes up the vexing case of passive smoking. He shows how anti-smoking activists, in collusion with EPA regulators, steam-rolled over evidence that passive smoke is a very minor cause of chronic lung disease.

By tracing the course of each of these hazards from its initial emergence to the present, Kabat shows how publication of more rigorous studies and critical assessments ultimately helped put the hazards in perspective.

Source: Ronald Bailey, "Scared Senseless," Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2008; review of: Geoffrey C. Kabat, "Hyping Health Risks," Columbia University Press, June 2008. [Courtesy of NCPA]



Hans Labohm


The man-made global warming hype is second to none. This hoax has survived for some twenty years and still features high on the national and international political agendas. It seems to enjoy broad support from the scientific community, politics, part of the business sector, international institutions, the media and the public at large. Nevertheless, it is really much ado about nothing.


In promoting the global warming scare, the media stubbornly stigmatize carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. Apparently, those who promulgate that idea have forgotten what they have been taught at school. After all, carbon dioxide plays a crucial role in sustaining life. Without it the earth would be a dead planet. CO2 is indispensable for plants, animals and people to flourish. Consequently, environmentalists should actually love CO2. But because of a relentless flood of misinformation about CO2, portraying it as the culprit of an imminent climate disaster, they don’t.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acts as the world’s unique provider of knowledge on climate change to governments. It has narrowed down the definition of climate change to man-made climate change, mainly caused by the anthropogenic emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels. From a scientific point of view this is not just peculiar, it is fundamentally untenable.


Once every four or five years, the IPCC takes stock of the peer-reviewed scientific literature in the climate field, which results in reports of thousands of pages, that no policymaker is able to digest. Therefore, it also publishes a more easily accessible summary for policymakers of a few tens of pages, which is supposed to present the crux of the findings of the underlying reports. However, the summary is not a purely scientific document, but rather a political document, because it has to be approved line by line by people, who do not act as pure scientists, but more importantly, who also have to take account of the views of the governments they represent.


The IPCC consists of three working groups. Working Group I deals with the physical science basis. Working Group II focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Finally, Working Group III reports on mitigation of climate change. It should be underlined that the Working Groups II and III, take the conclusions of Working Group I for granted. It will be clear that if Working Group I would prove to be wrong, all the work of the other two Groups will be pretty pointless.


The IPCC’s quasi monopoly position is quite unusual. In many instances we value ‘second opinions’ on matters which are of vital importance to us. But in the field of climate science dissenting views from thousands of eminent and well-qualified scientists have been systematically ignored by governments, even when they came from experts who are attached to the most prestigious universities and scientific institutions in the world.


Many national governments and scientific institutions which are dealing with various aspects of climate change, are working on the adjustment of their national policies in line with the findings of the IPCC, presuming that climate change will be the major challenge of the future. Like IPCC’s Working Groups II and III, they do not dispute the outcome of the findings of Working Group I. They just slavishly accept the man-made global warming dogma and act accordingly. In doing so, prevention of climate change gets an overarching priority, which is supposed to permeate into every relevant policy area, thereby pervading every nook and cranny of the tissue of our societies and, ultimately, inducing profound changes of the life styles of the citizen.


Perhaps more than any other policy field, energy policy will have to bear the brunt of the ‘fight’ against climate change. For many years already, it has been held hostage to the global warming dogma, the latter seeking a transition to a sustainable future of the world economy, without CO2.


Traditionally, energy policy has been aiming at affordable prices and security of supply. Today these objectives have to give way to reduction of CO2 emissions, since climate policy dictates the promotion of solar and wind power. But these alternatives are far more expensive and far less reliable than conventional energy sources, including nuclear.


All this implies economic retreat, including a lower standard of living with high price levels for fossil fuels and electricity. It goes without saying that this would put the economy in a tailspin, creating even more uncertainty for the population.


How come that people don’t resist this climate behemoth? The answer is clear: 20 years of misleading climate propaganda has suppressed critical thinking about the issue, even among scientists.


As things stand today, it is quite unfortunate that the great majority of the population has no clue whatsoever that the global warming dogma, as promoted by the IPCC as well as Al Gore and his acolytes, has been convincingly falsified. The dogma is just not supported by facts, observations and measurements. Consequently, it is belief, not science.


Perhaps the most comprehensive and most authoritative critique of the man-made global warming paradigm can be found in the report: ‘Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate’. It has been a common effort of dozens of eminent scientists, coordinated by Dr. Fred Singer, the well-known American climatologist. The report, which has been published by the Heartland Institute, can be downloaded from internet at ”


Unfortunately, [information] which defies the man-made global warming hypothesis, is sorely lacking in all ‘official’ publications. What would happen if, for instance, companies would withhold such a crucial piece of information in their reports to shareholders? They would be taken to court – and rightly so.


Isn't it about time to substitute facts for beliefs?


Hans Labohm is a Dutch independent economist and author. Together with Dick Thoenes and Simon Rozendaal, he co-authored ‘Man-Made Global Warming: Unravelling a Dogma’. He is expert reviewer of the IPCC.




Extract from letter by Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive, Ryanair, Dublin Airport.


“The biggest lie at the heart of all of this eco-babble is that higher taxes will somehow save the planet. This is simply untrue. Higher taxes simply mean greater government revenue, waste and misspending. The greatest polluters in Europe are the governments, which in most cases own the power generating stations (the biggest man-made polluters of all) and which, like the eco-nuts, preach to ordinary consumers about caring for the environment while doing nothing useful to improve it.

    Unlike these eco-clowns, the airline industry is doing everything in its power to reduce its impact on the environment. Many of these eco kill-joys would like to prevent people flying altogether. Imagine the state of Irish tourism if we banned visitors from flying.

    Higher taxation won't reduce people's propensity to travel. John Gibbons's absurd claim that "the world's poor pay the highest price for runway emissions" is totally and utterly untrue. Irish citizens and visitors are now going to be penalised by the mindless bureaucrats of Brussels, encouraged by these eco-loonies, whose predictions about global warming are the modern-day equivalent of those doom-mongers in the middle ages who used to run around towns and cities preaching that the end of mankind was nigh! It wasn't, and nor will the world's climate pay a price for low-cost flights. Perhaps The Irish Times could encourage sensible, fact-based debate, rather than providing a soap-box for the ranting nonsense and false claims and fictional statistics of yet another eco-nut. –


    NB.A recession would put an end to the environmental bullshit among the chattering classes that has allowed Gordon Brown to double air passenger duty. We need a recession if we are going to see off some of this environmental nonsense.” (Michael O'Leary, Ryanair CEO, The Guardian, 4 February 2008)

[Courtesy Sonja Boehmer-Christensen]