The Week That Was (Feb 9, 2008)–Brought to you by SEPP


I am giving a colloquium talk on GW at Geo Wash University, Physics Dept,  Feb 14 at 6pm.  If you wish to attend, pls contact me at


Quotes of the Week:

'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.' .....Gerald Ford 


We start with an important editorial by Steve Milloy [ITEM #1].  He relates how enviro-zealots are trying to stop the building of coal-fired power plants, by cutting off investment funds from banks [see also WSJ story – ITEM #2].

Will John McCain, if elected, be willing to preside over the de-industrialization of the nation?  This is the inevitable consequence of legislative efforts to control CO2 emissions.  In the past, McCain has been a coauthor of Cap-and-Trade legislation (which failed) and has recently reaffirmed his concern about global warming [see ITEM #1].  The safest thing for him, as a candidate, is to make no commitments concerning CO2 mitigation but simply state that he will follow the ‘best available science.’  The party platform should use similar words.  Of course, I fully expect it will become quite evident soon that CO2 is not an important factor in climate change. 

Let’s therefore restate a rational energy policy, freed from irrational fears of GW, leading towards energy independence [ITEM #3]  [see TWTW Jan 12]

1.  Climate science has evolved during the past year.  Contrary to IPCC (and Al Gore) the data now give quite firm evidence AGAINST any significant manmade warming (from greenhouse gases). [ITEM #4]

2.  This means that carbon dioxide (from fossil-fuel burning) is NOT a pollutant. Therefore emission control of CO2  is pointless and also makes energy very costly.

3.  It is also counterproductive to energy security.

4.  Our policy recommendation is to phase out natural gas (methane) for electric power generation (now about 20% in US and 40% (!) in UK), replace it with coal/nuclear, and use gas as a clean transportation fuel (in the form of Compressed Natural Gas -- CNG) for buses, trucks, and all fleet vehicles.  NOTE: The additional CO2 from coal is not relevant for climate.

5.  In the US case it would cut oil imports by 30%.  Further cuts would come from the use of plug-in and hybrid-electric cars.  [See ITEM #3 ]

Such policies would carry even more weight for the UK (which derives 40% of its electric power from natural gas) – or for small countries like Israel or Taiwan that import nearly all their energy fuels, yet feel called upon to ‘save the climate.’


The Gore.niks Global Warmers are in trouble:

Antarctic ice shelf redux [ITEM #5]; Arctic ice redux [ITEM #6]; Biofuels redux [ITEM #7]

Late news: The blog, which is being paid to smear skeptics, is linked to a criminal source of funding [ITEM #8]

And finally:  A Heartland Institute invitation to the Climate Conference in NY City, March 2-4, with hundreds of GW skeptics [ITEM #9].  This momentous event will be difficult to ignore 




By Steven Milloy  Thursday, February 7, 2008

The lights may soon go out in Washington, DC -- and it could happen where you live, too.

“Electric power has already become painfully expensive in Washington and its suburbs. Now, local utilities, say, it could become something even worse: scarce,” reported the Washington Post this week. Maryland, for example, may face rolling blackouts as early as 2011 or 2012 on summer days.

The core of the problem is that the region’s ability to meet its ever-increasing demand for electricity is being short-circuited by environmental activists who are doing every thing they can to make it as difficult as possible to generate and transmit power.

“Environmental groups say the region should try harder to save energy before it goes out looking for more,” the Post reported. “The cheapest power plant out there is the one you never have to build,” one activist told the Post.

The euphemism the environmentalists use for this strategy is “conservation.” But “rationing” is perhaps the most honest descriptor.

The environmentalists’ new tactic in their war against us meeting our basic energy needs focuses on coal-burning power plants, which are at the top of the list of carbon dioxide emitters. “Increasing electricity almost inevitably leads to more global warming emissions,” an activist told the Post.

And the activists have used global warming fears to great effect.

“Stymied in their plans to build coal-burning power plants, American utilities are turning to natural gas to meet expected growth in demand, risking a new upward spiral in the price of that fuel,” the New York Times reported this week.

Since environmentalist-fomented opposition to coal plants is rising around the country -- including a new policy by major banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to discourage coal-plant construction -- utility executives say they have little choice even though the boom in natural gas demand will send electricity prices even higher, according to the Times.

Once again, “environmental groups argue that utilities should focus on cutting demand for power, rather than building new capacity,” the Times reported.

One possible way out of the global warming-angle of this mess, is to capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions of power plants. Although this column recently reported about the difficulty and expense of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the Bush Administration has nevertheless been participating in a project called FutureGen, a futuristic, zero-emission power plant. The federal government was slated to pay for 75 percent of FutureGen’s costs.

But just last week, the Department of Energy announced that it was pulling out of FutureGen, after costs skyrocketed from $800 million to $1.8 billion. Undersecretary of Energy C.H. “Bud” Albright told FutureGen officials that the agency wasn’t interested in “building Disneyland in some swamp in Illinois.”

With FutureGen off the drawing board, at least for the time being, there are no significant CCS projects ongoing in the U.S. -- meaning that carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants won’t be captured in the foreseeable future.

Without a plan for CCS, environmental zealots will then be able to continue their anti-energy jihad against an essentially defenseless coal-based electricity producers and their consumers.

Of course, coal-based electricity producers and consumers aren’t really defenseless. They could (gasp!) challenge the dubious notion that manmade carbon dioxide emissions drive global climate -- click to view a video on this subject -- rather than just accepting politically correct myths that have been rammed down their throats without, so far, meaningful opportunity for debate.

It’s an idea that’s worth considering, especially given the apparent lack of understanding of the climate issue, even among those who aspire to be president.

In response to a question on global warming during the last Republican presidential debate before the Super Tuesday primaries, for example, Sen. John McCain declared that, “I applaud [efforts] to try to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Now, suppose that [I am] wrong, and there's no such thing as climate change. And we adopt these green technologies…  Then all we’ve done is give our kids a cleaner world.”

But if we rush to blindly adopt greenhouse gas emission controls, we could disrupt energy markets and cause much economic harm. And in real life, a poorer world tends to be a dirtier world. Moreover, since carbon dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas that naturally makes up a very small part of our atmosphere and since manmade carbon dioxide is an exceedingly small part of total global carbon dioxide emissions, it’s hard to see how reducing emissions will make the world “cleaner.”

Sen. McCain continued, “But suppose we do nothing…and we don't eliminate this $400 billion dependence we have on foreign oil. Some of that money goes to terrorist organizations and also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Then what kind of a world have we given our children?”

Earth to Sen. McCain: U.S. coal-fired electricity doesn’t put a penny in the pockets of Middle East oil producers or terrorists. In fact, inexpensive coal-fired electricity could one day power vehicles so as to drastically cut down on gasoline use and the need for the oil imports that concern him.

If we don’t have serious debate on these issues, the combination of unscrupulous anti-growth environmentalists and uninformed grandstanding politicians will certainly lead to lights out for America.


Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.




By JEFFREY BALL, WSJ, February 4, 2008; Page A6

Three major investment banks, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, will announce new environmental standards today that are expected to make it more difficult for large coal-fired power plants in the United States to get funding. The standards anticipate some form of cap-and-trade program becoming law in the U.S. in coming years and seek to force utilities to plan for the inevitable; coal plants seeking funding would first have to prove they can be financially viable under a cap-and-trade system. The three banks said that they would consider funding energy efficiency measures and renewable-energy projects ahead of coal plants and that when funding coal projects they'll heavily favor plants that can successfully capture and sequester their carbon emissions. The banks maintain that their primary motivation for the standards is financial; Wall Street bigwigs don't want to be stuck with debt when coal plants are forced to pay for at least a portion of their emission allowances under cap and trade. Jeffrey Holzschuh of Morgan Stanley paraphrased Melissa Etheridge, crooning, "We have to wake up some people who are asleep."




SFS/ 2/9/08


U.S. consumption of natural gas decreased slightly in the decade from 1997 to 2006, from 22.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) to 21.1 TCF.  But this total hides the fact that electric utilities increased their use of gas from 4.1 to 6.2 TCF, or about 50%, while industry use declined from 8.5 to 6.4 TCF in the same period, responding to the large increase in the price of gas.  [Commercial and residential use declined only slightly, reflecting their much smaller price elasticity.]


During the same decade, US oil consumption rose, from 18.6 million barrels per day (mbd) to 20.7 mbd; it actually peaked at 20.8 in 2005.  Sales of gasoline increased from 8.2 to 9.0 mbd – also by over 10 percent, while diesel went from 2.4 to 3.5 mbd.  But as domestic production declined, oil imports rose from 8.2 to 10.1 mbd, an increase of 23%. 


How much of the (9.0+3.5) mbd of oil can be replaced by natural gas?  Recall that on a BTU basis, 1 mbd = 2.1 TCF/yr.  Over time, methane now burned in utility boilers, could replace nearly 3 mbd of gasoline and diesel – and therefore gradually reduce oil imports by the same amount, roughly 30%, to 7mbd.  According to national transportation statistics, trucks and buses consumed about 1.7 mbd of petroleum-based fuels; they could readily switch to using lower-priced (and cleaner) compressed natural gas (CNG).  Other fleet vehicles might also find CNG to be advantageous. 


Oil imports can be reduced further by improvements in efficiency.  Over a period of years, a fleet of hybrid-electric cars might achieve a fuel reduction of 50% (or roughly 2mbd); plug-in commuter cars can cut their oil consumption to zero, saving perhaps another 2mbd.  Stranded gas can boost the supply of liquid transportation fuel by being turned into methanol and dimethyl ether (DME).  Access to domestic oil resources currently locked up on federal lands can do the rest and make the nation energy independent  -- or close to it – reducing the outflow of dollars and improving the US trade balance.


Similar actions by oil consumers everywhere will substantially reduce the world price of oil, the income of oil-exporting nations – and perhaps also the funding for international terrorism.




Drew Thornley, The Heartland Institute
Environment News,
 February 2008

Computer models that form the basis for future global warming predictions have projected significantly more warming in recent years than has actually occurred, concludes a comprehensive new scientific study.

"A Comparison of Tropical Temperature Trends with Model Predictions," published in the December 2007 International Journal of Climatology, is the latest study to cast doubt on the efficacy of climate modeling. Climate scientists David H. Douglass, John Christy, and S. Fred Singer analyzed 22 climate models and found their predictions at odds with actual warming over the past 30 years.

No Human Fingerprint

Most of the models predicted significant middle- and upper-troposphere warming, yet actual warming was minimal.

Douglass and his colleagues write, "Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs."

Christy, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contributor, noted in a December 6 press statement, "Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater. Satellite observations suggest that greenhouse models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide."

Many top climate scientists point out climate models are incapable of handling confounding factors such as cloud cover and water vapor (the dominant greenhouse gas), thus distorting climate predictions.

Additionally, they note, the models do not reflect the actual causes of warming. Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, says the models used by the IPCC and other alarmists assign too much warming resulting from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, rendering the models' predictions inaccurate.

Singer writes, "Dire predictions of future warming are based almost entirely on computer climate models, yet these models do not accurately understand the role of water vapor. Plus, computer models cannot account for the observed cooling of much of the past century (1940-75), nor for the observed patterns of warming. For example, the Antarctic is cooling while models predict warming. And where the models call for the middle atmosphere to warm faster than the surface, the observations show the exact opposite."

Computer Programs Inadequate

Computers, no matter how big, cannot take account of all of the earth's complexities and processes, critics of the alarmist models also note. As a result, no current climate model can explain the causes of climate changes, accurately predict future climate, or form a sound basis for environmental policy.

"Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us," Christy was quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal on November 1.

"Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? It seems that the answer is no," summarized Douglass in the press statement.

"This new study adds another nail to the coffin of alarmist global warming theory," said Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

"Alarmist global warming theory is totally dependent on computer models predicting accelerating warming in the future," Burnett noted, "yet the models have predicted such warming in the past, and the predicted warming has failed to materialize. This hardly seems a reliable indicator of future warming."

Drew Thornley ( is a policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation



Two scientists have claimed that climate change was not the only cause of the collapse of a 500bn tonne ice shelf in Antarctica six years ago. The 656ft (200m) thick, 1,255 sq mile (3,250 sq km) Larsen B shelf broke apart in March 2002.

But Neil Glasser of Aberystwyth University and Ted Scambos of Colorado University claim in a new study that it had been on the brink for decades.  They argue that glaciological and atmospheric factors were also involved.

In a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, the pair say that when Larsen B collapsed it appeared to be the latest in a long line of victims of Antarctic summer heat waves linked to global warming.

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey predicted in 1998 that several ice shelves around the peninsula were doomed because of rising temperatures in the region, but the speed with which Larsen B went shocked them in 2002.
But Prof Glasser said the dramatic event was "not as simple as we first thought".

He acknowledged that global warming had a major part to play in the collapse, but emphasised that it was only one of a number of contributory factors.

"Because large amounts of meltwater appeared on the ice shelf just before it collapsed, we had always assumed that air temperature increases were to blame," he added.  "But our new study shows that ice-shelf break up is not controlled simply by climate.

"A number of other atmospheric, oceanic and glaciological factors are involved.  "For example, the location and spacing of fractures on the ice shelf such as crevasses and rifts are very important too because they determine how strong or weak the ice shelf is."

Dr Scambos, of the University of Colorado's national snow and ice data centre, said the ice shelf had probably been in distress for decades before its demise.  "It's likely that melting from higher ocean temperatures, or even a gradual decline in the ice mass of the peninsula over the centuries, was pushing the Larsen to the brink," he added.

Story from BBC NEWS:



By Christopher Booker,   04/02/2008;jsessionid=PNAFS25HB5MC5QFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2008/02/03/nbook103.xml


Last autumn the BBC and others could scarcely contain their excitement in reporting that the Arctic ice was melting so fast there would soon be none left.

Sea ice cover had shrunk to the lowest level ever recorded. But for some reason the warmists are less keen on the latest satellite findings, reported by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the website Cryosphere Today by the University of Illinois

This body is committed to warmist orthodoxy and contributes to the work of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yet its graph of northern hemisphere sea ice area, which shows the ice shrinking from 13,000 million sq km to just 4 million from the start of 2007 to October, also shows it now almost back to 13 million sq km.


A second graph, "Global Ice Area", shows a similar pattern repeated every year since satellite records began in 1979; while a third, "Southern Hemisphere Ice", shows that sea ice has actually expanded in recent years, well above its 30-year mean.


Still more inconvenient was the truth about an image that has been relentlessly exploited to promote this panic over the "vanishing" Arctic ice. It is the photograph of two polar bears standing forlornly on the fast-melting remains of an iceberg which has been reproduced thousands of times to show that there will soon be no bears left (ignoring evidence that their numbers have risen recently).

Now, thanks to a Canadian journalist, Carole Williams (on, we can read the story behind this picture, which was taken in 2004 just off Alaska by a marine biologist, Amanda Byrd. As Ms Byrd is happy to point out, the bears were in no danger so close to the coast (they can swim 100 miles). She wanted a photograph more of the "wind-sculpted ice" than of the bears.

The image was copied by another member of the crew and passed on to Environment Canada. Then it was eagerly adopted by the warmist propaganda machine - above all by Al Gore, who used it to powerful effect as an emotive backdrop to his highly lucrative lectures.

"Their habitat is melting," he likes to declaim, "beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet."

As the old joke has it, it seems those famous bears were not drowning after all, they were just waving. But the BBC is no more likely to tell us that than it was to lead the news with last week's snow in Jerusalem.



Timothy Searchinger, et al


Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. Using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.



Joseph Fargione, Jason Hill, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, and Peter Hawthorne


Increasing energy use, climate change, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels make switching to low-carbon fuels a high priority. Biofuels are a potential low-carbon energy source, but whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food-based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a ‘biofuel carbon debt’ by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions these biofuels provide by displacing fossil fuels. In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials incur little or no carbon debt and offer immediate and sustained GHG advantages.



James M. Taylor, The Heartland Institute
Published in: Environment News ,: February 2008

John Lefebvre, the top financial benefactor of the DeSmog Blog, is facing substantial prison time after pleading guilty to federal money-laundering charges. 

The DeSmog Blog is operated by a small group of public relations people who specialize in attempting to discredit respected scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory.

Ironically, DeSmog Blog's favorite tactic is to claim scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory are funded by "dirty money."

The revelation of the blog's major source of funding as a convicted money launderer may undermine DeSmog's attempts to smear the integrity of respected, law-abiding scientists who disagree with them.

Apparently unashamed by their criminal connections, the DeSmog Blog Web site proclaims, "The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre. ... John has been outspoken, uncompromising, and courageous in challenging those who would muddy the climate change debate, and he has enabled and inspired the same standard on the blog."

Lefebvre, who pleaded guilty in June 2007, faces up to 20 years in a federal penitentiary.

James M. Taylor ( is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.



James M. Taylor,  The Heartland Institute
Environment News,  February 2008

Hundreds of the world's leading "skeptics" of the theory of man-made global warming will meet in New York City on March 2-4 to present their case and discuss the latest scientific, economic, and political research on climate change.

The conference is being organized by The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, and cosponsoring organizations including the International Climate Science Coalition, Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and Science & Environmental Policy Project.  The Heartland Institute is the publisher of Environment & Climate News.

"The purpose of the conference is to provide a platform for the hundreds of scientists, economists, and policy experts who dissent from the so-called 'consensus' on global warming," said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute.

"Hundreds of scientists, many of them with distinguished careers and many appearances in the peer-reviewed literature, believe the Modern Warming is natural and moderate," Bast noted. "They are being censored by the press and demonized by environmental advocacy groups.

"This is their chance to speak out," said Bast. "If 400 or 500 'skeptics' from around the world assemble in New York City, it will be difficult for policymakers and journalists to ignore us."


Plans for the conference include five keynote presentations and 25 panels of scientists discussing a wide variety of global warming-related issues. Approximately 100 experts will give formal presentations at the conference, with several hundred others expected to attend and share information in a more informal manner.

Five tracks of panels will address paleoclimatology, climatology, global warming impacts, the economics of global warming, and political factors.  Each track will consist of four or five panels composed of experts on some aspect of the general topic.

Many of the presenters will provide written papers to supplement their presentations, which will be collected and edited for publication following the event.  Other follow-up activities include planning for a follow-up conference in London in 2009, the launch of a scholarly journal, and publication of a rebuttal to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recently released Fourth Assessment Report.


The Heartland Institute is providing travel scholarships to qualified scientists, economists, and policy experts willing to speak at the event.  A limited number of scholarships also will be available to elected officials and government officials interested in attending.

Registration for the event is $625 (€ 415) before February 15, and $720 (€ 480) after that date. Media and students may attend at the special rate of $312 (€ 200) before February 15, and $360 (€ 240) after that date.