The Week That Was (Jan 24, 2009) brought to you by SEPP



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Quote of the Week:

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." -- Richard Feynman


President Obama's inaugural address mentions global warming only once. He said: "with old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet."  The dictionary is clear that a 'specter' is a "visible, disembodied spirit: Apparition, Ghost, Phantom."  Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

The President is an educated man. Perhaps he means what he says.

   But as anticipated (see “Fearless Forecast” in TWTW of Dec 27, 2008), the Obama White House is not rushing into precipitous climate policies.  Obama aides said he still planned to pursue the full agenda that undergirded his presidential campaign later this year or perhaps later in his term.

    President Barack Obama should be judged by his performance in office the same way any president would be judged.  As political analyst Juan Williams wrote in the January 21, 2009 The Wall Street Journal, "If his presidency is to represent the full power of the idea that black Americans are just like everyone else -- fully human and fully capable of intellect, courage and patriotism -- then Barack Obama has to be subject to the same rough-and-tumble of political criticism experienced by his predecessors.  "No president of any color should be given a free pass for screw-ups, lies or failure to keep a promise."
    So, courtesy of Tom Randall (, here is a partial list of Mr. Obama's campaign environmental and energy promises, as published by the National Journal.  Never has any primary candidate made so many promises, let alone a single president.  We honestly believe he would like to keep them all, given his appointment of Carol Browner to be energy and environment czar.  But, he might serve the country better if he keeps none. 

Promise: "First, we'll commit ourselves to getting one million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid cars on the road within 6 years." 8/6/08, speech, Elkhart, IN.  Comment (by TR): First, you will need to find a million fools (the easy part) because the pay-off period of the increased cost of such cars is impossibly long.

Promise: "Second, we will double the amount of energy that comes from renewable resources by the end of my first term." 8/6/08, speech, Elkhart, IN.  Comment: That would cut oil demand by another 2.7 percent.  But it won't happen in the U.S., that is already the world's largest producer of ethanol.
Promise:  "Third, I will call on businesses, government and the American people to meet the goal of reducing our demand for electricity by 15 percent by the end of the next decade." 8/6/08, Speech, Elkhart, IN.  Comment: Only way to do that is to tank an already struggling economy.  Can't help wondering what role plug-in hybrids play in this reduction.
Promise: "We'll also take steps to reduce the price of oil and increase transparency in how prices are set so we can ensure that energy companies are not bending the rules." 4/25/08, speech, Indianapolis, IN.  Comment: The process is already transparent but you have to understand commodity markets to see it.
Promise: ". . . . but I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the table and play a central part in figuring out how we solve [global warming]. 4/2/08, response to a question, Philadelphia, PA.
Comment: In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us all." We wonder why he needs "Big Al" when he has Al's acolyte, Ms. Browner.
Promise:  "As president, I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming -- an 80 percent reduction by 2050." 10/8/07, speech, Portsmouth, NH.
Comment: Those scientists would, we assume, be acolytes of Al Goracle and James Hansen, rather than actual, objective scientists.

Promise: "I will immediately sign a law that begins to phase out all incandescent light bulbs." 10/8/07, speech, Portsmouth, NH.  Comment: Where is Thomas Edison when we need a really great mind to figure out what to with all the mercury the new bulbs will use?
Link: We have shown you just a smattering of President Obama's environment and energy promises. If you would like to see more, go to:


SEPP Science Editorial #4-09 (1/24/09)


Is Antarctic Warming Real or is it “Mann”-made?

The report of an unexpected Antarctic warming trend [Eric J. Steig, David P. Schneider, Scott D. Rutherford, Michael E. Mann, Josefino C. Comiso & Drew T. Shindell. Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature 457:459-463, 22 Jan. 2009; doi:10.1038/nature07669] has created a certain amount of skepticism – even among supporters of AGW. 


But in an AP news story, two of its authors (one is ‘hockey-stick’ inventor Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is "consistent with" greenhouse warming.  Of course, as Roger Pielke, Jr, points out, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was ‘consistent with’ greenhouse warming and thus the skeptics were wrong: “So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both ‘consistent with’ model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of ‘consistent with’ in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?”

The results are based on very few isolated data from weather stations, plus data from research satellites.  And here is the rub: these are not data from microwave sounding units (MSU), such as are regularly published by Christy and Spencer, but data from infrared sensors that are supposed to measure the temperature of the surface (rather than of the overlaying atmosphere, as weather stations do).


But the IR emission depends not only on temperature of the surface, but also on surface emissivity -- and is further modified by absorption of clouds and haze. 


These are all difficult points.  Emissivity of snow depends on its porosity and size of snow crystals.  Blowing snow likely has a different emissivity than snow that has been tamped down; so surface winds could have a strong influence.  The emissivity of ice is again different and will depend on whether there is a thin melt layer of water on top of the ice, temporarily produced by solar radiation.  Finally, we have temperature inversions that can trap haze which is essentially undetectable by optical methods from satellites.


The proof of the pudding, of course, is the MSU data, which show a continuous cooling trend, are little affected by surface conditions and are unaffected by haze and clouds.  They are therefore more reliable.

Bottom line:  As it looks to me right now, the Antarctic Continent is cooling not warming.

1.  DOE report paints bleak picture of our electric future


2.  Triumph of reality over shabby and fraudulent scientific theory


3.  Green jobs: fact or fiction?

4.  Saying no to oil revenues? – Paul Driessen


5.  Politics has delayed nuclear waste disposal --  A. David Rossin


7.  Climate alarmists: The new Shamans



Investor's Business Daily, 20 Jan2009
Despite years of media bombardment about the imminent dangers of global warming, the alarmists are losing ground. Fewer Americans are buying into the myth. According to a Rasmussen poll, 44% of U.S. voters blame long-term planetary trends for the (perceived) global warming; only 41% say human activity is responsible.  Those are far different numbers than Rasmussen recorded less than three years ago. In July 2006, Rasmussen found that a mere 35% believed the cause of warming to be part of a natural cycle, while 46% said humans were culpable. …..The waning faith in the church of global warming seems to have sent one of its apostles into a near panic. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is saying that time to save the planet from a blistering-hot, ice-cap-melting, sea-rising doom is running out.
      "We have to get on a new path within this new administration," he told the British Observer. "We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead."
      Hansen can't admit it because he has staked his name and reputation on the notion that man is causing Earth to warm. But once the raw emotion and partisan bias are stripped, 59% of Democrats blame global warming on man vs. only 21% of Republicans.

     Even the NYTimes admits  Environmental Issues Slide in Poll of Public's Concerns By ANDREW C. REVKIN, Jan 23, 2009.  

A new poll suggests that Americans, preoccupied with the economy, are less worried about rising global temperatures than they were a year ago, but remain concerned with solving the nation's energy problems. The findings are somewhat at odds with President Obama, who has put a high priority on staving off global warming and vowed Tuesday in his Inaugural Address to "roll back the specter of a warming planet."  In the poll, released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, global warming came in last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists.  Only 30 percent of the voters deemed global warming to be "a top priority," compared with 35 percent in 2008."Protecting the environment," which had surged in the rankings from 2006 to 2008, dropped even more precipitously in the poll: only 41 percent of voters called it a top priority, compared with 56 percent last year.

The tide is turning:  Conn. legislator John PISCOPO introduces: Proposed H.B. No. 5697. 'AN ACT REPEALING GLOBAL WARMING LEGISLATION', to repeal global warming legislation that was passed based on the assumption that global warming is caused by human action.
Excerpt: “Mark my words, in ten years, we're all going to be worried about late spring frosts, and early fall frosts, and crops dying and we're going to be in some huge climate cooling hysteria. That's just the way it is with this globe. It warms and it cools. There is nothing the little State of Connecticut, in rolling back its economy to 1990 standards, or over-regulating its manufacturing industry or anything like that, is going to do to stop this huge planet from having fluctuations in its climate.”

Global warming theory represents one of the greatest scientific con games in history. The putative intellectual foundations are based on data manipulated to support the desired conclusion, and have been conclusively debunked.

    Andrew G. Bostom pulls together a beginning history of the steps by which the theory was sold. Unscientific studies came to be embraced as conclusive, their debunkers targeted for abuse. The remarkable hockey stick graph and the effort to "get rid" of the Medieval Warm Period (whose temperature rise dwarfs anything in the last century) are among the scandalous abuses of science covered here.

    Those who want to marshal the evidence to induce skepticism in friends who fall for warmist propaganda should read and save this article. The science is explained lucidly, so that any serious reader can comprehend the issues. It is not a quick and light read, but it repays an investment of a few minutes of serious attention.

How to talk to alarmists about Inconvenient Truth: Reducing CO2 Emissions Will NOT Save the Planet! I talk about the fallacy of man-made Global Warming to whomever will listen. I talk to many groups, large and small about how AGW is just bad science


Tolstoi on refusal to acknowledge evidence. “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”


Advocates of human-caused global warming to take increasingly ridiculous positions to defend the indefensible:

How the world was bullied into silence  By Dr. Tim Ball, January 19, 2009  One of the most disturbing aspects of the global warming scam is the number of prominent people and entire segments of society bullied into silence.  Consider the case of climate skeptic Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years. Then consider her statement. “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….”



How much does your morning glass of orange juice contribute to global warming? (NYT, January 22, 2009)  PepsiCo, which owns the Tropicana brand, decided to try to answer that question. It figured that as public concern grows about the fate of the planet, companies will find themselves under pressure to perform such calculations. Orange juice seemed like a good case study.
    PepsiCo hired experts to do the math, measuring the emissions from such energy-intensive tasks as running a factory and transporting heavy juice cartons. But it turned out that the biggest single source of emissions was simply growing oranges. Citrus groves use a lot of nitrogen fertilizer, which requires natural gas to make and can turn into a potent greenhouse gas when it is spread on fields.  PepsiCo finally came up with a number: the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted to the atmosphere for each half-gallon carton of orange juice. But the company is still debating how to use that information.


Do you recall who said this in June 2008, during the presidential campaign? [Hint: It wasn’t McCain]:  "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.--This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation."   Yes, --and the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Sun and Moon stood still and tides ebbed, and there was none afraid ….



By John Timmer | January 19, 2009


There's a long tradition of using Fridays to release reports you'd rather not see attract attention, and the Department of Energy has used the last Friday of the Bush Administration to release a big one. Its Electricity Advisory Committee, composed primarily of power industry executives, has released a series of reports on the future of the US electric grid.


…the main report, entitled Keeping the Lights on in a New World, covers a lot of ground, a great deal of it depressing. It describes a number of issues that have stifled investment and innovation when it comes to the production and delivery of electric power. Most of these are familiar to anyone that has looked into our current situation, but the report's authors present the problems in strikingly clear terms, and back their analysis up with a comprehensive look at the power markets.


…much of the grid that takes power from generating facilities to end-users is nearing the end of its useful lifespan, and many of the major projects designed to improve its performance remain bogged down in regulatory review—a problem that is especially true of the large, intrastate transmission lines needed for distribution of most forms of renewable power. Meanwhile, conservation efforts, which would buy us more time to get our act together and save everyone involved significant cash outlays in the meantime, have remained fragmented and poorly integrated into the electrical production and generation system.


Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the report's narrative is the lack of innovation involved in power production and distribution. Although there appear to be a lot of new approaches in this area within the startup companies that are focusing on renewable power and the smart grid, the financial incentives have been such that most of the deployments continue to be large and conservative. The lack of tangible innovation has combined with the general decline in those entering the science and engineering fields to produce a graying workforce at the utilities; nearly half their existing staff will be eligible for retirement by the end of next year.


That's not a good sign for an industry that needs to replace much of its infrastructure within the next decade. The report contains dozens of recommendations about how to improve our future prospects, but the basic take-home is that we can't afford another 30 years of talk without a coherent plan of action.



By Phil Brennan


The heated debate about global warming has suddenly cooled off. It's no longer between the fanatic adherents of global warming (AGWers: Anthropogenic human-caused - Global Warming adherents) and the more sober-minded so-called "deniers." It's now between the warmiacs and Mother Nature, and shes winning handily. If you doubt that take a look a national temperature charts that show below-zero temperatures as far south as New Orleans ….

<> What we're experiencing now is going to prove mild in comparison to what is waiting in the wings. Before this winter ends - and that won't be until late May or early June, most of the world will be in the deep freezer and under the incredible amounts of snow that record-breaking blizzards will continue to bring us. This is not to say that the-now panicky members of the Gore brigade will throw in the towel - they'll be telling us that the frigid weather is a result of global warming.  But by that time nobody will be listening, and even if they were, they wouldn't be able to hear anything through their ear muffs. 

    What we are now witnessing is the triumph of reality over shabby and fraudulent scientific theory. The only hockey sticks we'll be seeing will be in the frozen hands of NHL players. In my 1997 series I showed how the scientific community was wedded to the possibility that we were approaching the end of the present interglacial period and headed for a new ice age.  According to "Understanding Climate Change," published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1975 on page 181 "The present interglacial interval -- which has now lasted for about 10,000 years -- represents a climatic regime that is relatively rare during the past million years, most of which has been occupied by colder, glacial regimes. Only during about 8 percent of the past 700,000 years has the earth experienced climates as warm or warmer than the present.


"The penultimate interglacial age began about 125,000 years ago, and lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Similar interglacial ages -- each lasting 10,000, plus or minus 2000 years, and each followed by a glacial maximum -- have occurred on the average every 100,000 years during at least the past half-million years. During this period, fluctuations of the northern hemisphere ice sheets caused sea level variations of the order of 100 meters."

On page 189 the question was asked: "When will the present interglacial [period] end? Few paleoclimatologists would dispute that the prominent warm periods (interglacial) that have followed each of the terminations of the major glaciations have had durations of 10,000, plus or minus 2000 years. In each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after the interglacial interval. Since about 10,000 years have passed since the onset of the present period of prominent warmth, the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brink of a period of colder climate." "The question remains unsolved. If the end of the interglacial is episodic in character, we are moving toward a rather sudden climatic change of unknown timing ... If on the other hand, these changes are more sinusoidal in character, then the climate should decline gradually over a period of a thousand years."

    A study prepared for the 95th Congress in 1978 agreed with the National Academy of Sciences position as explained in the above-quoted study. The document Weather Modification: Programs, Problems, Policy and Potential warned: "In geological prospective, the case for cooling is strong ... If this interglacial age lasts no longer than a dozen earlier ones in the past million years, as recorded in deep sea sediments, we may reasonably suppose the world is about due to slide into the next ice age."


    That made sense then, before the global warming gravy train brought billions in research grants to global warming researchers, and it makes sense now. Moreover, Mother Nature has now begun to show her hand by pouring ice water on the AGW hoax. The mere fact that we are overdue for a new ice age itself lends great credence to the idea that the great freeze is upon us. Current increasingly frigid weather enhances it. In a contest between Al Gore and Mother Nature, she holds all the cards. And she's now playing them. 


Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.Com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web ( <> http://WWW.pvbr.Com)




Is a "Green Economy" the cure for our current economic ills, global warming and energy security?  Proponents claim that this view -- where government at all levels can use fiscal and regulatory measures to spur massive new investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency to create "green jobs" -- will not only rescue the economy, but will also put the country on track to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future.  Unfortunately, it is highly questionable whether a government campaign to spur "green jobs" would have net economic benefits.


In their new study, Robert Michaels and Robert P. Murphy of the Institute for Energy Research examined four studies on the alleged benefits of government programs to foster green job creation and found a common characteristic: they all rest on incomplete economic analysis consequently overstating the net benefits of their policy recommendations.  Below is a summary of the general problems:


o   Mistaking a labor-intensive energy sector as the goal, rather than efficient energy provision.


o   Counting job creation but ignoring job destruction.


o   Double counting of jobs and overly simplistic treatment of the labor market.


o   Ignoring the role of the private sector.


o   How much government support of "green" markets is enough?


o   Government picking of winners and losers.


o   Assuming that potential benefits from new technologies will only occur through government programs.


With no standardized definitions of the renewable and energy efficiency industries, authors of these reports have a wide range of plausible choices.  But the larger the percentage of the workforce engaged in producing renewable power and efficiency, the smaller the output of other goods, say Michaels and Murphy.


The fact that building and operating renewable power generators requires more labor time than for conventional generators is a signal that the nation should not rush toward renewable.  The public is worse off because it sacrifices the outputs that those workers could have produced had they been employed elsewhere, says Michaels and Murphy.


Source: Robert Michaels and Robert P. Murphy, "Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction? An Assessment of the Literature," The Institute For Energy Research, January 2009. [H/t NCPA]



Petroleum production bans cost us billions that could pay for stimulus plans and renewables.  The real lessons of the January 1969 Santa Barbara oil blowout
By Paul Driessen


Plummeting stock and housing prices have triggered a painful recession, Americas worst job losses since 1945, and trillions in lost national wealth. California is grappling with a $42-billion budget deficit. That’s more than the GDP of 112 countries. Maryland, Virginia, New York and other states likewise face billion-dollar budget shortfalls. Congress and the White House want a $1-trillion stimulus for the banking, auto and steel industries, roads, bridges and ports, and less worthy projects like water parks, parking garages and fitness centers. They also support expanded renewable energy programs that will require tens of billions in subsidies and tax breaks, but provide intermittent electricity and deliver only 5-15% of their rated capacity during peak summer demand periods.

     Many states have oil, gas, coal uranium and other energy and mineral resources, within their borders or off their coasts. Development would produce critically needed energy, reduce oil and gas imports, create millions of jobs, buttress our national security, and generate trillions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues, to help pay these bills. California could nearly double its offshore oil production within 12-18 months, without installing a single new platform, by using directional drilling technology to bore more wells from existing platforms.

     But environmentalists vigorously oppose development. Many states increasingly restrict exploration and production. The US Senate is considering bills that would place more energy prospects off limits. Many legislators want a permanent lock on billions of barrels of oil beneath Alaska’s North Slope and America’s Outer Continental Shelf -- despite support for drilling by two-thirds of voters. Onshore, the usual justification is speculative or exaggerated impacts on wildlife, habitats and groundwater from drilling and production. Offshore, the most common rationale is the infamous oil blowout that occurred forty years ago this month, off Santa Barbara. That spill is the only one in over 45,000 US offshore wells where significant amounts of oil reached our coasts.

   And it never would have happened, if it weren’t for the incompetence of a few federal regulators and oil company officials. The guilty well was being drilled into brittle, highly fractured rock formations which sit atop a more stable zone that holds billions of gallons of gooey crude oil, mixed with natural gas under high pressure. It’s the same oil that’s been seeping out of the shallow formations and washing up on California beaches since long before Spanish explorers used it to waterproof their galleons. But having drilled several wells without incident, company officials requested a waiver from normal regulations. Unbelievably, it was granted. The drill crew was allowed to install minimal well casing steel pipes that go into well bores to prevent blowouts. When oil and gas began to erupt out of the deep drill hole, the crew’s quick response stopped it only temporarily. Because the casing didn’t go deep enough, the pressurized goo surged into the brittle rocks, creating huge gashes that sent gushers of oil out around the platform. For six days, favorable winds kept the oil slick offshore. Then the wind shifted. Oil inundated Santa Barbara’s gorgeous beaches. Thousands of sea birds died, along with seals and countless other marine animals. The anti-oil environmental movement was born.

   Thankfully, dire predictions of permanent damage were wrong. Bird, crab, lobster, seal and other populations soon rebounded. Under the platform, the magnificent artificial reef ecosystem returned. Enormous mussels, scallops and barnacles again cover the huge scaffold that holds the production platform above the waves. Gorging on shellfish, and having to move mere inches for their next meal, starfish grow to three feet across. Oriental carpets of white, pink and lavender sponges and sea anemones create firework displays of color, while crabs scamper about and thousands of mackerel, sardines and other fish cruise by. I know this, because I’ve been there, up close and in person, in scuba gear, beneath that very platform and a dozen others in the Santa Barbara Channel and Gulf of Mexico. I joined biologists, wrote professional papers, and produced a documentary film about these towering steel reefs.

     Even more important, the technologies, regulations and enforcement programs have changed. Today, instruments monitor temperature and pressure in wells 24/7. Blowout preventers, pipeline shutoff valves and other devices on or beneath the sea floor control the flow of oil and gas. Offshore operators conduct regular accident training and safety exercises. The efforts have paid off. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita pounded the Gulf of Mexicos 3,000 drilling rigs and production platforms. Over 200 were damaged or destroyed. But virtually no oil or gas escaped. In fact, according to the US Minerals Management Service (where I used to work), oil companies produced nearly 12 billion barrels of oil from OCS leases between 1980 and 2007. Only 102,000 barrels were spilled: 3,780 barrels a year, on average. That’s a 99.999% safety record. By contrast, natural seeps like the ones off California leak 620,000 barrels of oil per year into US waters.  America’s oil industry has a pollution record 164 times better than Mother Natures! And producing more US offshore oil has an added bonus. It means there is less seepage, and thus less oil in our oceans and on our beaches.

    Our energy policies should recognize these facts. America has been held hostage far too long by anti-oil ideologues and foreign oiligarchs. Keeping our vast resources off limits won’t convince consumers to slash petroleum use. We will just import more, and be ever more indebted to foreign powers. (At $50 per barrel, imported oil costs the United States $235 billion per year; at $140 per barrel, we send $650 billion annually overseas.) Oil prices are low at the moment, because world demand is down, due to the global recession. We could keep them down, by prolonging the recession -- an unpalatable option. Or we can help keep prices at tolerable levels, by developing the domestic oil and gas that we have in abundance, but politicians, courts and greens for too long have told us we can’t touch. We need the energy, jobs and revenues that offshore (and onshore) oil and gas development can provide. We can no longer afford to just say no to domestic petroleum, during the long transition to future energy technologies that we cannot begin to envision any more than even Jules Verne could have foreseen the wondrous energy and other technologies that creative minds have made a reality today. That’s the kind of change we can believe in. The kind America needs.


Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power Black death.


By A. David Rossin

Without a doubt, nuclear waste disposal is the political Achilles heel of nuclear power in the United States.  The Obama Administration and Congress will need to confront this politically sensitive issue, along with its implications for our energy and environment.

Critics charge that there is no “approved site” for a national repository to hold waste from nuclear power plants. In fact, progress on the Yucca Mountain repository project has been encouraging.  In June, the Department of Energy filed its formal application for a license to operate the Nevada repository.  In December the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted it for review.  The NRC estimates the review will require three years of study and public hearings.  If approved, work on the facility could then be completed.  In opposing the license, Nevada and California are using standard tactics, the same old and familiar “contentions” they have used before.  Their goal seems to be to slow down the work regardless of the cost to electricity consumers.

The history of the Yucca Mountain project has been told but it needs to be told again.  Plans to permanently store and reduce the waste were developed before the first commercial nuclear power plants were licensed to operate in 1960.  Each year the Atomic Energy Commission’s budget provided research funds to develop design requirements for storage facilities to hold the nuclear waste.  Congress appropriated the funds and approved the programs.  Several proposed sites for a repository had the characteristics necessary for safe permanent storage.  To pay for the program, electricity ratepayers began paying one-tenth of a cent for every kilowatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity they used.

Meanwhile, nuclear power had become a litmus test for environmental activists.  Some voiced concern about nuclear waste, but few, if any, took the time to study the science or listen to the scientists and engineers who were working on the program.

President Jimmy Carter, responding to the entreaties of environmental activists, issued a policy statement less than a hundred days after he had taken office.  With it, he killed plans to reprocess used nuclear fuel, reclaim the plutonium which could be recycled into new fuel, and package the radioactive waste for permanent disposal.  Congress had not even seen it.  The Carter Administration demanded that used fuel assemblies be buried permanently, without recycling the plutonium in it.  A huge supply of nuclear fuel would be thrown away.

But in the national debate on nuclear waste, plutonium – called the most toxic material known to man, though it is not – became a hot-button issue.  The reality is that plutonium’s radiation threat is trivial.  Its radiation can be blocked by a simple sheet of paper.  At no point in the safety design of the repository does either the radiation or the heat from plutonium have the slightest environmental or safety impact.  Nevertheless, the government demanded that the repository’s safety had to be guaranteed for 10,000 years.

In 1982, Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a statute that set the specific course for nuclear waste management and limited the options for storage.  Yucca Mountain was selected as the repository site.  The nearest human settlement is 60 miles away, a place called Pahrump – which at the time had a gas station, a convenience store, a motel with a restaurant and slot machines, and a brothel in a trailer.

Over the years Nevada has been supported heavily by government spending on nuclear weapons development and testing programs.  More than 100 atomic bombs had been exploded below the desert sands, to say nothing of the many nuclear atmospheric tests that were conducted before such testing was banned by President Kennedy.  To be sure, Nevadans were not babes in the woods.  Sen. Harry Reid and several other Nevada politicians have built their careers on opposing the Yucca Mountain project.  But now President Obama is asking all Americans, as Kennedy did, to put our country first, not our own personal political agendas.  Nevertheless, after meeting with Obama, Reid announced that the nuclear waste budget for the 2009 fiscal year would be cut significantly and that the budget request for 2010 would contain “little if anything at all.”

What’s important to recognize is that France’s successful nuclear power program is based on the U.S. policy that had been adopted before Jimmy Carter torpedoed it.  When Carter informed the French prime minister that he was going to ban the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel, France responded by tripling the size of its reprocessing facility.  The facility operates safely and cleanly.  France gets 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.

The United States once led the world in nuclear power development, but today our country is an outsider and trailing.  It’s not that U.S. technology is deficient.  The problem is that nuclear power in the United States is dominated by political opportunism instead of leadership.


Rossin was: Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, DOE. 1986-87 ; Director of the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center at EPRI 1981-86; President of the American Nuclear Society 1992-93


By Jeff Jacoby,January 18, 2009

IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy - the position known informally as White House science adviser - President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and author or coauthor of many papers and books.
   He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years - and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.
   The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren's nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:
    1. You were long associated with population alarmist Paul Ehrlich, and joined him in predicting disasters that never came to pass. For example, you and Ehrlich wrote in 1969: "If . . . population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come." In 1971, the two of you were adamant that "some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the century." In the 1980s, Ehrlich quoted your expectation that "carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020." What have you learned from the failure of these prophecies to come true?
    2. You have advocated the "long-term desirability of zero population growth" for the United States. In 1973, you pronounced the US population of 210 million as "too many" and warned that "280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many." The US population today is 304 million. Are there too many Americans?
    3. You opposed the Reagan administration's military buildup in the 1980s for fear it might "increase the belligerency of the Soviet government." You pooh-poohed any notion that "the strain of an accelerated arms race will do more damage to the Soviet economy than to our own." But that is exactly what happened, and President Reagan's defense buildup helped win the Cold War. Did that outcome alter your thinking?
    4. You argued that "a massive campaign must be launched . . . to de-develop the United States" in order to conserve energy; you also recommended the "de-development" of modern industrialized nations in order to facilitate growth in underdeveloped countries. Yet elsewhere you observed: "Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others." Which is it?
    5. In Scientific American, you recently wrote: "The ongoing disruption of the Earth's climate by man-made greenhouse gases is already well beyond dangerous and is careening toward completely unmanageable." Given your record with forecasting calamity, shouldn't policymakers view your alarm with a degree of skepticism?
    6. In 2006, according to the London Times, you suggested that global sea levels could rise 13 feet by the end of this century. But the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that sea levels are likely to have risen only 13 inches by 2100. Can you explain the discrepancy?
    7. "Variability has been the hallmark of climate over the millennia," you wrote in 1977. "The one statement about future climate that can be made with complete assurance is that it will be variable." If true, should we not be wary of ascribing too much importance to human influence on climate change?
   8. You are withering in your contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster. You have written that such ideas are "dangerous," that those who hold them "infest" the public discourse, and that paying any attention to their views is "a menace." You contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg's notable 2001 book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" - an attack the Economist described as "strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance." In light of President-elect Obama's insistence that "promoting science" means "protecting free and open inquiry," will you work to soften your hostility toward scholars who disagree with you?


By Andrew Thomas

Shaman James Hansen has proclaimed that we only have four years left before the world falls into climate catastrophe.  The oceans will rise, species will die, the gates of hell will open, and general wailing and gnashing of teeth will prevail over mankind.  Dr. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is the world's leading witch doctor crusading  against manmade global warming. He has taken this title away from Bigfoot Al, who is increasingly reticent in discussing his own giant carbon footprint in public. 

The question arises as to why the George Soros-funded scientist has demanded this time-horizon (President Obama's first term) for decisive action to thwart Armageddon.  In the immediate future, we are going to hear increasingly desperate pleas from the true believers of Climatotholicism that the end is near.  We must act now, or be lost forever.  This is the start of a phenomenon I am calling the Shaman Shamboozle.

The shaman has been a central part of tribal development in almost every culture on Earth.  From Greek paganism to the Mongol hordes to Native American tribes, the shaman has been the most influential source of religion and mysticism throughout history.  The shaman also was the conduit between man and nature, and set up laws and taboos to regulate man's behavior toward the environment.  As Wikipedia states concerning shaman as ecologist:

As the primary teacher of tribal symbolism, the shaman may have a leading role in this ecological management, actively restricting hunting and fishing.

How did the shaman gain this power over the tribe?  Sleight-of-hand, ventriloquism, and other trickery was used to convince the other members of the tribe that he had the ability to ward off evil spirits.  Through knowledge of astronomy, one of the most popular techniques was to gain tribal power using a solar eclipse.  As the Sun was overshadowed by the Moon, the shaman proclaimed that it was being devoured by a sinister force.  The Incas called it the Black Jaguar.  To others, the god Rah was the culprit.  Whatever the evil spirit was called, the shaman's act was essentially the same.  The tribe's chief ecologist would scream and dance, whipping the tribe members into a frenzy.  Ultimately, the Sun would return, and the shaman would revel in the tribe's adulation while sealing his power.

Dr. Hansen and his fellow witch doctors must act fast. Using the principle of the Shaman Shamboozle, the evil global warming spirits must be chased away before it is obvious to the tribal masses that the climate is actually getting cooler.  In doing so, the shaman ecologists can claim that President Obama's "green initiatives", i.e., taxing anything that emits carbon dioxide, were successful.  At that point, their political power over the tribe will be complete and irreversible. 


Let the dance commence before the eclipse begins to wane!  Jan 19, 2009


By Addison Gardner The Aspen Times 01/20/09

It’s Inauguration Day, and Obama’s processional to Washington (astride a Democrat donkey, amid pulsing palm fronds) has about it the air of unfolding prophecy.

Last summer’s Obam-oration, This was the moment when the rise of oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal, is already being realized, retroactively, by the recovery of Arctic Sea ice and the rescue of bobbing polar bears.  The University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research Center has tracked the ebb and flow of Arctic ice since the baseline year of 1979. During the last quarter of 2008 pretty much concurrent with the Obama ordination Arctic Sea ice made a miraculous recovery: the mean ice anomaly, (difference between 1979 Arctic Sea ice levels and todays) now stands at just under zero, a value identical to the one recorded at the end of 1979, the year satellite record-keeping began.
   Cynics may dismiss this as scientific aberration, attributing it to shifting winds or changing ocean currents but the faithful know the truth, and the truth is that Obama-induced planetary healing is well under way.
   But (pay close attention here) the recovery of Arctic ice - and the inconvenient arrival of freakishly cold winters is proof that global warming is accelerating, not abating. I’m unsure how this works, but my Aspen friends, citing aprs-ski research in the Hotel Jerome Library Bar, assure me that mounting global snow and spring flooding presage planetary desertification.  They speak slowly and add emphasis to aid my comprehension: This is the global climate change part of global warming.
   Last weeks reports from frigid American cities shattered temperature records set in the late 1800s. Pollock, South Dakota hit 47 below zero, and gas station employee, Todd Moser, told an AP reporter, It just hurts to breathe. It took ten minutes just to get the gas pumps working.  In St. Louis, temperatures normally tempered by the Mississippi plunged to zero. Records fell in Chicago and Detroit. Flint, Michigan broke a 95-year-old mark at 19 below. In northern Maine, it didnt rise above zero for a week. Canada’s Saskatoon recorded 24 consecutive days when the mercury didnt rise above minus 25 degrees Celsius the coldest streak since record keeping began in 1892.
   We are also revisiting last winter’s record cold in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and all across Central Europe and Asia. London recorded temperatures lower than Antarctica. In India, the destitute poor warmed themselves by burning books, and more than 400 people died from exposure to the cold.
   If there is a silver lining to this roof-collapsing winter of cold and death, it’s that Google references to global warming have dropped even faster than world temperatures. Three years ago there were over 50,000 but just under 20,000 this past year.  Al Gore who, in 2007, popped out from behind a door to accept a golden statuette or medal each time the hour struck has been locked in his cuckoo clock until climate models can be remodeled.
   But frigid weather shouldnt cast a pall over Inauguration Day; President Obama simply needs to fine-tune his tweaking of the planetary thermostat to keep sea levels in check, without turning his flock into popsicles, first.
   In other news, last week, Obama made the cover of Time Magazine for the 13th time in 12 months, and reporters at The Washington Post gave him a standing ovation when he dropped by the newsroom for a shoeshine.
   My Aspen pals explain that this apparent infatuation with Obama is even more deceptive than global climate change; what may appear to be fawning ingratiation is actually a sign that the heat is about to be turned up.
   Especially now during this Obama-enunciated Worst financial crisis since the Great Depression! press denunciation of inaugural excesses will be scathing. We know this, because Obamas inaugural could run as high as $150 million (almost four times the $40 million spent on President Bush’s 05 inaugural) and we remember the presss outrage when those costs were publicized.
   Four years ago, apoplectic AP writer Will Lester fumed about Bushs lavish celebration; Lester reminded us that American soldiers were doing without armored Humvees in Iraq; tsunami victims lacked medical aid; and the U.S. national debt was mushrooming out of control.
  Today’s excited media stories about the road, bridge, business, and school closings in the tri-state periphery of Epicenter Obama avoid this miserly tone. The Bush descriptive, expensive, has been replaced by the Obama honorific: Historic.
   President Bush declared a State of Emergency in order to fling wide the spending floodgates and provide security for 2 million inaugural attendees, 5,000 port-a-potties and a brand new Obama Cadillac limousine capable of withstanding chemical attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and barrages of roses from nearby reporters.  President Bush’s limo designed to protect the most reviled president in recent history isnt safe enough to protect our most beloved.
   As Hollywood stars party-hearty with Democrat pols, lawyers, and union officials in the same season that millions of Americans are receiving their workplace pink slips, there has been little criticism in the press. 
When one intrepid AP reporter finally posed the indelicate question: Asked whether this wasn’t a tin-ear display in the midst of taxpayer pain, Obama’s Inaugural Committee spokeswoman, Linda Douglass, responded, It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values.
   Climate science will continue to be hotly debated, but political science is clear: The icy tone of media antipathy has melted, overnight, in Washington, D.C.

Addison Gardner’s column appears every other Tuesday in The Aspen Times.