February 2008

Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, carefully prepared his plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions to present it at the annual winter meeting of governors in Washington. That effort coincided with Pawlenty's fast-rising prospects to become Sen. John McCain's choice for vice president. But behind closed doors, governors from energy-producing states complained so vigorously that Pawlenty's proposal was buried.

Pawlenty's position as chairman of the National Governors Association may prove to be his undoing. While party insiders sing his praises as ideal to be McCain's running mate, leading conservative Republican governors have been less than pleased with him. Pawlenty has collaborated with the association's Democratic vice chairman, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, on a fat economic stimulus package as well as the energy proposal.

A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state.

The grid operator went directly to the second stage of an emergency plan at 6:41 PM CST (0041 GMT), ERCOT said in a statement.

Their spiral design is a symbol of "going green," the movement to make homes and living more energy-efficient. And sales of compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, are booming: They made up 20% of the U.S. light bulb market in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency says, up from 11% a year earlier.

Sales probably will continue rising as traditional incandescent bulbs begin disappearing from stores because of Congress' mandate that light bulbs be at least 25% more efficient by 2012. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, IKEA and other major retailers now sell a range of CFLs, which typically use nearly 75% less energy than regular bulbs.

OVERSEAS trips may become a once-in-lifetime experience and car travel needed to be cut by 80 per cent if we have any hope of avoiding "dangerous" climate change, experts say.

Energy experts from Monash University said the carbon emission standards recommended by the government-hired Professor Ross Garnaut would not be possible if Australia’s love affair with cars and planes continued.

“The car is doomed,” Associate Professor Damon Honnery said.

World saved! (Again)

by Julie Walsh on February 28, 2008

From Melanie Phillips, Spectator.co.uk

As we all know, the world is about to end because of global warming. Temperatures are soaring, ice is melting, glaciers are retreating, seas are rising, and we’re all gonna fry. Pretty damn terrifying. We’re all up to here with worry about it. The Royal Society says there’s no longer any room for scientific doubt about it. Britain’s Chief Scientist says it’s a bigger threat than global terrorism. Every global warming sceptic is denounced as clinically insane. Every developed nation wags its finger at every other (well, ok then, at America) and tells it to Emit Less. Every politician and B-list celebrity now anxiously measures his or her carbon footprint. Every British schoolchild is now drilled to believe that man-made global warming is a Fact along with poverty and the existence of Belgium. It’s a wonder any of us has any incentive to get up in the morning.


So you might think that the news that the world isn’t frying after all would be all over the media. World saved! That’s a helluva story, surely. Imagine the relief as a weeping nation storms its corner newsagents or rushes to switch on the Today programme to learn that it is not, after all, doomed! Or alternatively, if apocalyptic millenarianism is something you just can't live without, that we are all about to freeze to death in a new ice age!
Here, then, are the glad tidings. The Telegraph has reported that, although during January Europe, northern Asia and most of Australia experienced above average temperatures, large parts of the globe had their coldest winter for decades:
According to the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th century mean (-0.02°F/-0.01°C) for the first time since 1982. Temperatures were also colder than average across large swathes of central Asia, the Middle East, the western US, western Alaska and south-eastern China. The NCDC reported that the cold conditions were associated with ‘the largest January snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent and for the Northern Hemisphere’. In some parts of China and central Asia, snow fell for the first time in living memory, the NCDC noted.’For the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 30.5°F (-0.83°C) for January, which was 0.3°F (0.2°C) below the 20th century mean and the 49th coolest January on record, based on preliminary data’.
Much of North America was also hit by the heaviest snowfall since the 1960s. Meanwhile, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre found the January 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, while below the 1979-2000 mean, was greater than the previous four years. And the January 2008 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was significantly above the 1979-2000 mean, ranking as the largest sea ice extent in January over the 30-year historical period.
Elsewhere, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that

almost all the allegedly ‘lost’ ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels (my emphasis).

And so now those poor confused polar bears face a new horror: starvation because there’s now too much sea ice.


While on Daily Tech, Michael Asher notes:

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years [my emphasis]. All in one year time. For all sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.


Meanwhile Professor Philip Stott, a consistent voice of scientific sanity from the very start of the MMGW madness, points out that global warming seems to have, er, stopped:
Of course, little can be gleaned from such a short data run of only 10-years [“‘Global warmers’ also please note, thank you”], but the temperature anomaly has clearly dipped, and then flat-lined below its 1998 anomaly peak – and for nine years now. In other words, since 1998 there has been no global warming [not even any ‘global warming’]. Yet, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise, from c. 368 ppmv in 1998 to c. 384 ppmv in November, 2007 [see: ‘CO2 Signals From The Past’, February 1]. Moreover, politicians persist in claiming that temperature is rising faster than at any other time in the history of the whole Earth….. but then, we always believe our politicians, don’t we?
So, does this mean to say that other factors may actually be driving climate and temperature? Oh me, Oh my! What a shock! Perhaps with all those shredders in our offices and homes, there are just too many tiny bits and bobs of credit cards floating up into the air and cooling the atmosphere? Or, weddings may have increased in number, and particulate confetti is having an unknown effect? Or, then again, the rise out of the ‘Little Ice Age’, which ended c. 1880, might just be stuttering a tad? Who knows?
Who indeed? Not the public, for sure — because here’s the strangest thing. Apart from a couple of lonely newspaper pieces, virtually none of this dramatic news has been reported. The world has no idea that it is no longer doomed to fry but maybe should invest instead in some thermals and start emitting more heat. The Chief Scientist has not said anything about it. The Royal Society has not said anything about it. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and Sir John Houghton and Sir Jonathan Porritt and the Today programme have not been heard to say anything about it.
I wonder why?


Discussions between EU policymakers and energy sector stakeholders reveal sharp differences about how, and by whom, expensive CO2 capture and other 'green' technologies should be financed.

On 21 February, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs reportedly told a group of representatives for 14 major energy sector firms that, until 2013 and possibly beyond, "there is no money" in the EU budget for supporting carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.


Instead of partying on the beach this Spring Break, more than 100 college students will spend their vacations in Ohio and Virginia experiencing first-hand "the coal industry's environmental and social degradation," a coalition of energy activists announced on Tuesday.

During Mountain Justice Spring Break (MJSB), young adults will spend March 1-9 in southwestern Virginia and March 22-30 in Meigs County, Ohio, locations chosen by the organizers because they are "coal-impacted areas" that are ready for "corporate and political action."

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

The Charlotte Observer reports today that Duke Energy spent more money last year on lobbying efforts than it ever has at the federal level, mostly to address global warming legislation:

Several carbon dioxide bills that could cost utilities are pending. And Duke and other power companies helped stall measures last year that would force utilities to produce a certain percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources, such as the sun and wind. That electricity is more expensive to produce.

Extra costs from regulation are generally passed on to ratepayers, which utilities say is bad for business….

Duke, the nation's third largest consumer of coal, reported lobbying lawmakers on 31 separate bills last year, 19 of which deal with global warming and ways to battle it.

However, it appears the environmentalists may feel they are losing traction on climate change and may be changing their tactics. Back to mercury, folks!

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

Pat Michaels today at American Spectator Online explains how legislators in Kansas thwarted the imposition of a hidden CO2 tax upon utilities, but that the attempt is likely to be replicated in many other states:

A CO2 tax will largely be levied on utilities that exceed modest limits on their carbon dioxide effluent, so consumers won't "see" it — except in their electric bills. They'll send in their monthly checks, quite unaware that the new tax revenues are likely to be shoved into a slush fund for solar energy, windmills, biodiesel, ethanol and other green gadgetry boondoggles.

As Pat goes on to write, such measures will do nothing to affect the climate.