In yesterday's CCNET newsletter from Dr B Peiser of The Global Warming Policy Foundation the following news items were recommended:
Obama Sides Against States & Greens Over Global Warming Enforcement
The Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to toss out an appeals court decision that would allow lawsuits against major emitters for their contributions to global warming, stunning environmentalists who see the case as a powerful prod on climate change.U.S. Judge To Rule On Climategate Affair
Anita Kumar, The Washington Post, 21 August 2010
A team of lawyers for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a vocal skeptic of global warming, went to court Friday to further his investigation into whether former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann manipulated data to show that there has been a rapid, recent rise in the Earth's temperature.
Lawyers from the attorney general's office said the climate scientist might have engaged in fraud by purposely designing his well-known "hockey-stick" graph to show global warming or including manipulated research on his curriculum vitae, which he submitted for grants.Opinion: Alaska Primary Shows That Energy Taxes Can Be Toxic
Joe Miller has a narrow lead over Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a surprising Alaska Senate primary. If the absentee ballots break hard for Murkowski she may narrowly escape, but at the moment it looks at least as likely that Miller will pull the upset. If he does, Murkowski’s support for energy taxes may be one of the major reasons.The Guardian Apologises For Misleading Attack On Andrew Montford
This article was amended on 20th August 2010 following a complaint from Andrew Montford to make it clear that we did not mean to imply that Andrew Montford deliberately published false information in order to support the arguments made in his book. We apologise if such a false impression was given.
See also: Bishop Hill, 25 August 2010
BBC Radio 4: Uncertain Climate
In a special Radio 4 series the BBC's Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin investigates whether the arguments surrounding climate change can ever be won. He questions whether his own reporting - and that of others - has adequately told the whole story about global warming.
Roger Harrabin has reported on the climate for almost thirty years off and on, but last November while working on the "Climategate" emails story, he was prompted to look again at the basics of climate science.
He finds that the public under-estimate the degree of consensus among scientists that humans have contributed towards the heating of the climate.
But he also finds that politicians often fail to convey the huge uncertainty over the extent of future climate change.
At this crucial moment in global climate policy making, he talks to seminal characters in the climate change debate including Tony Blair, Lord Lawson, Sir Crispin Tickell and the influential blogger Steve McIntyre.
Just six months ago, public trust in climate science looked assured as nations moved towards the climate summit in Copenhagen. Now a recent BBC poll suggests that less than half of the British populace accepts that humans are changing the climate - the fundamental premise of government policy on energy, transport, planning, construction; and a major influence on policy in taxation, agriculture and foreign affairs.
This first programme in the series examines what happened to cause this swing in public sentiment.
It asks whether the scientific reviews underway - two down, two to go - will restore public faith in climate science.
It examines the sceptics' argument that mainstream scientists have under-estimated the role of natural cycles in the recent warm period. And it considers whether changes in the output of the sun might even be leading the Earth into a period of cooling.
Mon 30 Aug 2010 09:00 BBC Radio 4
Mon 30 Aug 2010 21:30 BBC Radio 4Wind Farms May Have To Pay For New Nuclear Power Stations
Wind farm operators could see their overheads increase by millions of pounds a year as a direct result of plans to upgrade and reinforce the grid to cope with a new fleet of nuclear reactors.
A number of renewable energy developers are angry at National Grid's decision to retain the current charging regime it operates for providing backup power, despite the fact costs are expected to soar when new nuclear power plants come online towards the end of the decade.Wind Power Won't Cool Down the Planet
Robert Bryce, The Wall Street Journal, 24 August 2010
The wind industry has achieved remarkable growth largely due to the claim that it will provide major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. There's just one problem: It's not true. A slew of recent studies show that wind-generated electricity likely won't result in any reduction in carbon emissions—or that they'll be so small as to be almost meaningless.
This issue is especially important now that states are mandating that utilities produce arbitrary amounts of their electricity from renewable sources. By 2020, for example, California will require utilities to obtain 33% of their electricity from renewables. About 30 states, including Connecticut, Minnesota and Hawaii, are requiring major increases in the production of renewable electricity over the coming years.
Wind—not solar or geothermal sources—must provide most of this electricity. It's the only renewable source that can rapidly scale up to meet the requirements of the mandates. This means billions more in taxpayer subsidies for the wind industry and higher electricity costs for consumers.
None of it will lead to major cuts in carbon emissions, for two reasons. First, wind blows only intermittently and variably. Second, wind-generated electricity largely displaces power produced by natural gas-fired generators, rather than that from plants burning more carbon-intensive coal.
Because wind blows intermittently, electric utilities must either keep their conventional power plants running all the time to make sure the lights don't go dark, or continually ramp up and down the output from conventional coal- or gas-fired generators (called "cycling"). But coal-fired and gas-fired generators are designed to run continuously, and if they don't, fuel consumption and emissions generally increase. A car analogy helps explain: An automobile that operates at a constant speed—say, 55 miles per hour—will have better fuel efficiency, and emit less pollution per mile traveled, than one that is stuck in stop-and-go traffic.
Recent research strongly suggests how this problem defeats the alleged carbon-reducing virtues of wind power. In April, Bentek Energy, a Colorado-based energy analytics firm, looked at power plant records in Colorado and Texas. (It was commissioned by the Independent Petroleum Association of the Mountain States.) Bentek concluded that despite huge investments, wind-generated electricity "has had minimal, if any, impact on carbon dioxide" emissions.
Bentek found that thanks to the cycling of Colorado's coal-fired plants in 2009, at least 94,000 more pounds of carbon dioxide were generated because of the repeated cycling. In Texas, Bentek estimated that the cycling of power plants due to increased use of wind energy resulted in a slight savings of carbon dioxide (about 600 tons) in 2008 and a slight increase (of about 1,000 tons) in 2009.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has estimated the potential savings from a nationwide 25% renewable electricity standard, a goal included in the Waxman-Markey energy bill that narrowly passed the House last year. Best-case scenario: about 306 million tons less CO2 by 2030. Given that the agency expects annual U.S. carbon emissions to be about 6.2 billion tons in 2030, that expected reduction will only equal about 4.9% of emissions nationwide. That's not much when you consider that the Obama administration wants to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.
Earlier this year, another arm of the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, released a report whose conclusions were remarkably similar to those of the EIA. This report focused on integrating wind energy into the electric grid in the Eastern U.S., which has about two-thirds of the country's electric load. If wind energy were to meet 20% of electric needs in this region by 2024, according to the report, the likely reduction in carbon emissions would be less than 200 million tons per year. All the scenarios it considered will cost at least $140 billion to implement. And the issue of cycling conventional power plants is only mentioned in passing.
Full comment: The Wall Street Journal, 24 August 2010
And Finally: The Greenest Government Ever To Bat For Big Oil
David Cameron and other British ministers will "get out there" lobbying Russia and other oil-rich countries to give UK energy companies new business, according to Charles Hendry, the energy minister.
In the past few weeks, the Government has called a meeting of ambassadors informing them that British politicians are actively looking to help UK businesses secure big deals abroad.
Mr Hendry told The Daily Telegraph that the potential development of giant oil fields in northern Russia is a place where the Prime Minister or an energy minister should be promoting energy companies and key suppliers.
"Looking at the potential development of the Yamal Peninsula where Prime Minister Putin has actively said he wants international investment. I think it's important for a British minister to be out there supporting British companies trying to get those contracts," Mr Hendry said, in his first major newspaper interview.
On the Mann affair, let's hope Cuccinelli wins his case. If Mann has nothing to hide, why is he complaining? Exoneration by Cuccinelli would silence the wrong-doing claims (but not those of incompetence).
On Alaska, UK MPs should be aware that the next ballot may be won or lost on how much has been extorted from the electorate by pretending CO2 is more harmful to grand children than guaranteeing their poverty.
The Guardian in common with many other major media outlets should also apologise for decades of gang-green propaganda with a total absence of investigative journalism.
Roger Harrabin is executing a slow about face as the gang-green fabricated alarm disintegrates.
Wind farmers (and biofuel companies) and their lobbyists should be before the courts for misleading the public and the government as to the true value of wind energy. At the very least subsidies should be immediately stopped and further public investment cancelled.
Caretaker Cameron? Seems to be doing an Obama. Or is Obama doing a Cameron? Or are they both just following instructions?
Recommended reading - The Australian Temperature Record - The Big Picture
The best science indicates humans cause warming
Time to blame climate change for extreme weather?
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