The insignificance of France, the UK and renewables in China and India

July 26, 2017



July 26, 2017


Pescadero Basin Hydrocarbons

July 25, 2017

Occasionally I will read an article and it will take me on “an unexpected journey.”  I ran across this very interesting article on Real Clear Science today:

July 24, 2017

New study challenges prevailing theory about how deep-sea vents are colonized

An article just published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B describes two remarkably different hydrothermal vent fields discovered in the southern Gulf of California. Despite being relatively close together, these vents host very different animal communities. This finding contradicts a common scientific assumption that neighboring vents will share similar animal communities. Instead, the new paper suggests that local geology and the chemistry of the vent fluids are important factors affecting vent communities.


Though neighbors, the Alarcón Rise and Pescadero Basin vent fields are geologically very different. The seafloor along the Alarcón Rise is covered in young, fresh lava, and the fluids spewing out of the vents are very hot (up to 360 degrees Celsius) and rich in metal sulfides that form dark, crumbly chimneys known as “black smokers.” Animals at the Alarcón Rise are similar to locations further south (almost 300 kilometers) on the East Pacific Rise.

In Pescadero Basin, however, hydrothermal-vent fluids pass through thick layers of seafloor mud. As the hot hydrothermal fluid flows through this mud, it “cooks” organic material, forming methane (natural gas) and oil-like hydrocarbons. The Pescadero Basin vents contain very little sulfide, and the superheated fluids produce giant, light-colored, carbonate chimneys streaked with dark, oily hydrocarbons.



However, I quickly lost interest in the biological aspects of the article when I read this bit:

In Pescadero Basin, however, hydrothermal-vent fluids pass through thick layers of seafloor mud. As the hot hydrothermal fluid flows through this mud, it “cooks” organic material, forming methane (natural gas) and oil-like hydrocarbons. The Pescadero Basin vents contain very little sulfide, and the superheated fluids produce giant, light-colored, carbonate chimneys streaked with dark, oily hydrocarbons.

Could this be actual evidence of “abiotic” or “abiogenic” oil?

No.  Of course it isn’t.  If anything this might just be a “nail in the coffin” for abiotic oil.

The “oil-like hydrocarbons” were associated with hydrothermal-vent fluids which “pass through thick layers of seafloor mud”  in the Pescadero Basin.

Just 75 km to the south, the seafloor of the Alarcón Rise is covered with layers of relatively fresh lava flows and very little sediment.  The Alarcón Rise hydrothermal vents are run of the mill black smokers, with no evidence of “hydrothermal oil.”



This map shows the major known hydrothermal vent sites in and around the Gulf of California. Even though the Pescadero Basin and Alarcón Rise are relatively close, they host very different animal communities. Base map: Google Earth

Here’s an older article about the initial discovery of the Pescadero Basin hydrothermal vents:

June 2, 2015

MBARI researchers discover deepest known high-temperature hydrothermal vents in Pacific Ocean

In spring 2015, MBARI researchers discovered a large, previously unknown field of hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of California, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) east of La Paz, Mexico. Lying more than 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) below the surface, the Pescadero Basin vents are the deepest high-temperature hydrothermal vents ever observed in or around the Pacific Ocean. They are also the only vents in the Pacific known to emit superheated fluids rich in both carbonate minerals and hydrocarbons. The vents have been colonized by dense communities of tubeworms and other animals unlike any other known vent communities in the in the eastern Pacific.

Reflecting on the discovery, Clague commented, “Before the AUV survey of Pescadero Basin, all we knew was that this area was really deep and filled with sediment. I was hoping to find a few outcrops of lava on the seafloor. But we got lucky. The vent field was right on the edge of our survey area, along a fault at the western edge of the basin.”


The AUV and ROV dives showed that the new field extends for at least 400 meters (one quarter mile) along this fault. Within this area the researchers found at least three active hydrothermal chimneys up to 12 meters (40 feet) tall, as well as dozens of low mounds that are most likely collapsed chimneys.

After his ROV dive, Clague noted, “This site was not at all what I was expecting.” For one thing, the fragments of chimneys that the ROV brought back to the surface were quite different from those collected at other vents in the area. The Pescadero chimneys consisted entirely of light-colored carbonate minerals instead of the dark sulfide minerals that are abundant in hydrothermal chimneys elsewhere in the Gulf.

The Pescadero Basin is only the second place in the world where carbonate chimneys (instead of ones made primarily of sulfides) have been found in the deep sea. The other known location is the “Lost City” vent field in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, at a spot on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The geologists also noticed that their rock samples smelled like diesel. They hypothesize that hot hydrothermal fluids migrating upward through the thick sediments of the Pescadero Basin “cook” organic matter in the sediment, converting it into petroleum-like hydrocarbons—a process that has been observed at several other vents in the Pacific. Hydrocarbons may provide nutrition for the unusual microbes that thrive at these vents.



This is a map of total sediment thickness for most of the world’s oceans from NOAA:


Whittaker, Joanne, Alexey Goncharov, Simon Williams, R. Dietmar Müller, German Leitchenkov (2013) Global sediment thickness dataset updated for the Australian-Antarctic Southern Ocean, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. DOI: 10.1002/ggge.20181

I enlarged the area comparable to the MBARI map and posted the four vent systems on it.  Note that the basins with thick sediments exhibit evidence of petroleum-like substances associated with hydrothermal vents.  The vents associated with the sediment-deprived rises do not.

Hydrothermal oil

Petroleum-like substances have been associated with hydrothermal vents in basins with thick organic-rich sediments. However nearby hydrothermal vents with little to no sediment cover (rises) do not exhibit evidence of “hydrothermal oil.”

Furthermore, the “hydrothermal oil” of the Guaymas Basin is extremely young…

Nature 342, 65 – 69 (02 November 1989); doi:10.1038/342065a0

Hydrothermal oil of Guaymas Basin and implications for petroleum formation mechanisms


*Refineria de Petroleo Concon, Casilla 242, Concon, Chile
†Petroleum Research Group, College of Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA

PETROLEUM-LIKE hydrocarbons have been detected in thermally altered Recent sediments of Guaymas Basin1–5 and petroleum-like hydrocarbon impregnations were found in hydrothermal mounds on the sea floor and associated with hydrothermal vent emissions5–9. Here we report the evaluation of such a hydrothermal oil, which we find to be similar to conventionally exploited crude oils. Its young geological age (< 5,000 yr, 14C) 10 indicates that a significant fraction of the organic carbon in the oil has completed the transformation from biomass to migrating oil in less than 5,000 years, thus limiting the oil generation, explusion and migration processes to a geologically short timescale. We estimate the generation potential of such hydrothermal oil and discuss its implications to our understanding of the petroleum generation, expulsion and migration mechanisms.

Oil formed in the mantle would be just a bit older than 5,000 years.  The Lost City hydrothermal vent on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Pescadero Basin are the only two known places where carbonate (rather than sulfide) chimneys have been found.  Lost City is also possibly an example of the Fischer-Tropsch process is at work…


Deep-ocean vents are a source of oil and gas

Hydrocarbons bubble up from the mid-Atlantic’s Lost City.

Rachel Courtland

Undersea thermal vents can yield unexpected bounty: natural gas and the building blocks of oil products. In a new analysis of Lost City, a hydrothermal field in the mid-Atlantic, researchers have found that these organic molecules are being created through inorganic processes, rather than the more typical decomposition of once-living material.

Most of the planet’s oil and natural gas deposits were created when decomposing biological matter is ‘cooked’ in high temperatures underground. But non-biological hydrocarbons have also been found deep inside the Earth, where chemical processes create the molecules from inorganic sources such as rock.


Among other measurements, the team analysed the amount of carbon-13 in methane, which contains one carbon atom, and in hydrocarbons containing two, three, and four carbon atoms. As the number of carbon atoms rose, the concentration of carbon-13 fell — the opposite trend to that seen in biologically derived hydrocarbons.

Instead, the pattern of isotopes suggest that a chemical process called the Fischer-Tropsch process is at work in Lost City, creating bigger and bigger hydrocarbons in the hydrogen-rich environment. Although the concentrations were too low to detect without a filter, small amounts of larger hydrocarbons such as kerosene and octane may also be produced.

The team also found that the methane in Lost City contained no carbon-14, suggesting the carbon source for the hydrocarbons comes from within the mantle, far away from organisms that might have had contact with the global carbon cycle at the surface.



Setting aside the fact that “the building blocks of oil products” are not the same thing as oil; in much the same manner that a 2×4 is not the same thing as a house… The carbon in the Lost City hydrocarbons is either so old that carbon-14 is undetectable or it has never “had contact with the global carbon cycle at the surface.”


Methane hydrate economics

July 24, 2017

Japan cheers world-first gas from methane hydrates

News Wires

12 March 2013

Japan has achieved the world’s first gas extraction from offshore methane hydrate deposits, said energy explorer Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), who is targeting commercial production within six years.
A Reuters report on Tuesday stated that since 2001, several hundred million dollars have been invested in developing technology to tap methane hydrate reserves, estimated to equate to about 11 years of gas consumption, off Japan’s coast.

State-run JOGMEC said the gas was tapped from deposits of methane hydrate, a frozen gas known as “flammable ice”, near Japan’s central coast.

Japan imports almost all of its energy needs and is the world’s top importer of liquefied natural gas. The lure of domestic gas resources has intensified following the Fukushima nuclear crisis two years ago, which triggered a shake-up of the country’s energy sector.

According to Reuters, Japan’s trade ministry said the production tests would continue for about two weeks, followed by analysis on how much gas was produced.


Upstream Online

Based on this economic analysis, methane hydrate production would be uneconomic…

42-174 JPY/m^3 works out to about $12-$45/mcf… Equivalent to oil prices of $71 to $269/boe.

Ft Denison

July 20, 2017


The Solar-Powered Oil Field… An Adjustocene Fable

July 19, 2017

This post is sort of a sequel to Charles the Moderator’s “Climate impacts of super-giant oilfields go up with age, Stanford scientists say.

This section, in particular caught my attention, as did a comment by my friend Griff…


How to stop this harmful cycle? One way is through tougher government regulations that force companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or risk having to lower production. This has been shown to work at two Canadian offshore fields, Hibernia and Terra Nova, where regulations have sharply lowered greenhouse gas emissions by limiting oil production in fields where gas is wasted through flaring and venting.

“Better regulation is certainly part of the answer, but a more progressive solution is to encourage energy companies to draw the energy they need to operate their aging oilfields from renewable sources such as solar, wind or geothermal,” Masnadi said.

He cites the example of the California-based company GlassPoint Solar, which uses solar-powered steam generators to reduce the gas consumption and carbon emissions of its oilfields by up to 80 percent.

Done right, such solutions could end up being a win-win for industry and the environment, the Stanford scientists said, by helping oil companies drive down energy costs while simultaneously reducing their climate impacts.

The GlassPoint Solar project in Oman doesn’t reduce any “GHG” emissions.  It actually leads to much greater “GHG” emissions.  So, it’s a win-win-win…

Oman has pioneered Enhanced Oil Recovery in the Middle East

The Sultanate of Oman is widely recognized as a global leader in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies. Since 2007, Oman has steadily increased its oil production back to near record levels through steam injection and other advanced EOR solutions. The country is now exploring large-scale solar EOR projects to save valuable gas resources needed to fuel economic growth.

According to the National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI), gas used at Oman’s oilfields account for more than 20% of the country’s total gas use, with fuel for EOR representing a significant portion of that. This will continue to increase as EOR expands to contribute a third of the country’s crude oil production by 2020. At the same time, more gas is needed for power generation, desalination and industrial development.

Solar EOR will free gas for economic growth

GlassPoint partnered with Petroleum Development Oman, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, to build the Middle East’s first solar EOR project. The pilot system has been operating successfully since late 2012, proving GlassPoint’s solar EOR solution is a viable alternative to burning natural gas for steam in Oman.

By using solar to generate steam, Oman can save up to 80% of the gas currently used for EOR. The gas saved can be exported as LNG, boosting Oman’s export revenue, or as power and feedstock for new factories, generating jobs and diversifying the local economy.

GlassPoint Solar

Instead of burning the gas steam injection in Oman, they are exporting it or burning it in Oman for other purposes.

This is one of the few actually logical uses of solar power I have ever seen, outside of the space program.  Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be workable anywhere where there isn’t a whole lot of land available…


Oman = Desert = Lots of space for solar panels.

I haven’t found a source stating the area that the solar panels cover; but a 7 MW natural gas-fired power plant would take up a fraction of the space.

In places like the desert, this is a good idea. Glasspoint is also working on a 1 GW thermal solar plant in Oman… Enabling the sultanate to produce and sell more oil and natural gas… An actual win-win-win.

  1. More crude oil produced… Win.
  2. More natural gas sales… Win.
  3. More GHG emissions… Win.

Funny thing… I Googled solar powered drilling rig and it returned a lot of bizarre links.

A $235.84 solar-powered model of a drilling rig from Walmart


Solar Made OD-8 Oil Derrick… A $235.84 bargain from Walmart!

“The Solar Powered Oil Rig” from Breaking Energy… An article that had nothing to do with oil rigs.  It was about the GlassPoint Solar project in Oman.

“Offshore Solar Energy” from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management… The Sun actually shines during the day over the oceans.  Who would have guessed?

A Quartz article about the GlassPoint Solar project in Oman.

“Using solar power to drill for…oil?” from CNBC also had nothing to do with drilling for oil.  It was another article about the GlassPoint Solar project in Oman.

A serious link about the actual utility of using solar power in oilfields for meters, pumps, remote telemetry, valve control and lots of other ancillary functions.

“Dallas firm uses solar to power West Texas oil rigs” from the Dallas Business Journal… An article that has nothing to do with drilling rigs.  It’s about using solar panels for meters, pumps, remote telemetry, valve control and lots of other ancillary functions “at remote locations where electric utility service is unavailable.”

“THE SOLAR POWERED OIL RIG”… A basically blank webpage from GlassPoint Solar.

“Solar Powered Oil Rigs” from A Moment in Science… Using solar panels and rechargeable batteries for hazard lights on offshore platforms.

That’s what was on the first page of the Google search.  I didn’t bother to look beyond the first page.  I decided to check with a reliable source: The American Association of Petroleum Geologists… Lo and behold, I found this 2017 AAPG Search and Discovery paper:

Solar Power for Sustainable Offshore Petroleum Exploration and Production in Africa*

Samuel Tawiah 1, Solomon Adjei Marfo 2, and Daniel Benah Jnr 2

Search and Discovery Article #42027 (2017)**
Posted March 20, 2017

*Adapted from extended abstract prepared in conjunction with oral presentation given at AAPG/SPE 2016 Africa Energy and Technology Conference, Nairobi City, Kenya,
December 5-7, 2016
**Datapages © 2017 Serial rights given by author. For all other rights contact author directly.
1 Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Western Region, Ghana (
2 Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Western Region, Ghana

A substantial percentage of Africa’s upstream petroleum activity occurs offshore in high risk environments with attendant environmental concerns. Power demands on offshore rigs are met principally through the use of diesel engines and gas turbines. This adds to the already high safety hazards and environmental threat through greenhouse gas emissions, heat, and noise generation. Additionally, petroleum generated power is an expensive venture that can have significant impact on oil and gas project economics. Moreover, some of these offshore locations are so remote that accessibility to petroleum fuel may be challenging.


AAPG Search and Discovery

Tawiah et al., evaluated the possibility of using solar power on an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) Vessel.  An FPSO is basically a large ship-shaped vessel used to produce oil in deepwater where pipeline access is infeasible.


FPSO (RigZone)

Due to the vast area required and low output of solar panels, they only evaluated the possibility of powering the living quarters of an FPSO…

Solar Panels Required to Replace Fossil Fuels

To be able to estimate the possibility of replacing fossil fuels with solar power, the number of panels required was calculated. Due to the low outputs of solar PV cells, the calculation was made for only the living quarters.


Thus at least 5542 solar panels will be required to produce the power needed for the living quarters assuming no losses.

The dimensions of solar panels vary but most are in the range of 1.6 m by 0.9 m giving an area of 1.44 m2.  Thus for 5542 modules;

Space required = 5542 * 1.44 m2= 7980 m2

Therefore 7980 m2 will be required for the PV modules alone without spacing between them.

Nearly 8,000 m2 of solar panels would be required just to power the living quarters.  That’s just under 2 acres.  The flight deck of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier covers about 4.5 acres.  Most FPSO’s have about 2 acres of deck space; but almost all of it is occupied by essential equipment, machinery and modules…


FPSO (RigZone)


While solar power may have some utility in oilfield operations, the net impact of solar power on oil and gas production would inevitably lead to higher “GHG” emissions because:

  1. Any oil or gas not consumed in operations would be sold and consumed elsewhere.
  2. It would be only used to the extent that it saved money, enabling more oil & gas production.




July 6, 2017

Another Manntastic Claim: “scientists live by a covenant”

Had a bit of insomnia tonight (from falling asleep early), and this popped up in my message stream on Facebook. I didn’t expect to post again so soon, but his deserved airing.

Michael Mann:

There’s a big asymmetry in the public conversation. Scientists live by a covenant to be truthful, to be skeptical in an honest way, stating the caveats and uncertainties, and yet we’re often in battle with climate change deniers who don’t play by those rules.

See Noble Cause Corruption…


Maybe a covenant of fraudsters…

Penn State scientist threatens legal action over Sandusky comparison

Penn State University global warming researcher Michael Mann is lawyering up to counter attacks by conservatives who have referred to him as the “Jerry Sandusky of climate science.”

Mann’s lawyer wrote Friday to National Review Executive Publisher Scott Budd demanding a retraction and apology for a July 15 blog post that compares Penn State’s mishandling of years of child sexual abuse to the university’s investigation of “Climategate.”


The National Review Online post quoted from a now-deleted line by CEI’s Rand Simberg, who wrote: “Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.”

CEI later removed the line and added an editor’s note that said, “Two inappropriate sentences that originally appeared in this post have been removed by the editor.”


Simberg, in an email to POLITICO, said his Sandusky comparison “was to the fact that the Penn State administration covered up Mann’s behavior in a similar manner, not in the behavior itself,” adding, “neither I or anyone was accusing [Mann] of child molestation.”

Mann will have a difficult time winning any future lawsuit because he “has already made himself a public figure” and “neither I, nor Mark Steyn or anyone else have written anything actionable or false, as far as I know,” Simberg said.

“I think he’s just blowing smoke in hopes of getting a cheap ‘apology.’ I guess if he does decide to come after me, I’ll crowd source a legal defense fund, or find someone to take it on pro bono. I suspect I’ll have no shortage of support,” Simberg said, stressing that he is speaking for himself and not CEI


Read more:

The Penn State whitewash was ludicrous…

After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data.

There’s no evidence that Mann intended to suppress or falsify inconvenient data. OK. I’ll buy that. It can’t be proven that he intended to suppress or falsify inconvenient data. It’s entirely possible that he accidentally devised a method to suppress or falsify inconvenient data.

This bit here was laughable…

In fact to the contrary, in instances that have been focused upon by some as indicating falsification of data, for example in the use of a “trick” to manipulate the data, this is explained as a discussion among Dr. Jones and others including Dr. Mann about how best to put together a graph for a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report. They were not falsifying data; they were trying to construct an understandable graph for those who were not experts in the field. The so-called “trick”1 was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field. 

The most benign possible interpretation of the “trick” is that they edited part of Briffa’s reconstruction because the tree ring chronology showed that the 1930s to early 1940′s were warmer than the late 1990′s. So, they just substituted the instrumental record for the tree ring chronology.

I suppose that there is no evidence that Mann did this with intent to deceive… However, when he advised Phil Jones to employ that same method on Keith Briffa’s inconvenient reconstruction, he was intentionally acting to suppress or falsify inconvenient data. The fact that they called it “Mike’s nature trick” sure makes it seem like this sort of thing was SOP.

Taking a set of data that shows that the 1930′s were warmer than the 1990′s and using another data set to reverse that relationship is not bringing “two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion.” It’s a total bastardization of the data.

To see an example of “Mike’s Nature Trick,” go here… Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia 

Click this… EIV Temperature Reconstructions

Open up any of the **cru_eiv_composite.csv or **had_eiv_composite.csv files. All of them splice the high frequency instrumental data into the low frequency proxy data. To Mann’s credit, unlike his previous “tricks,” he at least documents this one enough to sort it out.

This statement from their PNAS paper is totally unsupported by proxy reconstructions… “Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years.”

The anomalous nature of the “recent warmth” is entirely dependent on the “tricky” use of the instrumental data. He didn’t use any proxy data post-1855.

This image from Mann’s 2008 paper falsely implies that all of the reconstructions are in general agreement regarding the claim that the “recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years”…

By cluttering up the image with many reconstructions and plastering the instrumental record onto end of the graph, it’s impossible to see any details.

Here are Mann (Had_EIV), Moberg and Ljungqvist without the clutter…

Zoomed in on post-1800…

And Mike’s Nature Trick…

The Modern Warming appears anomalous because of the higher resolution of the instrumental record, its position at the tail-end of the time series and the negative deflection of the Little Ice Age trough (ca 1600 AD)…

If the Modern Warming is directly compared to the Medieval Warm Period, it appears to be far less anomalous, despite ithe better resolution of the instrumental record…

Particularly if you clutter the image with multiple reconstructions…

The Modern Warming might be 0.2-0.4°C warmer than the Medieval Warm Period. This would be consistent with a climate sensitivity of 0.5-1.0°C per doubling of the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level (the Gorebots say the sensitivity is ~3°C). Although the difference between the MW and MWP is well within the margins of error of the proxy and instrumental reconstructions and could easily be explained by the higher resolution of the instrumental record.


Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010.
A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere during the last two millennia.
Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 92 A(3), pp. 339-351, September 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-459.2010.00399.x

Mann, M.E., Z. Zhang, M.K. Hughes, R.S. Bradley, S.K. Miller, S. Rutherford, and F. Ni. 2008.
Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 105, No. 36, September 9, 2008. doi:10.1073/pnas.0805721105

Moberg, A., D.M. Sonechkin, K. Holmgren, N.M. Datsenko and W. Karlén. 2005.
Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data.
Nature, Vol. 433, No. 7026, pp. 613-617, 10 February 2005.

Instrumental Data from Hadley Centre / UEA CRU via Wood for Trees

The NOAA OIG “found eight emails which… warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity of particular NOAA scientists or NOAA’s data.” Most of the 1,073 emails reviewed by NOAA’s OIG did not involve “NOAA scientists or NOAA’s data.”

This is from the OIG’s actual report


In our own review of all 1,073 CRU emails, we found eight emails which, in our judgment, warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity of particular NOAA scientists or NOAA’s data. As a result, we conducted interviews with the relevant NOAA scientists regarding these eight emails, and have summarized their responses and explanations in the enclosure.

In addition to the foregoing, we also found two other emails that raised questions, one regarding a 2002 contract NOAA awarded to the CRU, and the second involving actions on the part of two NOAA scientists in 2007.


As detailed in the enclosure, we recommend that NOAA examine the CRU contract issues implicated by the one email and provide the results to us.


[T]he CRU emails referenced a specific IPCC-related FOIA request received and responded to by NOAA in June 2007 that led to our further examination of how those FOIA requests were handled. We determined that, at the time, NOAA did not conduct a proper search for responsive documents as required under FOIA, and, as a result, did not have a sufficient basis to inform the requesters that it had no responsive documents. Given that federal agencies are legally obligated to publicly disclose records under the terms of FOIA, we recommend that NOAA conduct a proper search for responsive records as required by the FOIA, and reassess its response to the four FOIA requests in question, as appropriate. Additionally, based on the issues we identified in NOAA’s handling of these particular FOIA requests, NOAA should consider whether these issues warrant an overall assessment of the sufficiency of its FOIA process.


The FOIA is particularly troublesome. NOAA claims that work they do related to the IPCC is not subject to FOIA and that they do not have to respond to FOIA requests related to IPCC-related work. NOAA informed the OIG that they made that determination based on legal counsel. The career attorneys, NOAA claims provided the advice, say that they were never asked for such advice and there is no record of NOAA receiving such advice…

Thwarting FOIA 

“The Co-Chair of the IPCC AR4 WG1, who was the only NOAA scientist informed of any of the aforementioned FOIA requests, told us that she did not conduct a ‘comprehensive search’ for and forward potentially responsive documents for agency processing. This was based, in part, on her understanding that her IPCC-related work product was the property of the IPCC, due to the confidentiality provisions contained in many of the documents. In addition, she reportedly received verbal guidance from her supervisor and a NOAA OGC attorney that the IPCC-related documents she had created and/or obtained while on “detail” assignment to the IPCC did not constitute NOAA records.” [Emphasis added]

“We interviewed the two NOAA OGC attorneys whom the Co-Chair and her supervisor referenced during their interviews with us to determine what, if any, advice the attorneys provided to these individuals. Both attorneys specifically told us that they had not advised the Co-Chair or her supervisor on this matter at the time NOAA received the FOIA requests referenced herein. One attorney said that he never spoke to the Co-Chair about that issue, while the second attorney told us that he was consulted only after NOAA had already responded to the FOIA requesters that it had no responsive documents.” [Emphasis added]

“Based on our interviews of the two NOAA OGC attorneys, we followed-up with the Co-Chair and her supervisor, both of whom again told us that their handling of the aforementioned FOIA requests was based on advice they had received from these two specific attorneys. We requested from the Co-Chair and her supervisor documentation of any discussions with the NOAA OGC attorneys on this matter, which they were unable to provide. As such, we were unable to reconcile the divergent accounts.” [Emphasis added]


FOIA includes provisions as to what constitutes an “agency record.” Under FOIA, an agency must exert sufficient control over the requested documents to render them “agency records” such as would be subject to disclosure. To qualify as agency records, documents must be created or obtained by the agency and under its control at the time the FOIA request is made.23 The Co-Chair informed us that the IPCC process was governed by an implicit policy of confidentiality with respect to, for example, the pre-decisional correspondences of its members. We examined IPCC-related records in the possession of NOAA employees, some of which contained the directive “Do Not Cite or Quote,” and others of which had “Confidential. Do Not Cite or Quote.” However, none of the NOAA employees with whom we spoke who participated in the IPCC AR4 recalled explicit IPCC policies or procedures pertaining to the confidentiality of the material produced as part of the assessment process. Absent such an unambiguous directive, in our view, the IPCC did not demonstrate a clear intent to retain control over the records created or obtained by NOAA employees.24

OIG Report, Page 18

One of the “eight emails which… warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity”…

CRU email #1140039406. This email, dated February 15,2006, documented exchanges between several climate scientists, including the Deputy Director of CRU, related to their contributions to chapter six ofthe IPCC AR4. In one such exchange, the Deputy Director of CRU warned his colleagues not to “let [the Co-Chair of AR4 WGl] (or [a researcher at Pennsylvania State University]) push you (us) beyond where we know is right” in terms of stating in the AR4 “conclusions beyond what we can securely justify.” 

The CRU’s Keith Briffa was warning his colleagues to not allow NOAA’s Susan Solomon or Penn State’s Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann to coerce them into going along with unsupportable conclusions. This particular e-mail exchange dealt extensively with paleoclimate reconstructions. Briffa also urged his colleagues not to “attack” Anders Moberg, who had recently published a climate reconstruction which actually honored the data and used proper signal processing methods.

Susan Solomon is the NOAA official who claimed that NOAA work related to the IPCC was not subject to FOIA.

Michael Mann was the lead author of the thoroughly debunked original Hockey Stick.

Keith Briffa was the lead author of one of the problematic reconstructions in which “Mike’s Nature Trick” was employed to “hide the decline.”

American “”scientific film”

June 30, 2017

“The American scientific film “the Day After Tomorrow”, which demonstrated “the breath-taking catastrophe brought to mankind by climate change”…

The First International School on Climate System And Climate Chang (ISCS)

[Date: 2004-11-19]  [Author:Yan Zhang,Yiming Liu]


The First International School on Climate System And Climate Chang (ISCS), sponsored by China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and co-sponsored by the Office of IPCC Working Group I, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and National Natural Science Foundation of China, was held in CMA from August 23 to September 1, 2004. It received extensive attention from the meteorological departments and relevant scientific research institutions. More than 16o students including young researchers, doctoral candidates and master degree candidates specialized in climate system and climate change research took part in the study. They are from over 40 organizations, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education as well as CMA National Climate Centre, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences (CAMS) and eight meteorological institutes, National Satellite Meteorological Centre, seven Regional Meteorological Centres, provincial meteorological bureaus, etc.

Fifteen world famous experts from countries including France, Germany, South Korea, Japan, U.S.A., Canada and China, were invited to serve as the lecturers of ISCS. They were: Dr. Jean Jouzel from France, Vice-Chairman of IPCC Working Group I; Dr. Robert Delmas from France, Director of the Laboratory of Glaciology and Geophysics and Environment; Dr. Ulrich Cubasch from the Meteorological Institute in Free University Berlin; Dr. In-Sik Kang, Director of the Climate Environment System Research Center of Seoul National University; Dr. Akio Kitoh, Director of the Climate Research Division of the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan Meteorological Agency; Dr. John Ogren and Dr. Zhanqing Li from U.S.A; Dr. Daniel Rosenfeld from Israel; Dr. Chung-Kyu Park and Dr. Won-Tae Yun from Korean Meteorological Agency; as well as some renowned scientists in China, namely, Prof. Ding Yihui, Dr. Dong WenJie, Prof. Lin Er’Da , Prof. Pan Jiahua, Mr. Chen ZhenLin.


This session of School includes 45 teaching hours altogether and most of them were conducted in English. The wonderful lectures given by Chinese and foreign experts attracted great interest of the participants. During the session, the students were also invited to watch the American scientific film ” the Day After Tomorrow”, which demonstrated “the breath-taking catastrophe brought to mankind by climate change”, and visit the GAW station in Shangdianzi, Miyun District, Beijing and the Great Walls in Simatai and Gubeikou.


Beijing Climate Center

Debunking Inside Climate’s “5 Shades of Climate Denial”

June 28, 2017


Whether dismissing global warming as a hoax, questioning humanity’s role in it, exaggerating the unknowns, playing down the urgency of action, or playing up the costs, President Donald Trump and his team have served up every flavor of climate denial.

Although the arguments variedas if they were different shades or stages of denialthey all served the same purpose: to create an exaggerated sense of dispute in order to bolster a case against decisive climate action. The latest gambit is to avoid the subject entirely.

In his announcement last week that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump didn’t bother addressing… [blah, blah, blah]


In Trump’s retelling, the negotiators of the Paris deal were not grappling with a planetary crisis… [they weren’t]


To help understand the arguments, we have developed a guide to what the science says about the five types of climate denial we’ve heard from Trump, his team, and their supporters, and how each served as a stepping stone on the path of a retreat from Paris.

‘It’s Not Real’

The deepest shade of denialoutright rejection of global warmingis embodied by Trump’s infamous 2012 tweet that called global warming a Chinese plot to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.


To the hard-core unbelievers, climate scientists are conspirators in it for the grant money. They are not to be trusted, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland suggested last month by giving Trump a print-out of a purported 1970s TIME magazine cover predicting a coming ice age. (The cover is an internet fake that has been circulating for years. It was cited last year by White House strategist Stephen Bannon in a radio interview he did while running the conservative media outlet Breitbart.)


Inside Climate News

[Bracketed, bold, red = my comments]

Debunking Shade #1

Technically, as a “luke warmer,” I won’t address the totality of Shade #1.  I will just debunk Ms. Lavelle’s smarmy psuedo-intellectual handling of the 1970’s global cooling scare.

Well, I suppose that Ms. Lavelle is correct that a 1970’s TIME magazine cover did not predict “another ice age.” The prediction (sort of a prediction) was from a 1974 TIME magazine article… Read the rest of this entry »

The 3% Renewable Energy ‘Tipping Point’.

June 27, 2017

Definition of tipping point

: the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place


I fail to see a “critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place” anywhere in this pile of greenschist…


Renewable energy at a ‘tipping point’

A SHIFT IN THOUGHT Washington may be showing less interest in alternative fuels, but the worldwide picture is dramatically different.

The Monitor’s Editorial Board

JUNE 26, 2017 —Should the world promote economic growth or fight climate change? That model of “either/or” thinking may be losing its validity faster than even some experts have imagined.

While fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas – still generate roughly 85 percent of the world’s energy supply, it’s clearer than ever that the future belongs to renewable sources such as wind and solar.

The move to renewables is picking up momentum around the world: They now account for more than half of new power sources going on line.


Christian Science Monitor

“While fossil fuels – coal, oil, gas – still generate roughly 85 percent of the world’s energy supply,” it’s clear that wind (1.6%) and solar (0.6%) are part of the “other renewables” that accounted for 3% of global primary energy consumption in 2016.


Figure 1.  2016 primary energy by source (l).  1965-2016 primary energy consumption and % solar/wind (r).  Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Now there does seem to be a ‘tipping point’ in this passage, a logical ‘tipping point’:

President Trump has underlined fossil fuels – especially coal – as the path to economic growth. In a recent speech in Iowa, a state he won easily in 2016, he dismissed wind power as an unreliable energy source.

But that message did not play well with many in the Hawkeye State, where wind turbines dot the fields and provide 36 percent of the state’s electricity generation – and where tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are being attracted by the availability of clean energy to power their data centers.


If “that message did not play well with many in the Hawkeye State,” how did Trump “easily” win Iowa?  Could it be that many in the Hawkeye State are also fond of coal-fired electricity because it’s cheap?


  • Iowa, the largest producer of ethanol in the United States, had 25.9% of the nation’s fuel ethanol manufacturing capacity in 2016.
  • Iowa ranked third among the states in consumption of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) in 2014, in part because of heavy use of LPG in the industrial sector for such as activities as drying corn crops and in the residential sector for heating.
  • Coal’s share of net electricity generation in Iowa declined from 76% in 2008 to 47% in 2016, but coal is still the state’s largest source of net electricity generation.
  • In 2016, Iowa ranked second among the states in net electricity generation from wind and third in net electricity generation from all nonhydroelectric renewable energy resources.
  • Wind provided 36.6% of Iowa’s total electricity generation in 2016, a larger share than in any other state. Wind was second only to coal as an energy source for electricity generation in the state.

Last Updated: March 16, 2017


I wonder how the “tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google” will power their Iowa data centers with “clean energy,” when nearly half of it comes from coal?

The question “what happens when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine?” has provided a quick put-down for skeptics. But a boost in the storage capacity of batteries, and a dramatic drop in their cost, is making their ability to keep power flowing around the clock more likely.


And Santa Claus is coming to town.  We’ll put batteries in the speculative future ‘tipping point’ category.  With an up-front price $200/kWh, batteries need a much deeper “drop in their cost” because the “ability to keep power flowing around the clock” needs to actually be certain, not just “more likely.”

Is it just an inability to conjugate verbs with these people?

The advance is driven in part by vehicle manufacturers, who are placing big bets on battery-powered electric vehicles. Although electric cars are still a rarity on roads in 2017, this massive investment could change the picture rapidly in coming years. China, whose cities are choked by air pollution, may lead the way.

“Renewables have reached a tipping point globally,” sums up Simon Virley, who studies the world’s energy markets for the international accounting firm KPMG.


“Could change the picture rapidly in coming years” does not equate to having “reached a tipping point globally.”  Furthermore, “battery-powered electric vehicles” aren’t going to put a dent in oil consumption for two reasons

  1. Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation.
  2. The growth in electric vehicle sales has been spectacularly linear with no indications of acceleration.

Figure 2. Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation. (Source IEA)



Figure 3. US and global PEV sales.

2011 US PEV Sales

2012-2016 US, 2014-2016 World PEV Sales

Even ARS Technica is starting to catch on:

According to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), 2016 was a record year for electric vehicle (EV) sales. More than 750,000 EVs were sold worldwide last year, compared to 547,220 sold in 2015.

But the gains are overshadowed by the distance that electric cars still have to go—although more than 2 million EVs now travel the world’s roads, they only make up 0.2 percent of the total light-duty passenger vehicle share around the world. And the growth of the number of electric cars on the roads actually slowed in 2016 compared to 2015 (60 percent in 2016 versus 77 percent in 2015), leaving policy makers and sustainable growth advocates wondering how to continue to grow the global fleet to meet climate change mitigation goals.

ARS Technica

It’s estimated that 600 million EV’s will be needed by 2040…

Still, electric vehicles only made up 0.2% of total passenger light-duty vehicles in circulation in 2016. They have a long way to go before reaching numbers capable of making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040, according to IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives. Strong policy support will be necessary to keep EVs on track.


The average U.S. vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year. The average PEV consumes 30 kWh per 100 miles.   This works out to 4,500 kWh/yr per PEV.  600 million PEV’s would consume 2.7 million GWh/yr of electricity.  This is equivalent to 62% of the average total U.S. electricity generation from 2010-2016.  There are about 263.6 passenger vehicles in the U.S.  If the entire U.S. fleet was converted to PEV’s, it would consume the equivalent of 27% of our current annual electricity generation:

PEV% of Pass. Cars  PEV’s  PEV (GWh)  % US GWh
1%                                      2,636,000                  11,862 0.3%
2%                                      5,272,000                  23,724 0.5%
4%                                    10,544,000                  47,448 1.1%
8%                                    21,088,000                  94,896 2.2%
16%                                    42,176,000                189,792 4.4%
32%                                    84,352,000                379,584 8.7%
64%                                 168,704,000                759,168 17.4%
100%                                 263,600,000            1,186,200 27.3%

Adding 27% to the load while degrading the reliability of the grid… You literally can’t make this up.

While there’s a long way to go, the trend lines for renewables are spiking. The the pace of change in energy sources appears to be speeding up – perhaps just in time to have a meaningful effect in slowing climate change.


“The trend lines for renewables are spiking”… Where?


Figure 4. Primary energy consumption (million tonnes of oil equivalent). Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Even if a plot a logarithmic y-axis, “the pace of change” doesn’t appear “to be speeding up.”


Figure 5. Primary energy consumption (million tonnes of oil equivalent) logarithmic y-axis. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2017

Having failed to find anything resembling a ‘tipping point’ in the CSM article, I expanded my research horizon and found the answer… ‘Tipping point’ is just a journalistic cliche.


200 journalism cliches — and counting

By Carlos Lozada February 27, 2014

Identifying journalistic cliches has become a favorite Washington parlor game. But might it not also open a rare window onto the struggles of writers and editors trying to think outside the box?

Over the past few years, some colleagues at The Washington Post and I have played our own parlor game, assembling a list of verbal crutches, stock phrases, filler words, cliches and perpetually misused expressions that we should avoid in The Post’s Sunday Outlook section — or at least think hard about before using. The initial list received some attention last year on the media blog Romenesko, triggering many more nominations.

Below is the latest, expanded version, which reached 200 entries on July 10, 2014. Feel free to suggest new entries (or arguments for why something should be taken off the list) in the comments section, or tweet at us: @CarlosLozadaWP or @PostOutlook. We’ll keep adding to it.

And believe me — this is not your father’s list of journalism cliches.

The Outlook List of Things We Do Not Say


Hastily convened

Much ballyhooed


Shrouded in secrecy

Since time immemorial

Tipping point

Inflection point

Point of no return

The [anything] community

If history is any guide

If past is prologue

The devil is in the details