Archive for the ‘Junk Science and Enviromarxism’ Category

Shell to quit US Arctic due to “unpredictable federal regulatory environment”

September 29, 2015

Guest post by David Middleton

Disappointing results from an initial rank wildcat can’t kill a play.

The cyclical ups and downs of product prices can’t kill a play.

High operating costs can’t kill a play.

Only massively incompetent government can kill a play.

“This is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome,” Marvin Odum, director of Shell’s Upstream Americas unit, said in a statement. While indications of oil and gas were present in the Burger J well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, they weren’t sufficient to warrant further exploration, the company said. Shell will now plug and abandon the well.

Shell had planned a two-year drilling program starting this July. The company was seeking to resume work halted in 2012 when its main drilling rig ran aground and was lost. It was also fined for air pollution breaches. The Anglo-Dutch company first discovered oil and gas in the region in the late 1980s.

The company continues to see potential in the region and the decision not to explore further in Alaskan waters “reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska,” according to the statement.…ulations-costs

The potential of the Alaska OCS is nearly as large as the Central Gulf of Mexico…

Product prices and exploration results are by their nature, unpredictable. Operating costs are tied to product prices and regulatory requirements. Regulatory requirements must be predictable in order for any business to function.

Anatomy of a Collapsing Paradigm

March 18, 2015


A framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted by members of a scientific community.

Paradigm Shift:

These examples point to the third and most fundamental aspect of the incommensurability of competing paradigms. In a sense that I am unable to explicate further, the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds. One contains constrained bodies that fall slowly, the other pendulums that repeat their motions again and again. In one, solutions are compounds, in the other mixtures. One is embedded in a flat, the other in a curved, matrix of space. Practicing in different worlds, the two groups of scientists see different things when they look from the same point in the same direction. Again, that is not to say that they can see anything they please. Both are looking at the world, and what they look at has not changed. But in some areas they see different things, and they see them in different relations one to the other. That is why a law that cannot even be demonstrated to one group of scientists may occasionally seem intuitively obvious to another. Equally, it is why, before they can hope to communicate fully, one group or the other must experience the conversion that we have been calling a paradigm shift. Just because it is a transition between incommensurables, the transition between competing paradigms cannot be made a step at a time, forced by logic and neutral experience. Like the gestalt switch, it must occur all at once (though not necessarily in an instant) or not at all.

–Thomas Kuhn, 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Vol. II, No. 2 p. 150

What is the current paradigm?

  • Human activities, primarily carbon dioxide emissions, have been the primary cause of the observed global warming over the past 50 to 150 years.
  • The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration had stabilized between 270 and 280 ppmv early in the Holocene and had remained in that range prior to the mid-19th century when fossil fuels became the primary energy source of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are causing the atmospheric concentration to rise at a dangerously rapid pace to levels not seen in 100’s of thousands to millions of years.
  • The climate sensitivity to a doubling of pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentration “is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C,” possibly even much higher than 4.5°C.
  • Immediate, deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary in order to stave off catastrophic climate change.
  • The scientific consensus regarding this paradigm is overwhelming (~97%).

Why is the paradigm collapsing?

  • There has been no increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature since the late 20th century.
  • Every measure of pre-industrial carbon dioxide, not derived from Antarctic ice cores, indicates a higher and more variable atmospheric concentration.
  • The total lack of predictive skill in AGW climate models.
  • An ever-growing body of observation-based studies indicating that the climate sensitivity is in the range of 0.5 to 2.5°C with a best estimate of 1.5 to 2°C, and is very unlikely to be more than 2°C.
  • Clear evidence that the dogmatic insistence of scientific unanimity is at best highly contrived and at worst fraudulent.

The paradigm is collapsing primarily due to the fact that the climate appears to be far less sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than the so-called scientific consensus had assumed.

One group of scientists has steadfastly resisted the carbon dioxide-driven paradigm: Geologists, particularly petroleum geologists. As Kuhn wrote,

“Practicing in different worlds, the two groups of scientists see different things when they look from the same point in the same direction. Again, that is not to say that they can see anything they please. Both are looking at the world, and what they look at has not changed. But in some areas they see different things, and they see them in different relations one to the other. That is why a law that cannot even be demonstrated to one group of scientists may occasionally seem intuitively obvious to another.”

Petroleum geologists tend to be sedimentary geologists and sedimentary geology is essentially a combination of paleogeography and paleoclimatology. Depositional environments are defined by physical geography and climate. We literally do practice in a different world, the past. Geologists intuitively see Earth processes as cyclical and also tend to look at things from the perspective of “deep time.” For those of us working the Gulf of Mexico, we “go to work” in a world defined by glacioeustatic and halokinetic processes and, quite frankly, most of us don’t see anything anomalous in recent climate changes.

So, it should come as little surprise that geoscientists have consistently been far more likely to think that modern climate changes have been driven by overwhelmingly natural processes…

APEGA is the organization responsible for certifying and licensing professional geoscientists and engineers in Alberta, Canada.

This study is very interesting because it analyzes the frames of reference (Kuhn’s “different worlds”) in which opinions are formed. Skeptical geologists are most likely to view climate change as overwhelmingly natural. Skeptical engineers are more likely to view it as a matter of economics or fatalism. The cost of decarbonization would far outweigh any benefits and/or would have no measurable effect on climate change.

The Obsession With Consensus

In nearly 40 years as an Earth Scientist (counting college), I have never seen such an obsession with consensus. In geology, there are many areas in which there are competing hypotheses; yet there is no obsession with conformance to a consensus.

The acceptance of plate tectonics was a relatively new thing when I was a student. This paradigm had only recently shifted from the geosynclinal theory to plate tectonics. We still learned the geosynclinal theory in Historical Geology and it still has value today. However, I don’t ever recall papers being published claiming a consensus regarding either theory.

Most geologists think that granite is an igneous rock and that petroleum is of organic origin. Yet, the theories of granitization and abiogenic hydrocarbon formation are not ridiculed; nor are the adherents subjected to “witch hunts.”

One of the most frequent methods of attempting to quantify and justify the so-called consensus on climate change has been the abstract search (second hand opinions). I will only bother to review one of these exercises in logical fallacy, Cook et al., 2013.

Second Hand Opinions.

These sorts of papers consist of abstract reviews. The authors’ then tabulate their opnions regarding whether or not the abstracts support the AGW paradgm. As Legates et al., 2013 pointed out, Cook defined the consensus as “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.” Cook then relied on three different levels of “endorsement” of that consensus and excluded 67% of the abstracts reviewed because they neither endorsed nor rejected the consensus.

The largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it.” They provided this example of an implied endorsement:

‘…carbon sequestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change’

Carbon sequestration in soil, lime muds, trees, seawater, marine calcifers and a whole lot of other things have always been important for mitigating a wide range of natural processes. I have no doubt that I have implicitly endorsed the so-called consensus based on this example.

The second largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimize.” Pardon my obtuseness, but how in the heck can one explicitly endorse the notion that “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic” without quantification? This is the exmple Cook provided:

‘Emissions of a broad range of greenhouse gases of varying lifetimes contribute to global climate change’

Wow! I contributed to Romney for President… Yet most of his campaign warchest didn’t come from me. By this subjective standard, I have probably explicitly endorsed AGW a few times.

No Schist, Sherlock.

One of the most frequent refrains is the assertion that “climate scientists” endorse the so-called consensus more than other disciplines and that the level of endorsement is proportional to the volume of publications by those climate scientists. Well… No schist, Sherlock! I would bet a good bottle of wine that the most voluminous publishers on UFO’s are disproportionately more likely to endorse Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a documentary. A cursory search for “abiogenic hydrocarbons” in AAPG’s Datapages could lead me to conclude that there is a higher level of endorsement of abiogenic oil among those who publish on the subject than among non-publishing petroleum geologists.

These exercises in expertise cherry-picking are quite common. A classic example was Doran and Kendall Zimmerman, 2009. This survey sample was limited to academic and government Earth Scientists. It excluded all Earth Scientists working in private sector businesses. The two key questions were:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

I would answer yes to #1 and my answer to #2 would depend on the meaning of “human activity is a significant contributing factor.” If I realized it was a “push poll,” I would answer “no.”

Interestingly, economic geologists and meteorologists were the most likely to answer “no” to question #2…

The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).

The authors derisively dismissed the opinions of geologists and meteorologists…

It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.

No discipline has a better understanding the “nuances” than meteorologists and no discipline has a better understanding of the “scientific basis of long-term climate processes” than geologists.

The authors close with a “no schist, Sherlock” bar chart:

The most recent example of expertise cherry-picking was Stenhouse et al., 2014.

The 52% consensus among the membership of the American Meteorological Society was explained away as being due to “perceived scientific consensus,” “political ideology,” and a lack of “expertise” among non-publishing meteorologists and atmospheric scientists…

While we found that higher expertise was associated with a greater likelihood of viewing global warming as real and harmful, this relationship was less strong than for political ideology and perceived consensus. At least for the measure of expertise that we used, climate science expertise may be a less important influence on global warming views than political ideology or social consensus norms. More than any other result of the study, this would be strong evidence against the idea that expert scientists’ views on politically controversial topics can be completely objective.

Finally, we found that perceiving conflict at AMS was associated with lower certainty of global warming views, lower likelihood of viewing global warming as human caused, and lower ratings of predicted harm caused by global warming.

So… Clearly, 97% of AMS membership would endorse the so-called consensus if they were more liberal, more accepting of unanimity and published more papers defending failed climate models.  No schist, Sherlock!

What, exactly, is a “climate scientist”?

35 years ago climatology was a branch of physical geography. Today’s climate scientists can be anything from atmospheric physicists & chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, astronomers, astrophysicists, oceanographers, biologists, environmental scientists, ecologists, meteorologists, geologists, geophysicists, geochemistry to economists, agronomists, sociologists and/or public policy-ologists.

NASA’s top climate scientist for most of the past 35 years, James Hansen, is an astronomer. The current one, Gavin Schmidt, is a mathematician.

It seems to me that climate science is currently dominated by computer modelers, with little comprehension of the natural climate cycles which have driven climate change throughout the Holocene.

Climate scientist seems to be as nebulous as Cook’s definition of consensus.

What is the actual consensus?

The preliminary results of the AMS survey tell us all we need to know about the former…

89% × 59% = 52%… A far cry from the oft claimed 97% consensus.

Based on BAMS definition, global warming is happening. So, I would be among the 89% who answered “yes” to question #1 and among the 5% who said the cause was mostly natural.

When self-described “climate scientists” and meteorologists/atmospheric scientists are segregated the results become even more interesting…

Only 45% of meteorologists and atmospheric scientists endorse the so-called consensus. When compared to the 2009, American Geophysical Union survey, the collapsing paradigm sticks out like a polar vortex…

In reality, about half of relevant scientists would probably agree that humans have been responsible for >50% of recent climate changes.  And there might even be a 97% consensus that human activities have contributed to recent climate changes.

However, there really isn’t any scientific consensus if it is defined this way:

So… Why is there such an obsession with a 97% consensus?  My guess is that it enables such demagoguery.

Science Lessons for Secretary of State John F. Kerry

March 16, 2015

Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s recent remarks on climate change at the Atlantic Council were so scientifically illiterate that I find it difficult to believe that he managed to barely get a D in geology at Yale University.  As a US citizen and geoscientist, I feel it is my patriotic and professional duty to provide Secretary Kerry with a few complimentary science lessons.

Let’s start with some basics

So stop for a minute and just think about the basics. When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that. Science also tells us that when the water temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns to ice. No one disputes that.

So when science tells us that our climate is changing and humans beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, “Well, I dispute that” or “I deny that elementary truth?” And yet, there are those who do so.

Well Mr. Secretary… The Theory of Gravity can be empirically tested with such repeatability that it has become a Law and can be expressed with a simple equation… It can even be tested and  confirmed on the Moon…

The freezing point of water (phase transition) can also be empirically tested and demonstrated with ample repeatability. However, the freezing point of water is not always 32°F. The freezing point is dependent on both temperature and pressure….

We do not accept gravity and phase transition because science tells us to. We accept these things because they can be empirically tested, repeatedly confirmed and form the bases of solid scientific theories.

Science tells us that climate has always changed and always will be changing. While the radiative forcing effect of CO2 is kind of in the same ballpark as the freezing point of water, the notion that humans are the primary cause of recent climate changes is nothing but a hypothesis which has failed almost every empirical test. This is why many scientists do not accept that this is “settled science.”

From Remote Sensing Systems [with my commentary]:

Over the past decade, we have been collaborating with Ben Santer at LLNL (along with numerous other investigators) to compare our tropospheric results with the predictions of climate models. Our results can be summarized as follows:

  • Over the past 35 years, the troposphere has warmed significantly. The global average temperature has risen at an average rate of about 0.13 degrees Kelvin per decade (0.23 degrees F per decade).[All of the warming occurred in one step-shift in the late 1990’s.]
  • Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation.[Only because climate models are programmed to do so. The models are programmed with very high sensitivities to CO2. Then they are paramaterized (fudged) with assumptions about albedo effects of past anthropogenic aerosol emissions in order to retrocast past temperature changes. The climate models almost totally fail to incorporate cloud albedo effects and natural climate oscillations.This is why they lack predictive skill.
  • The spatial pattern of warming is consistent with human-induced warming. See Santer et al 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 for more about the detection and attribution of human induced changes in atmospheric temperature using MSU/AMSU data.[Yep. Most of the warming is occurring at night and in the coldest air masses in the Northern Hemisphere.]


  • The climate has not warmed as fast as almost all climate models predict.

[Because the models lack predictive skill.]

To illustrate this last problem, we show several plots below. Each of these plots has a time series of TLT temperature anomalies using a reference period of 1979-2008. In each plot, the thick black line is the measured data from RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU Temperatures. The yellow band shows the 5% to 95% envelope for the results of 33 CMIP-5 model simulations (19 different models, many with multiple realizations) that are intended to simulate Earth’s Climate over the 20th Century.



RSS shows no warming since 1997…

In fairness, the models have demonstrated precision. They precisely miss the mark to the high side…

The first modern AGW model from 1988 has essentially proven that the climate is relatively insensitive to increasing atmospheric CO2. Subsequent models have confirmed that the hypothesis is wrong…

James Hansen, formerly of NASA-GISS, first proved that AGW was wrong 27 years ago. 

Back in 1988, he published a climate model that, when compared to his own temperature data, substantially disproves AGW…

GISTEMP has tracked the Hansen scenario in which a green utopia was achieved more than a decade ago.

Hansen’s model used an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 4.2°C per doubling of pre-industrial CO2. The IPCC “consensus” is 3.0°C. Numerous recent papers have demonstrated that the ECS is less than 2.0°C. T

“Scenario B” might be the most relevant prediction because CH4 and CFC’s have followed closest to the “C” trajectory, while CO2 has tracked “A”.

Since CO2 tracked “A”, CH4 and CFC’s tracked “C” and temperature tracked below “C”… The atmosphere is far less sensitive to CO2 than Hansen modeled… The atmosphere was essentially insensitive to the ~50ppmv rise in CO2 over the last 24 years.

The following CMIP5 model was parameterized (fudged) to accurately retrocast HadCRUT4 from 1950-2004.

Within eight years, the observed temperature is on the verge of dropping out of the lower error band.

This model from Kaufmann et al., 2011 simulated natural and anthropogenic (primarily CO2) forcing mechanisms from 1999-2008. Natural forcing won by a score of 3-1.

A plot of the Wood for Trees Temperature Index on 12 years worth of IPCC model suites demonstrates that the AGW hypothesis has demonstrated no predictive skill in nearly 30 years of testing…

On to basic math and reading skills

Now folks, we literally do not have the time to waste debating whether we can say “climate change.” We have to talk about how we solve climate change. Because no matter how much people want to bury their heads in the sand, it will not alter the fact that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.

Well Mr. Secretary… The SkepSci bloggers who claimed the bogus 97% consensus don’t even assert that “97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”

 The that less than 1% “of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.”

Now for a bit of history

Just look around you. Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record in all of history have occurred since 2000, in all of recorded history. Last year was the warmest of all. And I think if you stop and think about it, it seems that almost every next year becomes one of the hottest on record.

Wrong again, Mr. Secretary. While it is possible that “fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record (since about 1850) have occurred since 2000″… “all of recorded history” goes back a bit farther than that.  Recorded history goes back a time long before this 2,000 year climate reconstruction…

And now back to basic science

It’s not particularly complicated. I don’t mean to sound haughty, but think about it for a minute. Life on Earth would not exist without a greenhouse effect. That is what has kept the average temperature up, until recently, at 57 degrees Fahrenheit, because there is this greenhouse effect. And it was called the greenhouse effect because it does exactly what a greenhouse does. When the sun pours in and bounces off at a different angle, it goes back up at a different angle. That can’t escape, and that warms things – a very simple proposition.

Don’t worry Mr. Secretary… You don’t sound haughty. You sound like a guy who got a D in geology and would have gotten an F in physics.

Neither a greenhouse nor the greenhouse effect rely on the Law of Reflection or Snell’s Law… Nor does the greenhouse effect even behave like a greenhouse…

The greenhouse effect refers to circumstances where the short wavelengths of visible light from the sun pass through a transparent medium and are absorbed, but the longer wavelengths of the infrared re-radiation from the heated objects are unable to pass through that medium. The trapping of the long wavelength radiation leads to more heating and a higher resultant temperature.


A major part of the efficiency of the heating of an actual greenhouse is the trapping of the air so that the energy is not lost by convection. Keeping the hot air from escaping out the top is part of the practical “greenhouse effect”, but it is common usage to refer to the infrared trapping as the “greenhouse effect” in atmospheric applications where the air trapping is not applicable.…mo/grnhse.html


The laws and theories of gravity and phase transition are not even remotely analogous to the fatally flawed AGW hypothesis.

97% of peer-reviewed climate studies do not conclude that humans are largely to blame for recent climate changes.

There is no evidence that 14 of the last 15 years are the warmest in all of recorded history.

A greenhouse works by retarding convective cooling.  The greenhouse effect works by retarding radiative cooling.  Secretary Kerry’s lack of scientific literacy will work by retarding our economy.

Dave’s Top Ten Reasons Why the Oil Industry Doesn’t Spend its Billions on Disproving the Junk Science of AGW

December 14, 2013

Guest post by David Middleton

In my Internet “debates” with warmists, I occasionally encounter challenges like this…

We don’t yet not know the real global impact man has on the environment. It may be negligible. What we do know is that if the oil companies with their billions could disprove this manmade warming they could in an instance. They have not.

My response to this challenge is in the style of David Letterman…

Dave’s Top Ten Reasons Why the Oil Industry Doesn’t Spend its Billions on Disproving the Junk Science of AGW


10) It’s impossible to prove a negative.


9) The burden of proof is on those who wish to bankrupt these United States of America in order to reverse this…


8) The climate is always changing, always has, always will. There is absolutely no evidence that modern climate changes are exceeding the pre-human range of variability. There are anthropogenic influences which modify the climate’s natural oscillations. Very few scientists in the oil industry doubt that anthropogenic activities affect the climate. We just know for a fact that those effects are not causing the climate to change in ways that exceed the normal variability of the Holocene and that such effects are likely to be so small that they can’t be differentiated. Otherwise, the Warmists would have long ago clearly differentiated the anthropogenic from the natural. Furthermore, none of the proposed solutions are economically feasible, nor would they mitigate climate change in any measurable way.


7) The “oil industry” is composed of corporations engaged in the various aspects of oil & gas exploration, drilling and production. These corporations are owned by people, usually shareholders, who invested their own money for the purpose of making a profit on the exploration, drilling and production for and of oil and natural gas. They didn’t invest their money in science projects, particularly not junk science projects.


6) We already have full time jobs. I do this as a hobby because it combines my professional skills as a geoscientist and 25 years of experience (out of nearly 33) working in a Quaternart-Upper Tertiary sedimentary basin, with my longtime interest in palaeoclimatology.


5) The Warmists have already proven that AGW is wrong. The lack of global warming since the late 1990’s forced them to morph “global warming” into “climate change,” “global weirding,” “global climate disruption,” and other temperature-neutral descriptions.


4) The Warmists have already proven that AGW is wrong – Part Deux. Every conceivable weather, health, agricultural, botanical, zoological and even geophysical incident is “consistent” with the Gorebotic AGW “theory.” Thus rendering their “theory” un-falsifiable and rendering it unscientific. Kevin Trenberth of NCAR even declared the no longer scientific theory to be un-falsifiable when he stated that the “null hypothesis” principle should be reversed for AGW.


3) The Warmists have already proven that AGW is wrong – Part Trois: That pesky climate sensitivity thing.  Gorebot Prime, James Hansen, formerly of NASA-GISS and now a full-time political activist, first proved that AGW was wrong 25 years ago and then delivered an endless stream of idiotic alarmism. Back in 1988, he published a climate model that, when compared to his own temperature data, substantially disproves AGW…


GISTEMP has tracked the Hansen scenario in which a greent@rd utopia was achieved more than a decade ago. Hansen’s model used an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 4.2°C per doubling of pre-industrial CO2. The IPCC “consensus” is 3.0°C. The maximum physically possible ECS is 2.0°C. The maximum physically possible ECS, consistent with the observations, is 1.0°C. Recent papers have concluded that solar forcing has been underestimated by a factor of six and CO2 forcing is much lower than the so-called consensus estimate. “Scenario B” might be the most relevant prediction because CH4 and CFC’s have followed closest to the “C” trajectory, while CO2 has tracked “A”. If you look at the model results, there is little difference between “A” and “B” in 2010…

Hansen describes “A” as “business as usual” and “B” as a more realistic or “Lite” version of “business as usual.” “C” represents a world in which mankind essentially undiscovered fire in the year 2000. The actual satellite-measured temperature change since 1988 tracks below “C,”  with the monster ENSO of 1998 being the only notable exception…

Since CO2 tracked “A”, CH4 and CFC’s tracked “C” and temperature tracked below “C,” the atmosphere is far less sensitive to CO2 than Hansen modeled.  The atmosphere was essentially insensitive to the ~50ppmv rise in CO2 over the last 24 years. Hansen may have inadvertantly provided solid support for this “inconvenient truth.”


2) The Warmists have already proven that AGW is wrong – Part Quatre: A model of failure. Let’s give Gorebot Prime, Jimbo Hansen, a pass. His 1988 model reflected old science and old computers and surely the models have gotten better over the last quarter-century… Or not.

STILL Epic Fail: 73 Climate Models vs. Measurements, Running 5-Year Means June 6th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. […] In this case, the models and observations have been plotted so that their respective 1979-2012 trend lines all intersect in 1979, which we believe is the most meaningful way to simultaneously plot the models’ results for comparison to the observations. In my opinion, the day of reckoning has arrived. The modellers and the IPCC have willingly ignored the evidence for low climate sensitivity for many years, despite the fact that some of us have shown that simply confusing cause and effect when examining cloud and temperature variations can totally mislead you on cloud feedbacks (e.g. Spencer & Braswell, 2010). The discrepancy between models and observations is not a new issue…just one that is becoming more glaring over time. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the coming years. I frankly don’t see how the IPCC can keep claiming that the models are “not inconsistent with” the observations. Any sane person can see otherwise. If the observations in the above graph were on the UPPER (warm) side of the models, do you really believe the modelers would not be falling all over themselves to see how much additional surface warming they could get their models to produce? Hundreds of millions of dollars that have gone into the expensive climate modelling enterprise has all but destroyed governmental funding of research into natural sources of climate change. […] Dr. Roy Spencer

[Assuming whiny Gorebot voice]… Oh… That tricky Roy Spencer. That’s just the tropics and it goes way back to 1979… That’s unfair! The science is verified! The models are right! Or not… The following CMIP5 model was parameterized (fudged) to accurately retrocast HadCRUT4 from 1950-2004. Eight years and out! Within eight years, the observed temperature is on the verge of dropping out of the lower error band. This model from Kaufmann et al., 2011 simulated natural and anthropogenic (primarily CO2) forcing mechanisms from 1999-2008. Natural forcing won by a score of 3-1.   Although, the authors seem to have concluded that anthropogenic forcing related to global cooling were masking theanthropogenic forcing” related to global warming. This is to be expected because, obviously, the Earth’s climate was static prior to the incorporation of Standard Oil Company… Models are great heuristic tools; but they cannot and should never be used as substitutes for observation and correlation. I can build a valid computer model that tells me that a geopressured Cibicides opima sandstone at depth of 15,000′ should exhibit a Class 3 AVO response. If I drill a Class 3 AVO anomaly in that neighborhood, I will drill a dry hole. A little bit of observation and correlation would quickly tell me that productive geopressured Cibicides opima sandstones at depth of 15,000′ don’t exhibit Class 3 AVO anomalies. 99% of petroleum geologists and exploration geophysicists would laugh you out of the room if you seriously thought a model was superior to actual observations. 2) The Warmists have already proven that AGW is wrong – Part Cinq: That pesky climate sensitivity thing – Subpart Deux. In our last episode of climate sensitivity, we reviewed Jimbo Hansen’s spectacularly wrong Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity of 4.2 °C. Now we will move on the current alleged consensusECS of 3.3 (±1.1) °C (Nothing like a 33% error bar to instill confidence!)…

The equilibrium climate sensitivity values for the AR4 AOGCMs coupled to non-dynamic slab ocean models are given for comparison (Box 10.2, Figure 1e,f; see also Table 8.2). These estimates come from models that represent the current best efforts from the international global climate modelling community at simulating climate. A normal fit yields a 5 to 95% range of about 2.1°C to 4.4°C with a mean value of equilibrium climate sensitivity of about 3.3°C (2.2°C to 4.6°C for a lognormal distribution, median 3.2°C) (Räisänen, 2005b). 

For good measure, the consensus-teers of the IPCC toss in this bit of gratuitous alarmism…

Studies comparing the observed transient response of surface temperature after large volcanic eruptions with results obtained from models with different climate sensitivities (see Section. 9.6) do not provide PDFs, but find best agreement with sensitivities around 3°C, and reasonable agreement within the 1.5°C to 4.5°C range (Wigley et al., 2005). They are not able to exclude sensitivities above 4.5°C. 

This explains the Gorebotic caterwauling from Climategate University

“Our research predicts that climate change will greatly reduce the diversity of even very common species found in most parts of the world. This loss of global-scale biodiversity would significantly impoverish the biosphere and the ecosystem services it provides…

[…] The good news is that our research provides crucial new evidence of how swift action to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases can prevent the biodiversity loss by reducing the amount of global warming to 2 degrees Celsius rather than 4 degrees.”

The Washington Post’s energy and environment inexpert

“The current level of action puts us on a pathway towards a 3.5–4°C warmer world by the end of this century.”

And Third World poverty pimps

The World Bank predicts that we are on track to a rise of 4 degrees Celsius in temperatures by the end of this century. This would mean a rise in sea levels of three to seven feet

There is not one single scrap of evidence that the current rate of emissions will lead to more than 2 °C warming (relative to 280 ppmv CO2) by 2100 (we’ll get to sea level in subsequent posts). Every recent observation-based estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to a doubling of the assumed pre-industrial CO2 level is in the range of 2 °C and roughly 1 °C of this has already occurred. Asten, 2012 found ECS to be 1.1 ± 0.4 °C based on δ18O and δ11B records from fossil forams and the Eocene-Oligocene transition in marine sediment cores from DSDP site 744. Earlier this year, researchers at CICERO and the Norwegian Computing Center announced that when they incorporated the temperature and CO2 data from 2000-2010 into their instrumental record-based ECS estimate, they obtain a most likely value of 1.9 °C. This work has yet to be published. Lewis, 2013 found a most likely ECS of 1.6 °K (same as C for these purposes) using a Bayesian analysis and incorporating recent data. Masters, 2013 found a most likely ECS of 1.98 °K from ocean heat content and sea surface temperature data… Aldrin et al, 2012 and Forster & Gregory, 2006 also found the ECS to most likely be less than 2 °C. Yet the IPCC, Climategate CRU and other alarmist ideologues continue to prattle on as if the ECS in the range of 4-5 °C or higher…


1) The joke is just too damn funny for us to spoil…

Obama’s global-warming folly By Charles Krauthammer, Published: July 4 The economy stagnates. Syria burns . Scandals lap at his feet. China and Russia mock him , even as a “29-year-old hacker” revealed his nation’s spy secrets to the world. How does President Obama respond? With a grandiloquent speech on climate change . Climate change? It lies at the very bottom of a list of Americans’ concerns (last of 21 — Pew poll). Which means that Obama’s declaration of unilateral American war on global warming, whatever the cost — and it will be heavy — is either highly visionary or hopelessly solipsistic. You decide: Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years — a curious time to unveil a grand, hugely costly, socially disruptive anti-warming program. Now, this inconvenient finding is not dispositive. It doesn’t mean there is no global warming. But it is something that the very complex global warming models that Obama naively claims represent settled science have trouble explaining. […] For the sake of argument, nonetheless, let’s concede that global warming is precisely what Obama thinks it is. Then answer this: What in God’s name is his massive new regulatory and spending program — which begins with a war on coal and ends with billions in more subsidies for new Solyndras — going to do about it? The United States has already radically cut carbon dioxide emissions — more than any country on earth since 2006, according to the International Energy Agency. Emissions today are back down to 1992 levels. And yet, at the same time, global emissions have gone up. That’s because — surprise! — we don’t control the energy use of the other 96 percent of humankind. […] Net effect: tens of thousands of jobs killed, entire states impoverished. This at a time of chronically and crushingly high unemployment, slow growth, jittery markets and deep economic uncertainty. But that’s not the worst of it. This massive self-sacrifice might be worthwhile if it did actually stop global warming and save the planet. What makes the whole idea nuts is that it won’t. This massive self-inflicted economic wound will have […] For a president to propose this with such aggressive certainty is incomprehensible. It is the starkest of examples of belief that is impervious to evidence. And the word for that is faith, not science. WaPo

Defusing the Arctic Methane Time Bomb

December 9, 2013

The Arctic methane time bomb keeps on tickingFrom Scientific American


More Arctic Methane Bubbles into Atmosphere

A new study suggests more than twice as much of the potent greenhouse gas is bubbling out of the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean, speeding climate change

By Stephanie Paige Ogburn and ClimateWire

Arctic Ocean: A new study reports that methane releases from one part of the Arctic Ocean are more than twice what scientists previously thought.



If the Arctic Methane Time Bomb is really twice as bad as “scientists previously thought,” one of two things must be happening:

  1. The Arctic methane time bomb is about to go off and turn Earth into Venus.
  2. “Scientists” preconceptions about the climatic hazards of Arctic methane are very wrong.

Arctic methane is currently trapped in permafrost and in methane hydrate deposits. Some methane from these traps escapes to the atmosphere every year, particularly during warm summer months. However, there is absolutely no indication that this represents some sort of Arctic methane time bomb, ticking its way to some sort of carbon Apocalypse.


Permafrost is ground that is frozen below the active layer (~30-100 mm) for multi-year periods. Some Arctic permafrost has been frozen for at least several thousand years. The active layer may thaw seasonally; however the permafrost substrate remains frozen year-round. The frozen nature of the soil below the active layer prevents it from adequately draining. This results in a very boggy active layer with abundant decaying plant matter. As such, permafrost is generally very methane-rich.

A rapid and extensive thawing of Arctic permafrost could theoretically release a lot of methane into the atmosphere. There’s just very little reason to think that this is even a remote possibility now or in the foreseeable future.

News in Brief: Warming may not release Arctic carbon

Element could stay locked in soil, 20-year study suggests

By Erin Wayman
Web edition: May 15, 2013
Print edition: June 15, 2013; Vol.183 #12 (p. 13)

Researchers used greenhouses to artificially warm tundra (shown, in autumn) for 20 years. They found no net change in the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

Sadie Iverson

The Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report.


Science News

In the Alaska experiment, they warmed the permafrost by 2°C over a 20-yr period (10 times the actual rate of warming since the 1800s) and there wasn’t the slightest hint of an accelerated methane release.

There is no evidence of widespread thawing of Arctic permafrost since Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS-11), approximately 450,000 years ago. None of the subsequent interglacial stages indicate widespread permafrost thawing, above 60°N, not even MIS-5 (Eemian/Sangamonian), which was about 2°C warmer than present day, possibly as much as 5°C warmer in the Arctic.

The last interglacial stage (MIS-5, Sangamonian/Eemian) was considerably warmer than the current interglacial and sea level was 3-6 meters higher than modern times. It was particularly warmer in the Arctic. Oxygen isotope ratios from the NGRIP ice core indicate that the Arctic was approximately 5°C warmer at the peak of MIS-5 (~135,000 years ago).

It also appears that it was significantly warmer in the Arctic during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (~7,000 years ago) than modern times. The Arctic was routinely ice-free during summer for most of the Holocene up until about 1,000 years ago. McKay et al., 2008 demonstrated that the modern Arctic sea ice cover is anomalously high and the Arctic summer sea surface temperature is anomalously low relative to the rest of the Holocene…

Modern sea-ice cover in the study area, expressed here as the number of months/year with >50% coverage, averages 10.6 ±1.2 months/year… Present day SST and SSS in August are 1.1 ± 2.4 8C and 28.5 ±1.3, respectively… In the Holocene record of core HLY0501-05, sea-ice cover has ranged between 5.5 and 9 months/year, summer SSS has varied between 22 and 30, and summer SST has ranged from 3 to 7.5 8C (Fig. 7).

McKay et al., 2008

Vaks et al., 2013 found no evidence of widespread permafrost thawing above 60°N since MIS-11, not even during MIS-5…

The absence of any observed speleothem growth since MIS 11 in the northerly Lenskaya Ledyanaya cave (despite dating outer edges of 7 speleothems), suggests the permanent presence of permafrost at this latitude since the end of MIS-11. Speleothem growth in this cave occurred in early MIS-11, ruling out the possibility that the unusual length of MIS-11 caused the permafrost thawing.


The degradation of permafrost at 60°N during MIS-11 allows an assessment of the warming required globally to cause such extensive change in the permafrost boundary.


There is clear evidence that the Arctic was at least 5°C warmer during MIS-11 than it is today…

Several so-called “superinterglacials” have been identified in the Quaternary sediment record from LakeEl’gygytgyn (Melles et al.,2012). Among these “superinterglacials”, marine isotope stage (MIS) 11c and 31 appear to be the most outstanding in terms of their temperature, vegetation cover, in-lake productivity, and in the case of MIS11c also duration (Melles et al.,2012). Quantitative climate reconstructions for MIS11c and 31 at Lake El’gygytgyn imply that temperatures and annual precipitation values were up to ca. 5°C and ca. 300mm higher if compared to the Holocene (Melles et al.,2012)

Vogel et al., 2013

The best geological evidence for the Arctic methane time bomb being a dud can be found in the stratigraphy beneath Lake El’gygytgyn in northeastern Russia. The lake and its mini-basin occupy a 3.58 million year old meteor crater. Its sediments are ideally suited for a continuous high-resolution climate reconstruction from the Holocene all the way back to the mid-Pliocene. Unlike most other Arctic lakes, Lake El’gygytgyn, has never been buried by glacial stage continental ice sheets. Melles et al., 2012 utilized sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn to build a 2.8 million year climate reconstruction of northeastern Russia…

The data from Melles et al., 2012 are available from NOAA’s paleoclimatology library. And it is clearly obvious that Arctic summers were much warmer than either the Eemian/Sangamonian (MIS-5e) and the Holocene (MIS-1)…

MIS-11 peaked a full 5°C warmer than the Holocene Climatic Optimum, which was 1-2°C warmer than the present.

Referring back to Vaks et al., 2013, we can see that there is no evidence of widespread permafrost melting above 60°N since the beginning of MIS-11…

Since we know that the Arctic was about 5°C warmer during the Eemian/Sangamonian (MIS-5e) than it currently is and that there is no evidence of widespread permafrost melt above 60°N, it’s a pretty good bet that the MIS-11 Arctic was 6-10°C warmer than the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

The lack of evidence of permafrost melt during MIS-5 tends to indicate that MIS-11 may have been more than 5°C warmer. So, the notion that we are on the verge of a permafrost meltdown is patently absurd.

Methane Hydrate Deposits

Methane hydrates (or gas hydrate) are composed of molecules of methane encased in a lattice of ice crystals. These accumulations are fairly common in marine sediments.

Gas hydrate is an ice like substance formed when methane or some other gases combine with water at appropriate pressure and temperature conditions. Gas hydrates sequester large amounts of methane and are widespread in marine sediments and sediments of permafrost areas.


99% of methane hydrate deposits are thought to be in deepwater environments. The only way that climate change could destabilize these deposits would be through a sudden drop in sea level. The thermocline of the deepwater deposits changes very little (not at all at depth) even with 20 °C of surface warming over a 1,000-yr period.

Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change

By: Carolyn D. Ruppel (U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA) © 2011 Nature Education

Citation: Ruppel, C. D. (2011) Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):29

Methane Hydrate Primer

Methane hydrate is an ice-like substance formed when CH4 and water combine at low temperature (up to ~25ºC) and moderate pressure (greater than 3-5 MPa, which corresponds to combined water and sediment depths of 300 to 500 m). Globally, an estimated 99% of gas hydrates occurs in the sediments of marine continental margins at saturations as high as 20% to 80% in some lithologies; the remaining 1% is mostly associated with sediments in and beneath areas of high-latitude, continuous permafrost (McIver 1981, Collett et al. 2009). Nominally, methane hydrate concentrates CH4 by ~164 times on a volumetric basis compared to gas at standard pressure and temperature. Warming a small volume of gas hydrate could thus liberate large volumes of gas.

A challenge for assessing the impact of contemporary climate change on methane hydrates is continued uncertainty about the size of the global gas hydrate inventory and the portion of the inventory that is susceptible to climate warming. This paper addresses the latter issue, while the former remains under active debate.


Fate of Contemporary Methane Hydrates During Warming Climate

The susceptibility of gas hydrates to warming climate depends on the duration of the warming event, their depth beneath the seafloor or tundra surface, and the amount of warming required to heat sediments to the point of dissociating gas hydrates. A rudimentary estimate of the depth to which sediments are affected by an instantaneous, sustained temperature change DT in the overlying air or ocean waters can be made using the diffusive length scale 1 = √kt , which describes the depth (m) that 0.5 DT will propagate in elapsed time t (s). k denotes thermal diffusivity, which ranges from ~0.6 to 1×10-6 m2/s for unconsolidated sediments. Over 10, 100, and 1000 yr, the calculation yields maximum of 18 m, 56 m, and 178 m, respectively, regardless of the magnitude of DT. In real situations, DT is usually small and may have short- (e.g., seasonal) or long-term fluctuations that swamp the signal associated with climate warming trends. Even over 103 yr, only gas hydrates close to the seafloor and initially within a few degrees of the thermodynamic stability boundary might experience dissociation in response to reasonable rates of warming. As discussed below, less than 5% of the gas hydrate inventory may meet these criteria.

Even when gas hydrate dissociates, several factors mitigate the impact of the liberated CH4 on the sediment-ocean-atmosphere system. In marine sediments, the released CH4 may dissolve in local pore waters, remain trapped as gas, or rise toward the seafloor as bubbles. Up to 90% or more of the CH4 that reaches the sulfate reduction zone (SRZ) in the near-seafloor sediments may be consumed by anaerobic CH4 oxidation (Hinrichs & Boetius 2002, Treude et al. 2003, Reeburgh 2007, Knittel & Boetius 2009). At the highest flux sites (seeps), the SRZ may vanish, allowing CH4 to be injected directly into the water column or, in some cases, partially consumed by aerobic microbes (Niemann et al. 2006).

Methane emitted at the seafloor only rarely survives the trip through the water column to reach the atmosphere.


Global Warming and Gas Hydrate Type Locales

Methane hydrates occur in five geographic settings (or sectors) that must be individually evaluated to determine their susceptibility to warming climate (Figure 1). The percentages assigned to each sector below assume that 99% of global gas hydrate is within the deepwater marine realm (McIver 1981, Collett et al. 2009). Future refinements of the global ratio of marine to permafrost-associated gas hydrates will require adjustment of the assigned percentages. Owing to the orders of magnitude uncertainty in the estimated volume of CH4 trapped in global gas hydrate deposits, the percentages below have not been converted to Gt C.



Catastrophic, widespread dissociation of methane gas hydrates will not be triggered by continued climate warming at contemporary rates (0.2ºC per decade; IPCC 2007) over timescales of a few hundred years. Most of Earth’s gas hydrates occur at low saturations and in sediments at such great depths below the seafloor or onshore permafrost that they will barely be affected by warming over even 103 yr. Even when CH4 is liberated from gas hydrates, oxidative and physical processes may greatly reduce the amount that reaches the atmosphere as CH4. The CO2 produced by oxidation of CH4 released from dissociating gas hydrates will likely have a greater impact on the Earth system (e.g., on ocean chemistry and atmospheric CO2 concentrations; Archer et al. 2009) than will the CH4 that remains after passing through various sinks.

Contemporary and future gas hydrate degradation will occur primarily on the circum-Arctic Ocean continental shelves (Sector 2; Macdonald 1990, Lachenbruch et al. 1994, Maslin 2010), where subsea permafrost thawing and methane hydrate dissociation have been triggered by warming and inundation since Late Pleistocene time, and at the feather edge of the GHSZ on upper continental slopes (Sector 3), where the zone’s full thickness can dissociate rapidly due to modest warming of intermediate waters. More CH4 may be sequestered in upper continental slope gas hydrates than in those associated with subsea permafrost; however, CH4 that reaches the seafloor from dissociating Arctic Ocean shelf gas hydrates is much more likely to enter the atmosphere rapidly and as CH4, not CO2. Proof is still lacking that gas hydrate dissociation currently contributes to seepage from upper continental slopes or to elevated seawater CH4 concentrations on circum-Arctic Ocean shelves. An even greater challenge for the future is determining the contribution of global gas hydrate dissociation to contemporary and future atmospheric CH4 concentrations.


Nature Knowledge

The infamous photos, often posted by alarmists, of methane bubbling up from the Arctic sea floor and lake beds account for less than 1% of global methane hydrate deposits. These deposits are unstable in any temperature regime at depths of less than 200 m. They were already bubbling long before Al Gore invented CAGW.

Arctic Methane Time Bomb Defused

A substantial permafrost thaw above 60° N would require the Arctic to warm by more than 5°C relative to current conditions

A substantial destabilization of methane hydrate deposits is highly unlikely even with 20°C of warming relative to current conditions.

Arctic methane time bomb defused… QED.


McKay, J. L.; de Vernal, A.; Hillaire-Marcel, C.; Not, C.; Polyak, L.; Darby, D. (2008) Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 45, Number 11, 2008 , pp. 1377-1397(21)

Miller, K.G., et al. (2005) The Phanerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change. Science. Vol. 310 no. 5752 pp. 1293-1298 DOI: 10.1126/science.1116412

Melles, M., J. Brigham-Grette, P.S. Minyuk, N.R. Nowaczyk, V. Wennrich (2012) 2.8 Million Years of Arctic Climate Change from Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia. Science. Vol. 337 no. 6092 pp. 315-320. DOI: 10.1126/science.1222135

Ruppel, C. D. (2011) Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):29

Vaks, A., et al. (2013) Speleothems Reveal 500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost. Science. Vol. 340 no. 6129 pp. 183-186. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228729

Vogel, H., Meyer-Jacob, C., Melles, M., Brigham-Grette, J., Andreev, A. A., Wennrich, V., Tarasov, P. E., and Rosén, P.: Detailed insight into Arctic climatic variability during MIS 11c at Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia, Clim. Past, 9, 1467-1479, doi:10.5194/cp-9-1467-2013, 2013.

The Silver Anniversary of Hansen et al., 1988 and a Really Inconvenient Truth

September 24, 2013

It just dawned on me that August 20, 2013 was the 25th anniversary of Hansen et al., 1988, the model that keeps on giving!


Warming Plateau? Climatologists Face Inconvenient Truth
By Axel Bojanowski, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter

For a quarter of a century now, environmental activists have been issuing predictions in the vein of the Catholic Church, warning people of the coming greenhouse effect armageddon. Environmentalists bleakly predict global warming will usher in plagues of biblical dimensions — perpetual droughts, deluge-like floods and hurricanes of unprecedented force.

The number of people who believe in such a coming apocalypse, however, has considerably decreased. A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion — Germans are losing their fear of climate change.


One cause of this shift, presumably, is the fact that global warming seems to be taking a break. The average global temperature hasn’t risen in 15 years, a deviation from climatologists’ computer-simulated predictions.


Science vs. Climate Politics

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. “In climate research, changes don’t count until they’ve been observed on a timescale of 30 years,” claims one delegate participating in the negotiations on behalf of German Research Minister Johanna Wanka of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The Ministry for the Environment’s identical stance: “Climate fluctuations that don’t last very long are not scientifically relevant.”


Germany’s highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany’s top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, “We will address this subject head-on.” The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise.

Marotzke calls the claim that a temperature plateau isn’t significant until it has lasted for over 30 years unscientific. “Thirty years is an arbitrarily selected number,” he says. “Some climate phenomena occur on a shorter timescale, some on a longer one.” Climate researchers, Marotzke adds, have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth. “That obligates us to clearly state the uncertainties in our predictions as well,” he says.

The researchers’ problem: Their climate models should have been able to predict the sudden flattening in the temperature curve. Offering explanations after the fact for why temperatures haven’t increased in so long only serves to raise doubts as to how reliable the forecasts really are.


Spiegel Online


2013 is the 25th anniversary of the first modern computer model to predict catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, Hansen et al., 1988

While the Gorebots prattle on about “changes don’t count until they’ve been observed on a timescale of 30 years”… 15 of the last 25 years have been inconsistent with their model and there has never been a 30-yr long “observation” of GHG-driven global warming.

How much coal goes into a wind turbine?

September 12, 2013

According to editors of Real Clear Energy, the answer is quite a lot…

  • 460 MT steel/MW
  • 870 m^3 concrete/MW

Coal & Steel

Global steel production is dependent on coal. 70% of the steel produced today uses coal. Metallurgical coal – or coking coal – is a vital ingredient in the steel making process. World crude steel production was 1.4 billion tonnes in 2010. Around 721 million tonnes of coking coal was used in the production of steel.

721 million tons of coal per 1,400 million tons of steel. Let’s just say 1 ton of coal per ton of steel.

1 MW of wind turbine capacity requires 230 tons of coal for the steel.

Coal & Cement

Coal is used as an energy source in cement production. Large amounts of energy are required to produce cement. It takes about 200 kg of coal to produce one tonne of cement and about 300-400 kg of cement is needed to produce one cubic meter of concrete (World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2002).

200 kg of coal per tonne of cement, 350 kg cement per 1 m^3 of concrete–> 70 kg (0.07 MT) of coal per 1 m^3 of concrete.

1 MW of wind turbine capacity requires 61 tonnes of coal for the concrete.

1 ton is close enough to 1 tonne (MT) to not worry about a conversion… We’re ballparking here.

That’s 291 tons of coal per MW of wind turbine installed capacity.

Now a coal-fired plant has a capacity factor of ~87% and a typical wind turbine only manages ~25%. So it takes about 3.5 MW of wind power to generate as much electricity as 1 MW of coal power, assuming the wind blows.

So, it takes about 1,020 tons of coal to offset 1 MW of coal-fired capacity with 1 MW of wind capacity.

1,020 tons of coal would have generated 1.9 million kWh of electricity.
1 MW of wind capacity would take 10 months to generate 1.9 million kWh of electricity.

Greent@rds say that coal burned in US power plants kills up to 13,000 people per year… They can’t say which people it killed; but they know it killed them.

Another group of greent@rds says that the US burns 1.7 billion tons of coal per year to generate ~40-45% of our electricity.

Using these numbers, we can “ballpark” that it takes ~131,000 tons of coal to kill one person… Or 0.00001 death per ton of coal burned.

Let’s just apply that number to wind turbines… And we get 1 coal-related death for every 128 MW of wind turbine installed capacity.

Last year 13.2 GW (13,200 MW) of new wind capacity was installed in the US… So the wind industry killed 103 people in 2012…

EPA sues OK utility for obeying the law

July 10, 2013

This is one of the most mentally greent@rded things that I have ever heard of…

U.S. EPA sues OG&E over work at Oklahoma coal power plants

Tue Jul 9, 2013

(Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sued Oklahoma Gas and Electric for failure to follow procedures required by the Clean Air Act while upgrading two coal plants in the state.

The EPA said in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on Monday that OG&E, a unit of OGE Energy Corp, failed to estimate emissions resulting from construction projects between 2003 and 2006 at its facilities.

The Clean Air Act requires regulated facilities to anticipate emissions increases that would result from physical changes, so that, if required, a utility can take steps to prevent them, according to the complaint.

OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said the company believed it had been and still was in compliance with all state and federal requirements.

“We intend to vigorously defend our position, which is that we followed procedures,” he said, “and actual monitored data indicates that emissions did not increase as a result of the work that was done.”


Shares of OGE were up 1.5 percent at $35.07 in morning trading.


The EPA claims that OG&E failed to estimate emissions that did not occur. They are suing OG&E in an effort to force the company “to assess whether its projects were likely to result in a significant [GHG] emissions increase.”

The EPA had no authority to regulate GHG emissions when the work was done (2003 & 2006). The work (on boilers and turbine blade replacements) caused no emissions increase.

DOE Green Energy Loans: $11.45 million per job and a rounding error’s worth of averted carbon emissions.

June 11, 2013

The cost of each taxpayer-financed green energy job created since 2009:

$26.32 billion divided by 2,298 jobs = $11.45 million per job…

Green energy jobs and DOE loans are tallied under programs 1703 and 1705 on this list.

Permanent jobs created: 2,298
Taxpayer financed loan guarantees: $26.33 billion

19 of the projects cost more than $10 million per permanent job…

Even if you use the Obama maldaministration’s accounting methods and include temporary employment, the totally idiotic “jobs created/saved” category and include the 33,000 Ford Motor Company jobs “saved”, you get ~60,000 jobs at a cost of $34.5 billion –> $580,000 per job.

Bear in mind that Mr. Obama promised “to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer funds toward renewable energy projects.” He’s currently 4,997,702 short of the 5 million mark.

The Full Cost of “Green Energy” Jobs

I have handy cost estimates for three of the solar plants near the top of the list of $10 million-plus jobs. If I factor in the increased cost of electricity, the cost per permanent job literally skyrockets, as promised by candidate Obama in 2008.

I generously assumed that the three solar PV plants could achieve a 30% capacity factor (the average is 25%), that they could achieve a levelized generation cost (LCOE) of $144.30 per MWh (DOE’s most recent average for plants coming online in 2018) and that they could remain in service for 20 years.

The total cost to the economy per permanent “green energy” job created by these three solar PV plants is $82.3 million. If I add in the 2,450 temporary construction jobs that were created, the cost per job drops to $2.8 million per job.

The Carbon-Free Benefits of Green Energy

The carbon-free “benefit” is a 0.007% reduction in annual global carbon emissions, relative to coal (0.00035% relative to natural gas). Neither the climate nor the oceans will notice this “benefit.”

Each MW of coal generation displaced by solar PV reduces global carbon emissions by about 0.000008% and doubles (or more) the cost of electricity. Natural gas would achieve half the carbon emission reduction at about 1/3 the cost of solar and a slightly lower cost than coal.

Of course, nuclear would solve the whole problem… But it’s frowned upon by greenies.

The Irony is priceless…

According to the EPA, coal yields 2,249 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide per MWh of electricity generated. That works out to 1.02 metric tons of CO2 per MWh of generation.

In 2011, 1.8 million MWh (1.8 TWh) of electricity were generated in these United States by solar power plants. Assuming this generation displaced coal, 1.87 million metric tons of CO2 emissions were averted.

 That’s a lot! Right?

Well, no it is not a lot. 1.87 million tons of CO2 emissions is barely a rounding error compared to total global carbon emissions.

1.87 million tons of CO2 is 0.51 million tons of carbon. According to CDIAC, the total global carbon emissions in 2011 were 9,471.37 million tons of carbon.

9,471.37 – 0.51 = 9,470.86

The minuend and difference both round to 9,471 million tons of carbon.

9,471 million tons of carbon is 9.5 Gt of carbon. Natural carbon sources emit 190 to 225 Gt per year…

Anthropogenic emissions account for only 4-5% of the total carbon budget. 1.8 TWh of US solar generation in 2011 reduced the 4-5% component by 0.005%.

This would be funny if it didn’t cost so much money.

In 2011 there was 4,389 MW of solar PV installed capacity in these  United States. At $6 million per MW, the total cost for those solar plants was ~$26.3 billion. Had that money been spent on natural gas-fired plants (~$900,000 per MW), it could have displaced 29,260 MW of coal-fired capacity. This would have generated 223 TWh of electricity (solar only yielded 1.8 TWh. Natural gas yields about half the carbon emissions as coal. If 223 TWh of coal-fired generation had been displaced by natural gas, it would have reduced global carbon emissions by ~56 metric tons (solar only reduced it by 0.51 metric tons).

Here’s a “what if” comparison:


Black = What if solar did not displace coal-fired plants.

Green = Actual solar generation and actual emissions.

Red = What if the money spent on solar had been spent on natural gas-fired plants.

Data Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012.

Of course, since CO2 is not a real pollutant, only the cost matters… But it is funny – Natural gas would be a far more effective weapon than solar for tilting at AGW windmills…

“Sorry, a TIME Magazine Cover Did Not Predict a Coming Ice Age”… It was just a TIME article.

June 10, 2013

You can always count in TIME magazine’s Bryan Walsh for a good laugh…

Well, I suppose that Mr. Walsh is correct that a 1977 TIME magazine cover did not predict “another ice age.” The prediction (sort of a prediction) was from a 1974 TIME magazine article…



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