Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Change: Another Option

CARE would like to call your attention to an alternative approach that addresses rising greenhouse gas levels. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute has proposed that instead of adopting economically damaging policies like cap and trade, that the United States take a serious look at geoengineering. What is geoengineering and why should you care? (No pun intended!) Geoengineering is a cost effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emission levels whose "techniques include injecting fine sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere to slow down the warming process from the sun, and spraying clouds with salt water to make them reflect more solar radiation away from earth. Similar cooling effects -- as well as some adverse consequences -- have been observed after volcanic eruptions." In a nutshell, those among us that want to take an objective look at the science behind global warming have an affordable and scientifically compelling alternative to economically ruinous proposals like cap-and-trade and empowering the EPA to declare greenhouse gases a threat to human health and welfare.

Climate Change: Another Option
WASHINGTON--As world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has positioned herself, with President Obama's approval, to make an end run around Congress and impose regulatory limits on greenhouse gases, including the best known: carbon dioxide.

On Monday Ms. Jackson published a regulatory finding that greenhouse gases pose a danger to Americans' health and need to be controlled. She said that the finding was a required precondition to the agency's imposing caps on emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases: methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

The announcement by Ms. Jackson was laden with symbolic significance. It was Mr. Obama's signal to world leaders, whom he will join in Copenhagen later this month, that Washington is determined to take actions to reduce America's greenhouse emissions.

It was also a prod to Congress to pass legislation that would curtail those emissions. The administration -- and some Democrats in Congress -- would prefer a legislative approach because it would enable them to shape the law, and it might be less susceptible to challenge in the courts.

The House has passed its climate change bill, but in the Senate a measure sponsored by two Democratic committee heads, Barbara Boxer and John Kerry, has stalled.

This posturing diverts the public's attention from a larger truth: The Democrats' approach of slapping limits on emissions by power plants, factories, refineries, and motor vehicles, is fundamentally flawed, whether by statute or regulation.

The approach would raise energy prices and costs of production, suppress wage and employment growth, and drive up prices of houses, home heating and cooling, cars, and other manufactured goods by raising production costs. It is a recipe for economic drag.

The bill would require greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 to be no more than 17% of 2005 emissions. The target for the year 2050, four decades into the future, cannot be achieved with today's technology -- and illustrates the hubris of those who think they can fine-tune the American economy far beyond anyone's capacity to foresee events.

Whether from recognizing hubris or from sheer exhaustion, the Senate has failed to pass its bill. Republicans boycotted the committee vote to send it to the floor. No wonder. With unemployment at 10% and over 15 million Americans out of work, there is little public support for legislation to harm the economy.

Furthermore, with the revelation that scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain destroyed original temperature data rather than turn it over to other scientists for examination, the science of global warming has acquired a tarnished reputation.

Enter Ms. Jackson. As EPA administrator, she claims the power to regulate greenhouse gases under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. In 2007 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that greenhouse gases were pollutants, thus giving EPA the power to regulate them if the administrator found them harmful to human health. And so she did.

The EPA administrator may have the power to regulate, but she does not have to pay the resulting economic costs, nor even weigh costs against possible benefits. Costs could reach trillions of dollars, to be paid by ordinary Americans through more expensive products and lost jobs.

To many environmental activists at Copenhagen, regulation of greenhouse gases is worth any cost. The usual approach is to set tight limits on carbon emissions, but taking that approach in isolation, as the pending congressional bills and Copenhagen summit would do, would do substantial damage to the U.S. and global economies, especially since substitutes for fossil fuels will be expensive and limited for a number of years.

Let's suppose we all want to cool the earth. Some scientists, including Dutch Nobel Prize winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, advise that altering features of the earth's environment, such as seeding clouds, would be far more effective against global warming, faster, and less costly. This is called "geoengineering."

Geoengineering techniques include injecting fine sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere to slow down the warming process from the sun, and spraying clouds with salt water to make them reflect more solar radiation away from earth. Similar cooling effects -- as well as some adverse consequences -- have been observed after volcanic eruptions.

Successful geoengineering would permit earth's population to make far smaller reductions in carbon use and still slow or reverse global warming, but at a vastly lower cost. Just as critically, it would also buy time until more information is known about the process of global warming. No responsible response to global warming should fail to consider geoengineering, and a 40-year plan needs decades to ramp up. Just ask Moses.

Further, if India and China don't also sign up to cut their carbon emissions -- and they haven't committed yet to approving reductions at Copenhagen -- cuts in American carbon emissions alone would not solve the problems of climate change. American emissions would likely be replaced by emissions from newly-industrialized countries.

Geoengineering needs to be considered both in Congress and in Copenhagen. Even if other countries did nothing, successful geoengineering could have global benefits at relatively low cost while postponing the burden of enforcing compliance with emissions limits until alternative technologies are discovered.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Climategate's Lesson: Science Hasn’t Failed, Government Has

The recent revelations of the "Climategate" scandal raises concerns about the integirty of government and science in energy-related matters, so CARE decided to enlist the aid of Patrick Cox, a transformative technologies expert associated with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter. He builds the case that even though some scientists intentionally concealed the Medieval Warm Period, manipulated data, attempted to redefine the peer-review process, and steamrolled over those that questioned the data; Climategate ultimately stands as a testament to the integrity of science and the failure of government. He points out that good men and women revealed the truth and are reevaluating the data at the CRU while the climatological-industrial complex is acting like Climategate never happened. Cap and trade is still being pushed and the Environmental Protection Agency is determined to put its recent declaration that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare into force of law. The chess pieces are set, they are moving across the international board, and the recent course of action shows us that Climategate stands as a testament to the failure of government rather than science. CARE is confident that this article will help change your understanding of whom is truly at fault here.

Climategate Update: Science Hasn’t Failed, Government Has
What a fascinating week. The leaked e-mails and computer code from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit have become the greatest scientific scandal of our age. The head of the CRU has been forced to step down. Scientists who cooperated with the CRU in other locations, including the United States and New Zealand, are now under investigation.

I’ve been warned, incidentally, that any discussion of global warming will elicit complaints from one side or the other, so I would be better off not bringing it up. The notion that climatology is unacceptable in polite conversation is a huge problem. I’ve been following this debate for over 15 years and have worked with some of the important scientists who have advocated openness and more debate in climate research. Real scientists consider this a legitimate scientific issue, not a partisan one.

Moreover, the CRU scandal is enormously relevant to many investor issues. I’d rather lose readers who are offended than fail to keep the rest of you informed. If you’re getting your news from the mainstream media, you may not know yet how damaging this event has been to the credibility of the U.N. and those in the administration who support CO2 controls. (The Canadian press, however, is doing a far better job of covering the story.)

I told subscribers to my newsletter Breakthrough Technology Alert about a year ago, by the way, not to invest in so-called green technologies that rely on subsidies and regulatory interventions. That advice stands now more than ever. Polls show that about three-quarters of Americans consider the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming false or even fraudulent. Given growing anger over deficits and terrible unemployment statistics, harmful environmental measures passed now are likely to be overturned or blocked after the 2010 election cycle.

I saw this coming for several reasons. One is that the lack of scientific ethics exposed by the CRU whistle-blower is not really news. It has been obvious to those of us who were paying attention for a very long time. The leaked documents make it clear, however, to those who don’t understand the mathematical subtleties of regression analysis or program in Fortran.

For the first time, the general public is learning that the CRU climate model, which the U.N. relies on, purposely hid the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). This obfuscation was necessary because the MWP was not just warmer than it is now; it had a generally positive impact on humans. The University of East Anglia now admits, in fact, that the CRU has no real evidence that the climate is warming and says it will take at least three years to recompile and analyze the data.

The climatological-industrial complex, however, is forging ahead as if nothing has happened. Supporters of an incredibly expensive cap-and-trade scheme, in the middle of the worst economic downturn in modern history, are undeterred. Even without the invention of Enron, cap and trade, the EPA is dead set on treating and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

You know that stuff you exhale in high concentrations: CO2? The EPA apparently thinks pollution results even with miniscule increases in the 0.038% trace levels of CO2 found in the atmosphere. Obviously, slightly elevated CO2 levels have never resulted in cataclysm before. So why does it say so now?

Its theory is that the planet’s ability to absorb CO2 is maxed out. Additional CO2, it says, will therefore result in skyrocketing CO2 levels. This theory, however, is completely unsupported by evidence. Dr. Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol just published as study in Geophysical Research Letters showing that the portion of the atmospheric CO2 absorbed by plant life, mostly in the oceans, has remained stable since 1850.

In fact, it is the failure of the CRU model to properly address the role of the oceans that convinced me long ago that it’s fundamentally missed the boat. Only about 10% of the Earth’s heat storage is atmospheric. About 90% of the Earth’s energy storage takes place in the waters of the oceans. Water, after all, stores far more energy than air.

Furthermore, ocean temperatures are far easier to measure accurately. Many land-based temperature stations have been compromised due to changes in local conditions, mostly increased urbanization. This is not the case with oceans. NASA has more than 3,000 robotic buoys that dive and surface continually all over the world collecting ocean temperature data at different depths. This information has been transmitted via satellite to NASA since 2003. Compiled, it shows clearly that ocean temperatures are falling.

If the oceans were bleeding heat into the atmosphere, we would see higher air temperatures. The Climategate e-mail leak shows, however, that even CRU knows that atmospheric temperatures have fallen since the late ‘90s. This means, I believe, that we are in an extended period of global cooling, not a temporary turnaround. University of Rochester physicists have published recently data showing the historic and central role ocean temperatures play in climate and climate change.

The fact that the U.N.’s climate gurus have destroyed data, hid inconvenient truths and subverted the peer-review process is not, by the way, proof that anthropogenic global warming could not possibly occur. Nor does it prove we are not in a natural period of cooling caused by solar cycles. The only thing it does prove is that models are junk and that the most powerful government-anointed climate scientists have no idea what’s going on — as the leaked e-mails stated over and over again.

This is the big lesson. It isn’t science that has failed. Science isn’t dying, as Daniel Henninger said recently in The Wall Street Journal. Real science is a process of discovering the truth through transparency, experimentation and verification. Look around you. You can see the fruits of real science in the increased length and quality of life that we all enjoy. Science is alive and well in the private sector.

Climategate is a failure of politicians and bureaucrats involving over $90 billion in tax-funded research grants. It is complicated by passionately cheerleading environmentalists who have turned their movement into a kind of religion.

The corruption of scientists by government monies is by no means new. It won’t be the last time, either. Nevertheless, the courage of the CRU whistle-blower demonstrates the robustness of science. The truth has come out.

It remains to be seen if the political drive to control human activities and profit from political wealth transfers will prove more powerful, in the short run, than the truth contained in the leaked e-mails and computer code. In the long run, however, I have no doubt that those who embrace fraud will be outed, if not punished.

My focus is on identifying those transformational technologies with the greatest potential for profit and growth. Those opportunities will not go away even if the fraud inherent in the CRU’s sham models are used to hobble the American economy with destructive cap-and-trade taxation or onerous EPA regulation of CO2. India, Russia, China and many other countries have made it clear they will never adopt such economy-killing measures — especially during a period of economic downturn and high unemployment. They stand more than willing to host the revolutionary disruptive industries that are coming onto the scene today. Many of our top scientists and small caps are already being wooed to relocate elsewhere.

Fortunately, polls show that nearly three-quarters of the American people are extremely angry with the government right now. The old media, which are lobbying for some sort of bailout, will continue trying to cover it up. Having not only endorsed the concept of anthropogenic global warming, but attacked skeptics as subhuman, it is impossible for many to admit they were wrong. Science and technology, though, have already provided alternate avenues of information dissemination. The unwillingness of the old media to report one of the most important stories of this young century is evidence they deserve to fail.

The reversal on cap and trade by Australia, along with a likely change in the government, in large part because of Climategate, ought to act as a warning to the administration. If not, then the people will grow angrier yet and we’ll see another iteration of the revolution next year at the ballot boxes. Science cannot be stopped or even perverted for long.

Patrick Cox is a transformative technologies expert associated with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter.

Climatology is a “Political” Science

CARE would like to highlight a disturbing trend: The science of "climate change" has lost all vestiges of credibility and has been reduced to a "political science". CARE Energy Council member Byron King, whom is with the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter, has illuminated how manufactured evidence from the Climate Gate scandal ties into the "big picture" of the global warming deception. As someone who studied geology at Harvard University and has over 35 years experience with earth sciences, Byron King understands that when the U.K. Telegraph declares that "This Is the Worst Scientific Scandal of Our Generation," it's time to pay attention! His article will change the way you look at the global warming debate and delivers a doup de grace to those that would deny humanity access to affordable and abundent energy in the name of junk science.

Climatology is a “Political” Science
Last week, the global warming movement crashed, along with its holier-than-thou "only we can save the world" aura of empirical certitude. It’s more like "political" science now — literally — and there are 3,000 e-mails to prove it. Down with the ship went the last semblance of unblinking, unthinking willingness to submit to draconian, Procrustean "cap and trade" legislation against fossil fuels.

The cause of the crash was a batch of purloined e-mails from the University of East Anglia and its so-called Climate Research Unit (Climate Research Fabrication Unit is more like it). When the contents of the e-mails hit the fan, the U.K. Telegraph headlined that "This Is the Worst Scientific Scandal of Our Generation."

On this last point, we can now see how much of the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide (CO2), and related "global warming," marches to a drumbeat that permits no foot to fall out of step. The East Anglia e-mails reveal a transnational cabal of scientists whose ethics and methods mirror those of Stalin’s favorite biologist, Comrade Trofim Lysenko.

That is, these modern Merlins of global warming have massaged the climate data to fit their preconceived anti-CO2 theories. For many years, the climate change Godfathers have humiliated and intimidated scientists who dared to disagree. They’ve squashed dissent. They’ve blackballed academic journals that didn’t toe the line of politically correct global warming wisdom. And they’ve done it all under the rubric of "peer-reviewed" science — where they are the peers ├╝ber alles. Nice work, if you can get it.

The global warming crowd claims that the climate change is a phenomenon that’s wholly man-made — mostly in the industrialized West, and particularly by industries in the U.S. of A. The science is settled, they claim. You can’t argue with it. No, indeed. And how convenient!

But as someone who studied geology (admittedly at Harvard, where they’ve been teaching the subject only since 1787) and has been in and around the earth sciences for over 35 years, I always wondered why the proposed remedies for global warming and climate change are not really solutions to the alleged problem.

I mean, the so-called remedies for global warming mostly call for U.S. and other Western nations to pay high-energy taxes on carbon-based fuels. And the remedies call for the West — especially the U.S. — dramatically to curtail CO2-emitting energy sources. Oh, and Wall Street will be able to trade "carbon credits," like it’s done with such success in the field of mortgage-backed securities and the like.

Meanwhile, under the proposed cap-and-trade schemes, the developing world gets a whole banana boat full of unspecified "climate reparations" from the West, all while burning lots of coal and using more and more energy from any and every source. Huh?

To my way of seeing things, the proposed remedies for global warming never added up. Now, with the release of the East Anglia e-mails, we know that things were never supposed to add up. The whole global warming and remedies process is designed to lasso a perceived "environmental" problem and use it to fulfill a laundry list of campus-Marxist political agendas. And quite a bit of the mainstream West swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.Now that the cat is out of the bag (to change metaphors), is cap and trade dead? Have we reached a teachable moment about things like future energy use and industrial development? Will we see a period of backing down and thorough re-examination?

Or are there too many big shots, with too much ego and too much money, already too invested in the man-caused global warming process to admit of any doubt? Follow the money, I suppose.

Then again, there might not be much money to follow. Sometimes, deliverance comes from the strangest places...
Byron King earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduated cum laude from Harvard University, served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and is a regulator contributor to the Whiskey and Gunpowder investment newsletter.