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News you may have missed: Euro carbon trading suspended after cyber attack

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-01-2011

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The American mainstream media has for the most part overlooked news that the European Union’s emissions trading scheme has been suspended for at least a week after cyberattackers stole millions of dollars worth of EU carbon allowances. Although NPR reported on it this morning-which is how I learned about it.

I don’t know what the thieves will do with the credits, it’s not like you can trade them in for cash. The allowances come with serial numbers, so reslling them is at best problematic.

They appear to be worthless-just like cap and trade schemes.

The blogosphere has for the most part ignored the carbon cool-down, but Bluegrass Pundit found it newsworthy.

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Marathon Pundit

Tar sands investor BP says their projected future of unlimited carbon pollution “is a wake-up call, not something any of us would like to see happening.”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 21-01-2011

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Guest blogger Andy Rowell of Oil Change International, in a WonkRoom cross-post.

We are on the path to climate chaos, Big Oil has admitted. Both BP and Exxon have conceded that progress on climate change is totally insufficient to stabilize CO2 emissions. Both oil companies have just published their Energy Outlooks, and the outlook looks grim.

In a bleak prognosis for success on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, BP admits in its new Energy Outlook 2030 report, which was published yesterday, that global CO2 emissions from energy will grow an average of 1.2 percent a year through 2030. In total, BP’s chief economist Christof Ruehl predicts “to the best of our knowledge,” CO2 emissions will rise by 27 percent over the next two decades, meaning an increase of about 33bn tons. All this does not bode well for climate change, with even Bob Dudley calling the scenarios a “wake-up call“:

I need to emphasize that this is a projection, not a proposition. It is our dispassionate view of what we believe is most likely to happen on the basis of the evidence. For example, we are not as optimistic as others about progress in reducing carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean we oppose such progress. As you probably know, BP has a 15 year record of calling for more action from governments, including the wide application of a carbon price. Our base case assumes that countries continue to make some progress on addressing climate change, based on the current and expected level of political commitment. But overall, for me personally, it is a wake-up call, not something any of us would like to see happening.

BP’s estimate is just higher than ExxonMobil, which believes that CO2 emissions will increase by 25 percent in 20 years, which, according to John Vidal, writing in The Guardian, in effect dismisses “hopes that runaway climate change can be arrested and massive loss of life prevented.”

These projections by BP and Exxon scientists are even gloomier the projections of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which projectst that energy-related CO2 emissions will “grow by 16 percent from 2009 to 2035.” Exxon argues that oil will still be king in 2030:

In 2030, fossil fuels remain the predominant energy source, accounting for nearly 80 percent of demand. Oil still leads, but natural gas moves into second place on very strong growth of 1.8% a year on average, particularly because of its position as a favored fuel for power generation. Other energy types – particularly nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels – will grow sharply, albeit from a smaller base. Nuclear and renewable fuels will see strong growth, particularly in the power-generation sector. By 2030, about 40 percent of the world’s electricity will be generated by nuclear and renewable fuels.

BP too has demand for fossil fuels rising: BP’s “base case” — or most likely projection — points to primary energy use growing by nearly 40 percent over the next twenty years, with 93% of the growth coming from non-OECD countries. The BP report argues that world energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. Natural gas is also expected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel, with coal and oil losing market share as fossil fuels as a whole experience a slow decline in growth, falling from 83 percent to 64 percent. Coal will increase by 1.2 percent per year and by 2030 it is likely to provide virtually as much energy as oil, excluding biofuels.

There is some good news that energy diversification will continue. Between 2010 to 2030 the contribution to energy growth of renewables (solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels) is seen to increase from 5 to 18 percent.

What oil there is left is predominantly under OPEC control. OPEC’s share of global oil production is set to increase to 46%, a position not seen since 1977, the decade that saw the cartel preside over a series of oil shocks and shortages. In fact, 75 percent of all growth in oil reserves over the next two decades is expected to come from OPEC nations, which include Kuwait, Iran, Angola, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria.

Andy Rowell writes for Oil Change International’s Price of Oil.

JR:  Of course as much as BP claims it would not like to see continued rapid growth in carbon pollution, the UK’s Independent reported last year, “Oil giant BP today signalled it would press on with a controversial Canadian tar sands project despite facing a showdown with environmental campaigners and shareholders.”

The tar sands are among the most carbon-intensive of replacements for conventional petroleum (see “Tar sands — Still dirty after all these years“):

shale.jpg

X-axis is the range of potential resource in billions of barrels. Y-axis is grams of Carbon per MegaJoule of final fuel.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

BP Says Future Of Carbon Pollution Without Limit Should Be ‘Wake Up Call’

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 20-01-2011

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Our guest blogger is Andy Rowell, writing for Oil Change International’s Price of Oil.

We are on the path to climate chaos, Big Oil has admitted. Both BP and Exxon have conceded that progress on climate change is totally insufficient to stabilize CO2 emissions. Both oil companies have just published their Energy Outlooks, and the outlook looks grim. In a bleak prognosis for success on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, BP admits in its new Energy Outlook 2030 report, which was published yesterday, that global CO2 emissions from energy will grow an average of 1.2 percent a year through 2030. In total, BP’s chief economist Christof Ruehl predicts “to the best of our knowledge,” CO2 emissions will rise by 27 percent over the next two decades, meaning an increase of about 33bn tons. All this does not bode well for climate change, with even Bob Dudley calling the scenarios a “wake-up call“:

I need to emphasize that this is a projection, not a proposition. It is our dispassionate view of what we believe is most likely to happen on the basis of the evidence. For example, we are not as optimistic as others about progress in reducing carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean we oppose such progress. As you probably know, BP has a 15 year record of calling for more action from governments, including the wide application of a carbon price. Our base case assumes that countries continue to make some progress on addressing climate change, based on the current and expected level of political commitment. But overall, for me personally, it is a wake-up call, not something any of us would like to see happening.

BP’s estimate is just higher than ExxonMobil, which believes that CO2 emissions will increase by 25 percent in 20 years, which, according to John Vidal, writing in the Guardian, in effect dismisses “hopes that runaway climate change can be arrested and massive loss of life prevented.”

These projections by BP and Exxon scientists are even gloomier the projections of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which projectst that energy-related CO2 emissions will “grow by 16 percent from 2009 to 2035.” Exxon argues that oil will still be king in 2030:

In 2030, fossil fuels remain the predominant energy source, accounting for nearly 80 percent of demand. Oil still leads, but natural gas moves into second place on very strong growth of 1.8% a year on average, particularly because of its position as a favored fuel for power generation. Other energy types – particularly nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels – will grow sharply, albeit from a smaller base. Nuclear and renewable fuels will see strong growth, particularly in the power-generation sector. By 2030, about 40 percent of the world’s electricity will be generated by nuclear and renewable fuels.

BP too has demand for fossil fuels rising: BP’s “base case” — or most likely projection — points to primary energy use growing by nearly 40 percent over the next twenty years, with 93% of the growth coming from non-OECD countries. The BP report argues that world energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. Natural gas is also expected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel, with coal and oil losing market share as fossil fuels as a whole experience a slow decline in growth, falling from 83 percent to 64 percent. Coal will increase by 1.2 percent per year and by 2030 it is likely to provide virtually as much energy as oil, excluding biofuels.

There is some good news that energy diversification will continue. Between 2010 to 2030 the contribution to energy growth of renewables (solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels) is seen to increase from 5 to 18 percent.

What oil there is left is predominantly under OPEC control. OPEC’s share of global oil production is set to increase to 46%, a position not seen since 1977, the decade that saw the cartel preside over a series of oil shocks and shortages. In fact, 75 percent of all growth in oil reserves over the next two decades is expected to come from OPEC nations, which include Kuwait, Iran, Angola, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria.

Wonk Room

Energy and global warming news for January 10, 2011: GOP plans to kill EPA carbon regs with Congressional Review Act may not fly; Pentagon must ‘buy American,’ barring Chinese solar panels

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 11-01-2011

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Congressional Review Act might not be an option to fight EPA regs (subs. req’d)

Asked last weekend in a televised interview how he planned to stop U.S. EPA regulation of carbon — rules he says have the potential to inflict serious harm on the economy — House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton mentioned only one specific strategy: using the Congressional Review Act.

What the Michigan Republican did not mention is that the core EPA findings and rules related to carbon mitigation were published more than 60 continuous legislative days ago, making it impossible to nullify them through a resolution of disapproval under that act.

The congressman told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that a resolution of disapproval offers many advantages over standard legislation, especially because such a resolution can clear the Senate with a simple majority vote of 51.

“There’s also something called the Congressional Review Act, that within 60 days of rules being published, Congress can take this up and with an up-or-down vote, it is filibuster-proof in the Senate,” Upton said. “It has been used before.”

A CRA resolution of disapproval has been used successfully once before, in 2001, to scrap a Department of Labor rule on ergonomics.

But the deadline for using such a resolution has come and gone for most of the EPA climate regulations.

“Certainly, the key rules are already beyond the Congressional Review Act deadline,” said Jeff Holmstead of Bracewell & Giuliani, who served as an assistant administrator of EPA during the George W. Bush years.

EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide and other GHGs endanger human health — which forms the basis for their regulation under the Clean Air Act — was published in December 2009. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) targeted the endangerment finding with a resolution of disapproval in June, aided by a unanimous consent agreement that allowed her to bring the motion to the floor later than would usually be allowed. But the measure fell four votes short in the Senate and never had a serious chance of passing the House or of being signed into law by the president.

The resolution might have had a better chance this year, with Republicans taking control of the House and making major gains in the Senate. Upton even said in his Fox News appearance that he thought a resolution of disapproval could garner enough bipartisan support to overcome a presidential veto.

“Already we’ve seen a number of powerful Democrats indicate that they have real, real qualms about what the EPA is intending to do,” he said.

But support for the resolution is no longer the issue. The endangerment rule was followed in May by the “tailpipe” rule, which adopts new standards for car and light-truck emissions. Those rules support regulation of GHGs from stationary sources such as power plants and manufacturing facilities, as laid out in the so-called tailoring rule published last June.

Upton told E&E Daily yesterday that he understood Congress could not turn back the clock.

Pentagon Must ‘Buy American,’ Barring Chinese Solar Panels

The military authorization law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed “Buy American” provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels — a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week.

Although there are many big issues to discuss, including concerns about North Korea, trade and economic matters are certain to be high on the agenda. And while both sides are aiming to keep the discussion positive — the United States is the world’s largest importer and China the largest exporter of goods — simmering resentments over trade in green-energy technologies could be a distraction.

China has emerged as the world’s dominant producer of solar panels in the last two years. It accounted for at least half the world’s production last year, and its market share is rising rapidly. The United States accounts for $ 1.6 billion of the world’s $ 29 billion market for solar panels; market analyses typically have not broken out military sales separately.

The perception that Beijing unfairly subsidizes the Chinese solar industry to the detriment of American companies and other foreign competitors has drawn concern in Congress. The issue of clean-energy subsidies is also at the heart of a trade investigation under way by the Obama administration, which plans to bring a case against China before the World Trade Organization.

Although there are many big issues to discuss, including concerns about North Korea, trade and economic matters are certain to be high on the agenda. And while both sides are aiming to keep the discussion positive — the United States is the world’s largest importer and China the largest exporter of goods — simmering resentments over trade in green-energy technologies could be a distraction.

China has emerged as the world’s dominant producer of solar panels in the last two years. It accounted for at least half the world’s production last year, and its market share is rising rapidly. The United States accounts for $ 1.6 billion of the world’s $ 29 billion market for solar panels; market analyses typically have not broken out military sales separately.

The perception that Beijing unfairly subsidizes the Chinese solar industry to the detriment of American companies and other foreign competitors has drawn concern in Congress. The issue of clean-energy subsidies is also at the heart of a trade investigation under way by the Obama administration, which plans to bring a case against China before the World Trade Organization.

Casualties of Climate Change: Sea-level Rises Could Displace Tens of Millions (Subs. Req’d)

Since the beginning of recorded time, climate-forced migrations have reshaped civilization. Four thousand years ago a prolonged drought and the resulting famine in Canaan drove Jacob and his sons to Egypt, setting the stage for the famous exodus led by Moses. Three millennia later a prolonged dry period and lack of grazing lands helped to push Mongol armies out of Central Asia as far west as Europe, where many settled and intermarried. And in the 20th century the American Dust Bowl, an ecological catastrophe precipitated by drought and compounded by bad land-management policies, displaced 3.5 million people from the Midwest.

Today this age-old story has a new twist. We are entering an era marked by rapid changes in climate brought on by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Anticipated changes include higher rainfall variability, greater frequency of extreme events (such as droughts and floods), sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and long-term shifts in temperature and precipitation—any of which can profoundly disrupt the ecosystems that supply our basic needs. In our more densely settled world, people may be forced from their homes in numbers never seen before.

Alaska pipeline closed, oil prices rise

The Trans Alaska Pipeline was shut for a second day on Sunday because of a leak, with no indication of when it would reopen, sending oil prices higher on fears that a prolonged closure could restrict U.S. supplies.

The leak was discovered at the start of the pipeline in Prudhoe Bay early Saturday, forcing oil companies to cut production to 5 percent of their average 630,000 barrels per day.

The shutdown of one of the United States’ key oil arteries, which carries about 12 percent of the country’s production, is the latest setback for 33-year old pipeline, which is becoming more expensive to maintain as it ages and handles less than a third of the oil it did at its peak in the 1980s.

U.S. crude futures rose about 1.7 percent, to $ 89.50 a barrel in early electronic trading in Asia.

Closures of the pipeline, although short, have provoked criticism of its operators, particularly major owner BP, whose reputation is already at an all-time low after the Gulf of Mexico blow-out last year, causing the largest-ever U.S. oil spill and attracting renewed government scrutiny of the oil production industry.

“This adds to what happened in the Gulf of Mexico at a time when U.S. regulators are still looking at regulations around oil drilling,” said Ben Westmore, commodities analyst at National Australia Bank. “Events like this carry risk around future regulation that could dramatically reduce supply on a more permanent basis than this temporary outage. There is a possibility the risk is pretty substantial for the (oil futures) market.”

The shutdown of the 800-mile (1,280 kilometer) line, which runs from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield to the tanker port of Valdez, has not yet affected shipments, and tankers are being loaded on schedule at Valdez, meaning there is no immediate danger of restricted oil supply. Oil produced during the shutdown will be stored at Prudhoe Bay until the pipeline reopens.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, the operator of the pipeline which discovered the leak on Saturday morning, had no estimate of how much oil leaked, but none seems to have escaped beyond concrete encasing the pipeline at the intake pump station at Prudhoe Bay.

“The concrete encasement is why we don’t believe there’s any environmental impact,” said Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan. “Until we can excavate, we won’t be able to say that definitely.”

She provided no estimate of when the pipeline would reopen or when normal oil production could resume.

Green Lobby Weighs ‘Political Realities’ of Energy Policy, Finds ‘Clean Energy Standard’ Isn’t So Bad

The wind industry’s largest trade group a few months ago rejected the idea of a “clean power” mandate on utilities that included nuclear, some coal and natural gas as options. But American Wind Energy has a new opinion today.

With talk starting about an energy bill, the wind influence group finds itself receptive to the policy it previously dismissed.

“We’re open to talking about anything at this point,” said Rob Gramlich, AWEA’s senior vice president of public policy.

The wind industry, along with other energy trade groups and companies, is re-examining its positions on the clean energy standard, or CES, along with other energy issues as it lobbies lawmakers in the new Congress. As advocacy begins, many are reconsidering a policy they had not backed before.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday he is starting work on a bill that would require utilities to generate a portion of power from clean energy, which would include renewables, nuclear and coal with carbon capture and sequestration. The CES is thought to be more popular with Republicans than the greens-only requirement called the renewable electricity standard, or RES.

At Least Some Politicians Get It

Advocates of federal action to address climate change had little to cheer about in 2010. The prospects may be even grimmer this year, with nearly every important committee chair in the now Republican-controlled House dismissing the threat of global warming or the human contribution to it.

As Congress dawdles and denies, some states are moving forward. Massachusetts recently announced a plan to curb emissions from homes, cars and factories by one-fourth below 1990 levels over 10 years — considerably more aggressive than President Obama’s commitment in Copenhagen to reduce emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels. The plan relies on existing technologies to produce more power from renewable sources like wind, tougher energy-efficiency standards for buildings and more investments in mass transit.

Massachusetts will also benefit from its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 2008 agreement among 10 Eastern states, including New York, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. These emissions have already dropped dramatically in the region, in part because utilities have been switching from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.

The Massachusetts announcement follows California’s approval of a cap-and-trade program requiring 360 large enterprises, including refineries and power plants, to gradually reduce emissions to help achieve a statewide reduction of 15 percent from current levels by 2020 — just under Mr. Obama’s target.

Climate Change May Continue for at Least a Millennium

Climate change may be unstoppable for the next millennium.

Rising carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere will affect the climate for at least another 1,000 years, based on a simulation by researchers at Canada’s University of Victoria and University of Calgary. That will cause the West Antarctic ice sheet to collapse by the year 3000 and raise sea levels by 4 meters (13 feet), it showed.

The study, published online in Nature Geoscience, is the first full climate model to make predictions so far into the future, the Calgary university said in a Jan. 9 statement. Researchers studied the length of time needed to reverse climate-change trends if the world stopped using fossil fuels and putting CO2 in the atmosphere as of 2010 and 2100.

“Ongoing regional changes in temperature and precipitation are significant following a complete cessation of carbon-dioxide emissions in 2100, despite almost constant global mean temperatures,” researchers led by Nathan P. Gillett at the Victoria university said.

The effects’ duration may be related to inertia in world oceans, with parts of the southern Atlantic Ocean beginning to warm only now as a result of CO2 emissions in the previous century, according to the researchers.

“The simulation showed that warming will continue, rather than stop or reverse, on the 1,000-year time scale,” Shawn Marshall, a geography professor at the University of Calgary, said in the statement.

More power to Iowa growing wind power

With all the health problems associated with coal-fired power plants, it is great to see another wind project begin in Iowa. Not only will MidAmerican be bringing new jobs into Iowa, it will also be replacing that much need for coal produced energy. That will help make Iowa a healthier place to live again.

Wind projects are already exporting our wind energy to other states. Expanding that is a good way to increase revenue being brought into the state.

China Sunergy Lands Deal for World’s Largest Solar Roof

China Sunergy (CSUN) has secured a 7 MW solar module supply contract with CEEG (Nanjing) Solar Energy Research Institute, for the Nanjing South Railway Station solar roof project. It’s the world’s largest stand-alone building integrated photovoltaic (”BIPV”) project for one structure and will be one of the most energy efficient public buildings in China. The company announced a big 120MW Italian solar supply deal just a couple weeks ago.

“China Sunergy is delighted to be the module supplier for the ‘largest stand-alone BIPV project in the world,” said Mr. Stephen Zhifang Cai, CEO of China Sunergy. “We are very happy to see our high-quality solar panels being used in this landmark project, which will certainly raise public awareness and appreciation of renewable energy. We look forward to playing an increasingly bigger role in building China’s eco-friendly projects.”

Climate Progress

Tea party pollutocrat David Koch denies climate change, shrugs off his carbon pollution

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 09-01-2011

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The Koch family put together the Tea Party movement and has surpassed Exxon Mobil in funding climate science disinformation and clean energy opposition.

This Think Progress cross-post is Part 2 of Lee Fang’s amazing interview with David Koch.

This week, ThinkProgress conducted an impromptu interview with David Koch — one of the richest men in America, co-owner of the conglomerate Koch Industries, and a top financier of right-wing front groups — after we found him leaving the swearing-in ceremony for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). In the first part of the interview, Koch said that he “admire[s]” the Tea Party movement, and that “the rank and file are just normal people like us.” As ThinkProgress has detailed, Koch operatives orchestrated the first anti-Obama Tea Party protests, channeled Tea Party groups into increasing the Koch’s personal wealth, and organized Tea Parties for Republican campaigns and lobbying drives.

When we tried to speak to Koch — who never said he did not want to talk to us — his employee Tim Phillips, president of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, tried to push ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes away and yelled into the camera Keyes was holding. Phillips is a prolific “astroturf” lobbyist who has worked for Jack Abramoff’s forced-abortion sweatshop clients, Enron, and had a hand in an anti-Semitic campaign against Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) first bid for Congress. Despite Phillips’ distractions, Koch answered several of our questions about climate science and global warming.

Asked why Koch’s Americans for Prosperity focuses so much on denying climate change, Koch said it was because “regulating CO2 excessively … really damage[s] the economy.” Koch however was hesitant to answer if he himself believes in climate change. He eventually denied anthropogenic global warming by giving a standard climate denier response: “Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.” However, he simply shrugged when asked if carbon pollution — like the carbon pollution Koch Industries heavily contributes to — affects climate change:

FANG: Why does Americans for Prosperity focus so much on the science of climate change? I’m just curious why they spread so much information that denies the existence of climate, of global warming?

KOCH: Well… I think it’s uh, regulating CO2 excessively is going to put — uh really damage the economy.

FANG: Do you believe in climate change yourself? […] Do you believe in climate change yourself, Mr. Koch?

KOCH: Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.

FANG: But do you believe carbon pollution affects climate change? [Koch shrugs]

Watch it:

It is doubtful that Koch, who was educated at MIT, seriously believes that climate simply “fluctuate[s]” from “hot to cold” (although the exhibit Koch funded at the Smithsonian perpetuates this lie). Rather, Koch understands that his entire business model depends on denying the greatest threat facing the planet.

Koch Industries — the largest private corporation in America — thrives on emitting carbon pollution and other forms of pollution for free. Much of Koch Industries’ $ 120 billion-a-year revenues are derived from burning fossil fuels: oil refineries and pipelines, chemical plants, fertilizer plants, manufacturing factories, and the shipping of coal. Moreover, Koch Industries owns Georgia Pacific, one of the largest timber companies, so Koch also contributes to global warming by decreasing the world’s carbon sink capacity. The National Academy of Sciences, the US Global Change Research Program, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have all come to the same conclusion: “that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and the loss of carbon-sink capacity in heavily timbered forests are increasing temperatures and making oceans more acidic.” Corporate documents revealed by ThinkProgress show that Koch Industries explicitly targeted laws to reduce carbon emissions as a threat to Koch’s bottom line.

To boost their profits, Koch is the largest funder of climate change denying organizations and media outlets in the world. For example, Koch bankrolls denier groups like the CATO Institute, Fraser Institute, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Manhattan Institute, the Marshall Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the State Policy Network, and dozens of others. Not only have Koch fronts instructed Tea Party groups to kill national legislation to address climate change, but Koch groups have been instrumental in pushing climate change-believers out of the Republican Party. As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has detailed, the vast majority of new Republicans in Congress are “climate zombies.” Koch Industries is so fervently anti-climate science that it recently filed a lawsuit claiming that a belief in global warming damages its reputation.

Koch’s active role in Republican politics and multifaceted propaganda campaigns are almost always tied to Koch Industries’ business interests. Koch’s assistance to then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) resulted in special legislation to exempt Koch from prosecution regarding an oil spill, and Koch’s efforts to elect President Bush were rewarded with a virtual pardon of charges related to Koch’s release of carcinogenic chemicals in Texas. Koch groups also worked to derail international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, and Koch-funded groups helped spread the myth that hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit somehow disputed the scientific consensus on climate change.

Of course, Koch’s current war on climate science is not new. As we first reported, Koch’s current campaign to distort the public’s understanding of global warming is a continuation of its campaign in 1990 to spread skepticism about acid rain. However, Koch’s hidden role in the climate denying machine is beginning to unravel.

Lee Fang, in a Think Progress cross-posted.

Related Post:

Climate Progress

Exclusive: Tea Party Billionaire David Koch Denies Climate Change, Shrugs Off His Carbon Pollution

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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This is Part 2 of a three-part installment of ThinkProgress’ interview with David Koch. Watch Part 1 here.

This week, ThinkProgress conducted an impromptu interview with David Koch — one of the richest men in America, co-owner of the conglomerate Koch Industries, and a top financier of right-wing front groups — after we found him leaving the swearing-in ceremony for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). In the first part of the interview, Koch said that he “admire[s]” the Tea Party movement, and that “the rank and file are just normal people like us.” As ThinkProgress has detailed, Koch operatives orchestrated the first anti-Obama Tea Party protests, channeled Tea Party groups into increasing the Koch’s personal wealth, and organized Tea Parties for Republican campaigns and lobbying drives.

When we tried to speak to Koch — who never said he did not want to talk to us — his employee Tim Phillips, president of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, tried to push ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes away and yelled into the camera Keyes was holding. Phillips is a prolific “astroturf” lobbyist who has worked for Jack Abramoff’s forced-abortion sweatshop clients, Enron, and had a hand in an anti-Semitic campaign against Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) first bid for Congress. Despite Phillips’ distractions, Koch answered several our questions about climate science and global warming.

Asked why Koch’s Americans for Prosperity focuses so much on denying climate change, Koch said it was because “regulating CO2 excessively … really damage[s] the economy.” Koch however was hesitant to answer if he himself believes in climate change. He eventually denied anthropogenic global warming by giving a standard climate denier response: “Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.” However, he simply shrugged when asked if carbon pollution — like the carbon pollution Koch Industries heavily contributes to — affects climate change:

FANG: Why does Americans for Prosperity focus so much on the science of climate change? I’m just curious why they spread so much information that denies the existence of climate, of global warming?

KOCH: Well… I think it’s uh, regulating CO2 excessively is going to put — uh really damage the economy.

FANG: Do you believe in climate change yourself? […] Do you believe in climate change yourself, Mr. Koch?

KOCH: Climate does fluctuate. It goes from hot to cold. We have ice ages.

FANG: But do you believe carbon pollution affects climate change? [Koch shrugs]

Watch it:

It is doubtful that Koch, who was educated at MIT, seriously believes that climate simply “fluctuate[s]” from “hot to cold” (although the exhibit Koch funded at the Smithsonian perpetuates this lie). Rather, Koch understands that his entire business model depends on denying the greatest threat facing the planet.

Koch Industries — the largest private corporation in America — thrives on emitting carbon pollution and other forms of pollution for free. Much of Koch Industries’ $ 120 billion-a-year revenues are derived from burning fossil fuels: oil refineries and pipelines, chemical plants, fertilizer plants, manufacturing factories, and the shipping of coal. Moreover, Koch Industries owns Georgia Pacific, one of the largest timber companies, so Koch also contributes to global warming by decreasing the world’s carbon sink capacity. The National Academy of Sciences, the US Global Change Research Program, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have all come to the same conclusion: “that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and the loss of carbon-sink capacity in heavily timbered forests are increasing temperatures and making oceans more acidic.” Corporate documents revealed by ThinkProgress show that Koch Industries explicitly targeted laws to reduce carbon emissions as a threat to Koch’s bottom line.

To boost their profits, Koch is the largest funder of climate change denying organizations and media outlets in the world. For example, Koch bankrolls denier groups like the CATO Institute, Fraser Institute, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, the Manhattan Institute, the Marshall Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the State Policy Network, and dozens of others. Not only have Koch fronts instructed Tea Party groups to kill national legislation to address climate change, but Koch groups have been instrumental in pushing climate change-believers out of the Republican Party. As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has detailed, the vast majority of new Republicans in Congress are “climate zombies.” Koch Industries is so fervently anti-climate science that it recently filed a lawsuit claiming that a belief in global warming damages its reputation.

Koch’s active role in Republican politics and multifaceted propaganda campaigns are almost always tied to Koch Industries’ business interests. Koch’s assistance to then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) resulted in special legislation to exempt Koch from prosecution regarding an oil spill, and Koch’s efforts to elect President Bush were rewarded with a virtual pardon of charges related to Koch’s release of carcinogenic chemicals in Texas. Koch groups also worked to derail international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, and Koch-funded groups helped spread the myth that hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit somehow disputed the scientific consensus on climate change.

Of course, Koch’s current war on climate science is not new. As we first reported, Koch’s current campaign to distort the public’s understanding of global warming is a continuation of its campaign in 1990 to spread skepticism about acid rain. However, Koch’s hidden role in the climate denying machine is beginning to unravel.

ThinkProgress

Flashback: John Boehner says on ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 06-01-2011

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Now that John Boehner has become Speaker of the House, it’s worth reposting an extended interview he gave on the subject of energy and climate in April 2009.

Boehner is a traditional anti-science conservative — or at least traditional in this country (see “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones”).

His exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos (transcript here, reprinted below) is notable for his utter lack of understanding of even the basics of the climate issue.  Boehner said:

George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide

Almost comical?  How about completely tragic?

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b231/mumbly_joe/cementshoes1.gifThe most powerful Republican in the country, the man who is next in line to be president should something happen to both Obama and Biden, thinks this debate is about whether carbon dioxide is a carcinogen?  And thinks carcinogens harm the environment, rather than people?  And thinks that cows are of concern because they produce carbon dioxide, rather than methane?

Anti-science, pro-polllution conservatives are now the cement shoes on the American people, pulling us down into the ocean hot, acidic dead zone.

Not only do we learn here that Boehner is utterly ignorant of climate basics.  We also see how he contradicts himself repeatedly in an effort to push out all the standard conservative disinformer talking points on global warming.

On the one hand, carbon dioxide is something we exhale, not something harmful to the environment, but on the other hand, we can only solve this “problem” as one nation, if we “work with other industrialized nations around the world.”

But if it’s not a problem caused by humans, then how could humans possibly solve it whether we work with other countries are not?  That’s the beauty of not caring about science or logic.  You can spew out all of your disinformation, and different pieces that can stick to different people.

Here is the entire exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you then about energy. We showed your statement on the president’s decision through the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Also, you’ve come out against the president’s proposal to cap-and-trade carbon emissions.

So what is the Republican answer to climate change? Is it a problem? Do you have a plan to address it?

BOEHNER: George, we believe that our — all of the above energy strategy from last year continues to be the right approach on energy. That we ought to make sure that we have new sources of energy, green energy, but we need nuclear energy, we need other types of alternatives, and, yes, we need American-made oil and gas.

It bears repeating that conservatives have always bitterly opposed Congressional efforts to boost green energy (see “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies“).  Indeed, even “moderate” conservatives like John McCain and Judd Gregg have always opposed even the mildest of green energy mandates — a national requirement that utilities get a fraction of their power from renewable energy, a requirement that half the states and every major European Union member country has (see “The greenwasher from Arizona has a record as dirty as the denier from Oklahoma”).

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that doesn’t do anything when it comes to emissions, sir.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the issue of climate change, George, it’s pretty clear that if we don’t work with other industrialized nations around the world, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to ship millions of American jobs overseas. We have to deal with this in a responsible way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the responsible way? That’s my question. What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it’s clear…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don’t believe that greenhouse gases are a problem in creating climate change?

BOEHNER: … we’ve had climate change over the last 100 years — listen, it’s clear we’ve had change in our climate. The question is how much does man have to do with it, and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can’t do it alone as one nation. If we got India, China and other industrialized countries not working with us, all we’re going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like from what you’re saying that you don’t believe that Republicans need to come up with a plan to control carbon emissions? You’re suggesting it’s not that big of a problem, even though the scientific consensus is that it has contributed to the climate change.

BOEHNER: I think it is — I think it is an issue. The question is, what is the proper answer and the responsible answer?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what is the answer? That’s what I’m trying to get at.

BOEHNER: George, I think everyone in America is looking for the proper answer. We don’t want to raise taxes, $ 1.5 to $ 2 trillion like the administration is proposing, and we don’t want to ship millions of American jobs overseas. And so we’ve got to find ways to work toward this solution to this problem without risking the future for our kids and grandkids.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are committed to coming up with a plan?

BOEHNER: I think you’ll see a plan from us. Just like you’ve seen a plan from us on the stimulus bill and a better plan on the budget.

Yeah, the GOP will have a plan to deal with global warming.  Just like they did on the stimulus.

I must say the most pathetic thing about this interview is his claim that the GOP approach is the one that isn’t “risking the future for our kids and grandkids.”  Not (see House GOP pledge to fight all action on climate. “Why do conservatives hate your children?”).

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

Energy and global warming news for January 3, 2011: Top wind farms had costs averaging $0.059 per kWh; Carbon dioxide causing Caribbean coral collapse; Climate change is the next security threat

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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Climate change: Next security threat

Certain senators and the new Republican-controlled House are attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit carbon pollution. This is likely to have devastating consequences for our environment and our national security.

Over the past 14 months, Operation Free and thousands of veterans across the country, from every generation, have worked to support a national clean energy policy. The Veterans for American Power tour visited hundreds of communities nationwide, meeting with thousands of Americans to deliver the message that U.S. national security is closely tied to our energy policy.

In Washington, veterans have met with scores of senators to ask for support for a climate and energy policy that reduces dependence on oil.

This oil dependence is among the most dangerous threats to U.S. national security. For years, senior military and intelligence officials have warned that too much of U.S. oil payments eventually trickle down to terrorists, who use it to buy the weapons used against our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey said it best: “This [the war on terror] is the first time since the Civil War where we are funding both sides of the war.”

Ignoring all the warnings and security implications, the Senate failed to consider comprehensive climate and energy legislation last session. To make matters worse, Congress will soon consider legislation to strip the EPA of its authority under the Clean Air Act. This would give polluters’ free reign to emit as much carbon pollution as they want, speeding up the effects of climate change and risking national security.

If climate change continues unchecked, we will see millions of people displaced globally, countries destabilized and U.S. troops mobilized to address these new threats.

The Defense Department calls climate change a destabilizing influence and “threat multiplier.” There is no better example of climate change as a destabilizing force than what happened in Pakistan last year. More than one-fifth of Pakistan was flooded by torrential rains and insurgents have pounced on the chaos-created opportunity to turn Pakistan into a breeding ground and safe haven for terrorist activity.

As predicted climate-related calamities occur — including drought and famine in unstable countries like Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — these are also likely to become breeding grounds for terror.

While some senators attempt to move us in the wrong direction, the Obama administration now has an opportunity to steer us back on track. Pushed by a diverse coalition that includes veterans and national security organizations, the EPA recently set new fuel efficiency standards of 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

Sixty miles per gallon by 2025 is an achievable goal that we must attain if we are to reduce dependence on oil and strengthen our national security. It will significantly cut demand for oil and drive prices down.

And by reducing the $ 1 billion a day that the United States spends on importing oil, the new standard would put less money into the pockets of Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his nuclear program and his recently developed “Ambassador of Death” missile. It would also significantly hamper other regimes seeking to do us harm.

Most Americans don’t think about climate change as a national security threat. But we must begin to focus on how it makes us vulnerable in a global context. Thousands of veterans, active duty troops, intelligence professionals and national security experts are doing this every day — and will continue the fight to secure America with clean energy.

It is in our national security interest to do so.

– Jonathan Murray, a Marine veteran, is the former advocacy director for the Truman National Security Project and former campaign director for Operation Free.

Wind’s competitive edge (EnergyBoom):

Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University professor and the Director of the University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, co-authored in 2001 a Science Magazine article entitled, “Exploiting Wind Versus Coal.” Jacobson reported then that when the health and environmental costs of coal-based energy are calculated, “the total price for coal-based energy…” ranges from “…$ 0.055 to $ 0.083 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).” Interesting, since the U.S. Department of Energy reports that as of 2008, top performing wind farms in areas with excellent wind resources had costs averaging only $ 0.059 cents per kWh, a price clearly competitive with, if not far less than, the costs of coal.

So apples to apples, wind power projects don’t cost more than the polluting, all-too-familiar energy sources we’ve come to accept, if only because until recently, American consumers have had few options.

Solar Fuel, With High Efficiency

Concentrated solar radiation enters the reactor, is intensified by a compound parabolic concentrator, and is focused on a cerium oxide cylinder. H2O and CO2 enter side inlets, and O2, H2, and CO exit a bottom outlet.

Concentrated solar radiation enters the reactor, is intensified by a compound parabolic concentrator, and is focused on a cerium oxide cylinder. H2O and CO2 enter side inlets, and O2, H2, and CO exit a bottom outlet.

Researchers have developed a novel thermochemical reactor that uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrocarbon-fuel precursors at a relatively high efficiency.

The feat is a key step toward using solar energy to produce much-needed liquid fuels more efficiently than may be possible with alternative methods, such as photocatalysis or microbial fermentation-based hydrocarbon-fuel production.

The new thermochemical reactor is believed to be more efficient than previously developed ones, whose efficiencies could not be comparably measured. And it is amenable to continuous operation, suggesting that an industrial-scale version of the process could be developed for solar towers.

The reactor was designed by solar technology specialist Aldo Steinfeld of ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; materials scientist Sossina M. Haile of California Institute of Technology; and coworkers (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1197834). It uses concentrated solar energy to thermochemically dissociate CO2 and H2O via cerium oxide redox reactions to produce CO and H2, respectively, with O2 as a by-product. CO and H2 form syngas, which can be processed to generate methanol, gasoline, and other liquid fuels.

The reactor’s solar-to-syngas energy conversion efficiency, experimentally measured with a 2-kW prototype, is 0.7 to 0.8%, which Steinfeld says is significantly higher than those of current photocatalytic methods for CO2 dissociation. A thermodynamic analysis indicates that efficiencies of 16% or more are achievable with the new reactor.

The study’s “solar conversion efficiencies are less than 1%, but these efficiencies set an important benchmark for further improvements in the use of pure solar thermal energy to split CO2,” notes renewable energy researcher Stuart Licht of George Washington University.

The novelty is the experiment’s relatively large scale, “the number of cycles demonstrated, and performing the demonstration long enough and in such a reproducible and controlled way that the efficiency can be carefully determined,” says thermochemistry specialist James E. Miller of Sandia National Laboratories. “It’s a step toward demonstrating what’s possible for a technology that has been underappreciated and deserves more attention.”

CO2 causing Caribbean coral collapse

Climate Progress

The Physical Chemistry of Carbon Dioxide Absorption

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 31-12-2010

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Perhaps because I have been a Physical Chemist for more years than I care to mention, I have the idea that Physical Chemists have something important to contribute to just about any discussion about physical phenomena.  I hope that I can convince you that this is in fact true in the case of global climate change.

I’m reposting some Skeptical Science pieces.  This one is by Hugo Franzen, a physical chemist.
One reason I feel it important to be a spokesman for Physical Chemistry in this arena is because, for the most part, we P. Chemists feel it important to develop math based arguments that catch the essence of what is occurring. Of course we then leave the hard part of dealing with the ramifications to someone else.  What I mean by this in the current discussion is that the problem of global warming can be broken down into two parts – the “forcing” part that deals with the difference between the energy input and output at the earth’s surface and the consequences of that forcing. The latter is the huge problem of the feedbacks and their consequences on the distribution of that energy over the globe.

The second part is the tough, ongoing job of the Climatological community while the first part is basically P. Chem. (even though it was in many cases done by folks in other disciplines). In this essay it is my purpose to discuss the easier, forcing part.  When it comes to communication, the considerations in this realm have a distinct advantage in that the results follow directly from the solution of an elementary differential equation using specroscopic data that have been known since the 1960’s.  I have benefited greatly from others in coming to an understanding of the P. Chem. of Global Warming (GW). I feel myself qualified, on the basis of what I have learned,  to say, from the point of view of Physical Chemistry, i.e. rigorous science of the if A then B type, that global warming as the result of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is totally undeniable and that the extent of the forcing is beyond doubt close to what the climatologists are saying it is. These conclusions are not based on the earth’s temperature history or upon complex computer programs (which I certainly believe to be of great importance – it’s just that they are difficult to communicate about) but upon the type of calculation that is done in P. Chem. courses around the world.  The calculation on which this essay is based can be found on my web site hfranzen.org under the title GWPPT6.

Interactions between molecules and electromagnetic radiation have been an important part of Physical Chemistry since its inception.  The first scientist to attempt a calculation of the GW (a term he introduced) was Svante Arrhenius, the great Swedish Physical  Chemist. He did his climate change work in the mid 1890’s. The understanding of the interactions of molecules with radiation progressed enormously with the advent of Quantum Mechanics, and can easily be called a very mature science at this time.  The science involves, among many other things, the observation and interpretation of spectra.

Carbon dioxide is a molecule that has been extensively studied in this way and there is available today an incredible depth of knowledge about the interaction of carbon dioxide with electromagnetic radiation. Among a number of interactions about which a great deal is known there are those involved in taking a carbon dioxide molecule (basically linear oxygen to carbon to oxygen) from its ground bending vibrational state to its first excited bending vibrational state. However in both the initial and the final vibrational states the molecule can be in any one of a very large number of rotational states which are separated by energies very much smaller than the energy difference between the vibrational states. Thus there are many transitions between the various rotational states associated with the ground and first excited vibrational states. Transitions between many pairs of these states can be brought about by absorption of infrared radiation of the correct wave length for each pair, and thus such radiation is absorbed over a range of energies (Fig. 1)

These transitions were studied by both theory[i] and experiment[ii] in the 1960’s and the results are highly relevant to global warming, for they provide experimental and calculated data for the linear transmittance of carbon dioxide gas in the infrared region. Transmittance is the fraction of the intensity of a beam that makes it through an absorbing sample. Absorbance is one minus transmittance. Although the data of  Fig.1 are for a particular product of path length and carbon dioxide concentration, i.e. a given NL/V, where N/V is the concentration and L is the path length, it should be mentioned that Stull et. al. calculated results for a wide variety of NL/V values and wave lengths. The fit obtained between the calculated and observed spectra for one of the NL/V values (Fig. 1) provides assurance that the absorption coefficients, i.e. the proportionality constants relating the logarithms of the transmittance at the various absorbing wave lengths to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the gas phase,  form a reliable basis for calculating the transmittance (or absorbance since they sum to 1) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The absorption coefficients reported by Stull, et. al. are linear absorption coefficients appropriate to the absorption that results in a decrease in intensity  when the radiation is traveling in a single straight line. But the radiation, when the source is the earth, travels in all directions away from the earth. When the radiation is in a single direction, the relevant transmittance is the linear transmittance and the absorption coefficients for linear transmittances  were reported by Stull, et. al. The transmittances required when the source is the earth are called the diffuse transmittances and these are calculated by integrating (summing) the intensity equation over all the angles. What results is a diffuse transmittance equation for flux rather than the corresponding equation  for decrease in intensity.  But this is just what we want to determine the energy audit for the earth, because the flux is the rate at which energy is radiated through a unit area of a surface.

The first task in applying Physical Chemistry to the Global Warming problem is probably to determine the flux of radiation at the earth’s surface.  Fortunately in 1900, in his celebrated determination that radiation is quantized, Max Planck solved this problem for equilibrium radiation.  It turns out that at equilibrium all matter emits radiation the distribution of which is determined only by its temperature.  This distribution, which describes the rate at which energy is emitted at a given wavelength, is given by the Planck equation.  But is the earth’s surface at thermal equilibrium?  The answer to a very good approximation is yes, provided you restrict your attention to a small enough area and a short enough time.  This can be seen immediately when you realize that to say that something is “at thermal equilibrium” means that it has a temperature and vice versa.  So the very fact that we can report a temperature for a given place at a given day, and we routinely do that at any place on any day, means that the earth at that time and place is close enough to being in thermal equilibrium that we are justified in talking about its temperature. It then follows that the Planck distribution is a very good approximation to the distribution of the infrared energy radiated by the earth at that place and time.

There remains the problem that the earth then has many different temperatures. In the Earth Sciences it is common practice to use average temperatures as though they were ‘the temperature”.  What we believe, and it has been borne out by many studies, is that in general we can do two different things: we can make a number of measurements, reach conclusions based upon those measurements and then average the conclusions, or we can average the measurements and reach conclusions based upon that average measurement.  For example we could measure the temperatures at a very large number of places on the earth and 1. Use Planck’s law to calculate the energy radiated at each point and then average or, 2. Average the temperature and use that temperature with Planck’s law to calculate the radiated energy.  What has been found is that the final results are essentially the same.  In fact temperatures have been measured at a wide range of spots over the earth’s surface and Physicists have looked at the earth’s radiation using satellites. The observed distribution of radiant energy is nicely given by Planck’s Law and the earth’s average temperature. The earth’s spatially averaged temperature, when averaged over a year, comes out to be 288K. The balance: energy in = energy out  for the earth for a year  results because  if the energy in from the sun (corrected for albedo)  during a year were greater than the energy radiating  out from the earth then the earth’s average temperature would rise and, according to Planck’s  Law, the earth would radiate more energy and reestablish the balance.  A similar argument holds for antithesis.

So we know the quantity and distribution of the average energy emitted from the earth’s surface from measurement, spectral observation and Planck’s Law.  We also know, this time from the data of Stull. et. al. and generalization to the diffuse case, the diffuse transmittances of carbon dioxide for wave length intervals in the energy range of the earth’s Planck radiation.  In order to get a “broadband” transmittance, i.e. the transmittance for the energy range over which the carbon dioxide absorbs, the diffuse absorbance for each wave length interval is multiplied by the fraction of the Planck radiation that is emitted in that interval and the product is summed to yield the Planck averaged, broad-band, diffuse transmittances (PABBDT’s) at the various NL/V values for which the linear transmittances were reported by Stull, et. al. These were fit to a curve (PABBDT vs. NL/V) in order to find the dependence of PABBDT  for  carbon dioxide on NL/V  from which we can find the PABBDT of the atmosphere if we know NL/V  for the atmosphere.

Thus the one piece of information that is lacking at this point is NL/V of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  As I am sure everyone reading this essay knows, in 1958, a scientist, Charles David Keeling at the Mauna Loa observatory, initiated a program of measurement of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere and it has been in operation ever since.  The current concentration is somewhere between 385 and 390 ppm. This concentration has been shown to be essentially the same everywhere in the atmosphere. Hence we know, in each case to a very good approximation, the average flux of infrared radiation emitted by the earth as a function of wave length, the PABBDT of carbon dioxide as a function of NL/V and NL/V for the atmosphere.

Therefore we can determine the amount of energy absorbed and reemitted by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because one half of the reemitted radiation comes back to the earth (is the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas flux), this flux is equal to one half the Planck flux in the absorbing interval multiplied by one minus the diffuse, broadband transmittance. Knowing the earth’s average temperature at some initial time and the expected increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (the Keeling curve) we can calculate the earth’s average temperature difference for these two times as follows. The energy leaving at the final time equals the energy entering at that time (for the reason discussed previously) and, because we know by how much that energy is increased by the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect, we know by how much the earth’s temperature is increased by that effect. When the calculation is done, as in GWPPT6, the conclusion is that the earth’s temperature is currently rising by 0.014 degrees per year because of the greenhouse gas effect of the additional carbon dioxide entering the earth’s atmosphere

In this essay I have restricted myself to words.  What I concluded above was accomplished by the solution of equations, and these equations and their solutions are presented in my website. As I see it there are four possibilities 1. Someone could understand the methodology of GWPPT6 on hfranzen.org and agree with the conclusions, or, 2 they might understand and  not agree, or, 3 it could be that they do not understand but agree for other reasons,or, 4. they might not understand and  not agree.  The folks in category 1 need to get the message out.  I hope that those in category 2 will contact me with their criticisms. Those in category 3 deserve credit for sound intuitive thinking. Those in the last category are most troublesome.  In my view they should either do the hard work of learning the basic science needed for understanding or find someone they trust who understands it to interpret the power point for them.  The people of the world need to move on to some very serious changes in our consumption of fossil fuels and there is absolutely no place for obstruction by people who do not understand the nature of the problem.

Hugo Franzen, The Physical Chemistry of Carbon Dioxide Absorption.”


[i] Stull,Wyatt, and Plass, Applied Optics, V.3,No.2, p.250 (1964)

[ii] Burch, Gryvnak, and Williams, Applied Optics, V.9, p750 (1962)

Climate Progress

EPA Moves to Unilaterally Impose Carbon Caps

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-12-2010

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From the Associated Press:

Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.

In a statement posted on the agency’s website late Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.

“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans,” Jackson said in a statement. She said emissions from power plants and oil refineries constitute about 40 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution in this country.

President Barack Obama had said two days after the midterm elections that he was disappointed Congress hadn’t acted on legislation achieving the same end, signaling that other options were under consideration.

Jackson’s announcement came on the same day that the administration showed a go-it-alone approach on federal wilderness protection—another major environmental issue. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his agency was repealing the Bush era’s policy limiting wilderness protection, which was adopted under former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

On climate change, legislation in Congress putting a limit on heat-trapping greenhouse gases and allowing companies to buy and sell pollution permits under that ceiling—a system known as “cap and trade”—stalled in the Senate earlier this year after narrowly clearing the House. Republicans assailed it as “cap and tax,” arguing that it would raise energy prices.

But the Senate in late June rejected by a 53-47 vote a challenge brought by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski that would have denied the EPA the authority to move ahead with the rules.

Jackson noted in Thursday’s statement that her agency that several state and local governments and environmental groups had sued EPA over the agency’s failure to update or publish new standards for fossil fuel plants and petroleum refineries.

The EPA also announced Thursday that it was taking the unprecedented step of directly issuing air permits to industries in Texas, citing the state’s unwillingness to comply with greenhouse gas regulations going into effect Jan. 2. EPA officials said they reluctantly were taking over Clean Air Act Permits for greenhouse gas emissions because “officials in Texas have made clear.they have no intention of implementing this portion of the federal air permitting program.”

Two days after the midterm elections, Obama served notice that he would look for ways to control global warming pollution other than Congress placing a ceiling on it.

Read the whole thing here. One wonders why they even bothered to have a “cap and trade” vote in Congress last year. I mean, if the Obama Administration can just rule by fiat, why even get Congress involved?


Big Government

Clean air standards coming for America’s biggest carbon polluters

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-12-2010

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In a big step forward to protect Americans’ health and well-being, EPA announced today a two-year plan to set clean air standards for power plants and oil refineries, the two largest industrial sources of the dangerous pollution that drives global warming.

NRDC’s David Doniger has the story in this re-post:

Following on the heels of the Obama administration’s breakthrough clean car standards, EPA is now taking the next logical steps under the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court’s landmark global warming decision in 2007.

EPA is doing precisely what is needed to protect our health and welfare at a time when some would prefer just to roll back the clock.  Clear pollution control standards based on available and affordable technology will also help these two industries plan future investments, fuel the economic recovery, and create jobs.

Power plants account for more than 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, more than any other industry.  Oil refineries clock in as the second largest source, with emissions equivalent to more than 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (mainly a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane).

The timetables announced today are contained in two settlement agreements that resolve lawsuits brought against EPA by NRDC and a coalition of states and other environmental organizations — the cases are called New York v. EPA (No. 06-1322) and American Petroleum Institute v. EPA (No. 08-1277), both pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.  In both cases, we sued the Bush-era EPA for refusing to set limits on these industries’ massive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under a part of the Clean Air Act (Section 111) that requires EPA to set performance standards for new and existing industrial facilities.  Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that the Clean Air Act covers carbon pollution from cars, we have pressed for EPA to acknowledge that it is also required to curb carbon pollution from industrial sources, and to say when it will take action on these two industries.

Under today’s settlements, standards for fossil-fueled power plants will be proposed by July 26, 2011, and issued in final form by May 26, 2012.  Standards for oil refineries will be proposed by December 10, 2011, and issued in final form by November 10, 2012.  (The settlements are here and here.)

Section 111 of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to set, and every eight years revise, performance standards for various categories of industries. These standards apply to both new and existing sources. EPA sets the new source standards, while EPA and the states share the job for existing sources.  Section 111 requires consideration of cost and technical feasibility when determining the standards.  It also requires EPA and the states to take into account existing sources’ remaining useful life.

EPA plans to coordinate each industry’s carbon emission standards with other upcoming pollution control requirements in a sectoral, multi-pollutant approach that facilitates sound planning and investment strategies for each industry.  These standards will also assist industries and states in the case-by-case assessment of “best available control technology” for the largest new sources, a process that begins this January.

Big polluters and their allies in Congress plan to take aim at these and other common sense standards that save thousands of lives and avoid tens of thousands of asthma attacks and other life-threatening illness each year. But the Clean Air Act is a tough target.  It has the support of millions of Americans, built on 40 years saving lives and protecting communities across the country, while promoting economic growth.  Congress should celebrate, not delay or block, Clean Air Act standards that protect our health and well-being.  Congress should let EPA do its job.

David Doniger is the policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center and their chief global warming lawyer. This is re-post from NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

Climate Progress

Bull Market, Bear Market, Carbon Market

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 18-12-2010

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Zandar Versus The Stupid

Weekend News Update: Underground storage of carbon dioxide may trigger earthquakes, limiting sequestration’s large scale use

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 18-12-2010

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Prokaryotes and others can post links here to interesting weekend news/links.
Earthshaking possibilities may limit underground CO2 storage
Combating global warming by pumping carbon dioxide into the ground for long-term storage – known as carbon sequestration – could trigger small earthquakes that might breach the storage system, allowing the gas back into the […]
Climate Progress

Appeals Court gives green light to EPA carbon pollution standards, rejects claims of polluters and climate-science deniers

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-12-2010

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Big news [Friday] from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which just gave the green light to implementing EPA’s first carbon pollution standards in January.  The court flatly rejected the efforts by America’s biggest carbon polluters and the State of Texas to block all of EPA’s efforts to begin curbing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming under the nation’s clean air laws.

NRDC’s David Doniger has the story in this re-post:

A rogues’ gallery of science-denying coal and oil companies, industry lobbyists and trade associations, right-wing advocacy groups, Tea Party funders, and ultra-conservative elected officials sued EPA to stop  every major action EPA has taken over the last two years to start reducing carbon pollution – the science-based “endangerment” finding, the historic standards for new cars, and the first limits on carbon pollution from the biggest new power plants and factories.

Over the last year, these cases have served as fashion accessories to dress up the lobbying campaign aimed at getting Congress to overturn the Clean Air Act and block EPA from doing its job under the Supreme Court’s 2007 global warming decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.

But now that strategy has backfired.

You see, the polluters and science-deniers can say anything they want in press releases and lobbying letters to Congress.  Especially these days, when lobbying and politics take place in a fact-free zone.

But when you go to court, you have to prove your case.  And they’ve failed.

They filed hundreds of pages of briefs and affidavits with wild claims that construction will be stopped all across the country and that the economic recovery will be strangled.

The court didn’t buy any of it.  In the order today denying the stays, the court said this:

Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review. … Specifically, with regard to each of the challenged rules, petitioners have not shown that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harms will directly result from the actions which the movants seek to enjoin.

Note that the court said with regard to “each of the challenged rules.”  That means the court found no merit in their attack on the science behind EPA’s endangerment finding, no merit in their attack on the landmark clean car standards, and no merit in their attack on the requirement for available and affordable pollution control technology on big new factories.

This is no surprise, since the clean car standards (which are supported by the auto industry) are going to save the average new car buyer $ 3000.  And all that’s required of the biggest new factories is to do what’s available and affordable to reduce emissions – something they’ve been doing for other pollutants for decades.  Every state but Texas is ready to issue pollution permits for big new sources.  And the industries utterly failed to prove that the economic sky is falling.

This is a victory for every American who wants cleaner cars and less pollution from our factories.

David Doniger is the policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate Center and their chief global warming lawyer. This is re-post from NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

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Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-12-2010

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25,000 metric tons of emissions, according to host nation Mexico.
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