The technological innovation of the shale industry has benefits for conventional oil too, and will save us all money. The continuing plunge in the price of oil from $115 a barrel in mid-2014 to $30 today is really, really good news. I know just about every economic commentator says otherwise, predicting bankruptcies, stock market crashes, deflation, political turmoil and a return to gas guzzling. But that is because they are mostly paid to see the world from the point of view of producers, not consumers. Yes, some plutocrats and autocrats won’t like it, but for the rest of us this is a big cut in the cost of living. Worldwide, the fall in the oil price since 2014 has transferred $2 trillion from oil producers to oil consumers. —Matt Ridley, The Times, 8 February 2016 (paywall), More story here
Maybe you've heard or read somewhere that all kinds of terrible disasters will happen if the (global mean surface) temperature rises just 2⁰C above the pre-industrial level; according to some datasets, we are already more than halfway there. Further, activists want to lower the threshold to 1.5⁰C -- thus advancing the date of the “apocalypse.”
Note, however, that these same activists never bother to define “mean temperature” or tell you how to measure it -- if indeed that makes sense.Temperatures vary not only geographically, mainly with latitude and altitude, but also with season, time of day, and weather conditions.
This is “dead last compared to six other recession recoveries since 1960,” Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore points out. The six averaged a robust 4.0% while the Reagan era recovery averaged a “sizzling” 4.8% over six years. That means the Obama recovery lost $1.8 trillion (in constant 2009 money) that would have been pumped into the economy under an average recovery, and $2.8 trillion under a Reagan-style rebound, Moore says, citing a congressional Joint Economic Committee analysis.
President Obama proposed yesterday to tax every barrel of oil produced or imported an additional $10, which translates to nearly twice the federal gas tax Americans pay at the pump. Last year Obama told senior citizens that they wouldn't see a 2016 cost of living adjustment in their Social Security benefits because of "cheap oil." The new tax would only be applied to domestic and imported oil, but not to oil exported to other countries. This means other countries would benefit from the president's largesse, and penalizing Americans in the process.
Headlines hyping Snowzilla, Blizzard for the Ages, Snowcalypse, and such, make for good press and can be quite descriptive, but hyperbole seemed less necessary when I was a youth in the 1960s. And winter weather, even big snowstorms, seemed like just another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. (Like so many in the DC and NYC area did last month!) It never occurred to us kids to politicize such events. But today, many in the younger generation (that is, significantly younger than me) seem to know how to make political hay out of flakes of snow.
“Doomsayer” is probably not on Al Gore’s resume but it’s as descriptive as “almost president.” It perfectly describes the attention he has attracted in the decade since he took to the stage at the Sundance Film Festival and set off global warming fears with his agitprop film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“Humans may have only 10 years left to save the planet from turning into a total frying pan,” one terrified reviewer, who is presumably still unfried, put it. Humankind has blown past the point of no return that he said would render the damage from man-made greenhouse gases irreversible. Yet the world continues to turn, not burn. Atmospheric anxiety has subsided, despite all that Hillary and Bernie can do to keep it alive, and Americans have moved on to more immediate issues, such as who’s likely to win the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Yesterday, Sens. James Inhofe (R) and Mike Rounds (R) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking for clarification on conflicting statements she gave regarding the Gold King Mine blowout and its follow-up investigation. The senators write they are concerned there might be collusion between the EPA and other government entities, and that the "purported independent review" might be tainted by inter-agency collaboration.
Speaking under oath at a Sept. 16, 2015, senate hearing, McCarthy had assured the oversight committee that the Gold King investigation would be entirely independent and that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would not be involved in any manner. But additional information brought to the committee's attention has shed new light on the veracity of those statements.
Two Stanford geologists are disputing the decade-old explanation of the large amount of coal accumulated during the Carboniferous Period. Associate Professor Kevin Boyce and Postdoctorate Research Fellow Matthew Nelsen collaborated with scientists across the country to release a paper this past month in which they propose a new understanding of coal development. According to Nelson, discontent with the evolutionary lag hypothesis has been around for some time before the publishing of this recent paper. This raises the larger issue: If geologists had seen problems with the hypothesis, why had nothing been done to disprove it earlier? --Aulden Foltz, The Stanford Daily, 2 February 2016
Every wonder why the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) map patterns of all El Niños look strikingly similar to the Sea Surface Temperature map patterns of all La Niñas? Or why 11 of the last 15 strong El Niños are immediately followed by equally strong La Niñas?
The reason these two very famous and supposedly different climate events look and act so similar is that they are actually not separate events, rather they are one geologically induced and continuous event. An event that is generated by a massive pulse of fluid flow from a major deep ocean fault zone located east of the Papua New Guinea / Solomon Island region.
Over the past six months, President Barack Obama has cemented his climate legacy with the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the execution of the Paris climate agreement. But, as even he admits, neither of those policies will be enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Fortunately for the president, there’s a new way for him to right the U.S.’ greenhouse gas trajectory before leaving office: Buried in the Clean Air Act is an extremely powerful mechanism that effectively gives EPA carte blanche to tell states to make drastic cuts to their emissions. --Brian Potts, Politico, 1 February 2016
State health officials are staging a series of public relations rallies cloaked as "All Stakeholder" meetings to discuss President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan. As explained in this space last month, a Jan. 14 meeting in Commerce City featured five panel experts who all supported the plan, which proposes federal mandates likely to close coal-fired electric plants, reduce mining and transportation jobs and require spending on emerging renewable technologies.
The audience appeared selected, full of people who knew each other, with about 30 comments coming only from activists who supported the plan. In the hourslong meeting, not one person expressed skepticism or opposition. It smacked of propaganda.
Washington, D.C. – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the various scientific, economic and other policy issues surrounding President Obama’s recent pledge to the United Nations-led effort to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The president pledged that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050.