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A Glacier Meltdown – The Himalayas and climate science.

An excellent opinion in the Wall Street Journal. It is absolutely amazing that there are so few media companies that try to get the story straight.

Last November, U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri delivered a blistering rebuke to India’s environment minister for casting doubt on the notion that global warming was causing the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening,” the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the Guardian newspaper. “I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

Time for a Climate Change Plan B

Nigel Lawson has done a remarkable job of explaining the basic problem with limiting the use of carbon based fuels in our world today. His argument doesn’t really take a side on the merits of the science but rather on the realities of economics. His opinion recently showed up in the Wall Street Journal and I have taken the liberty to include selected parts here.  I suggest that you click through to read the entire article.

Lord Lawson was U.K. chancellor of the exchequer in the Thatcher government from 1983 to 1989. He is the author of “An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming” (Overlook Duckworth, paperback 2009), and is chairman of the recently formed Global Warming Policy Foundation (www.thegwpf.org).

Does the problem of ClimateGate bode ill for science as a discipline?

Does the problem of ClimateGate bode ill for science as a discipline? This commentary from the Wall Street Journal thinks it might.

With science, the public accepts the reliability of the scientific method. We accept that results are checked and double-checked. We accept that there is repeated analysis and inspection on the problems and that if someone disagrees, there is a mature and reasonable discussion of the issues.

Obviously, the East Anglia CRU emails show that the discussion is not very open. It shows that some people are willing to go out of their way to discredit others. It also shows a general unwillingness to publicly display the technique used to arrive at a conclusion. This all goes against the scientific methodology.

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

The subject of windmills killing birds has been discussed occasionally on the web for several years. Every time the subject gets popular, it suddenly seems to drop out of vogue to discuss. The argument is always that the bird fatalities are a fraction of other human activity and therefore not significant.

There is little doubt that windmills kill birds and bats. Their remains are found at the foot of windmills on a regular basis. Robert Bryce, the author of “Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of ‘Energy Independence‘”, “Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron“, and “Cronies: How Texas Business Became American Policy– and Brought Bush to Power” recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the wind energy industry is being held to a different standard than other energy companies.

U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty

As nations around the world begin to plan for Copenhagen to discuss the next generation Kyoto treaty, it is increasingly obvious that they will be ineffective.

Chief among the reasons for this ineffectiveness is that with the price of oil at its current state, it is simply not cost effective to use alternative fuels that will dump less CO2 into the atmosphere. The oil producing nations are probably not maintaining crude at this level to doom the planet to disaster, they are simply smart business people that are providing their “drugs” to the “addicts” at a price and in a way that will insure that no one can ever move off.

New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

All that being said, I tend to agree with the core of their opinion. The United States should concentrate more on natural gas. It would most likely help the environment and it would help to lessen the choke hold that foreign interests have on our economy.

The following parts of their opinion appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

Harnessing this large supplyplus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sourcesis essential to achieve three strategic national priorities:

Energy security: The internal combustion engine makes us dependent on oil that’s concentrated in a handful of countries in some of the world’s most volatile regions. In June, we imported 374 million barrels of oil, nearly two-thirds of what we used, at a cost of $24.7 billion. With 70% of imported oil going into cars and trucks, our transportation system is perilously at risk to shaky oil markets and even shakier regimes.

Economic security: Last year more than $155 billion was invested in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and China and India plan to invest hundreds of billions in renewable energy sources. The annual market for clean energy may escalate in the next decade to between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. The race is on.

Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.

The Climate Change Climate Change

Funny title.  You may have to read it a couple times to get it.  I didn’t create it – I am not that creative.

Kim Strassel has an opinion in the Wall Street Journal where she does a fair amount of reporting on the difficulties that politicians are having in dealing with the coming global warming catastrophe. It seems that politicians are a lot like many of my readers, when scientists can’t agree on what is happening (and not just little disagreements but violently opposed to each other) one should probably wait to spend trillions of dollars on which side is correct.

Here are some highlights from Ms. Strassel’s article:

Ethanol’s Grocery Bill

Very good article in today’s Wall Street Journal regarding the use of ethanol and how it costs a great deal to add it to our liquid fuel supply.  The article points out that depending on the technique used to create ethanol, it adds 5%-34% more greenhouse gas to the environment than pure petroleum.

There is also a case to be made that there is pressure put on food prices due to ethanol production as well.

I am not totally against using ethanol as an additive. I think there is some advantage to keeping the market alive and viable to spur development of new techniques of creating the liquid and new crop energy sources other than corn.

Everyone Hates Ethanol

The use of biological processes to create energy for our cars is very suspect.  The current sources of ethanol compete with our food supply which only drives up the price of food which is an extreme burden on the ultra-poor.

While there is a lot of research on alternative sources of ethanol that would not compete with food, this research has yet to make it to development.  The Wall Street Journal put out a good article discussing this a few weeks ago so I thought I would share the highlights.  Click through here to read the entire article.

A Look Into Future Oceans for Shellfish Reasons

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a great article that studies the effect of the increased acidification of the ocean by an increase in carbon dioxide.

I know that many of my readers doubt that CO2 actually has changed the climate. I also have doubts on this since the science is so ambiguous and so strongly relies on computer models. However, the acidification of the ocean due to an increased absorption of carbon dioxide is chemistry and is not subject to fuzzy computer models and guesses.

In case you question that the increase of CO2 is man-made and not natural – check out this article.

Some excerpts from WSJ: