Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The end of oil

Most of my life I've been told we're going to run out of oil in the near future. The facts are otherwise. Stephen Moore did a good job summarizing the data here. However, I disagree with his point that President Obama is more wrong than anyone else; Obama merely repeats what he hears from his advisers.

Experts across the spectrum have been wrong; it is not merely the "green doomsayers" as Moore calls them.

Dead wrong on oil

The green doomsayers have repeatedly claimed the fuel is disappearing

Chart to accompany Moore article of Dec. 28, 2015

- - Sunday, December 27, 2015
It would be hard to find anyone in all of America who has been more wrong on the American energy story than Barack Obama.
Oil prices have fallen from $105 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to hovering at $35 a barrel today. That’s a two-thirds reduction in the price and the biggest factor is shale oil brought to you by fracking. In many areas of the country gas is now less than $2 a gallon and it could fall further in the weeks ahead.
The falling price means, of course, an expanded supply. But now listen to President Obama, who has lectured the nation on energy as if he were one of the top experts for the last eight years.
In a 2008 Speech in Lansing, Michigan, presidential candidate Obama was all doom and gloom about oil, advising: “We cannot sustain a future powered by a fuel that is rapidly disappearing.”
Then in 2010 from the Oval Office he solemnly declared: “We’re running out of places to drill,” and he jeered that the oil and gas industry might want to start pumping for oil near the Washington Monument.
During a 2011 weekly address he referred to oil and gas as “yesterday’s” energy sources.
Then during a speech at Georgetown University, he pontificated: “The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource (oil) that will eventually run out.”
By the way this discredited Malthusian belief that we are running out of oil is still widely believed by many scientists and pundits as well. Paul Krugman of The New York Times wrote in 2010 that “the world is fast approaching the inevitable peaking” of global oil production and that “world commodity prices are telling us that we’re living in a finite world.”
That was when prices were abnormally high. So if high prices tell us we are running out, then obviously low prices must tell us supply is rising.
These stupid predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than 20 times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted U.S. oil supplies would last 13 years. I could go on.
The wonder is that smart people like Nobel prize winners Krugman and Obama haven’t learned anything from history and instead keep regurgitating these myths about “running out.”
The folks at the Institute for Energy Research .recently published a study showing three data points: first, the government’s best estimate of how much oil we had in America 50 years ago.
The second was how much U.S. oil has been drilled out of the ground since then. And the third is how much reserves there are now. See chart. Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost 10 times more oil than the government told us we had back then.
Technology and innovation account for the constant upping the amount of “finite” oil we can produce. We discover new sources of oil much faster than we deplete the known amount of reserves and so for all practical purposes, oil and natural gas supplies are nearly inexhaustible. Fracking is the latest game changer and the access it gives us to shale oil and gas resources has virtually doubled over night. And this technology boom in drilling is just getting started.
My point is how absurd it is for Americans to blindly trust any “scientific consensus” on any of these natural resource or environmental issues. The credibility of the alarmists is just shot. In 1980, hundreds of the top scientists in the United States issued a report called “The Global 2000 Report to the President” — which was a primal scream that in every way life on earth would be worse by 2000 because the world would run out of oil, gas, food, farmland and so on.
My mentor Julian Simon and Herman Kahn challenged this conventional wisdom. Today they would be disparaged as “deniers.” Yet on every score these iconoclasts were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong.
Lately, even Mr. Obama doesn’t make the ridiculous claim that we have to use green energy because we are running out of oil.
Instead he now says we should keep our super-abundance of oil “in the ground,” even as he tries take credit for the low prices.
In reality, if we do what Mr. Obama wants, gas at the pump and electricity are going to be more expensive. If you don’t like $1.89 gasoline at the pump, you’re probably a big fan of the Obama energy/climate change agenda.
Hopefully, the neo-Malthusians like Mr. Obama will stop resorting to the century long false fear that we are running our of oil as an excuse for using much more expensive and much less efficient “green energy.”
Many years ago I was quoted in The New York Times as making this point about our infinite oil supply and a high school science teacher wrote me and huffed: “Even my 14 year olds know that oil is finite.”This teacher is probably now a top science advisor to Mr. Obama.

• Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works and a Fox News contributor.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 or 1955?

Normally, I like the Drudgereport as a source of news, but sometimes he gets as sensationalistic as the Enquirer. Lately he's been hyping the warm winter weather in the east, but Tony Heller points out it was warmer 60 years ago.

My students usually cite the weather as evidence of climate change, and sure enough, some of them pointed to this warm Christmas as proof. As always, they don't know what the history is, and many of them don't care. They just want to believe humans are destroying the planet.


Drudge is touting the “record heat” forecast for Christmas Eve, even though most of the country will be below normal temperature.  The best Drudge could come up with was 86 degrees at Orlando.
Christmas Eve 1955 was much warmer. Three fourths of the country was over 60 degrees, and Ashland Kansas,  Geary Oklahoma and Encinal Texas were all over 90 degrees. Fort Lauderdale was 85 degrees. All of the stations below were over 60 degrees on Christmas Eve, 1955.
Last winter, the East Coast had record cold. That was ignored because it was “less than 1% of the Earth.”  But this week, the Eastern US defines the global climate.
In Irving Berlin’s 1954 musical “White Christmas” – the story line was 70 degrees in New Hampshire on Christmas eve and no snow. That was why they were “Dreaming of a White Christmas”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ice age coming - 2015 or 1974?

Like many people of my generation, I first became involved with environmental issues when I was in high school. Back then, we were all taught to fear imminent cooling of the planet.

Yesterday, NASA announced that burning fossil fuels cools the planet. "But, rather than being good news, NASA has concluded the lack of taking these factors into account means existing climate change models have underestimated at the future impact on global temperatures will be."

Gavin claims that because the study shows a net cooling effect in the northern hemisphere, climate sensitivity to CO2 is actually greater than previously estimated.

"NASA researchers at GISS accomplished a first ever feat by calculating the temperature impact of each of these variables—greenhouse gases, natural and manmade aerosols, ozone concentrations, and land use changes—based on historical observations from 1850 to 2005 using a massive ensemble of computer simulations. 
The spokesman said: "Analysis of the results showed that these climate drivers do not necessarily behave like carbon dioxide, which is uniformly spread throughout the globe and produces a consistent temperature response; rather, each climate driver has a particular set of conditions that affects the temperature response of Earth.
"Because earlier studies do not account for what amounts to a net cooling effect for parts of the northern hemisphere, predictions for TCR and ECS have been lower than they should be. 
"This means that Earth's climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide—or atmospheric carbon dioxide’s capacity to affect temperature change—has been underestimated, according to the study."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which draws its TCR estimate from earlier research, places the future estimate rise at 1.8°F (1.0°C).
But the new NASA study dovetails with a GISS study published last year that puts the TCR value at 3.0°F (1.7° C).
Mr Schmidt said: “If you’ve got a systematic underestimate of what the greenhouse gas-driven change would be, then you’re systematically underestimating what’s going to happen in the future when greenhouse gases are by far the dominant climate driver.” 
Tony Heller does a nice job collecting old media accounts of the same ice age scare tactic here. The rest of this post is quoted from his web page.
NASA’s top climatologists reported the same thing in 1971, and made it clear that the effects of CO2 are not dangerous, and never will be dangerous.
Obama’s science adviser John Holdren reported the same thing in 1971, and predicted a new ice age in a joint paper with Paul Ehrlich.
Ehrlich also reported that the US would have food and water rationing by 1980.
NOAA shot this theory down by the year 1977, so it is pretty remarkable that Gavin is trying to resurrect it in 2015.
This endless cycle of mindless climate insanity and lies is what President Obama calls “settled science” – and wants to silence anyone who disagrees.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 or 1922?

"The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sails the seas around Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth's surface."

Guess when this report was submitted by U.S. diplomats stationed in Norway?

Despite NOAA propaganda, Arctic ice is cyclical

Tony Heller does a great job with historical climate research. You can see his original post here. I don't agree with his characterization of NOAA as fraudulent; instead, I think NOAA is engaged in political speech and spin. So I'll show Tony's material with my own commentary.

My conclusion: If you read NOAA's report card carefully, it is technically accurate. Overall, it is completely misleading. It's an advocacy document, pure and simple. The government should not be engaged in such advocacy.
NOAA’s chief scientist – Rick Spinrad – was cited in a comment to an article about the Arctic. Spinrad claimed "Warming is happening more than twice as fast in the Arctic as anywhere else in the world. We know this is due to climate change."

The 2015 Arctic Report Card that NOAA issued is available here. The summary is here. The report card says, "The average annual surface air temperature anomaly (+1.3°C relative to the 1981-2010 baseline) over land north of 60°N between October 2014 and September 2015 was the highest in the observational record beginning in 1900. This represents a 2.9°C increase since the beginning of the 20th Century."
Of course, the 1981 start date for the baseline is one of the issues. Another issue is the practical results of the "warming." Tony points out: "The US weather Bureau reported exactly the same thing in 1922. Seals disappearing and fish being forced northwards. However, in 1922 the reported warming was much larger than 2.3 degrees."
Tony also writes, "In 1947, scientists reported 10 degrees Arctic warming, much more than the 2.3 degrees reported by Rick Spinrad." That 2.3 degrees apparently comes from the comment to the Telegraph article. The actual report card claims a 2.9 degree warming, and Spinrad was not a co-author of the report card. Still, Tony makes a good point here.
Tony also makes a good point that "Glaciers were disappearing from Alaska to Norway."
Next, Tony writes, "The sea ice maximum occurred at the end of March, not February 25 as Spinrad claimed, and extent is the highest since at least 2004, not the “lowest on record.”" In this case, it's a question of which data one uses. Tony uses this one:
The other one at the same site looks like this:

Tony argues this one is not as useful for comparisons, but at least it gives some support for NOAA's report card. The main point, though, as Tony mentions later, is that the start date of 1979 skews the data tremendously.
Next, Tony shows that "Satellites show that recent Arctic temperatures peaked about 2010, and have fallen half a degree since then." I think he's right about this, and NOAA doesn't address it.
Again, I think Tony is right about his next point: "Before data tampering, Arctic temperatures were at least as warm in 1940 as they are now. Spinrad cherry-picked 1979 as his start date for many of his metrics, because it was the coldest year on record in the Arctic."
And this one: "Arctic warming was causing major challenges to communities 60 years ago."
Here, I think Tony makes a mistake. The NOAA Report Card is not lying; it is merely misleading, in a propaganda-type exercise. Tony writes, "But the biggest lie of all is his claim “the lowest extent recorded since records began in 1979.” The graph below is from the 1995 IPCC report, and shows that NOAA has sea ice data going back to at least 1973, and that extent was much lower in 1974. Spinrad cherry picked 1979 because it was the maximum of the last 45 years, and hid the earlier NOAA data which showed that ice extent was much lower prior to 1979."
It's entirely legitimate to say that NOAA cherry picked, but that's different from lying and fraud. What this tells me is that NOAA is politically motivated to provide a facade of scientific justification for alarming the public. The IPCC report is available here. The chart is on page 150 (p. 164 in the .pdf). 
Tony's conclusions: "He said “we know it is due to climate change.” Climate change is natural and occurs all the time. What Spinrad is reporting is due to his own junk science. Every single one of Spinrad’s claims was either false or misleading. The norm in government climate science. Why doesn’t peer-review catch these blatant errors?"
I think the answer to Tony's rhetorical question is that the peer review process here, like so many peer-reviews, is truly a review by peers; i.e., reviews are conducted by like-minded people who support the conclusions. Most peer-reviews are done to find factual errors, not to correct or even modify viewpoints. If you read NOAA's report card carefully, it is technically accurate. Overall, it is completely misleading. It's an advocacy document, pure and simple. The government should not be engaged in such advocacy.