MARCH 2010 (Vol. 26, #3)
The Green Religion of radical environmentalism features a creed, rituals, commandments, scripture, sermons, priests, saints, prophets, devils, inquisitors, and excommunication. But many who profess concern for the sacred Planet worship Mammon, not Gaia.
Huge amounts are at stake in carbon trading schemes. And vast amounts have already been lost. In January 2004, carbon began trading at $1/tonne at the Chicago Climate Exchange. Prices then fluctuated wildly, reaching a high of $7/tonne, and hitting a low of $0.10 to $0.20 in late 2009. Those who invested at the beginning–in what amounts to a tax on a gaseous atmospheric component essential for all life and on the hydrocarbon energy that powers 85% of the U.S. economy– have lost 90% of their investment.
The system is artificial and unworkable; and there are “too many opportunities to make big profits by cheating,” explain Willie Soon and David Legates.
Somebody profited, however. The turnover of carbon trading reached $126 billion in 2008, according to the World Bank, and $130 billion in 2009, according to PointCarbon. Every major finance house stands to profit from brokering paper trades–from both the gaining and the losing side.
Gaseous–or actually fictitious–carbon credits could become the largest tradeable commodity in the world. Larger than coal, oil, gold, wheat, copper, or uranium. The amount traded could reach $10 trillion a year, says Richard L. Sandor, chairman and CEO of Climate Exchange Plc.
“Somehow the tables have turned,” concludes Joanne Nova. “For all the smears of big money funding the ‘deniers,’ the numbers reveal that the sceptics are actually the true grassroots campaigners, while Greenpeace defends Wall Street.”
Greenpeace found $23 million paid to dissenters by Exxon over 10 years. Exxon also paid $100 million for Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project, and $600 million for Biofuels research. The U.S. government has spent $79 billion on climate research since 1989–but there are no grants for scientists to demonstrate that carbon has little effect; no Institute for Natural Climate Change; and no systematic auditing of IPCC, NOAA, NASA, or East Anglia CRU.
“Sceptics are fighting a billion dollar industry aligned with a trillion dollar trading scheme. Big Oil's supposed evil influence has been vastly outdone by Big Government, and even those taxpayer billions are trumped by Big Banking” (see www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2835581.htm, cited at http://globalwarming-arcleinblogspot.com/2010/03/global-warming-money-trail.html).
People who might normally favor taxes over market solutions strongly promote cap and trade rather than a carbon tax. Remarking that the 2008 financial crisis shook world confidence in markets, Al Gore still argues that “there is no readily apparent alternative [to cap and trade] that would be any easier politically” (Al Gore, “We Can't Wish Away Climate Change,” NY Times 2/28/10).
To keep CO2 from “leaking” from countries bound by a climate treaty to those that are not, UK chief scientific adviser Sir David King advocates a “fully global cap-and-trade scheme that puts a single high price on carbon's head.” This would “solve all the problems at a stroke,” pushing all nations toward the “magic figure of 2 tons” of CO2 per person per year (Science 12/4/09).
Rewards to individual scientists who promote such concepts include $250,000 from the Heinz Foundation and $720,000 from George Soros's Open Society Institute to James Hansen for global warming advocacy (Alan Caruba, http:// climaterealists.com/news.php?id=2663). Then there are the punishments for those who do not.
Aftermath of ClimateGate
There has been some confession and repentance by the scientific priesthood–for venial sins.
When a business accused of fraud begins shredding its memos and deleting its e-mails, the media are quick to proclaim these actions as signs of guilt. The systematic destruction of evidence by professors at the Climate Research Unit went unmentioned for days (Thomas Sowell, NR Online 12/22/09).
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) “labelled several respected climate scientists as potential criminals–nonsense that was hardly a surprise given the source.” An unsigned editorial (Nature 3/11/10) urged caution in engaging such critics. Being a member of the minority party, Inhofe is powerless for now, and “his report is only as effective as the attention it receives.”
It's a “street fight,” but it threatens “public trust [which] is based...on [scientists'] perceived objectivity and openness.”
Gore has acknowledged “at least two mistakes” (ibid.). CRU head Phil Jones admitted to having “written some really awful e-mails” (Tim Edwards, First Post 3/2/10). In a book review, Roger Pielke, Jr., notes that climate scientists are “under fire for uncaught errors and sloppiness” (Nature 3/18/10). There are calls to overhaul the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) because of a “failure of trust that reveals flaws in its structure” (Nature 2/11/10).
In otherwise tame hearings before the House of Commons, only the Institute of Physics, a scientific charity with a worldwide membership of 36,000, dared to question the integrity of the entire field of climate change, saying that the e-mails “provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific tradition and freedom of information law” (SPPI 2/10/10).
To prevent future debacles, there's a new law, a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which allows withholding of funding to any institution where a researcher publishes findings “not within the bounds of and entirely consistent with the evidence.” The regime in power defines “evidence.” The possibility of post-hoc punishment thus replaces the need for prior approval that was ruled to be an “illegal prior restraint on speech” (Cato 2/8/10).
In Mammon's effort to squelch Truth, self censorship might work even better than an Index of Prohibited Books.
Investors Want Dividends
In 1998, Jane Lubchenco, new president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), called for a “new social contract for science.” In return for the privilege of indulging their passion for science, scientists have a serious responsibility. “Investment” in science is predicated upon an expectation of return. Publicly funded scientists must advance societal goals, including a “sustainable biosphere” that is “ecologically sound” and “socially just” (Science 1/23/98).
Now appointed by Obama to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Lubchenco said she didn't think the ClimateGate e-mails were “typical” of scientists' behavior. She thinks that humanity has “manipulated the whole process” [of atmospheric physics] by emissions of CO2–but apparently not the data (Science Insider 12/2/09).
Manipulating Carbon Trading
While the “climate of fear” engendered by a “re-energized community of global-warming deniers” may have knocked climate scientists off balance (Nature 3/11/10) and derailed a climate-change treaty, the Copenhagen accord kept Big Carbon in business (Christopher Booker, Telegraph 12/19/09).
Copenhagen perpetuated the Kyoto rules that created the vast carbon-trading industry, with two main beneficiaries: a small number of people in India and China who work the system to their tremendous advantage, and certain Western entrepreneurs, including Al Gore.
“The only tree they were concerned with hugging was the money tree,” Booker writes. Compared with the sums involved, even the billions spent on subsidies to the makers of useless wind turbines are chicken-feed. “It's the greatest financial scam the world has ever seen.” (For the complete article and much more see TWTW 12/26/09, www.sepp.org).
Greenhouse Gases Unchanged
After billions of dollars and pounds have changed hands, with hefty commissions for bankers and other carbon traders along the way, there is no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions whatever, states Christopher Booker (Telegraph 2/20/10, see TWTW 2/27/10). More than half the credits issued through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) go to Chinese and Indian firms for destroying HCFC-23, which is 11,700 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. It is byproduct of manufacturing the refrigerant gas HCFC-22. Having paid out money in this “peculiar racket,” Britain and other countries continue to emit CO2 so that their political class can work in warm offices and fly around the world.
China and India refused to commit economic hara-kiri at the Copenhagen “Emission Impossible,” write Michael Economides and Art Horn (Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy 12/7/09).
The Ultimate Bubble?
If the U.S. passes a cap-and-trade bill, the demand for carbon credits could explode to $3 trillion. Could this be the boost Obama means when saying (Ian Talley, Dow Jones Newswires) that we need a climate bill to lift the economy?
“[U]nlike traditional commodities, which sometime during the course of their market exchange must be delivered to someone in physical form, the carbon market is based on lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no one,” explains Mark Schapiro (Harper's, Feb 2010, http://tinyurl.com/yztkuor).
“Indeed, carbon exists as a commodity only through the decisions of politicians and bureaucrats, who determine both the demand, by setting emissions limits, and the supply, by establishing criteria for offsets.” Thus, if politicians come to their senses, the market vanishes. Would there be a bail-out?
Jobs for China and Vietnam
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)– the “stimulus bill”–is supposed to create jobs. Nearly $2 billion has been spent on wind power, creating a few temporary construction jobs in America–and some 7,000 manufacturing jobs overseas. Steel towers for a Portuguese wind farm in Indiana were made in Vietnam (IBD 2/11/09).
Sell Caterpillar Stock, CEO Says
At a shareholders' meeting, Tom Borelli, director of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research, asked Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens about the impact of cap and trade on the company. Owens admitted that no cost-benefit analysis had been done before Caterpillar joined the U.S. Climate Action Enterprise, which lobbies for carbon emission limits–and that carbon caps would hurt American heavy industry. Asked how Owens could be held accountable if his lobbying course hurt shareholders, he advised Borelli to sell his stock (NCPPR press release 1/29/09).
Water and “Renewable” Energy
A concentrating-solar power plant can use 300—900 gallons of water per MWe-hour, compared to 180—350 for a typical natural-gas plant, 300—550 for coal, and up to 750 for nuclear (http://tinyurl.com/yzyqrbd).
Water shortages may occur in some areas because of increased irrigation of fuel crops. Removing the increased nitrates in surface and ground water supplies from corn ethanol production may require a 2,100% increase in energy requirements for water treatment, according to A.M. Twomey et al. in the J Environ Monitoring (http://tinyurl.com/yjhps7x, cited in People for the West Tucson newsletter, February 2010).
Simple Model Beats Expensive Forecasting Model
The naive model of forecasting assumes that things will remain the same. This was used to produce forecasts that were seven times more accurate than forecasts based on procedures used by the IPCC. The IPCC approach violates 72 of 127 principles of forecasting, partly by using models too complex for the situation. The simple model was tested with annual forecasts from one to 100 years in the future, for the years 1851 to 1950, based on the assumption that the temperature for next year and for each of the 100 future years would be the same as the last year's. The mean absolute error for 50-year-ahead forecasts was only 0.24 C. For the 91 to 100-year-ahead forecasts, the IPCC error was 12.7 times larger (Green KC, et al. Int J Forecasting 2009;25:826-832. http://kestencgreen.com/ gas-2009-validity.pdf).
The UK's climate machine is using a still more complex model now, churning through 1 million lines of computer code per hour, while admitting that “sometimes you can get completely unrealistic results” (Nature 2/25/10).