Friday, November 18, 2016

Observations From the Back Row: If It Turns Green It's Not Gold

“I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” –Barack Obama, January 14, 2014

By Rich Kozlovich

Well, if a man gives a girl an engagement ring that turns green on her finger - it's not gold, it's brass - a phony - and so is the guy.

For those of us who've been on the right side of the Anthropogenic Climate Change issue there's a little bit....wellllll..... actually a lot of schadenfreude.  The latest Climate Report to the UN shows Trump is on the right side, and now the UN is wrong now, and has always been wrong,  and the "skeptics" have delivered a "consensus" busting report:

"University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott: “The fundamental point has always been this. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets.” “It’s scientific nonsense”

"Very prominent scientists are bailing out of the so-called “consensus.” ......Green Guru James Lovelock reverses belief in ‘global warming’: Now says ‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy’ 'It’s a religion really, It’s totally unscientific'...... University of Pennsylvania Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack noted in 2014, “None of the strategies that have been offered by the U.S. government or by the EPA or by anybody else has the remotest chance of altering climate if in fact climate is controlled by carbon dioxide.”

(Click here for Full Report ‘2016 State of the Climate Report’)

In an article sent to me that appeared in Environmental News (you need a subscription - I don't so I hope you do.) it's been noted "Several EPA employees say that morale at the agency has taken a significant downturn due to the uncertainty about President-elect Donald Trump's plans for the agency, charging that the Republican's campaign trail threats to eliminate or curb the agency and undo major Obama EPA rules is creating unease among staff.  “Around the agency, it's like a funeral,” says an EPA source. The source says Trump's election marks the first time a candidate who has called for eliminating EPA has won the presidency."

Well I think this is an excellent time for everyone to review my friend Dr. Jay Lehr's five year plan to dismantle the EPA. Jay states:  "Replace, Don't Try to Fix, EPA". 

"It is tempting to imagine EPA can be "fixed," that its abuse of power and pursuit of political agendas without regard to their effect on the environment could be stopped if only the right people were appointed to run it, or perhaps if Congress passed laws requiring better science or more cost-benefit analysis. This is wrong. As Fred L. Smith, Jr., wrote back in 1992":
"[T]he serious failures of environmental regulation ... do not occur randomly or, for that matter, as a result of bad management (although this may occasionally be the case). Rather, they stem from deep-rooted institutional and political incentives that systematically bias the EPA's decisions. Better science and risk assessment procedures, public participation, and civic education, in and of themselves, do little to counteract these biases, and may exacerbate them."
"Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option. As James V. DeLong wrote in 2002,"
"It should surprise no one that 25 years of talk about regulatory reform has achieved little. The vague language of the federal environmental statutes and the corresponding massive delegation of authority to EPA to make law, enforce law, and adjudicate violations concentrate tremendous power in the hands of the agency, breeding insensitivity, zealotry, and abuse. Experience has shown that regulatory agencies will tend to expand until checked, and the potential for regulatory expansion at the EPA, unbounded as it is by congressional language, is vast."
From Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Forum we find Trump will most likely trash Obama's climate policy as his Climate Contrarian: Myron Ebell Takes On The EPA.


The problem with President Obama’s strategy for his political and policy legacy is that an “action” that lives by the pen can die by the pen. So it will be, apparently, with his administration’s climate and other environmental policies, which are on the way to being largely undone by Donald Trump’s administration after the property tycoon won the US election last week. US and international climate activists will try to hang on, kicking and screaming, to the various big Obama climate actions. Unfortunately, it would seem to be the case that if a president decides to undo a previous president’s executive orders, or signatures on international agreements, he can do so. So kicking and screaming may describe the limits of the effective response to Mr Trump’s undoing of President Obama’s climate agenda. --John Dizard, Financial Times, 11 November 2016

U.S. EPA employees were in tears. Worried Energy Department staffers were offered counseling. Some federal employees were so depressed, they took time off. Others might retire early. And some employees are in downright panic mode in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory. EPA employees stand to see some of the most drastic changes under the Trump administration, and they may be taking things a bit harder than other government workers. The president-elect has vowed to repeal some of the rules they’ve toiled on for the last eight years during the Obama administration, including the Clean Power Plan rule to cut power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions. --Robin Bravender and Kevin Bogardus, E&E News, 11 November 2016

In looking for someone to follow through on his campaign vow to dismantle one of the Obama administration’s signature climate change policies, President-elect Donald J. Trump probably could not have found a better candidate for the job than Mr. Ebell. Mr. Ebell, who revels in taking on the scientific consensus on global warming, will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in choosing personnel and setting the direction of the federal agencies that address climate change and environmental policy more broadly. --Henry Fountain, The New York Times, 11 November 2016

Mr. Ebell grew up on a ranch in Oregon. He got his undergraduate degree at Colorado College and master’s at the London School of Economics, where he studied under the conservative political philosopher Michael Oakeshott. He has described himself as “sort of a contrarian by nature and upbringing,” and has said he was very strongly influenced by the “question authority” ethos of 1960s and ’70s counterculture. “I really think that people should be suspicious of authority,” he told an interviewer last year. “The more you’re told that you have to believe something, the more you should question it.” --Henry Fountain, The New York Times, 11 November 2016

Many developing nations’ promises to act under last year’s Paris Agreement set pre-conditions including increasing funds to help them limit greenhouse gas emissions and make their economies more resilient to heat waves, floods, storms and rising seas. Without extra money, they say they won’t be able to do so much. Trump, who has called man-made climate change a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt any U.S. taxpayer funds for U.N. global warming programs. If he follows through, that will threaten a collective pledge by rich nations in Paris to raise climate finance from both public and private sources from a combined $100 billion a year promised for 2020. “My only worry is the money,” said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of Democratic Republic of Congo, who heads a group of the 48 least developed nations. --Reuters, 12 November 2016

Only five MPs voted against the Climate Change Bill in September 2008. In an orgy of self-righteousness, parliament voted near-unanimously to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a date which is past the deadline of at least half of the honourable members who supported it. Thus was laid the foundation of Britain’s barmy energy policy. This has given us expensive domestic fuel prices in a time of plenty, prevented the building of gas-fired power stations and culminated in the biggest postdated cheque ever written on the UK taxpayer, in the form of the finance for the Hinkley Point power station. The sceptics at the Global Warming Policy Forum describe the Act as “a one-shot rocket, quite without steering and with precious little provision for deceleration … if a change of pace is not possible, abrupt termination becomes inevitable”. --Neil Collins, Financial Times, 11 November 2016

China’s government said it would raise coal power capacity by as much as 20% by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country’s energy sector despite a pledge to bring down pollution levels. In a new five-year plan for electricity released Monday, the National Energy Administration said it would raise coal-fired power capacity from around 900 gigawatts last year to as high as 1,100 gigawatts by 2020. The roughly 200-gigawatt increase alone is more than the total power capacity of Canada. --Brian Spegele, The Wall Street Journal, 8 November 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey says it has found the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever discovered in the United States. On Tuesday, the USGS announced that a swath of West Texas known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That is nearly three times more petroleum than the agency found in North Dakota's Bakken shale in 2013. -- Rebecca Hersher, NPR, 16 November 2016

For those who might be wondering, the estimate for the Wolfcamp Shale is almost 19 times larger than the USGS estimate of continuous oil in place for the Eagle Ford Shale, released in 2012. To put the magnitude of this estimate for the Wolfcamp Shale into further context, the Prudhoe Bay formation on the North Slope of Alaska, to date the largest producing oil field ever discovered in North America, has produced just over 12 billion barrels oil over the past 43 years. The largest producing oil field ever discovered in the Lower 48 states of the U.S., the East Texas Field, has to date produced just over 7 billion barrels since the early 1930s. --David Blackmon, Forbes, 15 November 2016

In a troubled oil world, the Permian Basin is the gift that keeps on giving. One portion of the giant field, known as the Wolfcamp formation, was found to hold 20 billion barrels of oil trapped in four layers of shale beneath the desert in West Texas, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report on Tuesday. That’s almost three times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken play and the single largest U.S. unconventional crude accumulation ever assessed. At current prices, that oil is worth almost $900 billion.  --Joe Carroll, Bloomberg, 15 November 2016

Surplus LNG volumes, supplemented by new production in the US, Australia, Canada and East Africa, "will create the catalyst for a second natural-gas revolution, with far-reaching implications for gas pricing and contracts" - so says the International Energy Agency(IEA) in its latest World Energy Outlook, unveiled at a Westminster, central London press conference this morning. --Arthur Fields, Highbury Clock, 17 November 2016

U.S. shale producers are redeploying cash, rigs and workers, cautiously confident the energy sector has turned a corner after Donald Trump’s election victory and OPEC‘s recent signal that it plans to curb production. The downturn produced a leaner, more efficient U.S. shale industry that was forced to develop and quickly adapt new technology to compete with conventional oil supplies during a two-year period of depressed prices. The U.S. oil drilling rig count has grown 6% since OPEC‘s September accord, according to oilfield analytics firm NavPort, with additions across the country’s top shale fields including the Permian (7%) and the Bakken (17%). --Reuters, 14 November 2016

The EU claims to be promoting an ambitious agenda at the Marrakesh climate conference, but its latest piece of energy legislation could subsidise new coal capacity and undermine market access for renewables. On 30 November, the European Commission will unveil its Winter Package, a series of legislative proposals supposedly aimed at providing “clean energy for all”, of which EurActiv.fr has obtained a copy. One contentious issue is the introduction of capacity mechanisms across the EU. The absence of a CO2 emissions cap for new electrical capacity in article 23 of the new electricity market regulation means it has potential to be used to subsidise new coal-fired power stations. --Aline Robert, Euractiv, 16 November 2016

China’s top planning body has relaxed working day restrictions on its coal mines after reduced output boosted prices, frustrating central planners’ desire to control both price and supply of the nation’s most important energy source. China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday that all mines could produce for 330 days each year, after last week extending a production band of 276-330 days through the end of March. --Financial Times, 17 November 2016

David Cameron’s departure from Downing Street, and the arrival of Theresa May, heralds a rather deeper change. The Department of Energy and Climate Change, Whitehall’s bastion of greenery, has been closed down and its functions folded into a department whose priorities are business, energy and industrial strategy. The Government has already given the green light to shale gas extraction, improving the prospect for affordable and secure supplies of domestic energy, which pleased business. Now they could take an axe to that “green crap” and demonstrate an immediate impact on voters’ pockets. -–Mark Wallace, Conservative Home, 16 November 2016

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