Friday, March 27, 2009

Myron's stupidity hour

In an attempt to give us hope, the United Nations Secretary General said:
On 28 March, the world will observe Earth Hour. Millions of people, in hundreds of cities, will turn off their lights for an hour. Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message. They want action on climate change.

It promises to be the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted. People will be telling their representatives to seal a deal in Copenhagen. A deal at the climate change talks that will protect people and the planet. We need an ambitious agreement. An agreement that is fair and effective. An agreement based on sound science.

We are on a dangerous path. Our planet is warming. We must change our ways. We need green growth that benefits all communities. We need sustainable energy for a more climate-friendly, prosperous world. This is the path of the future. We must walk it together.

Around the world, many famous landmarks will go dark during Earth Hour. In New York, we will switch out the lights at UN Headquarters. Other UN facilities around the world will also take part.

I urge citizens everywhere to join us. Please send a strong message on climate change. Together we can find a solution to this most serious of global challenges.

My friends, climate change and the economic crisis need bold action. Now.
Of course, like Car Free Day, there will be no noticeable difference in consumption, which will demonstrate that our current human civilization is wholly incapable of making even a token gesture, let alone organizing a credible attempt at tackling the very real and very threatening problems that are developing counter to our continued life on earth.

And so it was that the tribe of human extinctionists known as the CEI declared (on 19 March) a simultaneous observance known as Human Achievement Hour, accompanied by the following stupid video accompanied by the music "Let's see how far we've come":

The press release contained an the obligatory sentence from Myron Ebell:
"We salute the people who keep the lights on and produce the energy that helps make human achievement possible," says Myron Ebell, CEI’s Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy.
Horse-faced new recruit Michelle Minton, wrote in her second article (on 23 March):
Our press release described ways people might celebrate the achievements of humanity such as eating diner, seeing a film, driving around, keeping the heat on in your home—all things that Earth Hour celebrators, presumably, should be refraining from. In the cheekiest manner, we claimed that anyone not foregoing the use of electricity in that hour is, by default, celebrating the achievements of human beings. Needless to say, the enviros in the blogosphere didn’t take to kindly to our announcement.
She then quoted some statements from twilight earth blog.

It's all such a big joke, isn't it?

What do you expect from someone who proclaims in the middle of a banking disaster of the kind we are experiencing that "the selfish desire for long-term personal wealth is the best incentive for creating sound and effective businesses." ?

It's not like Ms. Minton (unlike Mr. Ebell) is incapable of thinking logically, as she did about her horse insurance:
If insurers don’t take every risk into account, they inevitably transfer some risks from people who take risks to those who don’t. Failing to take risks into account is unfair to everyone.
As we at the Climate know, and succeeding generations are going to be intimately aware of soon after they are born:
Failing to take environmental degradation into account is unfair to everyone.
The Human Achievement Hour video ends its recap of human civilization and advancement at exactly 1969. Here is the video that covers today and the next hundred years:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not World Changing

The nondescript WorldChanging website which correctly called out the Competitive Enterprise Institute for their "Carbon dioxide - they call it pollution. We call it life" ads in 2006 just ruined all their credibility when staff writer Ben Block published an email contribution from chicken-entrail-brain Myron Ebell in his article India Joins International Renewable Energy Agency:
Critics in the United States have questioned whether IRENA [the International Renewable Energy Agency] could in fact help India expand its renewable energy capacity. "Experience proves that such agencies almost always quickly become bureaucracies that are effective only at perpetuating themselves and that often become obstacles to progress," said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, in an e-mail.

Rather than create an institution with permanent positions, Ebell said that ad-hoc international collaborations such as the Asia-Pacific Partnership have proven useful in exchanging clean energy technologies.
Setting aside the fact that Ebell is clearly describing the Competitive Enterprise Institute itself -- a self-perpetuating organization whose sole purpose is to be an obstacle to progress -- just what the hell does anyone think he knows about anything? Ben Block might as well have phoned up a pissed tramp in the west end of Chicago. Or an Exxon executive who simply doesn't want any renewable energy to be successful.


Ebell also shows up in this LA Times article by Richard Simon about how the declaration of National Monument lands in Southern California would block the development of solar and wind energy projects:
Myron Ebell, an energy expert with the pro-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, called Feinstein's effort "just the first example of how hard it is going to be to realize President Obama's dream of a green-energy economy."
Now, Myron has long fumed about the prevention of strip mining and oil drilling in national parks, and it's one of his missions to equate those activities to the reasonably trivial land damage caused by setting up a wind farm. They're not even close. It's like comparing going to the dentist to open heart surgery.

But there's going to be room to lie about the issues and give soundbytes that will endlessly echo through the empty chambers of right-wing minds. It would just help if reporters with self-respect stopped taking quotes from him. His evil corporate backers (now likely to be the American coal industry) pay him by the word. In a just world, there would be no jobs for work like his. You reporters have it in your power to make it end.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The man with chicken entrails for brains

Myron writes a pointless paragraph:
The Independent in London this week ran with the latest claim about sea level rise. Their headline illustrated perfectly how ridiculous predictions quickly transform into facts. The story was headlined, "Sea levels rising twice as fast as predicted." The first sentence did not agree with the headline: "Sea levels are predicted to rise twice as fast as was forecast by the United Nations only two years ago..." That is, the soothsayers have read their chicken entrails again and decided that their previous divinations were not dire enough. This has nothing to do with actual sea level rise. For the past several years, sea level rise has been below the average rate of the twentieth century, which in total was about seven inches.
You would expect this from a man who thinks that everything in life that isn't about making money is chickenshit.

The rest of the article (based on physical observations, rather than stuff pulled out of Myron's ass) is pretty terrifying:
Rising sea levels are caused by the thermal expansion of the ocean – where water increases in volume as it warms. But although the melting of ice already floating in the sea does not add to the level, because it is already displacing its own mass, melting into the sea of land-based ice most definitely does.

It is the accelerated melting of the vast, land-based ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, caused by rapidly rising temperatures at high latitudes, which is now speeding up the increase beyond anything previously forecast. The Greenland ice sheet, in particular, is not simply melting but melting "dynamically" – that is, it is collapsing in parts as meltwater seeps down through crevices and speeds up its disintegration. Critically, the four scientists said, this process was not taken into account in the AR4 report, leading to estimates of sea-level increase which were far too low.

They revealed remarkable figures showing just how fast it is now happening. Professor Steffen said Greenland was losing 200 to 300 cubic-kilometres of ice into the sea each year – about the same amount as all the ice in Arctic Europe. This on its own is causing the global sea level to rise by more than a millimetre a year, he added, whereas a decade ago Greenland's contribution to sea level rise was non-existent.
Essentially, the scientists are discovering that their over-conservative estimates in every system (partly in fear of attacks from Myron Ebell and his death-wish nutter friends) are wildly out compared to what we see is occurring. We are so fucked.

Myron's answer is the equivalent of a man who goes out and points to the sea between 6am and 11am today (high and low tides) and says: "Oh look, it's gone down 5 metres. What's the problem? The sea level is always changing."

The question is, do you want your grandchildren's children to die or not?

You do? I thought so.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This bubble will burn with the rest of us

Within a reality bubble conference reminiscent of statements by Comical Ali, mischievously coinciding with the meeting of real scientists over in Copenhagen (the press these days is too dim to tell the difference), Myron Ebell made a presentation, transcribed in all its glory below:
I'm disappointed to see you all here. I'd have hoped you would have gone to the more important sessions on climate science and impacts instead of this icky political stuff.

If you want to get involved in the Cooler heads coalition, just send me an email. There's a website ( and a weekly newsletter called the Cooler Heads Digest.

I'm not doing a slide show. But I did bring a show and tell. It's Fiji Water. This is the most politically incorrect bottled water and I buy it every time I go to the airport. It comes direct to you from Fiji, it's very energy inefficient, and the only thing they could do to improve it would be to carbonate it.

The interesting thing about this is the environmentalists are on a campaign against bottled water, but they haven't gone against carbonated beverages yet: Cocacola, budweiser, Champagne, that will be next.

I prefer ethanol in Champagne and those kinds of delivery vehicles rather than Fords and Toyotas.

The conference motto is that global warming is not a crisis, and what I want to propose to you today is that the alarmist consensus is that global warming is not a crisis. Now they say it's a crisis. As you know you can google this and you can find thousands of references to people, starting with Al Gore, that the greatest threat facing humanity today, the greatest threat in the history of humankind, the greatest threat to the planet that has ever existed is human caused global warming.

But I am going to propose to you that they don't actually believe that.

I think that global warming is a solution in search of a problem. The solution is energy rationing. That is the goal. If you look at the history of the environmental movement you find (Greenpeace had this on their website about 7 years ago) "the modern world has faced two energy crises. In the 1970s we were running out of energy. Today we have too much energy."

The environmental movement is based on a bias against human power over nature. What is it that gives us power over nature? Energy, modern energy. And therefore they have been waging war on the use of energy ever since the first Earth Day on Lenin's birthday in 1970, April 22.

Al Gore said in, Earth in the Balance, that the central organizing principle of all human society must become saving the environment. In other words, all of our efforts should not be towards pursuing out own goals, but pursuing a centrally organized goal which will be in this case saving the environment.

Al Gore has been a leader in all this. But I would like to compare global warming to what a real crisis would be like.

Take for example the Second World War. Everything in society was reorganized to win the war, whichever country you were in. All the resources were dedicated towards it. And of course people had rationing coupons.

Now think about it: If the purpose of the war were to have rationing coupons, rather than defeating the enemy, that is what the modern environmental movement is. The purpose is the rationing coupons. That's the end goal. I think you will see that in everything they do. The science really doesn't matter.

I have a lot of examples, but I'm going to run through a few of them.

If global warming were a crisis, wouldn't the environmental movement be pushing a zero emissions source that could produce a huge amount of energy. Say, nuclear power.

No, they oppose nuclear power.

But you may say that some groups don't, but the environmental movement is organized so that there are good cops and bad cops on every issue. Some groups will try to seduce the business community, and then there are the groups that just say no.

Al Gore is a good example on nuclear power. He says, yes the crisis is so serious we must consider it. He didn't say we had to build a nuclear power plant. He said we should consider building one. And he'll still be considering one after that ten year window that he said we have is over.

Remember about three years ago he said if we don't do something in ten years we'd all be dead? Well, you'd think he'd be saying we need a crash program the way we had in the second world war to build ships; we would be building nuclear power plants.

What about natural gas? In the NRDC plan for the future of our energy use, natural gas is seen as the most important transitional fuel because it has a lower carbon footprint than coal and petroleum. Our natural gas consumption has gone up at 1.5% per year for decades. 90% of the new electrical capacity added in this country in the past 20 years is gas. And yet 20 years ago 75% of Federal lands were open to oil and gas exploration. Today, 16% of federal lands are open.

Okay, if we can't drill it here, where are we going to get it? We're going to ship it. We're going to compress it and liquefy it and bring it from other countries. Where in the country are they allowing you to build a new LNG terminal? They are being fought and litigated and demonstrated against all over the country. The only LNG terminals are being build in the Gulf where they still believe in energy, in places like Louisiana and Texas.

What about carbon capture and storage? Greenpeace has said, "No no no, we don't want that Carbon Dioxide. That's dangerous stuff. We don't want to be storing that underground."

What about other things? Instead of cutting down CO2, we did bioengineering? Oh no no no, you can't do that.

What about seeding the Pacific Ocean with iron pellets? No no no, you can't do that.

What about the kinds of things talked about ten or fifteen years ago about atmospheric engineering or putting things up into space with mirrors? Oh no no no.

All of these things would be one millionth as expensive as cutting our energy use, but they're all off the table.

And so I believe that global warming alarmists do not believe that global warming is a crisis. Instead, it is a solution in search of a problem.

Now a few other points.

85% of the world's energy comes from hydrocarbon fuels. The Energy Information Administration projects that in 2030 there will be a 70% increase in global energy use. I think that's on the low side if you look at what's happening in China right now. In other words, the world is not energy rich, it's energy poor.

There are a billion and a half people in the world who don't have electricity today. There's a lot of unmet demand here.

The EIA projects that in 2030 when the world is using 70% more energy, 85% of it will come from hydrocarbons. That's the business as usual scenario.

So, what is the goal of Al Gore and the alarmists? It's to reduce hydrocarbon consumption from 1990 levels to 60% below those 1990 levels by 2050. What would that take?

Well, in 1990, the world emitted about 18 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, so you can figure out how much 60% below that is. The reference case is that the world in 2050 will be emitting close to 40 Gigatonnes, and we're supposed to get below 10 Gigatonnes in order to stave off this catastrophe.

How could we do that?

Well, the Department of Energy and Jim Connaughton have done a wonderful little table that explains: to get rid of one Gigatonne you have to build 273 zero emission coal fired power plants of 500Mwatts. Right now there are zero of those coal fired power plants in the world. You would have to install 1000 carbon capture and storage sites like Norway's Sleipner project. There are 3 of those in the world today.

This is to get rid of 1 Gigatonne, and we've got to get rid of about 30, so you can multiply each one of these by 30.

We'd have to build 136 new nuclear power plants of 1 Gigawatt each. That's one third of current worldwide capacity. We have not built a new nuclear power plant in this country in 30 years, and maybe the next one might come online in the next ten or fifteen years if they're lucky.

We could deploy 273 million new cars that get 40 mpg instead of 20 mpg.(testimony that refers to this when fighting for car efficiency standards)

Remember, that's 1 Gigatonne, and we need to get rid of 30 Gigatonnes.

So what this is all about is a looming trainwreck. And I'll just finish with this.

We have a number of Bills in Washington right now to create a cap-and-trade mechanism for carbon dioxide. Cap-and-trade is another term for tax. It's a hidden tax, and it redistributes income from consumers to special interests. The primary Bill that we're looking at right now is the Leiberman-Warner Bill (not the Leiberman-McCain Bill). It's been marked up by the Senate and Public Works Committee and passed out on a party line vote with the exception fo Senator John Warner who voted for it.

What will it do?

Well, it adopts targets a little less onerous than Al Gore's targets, but they're in the same ball-park.

We have a paper coming out by Ross McKitrick where he estimates what it would do to income. His estimate is that between now and 2050 the average American income in business as usual will go up 190% in real dollars.

Under Leiberman-Warner, real income would have to go down by 50% per capita. That's because the United States is not a static economy. It's a developing economy. We have 1% per year increase in population. Significantly, our CO2 emissions for the last 25-30 years have been going up 1% per year. In other words, we have stable CO2 emissions. We're using energy more efficiently every year, but the environmentalists are saying "Oh no no no, that's not good enough. You have to quadruple or quintuple the rate of efficiency growth."

If I have one or two more minutes, I will say this about what's at stake here. In Europe they have $8 a gallon gasoline, but emissions are going up. Let's say that $5 of that is tax. That's equivalent to about $500 per tonne of CO2 avoided. We're told that it will only take $20-$50 to get CO2 out of the economy, and yet when consumers have a choice they're willing to pay an awful lot more and still consume a product that gets them where they want to go. So, mobility is a very great value, the price signal is very inelastic, and we're talking about tripling or quadrupling the price of gasoline in order to start to get demand down.
So, there's that allegation that Business As Usual would make us all exponentially richer, if it wasn't for those pesky environmentalists who are capable of deranging public policy to a greater extent than the military-industrial complex.

Meanwhile, over in the real world:
Experts predict that higher worldwide temperatures will reduce rainfall in the Amazon region, which will cause widespread local drought. With less water and tree growth, "homegrown" rainfall produced by the forest will reduce as well, as it depends on water passed into the atmosphere above the forests by the trees. The cycle continues, with even less rain causing more drought, and so on.

With no water, the root systems collapse and the trees fall over. The parched forest becomes tinderbox dry and more susceptible to fire, which can spread to destroy the still-healthy patches of forest.
We are SO screwed!

Monday, March 09, 2009

The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change Acceleration

The Heartland Institute has helpfully rounded up all the top climate change liars in one place to... well, I'm not sure what for, really.

Myron Ebell, of course, is there. His bio, published for the purpose of promoting his qualifications to speak to this gathering is pretty revealing. First the semi-positive sentences:
  • Myron Ebell is director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). [a job he holds on the basis of his ability to insert unfiltered lies into the network media]

  • He chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition, representing more than two dozen non-profit groups in the United States and abroad that question global warming alarmism and oppose energy-rationing policies.[a ficticious organization of no consequence]

  • He has testified before six U.S. House and Senate committees.[at the invitation of know-nothing Republicans. Here is one from December 2007]

  • He has debated scores of government officials and environmental advocacy groups on radio and in person. [due to media incompetence and corruption which gives access to the least qualified person]
The man doesn't even have a book to his name, like so many other junkmen in his business.

Then we come to the other half of the bio which shows that being called a complete and unmitigated moron by as many people as possible is an important part of his image:
  • Greenpeace featured Ebell and three of his CEI colleagues in "A Field Guide to Climate Criminals" distributed at the UN climate meeting in Montreal in December 2005.

  • In its November 17, 2005 issue, Rolling Stone magazine named Ebell one of six "Misleaders" on global warming, along with President George W. Bush, Senator James Inhofe, Michael Crichton, and others.

  • In November 2004, as a result of a BBC Radio interview, seven members of the British House of Commons introduced a motion to censure Ebell "in the strongest possible terms."

  • In its May 22, 2004 special "Issues and Answers" issue, National Journal profiled Ebell as one of 10 people who would lead the global warming debate during the next presidential administration.

  • The Clean Air Trust in March 2001 named Ebell its "Villain of the Month" for his role in persuading the Bush administration not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
Sadly, the existance of the Myron Ebell Climate closely documenting the malicious basis of his propaganda as it evolves over the years does not count as one of his achievements. Still: in a hundred years' time the MEC blog will be an important part of the documentary history relating to how a relatively small band of obviously idiotic corporate-funded liars were able to break the connection between well-established science and public policy in a way that sealed our fate. If a thousand people did what the Climate is doing, we would have driven these vermin out long ago. But one has to do what is right, whether or not it is popular.

Myron's contribution, scheduled right about now, is in "Track 4: Economics and Politics - The Political Outlook for Energy-Rationing Policies" on the subject of "Prospects for Energy Rationing: It's Not as Grim as it Looks".

It'll be something relatively uncontroversial about how the governance of the United States is so utterly dysfunctional it cannot implement any of the policies necessary to deal with the climate crisis. This is good news-- if you happen to be into nihilism, which everyone at this conference obviously is.

Speaking of nihilism, my eye was caught by one of the keynote speeches:
12:00 noon - 2:00 pm Lunch and keynote speakers
Art Robinson - Nobel Prize for Death
I looked him up, and found the usual horseshit:
Unprincipled opportunists -- falsely claiming that DDT is dangerous to the environment -- managed to engineer a world-wide ban of DDT. DDT had eradicated malaria from the developed world and was well on its way to eradicating it from the less developed countries at the time this ban of DDT was instituted. The initiation of DDT use against malaria was rewarded by a Nobel Prize, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT had saved hundreds of millions of lives.

One of the principal political figures who worked to ban DDT was none other than Al Gore.

As a result of the DDT ban, more than 30 million children in Africa and Asia have died from DDT-preventable malaria, and an estimated 500 million adults are today chronically ill from this disease. The ban of DDT was the worst act of technological genocide in human history.
Oh, man! Not! That! Again!

DDT worked great against malaria until the indiscriminate (and very profitable) use of the chemical in agriculture caused so much resistance in mosquitos that it was no longer useful for this purpose. As the summary says:
The evolution of resistance to DDT in mosquitos has greatly reduced its effectiveness in many parts of the world, and current WHO guidelines require that before the chemical is used in an area, susceptibility of local mosquitos to DDT must be confirmed.[82] The appearance of DDT-resistance is largely due to its use in agriculture, where it was used in much greater amounts than the relatively small quantities used for disease prevention. According to one study that attempted to quantify the lives saved by banning agricultural uses of DDT and thereby slowing the spread of resistance, "it can be estimated that at current rates each kilo of insecticide added to the environment will generate 105 new cases of malaria."[18]
Meanwhile, from the street, a short video by the good people of Desmogblog:

Friday, March 06, 2009

The vanishing brain of Myron

In a rather nasty and degenerative book review in a poncy new right-wing outlet, Myron Ebell screws readers with his opinionated ramble on the subject of James Lovelock's latest Gaia book, as well as of another book that is Lovelock's biography.

Myron cherry-picks what he considers as far-sighted wisdom (any criticism of Greens) from the extreme naiveté of the man (fear of the US private health system), and mixes it with his usual catalogue of misrepresentations. Indeed, Myron's concludes his piece with the story:
[In the biography, the author recounts] Lovelock's coronary problems that almost killed him because he didn't want to have surgery in the United States in 1972 on the grounds that it would cost too much. After a decade of misdiagnoses and delay, during which he might have had a fatal heart attack at any time, the National Health Service finally operated in 1982. The bypass was "a complete success".

Unfortunately, a catheter had not been sterilised properly due to a labour dispute that was taken out on patients by working to rule. The result has been continual urinary tract infections, at least 40 operations, and "pain and misery that persists to the present day". The [biography] cheerily reports that Lovelock "holds no ill will towards the hospital or the National Health Service. If anything, his experiences over the next 25 years reinforced his belief in a free medical service available to all."
Great. So we're supposed to privatize the health service because socialized medicine is strike-prone and full of workers who don't care if you get infected, apparently. While these allegations are probably unfounded, we do know that the insurance companies who control the American health care system absolutely do not care if you die.

Here's another example of Myron having problems with the subject of his writings:
It is with Lovelock's enthusiasm for nuclear power that his fundamental disagreement with and antipathy for the Green movement becomes most apparent. The Greens have turned people against nuclear power with "a concatenation of lies". Ironically, Lovelock acknowledges that he played a small but essential role in creating modern environmentalism. His invention of the electron capture detector in 1957 provided Rachel Carson with evidence that industrial toxins were present in everything, including human tissue. Lovelock points out that everyone knows that the dose makes the poison. Minute traces of chemicals pose no threat to human beings, nor do the low levels of radiation found in nuclear waste. The most potent carcinogen, Lovelock observes, is oxygen.
Really? Atom for atom, I thought the most potent carcinogen was the radio-active metal Plutonium. But it's normal for Myron not to know the difference between toxic waste and food. I'm not sure what Rachel Carson has to do with this, but the CEI has had a thing about her ever since they decided to start spreading malicious lies about the effectiveness of the pesticide DDT which mosquitoes become wholly resistant to in about a year.

In reality, the electron capture detector was famous for measuring the pervasiveness of low levels of CFCs throughout all of the atmosphere and, in so doing, was an essential tool for discovering the cause of the ozone hole.

But the indisputable story of a life-threatening mad-made chemical process in the atmosphere and how disaster was mostly avoided by timely action is not something Myron is ever going to want to talk about. Instead, he's going to bang on about how tasty nuclear waste is for breakfast.

It's not just Lovelock who is in favour of nuclear power, a whole raft of environmentalists have recently come out for it as well. It would be a mistake to interpret this as them "changing their minds" over the desirability of nuclear power, so much as the threat of global warming being so awful as to make a nuclear meltdown happening in a couple of cities across the world a preferable option.

Myron writes:
The current scientific consensus on global warming, as represented by the assessment reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is far off the mark, according to Lovelock. Consensus has no legitimate role in science. It's rather a way of resolving political differences than pursuing truth. Moreover, this specific consensus is based on agreeing that computer models can predict what global temperatures will be in 50 or 100 years, which Lovelock argues is preposterous. Instead of models, science must be based on observations and measurements.

What do observations and measurements tell us about the global climate? Lovelock says that the evidence is unambiguous: the rate of warming is much faster than predicted by the computer model forecasts of steady, gradual warming. The almost certain result is that the self-regulating feedbacks that maintain the climate in its current rather cool state will collapse and the climate will change suddenly to a much hotter state.
Well, who'd have thought: models and predictions that have been encouraged to assume the most conservative measures and interpretations end up under-estimating the effect. That's because they define a lower bound of how bad things are going to be.

But when Myron sees this error value, he feels he can decide which way the error goes:
I agree with Lovelock on consensus, the computer models and on the primacy of observation. But he seems unaware of the wide array of observational evidence that does not support his position. For example, he quotes one study that sea levels are now rising at a rate much faster than the models predict. That study is not supported by the scientific literature or by the satellite measurements of sea levels that have recently become available.
I am unable to find what Myron is talking about. If he does have a non-fictitious citation, perhaps he needs to add it to the Satellite sea level measurement section which begins:
Sea level rise estimates from satellite altimetry are 3.1 ± 0.4 mm/yr for 1993-2003 (Leuliette et al. (2004)). This exceeds those from tide gauges. It is unclear whether this represents an increase over the last decades; variability; true differences between satellites and tide gauges; or problems with satellite calibration.
Then finally we get the usual rehash that carbon dioxide is good for you, because...
Even on the small chance that he is right that we face a much hotter world, there have been similar climate eras in Earth's history that were times of lush vegetation and a flourishing of the biosphere rather than widespread droughts and deserts. That's not necessarily due to temperature: plants need carbon dioxide to photosynthesise and higher carbon dioxide levels cause nearly all classes of plants to grow more vigorously and to withstand adversity better, as hundreds of agricultural experiments have demonstrated.
Would that be agricultural experiments like these ones, which find exactly the opposite effect, or is he making stuff up again?

All in all, this article sheds a lot of light on the "unashamedly highbrow" and "properly edited"[1] quality of this Standpoint magazine, which is about what you would expect for a right-wing leaning publication.

After all, if the facts don't agree with the politics, then the facts have to be ignored.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The most trusted name in coal

The CEI has returned to using YouTube following last year's incident and proudly made a posting of Myron Ebell spreading numerous blatant lies on Fox News:

Q: We've heard about the president investing $15billion in renewable energy. When you look at the program is that a reasonable dollar amount?

Myron: It's far too much money to waste on uncompetitive technologies. This plan conflicts with the president's goal of long-term economic activity because it simply puts money into higher priced energy which will in the long term make us all poorer.

Q: I'm a little confused why that would do some of the things you are talking about. Wouldn't it be wise to look at energy as a place where we could be a leader in this place as a country? And we're very dependent on foreign oil right now. There are multiple forms of energy that seem to be very effective in other countries. Why is that a waste of taxpayer funds?

Myron: We are a leader in energy technology. We have access to the most affordable energy in the world, and President Obama's plan would put us on a course to adopt higher priced energy that would make us less competitive, take money out of people's pockets, and cost jobs. This money doesn't come out of the air. It comes out of people's pockets and you're putting it into higher priced forms of energy. We need to be using the lower priced forms of energy. That's what helps make us competitive.

Q: Ah. Okay Myron [exasperation] I'm going to allow Lou to say what is on my mind. [holds forehead] Lou, this is the argument we've been hearing for decades about investing in renewable energy. And the problem is: look at what happened to us last year. If we don't start to invest, the cost will never get cheaper. Of course they'll be expensive, but correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there's a lot of jobs being created out of this.

Lou: blah blah new forms of energy. the future is in clean energy.

Q: And, Lou, correct me if I'm wrong. It's not as though the president is saying we're not going to use the natural resources in this country, like natural gas. It's not as though we're not going to continue to use the sources of oil that we use from our neighbours in Canada. It's that we've got to have other alternative sources and stop depending on the ones that got us into this mess.

Lou: blah full suite of energy technologies blah a way for america to regain a competitive advantage.

Q: All right, Myron, I need you to explain to me how this is dollars wasted and a loss of jobs.

Myron: If these were competitive technologies, if these were real jobs, then private industry would be investing in them. The federal government has been throwing money at renewable technologies since the 1970s. These technologies still produce energy that is far more expensive than conventional energy, and if our industries are using higher priced energy that means they are less competitive. If our consumers are paying more on their electric bills, or gasoline bills because of federal mandates and throwing money at these uncompetitive technologies, that means they will have less money in their pockets to spend on other things. There is no doubt that this is...

Q: Let me ask you a few questions. Number one, I've never understood it to be a federal mandate. I have a choice of what electric utility company I use, I have a choice of who I want to put gas in my home. I don't know, call me crazy, but at least that's my experience, so I don't know how it's federally mandated. Number two, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there a lot of tax incentives, massive tax breaks for people who are investing in alternative energy.

Myron: Yes, there are massive tax breaks to special interests for higher priced energy. Yes you do have choices, but your choices are limited all the time by further government action. You no longer have a choice about how you will buy higher priced ethanol or lower priced gasoline. There's a federal mandate on how much ethanol has to be used in the gasoline supply. You no longer have a choice in many states about whether you use lower priced coal fired electricity or higher priced and more unreliable wind energy because those many states, like California, which has an economy by the way which is tanking, largely as a result of these benighted policies [slight smirk due to being too much of a bald-faced lie]. You have no choice about how much renewable energy will be in your electricity bill, which or course is why electricity rates in California are among the highest in the nation. We could go through all of these things, but your choices are being limited all of the time by government action.

Q: All right, you've raised a few points. This is a conversation to be continued.
One of the issues with today's style of live TV news who put dodgy characters like Myron Ebell on the screen is that it becomes a raw conduit for lies. This is because the presenters are given absolutely no research preparation (so even when they know it's wrong, they can't be precise), and there is no systematic following up later on in the report correcting, for the viewers, the absolutely embarrassing howlers their invited guests have laid down on them.

A properly briefed reporter would ask Myron Ebell to talk about the synfuel scam which has benefited the coal industry for decades, when he complains about alternative investments.

A follow up would remind us of the prices of energy in all the states in 2001 when Enron was gaming the California market.

Now we need some cheering up.

Here's an arsehole resenting the "puritanical presumption that we Americans should feel guilty about our taste for maximum comfort" when wiping shit from his sore bottom.

And finally, "Is regular clean clean enough for your family?"