Climate Regulations for Show, Not Positive Impact

Published March 25, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #208

During March 22 hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, under questioning by West Virginia Rep. David McKinley (R), EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted (once again) the Obama administration’s climate efforts will do nothing to protect public or environmental heath. They are, rather, nothing more than a symbolic attempt to get other countries’ leaders to join the Paris climate agreement.

McCarthy was unmoved when McKinley noted the terrible impact regulations like the Clean Power Plan were having: jobs lost, companies bankrupt, higher electricity prices for consumers.

McKinley asked concerning the Clean Power Plan, “If it doesn’t have an impact on climate change around the world, why are we subjecting our hard-working taxpayers and men and women in the coal fields to something that has no benefit?”

“We see it as having had enormous benefit in showing sort of domestic leadership as well as garnering support around the country for the agreement we reached in Paris,” McCarthy responded.

This is virtually a repeat performance of McCarthy’s July 2015 testimony when she said, “The value of this rule is not measured in that way [by the amount of warming it prevents] … I’m not disagreeing that this action in and of itself will not make all the difference we need to address climate action, but what I’m saying is that if we don’t take action domestically we will never get started …”

For the Obama administration, the value of job-killing, energy-price-raising climate regulations is not that they actually prevent or even slow dangerous climate change. Rather, their value is symbolic: showing the world the United States is leading the fight, in an effort to get other countries to enact their own tough emissions restrictions under the December 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The problem is, as I detailed before, even if the 184 nations that agreed to cut or cap their emissions in Paris actually keep their commitments, the impact on temperatures will be minimal.

So the Obama administration’s climate efforts are symbolic, and the Paris climate agreement is symbolic. Symbolism carries a heavy price, killing people on the ground, leaving billions of people without energy and unable to raise themselves out of poverty.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: The Daily Caller; Climate Change Weekly; and Climate Change Weekly


Sea levels rising, just not fasterExtreme weather events more common in the pastHiatus must be real, scientists are studying itSubsidized solar plant on the verge of collapseNuclear power plant closure results in rising carbon dioxide


The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), the global data bank for long-term sea-level-change information, shows there has been little or no change in either the direction or rate of global sea level changes. The PSMSL is the best, longest-running consistent system for measuring sea level. It provides good coverage for Europe, Eurasia, North America, and the Pacific Islands; coverage is lacking in South America and Africa.

Albert Parker, a guest blogger at Watts Up With That, studied the data and found no substantial change in the rate or direction of sea level change from 1900 to 1975 when compared to rates of change from 1975 to 2016, the period of purported human-caused warming. In Scandinavia and much of coastal Eastern Europe sea levels have fallen or remained the same since 1900 with no change in direction or rate of decrease since 1975. In Australia, Central and Southern Europe, and North America, where sea levels were rising or neutral from 1900 to 1975, they have remained rising or stable post-1975.

Though Parker doesn’t address this, I would argue the lack of coverage for South America and Africa should not undermine the value of PSMSL’s measurements. Because purported human-caused warming is a “global” phenomena, if something substantially different is happening along the coasts of Africa or South America than is happening around the rest of the globe, it would have to be due to unique geologic events occurring on those continents, not attributable to a global change in the rate of sea level rise.

SOURCE: Watts up with That


A new paper in the Journal of Geography and Natural Disasters demonstrates reality proves wrong the oft-repeated claims global warming will result in an increase in the number and intensity of extreme weather events. Extreme weather during the most recent period of warming is on the decline. The author defines extreme weather events as storms, droughts, floods, etc. that are multiple standard deviations away from the average distribution by which such events are measured.

A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence the first half of the twentieth century had more extreme weather than the second half, when anthropogenic global warming is claimed to have been mainly responsible for observed climate change. For instance, the author found periods of maximum warming or cooling rates are all in the nineteenth century or at the start of the twentieth century, with the great majority occurring prior to 1950. The data show there has been no long-term trend in monthly rainfall since 1895. There has been a substantial decline in the number and intensity of hurricanes making landfall in the United States over the twentieth century. The number of tornadoes of strength 3 and higher is down 30 percent since 1975, the year many climate alarmist identify as global cooling turning to warming. Importantly, the number of annual deaths from climate-related severe weather events has declined steadily since 1900.

SOURCES: Global Warming Policy Foundation and Journal of Geography and Natural Disasters


Scientists from the United Kingdom’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) are working with researchers from nine other research organizations to investigate why climate trends vary from decade to decade, in order to understand why, despite climate model projections, a slowdown or hiatus was observed during the past two decades.

This is bad news for climate alarmists: If 10 leading climate and oceanographic research institutes are studying the causes of the hiatus, it means, contra the anomalous report produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in June 2015 declaring there had been no hiatus in rising temperatures for the most recent 15 to 18 years, there is, in fact, a hiatus to study.

The Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events project is investigating the effects on climate change of volcanic activity, solar radiation, greenhouse gases, atmospheric aerosols, and atmospheric and ocean circulation. The project is already starting on a positive note from a scientific perspective as opposed to the political aim of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, since it is not limiting its work to understanding the “human” causes of climate change but rather is forthrightly acknowledging nature plays a role.

SOURCE: Hydro International


California regulators have announced the Ivanpah Solar thermal plant, the world’s largest solar thermal energy facility with 392 MW of capacity, will have until the end of July to actually produce its promised power or be shut down. Invanpah could theoretically produce enough electricity to power 100,000 homes, yet the power it actually produces has been far less and comes with a high price tag. NRG Energy, Ivanpah’s owner, received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy to build the plant, then requested a $539 million federal grant to keep the facility afloat while paying off the $1.6 billion loan, and it qualified for more than $600 million in renewable energy tax credits.

Ivanpah generated only 45 percent of the power it promised to the state’s utilities in 2014 and only 68 percent in 2015. The electricity Ivanpah produces costs approximately $200 per megawatt hour, nearly six times the cost of electricity from natural gas-fired power plants.

From an environmental perspective Ivanpah also has been a disaster. Its power shortfalls are made up by electricity produced by natural gas, so Ivanpah results in the production of more greenhouse gas emissions than promised. In addition, the Associated Press reports as many as 28,000 birds are incinerated by Ivanpah’s heliostats every year.

SOURCE: Daily Caller


Climate change activists such as Bill McKibben, co-founder of, an activist group working to get universities and colleges to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies, are undermining their own efforts to fight climate change when they oppose the construction of new nuclear plants or advocate closing exiting units.

A new report from the Institute for Energy Research notes when the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was set to close, McKibben claimed Vermont “is completely capable of replacing (and far more) its power output with renewables.”

The reality is much different. As IER writes, “Vermont Yankee, a 604-megawatt nuclear plant, provided New England with 42 years of reliable, carbon dioxide-free power before its closure at the end of 2014. The plant’s capacity factor exceeded 80 percent over its lifetime – more than double the capacity factor of the most efficient solar or wind plant in the United States.”

Wind and solar cannot replace nuclear power plants, which can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, independent of the wind blowing or the sun shining. Natural gas, not renewables, picked up Vermont Yankee’s slack. Natural gas-generated electricity in New England increased from 43.1 percent of generation in 2014 to 48.6 percent of generation in 2015, resulting in a 7 percent growth in New England’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2015.

SOURCE: Institute for Energy Research

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