Saturday, February 27, 2010

20000 Hits and Counting

It seems like only last week I wrote that SLB passed the 10,000 hits mark, and here it is at 20,000 hits. A big Thank You to all those who take time to have a look, and leave a comment. Actually, 10,000 hits was 4 months ago in October of 2009.

Since then, quite a number of events have happened that are of great interest to me. The US EPA has been challenged in the courts (US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit) concerning its Determination that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant. Several lawsuits were filed, some by individual states including Texas. The primary charge is that US EPA did not follow the law and use the best science available, but instead followed the IPCC's flawed conclusions, many of which are based on opinion magazines.

California was also sued in the US District Court in Fresno, California, seeking to declare their Low Carbon Fuel Standard un-constitutional and a prohibitory injunction preventing its implementation. Similarly, a bill in the California Assembly was defeated in committee, which would have stopped implementation of the entire AB 32 until unemployment drops to healthy levels of 5.5 percent. But, a ballot initiative to accomplish the same thing is underway. Also of importance to California's AB 32, the State of Arizona withdrew from a key multi-state pact (Western Climate Initiative), declaring that Arizona will not enforce the cap-and-trade provisions because of the adverse economic effect it will impose on Arizona businesses. This is a key event in the idiocy of AB 32, as businesses that can relocate away from California now find a very attractive and nearby location in Arizona.

The Copenhagen climate summit was a bust, which is a very good thing. No treaty, no agreement, and no disaster for the world. Thank you, China and India, for having the good sense to not hamstring your economies.

Perhaps the biggest news is the ongoing, and ever-deepening, scandal of Climate Gate, the revelation that key scientists in the global warming field falsified, altered, manipulated data, used non-peer-reviewed reports in their findings, and indeed perverted the peer-review process to stifle dissenting views. Meanwhile, global warming appears to have run away and is hiding in shame, as it is very cold and snow is at record levels in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, CO2 continues to increase. Perhaps CO2 does not read the IPCC reports? It seems pretty clear, now, why climate scientists do not publish their raw data nor their data manipulation methodologies. Independent reviews revealed that there is no warming, but there was massive manipulation of the data to show a warming.

My own research into the published Hadley research center's HADCRU data (see this link) shows not only essentially zero warming for the entire USA, but several cities with pronounced temperature declines recently. If these declining temperatures do not reverse soon, it will be very, very cold in Eureka, California; Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; and Marquette, Michigan.

The Grand Game, energy supplies for the world, has made some interesting turns as the US refining industry is reeling from lack of demand for their products. The Saudis announced they anticipate Peak Oil Demand to occur within the next decade. Peak Oil Demand already occurred in the USA, in 2005. I posted on this.

Also, new nuclear power plants in the USA continue to have serious problems with financing and regulatory approval. South Texas Nuclear Project's expansion is on the ropes as the parties involved battled it out in court. Also, the Japanese reactor vendor for STNP cannot seem to reveal the final price, which has escalated to $17 billion - but will likely be far, far more. This is quite puzzling, since the nuclear proponents' mantra has always been that these plants are mature technology in Japan, with great certainty on construction costs and elapsed time to completion. Apparently not.

Meanwhile, the US government issued a loan guarantee to Georgia's Southern Company for two new nuclear reactors - but notably, not to South Texas Nuclear Project expansion. The loan guarantee amount, $8.3 billion, is far too small to provide much comfort for lenders, so that project, too, is dead. A project of that size will cost approximately $25 billion or more, thus the loan guarantees represent only approximately one-third the investment. Typically, utilities borrow around half the total amount. That leaves several billion dollars without guarantees.

I tried something new a few days ago, with the first guest post on SLB. My cousin Charley Sowell has some interesting things to say about global warming, from the perspective of a Texas rancher near San Angelo, Texas. Charley is highly educated and knows his stuff.

It has been a fascinating four months, with SLB now at 20,000 hits and visitors from 97 countries, an increase from 76 countries in October.

Thank you, everyone. I cannot imagine what events will occur between now and 30,000 hits. Hopefully, the world will regain some much-needed sanity and stop the nonsense about global warming from carbon, the US federal laws on cap and trade will die and go away, and the chemical engineers' message that science must obey the fundamentals of process control will gain a wider audience.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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