Saturday, June 21, 2014

Climate Change Deception from President

Subtitle:  UCI Commencement Speech 2014 Full of Lies

A few weeks ago, President Barack Hussein Obama gave the commencement address at University of California at Irvine (UCI).   His theme was climate change is man-made, it is real, it is a serious threat, and the young graduates from UCI should do something about it.   [Update - 6/22/2014:  Added lie number 13: President said solar in California reached 18 percent of total consumption in California -- see below for more -- end update ]

[Update - 6/28/2014 - added link to nuclear power articles; see point 11 below] 

A friend and colleague, a UCI alumnus in chemical engineering, asked me to review the commencement speech and offer my comments on where the President is wrong.  The speech is long, but I have excerpted a dozen whoppers (lies, false statements) and make some comments below.  

How can the statements be labeled as false, as lies?  The evidence shows the statements are false.  A US President is expected to appoint the best people available to advisory positions, but modern Presidents such as Obama appoint those with his own political agenda.  This is unfortunate for the progress of science and discovery.  However, eventually, Nature wins.  Or as we say in baseball terms, Nature bats last.  

The twelve false statements, with Obama's statement in italics, my comments below:

1)  "you already know the science.  Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide traps heat.  Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years." 

BS (Bad Science) The change of CO2 since 1950 has been steadily upward while global temperature – as measured by the scientists themselves – shows ups, downs, and stagnant periods.  Any competent engineer knows that CO2 cannot control temperature.   The second part of that statement addresses current CO2 levels (400 ppm) as greater than the past 800,000 years.  This is based on dubious ice-core samples.  It is mere supposition that measured gas samples from bubbles trapped in the ice are representative of the atmosphere at that time.  
2)  "We know the trends.  The 18 warmest years on record have all happened since you graduates were born.  We know what we see with our own eyes.  Out West, firefighters brave longer, harsher wildfire seasons; states have to budget for that.  Mountain towns worry about what smaller snowpacks mean for tourism.  Farmers and families at the bottom worry about what it will mean for their water.  In cities like Norfolk and Miami, streets now flood frequently at high tide.  Shrinking icecaps have National Geographic making the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart."
BS.  Temperatures were as warm or greater during the 1930s, but scientists have repeatedly adjusted the past temperature record downward. Longer fire seasons are due to years of forest mismanagement, particularly fire suppression.  Average snowpack has not changed over long periods, but it does have fluctuations about an average.  Credible scientists know this, but apparently the President does not.  If he does know, he is lying. 
 Ground subsidence, both natural and due to man's extraction of fresh water, is the main source of "sea level rise."  On the oceans themselves, sea level generally is not rising except where it rains heavily in the ocean.   Arctic ice is shrinking, but Antarctic ice is growing.  Air temperatures have nothing to do with either, while ocean temperatures do. 
 3)  "The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that question to rest."  
BS  When anyone tells us the science is settled, ask them why there is any more research done?  There are hundreds of scientists publishing papers that conclude that man-made global warming is false.  See SEPP publications for the real story, also NIPCC, GWPF.
4)  "A UC Irvine glaciologist’s work led to one of last month’s report showing one of the world’s major ice sheets in irreversible retreat."  
BS. Antarctic ice is growing year by year, now at all-time maximum in the modern (post 1978) era.   
5)  "to help coastal communities adapt to rising seas."
 BS.  Seas are not rising due to man-made global warming, but land is falling in a few places due to natural subsidence.  The entire history of humans, for the past 12,000 years, has been a slow retreat from the then-existing shoreline.  As the last global glaciers melted, the sea has been rising.  There is nothing unusually rapid about recent sea level rises.  As proof, one can examine modern maps that show underwater canyons located in a line with major rivers.  The river mouth was far out to sea.  The Congo river in Africa is a striking example, but there are many others. 
6) "Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America."
BS.  There is no such thing as carbon pollution, unless it is soot.  The US has reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and did it without a carbon tax.  Producing more natural gas led to lower gas prices, therefore more power generation via natural gas.  Also, industry retired older less efficient coal plants as scheduled.    
7)  "hundreds of scientists declared last month, that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but “has moved firmly into the present.”  That’s a quote." 
BS The fact is that global measured temperatures (even with all the NASA-provided adjustments) shows zero warming for 18 years.  
8) "In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts, and fires, and storms, and floods are going to get harsher and they’re going to get costlier.
BS He is repeating himself, see point 2 above.  Past droughts, storms, and floods were much, much worse.  Fewer people back then led to less damage.  Forest mismanagement leads to more and stronger fires.  CO2 has nothing to do with it.
9) "Now, their view (skeptics) may be wrong -- and a fairly serious threat to everybody’s future -- but at least they have the brass to say what they actually think." 
BS  All the warmists’ predictions are false, based on broken models that use corrupted input data and failed to predict the 17 years of no warming that their own measurements (after adjustments) show. 
10) "the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change, including some who once disputed the data, have put that debate to rest."  
BS The 97 percent figure has been debunked many times.   The fact is that thousands of scientists have placed their names on a statement that man-made global warming is bunk.
11)  "But they’re waiting to see what does America do.  That’s what the world does.  It waits to watch us act.  And when we do, they move.  And I’m convinced that on this issue, when America proves what’s possible, then they’re going to join us."  
BS.  There are so many things wrong with this statement.  It is, firstly, a huge insult to citizens of other countries.  With coal being exhausted in 60 to 70 years, the biggest threat is finding economic, reliable renewable replacement power.  It cannot be nuclear power due to costs, resource availability, and decommissioning concerns, also meltdown hazards.  [UPDATE- 6/28/2014: this comment by me generated quite some interest, both in the comments below and in emails to me.  My position on nuclear power is presented in a 30-part series Truth About Nuclear Power, see link. -- end update] 
12)  "You’ve got to educate your classmates, and colleagues, and family members and fellow citizens, and tell them what’s at stake.  You’ve got to push back against the misinformation, and speak out for facts, and organize others around your vision for the future." 
BS.  We must combat the disinformation that CO2 is bad.  We must examine the data and conclusions critically, and not accept the wild, unsupportable conclusions of agenda-driven politicians and their paid scientists.  
I repeat here what I wrote in January, 2010: "The tragedy of all this is, of course, that the "science" behind global warming due to greenhouse gases (which includes CO2 in the scientists' view) is completely false. Engineers such as Dr. Pierre Latour, and myself, have published on this, and have each made acclaimed speeches across the country on this topic. Recent developments (late 2009 and January, 2010) show that the supposed warming of the earth's average temperature in the 20th century was falsified, the peer review process was perverted, the temperature records themselves were adjusted and manipulated, and the IPCC report relied on questionable studies (not peer-reviewed, in fact, taken from general non-science magazines). The Wall Street Journal reported that the IPCC's alarmists predictions for melting glaciers in the Himalayan mountains was completely wrong (they are not melting), and the IPCC's statement that warming produces more intense storms and natural catastrophes (heat waves, droughts, etc) were also bunk. The IPCC authors clearly knew the truth, but published their outlandish claims anyway. (As an aside, one must wonder how long they thought they would hide the truth, especially in this era of the internet, and literally hundreds of millions of internet users world-wide. The ability to fact-check by millions of independent persons should give pause to those who seek to dis-inform.)"

[UPDATE 6/22/2014:  . 13) "And this state, California, is so far ahead of the rest of the country in solar, that earlier this year solar power met 18 percent of your total power demand one day."  

BS.  Off by a factor of 3, roughly.  Possibly just wrong information, though.  The fact is that California has installed more and more solar-generated power, both PV and thermal.  The highest amount generated thus far, appears to be from 6/19/2014 when combined solar (PV plus thermal) produced 44,500 MWh.  That is barely 6.4 percent of the total power demand that day of 694,697 MWh.    Note that June 19 is near the summer solstice where hours of sunshine are the greatest.  June is also not the hottest month (that is typically August) so total demand is not at the peak.  One could expect, then, that mid-June will usually have the greatest solar energy as a percent of total energy consumed. 

However, total renewable power on that same day was 17.4 percent, where renewables are comprised of solar, wind, small hydroelectric, geothermal, biogas and biomass.  Note that large hydroelectric does not count, at least not in California.   see link for daily results of renewable energy in California. -- end update ]
Links to supporting posts -
Obama Lies And Economies Will Die  (shows more climate lies from Obama in 2009)

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


Obama Failed America said...

I could not agree more, Obama is one big time liar.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Sowell,

I finally got around to reading your refutation of Obama’s gaseous commencement speech and am grateful to have a concise list of rebuttals to Obama’s claims. But I noticed in your reply to point 11 that the power source for the future “cannot be nuclear power due to costs, resource availability, and decommissioning concerns, also meltdown hazards.” To the best of my knowledge, these factors don’t apply to thorium reactors. Here’s a five-minute recap of the technology:

And of course, if you search for more information on LFTRs, there are tons of it available.

I haven’t been able to find a flaw in the LFTR argument for nuclear energy and was wondering if you agree. I don’t realistically expect the current providers of energy (coal, oil, gas) to quit the field without a fight, but it seems the means for powering our homes, and perhaps our trains, for hundreds of years is already available. Do you know of any “deal breakers” that would make this approach impracticable or dangerous?

Roger Sowell said...

Mr. Anonymous, yes, there are quite a few deal breakers or fatal flaws in the LFTR system. First, the problem of scale-up from the 7 MW thermal at the Oak Ridge lab system to a 3500 MWth with 1,000 MWe output for a commercial power plant. That is a 500-to-1 ratio, an almost insurmountable problem.

Next, the materials of construction at Oak Ridge developed catastrophic intergranular cracking - not just the reactor but any materials exposed to the molten salt become extremely brittle over time. Such brittleness cannot withstand even a mild earthquake.

There are other hurdles, such as pumping very hot, radioactive, molten salt, and if not pumping it around, having it free-flow by density difference - either way leads to enormous difficulties.

Finally, the steam generator design presents a complex and likely insurmountable problem. Even if a successful design is somehow created, leaks of water into the molten salt are inevitable and will create all manner of hell. Havoc is too mild for the mess that will happen.

There are many other drawbacks, but those should suffice for now.

Please note that the LFTR advocates almost never, ever, mention the serious engineering challenges, economic challenges, and safety issues that the LFTR presents. -- Roger E. Sowell

Roger Sowell said...

More on the LFTR thorium reactor systems, and the numerous drawbacks, can be found at my article on Truth About Nuclear Power - Part 28 at
This link