Monday, October 21, 2019

Climate Solutions BS in Houston by AIChE

Subtitle: Still BS - Bad Science, No Solutions Needed

I attended a lunch presentation by Dr. Tom Rehm, 2019 Chair of STS-AIChE on October 18, 2019 on Climate Solutions, in LaPorte, Texas.   (STS is South Texas Section)

The main points are below in bold font, with my comments in parentheses.  These are based on my notes made at the time, and may not perfectly reflect what was said; any inaccuracies are due to what I believe I heard at the time. 

(Preface:  I believe that Tom Rehm is sincere in his beliefs about catastrophic, imminent global warming caused by CO2, however he has stated in public that even if it is not true, it is prudent to do something to prevent it.  (my paraphrase, probably not his exact words).  I suspect he is also sincere in his belief that nuclear power is the planet's saviour, and that all plastic production must end and rather soon.  It is disconcerting that the STS of AIChE has taken this approach, with those beliefs based on very bad science and not on the facts.  However, the chairmanship is for only one year, and Dr. Rehm will soon hand over the chair - January 1, 2010.  It seems, though, that the incoming Chair has similar views.   That is actually ok, though, since the solutions being advanced are not workable, will have outrageous impacts on all of society, require massive government support, and cannot be implemented in less than 5 decades anyway.  By then, the inevitable global cooling will be advanced and more than evident to everyone. -- End Preface) 

The main points:

UHI, urban heat island effect, is due to aerosols that cooled the air until approximately 1980, then cleaner air caused the cities to warm.  Clean air laws were enacted.  
(That is nice to see the effect of man-made aerosols mentioned, as that is one of the several causes of warmer temperatures that have nothing to do with increased CO2 in the atmosphere.  SLB has articles on the non-CO2 causes of warming, see link. )

Population decreased in a few urban areas but temperatures increased, therefore warming is not correlated to population growth. 
(This is an attempt to show that increased temperatures are not related to population growth, however I have asked Tom in the past how does he know the temperature increase in those few locations were not related to drought, El Nino, cleaner air, fewer clouds, more local humidity, and a host of other known causes of warming?   He made no answer then.)

USCRN, United States Climate Reference Network, has more than 100 pristine sites across the US, sites with no urban warming influence for the foreseeable future.   Mentioned Stovepipe Wells, CA (actually in Death Valley), and Alaska.    Showed a slight warming trend for these locations.  
(the misdirection here was to, again, make the point that warming occurs even where population is small.  As before, no mention of non-CO2 causes of warming, El Nino, droughts, etc.) 

Professor Monty Alger of Penn State called Tom to say he was fully behind the Climate Solutions initiative at AIChE.  Alger will be AIChE president for 2020. 
 (see for a bio of Dr. Alger.  The incoming president of national AIChE is equally misguided on the bad science, BS, of man-made global warming.  However, as an academic, it is important for the national AIChE to support and assist the other academics who receive part of their grants and other funding from promoting man-made climate change.  It is obvious that more work for chemical engineers will occur in designing and building the various systems to capture CO2, remove some from the atmosphere.)

Tom said he was instrumental in getting AIChE to change their official stance on Global Warming with the 2019 statement on climate
(The previous statement on climate was essentially, "we don't take a position as the science is not settled," with the new, 2019 statement emphatically stating "Scientific analysis finds that non-natural climate change is occurring and has been strongly influenced by human-caused releases of greenhouse gases. . . . Adverse climate change poses threats to all of us, both individually and as a society. These threats fall squarely in the realm of the chemical engineer. . ."  It is certainly dismaying that so many in our society could be so badly fooled by the BS, the bad science.   What the current statement should say is "Some very bad scientific analysis finds that".... the causation should have mentioned the multiple known causes of warmer temperature, none of which are related to increased greenhouse gases.) 

Mentioned Hofmeister’s book “Why We Hate the Oil Companies.”  Former president, Shell Oil. 
(Not much to say here, having not read the book.  I suspect the theme is that oil companies have been hiding very bad facts for decades, have conspired to deceive the public and elected officials, the usual such things.   It is quite instructive that Shell is mentioned, as they are notorious for having lied to the Securities Exchange Commission about the extent of their oil reserves, and were fined for doing that.  Shell would do well in an era where oil is minimized in favor of natural gas consumption.  That appears to be a primary goal of those who espouse climate solutions. )

Said presenter Stephanie Thomas is a geologist.   Matthew Berg won best presentation award for SPTC in Sugar Land, 2019.
(I sat through both Thomas' and Berg's presentations at that conference.  Dr. Thomas is listed as having a PhD in Earth Sciences, not Geology.  Dr. Berg has a PhD in Hydrology.   I wrote on SLB on Dr. Thomas' presentation, see link.    I have not yet written an article on Dr. Berg's presentation, but it can be summarized as "flooding is getting worse, and global warming is the cause."  He claimed, with a straight face, that local temperatures are melting railroad rails.  Then, showed a slide of a distorted rail juncture.  I laughed at that one.)

Wants the world to be CO2-neutral by year 2030, and to do that we must make no more plastics.
(this one is quite incredible; I shook my head in disbelief.  The modern world depends far too much on plastics to stop production.  The disruption, increased costs, increased disease and illness, and increased energy consumption all are insurmountable factors that will make this one never happen.   For just a few examples, how will hospitals and medical practices function without plastic?  What will food packaging be made from, at what cost in product purity and increased discards, if not plastic?  What will sanitation piping be made from?  How will transportation vehicles maintain their current low weights (or mass) that allows excellent fuel economy?  This one is, to use the vernacular, a doozy.)

Renewables cannot do the job; 100 percent renewables is impossible.  Cited Austin, Texas as having grid stability problems at 20 percent renewables on the local grid.   Said that the local grid and amount of renewables is the critical issue.  
(on this minor point, we agree at least in part.  SLB has articles on the 100 Percent Renewables issue, I agree that the world will not likely ever be run entirely by renewables.   Where Rehm is wrong, though, is on the claim that 20 percent renewables causes instability on local grids.  The fact is that many locations in the US have much more than 20 percent renewable power that makes electricity.  The issue is not with the renewables, but with the flexibility of the other generating systems.  )

Mentioned the cost for renewables is prohibitively high, and the low capacity factor, 25 percent for solar and wind combined in Texas is a major obstacle
(this is a common talking point by the anti-renewables, pro-nuclear crowd.  The fact is, the renewable sources of wind and solar are very competitive in the areas where the wind is good and the solar energy is strong.  However, the economics of solar panels in high latitudes will continue to be very bad for many decades.  Solar does well, though, in sunny areas (not cloudy) in locations between 30 degrees north and south of the equator.  Wind is the most attractive generating source in many, many areas as thoroughly documented by the US Department of Energy and their annual Wind Technologies Market Reports.)

One solution is nuclear, with new designs as Professor Tsvetkov proposes.  Said nuclear has zero emissions,   New designs will not use water as the moderator.  
(Tsvetkov clarified that zero-emissions view in his earlier 2019 speech to AIChE, it is not true for the entire nuclear cycle.  see link to SLB article on Gen IV nuclear and Tsvetkov's presentation.  Gen IV nuclear plants are unproven, most have not been built, a few prototypes were abandoned as hopeless.  The increased safety and reduced costs claims are not true at all.  Nuclear is never the solution; it costs far too much and is far too dangerous. ) 

Favors a carbon tax as paramount importance
(A carbon tax, or tax on companies that produce CO2 in their operations, is favored by one segment and opposed by another.  Those in favor are typically oil and gas companies, the opposition are coal companies.  Burning coal produces much more CO2 per unit of energy released, typically 2 - 3 times as much as does burning natural gas.  So, a carbon tax is a perfect way to run coal companies out of business.  Is it any wonder that oil and gas companies favor that?  They get to sell more natural gas, usually as fuel to utilities.)  

Three steps to carbon neutrality: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resiliency
The points on the slide for this statement included:
-Manufacturing Energy Efficiency - Mitigation
-Electricity Generation /Distribution  - Mitigation
-Transportation - Mitigation
-Urban Energy Efficiency - Mitigation
-Agricultural Practices - Mitigation
-Land Use Practices - Mitigation, Adaptation, Resiliency
-And, governmental policy solutions. 

(He did not discuss these points in detail, except for the next paragraph on Regenerative Agriculture.  My own experience over 40 years of engineering consulting and energy work as an employee in chemical manufacturing shows that none of the above are cost-effective, except for Transportation with electric battery-powered vehicles.  If one favors the Efficient Market Theory, radical changes must make any market more inefficient and thus more costly to operate.  The prospects of increased energy efficiency due to another world energy price shock, like the 1970s had, is virtually zero.  Oil is no longer subject to price increases, and in fact OPEC is in disarray and oil prices are decreasing.  There is a world-wide glut of natural gas, driving its prices down, and coal is on the decline except in a few isolated countries (India, China).  That leaves only a government-mandated carbon tax to force such decreased energy usage.  )

Favors Regenerative Agriculture – soil must increase carbon content to remove CO2 from the air. 
(with farming already a very slim profit endeavor, the costs to include carbon sequestration in soil must be subsidized to prevent bankruptcies.  This may be where the carbon tax comes in; a wealth transfer from CO2 producers to the farmers.  More on Regen Ag will be published shortly on SLB.  For now, it's just another scheme to transfer wealth and run the oil companies out of business.)

Electricity generation options he favors are nuclear and biomass.   Said nuclear has the best safety record of all types when calculated on fatalities per TWh/y produced.   
(I wonder if that includes the entire uranium mining and fuel preparation cycle, plant construction, generation, decommissioning, and spent fuel storage for centuries.  SLB has articles on the dubious safety record of nuclear power plants, see link to "Nuclear Radiation Injures People and Other Living Things,"  and link to "Near Misses on Meltdowns Occur Every 3 Weeks," and link to "US NRC Stops Study of Cancer Risks near Reactors."  As to biomass for power generation, there is too much power needed and not nearly enough biomass to burn.  These facts have been known for decades.  And, it gets worse.  No more biomass is produced each decade, but the power generation needed keeps increasing.)

(Next, Rehm really pushed nuclear, to end the talk) Nuclear is not presently used much due to unjustified public fear.    Said advanced nuclear plants are much safer 
("Unjustified fear" is a buzzword from nuclear proponents.  One must wonder how much fear was justified among the Russians, Europeans, and others when Chernobyl exploded and sent radiation around the planet?  How much fear was justified in Pennsylvania when Three Mile Island melted down and spewed radioactive steam into the skies?  Were the evacuated pregnant women supposed to remain calm, cool, and collected during those horrible few days?  How much fear was justified in Japan during and after the triple reactor meltdowns and explosions at Fukushima?   How much fear is justified among the entire population, now that nuclear plants are being built in third-world countries with earthquakes and other serious threats to the plants' integrity?   How much fear is justified now that cyber-security is a serious threat?  As to advanced nuclear plants being much safer, how could he possibly know?   None have been built except for a few tiny proof-of-concept plants.  SLB has articles on the safety of new nuclear designs, see link to "Thorium MSR No Better Than Uranium Process,"  and link to "High Temperature Gas Reactor Still A Dream" )

Advanced nuclear will recycle existing spent fuel and generate power from the recycled material, reducing toxic radioactive waste by a large amount. 
(Why bother?  Fuel is not the expensive part of running a nuclear plant.  Safety is not improved, either, as a previous article on SLB shows, see link to "Reprocessing Spent Fuel Is Not Safe."  )

Said SMR, small modular reactors, are the answer since they will be very low-cost to build in factories.  
(This is one of the same points made by Tsvetkov in his Gen IV speech to AIChE, and the same rebuttal applies: any cost reduction due to volume production requires millions of units, not hundreds as SMR would have.  Economy of scale overwhelms any production cost reductions.  NB, the wind energy business for WTG (wind turbine generators) has the same issue for blade manufacturing.  The US industry builds and installs approximately 8 GW per year, at an average of 2.4 MW per WTG, thus the average number of WTG installed was 3,333.  Number of blades made was 10,000 for 2018.  Even that 10,000 items does not give low cost, so the industry strives for cost reductions via economy of scale with ever-larger WTG per unit.  Offshore, size went from 2 to 4 to 8 and now 12 MW.   Onshore, size from 1 to 3 and now 5 MW per WTG.  See link to SLB article on SMR and all the many drawbacks, "No Benefits From Smaller Modular Nuclear Plants." )

End of speech.  

In the Q&A portion, I asked this Question:  how much will electricity prices increase if the proposed solutions are implemented?  He admitted it will be a big increase but did not give a number. 

The transition period will require decades, Shell says 50 years, he stated BP and ExxonMobil have similar time frames.  
(how does this square with the earlier statement of carbon-neutral by 2030?  That’s only 11 years away)

Q:  how will SMR reduce costs, when economy of scale is the major factor in nuclear plant costs?  He had no answer for that, either.  

Q:  On USCRN slides that showed a warming, how much of the measured warming was due to CO2 increase, and how much to other factors like cleaner air – he mentioned pollution laws cleaned the air around 1980 and temperatures immediately increased in those locations.   His response was to show a graph purporting to show IR gap in Earth’s radiated energy out to space, with CO2 responsible for the gap.   My rebuttal was, the gap is also exactly where water vapor H2O absorbs, so how do they know it is due to 300 – 400 ppm of CO2, and not due to several percent of water vapor? 


The points made in this speech are typical of the misinformation and Bad Science (BS) of many in the climate alarmism camp.   So much of what they know, just isn't so. (a quote from Ronald Reagan).   The good news is, almost none of this is ever going to happen.  Plastics are here to stay.  Nuclear plants are a dying breed, and the sober review process and high standards at the NRC will prohibit the approval of the Gen IV reactors.   Economics alone will kill off any other reactor designs, such as the NuScale small modular reactor system that is presently undergoing safety review at the NRC.  Low-price wind electricity and natural gas power have doomed nuclear power, which is a very good thing.   Wind energy is a booming business, and is here to stay.  Solar is also booming in those areas of the world, as stated above, not far from the Equator where the sunshine is strong.   The AIChE will likely see the Climate Solutions division, or initiative, whatever it is called, wither away in just a few short years.  

This website will have articles and updates on that, as they occur. 

Roger E. Sowell
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2019 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power
Climate Change................herehere,  and here
Fresh  and here
Free Speech.................... here

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

More BS - Bad Science at SPTC in Sugar Land TX October 2019

Subtitle:  Consensus Conclusions are Wrong; Even When Repeated Over and Over

This article discusses the main points and my comments on the presentation made by Stephanie Thomas, PhD(1)  at the AIChE Southwest Process Technology Conference, Climate Solutions Session in Oct, 2019,  Sugar Land, Texas.  Dr. Thomas' presentation title is "Evidence of Climate Change; an Overview of the Science."   (see link to another SLB article on the presentation on Climate and Energy by 2070, made by a Shell executive at the Tuesday night dinner meeting at the same conference. )

(1) PhD Earth Sciences, listed as a community organizer at Public Citizen, a NGO.  Lead article at present (10-9-2019) on the Public Citizen website is "Impeach Donald Trump"

(my comments below the main points are in parentheses)

1. Overview  -  “Multiple Lines of Evidence”  - she attributed these four slogans to Professor Mark Holtzapple of Texas A&M University. 
   a. It’s Warming 
   b. It’s Bad
   c. It’s Us
   d. We Can Fix It
(this is very sophomoric sloganeering; a conference of chemical engineers certainly deserves a presentation at a much higher level.  But, sloganeering is typical of the Bad Science proponents, perhaps they don't want anyone to actually investigate the data, the analyses methods, and the computer simulation models.)

2. Showed the GATA Chart, Global Average Temperature Anomaly, from 1880 - 2016.  
(this is the same chart that clearly shows decreasing temperatures, a region of no change at all for 35 years, then two separated periods with similar increasing trends, one before 1945 and a similar one before 2015.   Meanwhile, CO2 was steadily increasing in each year)

3. Showed a few false causes of the warming trend – discarded each due to inadequate correlation
   a. Sun’s energy output
   b. Volcanoes
   c. Ice ages due to Earth Orbit variation (presumably the warming that ended the last glacial period 14,000 years ago was due to orbital changes accelerated by volcanic ash and dark particles on the ice surface)

4. Then showed a strong correlation between GHGs and Temperature  
(ignored the 800 year lag between temperature change and CO2 change)

5. Weakened her case by saying a correlation exists between temperature rise with
   a. Aerosols
   b. Ozone
   c. Land Use
(actually, aerosols increased during the temperature decline 1945-1975)

6. Venus surface temperature – claimed it is very hot due to CO2 in the atmosphere 
(wrong, Venus is very hot due to the very dense and thick atmosphere that is many miles deep.  Earth has a few miles deep.   See NASA for corroboration.  The adiabatic lapse rate requires the surface to be very hot.  ) 

7. Said CO2 is higher today than past 800,000 years as shown by Greenland and Antarctic ice cores, varied from 180 to 280 ppm in the ice cores.  
(How, then, were the previous inter-glacial periods hotter than this one?  Approximately 8 degrees C warmer.  The CO2 was never more than 280 ppm, yet the BS claims the climate was much hotter)

8. Showed chart of temp varies with CO2 
(wrong, Temperature changes occur 800 years before CO2 changes. Implies that warmer oceans release CO2 into the atmosphere, and cooler oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.)

9. Energy use in total has increased over time, said this is the source of CO2 in atmosphere.  
(Energy use is also the source of soot, particulate matter, smoke, jet exhaust, fly ash)

10. Claimed researchers since 1800s reported GHG effects 
(This is immaterial, what matters is the magnitude of the impact; CO2 has a numerically insignificant impact)

11. Claimed a prediction made in 1950 was accurate, for 1 deg C increase by year 2000, with 30 percent increase in CO2.   
(approx. 300 ppm to 370 ppm, what happened was about 0.8 deg C increase)

12. Mentioned Gore’s movie as good evidence  
(wrong, the movie has multiple false statements as clearly documented in many sources)

13. Said oil companies now have statements that climate change is due to CO2 
(only because of shareholder pressure and a desire to avoid defending costly lawsuits)

14. Ocean alkalinity is decreasing, says this is a big problem for crustaceans  (somehow, they did not go extinct during the previous warm-ocean periods)

15. Ocean Temperature is increasing, says this harms coral reefs 
(here we go again, how did coral reefs survive the last several times Temperature was much hotter than today?)

16. Said extreme weather is increasing, example is Austin TX had the hottest September on record 
(no mention of drought, no rain, and very little wind in September 2019 in Austin.  No mention of the late Spring this year, late crop planting, and early cold weather that is threatening the crops and yields)

17. Said Arctic is heating, ice is melting, Arctic ocean absorbs more heat from Sun 
(BS, bad science, the Arctic is at such a low angle to the Sun, very little heat is absorbed due to reflection off the water; instead, open water radiates heat much faster than does ice; ice acts like a blanket and keeps heat in the water; ice at Summer minimum has stabilized since 2006 – that’s 13 years now)

18. Glaciers are receding 
(BS, same rate today as in 1850; more dark soot and ash fall on the ice from the air due to man’s coal-burning and jet aircraft exhaust, and large forest fires due to bad management)

19. More torrential rain due to GHGs, said Houston has record flooding over past 5 years.   
(Wrong causation, the intense storms were due to stationary cold fronts that prevented the hurricanes from moving inland quickly; intense flooding was from bad infrastructure management, and increased building with impervious ground cover e.g. foundations, roads) 

20. Sea level rise has an increasing rate, due to warmer water and more ice melted and flowed into oceans  
(false, only after splicing together buoy data with satellite data.  Buoy data shows no increase in rate of SLR)

21. More deaths due to disease that was caused by GHG.  
(Flat out wrong).

End of S. Thomas presentation. 

(No mention of:

   a. El Nino / La Nina  warming effects
   b. Timing and duration of droughts – causes warming trend
   c. Increased humidity from power plants, cooling towers, lawn watering, crop irrigation in deserts, etc
   d. Cleaner air due to air pollution laws  - removes aerosols and lets more Sunshine in
   e. Less cloud cover due to fewer sunspots from 1950 – 2009
   f. Arctic ice extent stabilized for past 13 years -  2006 – 2019
   g. Antarctic ice has grown for decades
   h. Coral reefs damaged by ships and humans with suntan lotion, antifreeze, copper paint on ship bottoms, human waste dumped overboard
   i. Polar bears populations are increasing  - they survived at least 500,00 years of ice ages and interglacials much warmer than today
   j. Zero correlation between severe weather and increased CO2 (IPCC said this)
   k. Floods more severe due to increased runoff from land use changes – more impervious cover, more siltation blockage in flow channels, more infrastructure blocking natural flow areas e.g. highways such as Houston’s Beltway   Houston Harvey flooding was made worse by bad decisions by government to not maintain flood control dams at Barker, Addicks
   l. Hurricanes' ACE has not increased since 1970)


Sadly, this presentation is quite typical of the misinformation, disinformation, and glossing over of key points that completely refute the alarmists' basic message.  

Roger E. Sowell
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2019 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power
Climate Change................herehere,  and here
Fresh  and here
Free Speech.................... here

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Shell Presentation on Climate and Energy by 2070

Subtitle: Hydrogen and Ammonia - Both Are Disasters

A Vice-president and Chief Scientist-Chemical Engineering, from Shell made a speech on Tuesday evening, October 1, 2019 in Sugar Land, Texas, at which I am glad I attended and took a few notes.   Dr. Joseph Powell, PhD in Chemical Engineering, was the speaker.  The event was the
combined AIChE South Texas Section and Southwest Process Technology Conference dinner meeting at the Marriott Hotel conference center.   

Dr. Powell spoke on the need for changing the world's energy system to a carbon neutral basis to avoid catastrophic climate change.  His proposed solutions covered a range of paths, but most notably using water, or methane, CH4, to create either 1) a hydrogen energy system, or 2) an ammonia, NH3, energy system.   Solar and wind renewable energy systems were to play a big part in the basic energy input, with hydrogen or ammonia as the energy carriers.   The time-frame was a transition period of 50 years, and carbon neutrality achieved by the year 2070.   With a veiled swipe at the Green New Deal proposal, he mentioned that changing the world's huge energy infrastructure could not be done in a short period, but would require several decades.   I agree with that last statement based on my 40 years experience in the industry, the sheer size and scope of the energy infrastructure would require decades to transform. 

The presentation, as he said, was based on the Shell Sky Scenarios developed and published by Shell over the past few decades.  ( see link to Shell Sky Scenarios.)

I cringed when I heard this presentation, and more than once.   This article describes what I believe I heard, and why such things caused me to shake my head in total dismay.   In short, hydrogen is incredibly dangerous and should never be placed in general, widespread use due to the inevitable fires, explosions, and human deaths.   Ammonia is equally toxic.    The economic impact of a radical transition to hydrogen would be catastrophic to 90 percent of the world's population.  

Dr. Powell began with a brief introduction of his experience, with a BS in chemical engineering in 1978, when the US had gasoline shortages such that gasoline sales were allowed only on alternate days.   A car owner could buy gas based on the last digit of the license plate, odd numbers on odd-numbered days, and even numbers on the even-numbered days.  I recall those days vividly, as my BS in chemical engineering was awarded just one year earlier, in 1977.   

Dr. Powell obtained his PhD in chemical engineering a few years later (1984), and worked in various assignments at Shell for the past 30 years.  Part of that appears to be looking far into the future, and evaluating various processes to meet energy demands.  It is instructive, although he made no mention of this, that Shell's energy reserves are natural gas, to a significant extent.   Shell has notably failed to discover significant oil reserves, however.   So, it makes sense that Shell's Sky Scenarios would focus on processes that convert natural gas to usable transportation fuels.   He did mention at one point Shell's gas-to-diesel process plant, PERL, in Qatar.   The PERL plant takes an otherwise worthless natural gas pocket located deep in the Middle East, and produces diesel fuel that can be transported by ship or pipeline.  

Dr. Powell also mentioned that, in 1978, the world's climate scientists sounded the alarm over imminent global cooling.   That, too, is a vivid memory, since the bitterly cold winters of 1977, 1978, and 1979 were at the end of a 35-year cooling trend (since 1945).  (SLB has several articles on the Abilene Effect, and the unprecedented consecutive 3 years  of abnormally cold winters   see link.)  The climate scientists were very wrong then, as almost everyone knows by now.   

One can only wonder why those climate scientists are to be believed now, when they were so spectacularly wrong in 1980 about global cooling and an imminent ice age.  Few of the same scientists are alive today, but the discipline has quite a few people sounding an equally shrill alarm over global warming. 

The final bit of introductory material discussed the opinion polls, which he said showed a large minority (I think 30-40 percent?) believe that climate change is real and is a crisis.  Another minority view (perhaps another 40 percent?) held no position for or against, and a small minority hold the view that there is zero cause for alarm.    He said that the opinion of stakeholders led Shell to develop the future scenarios.    That was not shareholders he mentioned, but stakeholders.   He did not define exactly who he meant by stakeholders. 

As an aside, oil companies such as Shell, BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil (collectively known as Big Oil), and the national oil companies from many nations, have been the targets of many organizations for many decades.    I have met many of the Big Oil opponents, and found that they fervently believe in things like the car with a 200 mile-per-gallon carburetor, magic portable batteries that let an affordable car run for 1000 miles on one charge, and recharge in 5 minutes, solar panels that work around the clock, and wind turbines that produce free electricity.   Many of these same people advocate vigorously for nuclear power plants, even the tiny ones that would be buried in a vault in every neighborhood to produce electricity for very near free, just a small metering charge.   To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "It's not that (these people) don't know anything, but what they know just isn't so."

The reality is, yes, some cars obtain 200 miles per gallon.  Much more than that, in fact.  But, they can never be sold in commercial use because they will never meet the automotive safety standards.   Those are highly specialized "cars" with very little weight, tiny engines, very high-pressure or solid tires, and run at slow speed on an incredibly smooth surface.   We now do have batteries that would allow 1000 miles range, but the cost is still very high.  Recharging in a short time is possible, but will be very expensive.   Solar panels of course would not work around the clock, unless they are in orbit.   Wind turbines are getting better, but 3 cents per kWh for the electricity is about the best we have at this time.  

Returning to Dr. Powell's presentation, he described several process paths for a carbon-neutral energy system by the year 2070.  They were, as best I can recall, gas to methanol, gas to hydrogen via carbon black process, water to hydrogen via electrolysis, gas to hydrogen via steam-methane-reforming with CO2 capture, and natural gas to ammonia. 

The hydrogen would be transported to the end user, where cars with fuel cells would fill up and drive away for their normal use.   He mentioned one detailed study that Shell performed, with solar panels in north Texas providing energy to produce hydrogen that would be sent to New York City for use in fuel-cell vehicles.   It was not clear to me if the solar panels would make electricity for water electrolysis (produces hydrogen), or supply electricity for hydrogen production via the carbon black process.   He did mention that excess carbon black could be permanently stored in abandoned coal mines.   As an aside, that does not seem sustainable to me, since there are such a limited number of abandoned coal mines in the world.   If we truly are about to run out of oil (and gas), surely we are equally certain to run out of space in the coal mines.  

The mix of energy providers in year 2070 also seems very implausible, with nuclear power almost quadrupling from today, solar PV providing a bit more than 30 percent of all energy, and wind providing a bit more than 10 percent of all energy.   

Nuclear power is going to shrink, and fall to almost zero within 20 years as it is completely lost in the competitive market, not to mention the growing awareness of the dangers of meltdown disasters.  (Update 10/4/2019:  Shell's proposal would have 1,800 nuclear power plants built between year 2020 and 2070, with one large 1,000 MWe output plant started up every 10 days for the next 50 years.   Clearly, that is never going to happen.  see link for SLB articles on the many insurmountable disadvantages of nuclear power  - end update) 

Solar has a distinct disadvantage compared to wind, because even in the best locations, solar can only produce at approximately 25 percent of the installed capacity.   The Sun's path across the sky dictates this outcome.  However, wind does not care where the Sun is, and wind turbine generators are already producing at an annual rate of 50 percent (some at 60 percent) of nameplate capacity.  The result of this is that any storage system for solar must be at least twice as large, require more capital to install, and have more losses on charging and discharging.  Solar PV will never, ever, win out over wind on a global basis.   

For some illustrative numbers, a 4,000 MW solar power plant that produces at 25 percent of nameplate would produce only 24,000 MWh in a 24 hour period.  But, for the 6 hours per day that it does operate, and using 100 percent output as a simplification, the plant would send one-fourth of the output to the grid (6,000 MWh), and three-fourths (18,000 MWh) to a storage system (presumably batteries).  The storage system would then discharge for 18 hours each day, returning approximately 80 percent of the stored electricity back to the grid.  

Wind turbines that operate at 60 percent of nameplate would have a similar analysis, 1,667 MW at 60 percent gives 24,000 MWh in a 24 hour period.   Only 40 percent need be stored, with 9,600 MWh stored.  


Shell's Sky Scenario is entirely implausible for many reasons, and is extremely unsafe due to the reliance on hydrogen as an energy carrier.  The system is also woefully too costly, with reliance on very expensive nuclear plants, and solar PV systems with twice the storage requirements compared to wind turbine generators.  

There is zero need to reduce any CO2 emissions in any event, since any measured  warming in the past 100 years is almost entirely due to natural forces, increased human population growth, and increased energy consumption.  Natural droughts since 1960, El Nino events since 1960, urban heat effect from more dense cities, increased fuel and electricity per capita, decreased cloud cover due to more sunspots, and cleaner air with fewer aerosols due to air pollution laws, all are responsible for "global warming."  But, CO2 is innocent.  (see link to SLB article on A Skeptic's View of Climate Science - It's BS)

Roger E. Sowell
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2019 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power
Climate, here,  and here
Fresh  and here
Free Speech.................... here

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Skeptic's View of Man-Made Global Warming Science - 2019

Subtitle:  Man-made Global Warming is Pure BS - Bad Science 

Below are the audio transcript and principal presentation slides from my luncheon presentation to South Texas Section of AIChE in Houston, Texas, given on Friday, September 6, 2019.   The audio transcript has had minor edits for clarity. (removed the coughs, and such things.)  My sincere thanks to my very dear friend, T. who taped this for me, and assisted greatly with the transcribing.  And a special Hello and thanks for being there to my old and wonderful friends, P.  and R.   You know who you are!  

(UPDATED 9-16-2019:  Included material on the many issues with the data, which was not presented in the speech due to time limitations.  See end of article.  -- end update.)

Transcript begins:  

Good afternoon, and thank you for that warm welcome, William.  I want to give a brief introduction about why this particular topic is on the agenda today.   The STS AIChE this year has an executive board that chose man-made global warming as a focus, with several speakers on the topic with more yet to speak.  I asked the STS president if I could speak in a rebuttal capacity.  He agreed, and today I’m delighted to be the speaker.  

Today, I will not lecture and tell you what to believe.  You are all chemical engineers, as I am, and I expect you to make up your own minds after considering the data.   I believe that much of the material in the presentation today has not been publicized much, if at all, and we skeptics want to have this material discussed and considered.  

Man-made global warming, or AGW, is, in my view, BS…. That is, Bad Science.   And when I say my view, or our view, I am including the many hundreds and thousands of other trained engineers (and scientists) who have looked into this, and agree with me.  So, it’s not just me out there, making up a bunch of numbers.  There are some really smart people that agree with this.  The science is far too uncertain, the steps taken too questionable, to have any serious credibility.   This presentation is about some of the facts and issues that we have seen over the past 15 to 20 years in our research and analysis. 

Here are some basic facts, with which both the IPCC and the skeptics agree.   First, CO2 is a luminous gas, it absorbs IR radiation, then releases the heat.   Next, measured temperatures DO show an increasing trend – but only in select locations.

The measured temperatures, however, do show a warming trend if you take a look at places like Boston, or New York, or Miami, you will find that yes, they are warmer now than they were 100 years ago.  But, not in all locations and that is a key point.   We will see more of that.   The present climate, as said often by CNN and other people, it’s hotter now everywhere on Earth than it’s ever been in the temperature record.   That’s just not true, and we will see that.   It’s been a lot warmer in the past 12,000 years, multiple times.  (Note, Examples are the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Optimum, and the early climate optimum) And in the (AIChE) meeting last March, I don’t know how many of you were there for that, the professor from A&M came, Dr. Holtzapple I think, and was telling us how we are going to have all these species be extinct if we have another degree of warming, or something like that. (see link for SLB article on that presentation) 

My question at the time was, Sir, how did they survive the last four times when it was much warmer than today, when the warming lasted for hundreds and hundreds of years?  Well, he didn’t like that question.  Apparently, you do not ask questions like that, not at one of those meetings. 

But, survive they did.  Polar bears have been around for at least the last 450,000 years, although some scientists will say it is more like 3,000,000.   That means they have been through several warm periods, and did just fine.  (see link to SLB article, "Polar Bears Don't Know They Went Extinct 100,000 Years Ago")

We also know there are many cycles to the climate.  I won’t go through all of them, but there are sunspot cycles, both an 11 year and 22 year.    There’s a 60 year weather cycle, there’s a 1,500 year climate cycle.   That was published by one of my colleagues and friends, Dr. S. Fred Singer, as "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years."  His associate on that one was Dr. Dennis Avery.   I highly recommend everyone read that book; it is pretty good.   Then, there is the 100,000 year Milankovic cycle that gives us the ice ages and warm periods in between.   All of those are known. 

Cooler SST anomaly in blue, East of Florida
 due to Hurricane Dorian - 2019

CREDIT:  Image from Climate Reanalyzer 
Climate Change Institute, 
University of Maine, USA
Some others: we have an El NiƱo cycle that is roughly 8 years, but not very regular.  Should we call that a cycle?  Well, maybe.    Then there are the ocean oscillations, and then we have another fact, not a cycle.  Hurricanes, when you have fewer of them, I don’t know if everybody agrees with this.  But in my view, they are Nature’s air conditioning machine.   They will cool the waters that they pass over.   You can actually see that on some of the IR graphs from space.  The path of this latest one, Dorian, bringing us a nice low temperature across a big swath there.   So, if we have fewer hurricanes, we are going to have warmer ocean water.   No one much mentions that one, either.  

So, the main points I want to make today are these five, listed here:  we will talk about:

-Inconsistent warming from carbon dioxide.   That’s one of the main reasons that I got into this.   I saw that there was more inconsistency, and that, that bothered me.

-We have a lot of failed predictions, from the climate models.  Many of their predictions have failed.  We are still looking for one to come true, actually.   

-In my view, rather in our view, the causes of the warming, and remember I said there actually is some  measured warming, they have identified all the wrong causes.  We are going to look at about half a dozen or so actual causes that they don’t even talk about.   

-The data that they are using, and I really hope you never use data like that in engineering, because it is so bad, it is what we call Not fit for purpose.   You can’t do what they want to do with that data.   

-And then finally, if we have enough time, and I don’t know that we will, talk about the uncertainty.  There is an awful lot of uncertainty that is very large, and in many areas of what they call Settled Science, according to CNN and others. 

The first one, about the consistency of CO2.   We know that it is not consistent.   However, if it is real science, it must be consistent.   I have a stage prop here, if I can find it.  Here it is.   Just a little ball, a 2-inch rubber ball, no big deal.   If I was able to throw this ball up exactly 17 inches, every single time, it would take almost exactly one second to go all the way up, then all the way down. (tossing the ball up several times).  We know that from basic physics.    What I want you to do, if somebody here in the room will volunteer for me, take this ball, and throw it up about that high (3-4 feet) every time, and make it come down within one second.  (chuckles from the audience).   Anybody?  Any takers on that one?  (audience: “I don’t think so!”)   This is one second and a toss of 17 inches.   If you throw it up 34 inches, we know from basic physics that it is never going to come down within one second.   And I’d like someone else to throw it up three inches, and make it stay up in the air for three seconds.   (tossing the ball 3 inches up).  Do we have any takers on that one?   I don’t see any takers.  (audience:  Sowell, you are nuts!)  Yes.   Because, that is what CO2 does.    Sometimes, if gravity behaved like CO2, we could get one second for a toss.  And other times, it would take 3 seconds.  And sometimes, it only takes ½ a second to go up and down.   Totally inconsistent.  When we see that in the real world, that rang alarm bells for me.   I’m going to use this (ball) again in a minute, so I’m going to put it right there (on a table.)  

We are going to see a graph of the CO2, it did increase by 100 ppm, which is roughly one-third in a period of roughly 100 years, correction, that’s 60 years.  I’ll go ahead and show that slide.    This is the same slide  that the guy showed last March, this is the carbon
CO2 since 1959 measured at Mauna Loa
dioxide in the atmosphere on a dry basis, they do take the humidity out first.  It is measured at the site at Mauna Loa (Hawaii). (see link to CO2 data over time) The key point here is that this graph, which goes from 1959 up to 2019, and these are ppm numbers (indicating vertical axis), from 315 down here, and 400 ppm is this black line across there.  So, roughly from 300 to 400 in a span of 60 years, more or less, 55 or something like that.  And this is what all the alarm is, all that CO2 going  into the air.  But, if you were to, and this is a trick that those guys do, they will make graphs like this that are deliberately misleading or deceptive.   If you were to plot this out, with a graph that starts at zero, and the top up here is around 4,000 ppm, which is what the span is we think over the history of the Earth, that line is totally flat.   Totally flat.  So, here it is, and we will see more about that.  This is going to play a key role in the unsettled science, when we get to that at the end. 

Now, what does that mean, 300 parts per million?  What does that look like?  There are all kinds of examples out there, if one has a football field, it is the last one-eighth of an inch before you reach the end zone.   Kind of things like that.  (Note, it is actually 1 inch out of the entire football field of 100 yards)  Well, here’s something that I wanted to show.  

If you have a cube, that was 27 inches, basically the length of my arm (indicating to the side), a cube that big would contain 20,000 cubic inches.   Anybody here with a calculator could probably run that one out.   And, if six of those cubic inches, which would be three of 
Visualizing 300 ppm as in 1960
No alarm sounded, everyone was cool 


these little rubber balls, roughly, that would constitute the same amount as 300 parts per million.  Now, that was what we had in 1960, if you remember, and everybody was cool.   Nobody was worried about global warming.  Because, 300 ppm didn’t warm the Earth to an alarming degree.  What happened?   In 60 years, another ball showed up in the cube.   This one is red, because it is the big trouble-maker. 
Visualizing 400 ppm as in 2014
That one added ball is claimed
to cause all sorts of harm
 That is all it is, just one more out of three in there, is causing all of this alarm and trouble, and what we are supposed to have; catastrophic problems.   Something to think about.   Can one more ball, out of three, in a cube that big, cause all that trouble?

Next, here is the history of the global temperature.   This is the surface.  They have another one that is very similar to this that includes the land and the ocean together.    The source for this is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  They put together these reports, and you can read them.   This is what they believe the average temperature changed over the course of the past 140 years.  The beginning is 1880, the minimum is at 1910, and this goes up to 2018.  The peak there was 2015. 

  Has anybody seen this graph before?   I hope that some people are familiar with this.    The interesting thing about that graph is, it is not very consistent.   We had a little bit of cooling occurring, we had some warming occurring in here (1910 – 1945), then we had a confused area here (1945-1975), where it sort of leveled out.   All that time, CO2 if you remember that curve above, was going up and up and up.   In engineering, if we have something like this and you call upon a control systems engineer, saying “build me a control system to control that,” you would not use CO2 as your control variable.   Because, that piece in the middle, right there (1945-1975).    It’s what we call not monotonic increasing.  (audience:  a lack of correlation)

We note the rising temperature here started off in about 1975.    That’s a very interesting time when that started, and we will talk more about that.   What happened (chuckling).  So.

What we can see in the inconsistency, and I want to show a number of examples, of how CO2 did not behave consistently like a ball would behave in a gravity demonstration.     These are the ones I want to talk about, from the largest scope we have; one hemisphere is not warming much and the other is.  Does anybody know which is which?    Which one is warming?  (audience:  the northern).  The northern hemisphere is warming, and the southern hemisphere, almost none whatsoever.   What is interesting to me, how does CO2 know what’s North, and what’s South?    All the way down to the smaller scales; we can go to regional, states, counties, we can go all the way to cities.  For adjacent cities, some are warming, some are not.    That’s a good trick, if you can pull that off, with CO2.    That’s amazing.  We are going to see some of that. 

Here is another IPCC graph, this is from their fifth assessment report, called the AR5.  It came out about 5 years ago I think.    The important point here is the different colors for areas in the United States.   
North America Annual Temperature Change,
 coded by color

I removed a little piece of this graphic, so what the title says is Annual Temperature Change.   Here is the scale; blue means it got cooler, and the shades of yellow and red are warming.  The redder it is, the hotter it is getting.   The time period is about 110 years, from 1901 to 2012 in this case.  They have blocked it out by regions.   We can tell right here, this is a blue-ish region, in the South and Southeast of the United States, actually cooled in over 100 years.   Very interesting.  And yet, right next to it we have an area that is warming.  An area that is cooling and one warming are right next to each other.  That‘s probably central Texas and West Texas right there.   Right next to that we have this whole zone, basically the Rocky Mountains, and a bit of Arizona, are warming a lot.   Again, my question has always been, How does CO2 know?  Did somebody go up there and tell it, look, down there’s the Rockies, send down the heat!  (audience question:  what is the red blob at the top, is that Greenland?) Actually, that red block is just south of Hudson Bay in Canada.  (audience:  that doesn’t make sense).  Exactly.  We have this all over the world.   If we look at their world map, it shows the whole thing.    There are a lot of different rates of warming, and some cooling.  (audience:  not bothered by this so much, various wind currents and other factors would do that.  Isn’t the important point the average temperature?)  And that is what they do, but I will present to you why I think that is an improper way to look at it.  Again, I’m not here to tell you what to think.

   The issue is, what if you have two cities that are only 50 miles apart.   There would not be that much difference in climate, we would think.   They both have the same altitude, the same latitude, and I know which two cities these are.   One of them is warming at a ridiculous rate, about 2 degrees C per century, while the other is not warming at all.   And that is Sacramento, and San Francisco.  Sacramento, according to their data, has no warming going on at all, while San Francisco is warming like crazy.    That is not the only two pairs, there are a lot of pairs of cities.  In another presentation, I went through that part.   I can tell you which cities today, that is Shreveport in Louisiana is not warming at all, while St. Louis not too far away is warming a lot.   Then, Abilene, Texas is not warming at all, but not too far up the highway, is St. Louis.  There are many, many examples like this out there.   (audience:  what about Greenland?)  Greenland has a totally different climate compared to say, South Texas, they are a long way away.   But, Shreveport and St. Louis?  It is amazing.    Something to look into, something to think about.  And, they don’t tell you about that.   That’s one of the ones they don’t want to talk about.   (see link and figures 6 and 7 there for discussion on adjacent cities with disparate warming/cooling)

(audience question about the many factors that impact the environment and warming.)  I have an entire section on the various factors, that we will get to in just a moment.   

I now want to talk to you about the small towns.   I am doing some research right now, using official government data from NOAA.   I’m looking at the very smallest towns in the nation, towns with 5,000 or 6,000 population or smaller, that have long records all the way back to 1910.   Plus, almost all of the data is present.  Here are the results I am finding.  I only show about 20 of these results because we do not have enough time to go through them all.    The temperature trends are from minus 3 degrees (F). minus 2.5, last one here is minus 1.8 degrees F per century.   These are the overall trend in 109 years’ worth of data of the tiny towns.   Again, these are the discrepancies where the big town next to it is warming, but these little towns out here in the prairie are not.  Some of the names you might recognize, Natchez in Mississippi, Mena, Arkansas in fact I have that one right here to show you.  Here’s Danavang in South Texas, near El Campo, with trend of minus 1.1 degrees.  (Note, these slides are not shown here pending final review and publication).  

Here’s the graph of temperatures in Mena, Arkansas, with data from 1910 to 2018.   We have 109 years inclusive.  The trend or slope for Mena is minus 2.7 degrees F per century.   I don’t see any warming at all from 1970 onward. 
Annual average Temperatures, Mena Arkansas
Data from NCDC
So, something else, maybe there are other factors that are causing that town to cool.   Maybe something else is causing others to warm. In our view, that’s not CO2. And there are dozens and dozens and dozens of these and I’ve looked at about 100 towns so far. On average they are not warming at all.  

And here we have Donaldson Louisiana right on the river not too far from New Orleans and same thing, no warming at all here. Another one, I won’t go through all of these, I’ll only put three up here, there’s one in Missouri, it’s not just in the south, some are further up in all the different states. There’s Illinois, Idaho,
Data from NCDC
South Dakota, they’re all across the country. They all do this. So that’s something to think about …. How can we have disparate warming trends from adjacent localities?  And then we’re going to see what happens in different counties where there is a great study there.

Here it is, the Goodridge chart.  Mr. Goodridge is retired from the state of California where he was the State Climatologist for many years.   He published this graph and
Data from NCDC
some text to go along with it.   What this shows, in case you can’t really see, is the average of different counties in California.  They have, I think, 80 something counties, not nearly as many as Texas.   He asked, how much is the warming, and I think his time frame is from 1910 to 1995.  He stratified this, grouped them by the population in the county in the 1990 census.   He published in, I think, 1995 or something like that.   What he found was that this top line is the average of all the counties that have one million people or more.   He showed there is definitely some warming in those counties, take a look at that.   Then he did the ones, the small counties, with these down here with almost no warming at all, these have 100,000 people or fewer as of the 1990 census.   These had basically no warming. 
California UHI Trends 
CREDIT: - J. Goodridge 1996
 The ones in the middle, between 100,000 and one million is this line, and sure enough it fell pretty much in the middle.    This was one of the main points that got me started whatever it was, 15 years ago or something like that.  How can that be true, if CO2 is going to be the causal agent for global warming?  So, we have seen the cities, we’ve seen the counties, and the regions.  I didn’t show you the slide but you can look in any of their publications to see the northern hemisphere is warming more than the southern.  

We have some fairly respected authorities that agree with this position that CO2 is not the causal agent.  At the very bottom of this slide is Professor Richard Lindzen from MIT, I have not met him but I did meet Dr. Singer.  What he (Lindzen) said was that global warming, and this is a piece from a longer quote, global warming from the greenhouse gas effect is trivially true and numerically insignificant.   I have to agree with that, because we know we have fired heaters where CO2 is in fact, a major source of heat transfer.  In fact, if you do not account for that, your furnace is not going to work like you think it would.  But, up in the atmosphere, and we are going to see some of that too in a minute, why it is that that statement is true, at least in our view.  And yet, I would hope you would think this over.  

CO2 we know has substantial absorbing and release characteristics in fired furnaces.  You can look that up if you are not familiar with it, it is in Perry’s in the Heat Transfer by Radiation chapter, I think it is Chapter 5.  Or, you can also just look for luminous gases in the Google Scholar section.  There is all sorts of stuff about luminous gases and how those things behave.   CO2 is one of them.   

But, there are three parameters that make a difference when we design a furnace, as to how much heat to account for from the CO2.  Those are listed right here, first is concentration, we get more radiation at a higher concentration.  Second is pressure, with more absorption and release as pressure goes up.   The third is distance, what they call the mean beam length or mean path length.   If you talk to a designer, he will say I’m not going to build you a furnace with the tubes over here, 500 feet away, with the flame over here.   You are never going to get the heat over there.   They are going to be measured more in inches, and sometimes in feet in these furnaces.   And, that is a critical point.  Because, up in the atmosphere where all of this is supposed to be happening, none of those variables are favorable to heat transfer from CO2.  

First of all, we are talking about ppm, 300, maybe 400, compared to what is in a furnace with 100,000 to 150,000 ppm, something like that, depending on what we are burning.   For pressure, at the ground they are roughly the same for a furnace versus the atmosphere, but, once we start getting up in the atmosphere, the pressure starts dropping.  If anyone has been to the mountains, it is guaranteed there is less pressure up there.   And, the distances in the atmosphere are measured in miles.   We are not measuring in inches.   So, here we go.   I hope as chemical engineers you will go take a look at this.  I have this saying when I make my speeches, please, prove me wrong.  You see, I hate to be wrong, and if I am wrong, I don’t want to be wrong for very long.  Please, you have my card, I don’t like being wrong, especially for very long.  This is right there in Perry’s.   I have yet to actually find something in Perry’s that is not right.  

So, what’s next.   We talked about CO2 and how it is inconsistent, how it probably can’t do what they say it does, in fact, I don’t think it can do that up in the atmosphere.  

Let’s talk about the failed predictions.  In climate science there are all of these gloom and doom things that are supposed to happen.  You’ve probably heard them all, where sea level is going to make New Orleans an underwater city, Florida is going to disappear, we have all this bad news from sea level rise.  We have temperatures are supposed to rise in the tropics, in the atmosphere above the tropics, what they call the “hot spot.”   I don’t know if you are familiar with that, but it is one of the hot button issues.  We are supposed to have more hurricanes, they are supposed to be stronger, there are supposed to be more tornadoes and in the higher categories, we are supposed to have polar ice that is melting at a more rapid rate, all of these bad, bad things are going to happen.  Now, let’s take a look at the reality (chuckling.)

First of all, sea level rise, our first one, has been measured for a couple of centuries by buoys, mainly in harbors around the world.   The data is not the best, for instance we measure in millimeters now, but they didn’t even know what a meter was back then.   I don’t know when the meter was established, was it in 1890 or in 1990, something like that.  The best records that we have show an increase of roughly 1.4 mm per year over all those centuries.   Then, we put up satellites starting in about 1979, and those established the rise is much more, at 3.2 mm per year as the accepted rate.  And, they slide that one by!

You can’t take two different measurements, by two different systems, and string the numbers together end to end.  That is called data splicing, and that is a factually erroneous technique.  Putting on my lawyer hat here for a minute, if somebody pulls that in one of the cases I’m involved in, we are likely going to win because we can prove that’s a very bad thing to do.   Yet, they do this all the time in climate science.  (audience question: how do they measure 3.2 mm by satellite? And that accurately?)    That’s a very interesting question, and I don’t know the whole answer.  My understanding is they actually shine a laser-beam down, and there are collectors on the satellite itself.  The laser bounces off the wave crests and the troughs, and some goes off at angles, and they can average out all of that and measure the time required for the light waves to come back.   Then, they have to correct, because the satellite is not in a perfectly circular orbit.  To the extent it is a little closer at one point, the light gets there a bit faster.   And, I’m exaggerating this, but if it is a big egg-shaped orbit, it will take longer (at the far end) for the light to get there and back.  So, they adjust for all of that.   That’s my layman’s understanding of a very complex thing.   (audience comment:  regarding adjusting for all of that, as an old chemical engineer, I think that’s Bull-$hit. …. Followed by laughter from audience. Commenter again:  what I’m getting at is, 3.2 mm is nothing.   I don’t know where they came up with the 1.4 mm, but I can just see somebody with a ruler.)   It gets even more complicated, and you bring up a good point, because the tide doesn’t stay in one spot.   We all know that the tide goes down, and it goes up.  Some days it has a low tide at one level, and some days a high tide that is really high, and some days there are tides in the middle.  So, if you are measuring the tides by the tidal gauge at the harbor here in Galveston, which they do, by the way, you can take a look at the data there.   How does one detect a trend on this over 100 years?  These are what they publish, and these are the things they claim are happening.   What it boils down to is, 1.4 mm is roughly 5 inches per century.   The 3.2 is about double that, about 8 or 9 inches per century (aside, 3.2 mm/y is 12 inches per century.   I was off by a couple of inches on that one).   (audience comment:   it’s the same principle as a radar gun.)   

What they don’t include, and this is the major point I want to make here, and I’ve never seen this in any of their writings, is we know there is siltation occurring in the oceans.   There is stuff washed off the land, there is mud and sand, all kinds of stuff.  How do we know?  Because we have what we call sedimentary rocks.   We have sandstone, limestone, and shale, all created by stuff that washed off and landed on the ocean floor, and eventually compacted into rock.   In basic geology classes, in any textbook, they will have that statement: the siltation rate in the oceans, they didn’t give a number, they just said a few millimeters per year.   Now, “a few” is a bit ambiguous, but it is on the order of 1.5 to 3, could be maybe 4 or 5.  That is amazingly similar to what they claim as the rate of sea level rise.   You can do this at home, playing with your kids or grandkids, get a bucket and fill it almost to the top with water.   Then start pouring some sand into the bucket, that would be the silt going into the ocean.  After a while, the water overflows because the level goes up.   My question is, why don’t the IPCC talk about that?   How much of the rise that is supposed to be from melting ice, is actually because of siltation going on in the oceans?   They won’t talk about that.  

Next, the point about the temperature rise above the tropics, this cannot be found.  They call it the “hot spot,” there has been a couple of publications on that.   I have a chart here to show on that.   This chart is from a presentation made by Dr. John Christy,
Missing Hot Spot 
CREDIT: Dr. J. Christy, UAH
of University of Alabama at Huntsville.  (see link to Dr. Christy's presentation)  The light purple lines are the results of model runs that show what the temperatures should be doing above the tropics in the upper atmosphere.  The blue lines are what has actually been measured, primarily from balloons and satellites.   They are trying to find it (hot spot), and the basic conclusion is, that part of the theory is a bust.   They cannot find any evidence of a hot spot, and after 60 years of CO2 going up, it ought to be glowing hot up there.   And, it is not.   So, there is another area where their models are wrong, their theory didn’t work.    

Next, more hurricanes, we will talk about that.  More tornadoes, I don’t have a slide, and polar ice, I do have a slide on that.  

There is another professor, Dr. Ryan Maue, he is at Florida State University.   He puts out this chart.  As you know, global warming theory says that hurricanes should be getting more frequent, and more intense, more of them.   
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
CREDIT:  Dr. R. Maue, FSU
If you were to block out the end of the graph, and look only at from 1972 up to 1994, they were cheering, cheering like crazy.   Their theory was working, we had more hurricanes happening, and “Yay Team!  We were right!”   But as we know, Nature bats last, and look what happened in the years after that.    This graph shows, the top line is the accumulated cyclone energy.  We take a hurricane or a tropical cyclone, and we measure how big an area it covers, and we measure how fast the winds are going, and the time in how many hours or days it actually does all of this.  You can compute a number for the energy it took to do all of that.   In my simple way, if I’m an engineer and a man comes to me and says build me some fans big enough to make a hurricane spin like that, how much horsepower will it take to do that, and how much electricity is it going to take to run it?  Well, that’s kind of what it is, for the whole world.  The bottom line is the same thing, but only for the northern hemisphere.   They tend to track pretty well.  That was a big bust; we have fewer hurricanes, not more.   You wouldn’t believe that, if you listened to CNN.  

(audience question on toxic pollutants’ effect on biological systems, especially those involved in recycling.)  If I can paraphrase with my booming voice, the concern is about pollutants, perhaps aerosols, I think acid rain would fall into that category.   What can we do to mitigate those sorts of things, how does that fit into the bigger picture of climate change.  Did I get that right?  (nodding of head).   We know there is no agreement on the ultimate effect of a warmer Earth on biological systems.  Many of them will benefit, but we don’t know for sure how many will suffer.   This is an area of ongoing study.   Which ones are more fragile ecosystems, and which are more robust.   In my view, and I’ve been to the coral reefs, I’ve seen them.  Those things have been there for centuries, even thousands of years.  They’ve been through ups and downs in the climate cycles, and guess what, they are still there (chuckling).  

Let me talk about the ice, because we are running out of time to finish all of this. 

Here is a failed prediction, because the Arctic ice was supposed to be gone by now.   You may have heard Al Gore saying something like “the Arctic will be ice-free by 2014” or something like that.   I want to call your attention, these are three lines,
that show the maximum extent, every Winter of the Arctic ice (top line), this (middle) line is the average extent over the year, and the bottom line is the lowest extent over the Summer.  (see link to Arctic ice graphs) They have drawn straight lines through these, because they love to draw straight lines.   Well, I can draw good straight lines, too, so let’s take a look at this.   See those black lines on there?  Those show the ice has stabilized since 2006.   What we had going on was a stable regime in the early years, then this is the one they are most alarmed about, a similar one was in Al Gore’s movie.  If you ever see a graph that these guys put out, and I’ve seen Michael Mann present, and some of the others present, they will stop this chart right here at the minimum.  They won’t show you this last bit out here (the area of no decline).
Arctic Ice extent,
with stabilized trend shown in black
   Does that sound deceptive, to anybody besides me?   What is going on here is the ice has stabilized since 2006, now 13 years.   That’s a pretty cool trick, as CO2 has managed to put the gun back in the holster.   So, it does not shoot the heating rays down anymore.  (audience: that does not take into account what is going on in Greenland, which is definitely melting.)  Really?  I’m so glad you brought that up, because guess what (slide of Greenland melt hole) right there on the next slide is Greenland. 

You see, what’s going on in Greenland is something called black carbon.   I don’t know how many of you have lived up North where it snows, and they put stuff on the ice to make it melt.   I did, I lived up there in Ohio for a while.   They put black cinders on the ice and snow so the sunshine will get a little assist in melting the ice away.    The bottom of that melt-hole is full of black carbon.   This is from soot, from fires, from jet engines.  We have had over-the-pole flights that  started about, hmmm… 1970!   What an interesting year, when all of that stuff started (chuckling).   You can see, although they don’t want you to see this, just go online and input black ice Greenland and take a look at the videos.   From aircraft flying over these things, there are thousands of these.  The thing about black on ice in Greenland, is it doesn’t go away.   It accumulates; every year it gets bigger and bigger.    How many of you knew that, before you came in here today?    The source is from Canadian forests on fire, the Chinese coal power plants, but there is another source.   They actually have a black algae that grows on the ice up there.   That’s one of the things they try to emphasize, so you don’t ask questions about all this black carbon that rains down up there.   I can see why the ice is melting.   If you go out and sprinkle black carbon.  In fact, way back when I was in 4th grade (in 1963-64), we had a science class which at that time, global cooling was the big issue.   They were afraid we would have icebergs in Houston.   The teacher told us, and I’ll never forget this, not to worry because we now have airplanes that if we need to, can sprinkle ground up charcoal on the ice in Canada so it will all melt.   So, there ya go, we didn’t have to sprinkle charcoal, the forest fires did it for free.  (audience question: this is not a technical but a political issue.)  I have a slide to talk about the motivation behind much of this, and I agree that a lot of this is politics. 

Now, to the wrong causes that were identified.  We know that Arctic ice is melting due to magmatic activity on the seafloor under the circum-Arctic current.   Did you ever notice that the ice is melting on the Russian shore, but it is not melting on the Canadian shore?   Again, a disparity in what CO2 is supposed to be doing.  That is a fact, you can look that one up.   The source is the area between Greenland and whatever that next island is toward Europe, the mid-Atlantic ridge passes there.   The ridge has been having earthquakes and magmatic releases since about 1975 and 1980, the water warms a bit, then swirls past Russia so their ice is the part that disappears.   It’s an interesting point.  

Glaciers have also the same issues, they have done some studies particularly in the Alps where the melt is due to black soot.   (audience question on Glacier National Park and retreating glaciers).   I don’t know the causal factors there, but they had signs in the park for many, many years that said the glacier disappearing rate is such that they expect them all to be gone by year 2020.   Well, we are pretty close to 2020, and guess who has taken down all of those signs now?  (chuckling).   (aside, it could be the western drought has reduced the humidity in Glacier Park, increasing sublimation, also drought decreases the snowfall that replenishes glaciers, also increased wildfires deposit more black soot).  And speaking of glaciers, we have a new one forming in the Sierras out in California.   This is the first time they have found a valley where the snow did not melt over the summer. There is a 40-foot wall of snow, and the big question is, what will happen in the next few years?   It may melt away, but it may get more and more snow.  That is how we start glaciers.   In Glacier Park, we know that the rate of ice disappearance is the same today as it was 150 years ago.   Back in 1850, they were watching all this happen, too, and it is amazing how in all these years, the ice melt rate has never increased.   Even though the CO2 recently has gone up.   So, we wonder, is CO2 lazy?  

Also, Mount Kilimanjaro does not have CO2 issues, but they do have more sublimation due to land changes that make the air more arid, less humid.   The phrase is desertification, made it into a desert.  The air is not as humid, so the physical chemistry requires more sublimation in dry air. 

More on causes of warming, that are not CO2.  The funny thing is, when the IPCC put out their studies, they said we know about aerosols, and how they reflect sunshine, so they put those in the models.  That took care of the (temperature) declines pretty well, but we couldn’t get anything to get the temperatures to go back up in our models.  The ONLY thing we could think of, and that’s a quote, the only thing we could think of was CO2.  So, they shoved that one into their models. 

But, being a good American, I said, fellers, let me give you some help here.   We have a list of almost a dozen things, and we won’t go through all of them today.  (see link to SLB article on many causes of warming, but not CO2:  "The Case Against Carbon Dioxide - Fatal Flaws")  One thing is, the cities have much more population, another is we are using a lot more energy per capita.   I don’t know if you know, but we now use 4 billion MWh on an annual basis in electricity in the United States.  That is from the Energy department (DOE), and it was zero just 100 years ago.   We went from zero to 20 million barrels per day of oil, in the same time frame, 100 years.    What does that look like?  (slide of lights at night)  It looks like this. 
Composite image, N. America at night
source: NASA
 This is a composite satellite photo of the United States at night showing all of the lights.   You probably cannot see this, but up here this is Canada, and this is Hudson Bay which is jet-black.  One hundred years ago, the whole thing would have looked like that.    All of that energy, and we know as engineers that energy cannot be destroyed, it must be transferred somewhere, it has to go somewhere.   That’s a lot of MWh, and Btus from burning 20 million barrels of oil per day (note, that is 7.3 billion barrels per year).   That is an incredible amount of heat that must be released into space, and if you take a look, this area up in here (East Coast and New England) is an area where the warming is occurring over the past 100 years.   That is where most of the industry and the people are, up in the East, and that’s why, in my view, they are measuring the heat coming off of the buildings.   They are not measuring the effect of CO2.    (question on Europe electricity, from nuclear plants and the huge amount of reject heat from them.)    That’s right, nuclear plants have a low thermal efficiency, that is offset somewhat by not losing heat out the smokestack.   Roughly anywhere from 75 percent to as low as 65 percent of the total energy created in the reactor goes off in the cooling tower.  

(question on why the US map earlier has red areas and blue areas, how does that fit in? Canada was dark at the red area.)   (second question on why the dark areas on the map from space, in the West had so much warming?)    Yes, the next slide answers that. 

Here you go, boys, this is it.   It’s amazing what a drought will do.   I’m going to show a slide here in a minute of creating a false impression of global warming, or even local warming.  Everybody knows, especially if you’ve ever been out in the desert when it rains, well, we pray for rain because it’s going to be cooler.   Even here in Houston, the other day we had a nice little rain storm, and it cooled things off.  It’s a very pronounced effect, and evaporative cooling is the technical term for it.  What we have found, in looking through all the little towns that I’ve been looking at, is some of those in the West, especially in the Rocky Mountains and in California, show a huge warming.   I kept thinking how could that be?  They are small towns, they are far from any big cities.   Then, we look at the drought record in those states, and find out that these states right here, and I only listed a few of them, Montana, Utah, Oregon, California, showed enormous warming, but they also had a very strong drought.   It makes a difference, as we will see in a minute.  We’re going to play see-saw like on the playground when we were kids. 

PDSI for Wyoming and Montana -
Data from NOAA
This PDSI is a measure of drought intensity (Palmer Drought Severity Index) if you want to look that up.  Some have a negative PDSI, and those show a cooling trend.   It’s more related to drought and rain than it is to CO2.   Here’s a couple of charts that show that, these are taken right from NOAA’s website, you can do this yourself.  I’ll give you all the web locations if you want.   What these charts show, the green bars show how much rain occurred, over years 1910 to 2019.  The yellow bars are the drought periods. 

The trendline down means more drought, this state is Wyoming, that one is Montana, they both show much more drought.  So, of course(!) they are going to show a warming trend.   It has nothing to do with CO2.    You can do this on state after
PDSI for Utah and Oregon
Data from NOAA
state after state, which is what I am currently in the process of doing right now.   It was an eye-opener to see this.   Now, they do mention drought a little bit in the IPCC reports, but they gloss right over it.  They hope that you don’t know this!! (chuckling).   Here’s some more states, Utah and Oregon, again trend lines going down (more drought).  

Here are two graphs (Alabama and Arkansas) with trend lines up, because they had more drought in the early years and more rain after 1965.   This year, 1965, have you ever heard of 1965 in any of their reports?  That’s kind of the balance point right now on the length of the line they are drawing. 
PDSI for Alabama and Arkansas
Data from NOAA
So, anything that happened before 1965, such as more drought, tends to skew the line upward when you draw a trend.   There are people who claim that they have fiddled with the data by doing things on one side of 1965 that they don’t do on the other. 

Next, the pollution laws.  One of the things that happens that causes the air to be cleaner, we call the aerosol content.  Starting in 1970, we had the Environmental Protection Act passed, and President Nixon signed it.   The EPA agency was established, then in 1973 the Clean Air Act was passed.   Starting after that, in 1975 and 1980, the air began getting cleaner in many polluted cities across the United States.  It took a little longer to happen around the globe, but many cities now are cleaner.  Notably, China is not.  I got to work in some of the overseas cities and it was very polluted over there in their air.  I’ve seen it.

The EPA will tell you how many tons of pollutants they have removed from the skies.  What that does is actually allow more sunshine to come down and warm up the ground.  So, to that extent, there is another causal factor that is not CO2.  Way out in the desert, it’s probably not an issue but on that East Coast, it is.  

The next one is very big, I want to mention Svensmark and the CERN experiment.  This has to do with the magnetic field of the Sun deflecting the GCRs, galactic cosmic rays away from the Earth.  We now know, after experiments at the CERN atom smasher, that they do create condensation nuclei in the atmosphere when they hit.  This correlates with sunspots; the more sunspots, the warmer the Earth gets.   The fewer sunspots, the colder it gets.   This is the mechanism.  Finally, after 20 years of doing this, the IPCC actually admitted that that is actually true, but they called it an inconsequential mechanism.    And I ask them, do you fellows know about the Little Ice Age, when there were no sunspots for decades?   It got a little cold (chuckling).   They don’t like to talk to me. 

And then we have this graph, the clouds are in blue in two sections.  Upper is the clouds representing 30 percent reflection
Solar Energy change with 1 percent
change in cloud cover
of the incoming sunlight, which is what they say.  The albedo is 30 percent.  That means only about 953 W/m2 get through.   If we have only a one percent change in cloud cover, we end up with 13 W/m2 difference coming into the Earth to warm it up.  And that is only important if you know that what they are claiming for the entire effect of CO2 doubling, is only about 1.5 W/m2.  So, the point here is, and I hope you take this one home and think about it, if the cloud cover changes only one percent, that is a ten times bigger effect than what they are claiming for CO2 in the whole big scheme of things.   We know for a fact that the clouds are changing, because the sunspots have changed.  

We also have more local humidity from watering lawns and such things, and cooling towers.  That is why here in Houston, and I grew up here, the nights are warm.   That is why if you go outside at night on the same day, or have a buddy in the desert, say Phoenix, or right outside of Phoenix because it is a big city, out in the desert it gets much colder at night.  Much colder.   The CO2 is the same in both places, so what is the difference?  Humidity.    To the extent these western cities have increased in population and increased their use of water for irrigation, lawns, and even crop circles.   All of these are putting water vapor into the air, creating humidity, and that is causing the nights to be warmer.   Sure enough, it we look at the tiny towns that I’m looking at, and only the nighttime minimum temperatures, they are getting warmer in the West.  There you go. 

Another cause is just from population expanding, such as a thermometer out in Katy, Texas where it was out in the country when we were kids.  Now, it’s sort of in the city.   If there was a measuring station there, its attributes have changed from small town rural to more suburban.   That will increase your temperature.   It has nothing to do with CO2. 

The settled science is next.   This will have real equations and some engineering.  They have a thing called the transient sensitivity to CO2. 
CO2 Sensitivity Calculation 
What that means is, over the short term of a few decades, how the temperature will change, it is dT/dCO2.    There is another one called the Equilibrium sensitivity, and we will talk about that maybe if we have time.   Here is the equation, change in Temperature is equal to some constant K times the natural log of the ratio of CO2 concentrations in ppm at the end and at the beginning.  We can use this and work out the value of K for about 0.7 degrees warming if we start about here and go all the way up.   If we use 400 ppm and 300 ppm just for round numbers, we get a value of 2.4.   Then they talk about how much warming will we get for a doubling of CO2?  We end up with 1.7 degrees, roughly.   That’s from 275 ppm in 1850, up to 550 ppm.   Where does the uncertainty come in?

Take a look at that chart!  (refer earlier to global temperature anomaly chart)   What if we take values from 1910, to 2015, the temperature rise is 1.1 degrees C.  We get an entirely different value for K.    And, what if we instead take the values from 1945 down to 1975, well now it’s a negative number and they don’t want to talk to you!!  That shows that the trend has the wrong slope.    I’m a bad boy, because I talk to them like that.   We can also take the zero point from 1880, roughly, up to 2015, still the 0.7 rise but much greater CO2 difference.  Yet a different value of K.   What does that mean?  They have no clue what they are doing.    They have a range of what temperatures will do for a CO2 doubling, where, I think I’ve seen numbers from 1.5 to 5.5.  Those are degrees C.    That is why.  Then, in the same breath, they will smile at you and say, “The science is settled,” in their deepest Walter Cronkite voice.   They have NO clue what they are doing here, and they admit it, it’s in their publications.    They are absolutely guessing on this.   This data is so bad, the analytical techniques are so bad, that in my view, I would hope that nobody in here ever designs a chemical plant or a refinery using those techniques, because if you do, you will end up talking to an attorney like me who handles engineering matters.   And, you will be saying, Help me, sir, we just blew up a billion dollars’ worth of stuff, and we killed some people.   You cannot do that in our world.  We have to use real data and real science.  

Why are the IPCC and the others doing this?    This is my viewpoint, but it is shared by an awful lot of people.  First, there was a fear of running out of fossil fuels, as somebody brought up.   But, that turned out to be wrong as the peak oil scare fizzled.  We found out how to get more oil out of the ground.   And much more natural gas, too.   There is also this thing called Western guilt, because our societies have benefitted from using fossil fuels while a lot of countries didn’t have that chance.   Next, the desire to have a wealth transfer from the wealthy countries that had the fossil fuel benefit, to the other countries that don’t.  This is exactly what the Paris Accord is all about.   I don’t know how many of you have read it, I read it to see what was in there.    There is a world government established, there are transfer payments to be made, in named countries.  They had to sign their name, Yes we will do this.   There are the recipient countries, and you can think of who they are, the ones with the lowest GDP on Earth, they were absolutely going to sign that thing and say that global warming is real.   Hey, you bring the money!

So, that’s my view of what is going on there.    The politics of it, that’s amazing.   However, I cannot talk politics in an AIChE meeting.  

Is there more uncertainty?  We only talked about the uncertainty about CO2.  There is a whole list, where any issue you look at is rife with uncertainty.   Sea Level Rise, they abbreviate that SLR, we talked about that.  How can you measure it?  How much is siltation responsible for?  

Sea surface temperature, this is another one where they have no clue what they are talking about. 

In the early days, they measured the water temperature by sailing ships dropping a bucket over the side and pulling it up.  The captain would have an idea, after they put a thermometer in it, of are we getting close to Antarctica or not?   Then a little later, they had ships that pulled water in as engine cooling water, now we have the ARGO buoy system (and to some extent, satellite data). 

Now, I can stay and answer questions, but that concludes the presentation.  So, thank you very much, and I really enjoyed that.   Thank you.  (applause).  

End transcript.  

(I was happy to stay after and chat with those present; a most enjoyable and interesting discussion time.   One person in particular was quite complimentary, telling us that he appreciated the presentation and me not using the words Alarmist and Denier, since those are inflammatory.   I greatly appreciate those remarks.    As best I could tell from the transcript, I did not say those words. --  Roger)

UPDATE 9-16-2019:  The temperature data has multiple issues; and the analysis is riddled with errors.   To mention only a few issues, very few data points for tiny towns in the US span the entire 109 years (1910 – 2018) with less than 4 percent missing data points.  A recent study of NOAA records that is in progress (Sowell) shows only approximately 115 such tiny towns.   This is a very small number out of more than 100,000 locations in the NOAA database for the continental US.

Also, the large cities with UHI effect (urban heat island, i.e. Goodridge graphs) are too few to skew the long-term trends upward.  Adjustments to the data are responsible for 0.5 degrees C warming (note only 0.7 degrees C total warming from 1965-2015).  The reputed warming is certainly man-made, because it is created by including, then adjusting, multiple towns and cities with short term data, infilling missing data, and splicing together multiple short-term records.   -- end update 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2019 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

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