American Elephants


Re: The California Case against Big Oil — Dismissed! by The Elephant's Child

California’s Judge Alsup has just issued his Opinion and Order shutting down this litigation against BP, Chevron et al. He said several times that it is established and “both parties agree” that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic and the seas are inevitably rising.

That is irrelevant he wrote, because the California government entities ‘Nuisance theory’ is legally way too much of a stretch and just plain nuts. And issued the order dismissing the claim. Excellent, I will not argue.

He apparently just accepted that which he regarded as the highest authority, and in the case of the rising seas which would inundate San Francisco — He noted that San Francisco hadn’t even started to build  a sea wall!

Here’s the ruling: California v. BP.

The issue is not over science. All parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so, and that eventually the navigable waters of the United States will intrude upon Oakland and San Francisco. The issue is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level.

The sole claim for relief is for “public nuisance,” a claim governed by federal common law. The specific nuisance is global-warming induced sea level rise. Plaintiffs’ theory, to repeat, is that defendants’ sale of fossil fuels leads to their eventual combustion, which leads to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to more global warming and consequent ocean rise.

The scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew that the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming. While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with knowledge of the problem would be liable. At one point, counsel seemed to limit liability to those who had promoted allegedly phony science to deny climate change. But at oral argument, plaintiffs’ counsel clarified that any such promotion remained merely a “plus factor.” Their theory rests on the sweeping proposition that otherwise lawful and everyday sales of fossil fuels, combined with an awareness that greenhouse gas emissions lead to increased global temperatures, constitute a public nuisance.

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Will the Once Great State of California Ever Recover From Jerry Brown? by The Elephant's Child

Down in the great state of California, Governor Moonbeam and the Legislature are suing BP (formerly British Petroleum) because the people using nasty fossil fuels (all of us and the American economy) are causing catastrophic global warming which is going to destroy the planet, or kill us all, or something like that. Except that it isn’t.

Our very own governor, who seems to copy every nitwit idea of Governor Moonbeam’s, either is doing his own lawsuit or is joining on California’s, I’m not sure. Our Governor, called locally “Sleepy Jay Inslee” is also trying to push a carbon tax on everybody who drives a vehicle.

This case against BP should be understood as the holy grail of potential jackpots for the legal profession. BP alone had $240.21 billion in revenue last year. Greedy lawyers are envisioning mammoth windfalls, and if they succeed in breaking BP, they can go on with all the other oil companies, breaking them one by one. $$$$$$  We can all rely on wind and solar which are useless, but beloved by Lefties. We could all drive useless electric cars (you think there would be any energy left to plug into your very expensive car?) The Left loathes Big Oil, but as with most things they loathe, don’t really know why they are supposed to do so. Big Oil is simply the name used to describe the world’s six or seven largest publicly traded oil and gas companies BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total SAand EniSpA and Phillips 66.  Demonized by the Left for the rare spills, when oil-soaked birds serve the same purpose in Leftist propaganda as the current kids in cages, separated, crying, from their mothers. Bad analogy. The oil-soaked birds are real, unfortunately. The kids in cages belong to president Obama.

Our freeways are so crowded that at rush hour a doctor said it took her over two hours to get home, a usual 25 minute drive. People are leaving the state and the outflow of people and business from California is huge.  California’s freeways are, it is reported, potholed, too crowded, and in poor condition while Jerry Brown pursues his high-speed rail to nowhere, and Elon Musk experiments with vacuum tube tunnels.

The Court has asked what the social cost of the use of fossil fuels is. Here’s the answer given the court.



How Long Do We Have To Wait For Global Warming to be Proved? Is Thirty Years Enough? by The Elephant's Child

Fool Me Once Shame on You,
Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me.

It was just 30 years ago this week that James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a prolonged heat wave, which” he described as a climate event of cosmic significance.” Just to be sure he arranged for the meeting room to be warmer than usual. He expressed to the senators “his high degree of confidence” in “cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming.”

There was an accompanying paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research, and it ignited a world wide panic that continues today about the energy structure of the entire planet. So 30 years on we can pause and take a look at just how well his predictions have turned out, and check on how we are doing.

Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. In that forecast, temperatures would rise a few tenths of a degree before flatlining after 2000.

He was not just wrong, but completely wrong. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000. The computer Models devised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted twice as much warming as has actually occurred since temperature monitoring began 40 years ago. I have not seen a summary of the expenditures devised to save the planet, but it’s big. Very big. The small amounts of increased CO2 have not meant increased warming, but increased plant growth, feeding the world and decreasing famine and hunger. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants.

He claimed in a 2007 case on auto emissions that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. The Australian Climatism blog has a wonderful pictorial post on the predictions of catastrophic sea level rise, and scroll on down for the reality which is quite something else.

And by the way, the polar bears are just fine as well, multiplying nicely’

It’s more than a little scary to see the extent to which governments can be manipulated by irresponsible fake news from irresponsible journalists, and the people manipulated as well. We’re getting another dose of that today, different subject, but just as irresponsible.



The Future is Coming Whether We Welcome It Or Not by The Elephant's Child

My mail contained some startling notices. In the Netherlands, in  the city of Eindhoven, they are building a neighborhood of 3D printed houses. I saw pictures of a house they 3D printed here at a cost of around $3,600 (If I remember correctly) that looked attractive and like a normal house only very small. A whole new concept of neighborhoods and living. This one looks as if it was designed for migrants from a children’s book. Kids would love them. You can google 3D houses to see what’s being developed in this country.

Thinking about D-Day, I couldn’t help but wonder if we are going to have to do it again. The EU Government seems to think it will all go well as the migrants adapt and become Europeans. The Migrants seem to have no intention of assimilating, and just expect to take over in a generation or two, when they become the majority. Whether they want to eliminate the current Europeans is an unknown, but attacks seem to continue everywhere. The thinking of the EU government seems to have little to do with the ideas and interests of the people, with rare exceptions. See Victor Davis Hanson’s “Europe’s Vanishing Calm” at National Review.

It’s  now against the law in California to shower and do laundry in the same day. The Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown wants a few draconian laws passed as a parting gift to the state. This one is designed to help California to be prepared for future droughts and, of course, to help defray the effects of climate change. Governor Moonbeam remains a true believer. The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, not just in times of crisis.

But at the EPA, the valiant Scott Pruitt is doing some genuine cost-benefit reform. Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency rammed through an average of 565 new rules each year during the Obama Presidency, imposing the highest regulatory costs of any agency in the government. It pulled this off by arranging the supposed benefits to fit whatever cost they thought they could get away with. Regulations can impose severe costs on the economy. By adding “social costs” and “social benefits” Obama’s EPA added speculation about causing childhood asthma (scientists don’t know yet what causes it) which sounds good, and is hard to object to. Removing useless regulations has been a boon to commerce. The EPA has a statutory obligation to look at the costs and benefits of proposed rules, which were reinforced by executive orders and court rulings.

The EPA will take the first step today by issuing an advance notice of proposed rule-making. After weighing public input, EPA will propose a rule establishing an agency-wide standard for how regulations are assessed. The reform will make it easier for Americans and their elected representatives to see whether more regulation can be justified. At White House direction, the Trump EPA recalculated the “social cost” of prior regulations to include only demonstrable domestic benefits. The social cost estimates dropped to an average of $5 per ton of carbon from $36. The EPA had put the social cost of methane at an average of $1,100 per ton. The Trump EPA lowered that to $150 per ton. As they say, $1,000 here, and $2,000 there and pretty soon you’re talking real money. On his first day in office Mr. Pruitt said his goal was to protect the environment and the economy, and that “we don’t have to choose between the two.”

 



New Study Finds Variations in Global Warming Trend are Caused by the Oceans by The Elephant's Child

A report from the University of Southampton says that “new research has shown that natural variations in global mean temperature are always forced by changes in heat release and heat uptake by the oceans, in particular the heat release associated with evaporation.” What, what? you mean it is not burning evil fossil fuels?

Analysing data from six climate models that simulated future climate change scenarios for the last International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Report, which appeared in 2014, University of Southampton Professor Sybren Drijfhout has shown that in all cases variations in global mean temperature were correlated with variations in heat release by sensible and latent heat. Writing in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, Professor Drijfhout says these variations are associated with heat transfer due to temperature differences between the surface ocean and the overlying air, and heat transfer associated with evaporation. The heat fluxes are also called the turbulent heat fluxes.

“The relation holds in all models and is independent of the time-scale of the variation in temperature”, says Professor Drijfhout, Chair in Physical Oceanography and Climate Physics at Southampton. “When the atmosphere gets extra warm it receives more heat from the ocean, when it is extra cool it receives less heat from the ocean, making it clear that the ocean is the driving force behind these variations.”

The full report can be found here. It’s not that long, but fascinating for those of us interested in both the science and the politics of the current global warming “crisis.”

If the variations take longer, sea-ice becomes the trigger, and the variations peak over areas where surface water sinks to great depth and deep and bottom waters are formed which are transported by the global overturning circulation, or more popularly dubbed — the Great Conveyor Belt.

Powerful images. Do read the whole thing, it will only take you about 3 minutes if you don’t stop too long to try to figure out how the good professor’s name is pronounced. And if you can figure it out, let me know.
I have no idea.



There Is No Unprecedented Global Modern Warming by The Elephant's Child

You have heard the wailing and screaming about President Trump’s exit from the Paris Climate Accords, but do you understand that the agreement, never ratified by the U.S. government (NOT a treaty) accomplished nothing at all to modify or change the climate. The climate of the earth has been changing mildly for millions of years, and there is no unprecedented Global-Scale modern warming. The “Accords” were designed to transfer large amounts of wealth from the rich nations to the poor nations, ostensibly to allow them to save themselves from that non-existent unprecedented warming.

There are two kinds of climate science that we are dealing with. One is based on satellite measurements and thermometer readings and recorded history. The other is based on computer programs, based, I believe on computer programs that were designed to forecast what the financial markets were going to do. They took what they knew about the climate, and put that in, and they put in thermometer readings from weather stations all over our country and from around the world. There were problems with that because a lot of them were placed where concrete paving and buildings reflected heat, and some were next to air-conditioning outlets, others next to trash burners, so the readings weren’t all that useful. Then there are lots of things that they don’t understand completely, like the extent to which the warming from the sun is affected by clouds. Michael Mann conjured up, from his computer programs, what is called the hockey stick graph, which shows that the heating of the planet suddenly takes a sharp turn up.

Science doesn’t run on dramatic conclusions like that. Someone proposes an idea, and if many other scientists can examine the facts and test them and come up with the same conclusion over time, then they begin to trust the idea, and continue to test it all over again as new information comes in. Scientists are still finding many old conclusions that they thought were settled science, just are not.

From the No Tricks Zone: (by Kenneth Richard on 10, May 2018)

During 2017, there were 150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicating modern temperatures are not unprecedented, unusual, or hockey-stick-shaped —nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability. We are a little over 4 months into the new publication year and already 81 graphs from 62 scientific papers undermine claims that modern era warming is climatically unusual.

Do follow the link and see some of the graphs. They come from all over the world, and illustrate natural variation. Here in Seattle we had snow on Christmas eve, just enough to make the trees look pretty, and that was it for the whole winter. A few cold days that it tried, without success, to snow. We’ve had years when we were essentially snowed in with icy streets, and we had one good sledding year on the hill in front of my house.

I make no pretense of being a scientist. But I grew up outdoors in the foothills of the Rockies, and I’ve been snowed in, flooded out, and even had the Union Pacific railroad derailed in my front yard. Sorry, no one is going to convince me that normal changes in the weather are a catastrophe.



Seventeen States Attack EPA Vehicle Emission Standards. Weak Legal Case, Big Publicity. by The Elephant's Child

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator is doing a marvelous job, rolling back one bad EPA regulation after another, and the Left wants his head. He believes that credible science and transparency are necessary elements of sound policy. Well, we can’t have that. He believes that the EPA should no longer enjoy free rein to impose major regulations that are based on studies that are not available for public scrutiny. And the environmental lobby is having hissy-fits. Their claim that research subjects’ privacy would be violated is nonsense. Personal information is not even relevant in agency rule-making.

The environmental group’s rallying cry was that the public has a “right to know” for public disclosure requirements on the private sector that included informational labeling, emissions reporting, workplace safety warnings, beach advisories, and pending enforcement actions.

The proposed rule is aligned with the Data Access Act which requires federal agencies to ensure that data which is produced under grants or agreements with universities, hospitals and nonprofit organizations is available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.

Legislation was passed by the House last year to prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information which was relied on to support the action is the best available science, specifically identified, and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results. The EPA, among other obfuscations, was blaming all sorts of things on causing asthma in children—totally ignoring the fact that physicians do not know what causes asthma. That sort of thing. EPA regulation has expanded exponentially every decade since the 1970s at tremendous expense to the nation. The science that supported the regulation was apparently a secret.

California, joined by 16 states and the District of Columbia has petitioned the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to stop EPA Administrator Pruitt from revising his predecessor’s greenhouse gas emission standards for new cars sold in 2022-2025. Their press release claimed that their “lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.”

Well, no this is not a final action. The EPA rule specifically states that if EPA decides the standards are appropriate, that “decision will be the final agency action which will also be subject to judicial review on its merits.”

The Obama era EPA’s rush to judgment was for the political purpose of confronting the incoming Trump administration with a regulatory fait accompli, and it produced an agenda-driven rulemaking rather than an evidence-based rulemaking. There was supposed to be a harmonized national vehicle program. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers warns that” the process now bears no resemblance to the coordinated effort that was envisioned in the midterm evaluation.”

It’s bad enough that the federal government presumes to determine for all consumers the relative importance of fuel efficiency compared to other vehicle attributes such as affordability, size, safety, utility, comfort, and style. States should not have a say in determining such tradeoffs in what every reasonable person acknowledges should be a national market.

The nation’s fuel economy statute, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, prohibits states from adopting or enforcing laws or regulations “related to” fuel economy. California’s greenhouse gas emission standards are strongly related to fuel economy standards, because carbon dioxide (CO2) constitutes 94.9 percent of vehicular GHG emissions, and “there is a single pool of technologies … that reduce fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions as well” (75 FR 25372).

The top ten automobile producing states are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. California is not on the list. Their lawsuit is vastly premature as they can only sue for a “final action” which isn’t anywhere near the case. So we can assume that this is some kind of grandstanding. Pruitt’s determination that the Obama rules are not appropriate is based on new information about fuel prices, projected vehicle cost, consumer preferences and other relevant factors. The proposed notice of withdrawal summarizes the viewpoints of experts who disagree with the agency’s assessments. It just doesn’t reach the conclusion that California wants. With the 17 state lawsuit, however, you will hear a lot about how the Trump EPA is trying to destroy the environment and make automobiles noxious gas emission spewing horrors, or something like that. Trump Derangement Syndrome.




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