April 29, 2011

Shale Gas: A Climate Friendly Fossil Fuel?

A few weeks back, in our article Biggest Drop in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions, we promised to take a look at the implications of a new study that calculated the impact on the earth’s greenhouse effect from the extraction and use of natural gas produced from deep underground shale beds (through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”). The study was conducted by a research team from Cornell University led by Dr. Robert Howarth, and its conclusions were quite surprising:

“Compared to coal, the [greenhouse gas] footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”

The reason that this is surprising (and has a lot of people talking) is that natural gas has long been considered the most “climate friendly” of all the fossil fuels and a potential “bridge” to a low carbon future. The Howarth et al. study now threatens natural gas’s most favored status (at least among climate change-fearing types).

Over at the free market energy blog Master Resource, WCR’s Chip Knappenberger takes a look at the Howarth et al. study, as well as its many criticisms.

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April 20, 2011

Climate Coup

We are pleased to announce the latest addition to our blogroll category of “Books”—that being Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives—a fine publication edited by our own Dr. Patrick J. Michaels.

Climate Coup is published by the Cato Institute and is available through Cato or through Amazon.

Here is how the Cato Institute describes Climate Coup:

Global warming alarmism is invading nearly every aspect of our society. Despite convincing evidence that climate change does not portend an apocalyptic future, children are inundated with that idea in schools. Poor countries shake down rich ones in the name of climate “justice.” Lawmakers try to impose tariffs and sanctions on nations that don’t agree with their environmental views. The military uses climate change as a reason to enlarge its budget. And courts are compelling the government to restrict the amount of energy we use and the way we use it.

Climate Coup provides an antidote to this, gathering together myth-breaking insights and data from a team of experts on the pervasive influence global warming alarmism is having on health, education, law, national defense, international development, trade, and academic publishing.

”Global warming’s reach has become ubiquitous,” writes the editor, Patrick Michaels. “This book documents how far unelected bureaucracies have pushed this issue into our lives.”

Each author details the width and depth of the impact global warming alarmism is having on his or her area of expertise. The coverage includes:

-How the Constitution’s limited government restraints have been torn away, allowing global warming policy to be dictated by the president.

-The deliberate abdication of legislative authority by Congress to further concentrate regulatory power in the executive and judicial branches.

-How outrageous exaggerations of global warming fuel budget expansion within the Defense Department.

-How students are subjected to forms of climate change education that are akin to social engineering.

-How trade policies do nothing about climate change but erode market freedoms.

-Ending the myth that global warming reduces the quality of life in developing countries.

-An examination of the unrealistic and unsupported public health claims made about global warming.

Climate Coup confronts the exaggerations, opportunism, and myths about global warming that are all too pervasively altering the shape of our lives and provides the tools and insights necessary to push back against the takeover.

Climate Coup is edited by Dr. Patrick Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. According to Cato, “Dr. Michaels is widely acknowledged by climate alarmists as today’s most effective synthesizer of the nonapocalyptic view of climate change. He is a distinguished senior fellow in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has also authored multiple books on global warming, including Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.”

Climate Coup includes individual chapters contributed by:

Roger Pilon
Evan Turgeon
Ross McKitrick
Ivan Eland
Sallie James
Indur M. Goklany
Robert E. Davis
Neal McCluskey

For those interested in hearing more about what Climate Coup is all about, the Cato Institute is hosting a Book Forum on Wednesday May 4, 2011. The Book Forum will be streamed on-line, and will feature speakers Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT and Bob Ryan, Fellow and past president of the American Meteorological Society and meteorologist for WJLA / ABC 7 News. The discussion will be moderated by Patrick J. Michaels.

Be sure to tune in to see all the fun!




April 14, 2011

Biggest Drop in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2009, greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. experienced their biggest drop since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began tracking them during the 1990-2009 timeframe.

The EIA’s latest numbers on greenhouse gas emissions can be found in their just released report “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009.”

The EIA starts out with this summary:

Total U.S. anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were 5.8 percent below the 2008 total. The decline in total emissions—from 6,983 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2008 to 6,576 MMTCO2e in 2009—was the largest since emissions have been tracked over the 1990-2009 time frame. It was largely the result of a 419-MMTCO2e drop in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (7.1 percent).

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April 7, 2011

Sea Level Rise: Still Slowing Down

Back in the summer of 2009, we ran a piece titled “Sea Level Rise: An Update Shows a Slowdown” in which we showed that the much ballyhooed “faster rate of sea level rise during the satellite era” was actually slowing down.

We suggested that this observation would help the IPCC to adjudicate an issue that it raised in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report:

“Whether the faster rate [of sea level rise] for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer term trend is unclear.”

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