Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Realm of Asinine - Keystone Pipeline Hysteria

The hysteria surrounding approval of the Keystone Pipeline has crossed the border of Ridiculous and entered the realm of Asinine. Thanks to the Recession and natural gas from fracking, the United States is the only developed nation that has met its CO2 reduction goal. North America produces 6.5 gigatons of CO2 emissions annually, and opening the Keystone Pipeline would only increase global CO2 emissions 0.01%. Even after the Keystone Pipeline opens, total US emissions will still be falling, while China will increase its CO2 emissions over 230 times the Keystone Pipeline total each year. As FDR could have said about this issue: “Have you ever heard an ant break wind in a hurricane?”

Numbers must be compared to other numbers to put matters in context. For example, since 1751 (roughly the end of the Little Ice Age), atmospheric CO2 has increased five times faster than human production of CO2 emissions. Science clearly explains that this would be expected as ocean temperatures rebounded from 500 years of Little Ice Age cooling. As a high school chemistry class refresher, cooling water absorbs CO2, and warming water releases it, and that explains why atmospheric CO2 has increased far more than human emissions could cause.

Thanks to China, human CO2 emissions are at record levels, yet (miraculously?) there has been a slight global cooling trend for the past fifteen years, the opposite of what the 44 most sophisticated climate models predicted.

When the Keystone Pipeline is approved, over 100,000 direct and spin-off jobs will be created and the US will be less dependent on unstable overseas oil. Even if the pipeline isn’t built, Canada will produce the oil and deliver it via Canadian pipelines to tankers on its west coast to transport it to China – and probably California, too, until we get fracking.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Time To Let Go

I wrote this as an exercise in an Effective Writing Course at Lockheed shortly after Marilynn died of breast cancer January 18, 1988. The assignment was to write a one-page paper using only one-syllable words, and read it to the class. When I finished reading this, the only dry eyes in the class were mine.

Hon, they say I have to cry for you. At the least, Doc says I have to. And not just for me. For Bruce, Scott, and Jeff too. If I don’t cry for you, it seems none of us will ever be whole. So I have to let go of you, and the way to let go is to cry.

That’s what they say.

Hon, you know it’s hard for me to cry. And I don’t know that I want to let go of you, even if Doc says I have to. That is, I have to if I want to be well.

When I got home that day and saw you on our bed, so still, so cold, I felt lost.

Lost, and sad like a lead weight was on my heart. But you were at last at peace and free of pain, and your smile was sweet, just like it was back in the days when sick cells were a bad dream. When each thought was not in some way tied to fear of where the cells were, and how bad the pain would some day be.

It would have been so easy to pity you, to say life had not been fair to you, that you got a bum deal. But that would have been to not see the fierce pride you had in all that we had done with our lives. The way you would say, “This is our home,” in any place we put our bed. Then pack up and move to some far land, with no gripe or words of fear or loss. “Just make sure they pack our bed,” you would say.

How could I cry while you were in our bed? In the bed we used for over 25 years to make love, to make up, to make plans, and at last to make peace with what we both knew, that you would one day soon die in it. I still hear my words: “What can I do for you, what can I say?”

“Just hold me,” you said.

Then I held you, but I could feel your strength would not last long, and that your iron will would not be enough. Then you just let go. With no last word for me or look, or sigh, or sign.

So I guess I’ll do what Doc says I have to do. I think I’ll have to make a plan. I’ll pick a day, like the last day of next week. I’ll make it my day to cry. To let go. But not now. It’s time to go to bed.

Thirty years later, and I still haven’t cried, Doc. Can I ever be well if I don’t?

Global Warming Should be Fact Checked

It’s difficult to choose ideas for my weekly ICO letter because there are so many possibilities. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW, which morphed into climate change, then severe weather, and now “whatever happens is a sign of human-caused catastrophic warming) is always available, particularly now that Earth has gone almost two decades without significant warming. It would seem difficult to blame things on warming in the absence of warming, but droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, rising sea level, and other phenomena, all occurring within historic natural patterns, have all been erroneously deemed unusual and unprecedented.

Serendipitously, this week my topic was given me on Tax Day by an ICO reporter. Last week I mentioned that certain prominent Democrats paid experts to prepare their income taxes. As you might expect, tax experts are not employed to facilitate their clients overpaying their taxes. After emailing my letter to the ICO, a reporter  challenged my assertion that these prominent Democrats wanted to save on their taxes. I emailed back news stories showing they did, and the matter was settled except the reporter replied that I was challenged to protect the ICO against libel charges. I emailed back that I had signed the letter, not the ICO editor.

Today the reporter emailed me a link to a news story of an editor sued as the re-publisher of a defamatory letter, and added that facts asserted in ICO letters are checked the same as facts in ICO news stories. I replied with a personal fact that they are not – I’m very publicly an agnostic, not a fundamentalist as some writers have stated – and I chuckled thinking of all the AGW letters and articles that would be thrown out if the ICO did what they said.

But I’d hate to lose all that inspiration.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Everyone's A Fact-Checker (Or Should Be)

Self-inflicted wounds are the most painful. I deeply regret not fact-checking an article that recent mass murderers were registered Democrats. I wish I’d stopped after writing: “In 2011, less than 6% of gun homicides were by rifle (679 of 11,780); unlicensed hand guns wielded by minorities on minorities accounted for almost all gun violence.” Actually, I need to fact-check myself, because only 323 murders in 2011 were by rifle, compared to 6,220 by handgun, 1,684 by unknown types, 1,694 by knives, 726 by striking with hands and feet, 496 by blows from blunt objects, and 356 by shotguns (the shotgun murders had been included in the 2011 rifle number).

Analyses show recent mass murders are linked to mental problems, not rifles. The murderers exhibited mental disorders that patient privacy rules prevent catching through background checks.

Anyway, I hope I have learned a lesson.

So back to my “natural climate change” knitting, since the ICO’s editorial position is that humans now cause climate change that for millions of years nature accomplished without human assistance.

The latest truly embarrassing moment of borderline scientific misconduct by global warming alarmists involves research funded by the National Science Foundation published in Science, and aided and abetted by major periodicals such as New York Times and Nature, and non-major ones like Grist, New Scientist, and Climate Central, and supported at Real Climate and Skeptical Science.

Marcott et al. purported that the 11,300-years post-Ice Age period, that began with rapid, sustained warming then a long period of cooling, was reversed by rapid warming in the last 100 years – except its authors now admit it proved no such thing. See Dr. Pielke’s analysis:

These major media screw-ups still don’t make me feel better about mine, but inspire me to renewed effort fact-checking ICO letters and articles.