Traditional energy sources go from doom and gloom to boom

The time of the climate change shills is coming to an end, but not before literally billions has been?poured?into their pockets. Stephen F. Hayward looks and the whole Climate Change debacle and the decline of the deception.

?[T]he climate change story has been overtaken by facts on the ground. Most significant: The pause in global warming?????now going on 15 years?????has become so obvious that many of the leading climate scientists are grudgingly admitting that global warming has stopped. James Hansen, who recently stepped down as NASA?s chief climate scientist to become a full-time private sector alarmist, is among those admitting that the recent temperature record has flatlined.

After two decades of steady and substantial global temperature increase from 1980 to 1998, the pause in warming is causing a crisis for the climate crusade. It wasn?t supposed to happen like this. The recent temperature record is falling distinctly to the very low end of the range predicted by the climate models and may soon fall out of it, which means the models are wrong, or, at the very least, something is going on that supposedly ?settled? science hasn?t been able to settle. Equally problematic for the theory, one place where the warmth might be hiding?????the oceans?????is not cooperating with the story line. Recent data show that ocean warming has noticeably slowed, too.

These inconvenient data are causing the climate science community to reconsider the issue of climate sensitivity?????that is, how much warming greenhouse gases actually cause?????as I predicted would happen in these pages three years ago: ?Eventually the climate modeling community is going to have to reconsider the central question: Have the models the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] uses for its predictions of catastrophic warming overestimated the climate?s sensitivity to greenhouse gases???

It is tantamount to fraud. I wonder if anyone will start an indictment process. The mood is changing rapidly. Some media are now quietly distancing themselves.

A steady stream of scientific studies (often government-funded) published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that conclude climate sensitivity is overestimated were ignored by the media, with the notable exception of?New York Times?science blogger Andrew Revkin. But the media blackout was broken in dramatic fashion by the?Economist?in its March 30 edition, with a long feature about the growing doubts over the catastrophic warming projections that have been the lifeblood of the climate campaign. The?Economist?reviewed a number of new findings that conclude the likely range of future warming will be much more modest?????and manageable?????than the Al Gores of the world have been claiming.

That the?Economist?would break with the pack is significant because the august British newsweekly had been among the most prominent media voices beating the drum for climate catastrophe and radical action to suppress hydrocarbon energy. Now it offers this zinger: ?If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch.? A Reuters story last week notes that scientists are ?struggling? to explain the pause in warming. Expect other media to follow?????if they continue to give the issue much coverage at all. The?New York Times?shut down its environment news desk in January and discontinued its Green Blog in March, concessions to the fact that readers are thoroughly bored with the issue. Recent opinion surveys find that public concern about climate change is at 20-year lows, not just in the United States but almost everywhere.

One thing that is happening too now is that people are ignoring the silly pretense that “renewables” are the way of the future. That is sensible people, unlike David Farrar who takes the view that bird smashers are the way of the future.

Even if the full-monty doom and gloom case still looked persuasive, the massive and unexpected resurgence of hydrocarbon energy over the last few years has made the green dream of hydrocarbon energy suppression more implausible than ever, chiefly because the ?renewable? alternatives are still so much more expensive, inferior in performance, and inadequate to our energy needs. The boom in natural gas production is being accompanied by an equally substantial boom in domestic oil production for the same reason?????advances in directional drilling technology and hydraulic fracturing.

And the Greens oppose fracking. Yet the?economic?rewards are as plain as the nose on your face.

The consequences for the U.S. energy picture are staggering. Oil imports have fallen by one-third over the last five years; the sour economy accounts for less than half of this decline. The United States is within striking distance of doing without Middle Eastern oil if it wishes. Although Europe and Asia have lagged the United States in deploying new technology to unlock oil and gas, they are catching up quickly. The ?peak oil? hypothesis looks more and more like the population bomb, imminent resource exhaustion, and other busted Malthusian forecasts of the 1970s.

Meanwhile, renewable energy?????wind, solar, and biofuels?????is sputtering everywhere, as one would expect of any product wholly dependent on subsidies in a time of budgetary constraints. Tax credits and subsidies for wind and solar power survived the fiscal cliff deal on January 1, the result of some fancy footwork by renewable lobbyists months before, but aren?t likely to survive much longer. In Europe, subsidies for renewable energy are being cut just about everywhere. Britain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland have all announced cuts in renewable energy subsidies; South Africa, India, and China, too. At the same time, Europe?s carbon emissions trading scheme?????the cornerstone of its climate policy?????is near collapse. On April 16, the European parliament narrowly voted down a last-minute attempt to rescue the sagging carbon-trading system. Most investment banks that jumped on the carbon-trading bandwagon have closed their carbon desks. It may yet survive, but it has almost no enthusiastic support. On top of everything else, coal use in Europe is actually on the rise, some of it imported from the United States.

And what about the nuclear option…Now that the Greens and their shills are promoting a single buying agency and holding up Korea as their solution, perhaps they too will look at nuclear power, to deliver a cheap solution like South Korea has.

The final unexpected aspect of the global hydrocarbon renaissance is that it is starting to cause a few environmentalists to have second thoughts about .??.??. nuclear power. For nearly 30 years nuclear power was the only form of energy environmentalists despised more than hydrocarbons. But even with Japan?s nuclear power plant disaster of 2011, some environmentalists have come to see a positive tradeoff of nuclear power over coal and natural gas. James Hansen recently co-authored a paper concluding that nuclear power has saved 1.8 million lives over coal and gas-fired alternative electricity sources since 1970, and will prevent 7 million deaths by midcentury if it supplants a significant portion of fossil fuel electricity. In June a new documentary film,?Pandora?s Promise, will feature prominent environmentalists, such as Stewart Brand, who have changed their mind on nuclear power. The film was screened to good reviews at the most recent Sundance Film Festival; apparently the resolutely anti-nuke host, Robert Redford, hadn?t noticed it on the program. But there?s a lot the old fossils of environmentalism don?t notice these days, starting with the dead-end road they?ve hit.

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