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Microsoft word - twtw - 5-12-12

The Week That Was: 2012-05-12 (May 5, 2012)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project
################################################### Quote of the Week:
“Even a succession of professional scientists—including famous astronomers who had made other
discoveries that are confirmed and now justly celebrated—can make serious, even profound errors in
pattern recognition.”
Carl Sagan [H/t Paul MacRae, see link under Questioning the Orthodoxy]
################################################### Number of the Week: 31.7% higher
################################################### THIS WEEK:
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Heartland Conference: The Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change
(ICCC-7) will take place in Chicago, Illinois from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the
Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue. The event will follow the NATO Summit taking
place in Chicago on May 19–21. The Theme is Real Science, Real Choices. Open to the public,
registration is required. http://climateconference.heartland.org/
******************
Heartland Flap: Thursday, May 3, the Heartland Institute displayed an ad on an electric billboard on an
expressway outside of Chicago. It featured a photo of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, with the statement
“I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” From 1978 to his capture in 1996, Kaczynski mailed a
number of bombs to unsuspecting academics and businessmen, eventually killing 3 people and severely
injuring 5.
The negative reaction to the billboard was swift. Some supporters of Heartland were outraged. Donna
Laframboise withdrew from her scheduled talk at the upcoming Heartland conference. Ross McKitrick
demanded the billboard be withdrawn, and it was twenty-four hours after it began. The billboard is a
negative example of the logical fallacy argumentum ad verecundiam, attempting to transfer the
undesirable characteristics of some supporters of a particular position to all those supporting the position.
The outrage by the promoters of global warming and their allies in journalism was predictable. They
immediately denounced Heartland and all those associated with it. The hypocrisy is typical. Many of the
global warming promoters use similar tactics: logical fallacies that are effective, but for which they are
not criticized. They accuse skeptics as being anti-science when skeptics point out that the physical science
does not support the assertions and conclusions in the Summary for Policymakers of the Fourth
Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4). They label
skeptics as deniers, implying they are Holocaust deniers. These promoters claim that skeptics are shills
for the tobacco industry, the oil industry, etc. In short, they try to eliminate any possibility of public,
rational discourse on the scientific issues.
Therein is the dilemma. The side that is consistently using logical fallacies and irrational arguments is
widely accepted by the general media. Should the skeptics use the same tactics, or should they continue to
use rational arguments hoping to eventually persuade the general public? There is no easy answer. Czech
physicist Lubos Motl advocates the former, Andrew Montford the latter. Under a different circumstance,
but a related topic, Roger Pielke, Jr. expresses how difficult it is to engage in rational discourse with some
global warming promoters. Please see links under Heartland Flap.
*******************
Death Threats: A year ago some Australian scientists who advocate global warming claimed they
received death threats. This claim was broadcast around the world. Death threats are a crime in Australia.
Now, it appears that no crime was committed, but the scientists may have received some nasty comments.
Please see links under Communicating Better with the Public – Make Things Up.
*******************
EPA Hearings and Comments: The EPA has proposed rules that will effectively prevent all new
coal-fired power plant construction in the US, effectively shutting down the industry in the future.
On May 24, EPA is holding one-day public hearings in Chicago and Washington DC. Please contact
Ms. Pamela Garrett, telephone 919-541-7966 or email: garrett.pamela@epa.gov. Written comments
will be accepted until June 25, 2012. Instructions for submitting written comments (PDF); Read the
proposed rule; Fact sheet summarizing the proposed rule (5pp, 157k); Regulatory Impact Analysis
(PDF) (108pp, 1.28MB); Press release
On a related matter, West Virginia is normally a state favoring the Democratic Party. It is also a major
East Coast producer of coal. On May 8, the state held its primary election for president. The Democratic
ballot featured two candidates, President Obama and a felon in a Texas Federal prison for extortion. The
prisoner received 41 percent of the vote.
*******************
Hydraulic Fracturing Safety: Thanks to aggressive publicity campaigns by environmental groups, many
in the public question the safety of deep underground hydraulic fracturing, frac’ing, to extract oil and
natural gas. Norm Kalmanovitch, a Canadian Professional Geophysicist with over 40 years experience
world-wide, sent an article that presents actual data taken from the thousands of wells that used horizontal
drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett Shale (Texas) and the Marcellus Shale (Pennsylvania)
formations in the US. Of particular significance is the separation between the tops of the fractures closest
to the surface and the depth of the aquifers. He also sent his personal comments on the difficulty of
dealing with the environmental industry, which believes that no one in the extraction industries can be
environmentally sensitive, and his comments why the capping of the BP Gulf oil spill took so long. Please
see link under Energy Issues – US. Norm’s comments will be in next week’s TWTW.
*******************
Methane Hydrates: Essentially gas trapped in the crystal structure of water, methane hydrates are similar
to ice and are found in marine sediments and in the Arctic regions. The extent of the gas is not fully
understood, but hydrates can be a significant resource if the technology is developed to extract the gas at
costs comparable to extraction of similar resources. A project on the North Slope of Alaska by
ConocoPhillips and Japan Oil, partially funded by the US Department of Energy, has announced the
successful extraction of methane from hydrates. This can be of particular significance to Japan, which has
limited conventional natural gas (is importing liquefied natural gas) but may have significant resources of
hydrates on its continental shelf. It remains to be seen how commercially viable this technology can
become. Please see link under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
*******************
Sierra Club: A strident opponent of coal-generated electricity, the Sierra Club campaigned that natural
gas was the clean alternative. The Club has bragged that it prevented the construction of some 150 coal
fired power plants. Now that the EPA has proposed rules to prevent the construction new coal-fired power
plants, the Sierra Club has begun a campaign calling natural gas a dirty fuel. Of course, the objective is to
cripple the economy by shutting down all forms of energy use and electric power generation. Please see
links under the Environmental Industry.
*******************
False Positives: As reader Stan Young alerted TWTW, reports continue that many medical and health
studies cannot be replicated. The bulk of these studies tend to be what is termed “observational studies.”
Actually, they largely involve statistical manipulation of large data bases, which sometimes can be very
valuable, other times misleading. These are of great concern because such studies may become the basis
of public policy. Certainly, the EPA has been known to be less than rigorous in invoking studies to
proclaim public health threats. Please see Article #2 and links under Health, Energy, and Climate.
*******************
Number of the Week: 31.9% higher. According to a study by Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute,
in 2010, the average price of residential electricity was 31.9% higher in states with renewable portfolio
standards (RPS), mandates requiring purchase of renewable electricity, than in states without RPS.
Twenty nine of the fifty states have RPS.
Bryce also found that of states with RPS, only Washington and Oregon are included in the ten states
having the lowest utility rates. [Both states receive a great deal of electricity from the Bonneville Power
Administration that has the largest hydroelectricity generating capacity in the nation.] Further, in the
seven coal-dependent states with RPS, rates increased by 54.2 % from 2001 to 2010, twice the increase of
coal-dependent states without mandates.
Although there may be other factors affecting the rates, the significant price differences should give pause
to legislators considering similar mandates. Also, it gives an indication of the future as the EPA moves to
shut down coal-fired power plants. Please see Article # 3 and link under Subsidies and Mandates Forever.
################################################### ARTICLES:
For the numbered articles below please see this week’s TWTW at: www.sepp.org. The articles are at the
end of the pdf.
1. The 'Crucify Them' Presidency
Al Armendariz, the EPA official who resigned in disgrace this week, was no outlier among the Obama
administration's regulators.
By Kimberly Strassel, WSJ, May 3, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304746604577382492416602720.html?mod=ITP_opini
on_0
2. Analytical Trend Troubles Scientists
By Gautam Naik, WSJ, May 4, 2012 [H/t ACSH]
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577377841427001840.html
“…both were so-called observational studies, in which scientists often use fast computers, statistical
software and large medical data sets to analyze information collected previously by others. From there,
they look for correlations, such as whether a drug may trigger a worrisome side effect.”
3. Gouged by the Wind
Renewable fuel mandates are raising electricity prices in the states.
Editorial, WSJ, May 4, 2012 [H/t Timothy Wise]
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577364244006391420.html?mod=googlenew
s_wsj
4. Virginia Could Be an Energy Power—If Washington Would Let It
In 2010, my state was poised to become the first on the East Coast permitted to produce oil and natural
gas offshore. Then politics intervened.
By Bob McDonnell, WSJ, Apr 30, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577364330063107046.html?mod=ITP_opini
on_0
################################################### NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Science: Is the Sun Rising?
Climatic Effects of a Solar Minimum: Grand Solar Minimum and Climate Response Recorded for
First Time in Same Climate Archive
By Staff Writers, Science News, May 6, 2012
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160119.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_mediu
m=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_environment+%28ScienceDaily
%3A+Top+News+--+Top+Environment%29
[SEPP Comment: Abrupt cooling 2800 years ago in Germany.]
Climategate Continued
Yamal FOI Sheds New Light on Flawed Data
By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, May 6, 2012
http://climateaudit.org/2012/05/06/yamal-foi-sheds-new-light-on-flawed-data/#more-15956
[SEPP Comment: The cover-up of questionable actions by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic
Research Unit (CRU)]

The administrators’ view
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, May 10, 2012
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/5/10/the-administrators-view.html
Acton and parliamentary privilege
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, May 10, 2012
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/5/10/acton-and-parliamentary-privilege.html
[SEPP Comment: The University of East Anglia uses the same false techniques as the University of
Virginia. Tell one party that requested emails do not exist; tell another that they do exist. Is this called
academic integrity?]

Challenging the Orthodoxy
The Belief That CO2 Can Regulate Climate Is “Sheer Absurdity” Says Prominent German
Meteorologist
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 9, 2012 [H/t ICECAP]
http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/09/the-belief-that-co2-can-regulate-climate-is-sheer-absurdity-says-
prominent-german-meteorologist/
Our Response to Recent Criticism of the UAH Satellite Temperatures
By John Christy and Roy Spencer, Spencer’s Blog, May 9, 2012
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/05/our-response-to-recent-criticism-of-the-uah-satellite-temperatures/
[SEPP Comment: Countering yet another attempt to discredit the University of Alabama, Huntsville
satellite measurements. Somewhat technical.]

Defending the Orthodoxy
The new “10 year plan” for global change
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 1, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/01/the-new-10-year-plan-for-global-change/
[SEPP Comment: The US Global Change Research Program announced a new ten year plan. Based on
the announcement, it will use global climate models, adjusted for regions. Unfortunately, the models have
never been validated and verified.]

Report: US oil boom won’t end price shocks, military commitment
By Ben Geman, The Hill, May 8, 2012
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/225951-report-us-oil-boom-wont-end-price-shocks-military-
commitment-
[SEPP Comment: This issue is not price stability; but energy security. The web site promotes electric cars
that have a base price of $15,000 to $20,000 more than comparable gasoline cars.]

Questioning the Orthodoxy
Why climate science is a textbook example of groupthink
By Paul MacRae, WUWT, Apr 30, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/why-climate-science-is-a-textbook-example-of-groupthink/
Global Warming Chorus Discord Rising To Feverish Pitch
By Larry Bell, Forbes, May 8, 2012
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/05/08/global-warming-chorus-discord-rising-to-feverish-
pitch/
Climate Science Not Settled Nor Rock Solid: Quicksand Is Better Analogy
By Tim Ball, A Different Perspective, Apr 29, 2012
http://drtimball.com/2012/climate-science-not-settled-nor-rock-solid-quicksand-is-better-analogy/
Hellfire and Heresy: Global Warming Hotheads Inflamed About Skeptical Challengers
By Larry Bell, Apr 29, 2012
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/04/29/hellfire-and-heresy-global-warming-hotheads-inflamed-
about-skeptical-challengers/
Global warming crusaders lose steam, tempers
By Matt Petterson, Washington Examiner, May 6, 2012
http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2012/05/global-warming-crusaders-lose-steam-
tempers/573771?utm_source=Washington%20Examiner%20Opinion%20Digest%20-
%2005/07/2012&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Washington%20Examiner:%20Opinion%20Dige
st
Questioning European Green
“Sustainable energy” just isn’t …. well, sustainable
By Roger Helmer, MEP, His Blog, Apr 27, 2012
http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/sustainable-energy-just-isnt-well-sustainable/
Green Energy Crisis: German Network Agency Calls For Suspension Of Emission Laws For Old
Coal Plants
By D. Wetzel and D. Siems, GWPF, May 11, 2012
http://thegwpf.org/international-news/5695-green-energy-crisis-german-network-agency-calls-for-
suspension-of-emission-laws-for-old-coal-plants.html
"The sun is giving us time to come up with smarter solutions for the Energiewende"
The optimistic message of Fritz Vahrenholt, climate dissenter and CEO of RWE Innogy
By Marcel Crok, European Energy Review, May 2, 2012 [H/t Gordon Fulks]
http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id_mailing=272&toegang=7a614fd06c325499f168
0b9896beedeb&id=3681
[SEPP Comment: Vahrenholt, who largely accepts the global warming orthodoxy, believes that the solar
influence is greater than the IPCC states and a decline in solar activity will give the world time to adapt
better to lower carbon dioxide emissions.]

Forget Global Warming And Move Up To Real Climate Change
By Andrew McKillop, Market Oracle, May 4, 2012
http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article34489.html
Energy policy should remain a top priority
By Martin Livermore, Scientific Alliance, May 9, 2012
http://www.scientific-alliance.org/scientific-alliance-newsletter/energy-policy-should-remain-top-priority
Questioning Green Elsewhere
Canada won't attain greenhouse gas goals: government
By Staff Writers, Montreal (AFP), May 8, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Canada_wont_attain_greenhouse_gas_goals_government_999.html
[SEPP Comment: No surprise here after it pulled out of Kyoto Protocol.]

Expanding the Orthodoxy
Microsoft vows to go carbon neutral
By Staff Writers, San Francisco (AFP) May 8, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Microsoft_vows_to_go_carbon_neutral_999.html
[SEPP Comment: According to the May 9 Ycharts, Microsoft has a gross profit margin of 29.34%, about
4 times the profit margin of ExxonMobil at 7.26%. Which one makes the obscene profits?
http://ycharts.com/companies/MSFT]

Rio + 20 – World Control?
Rio+20: Developing Nations Push Back Green Agenda
By Timothy Hermann, Turtle Bay and Beyond, May 10, 2012
http://thegwpf.org/international-news/5686-rio20-developing-nations-push-back-green-agenda.html
EU lawmakers won’t go to Rio+20, can’t afford the hotel
By Lubos Motl, Reference Frame, May 10, 2012
http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/05/eu-wont-go-to-rio20-cant-afford-hotel.html#more
[SEPP Comment: The legislators cannot afford to attend, but how many bureaucrats will attend?]

EU flying big team to Rio summit but to cap expenses
By Staff Writers, Brussels (AFP) May 10, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/EU_flying_big_team_to_Rio_summit_but_to_cap_expenses_999.html
[SEPP Comment: An approximate answer to the above question.]

'Low' expectations from new round of climate talks
By Staff Writers, Paris (AFP) May 11, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Low_expectations_from_new_round_of_climate_talks_999.html
Problems within the Orthodoxy
EU shifts climate change targets again
By Nitin Sethi, Times India, May 10, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/global-warming/eu-shifts-climate-change-targets-
again/articleshow/13074640.cms
[SEPP Comment: The EU teaming with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) to fight the
emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil.]

EU nations get cold feet over climate change fund
Green fund aims to channel up to $100 billion/yr by 2020
By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, May 7, 2012 [H/t Hugh Sharman]
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/07/eu-climate-idUSL5E8G7E9620120507
Study finds stream temperatures don't parallel warming climate trend
By Staff Writers, Corvallis, OR (SPX) May 07, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Study_finds_stream_temperatures_dont_parallel_warming_climate_tre
nd_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Could it be that the urban heat island effect affects land thermometers showing an
increase in general temperatures?]

Heartland Flap and other Political Points
Why I Won’t Be Speaking at the Heartland Conference
By Donna Laframboise, NFC, May 5, 2012
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/05/05/why-i-wont-be-speaking-at-the-heartland-conference/
McKitrick Letter to Heartland
By Ross McKitrick, Climate Audit, May 4, 2012
http://climateaudit.org/2012/05/04/mckitrick-letter-to-heartland/
Kaczynski Heartland billboard wasn’t a blunder
By Lubos Motl, Reference Frame, May 5, 2012
http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/05/kaczynski-heartland-billboard-wasnt.html#more
On abusive analogy
By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, May 6, 2012
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/5/6/on-abusive-analogy.html
What I Learned this Week
By Roger Pielke Jr, His Blog, May 11, 2012
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-i-learned-this-week.html
Heartland climate conference keeps sponsors despite billboard controversy
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, May 7, 2012
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/225859-some-groups-stand-by-heartland-institute-amid-
firestorm-over-climate-billboard
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
Game Over for the Climate
By James Hansen, NYT, May 9, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-
climate.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120510
The UN’s Environmental ‘Holocausts’
By Donna Laframboise, NFC, Apr 30, 2012
http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/04/30/the-uns-environmental-holocausts/
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters
By Justin Gillis, NYT, Apr 30, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/science/earth/clouds-effect-on-climate-change-is-last-bastion-for-
dissenters.html
[SEPP Comment: Advocacy journalism instead of reporting.]

The NYT Puts the Hit On
By Roger Pielke, Jr, His Blog, May 1, 2012
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/05/nyt-puts-hit-on.html
[SEPP Comment: See linked article immediately above.]

Paging David Appell – ‘death threats against climate scientists’ story even deader than yesterday
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 3, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/03/paging-david-appell-death-threats-against-climate-scientists-story-
even-deader-than-yesterday/
'Death threat' fictions
By Tony Thomas, Quadrant, May 7, 2012
http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2012/05/death-threat-fictions
Measurement Issues
A Summary Of Why The Global Annual-Average Surface Temperature Is A Poor Metric To
Diagnose Global Warming
By Roger Pielke Sr, Climate Science, May 7, 2012
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/a-summary-of-why-the-global-average-surface-
temperature-is-a-poor-metric-to-diagnose-global-warming/
[SEPP Comment: A somewhat technical piece on an important issue.]

Changing Climate
Little Ice Age cold interval in West Antarctica: Evidence from borehole temperature at the West
Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide
By Orsi, Cornuelle, & Severinghaus, GRL, May 9, 2012 [H/t Hockey Schtick]
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012GL051260.shtml
[SEPP Comment: Chilling the claim that the Little Ice Age was not global.]

University of Pittsburgh Geologists Map Prehistoric Climate Changes in Canada's Yukon Territory
By Staff Writers, Pittsburgh PA (SPX), May 10, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/University_of_Pittsburgh_Geologists_Map_Prehistoric_Climate_Chan
ges_in_Canada_Yukon_Territory_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Recognizing that rapid climate change in the Arctic is not unusual. The actual web site
of the Arctic Research Consortium states that during the Holocene thermal maximum (8000 years ago)
Arctic sea ice was probably the smallest during the current interglacial period, roughly the past 12,000
years. Also step-like changes have occurred during the latter part of the Holocene. It is suggested that
these are driven by slow changes in the earth’s orbit. http://www.arcus.org/synthesis8k/index.php.]

Decades of Data Show Spring Advancing Faster Than Experiments Suggest
By Leslie McCarthy for Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY (SPX) May 07, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Decades_of_Data_Show_Spring_Advancing_Faster_Than_Experiment
s_Suggest_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Could it be due to carbon dioxide enrichment? A fact not recognized in the article.]
Changing Seas
No sea level rise catastrophe?
By Patrick Michaels, World Climate Report, May 9, 2012
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2012/05/09/no-sea-level-rise-catastrophe/#more-538
[SEPP Comment: Greenland glacier flow varies and is not accelerating. Based on these observations, its
contribution to sea level rise will be below the low end of that estimated by the IPCC.]

Nutrient supply after algal bloom determines the succession of the bacterial population
By Staff Writers,Munich, Germany (SPX), May 07, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Nutrient_supply_after_algal_bloom_determines_the_succession_of_th
e_bacterial_population_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Contradicting the usual explanation of algal blooms: “In the coastal zone of temperate
regions a spring algal bloom is not a sign of excessive nutrient input, but most of all a consequence of the
more intense solar irradiation in spring.”]

Changing Sea Ice
Two Russian Studies Of The Arctic Climate
By Roger Pielke Sr, Pielke Climate Science, May 4, 2012
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/two-russian-studies-of-the-arctic-climate/
[SEPP Comment: Among the findings are: a strong pulse of warm Atlantic water into the Arctic and the
influence of glaciers on sea levels is much lower than described in the IPCC AR4.]

Cache of historical Arctic sea ice maps discovered
Arctic Sea ice data collected by DMI 1893-1961
By Frank Lansner, WUWT, May 2, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/02/cache-of-historical-arctic-sea-ice-maps-discovered/
[SEPP Comment: August Arctic sea ice extent declined significantly from 1923 to 1938]

Increasing speed of Greenland glaciers gives new insight for rising sea level
By Staff Writers, Seattle WA (SPX) May 10, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Increasing_speed_of_Greenland_glaciers_gives_new_insight_for_risin
g_sea_level_999.html
[SEPP Comment: The first paragraph of the article contradicts the alarmist headline!]

Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine
G8 urged to elevate food security issues
By Staff Writers, Washington (UPI) May 8, 2012
http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/G8_urged_to_elevate_food_security_issues_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Stopping subsidies and mandates for Biofuels would be a start.]

Litigation Issues
D.C. Circuit Hears Case Challenging NRC Inaction on DOE’s Yucca Application
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 10, 2012
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4631.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2441457&hq_l=4&hq_v=5e66050
0d0
[SEPP Comment: After the Federal government collected $29 Billion from the utilities for a repository of
spent fuel and wastes, it closed the only designated repository down.]

Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
"Replace emission trading scheme with a carbon tax"
By Karel Beckman, European Energy Review, May 10, 2012
http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id_mailing=274&toegang=d947bf06a885db0d477
d707121934ff8&id=3691
[SEPP Comment: In the European Emission Trading System it is the politicians that determine scarcity,
therefore the price of carbon dioxide emissions.]


ADB urges action on climate change
By Staff Writers. Manila, Philippines (UPI) May 7, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/ADB_urges_action_on_climate_change_999.html
[SEPP Comment: No conflict of interest here – just planning to make some money on the carbon trading
market.]

Subsidies and Mandates Forever
The High Cost of Renewable Electricity Mandates
By Robert Bryce, Manhattan Institute, Feb 2012
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/eper_10.htm
US Leads EU in CO2 Reductions
By Walter Russell Mead, American Interest, May 6, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/05/06/us-leads-eu-in-co2-reductions/
[SEPP Comment: Without national mandates or cap and trade, but state mandates are important.]

Wind Energy Without the PTC
By Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, May 10, 2012
http://www.masterresource.org/2012/05/wind-energy-without-ptc/#more-19951
[SEPP Comment: PTC is the production tax credit that, for wind, is set to expire at the end of 2012.]

The sorry lessons of green-power subsidies
By Gwyn Morgan, Globe and Mail, CA, Apr 30, 2012 [H/t SPPI]
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/the-sorry-lessons-of-green-power-
subsidies/article2417284/
EPA and other Regulators on the March
EPA official resigns over ‘crucify’ remark
By Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, Apr 30 2012
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/30/epa-official-resigns-over-crucify-remark/

The EPA is earning a reputation for abuse
Editorial, Washington Post, May 3, 2012
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-epa-is-earning-a-reputation-for-
abuse/2012/05/03/gIQAucvzzT_story.html?hpid=z3
[SEPP Comment: The Washington Post fails to ask how common is the regulatory abuse by the EPA,
particularly of the second type presented. Few have the ability to challenge the EPA in courts.]

The EPA Has Petroleum Processers Over A Barrel: Costly Regulations Produce Crude, Unrefined
Results
By Larry Bell, Forbes, May 1, 2012
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/05/01/the-epa-has-petroleum-processers-over-a-barrel-costly-
regulations-produce-crude-unrefined-results/
Beneath the EPA push to stop Pebble Mine
By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, May 10, 2012
http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/2012/05/beneath-epa-push-stop-pebble-
mine/596396?utm_source=Washington%20Examiner%20Opinion%20Digest%20-
%2005/11/2012&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Washington%20Examiner:%20Opinion%20Dige
st

Interior floats new draft rules to regulate oil-and-gas ‘fracking’
By Ben Geman, The Hill, May 4, 2012
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/225473-interior-unveils-fracking-rules-amid-industry-boos
Energy Issues – Non-US
The End of Peak Oil
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, May 8, 2012
http://dddusmma.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/the-end-of-peak-oil/
Peak oil revisited: the real challenges are investment and sustainability, not availability
By Noe van Hulst, European Energy Review, May 7, 2012
http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id=3685
[SEPP Comment: Sloppy definitions and sloppy analysis lead to poor policy.]

Energy Issues -- US
Data Confirm Safety Of Well Fracturing
By Kevin Fisher, American Oil & Gas Reporter, Jul 2010 [H/t Norm Kalmanovitch]
http://www.halliburton.com/public/pe/contents/Papers_and_Articles/web/A_through_P/AOGR%20Articl
e-%20Data%20Prove%20Safety%20of%20Frac.pdf
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Huge Natural Gas From Methane Hydrates Process Developed
By Staff Writers, New Energy and Fuel, May 3, 2012
http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2012/05/03/huge-natural-gas-from-methane-
hydrates-process-developed/
Beware of federalizing 'fracking'
By Robert Bradley, Jr, May 7, 2012
http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2012/05/beware-federalizing-
fracking/579491?utm_source=Washington%20Examiner%20Opinion%20Digest%20-
%2005/08/2012&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Washington%20Examiner:%20Opinion%20Dige
st
Texas Shale 'Gusher' Shows Why Fracking Is Important
Editorial, IBD, May 8, 2012
http://news.investors.com/article/610765/201205081849/eagle-ford-shale-in-texas-shows-importance-of-
fracking.htm
Shale Gas Explorer Says U.K. Production May Start in 2014
By Kari Lundgren, Bloomberg, May 10, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-09/shale-explorer-cuadrilla-says-u-k-production-may-start-in-
2014.html
Fracking approval creates land exploration surge
The announcement by the Environmental Agency, effectively approving the process of ’fracking’ for
shale gas, will give a green light to energy companies seeking suitable land for exploration.
By Staff Writers, Farming UK, May 9, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
http://www.farminguk.com/news/Fracking-approval-creates-land-exploration-surge_23467.html
Vermont Primed to Become First U.S. State to Ban Fracking
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 10, 2012
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4634.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2441457&hq_l=11&hq_v=5e6605
00d0
[SEPP Comment: Environmental tokenism – no reserves and no natural gas industry.]

Washington’s Control of Oil and Gas
Virginia Could Be an Energy Power—If Washington Would Let It
In 2010, my state was poised to become the first on the East Coast permitted to produce oil and natural
gas offshore. Then politics intervened.
By Bob McDonnell, WSJ, Apr 30, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577364330063107046.html?mod=ITP_opini
on_0
Obama Administration Regulatory Onslaught against American Energy Production Continues
By Staff Writers, ICECAP, May 4, 2012
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/political-
climate/obama_administration_regulatory_onslaught_against_american_energy_productio/
Return of King Coal?
The Human Consequences of EPA’s War on Coal
By Lachlan Markay, The Foundry, May 3, 2012
http://blog.heritage.org/2012/05/03/the-human-consequences-of-epas-war-on-coal/
If Obama is going to kill coal, he has to hide the body
By Alec Rawls, WUWT, May 11, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/11/if-obama-is-going-to-kill-coal-he-has-to-hide-the-body/#more-
62248
[SEPP Comment: First, the all of the above for the administration’s energy plan omits coal which
produces over 40% of the nation’s electricity. Then, it adds “clean” coal, whatever clean means.]

Nuclear Energy and Fears
Japan to go nuclear-free for first time since 1970
By Staff Writers, Tokyo (AFP) May 4, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Japan_to_go_nuclear-free_for_first_time_since_1970_999.html
[SEPP Comment: No discussion of energy costs.]

Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study
Wind farms can cause climate change, according to new research, that shows for the first time the new
technology is already pushing up temperatures.
By Louise Gray, Telegraph, UK, Apr 29, 2012 [H/t James Syster]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9234715/Wind-farms-can-cause-climate-change-finds-new-
study.html
[SEPP Comment: Reporters missing the point.]

Significance And Correction Of Misinterpretation By The Media Of The Zhou Et Al 2012 Paper
“Impacts Wind Farms On Land Surface Temperature”
By Roger Pielke Sr, Pielke Climate Science, May 1, 2012
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/significance-and-correction-of-misinterpretation-by-
the-media-of-the-zhou-et-al-2012-paper-impacts-wind-farms-on-land-surface-temperature/
[SEPP Comment: Clearing up misunderstandings concerning the study on wind farms. See link
immediately above.]

Use of Public and Private Dollars for Scaling Up Clean Energy Needs a Reality Check, Say Scholars
By Staff Writers, Science Daily, May 1, 2012 [H/t Anne Debeil]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501162706.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_mediu
m=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_environment+%28ScienceDaily
%3A+Top+News+--+Top+Environment%29
[SEPP Comment: A call for more clean energy with smarter and more focused policies. But the article
fails to address two major hurtles. One, solar and wind need reliable back-up. Two, except for pumped
hydro, there is no commercial scale storage of electricity.]

Report: Solar Power’s Incentivization Is Similar to That of Other Energy Sources
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 10, 2012
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4635.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2441457&hq_l=13&hq_v=5e6605
00d0
[SEPP Comment: The oil industry and the coal utility industry started without subsidies or mandates. It
was only after high income taxes, and the industries proved to be valuable, did the subsidies come. The
solar utility industry has yet to prove itself as valuable.]

China to supply solar power to Japan?
By Staff Writers, Beijing (UPI), May 9, 2012
http://www.solardaily.com/reports/China_to_supply_solar_power_to_Japan_999.html
[SEPP Comment: The article states: “More than 90 percent of solar panel products made in China are
intended for export.” The statement supports the contention that the heavy investment by China into solar
was for export, not domestic consumption. China will continue to lead in the domestic production of
electricity from coal, hydro and nuclear. So much for claims of a race with China for 21st century
technology.]

Carbon Schemes
Norway boasts world's largest carbon dioxide capture lab
By Staff Writers, Oslo (AFP), May 7, 2012
http://www.energy-
daily.com/reports/Norway_boasts_worlds_largest_carbon_dioxide_capture_lab_999.html
Growth of Carbon Capture and Storage Stalled in 2011
By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX) May 10, 2012
http://www.energy-
daily.com/reports/Growth_of_Carbon_Capture_and_Storage_Stalled_in_2011_999.html
[SEPP Comment: The number of CCS operating facilities has not increased since 2009. The economic
viability of the technology has yet to be demonstrated. It can be a viable way of extracting more oil or gas
from existing reservoirs, but stand alone projects are another matter. Without major technological
breakthroughs, it is doubtful it CCS would be viable except for punitive regulation of carbon dioxide
emissions.]

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty
By Paul Chesser, NLPC, May 8, 2012
http://nlpc.org/stories/2012/05/08/duke-power-plant-boondoggle-cost-customers-plenty
[SEPP Comment: Among other issues, this public utility, subject to state and Federal controls,
guarantees a loan to a political party.]

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see
www.NIPCCreport.org
The "Rescue and Mining" of Previously Neglected New Zealand Sea Level Data
Reference: Hannah, J. and Bell, R.G. 2012. Regional sea level trends in New Zealand. Journal of
Geophysical Research
117: 10.1029/2011JC007591.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2012/may/1may2012a1.html
[SEPP Comment: From the newly derived trends: 1.7+/-0.1 mm/yr (6.7 in / cy).

Arctic vs. Global Air Temperature Change
Reference: Chylek, P., Folland, C.K., Lesins, G., Dubey, M.K. and Wang, M. 2009. Arctic air
temperature change amplification and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Geophysical Research
Letters
36: 10.1029/2009GL038777.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2012/may/2may2012a4.html
[SEPP Comment: According to the findings both global warming and cooling trends are amplified in the
Arctic. The warming period of 1910-40 and the cooling period of 1940-70 were amplified to a greater
extent than the current warming period.]

The Greening of Canada's Herschel Island: A Fine Example of the Biological Awakening of the
Circumpolar Arctic
Reference: Myers-Smith, I.H., Hik, D.S., Kennedy, C., Cooley, D., Johnstone, J.F., Kenney, A.J. and
Krebs, C.J. 2011. Expansion of canopy-forming willows over the twentieth century on Herschel Island,
Yukon Territory, Canada. Ambio 40: 610-623
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2012/may/8may2012a1.html
Stormy Periods Over the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea
Reference: Sabatier, P., Dezileau, L., Colin, C., Briqueu, L., Bouchette, F., Martinez, P., Siani, G.,
Raynal, O. and Von Grafenstein, U. 2012. 7000 years of paleostorm activity in the NW Mediterranean
Sea in response to Holocene climate events. Quaternary Research 77: 1-11.
http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2012/may/8may2012a4.html
Health, Energy, and Climate
Global Warming Policies Might Be bad For Your Health
Policies to reduce global warming may be doing more harm than good to public health in both developing
and industrialised countries. This is the conclusion of a new report published today by the Global
Warming Policy Foundation.
By Indur Goklany and Paul Reiter, GWPF, May 2, 2012
http://thegwpf.org/press-releases/5602-new-report-global-warming-policies-might-be-bad-for-your-
health.html
[SEPP Comment: Summary of the report, the full report is available on the web site.]

Pseudo-evidence is not science: Manipulating statistics
By Staff Writers, ACSH, May 7, 2012
http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.3599/news_detail.asp
Environmental Industry
War Over Natural Gas About to Escalate
Sierra Club launches 'Beyond Gas' campaign.
By Amy Harder, National Journal, May 3, 2012
http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy-report/war-over-natural-gas-about-to-escalate-20120503
[SEPP Comment: The beginning the next phase of a concentrated campaign to ban energy use, including
electricity.]

The Sierra Club Opposes ‘Clean Energy’
Greens have a new way to strangle energy production: regulating carbon.
By Robert Bryce, National Review, May 8, 2012
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/299295/sierra-club-opposes-clean-energy-robert-bryce#
Environmental groups collecting millions from federal agencies they sue, studies show
By Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, May 8, 2012 [H/t GWPF]
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/08/environmental-groups-paid-millions-by-federal-agencies-
sue-studies-show/?test=latestnews
How climate change has got Worldwide Fund for Nature bamboozled
WWF has travelled too far from its original aim, to protect endangered species.
By Christopher Booker, Telegraph, UK, May 5, 2012 [H/t Anne Debeil]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9246853/How-climate-change-has-got-
Worldwide-Fund-for-Nature-bamboozled.html
Other Scientific News
ESA declares end of mission for Envisat
By Staff Writers, Paris, France (ESA) May 11, 2012
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/ESA_declares_end_of_mission_for_Envisat_999.html
Mars: climate change faster than thought
By Lubos Motl, Reference Frame, May 10, 2012
http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/05/mars-climate-change-faster-than-thought.html#more
No hiding this decline – NAS/NRC report: ‘U.S. system of environmental satellites is at risk of
collapse.’
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 3, 2012
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/03/no-hiding-this-decline-nasnrc-report-u-s-system-of-
environmental-satellites-is-at-risk-of-collapse/
Self-reported asthma rising while death rates decline.what gives?
By Staff Writers, ACSH, May 3, 2012
http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.3593/news_detail.asp
60 percent reduction in acidity of Delaware rain
By Teresa Messmore, Newark DE (SPX), May 11, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/60_percent_reduction_in_acidity_of_Delaware_rain_999.html
[SEPP Comment: Interesting to see if the measurements at one location are reproduced at other
locations.]

Other News that May Be of Interest
Beijing to get rid of 1,200 polluting enterprises
By Staff Writers, Beijing (AFP), May 9, 2012
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Beijing_to_get_rid_of_1200_polluting_enterprises_999.html
###################################################
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
'Super moon' bad news for Tuvalu

By Michael Field, Stuff, NZ, May 4, 2012
http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/6858916/Super-moon-bad-news-for-Tuvalu
[SEPP Comment: The islands did not drown. Perhaps King Canute held back the tides after all.]

Dinosaur Farts May Have Warmed Prehistoric Earth
Jennifer Welsh, LiveScience, May 7, 2012 [H/t Warren Wetmore]
http://www.livescience.com/20125-dinosaur-farts-climate.html
Hall Of Fame Broadcaster Blames ‘Climatic Changes’ For Increase In Home Runs
By Staff Writer, CBS, May 1, 2012 [H/t Timothy Wise]
http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2012/05/01/hall-of-fame-broadcaster-blames-climatic-changes-for-increase-in-
home-runs/
[SEPP Comment: It is not better conditioning, or drugs; it’s global warming!]
################################################### ARTICLES:
1. The 'Crucify Them' Presidency
Al Armendariz, the EPA official who resigned in disgrace this week, was no outlier among the Obama
administration's regulators.
By Kimberly Strassel, WSJ, May 3, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304746604577382492416602720.html?mod=ITP_opini
on_0
Al "Crucify Them" Armendariz resigned from the Environmental Protection Agency this week, for the
mistake of telling it like it is. All he leaves behind is an entire administration of Al Armendarizes.
EPA chief Lisa Jackson was quick to assure the public that her regional administrator—who was caught
on video describing his desire to "crucify" oil and gas companies—was not "representative of the
agency." Mr. Armendariz's views, she said, "don't reflect any policy that we have, and they don't reflect
our actions over the past two years." At least she didn't say it under oath.
The Armendariz story matters precisely because he is the model Obama regulator. Hamstrung by both
public opinion and Congress, President Obama has turned to these types to enact his broader agenda.
The regional EPA administrator was no rogue appointee. Rather, "there are Armendarizes all throughout
this administration" says Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, who first drew attention to the "crucify" video. They
were chosen for a purpose.
Consider the broader tale of Mr. Armendariz, lost in the wake of the sensational video. Prior to being
appointed by President Obama in late 2009 to serve as EPA's point man for south-central states, Mr.
Armendariz was at Texas's Southern Methodist University. His then-résumé showed a scant three years of
private-sector experience, with far more time devoted to his work as an adviser to the militant fringe of
the environmental community.
Mr. Armendariz's expertise—take note—was working with groups like the Environmental Defense Fund
and "Downwinders at Risk" against hydraulic fracturing. Among his achievements: a cameo appearance
in "Gasland," the anti-drilling propaganda film, as well as authoring a 2009 study making the wild claim
that gas drilling was the cause of more air pollution in Dallas than even cars.
In other words, he was a perfect general for Mr. Obama's war against natural gas. The White House is
hostile to fossil fuels, yet it has been unable to get Congress or the public to act. So it has unleashed the
EPA to crack down on those industries.

The bonanza in natural gas has nonetheless been tricky for the feds, since hydraulic fracturing regulation
is technically left to the states. The agency's solution has been to invent enforcement actions out of
existing federal law to harass drillers.
Mr. Armendariz was on the front lines. By early 2010, the EPA boss was already making his "crucify
them" comments at a public-meeting-cum-activist-rally in Dish, Texas. At this gathering, Mr. Armendariz
also bragged that one of his "really special moments" had been getting the overall chief of EPA
enforcement, Cynthia Giles, to watch "Gasland." He lamented that he did not have a "Way of Life Act"
that he could enforce—to deal with the "truck traffic," "noise," "water use" and "waste pits" associated
with natural-gas drilling. Though he reminds the crowd that the laws he can use, like the Clean Water
Act, aren't exactly "toothless."
As he proved. Within a year of arrival, Mr. Armendariz had found his first target: Fort Worth-based gas
driller Range Resources. While Texas regulators had found no evidence that Range had polluted local
water wells, Mr. Armendariz in December 2010 publicly bypassed them and issued an emergency order
giving Range 48 hours to begin supplying water to residents and to clean up.
Emails show that Mr. Armendariz was communicating with his activists on the day of the action. "We're
about to make a lot of news," he crowed in an email, advising them: "Time to Tivo Channel 8."
As it happens, "Channel 8" had the news before an aide for Mr. Armendariz had bothered to notify the
state. One of Mr. Armendariz's email buddies (who included members of the Environmental Defense
Fund and Public Citizen) wrote back: "Yee haw! Hats off to the new Sheriff and his deputies!" When a
Texas official told Mr. Armendariz that he felt the action was "premature," the EPA appointee forwarded
the email to his staff with this word: "Stunning."
Or not. Fifteen months later—after Texas regulators unanimously concluded that Range was not the cause
of natural gas in local wells, after Range had sued, and after EPA was unable to find any evidence of
wrongdoing—the agency withdrew its order. Turns out Mr. Armendariz had nothing more against Range
than his, and his activists', disdain for fossil fuels.
His actions are no aberration. This is the "Crucify Them" presidency. Mr. Obama couldn't get a card
check law passed, so his National Labor Relations Board's union lawyers sue Boeing for locating in a
right-to-work state. He couldn't outlaw offshore drilling, so Interior activists continue a permitorium in
the Gulf. He can't make ObamaCare work, so Health Department officials threaten to exclude insurers
from exchanges if they raise premiums. He couldn't outright kill nuclear energy, so his top nuclear
regulator has shut down the Yucca Mountain waste repository to strangle industry growth.
Mr. Armendariz apologized for his "words," though you might wonder why. He was picked to do a job—
to "crucify" industry—and he did it. His real mistake was admitting it
******************
2. Analytical Trend Troubles Scientists
By Gautam Naik, WSJ, May 4, 2012 [H/t ACSH]
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577377841427001840.html
“…both were so-called observational studies, in which scientists often use fast computers, statistical
software and large medical data sets to analyze information collected previously by others. From there,
they look for correlations, such as whether a drug may trigger a worrisome side effect.”
In 2010, two research teams separately analyzed data from the same U.K. patient database to see if widely prescribed osteoporosis drugs increased the risk of esophageal cancer. They came to surprisingly different conclusions. 'You can troll the data, slicing and dicing it any way you want,' says S. Stanley Young, of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no increase in patients' cancer risk. The second study, which ran three weeks later in the British Medical Journal, found the risk for developing cancer to be low, but doubled. Which conclusion was correct? It is hard to tell, and the answer may be inconclusive. The main reason: Each analysis applied a different methodology and neither was based on original, proprietary data. Instead, both were so-called observational studies, in which scientists often use fast computers, statistical software and large medical data sets to analyze information collected previously by others. From there, they look for correlations, such as whether a drug may trigger a worrisome side effect. The Food and Drug Administration says it is reviewing the conflicting U.K. data on the class of osteoporosis treatments known as oral bisphosphonates. The outcome matters given that millions take the drugs world-wide. If a substantial cancer risk is proven, it will force doctors to reconsider how they prescribe such drugs. Merck & Co. says its Fosamax—one of the most popular drugs in the class—has been prescribed 190 million times since first being approved in 1995. Michael Rosenblatt, chief medical officer at the company, says that clinical trial data and more recent reports based on patient use "do not suggest an association between [the drug] and esophageal cancer." While the gold standard of medical research is the randomly controlled experimental study, scientists have recently rushed to pursue observational studies, which are much easier, cheaper and quicker to do. Costs for a typical controlled trial can stretch high into the millions; observational studies can be performed for tens of thousands of dollars. In an observational study there is no human intervention. Researchers simply observe what is happening during the course of events, or they analyze previously gathered data and draw conclusions. In an experimental study, such as a drug trial, investigators prompt some sort of change—by giving a drug to half the participants, say—and then make inferences. But observational studies, researchers say, are especially prone to methodological and statistical biases that can render the results unreliable. Their findings are much less replicable than those drawn from controlled research. Worse, few of the flawed findings are spotted—or corrected—in the published literature. "You can troll the data, slicing and dicing it any way you want," says S. Stanley Young of the U.S. National Institute of Statistical Sciences. Consequently, "a great deal of irresponsible reporting of results is going on." Despite such concerns among researchers, observational studies have never been more popular. Nearly 80,000 observational studies were published in the period 1990-2000 across all scientific fields, according to an analysis performed for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters. In the following period, 2001-2011, the number of studies more than tripled to 263,557, based on a search of Thomson Reuters Web of Science, an index of 11,600 peer-reviewed journals world-wide. The analysis likely doesn't capture every observational study in the literature, but it does indicate a pattern of growth over time. A vast array of claims made in medicine, public health and nutrition are based on observational studies, as are those about the environment, climate change and psychology. The numbers are expected to increase as more databases become available and generate more studies. One massive undertaking, for example, is the National Children's Study. Conducted by the National Institutes of Health, it will collect data on thousands of American children, all the way from birth to age 21, and assess how genetic and environmental factors may influence health outcomes. A hot area of medical research that highlights some of the problems with observational studies is the search for biomarkers. Biomarkers are naturally occurring molecules or genes associated with a disease or health condition. In the past two decades, more than 200,000 papers have been published on 10 cardiac biomarkers alone. The presence or absence of the biomarkers in a patient's blood, some theorized, could indicate a higher or lower risk for heart disease—the biggest killer in the Western world. Yet these biomarkers "are either completely worthless or there are only very small effects" in predicting heart disease, says John Ioannidis of Stanford University, who extensively analyzed two decades' worth of biomarker research and published his findings in Circulation Research journal in March. Many of the studies, he found, were undermined by statistical biases, and many of the biomarkers showed very little predictive ability of heart disease. His conclusion is widely upheld by other scientists: Just because two events are statistically associated in a study, it doesn't mean that one necessarily sets off the other. What is merely suggestive can be mistaken as causal. That partly explains why observational studies in general can be replicated only 20% of the time, versus 80% for large, well-designed randomly controlled trials, says Dr. Ioannidis. Dr. Young, meanwhile, pegs the replication rate for observational data at an even lower 5% to 10%. Whatever the figure, it suggests that a lot more of these studies are getting published. Those papers can often trigger pointless follow-on research and affect real-world practices. The problems aren't entirely new. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a raft of observational studies consistently suggested that hormone-replacement therapy, or HRT, could protect postmenopausal women against heart disease. Tens of thousands of women were given the drugs on that basis. It was a bad call. Many of the studies were eventually undermined because women who used the drugs were healthier than those who didn't, and thus had lower rates of heart disease anyway. Later controlled trials suggested that not only did HRT fail to protect against heart disease, but it might have increased the risk. Observational studies do have many valuable uses. They can offer early clues about what might be triggering a disease or health outcome. For example, it was data from observational trials that flagged the increased risk of heart attacks posed by the arthritis drug Vioxx. And it was observational data that helped researchers establish the link between smoking and lung cancer. Jan Vandenbroucke, a professor of clinical epidemiology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, dismisses some of the drawbacks of observational studies, saying they tend to be overblown. He notes that even controlled trials can yield spurious or conflicting results. "Science is about exploring the data…it has a duty to find new explanations," he says. "Randomized controlled trials aren't intended to find any explanations." In the case of most observational studies, investigators plumb existing databases, looking for associations between different variables—thus generating an observation or a "discovery." That technique can yield confusing results. Between 1995 and 2008, the FDA received reports of 23 people, most of them women, who were diagnosed with esophageal cancer after taking an oral bisphosphonate. Similar reports came in from Europe and Japan. The use of bisphosphonates has soared in recent years. In the U.K., about 10% of women over the age of 70 take the drugs, so even a small increase in cancer risk would indicate many new cancer cases. At Queen's University in Belfast, cancer epidemiologist Liam Murray and his colleagues decided to assess the tumor risk of bisphosphonates. They embarked on an observational study using a computerized database containing anonymized patient records for about six million people in the U.K.—one of the largest such databases anywhere. At roughly the same time, a separate group led by Jane Green of the University of Oxford, began a similar examination of the same U.K. database. The teams were unaware of each other's projects. The Murray team found that the increase in esophageal or gastric cancer risk was 7% higher in those who took the drug versus those who didn't, leading to the conclusion the use of the drugs "was not significantly associated" with either cancer. The Green paper in BMJ found the esophageal cancer risk was 30% higher for those on the drugs, and that the risk of esophageal cancer increased when the drugs were prescribed 10 or more times, or for longer than five years. In other words: in the normal U.S. and European population, one out of every 1,000 people aged 60 to 69 will get the cancer. But for those who take Fosamax and other related drugs, the incidence rises to two in every 1,000. There could be several reasons why the studies arrived at different conclusions, including varying methodologies. The Murray study first identified users of the drugs, matched them to random people of the same sex and age in the population, and then tracked them until some developed cancer. The Green team identified the cancer cases first and then assessed which drugs they had been given in the past. "We were looking forward, they were looking backward," says Christopher Cardwell, a medical statistician and co-author of the Murray paper in JAMA. The opposing impressions provoked Daniel Solomon, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, to co-author a long opinion piece in the journal Nature Reviews in June. "Each of these methods introduces potential for different types of biases," says Dr. Solomon. "But what we can say is that both studies rule out a large increase in risk. We have learned at least that from the papers."
Dr. Young of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences takes a more skeptical view. He notes that
because the Green study reports on three different variables at once, it introduces errors due to the classic
problem of "multiple testing."
Dr. Green acknowledges that her team didn't adjust for multiple testing. She also notes that because
information about the patients isn't consistent, "this database may not be the ideal place to look."
So is the conclusion in the Murray paper the correct one?
Not necessarily. The authors of that study acknowledge that their work has less statistical power than the
Green paper, and that "poorly measured or unmeasured causes of bias may have masked an association"
between the drugs and cancer.
There is another question. Each study only followed patients over five years or less. What if esophageal
cancer develops over a longer period, say, 10 years? In that case, the design of both studies would be
invalid.
"It's not that one paper is right and the other is wrong," says Dr. Young. "There is enough wrong with
both papers that we can't be sure."
******************
3. Gouged by the Wind
Renewable fuel mandates are raising electricity prices in the states.
Editorial, WSJ, May 4, 2012 [H/t Timothy Wise]
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577364244006391420.html?mod=googlenew
s_wsj
Politicians keep promising to reduce energy prices, but they keep ignoring one easy step: repeal renewal
energy standards. Twenty-nine states have these rules requiring local utilities to purchase between 20%
and 33% of their electric power from renewable sources. They were enacted over the past decade when
lawmakers bought into the fad about cheap "clean energy." Their real effect has been to force utilities to
pay above-market prices for electricity, which means higher electric bills for consumers.
No state has learned that lesson the hard way more than Minnesota. In 2007 the legislature mandated that
utilities ramp up their renewables to 12% this year and 25% by 2025.
The Minnesota Rural Electric Association, which represents about 50 small utilities serving about
650,000 rural residents, reports that its members lost more than $70 million in 2011 because of the high
cost of wind power. "Right now we're paying for wind power we don't need, we can't use and can't sell,"
says association executive director Mark Glaess.
Utilities absorb some of the cost, but Mr. Glaess estimates that annual residential utility bills are between
$50 and $100 higher per household due to the renewable mandate. That may be nothing to a $10,000
donor to the Sierra Club, but tell that to family of four living on $25,000 a year in Fergus Falls.
The costs will rise as the mandates tighten. An analysis by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota found
that Green River Energy utility had $22 million in losses in 2010, $35 million in 2011, and this year it is
projecting another $35 million loss. A 2011 study by the Beacon Hill Institute, a think tank focusing on
state polices, found that from 2016-25 the Minnesota mandate will raise electric costs for businesses and
households by $15 billion. By 2025 the average family will pay $265 a year in higher utility bills.
And what are consumers getting in return? The environmental benefit is almost zero since no state can do
much to alter the global volume of carbon emissions. The renewable mandate was also sold as a way to
gain "green jobs" and, as the Environmental Protection Agency puts it, "stimulate market and technology
development" in states. But the mandate fails that test too, because Minnesota imports much of its wind
power from North Dakota.
A 2012 study by the Manhattan Institute compares states with renewable mandates to those that allow
utilities to purchase the cheapest electricity available. The states with mandates paid 31.9% more for
electricity than states without them. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residents
of North Dakota, a state without a mandate, pay 7.63 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. Neighboring
Minnesota pays 10.76 cents.
Minnesota's politicians could bring relief to rural residents, because the 2007 law stipulates that the rules
can be eased if economic conditions aren't favorable. But no one wants to take on the not-so-jolly giant
green lobby. The state's Division of Natural Resources is in denial, arguing that "compliance is generally
cost effective for the utilities" subject to the mandate.
With natural gas prices not far from $2 per million BTU, the competitiveness of wind power is highly
suspect. If Congress allows a tax subsidy for renewables to expire this year, as it should for the sake of
taxpayers, even the wind lobby in Washington admits that many turbine farms will be bankrupt.
The renewable mandate "is a regressive tax," concludes Mr. Glaess. "It's one reason our customers are
having a hard time paying their electric bills." And to think this policy is supported by people who claim
to want a fairer tax system.
******************
4. Virginia Could Be an Energy Power—If Washington Would Let It
In 2010, my state was poised to become the first on the East Coast permitted to produce oil and natural
gas offshore. Then politics intervened.
By Bob McDonnell, WSJ, Apr 30, 2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303592404577364330063107046.html?mod=ITP_opini
on_0
When President Obama endorsed an "all of the above" energy strategy in this year's State of the Union
address, he gave the impression that he was finally adopting an aggressive policy. Unfortunately, the
president's words are worlds apart from his actions—especially when it comes to developing our nation's
abundant offshore oil and natural gas resources.
To see that disconnect in action, look at the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2010, Virginia was poised to
become the first state on the East Coast permitted to produce oil and natural gas offshore. In 2007, the
federal government had designated certain offshore areas as available for oil and gas leases, raising the
prospect of thousands of new jobs and significant new revenues for the state and local governments.
However, our opportunity was extinguished and the lease sale canceled after November, when the Obama
administration abruptly dropped Virginia from the government's latest leasing plan, with little explanation
and even less regard for the strong bipartisan and public support for the offshore initiative. At a moment
when we should be looking for every opportunity to safely produce more domestic energy, the Obama
administration unilaterally declared a seven-year timeout.
Three months later, the president announced federal approval of leasing plans for wind-power
development off the coast of Virginia. This was a welcome development; we are strong supporters of
doing all we can to maximize our offshore wind opportunities in the Commonwealth. Taken together,
however, the two decisions reflect a discordant approach to energy policy. There is no reason, other than political calculation, that we couldn't have been home to the East Coast's first offshore oil and natural gas development as well. Virginia is not alone in playing witness to the president's apparent disdain for domestic oil and natural gas production. The administration's perpetual slow-walk approach is especially noticeable in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast. In the Gulf, delays in permitting have resulted in dramatically reduced investments. The Energy Information Administration projects that Gulf production will decrease by over 200,000 barrels per day in 2012 compared with levels before the president assumed office. Some studies, including one published last year by the energy research firm IHS CERA, have indicated that closing this gap could provide between 110,000 to 230,000 jobs across a multitude of sectors. Meanwhile, in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Shell, for instance, has been forced to spend $4 billion over five years on plan-development costs and other expenses of dealing with repeated permitting delays. These were not the result of deficiencies in proposed operational plans. They were caused by challenges and legal actions by environmental groups to delay or invalidate the proposed permits—actions that the current administration could review but did little to oppose. It shouldn't take a herculean effort to approve a project that the host state strongly supports and that could generate 55,000 new jobs per year for 50 years, along with $145 billion in new payroll and $193 billion in additional government revenues over the same period. If an "all of the above" energy strategy—one that includes offshore oil and natural gas development—is what the administration seeks, there is an organization willing to work with the president. The Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition is comprised of the governors of seven coastal states, including Virginia, Texas and Alaska. In a letter to the president last month, the coalition outlined a number of steps that can be taken immediately to incorporate offshore energy production into a comprehensive national energy policy. They include increasing the speed and predictability of permitting and expanding access to new reserves. The president can implement all of these recommendations with the stroke of a pen. To date, he has not acknowledged our outreach. During my term as governor, we have focused on making Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast. In just two years our state has taken aggressive actions to harness the power of offshore wind and promote greater utilization of solar energy. Had the president not stopped Virginia's offshore oil and gas efforts, a portion of the revenue from those efforts would have gone—under a law passed during my term of office—to renewable energy research. We remain committed to developing Virginia's offshore oil and gas. Energy is the lifeblood of our nation's economic growth. More energy means more jobs and we need to use all of our domestic energy resources. Mr. McDonnell is governor of Virginia and chairman of the Republican Governors Association. ###################################################

Source: http://www.sepp.org/twtwfiles/2012/TWTW%20-%205-12-12.pdf

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