It’s often said that of all the published scientific research on climate change, 97% of the papers conclude that global warming is real, problematic for the planet, and has been exacerbated by human activity.

But what about those 3% of papers that reach contrary conclusions? Some skeptics have suggested that the authors of studies indicating that climate change is not real, not harmful, or not man-made are bravely standing up for the truth, like maverick thinkers of the past. (Galileo is often invoked, though his fellow scientists mostly agreed with his conclusions—it was church leaders who tried to suppress them.)

Not so, according to a review published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology. The researchers tried to replicate the results of those 3% of papers—a common way to test scientific studies—and found biased, faulty results.

Broadly, there were three main errors in the papers denying climate change. Many had cherry-picked the results that conveniently supported their conclusion, while ignoring other context or records. Then there were some that applied inappropriate “curve-fitting”—in which they would step farther and farther away from data until the points matched the curve of their choosing.

And of course, sometimes the papers just ignored physics altogether. “In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup,” the authors write.

Those who assert that these papers are correct while the other 97% are wrong are holding up science where the researchers had already decided what results they sought, the authors of the review say. Good science is objective—it doesn’t care what anyone wants the answers to be.

The review serves as an answer to the charge that the minority view on climate change has been consistently suppressed, wrote Hayhoe. “It’s a lot easier for someone to claim they’ve been suppressed than to admit that maybe they can’t find the scientific evidence to support their political ideology… They weren’t suppressed. They’re out there, where anyone can find them.” Indeed, the review raises the question of how these papers came to be published in the first place, when they used flawed methodology, which the rigorous peer-review process is designed to weed out.

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It’s called resilience. And it’s just one of the benefits of a distributed, renewable grid with storage. Coming to a state near you, sooner than you think.


n a paved expanse next to an electrical substation in Escondido, 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, sits a row of huge silver boxes. The site resembles a barracks, but instead of soldiers, the 24 containers house racks of battery packs.

This is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, according to its developers. When the local grid needs more power, these batteries deliver, almost instantaneously. They can discharge up to 30 megawatts – roughly equivalent to powering 20,000 homes – and can sustain that level for up to four hours.

AES Energy Storage built the system in less than six months for utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in response to a four-month blowout at southern California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The rupture in October 2015 leaked more gas into the atmosphere than any other spill in US history.

After the leak was finally plugged in February 2016, utilities needed a fast-response energy source to deploy quickly in the densely populated areas around Los Angeles and San Diego. They wanted to prevent blackouts during periods of high demand, especially when customers crank up the air-conditioning on hot summer days.

Traditional grid solutions didn’t make sense. Gas peaker plants – which can be turned on quickly to meet demand – can take years to gain permission and be built, and they burn fossil fuels. You can’t drop a hydroelectric dam in the middle of a city. Solar power doesn’t help much in the evening, when summer demand is highest.

Instead, utilities Southern California Edison and SDG&E chose something relatively new: grid-scale batteries. What followed was the Escondido battery plus several others totalling about 100MW. The project became a major test case for the grid storage industry’s ability to make the grid more efficient and clean.

“To go from something that we thought of as kind of the future technology to, all of a sudden, it coming to the rescue so quickly – yeah, I think that’s a huge success story,” said John Zahurancik, president of AES Energy Storage.

A battery can absorb whatever power is available, whether it’s from coal, solar or nuclear. The ability to store and discharge power, though, has particular value for regions pursuing high levels of renewable energy.

“As more of our electricity starts to come from wind and solar, grid storage can collect extra electricity when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, and then give it back during still nights when we need it to power homes and businesses,” says Sonia Aggarwal, vice president of San Francisco-based consultancy Energy Innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

Journalist Keith Schneider explains Michigan’s Line 5, and the economics of US pipelines.

Detroit Free Press:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other top state officials on Wednesday called for Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge to immediately repair areas of lost protective coating on twin underwater oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

“Protection of Michigan’s natural resources is of utmost importance, and I am greatly concerned by the new information regarding Line 5,” Snyder said in a statement. “I have directed our departments to accelerate an aggressive review of Enbridge operations and maintenance procedures throughout the state.”

Areas of missing, protective pipeline coating were discovered during underwater Enbridge inspections earlier this month. The enamel coating protects the pipes from corrosion — and is far more significant than the outer, fiberglass wrap that Enbridge acknowledged in February was sloughing off the underwater pipe in spots.

 At least one area of missing enamel coating appeared caused by the installation of required anchor supports on the pipelines — a timely revelation, as the state Department of Environmental Quality is currently considering Enbridge’s permit request to install 22 additional supports on the controversial, 64-year-old pipelines.

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State’s rights, cities rights – maybe the founding Fathers had this in mind.


More than one dozen U.S. cities have banded together to post deleted climate change information and research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website that was notoriously scrubbed by the Trumpadministration.

In May, Chicago became the first city to host the deleted pages, and now other mayors are following in Rahm Emanuel’s footsteps by creating their city’s own “Climate Change is Real” website.

The “Climate Change is Real” website contains information on the basic science behind climate change, the ways weather is impacted from increased greenhouse gas emissions and actions the federal government has taken to reduce the impact.

Major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle have joined the effort.

According to a statement from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s office, the pages were launched Sunday to ensure that the public has readily available access to research information the EPA has developed over the last many decades.

“Deleting federal webpages does not reset the scientific consensus that climate change is real,” Lee said. “The American people are entitled to the publicly-funded EPA research on climate change. And while the federal government continues to undermine the progress we’ve made on climate change, cities are taking a stand. San Francisco will continue our fight against climate change by taking aggressive local actions to protect our citizens and planet.’

Other cities, academic institutions and organizations can post the same information to their own websites.

British Psychology Society:

Unrelenting faith in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence is a trait of believers in conspiracy theories that has long confounded researchers. For instance, past research has demonstrated how attempting to use evidence to sway believers of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories can backfire, increasing their certainty in the conspiracy. Could it also be the case that knowing that most people doubt a conspiracy actually makes believing in it more appealing, by fostering in the believer a sense of being somehow special? This question was explored recently in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Roland Imhoff and Pia Karoline Lamberty at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

The researchers first asked a sample of 238 US participants recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk survey website to complete a self-reported “Need For Uniqueness” scale (they rated their agreement with items like “being distinctive is extremely important to me”) and a Conspiracy Mentality scale (e.g. “Most people do not see how much our lives are determined by plots hatched in secret.”) before indicating whether or not they believed in a list of 99 conspiracy theories circulating online. Endorsement of the different conspiracy theories was highly correlated: belief in one conspiracy theory meant beliefs in others would be more likely. Participants’ self-reported Need For Uniqueness also correlated with their stronger endorsement of the conspiracy beliefs.

The second study replicated this finding with a further 465 Mechanical Turk participants based in the US, but this time half the sample read a list of the five most well known conspiracy theories and the five least known ones, whereas the other half of the group read the five most popular conspiracy theories and the five least popular. Again, self-reported Need For Uniqueness correlated with stronger agreement with the various conspiracy theories. It’s not clear from these findings whether need for uniqueness was really driving greater conspiracy endorsement so the researchers devised a third experiment to test this.

A final, unforeseen and particularly astounding finding emerged only after the participants had been debriefed. A full 25 per cent of the sample continued to retain beliefs in the made-up smoke detector conspiracy even after they had been told that the theory was false and had been made up by the researchers for the sole purpose of the study. Supporting the researchers’ conclusion further, this continued belief in the made-up conspiracy theory was correlated with the participants’ self-reported Need For Uniqueness. Taken together, the findings provide convincing evidence that some people are motivated to agree with conspiracy theories with an aura of exclusiveness. To them it may not matter in the slightest that their views are in the minority, to the contrary this knowledge could actually amplify their beliefs.

News report, item on China starts at 1:00, runs about 2 minutes.
Have not seen a US television report on this, other than this local spot.

If you have not seen my video on where this is taking us, you really should. Read the rest of this entry »