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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • Oreskes Confusion

    December 5, 2006
    Appearing on "Oprah," Al Gore cited a review of the climate change literature by Dr. Naomi Oreskes of the University of California as the last word on an alleged global warming "consensus." But, as CEI's Ian Murray notes, the Oreskes study is far from authoritative:
    On the supposed “scientific consensus”: Dr. Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, San Diego, (p. 262) did not examine a “large random sample” of scientific articles. She got her search terms wrong and thought she was looking at all the articles when in fact she was looking at only 928 out of about 12,000 articles on “climate change.” Dr. Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University in England, was unable to replicate her study. He says, “As I have...
  • The Science of 'Deathenol'

    December 4, 2006
    The Internet Skeptic ("Critical Analysis of Today's Headlines") emails today about some of his recent YouTube videos. One that caught my eye was the analysis of the science of ethanol production and use. This, of course, complements the analysis of the impact of ethanol production by Dennis Avery that we published in September. [youtube]znnAW_wugp4[/youtube]
  • Today's must-read

    December 4, 2006
    A must-read is today's lead editorial in The Wall Street Journal (free subscription required) — “Global Warming Gag Order — Senators to Exxon: Shut up, and pay up.” It hits Senators Snowe and Rockefeller's letter to ExxonMobil telling the oil company to stop funding “global warming deniers” like CEI, which almost single-handedly has kept climate change proposals from being enacted. We particularly like these words from the editorial:
    “We respect the folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but we didn't know until reading the Rockefeller-Snowe letter that they ran U.S. climate policy and led the mainstream media around by the nose, too. Congratulations. “Let's compare the balance of forces: on one side, CEI; on the other, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the...
  • The Global Warming Case--the cataclysm question

    November 30, 2006
    One comment from yesterday's Supreme Court hearing that's getting a lot of press is Justice Scalia's question to the attorney for the petitioning states about the imminence of harm to the states: "I mean, when is the predicted cataclysm?" The attorney answered: "The harm does not suddenly spring up in the year 2100; it plays out continuously over time." I suspect that this exchange will be portrayed, by some, as illustrating the gap between the scientifically uneducated and the scientifically erudite. After all, Justice Scalia himself later noted that he's "not a scientist", whereas counsel for the petitioning states was probably quite familiar with the underlying science. But later in the argument that attorney said: "... our harm is imminent in the sense that lighting a fuse on a bomb is imminent harm ...." That sounds pretty cataclysmic to me. If you're delving...
  • Global Warming Hearings & Hurricanes

    November 30, 2006
    Yesterday the Supreme Court heard argument in the global warming case. Today is the last day of the 2006 hurricane season, the quietest in the a decade. Personally, I hope the Supreme Court's ruling in the case ends up being as disappointing to global warming alarmists as this year's hurricane season has been. Of course, one quiet hurricane season doesn't disprove the alarmist forecasts. On the other hand, Katrina didn't support those apocalyptic forecasts either, but you didn't see much in the way of forecasting restraint on the part of alarmists last year. I'd like to correct a few points that were garbled when I first phoned them in soon after yesterday's court hearing. The post below states that EPA was hammered by some justices "talking about issues that weren't...
  • Those clever Malthusians

    November 29, 2006
    There's an op/ed in the New York Times today that essentially claims that Malthus was right and that Julian Simon just got lucky when he made his famous bet with Paul Ehrlich and his doomsinging colleagues. John Whitehead of the Environmental Economics blog has a perceptive comment:
    Increases in energy prices, with the energy return on investment (EROI -- a new term for me that showed up in the comments section on this blog) falling from 25 to 1 to 15 to 1 over the past 20 years in the oil industry (EROI is 4 to 1 for the Alberta oil sands) used as evidence that the current runup in oil prices is not a blip. The...
  • Supreme Court grills Massachusetts, EPA in global warming case

    November 29, 2006

    CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman is on-site for two important cases being argued at the U.S. Supreme Court today. He phoned in his quick take on the EPA case:

    The first, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general, trying to force the EPA to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. The AGs aim to have CO2 emissions reduced and thus impede global warming.

    Massachusetts went first. They got a lot of questions on standing from the justices: the states must show specific harm to themselves (from CO2 emissions) and that the harm would be redressed by the relief sought by the states. I don't think Massachusetts did all too well under questioning. They were getting hammered with questions. An old case called SCRAP (United States v...

  • Usual suspects make the list -- environmentalists of all time

    November 29, 2006
    Dr. C.S. Prakash alerted me to yesterday's list in The Guardian of the top environmental campaigners of all time. Not surprisingly, Rachel Carson tops the list, and one of her chief achievements was the eventual banning of DDT. Readers might be interested in John Berlau's DDT article today, which puts that “achievement” in a human context. Here's the list of the top twenty. One who really accomplished something that helped save the earth — the people on it — was number 19, Joseph Bazelgette, who realized that “foul water” not foul air was responsible for the cholera epidemics. He devised the London...
  • Lake Woebegone Takes over Britain!

    November 27, 2006
    The classic motto of Garrison Keillor's bucolic world — “where all the children are above average” — has now been adopted by David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party now challenging Labour in the UK. In a recent speech, Cameron noted “…we used to think of poverty only in absolute terms — [but in the future] we need to think of poverty in relative terms — the fact that some people lack those things which others in society take for granted.”
  • They Know It When They Smell It

    November 27, 2006
    Here at Open Market, we're big fans of Penn & Teller, particularly their emmy-nominated Showtime program, Bullshit! Our own Angela Logomasini was even a guest on the episode they did on recycling. We are therefore excited to bring you, via Google Video, their episode on environmental hysteria, featuring the now-legendary petition drive to ban dihydrogen monoxide. Thanks to Wayne for passing along. [googlevideo]-4480559399263937213[/googlevideo]

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