Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

18 December 2016

Environmentalist Insurance Policies by Paul Driessen

Environmentalist insurance policies

Intellectual ammo for holiday party responses to claims that you need meteorite insurance

Paul Driessen

Many liberals went into denial, outrage and riot mode after November 8. Now they’re having meltdown over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees with climate and environmental responsibilities:

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry at Energy, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at State, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke at Interior. As Department of Agriculture secretary and multiple assistant, deputy assistant and other senior level positions are filled, the meltdown will likely raise sea levels by several feet.

It’s even worse than “white supremacists” and “Russian hackers” rigging and stealing the election. Having these people at the helm will be an “existential threat to the planet,” say meltdowners.

A typical over-the-top reaction came from an aptly named spokesperson for radical pressure groups and five-alarm climate scientists that feed at the trough of taxpayer and tax-exempt foundation funding “This is the wealthiest, most corporate, most climate-denying cabinet in history,” snorted Kiernan Suckling, director of the anti-development Center for Biological Diversity.

After eight years of anti-fossil-fuel, anti-growth, anti-job, anti-blue-collar policies – and the Left’s fervent wish for eight more years under Hillary Clinton – any Trumpian shift is bound to look that way to them.

So we’re likely to get a bellyful of bombast from like-minded (or ill-informed) office and neighborhood partygoers, especially if they’re too much imbued with holiday spirits. At the risk of offending those who do not share an NRA perspective on gun control (stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control), here’s a little intellectual ammunition that conservatives may find helpful during those “spirited” discussions.

The United States needs to reduce taxes and regulations that have hobbled energy development and job creation – threatening to put federal bureaucrats firmly in control of our states, communities, livelihoods and living standards. However, as I noted recently, these essential, long overdue changes will come with no reduction in air, water or overall environmental quality standards that ensure our health and welfare. They will address rogue agency actions that actually impair our living standards, health and wellbeing.

Indeed, nearly all these autocratic government actions are based on some variation of the infamous “precautionary principle.” This infinitely malleable pseudo-guideline says chemicals and other technologies should be restricted or banned if there is any possibility (or accusation by radical activists) that they could be harmful, even if no cause-effect link can be proven.

Even worse, the bogus principle looks only at often-inflated risks from using chemicals, energy systems or other technologies that activists or regulators dislike – never at the risks of not using them; never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using them. Sustainability “guidelines” are very similar.
Just as perversely, if the Powers that Wannabe like a technology, they ignore or actively suppress any harmful impacts. For instance, since wind turbines can supposedly replace fossil fuels, they ignore bird and bat deaths, human health damage from infrasound, and the fact that essential metals are mined and processed under horrendous conditions by men, women and children in African and Asian countries.
Those environmental, health, human rights, and child labor violations are far away (literally not in their backyards), and thus can be conveniently ignored.
So can the poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death perpetrated and perpetuated by extremist groups that campaign tirelessly to shut down industries in developed nation communities – and prevent the poorest nations on Earth from gaining access to modern technologies that improve and save lives.

Eco-extremists claim they can save lives by preventing higher temperatures, rising seas, and more storms, droughts and crop failures due to “dangerous manmade climate change” decades from now. So they block fossil fuel power plants that provide reliable, affordable energy for modern homes, hospitals, schools and factories that improve health and living standards – and end up killing millions right now, year after year.

Climate change has been real throughout history. Sometimes beneficial (moderately warm, with ample rainfall), sometimes destructive (decades-long droughts or cold spells, glacial epochs with mile-thick ice sheets crushing entire continents), it is driven by solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other powerful natural forces that humans cannot control. Carbon dioxide may play a role, but only a minor one, and rising atmospheric CO2 levels make crops, grasslands and forests grow faster and better.

The “unprecedented” manmade climate cataclysms that Al Gore and Barack Obama promised are not happening. For example, we were supposed to get more frequent, powerful and destructive storms; instead, a record 11 years have passed without one category 3-5 hurricane making landfall in the USA. 

To attack fracking and natural gas use, bureaucrats claim methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas – but won’t admit that it is 1/235th as prevalent in Earth’s atmosphere (0.00017%), and at least 1/600,000th as prevalent as water vapor (1-4%), the most important GHG.
Their “social cost of carbon” schemes assign ever-higher monetary impacts to every climate and weather problem they can possibly attribute to using carbon-based fuels – but totally ignore the enormous and undeniable benefits of utilizing oil, natural gas and coal that still provide 82% of US and global energy.

They’re convinced their anti-energy diktats will “save the planet,” by shutting down US power plants and factories, despite vastly greater emissions from China, India and a hundred other nations that are rapidly expanding their fossil fuel use, to lift billions more people out of abject poverty, disease and malnutrition.

The same anti-technology activists and bureaucrats also detest biotechnology and genetically modified crops that require less water and can battle insect predators with a tiny fraction of the insecticides required for conventional grains and vegetables. They equally despise another GM marvel, Golden Rice, which prevents Vitamin A Deficiency that blinds and kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Instead of applauding the reduced blindness, malnutrition, starvation and death these crops can bring, precautionary and sustainability extremists obsess about imaginary risks of eating them, allowing more millions to die unnecessarily, year after year. It’s not their kids, after all. Why should they be concerned?

The same callous, phony ethics prevail on the disease front. Eco-activists support bed nets – but not insecticide spraying to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and certainly not DDT, the most powerful, longest-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Sprayed once every six months on the walls of mud or cinderblock houses, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do come in, so they don’t bite, and kills any that land. 

But radical ideologues focus on trivial, irrelevant side effects that “some researchers say could be linked” to DDT use – and let 600,000 parents and children die excruciating deaths every year from malaria.

Every one of these anti-technology, “precautionary” attitudes is the environmentalist equivalent of protecting American kids from powerful chemicals, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and increased risk of illness and infection – by banning chemotherapy drugs, and just letting the little cancer patients die.

They are the equivalent of requiring you to carry a $10,000-a-year insurance policy that covers you only if you are killed by a meteorite – or by a raptor or tyrannosaur. At least meteorite risks are real, if extremely remote.

Raptors and T rexes exist only in our imaginations, special effects computers and movie theaters – much like the manmade climate chaos and other precautionary extremism that come from computer models and PR hype, and drive too many of our policies, laws and regulations.

Have fun at your holiday parties. This season promises to be even more animated than most.



Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on the environment.

15 December 2016

ObamaCare Cost Increases in 2017

The Center for Health and Economy has released a study estimating the increased costs to taxpayers through the federal government in 2017.  ObamaCare premiums will be 22% higher in 2017, but the average monthly subsidy cost will go up by 26% from $291/month to $367/month.  The subsidy percentage increase is greater since incomes are losing ground relative to the premium increase.

The study says 11.1 million people per month are on ObamaCare in 2016 and this number is expected to increase to 11.4 million a month in 2017.  Of these 9.39 million in 2016 received tax credits and 9.65 million are expected to receive tax credits in 2017.  In 2016, 84.6% of the people on ObamaCare received a tax credit subsidy.  The study expects the same percentage in 2017. Clearly if you do not qualify for the tax credit subsidy, there is little likelihood that you will buy your health insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges.

The resulting increase in federal payouts from 2016 to 2017 is $9.8 billion.  The 2016 cost of the subsidies was $32.8 billion and the expected 2017 cost will be $42.6 billion.  The federal subsidies will therefore cost 29.9% more in 2017 than in 2016.  Those states that expanded their Medicaid rolls will also see large cost increases.

As an American, your health insurance premiums will go up, your deductible will likely go up, your co-pay will likely go up, your federal government costs will definitely go up, and in many states your state government costs will go up in 2017 thanks to ObamaCare.  Obama's transformation of America leaves those of us who are not subsidized with no hope.  Does it even provide hope to those who are subsidized as peons or serfs to the state?


12 December 2016

The IPCC Reports Quickly Evaluated by Prof. Frederick Seitz

"The IPCC is pre-programmed to produce reports to support the hypotheses of anthropogenic warming and the control of greenhouse gases, as envisioned in the Global Climate Treaty. The 1990 IPCC Summary completely ignored satellite data, since they showed no warming. The 1995 IPCC report was notorious for the significant alterations made to the text after it was approved by the scientists – in order to convey the impression of a human influence. The 2001 IPCC report claimed the twentieth century showed ‘unusual warming’ based on the now-discredited hockey-stick graph. The latest IPCC report, published in 2007, completely devaluates the climate contributions from changes in solar activity, which are likely to dominate any human influence."

Frederick Seitz
President Emeritus, Rockefeller University,
Past President, National Academy of Sciences Past President,
American Physical Society Chairman,
Science and Environmental Policy Project

February 2008

I am far from the only scientist who has not bought into the claims of catastrophic man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.  There are many good scientists who believe their alarmist claims to be either false or unproven.

11 December 2016

Sea level rise -- or land subsidence? by Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

At the request of Paul Driessen, I am posting this article:

Sea level rise -- or land subsidence?
Alarmist claims about rising seas inundating coastal areas blame the wrong culprit 
Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek 

In his 2006 Inconvenient Truth mockumentary, Al Gore infamously predicted melting ice caps would cause oceans to rise “up to 20 feet” (6.1 meters) “in the near future.” Kevin Costner’s 1995 “action thriller” Water World presumed totally melting planetary ice would almost submerge the continents. 
However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2007 that seas might rise up to only 2 feet by 2107. By comparison, oceans have risen nearly 400 feet since the last ice age ended, reflecting how much water was trapped in mile-thick glaciers that buried much of North America, Europe and Asia. In recent decades, though, global sea level rise has averaged just 7 inches per century – which may explain why Mr. Gore bought an $8.5-million mansion on the California coast in 2010. 
And yet “rising seas due to dangerous manmade climate change” remains a contentious issue, with profound land use, wildlife, economic, insurance and policy implications – especially for certain regions, like the Atlantic Coast’s Chesapeake Bay region. Some say “seas could rise” 2.5 to 7 feet (2.1 meters) or more by the end of the century around Norfolk, Virginia, a huge population and agricultural center and home to America’s largest Navy base. Even if that happens, the prediction combines multiple causes. 
Saltwater intrusion clearly has been an increasing problem across much of this region for several decades, and storms have sent tides and waves further inland than in the past, flooding and battering homes, croplands and wildlife habitats. Climate alarmists attribute this danger to human fossil fuel use. 
As a new report by Dr. Bezdek explains, reality is much different. (His report awaits publication in a scientific journal.) At least for the Chesapeake region, Houston-Galveston, Texas area, Santa Clara Valley, California and other places around the globe, the primary cause of seawater intrusions is not rising oceans – but land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations, and to “glacial isostatic adjustments” that have been ongoing since the last glaciers melted. 
The solution therefore is not to continue trying to control Earth’s climate – an impossible, economy-busting task that would further impede fossil fuel use, economic development, job creation, and human health and welfare. The solution requires reducing groundwater removal in these coastal areas. 
Ice age glaciers buried continental land masses under trillions of tons of ice. Land under the ice was pushed downward, while areas somewhat beyond the glaciers were forced up. Once the ice was gone, the compressed areas began to rise, while lands that had bulged upward began to sink. Isostatic subsidence is still occurring, at about 1 millimeter a year (4.4 inches per century) in the Chesapeake region. 
While Chesapeake farms and cities have been utilizing groundwater for centuries, withdrawal rates from Virginia Coastal Plain aquifers skyrocketed between 1950 and 1970, as modern pumps took over. The rates have remained high ever since, causing significant land subsidence.  
The aquifer systems involve layers of porous sandstone with water in the interstices between sand grains. These layers are sandwiched between layers (lenses) of impermeable but wet shale and clay. As water is pumped from the sandy layers, the shale-clay layers are squeezed like a sponge by hundreds of feet of overlying rock and sediment, forcing their water into less compressible sands, and then into pumps. 
The amount of water in a system, its recharge rates (from rain, snowmelt and other sources), and the degree of compaction depend on how much water is being withdrawn, the thickness of sand and clay layers, and how compressible the layers are. Most of the pumped water ultimately comes from the clays, as they are squeezed dry. Analysts have estimated that 95% of water removed from Virginia Coastal Plain aquifers between 1891 and 1980 came from their clay layers, which have steadily compressed as a result. 
Compression means subsidence, at 1.1-4.8 mm/yr – for an average rate of 11 inches per century, on top of the 4.4 in. per century in isostatic subsidence, and compared to the average sea level rise of 7 in. a century. 
The net effect in Virginia’s Coastal Plain can thus be nearly 2 feet of subsidence per century. The impacts on land, habitat and property loss, saltwater intrusions, inland storm surges, farming, homes and other buildings, regional economics, wharves, piers and naval bases, and insurance rates is easy to discern. 
Confusion arises because discussions often involve “relative sea level rise” – which combines glacial isostatic and groundwater subsidence, along with actual sea level rise – just as we just did with our 2 feet per century total. However, the term obscures what is really going on and lends itself to climate alarmism, by leaving the false impression that the entire problem is melting icecaps and rising seas. 
It clearly is not. Focusing attention on alleged “manmade climate cataclysms,” supposedly driven by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, will result in our spending hundreds of billions of dollars to replace oil, gas and coal with expensive, subsidized, land-intensive renewable energy systems – while foregoing hundreds of billions of dollars in jobs and economic growth. Meanwhile, China, India, Indonesia and other developing nations will continue doing what they must to lift billions out of abject poverty and disease: burn more fossil fuels, thereby emitting more CO2. 
Those nations are not about to succumb to the Obama EPA “social cost of carbon” con game. This is the fraudulent scheme under which bureaucrats blame US oil, gas and coal for every climate and weather event, habitat and species loss, and other problem that they can possibly conjure up anywhere in the world – while completely ignoring the phenomenal and undeniable benefits of using those fuels, and the equally important benefits of having more plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. 
President-Elect Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA underscores his intent to end climate-obsessed government by junk science and Executive Branch decree. 
What can be done about the real-world problems of “relative sea level rise”? Sea levels will continue to rise (or fall) in response to ice growth and melting, caused by powerful natural forces over which humans have no control. Glacial isostatic subsidence will continue – albeit at a glacial or geologic pace – unless another ice age buries continents under more miles of ice, again lowering sea levels hundreds of feet, and wiping out arable land, growing seasons and agricultural productivity. 
Moreover, once water has been squeezed out of the clay and shale, it cannot easily be replenished. That means the subsidence process cannot be reversed. However, we can nevertheless reduce or even halt subsidence due to groundwater extraction. 
Rates and locations of land subsidence and relative sea level rise change over time. Accurate predictive tools and measurements are thus needed to improve our understanding of subsidence in particular areas. Although subsidence rates are not as high on the Atlantic Coast as they have been in the Houston-Galveston area or Santa Clara Valley, the problem is nonetheless serious because of the southern Chesapeake Bay region’s low-lying topography and consequent susceptibility to ocean water intrusion.
In the Houston-Galveston area and Santa Clara Valley, resource managers have moved groundwater pumping away from the coast, reduced groundwater withdrawal rates, increased aquifer recharge and substitut­ed surface water for groundwater supplies. These actions have successfully stopped subsidence in the Santa Clara Valley and slowed the process in the Houston-Galveston area. 
Similar steps could be taken in Virginia’s Tidewater or Coastal Plain region. In addition, pipelines could bring fresh water from nearby lakes and rivers, replacing at least some of what is now provided by wells. Yet another option might be to construct one or more desalination plants (in California and Texas, as well), utilizing nuclear or natural gas power to operate facilities that utilize new Israeli technologies that employ a chemical-free reverse osmosis process that converts seawater into freshwater for pennies per gallon. 
The new Congress and Executive Branch need to focus our limited money and resources on real problems and viable solutions – not on their false, politically correct, anti-development alter egos. 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc. (www.MISI-net.com).

09 December 2016

Only 19% of New Enrollments in Medicaid in 2014 were due to ObamaCare

Advocates of ObamaCare like to claim that all of the new enrollments in Medicaid in 2014 were due to ObamaCare.  So you find claims that ObamaCare provided insurance coverage to 17 million people in 2014.

According to a study one of whose authors is Jonathan Gruber, a chief moving force behind ObamaCare, only 19% or 3.3 million of the new Medicaid enrollments were due to ObamaCare.  The remaining new enrollments had been eligible for Medicaid prior to the passing of the ObamaCare act.

This should be remembered when considering the repeal of ObamaCare.  It will be said by some that all of the new enrollments in Medicaid since it was passed represent people who will lose insurance coverage when ObamaCare is repealed.  This is not true.  When ObamaCare was passed 6 million people lost their insurance coverage and had to sign up under new plans under ObamaCare or pay a penalty tax.  Yet only 3.3 million people were newly able to gain insurance under the expansion of Medicaid.

Some people with pre-existing conditions were able to get insurance more affordably under ObamaCare in 2014, but that was not an increase outside of Medicaid expansion large enough to offset the remaining part of the 6 million who lost their insurance.  The total number of people who gained insurance in 2014 was 11.6 million people.  The difference between that number and the 17 million said to be insured under ObamaCare in 2014 is those who lost insurance due to ObamaCare and had change their insurance plan, at inconvenience to themselves and generally at a higher cost.

The number of people who benefited from ObamaCare is greatly exaggerated, while the damage in insurance loss, lowered insurance and medical care quality, higher premiums, and higher deductibles is minimized by those who promote ObamaCare.

See here and here.

03 December 2016

Progressive Elitist Cronyism on Bloomberg Business Radio

While on my way to my laboratory this morning, I heard two federal government ads on Bloomberg Business Radio between 0430 and 0435 hours.  The first was an ad admonishing fathers to spend time with their children.  The second was a FEMA ad telling you to have an emergency plan and to have supplies prepared.

Now Bloomberg Business Radio is very much a Progressive Elitist operation.  Its audience is not one filled with the poor and under-educated.  If the government ad telling fathers to spend time with their children was aimed at reducing federal welfare costs to single-parent families, this is not the audience to be directing such an ad to.  In fact, I am pretty sure that the audience is very heavy in Progressive Elitists who feel quite superior in their parenting skills and in their superior incomes.  Should these generally more educated and wealthy listeners also need to be harangued to have emergency plans and supplies as well?

Should the federal government be acting as the adult in the room to educate and request responsibility from the more educated and wealthy people who listen to Bloomberg Business Radio at the expense of the general population?  It really is not a proper function of the federal government to be running such ads on any radio station, but it is especially odd that it is running them on Bloomberg Business Radio.

Unless, one views this from a rather cynical angle.  Bloomberg Business Radio is quite the dependable supporter of an expansive role for government.  It is very friendly to big government and a government that is a growing government.  So if you are a government agency that appreciates that support, why not encourage it with an advertising budget?  Yes, preferentially spend your advertising budget on a crony business even if the audience is not the right audience for the message.  We will rub each other's backs.  Here is some advertising money so this friendly radio station can stay on the air and continue to praise the benefits of big government.  This is a form of bribery.


28 November 2016

Is There a Climate Science Consensus?

Is there any level on which a climate consensus can be said to exist?  Only at the most obvious level, which is that everyone agrees that the climate changes.  The realists know that the climate has always changed, drastically over millions of years of alternating Ice Ages and Warm Periods and within a narrower range over the warm last 12,000 years, with such periods as the Minoan Warm Period, the Roman Warming, the Medieval Warm Period, and the present warm period.  The catastrophic man-made global warming alarmists claim that the climate was very stable prior to the Industrial Age, which just happens to have had its start at the end of the Little Ice Age according to the Climate Realists.  But, since man became powerful and plentiful as a result of the Industrial Age, the alarmists say that climate change now occurs mostly due to man, specifically due to his emissions of some infra-red active gases, primarily carbon dioxide.

Obama and legions of those who argue that mankind faces its greatest challenge in trying to prevent the catastrophe of man-made or anthropogenic global warming, like to claim that 97% of scientists agree with them.  This claim is based on a completely bogus survey of published papers, with papers simply stating that there may be some human influence on climate being counted as part of a scientific consensus.

It is not noted that almost all climate research or other research with any implications about the climate at all is funded by governments, almost all of which will not fund research that is unfavorable to the thesis that man has warmed the planet badly since the start of the Industrial Age.  If you are a scientist and you want further government funding for your research, you are likely to be rewarded if you find some way in which your results support the government-favored thesis of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.  If your results are contrary to that thesis, it will be fatal to further funding support to take note of that.  You had best put another interpretation on your results.

One of the most interesting observations is that retirement brings on a major change of viewpoint for many scientists.  Those who supported the alarmist claims before retirement often oppose it afterwards. Those who were silent on the subject often come out against the alarmist thesis after retirement.  This applies to many scientists who are not climate scientists, but are experts in radiation such as infra-red, visible light, and ultra-violet light radiation.  Just like climate scientists, it is harmful to their careers if they speak out against the so-called consensus the governments have tried so hard to create.  NASA, Navy, Air Force, Army, EPA, NOAA, Department of Energy with its 17 energy research laboratories, Department of the Interior, Agriculture Department, and university researchers in the sciences in the USA are all given good reason to be fearful about their careers if they speak up against the alarmist crusade.  The government has worked ruthlessly hard to try to produce a "scientific consensus", but has massively violated both the scientific method in the process.  The scientific method depends critically on independent thinking and on freedom of speech and press.  This is one of the great dangers of putting the government in charge of basic research funding.

Most of the scientists said to be supporters of the catastrophic man-made global warming thesis can not provide a decent explanation of the physics which is supposed to cause the emission of the so-called greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to cause a catastrophic level of warming.  They should most definitely not be counted as scientists who are the basis for a scientific consensus, despite that fact that some of them may have an unscientific belief in that alarmist thesis. What would a true scientific consensus be?  It would consist of those scientists who had a coherent, carefully laid out and reasonably complete single theory of how man's emissions of infra-red active molecules such as carbon dioxide and methane caused such a large warming of the globe that a catastrophe for mankind must certainly occur.  Those holding the scientific viewpoint could all articulate this theory and explain how it agreed with observations of reality and how it could make predictions of the climate's characteristics of the future.  They would agree on all of these things.  This is what a scientific consensus would be.

Most of those who attempt an explanation today will initially try it by using an argument similar to that used in the IPCC reports from 2001 through 2014. This explanation of the science is based on a viewpoint provided in the following Earth energy budget:




Fig. 1. Kiehl-Trenberth energy budget for the Earth of 1997.  This represents a common viewpoint of the physics that is used to justify the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis.  It is apparently the settled science. It will be demonstrated to be very wrongheaded.  I have added the percentage power flux values with 342 W/m2 equal to 100% and approximately equal to one-quarter of the solar power incident upon the Earth most directly facing the Sun.  More recent energy budgets have slightly different numbers, but the viewpoint is the same and the claim of a scientific consensus has not changed.

The IPCC reports claim that solar radiation absorbed at the surface of the Earth causes the Earth's surface to emit about 2.3 times as much energy in the form of infra-red radiation as it absorbed from the sun.  This seems plausible to them because they believe that a body will emit infra-red radiation at the bottom of the atmosphere and with water all over the surface just as the body would if it were isolated in space.  This is not the case.  Infra-red radiation is emitted from oscillating dipoles and they cannot emit all of their energy in the form of radiation when those same oscillating dipoles are dumping energy into the evaporation of water and losing energy via collisions with air molecules.

But having started off by neglecting the conservation of energy, the IPCC has to balance out the flow of energies, so they posit a huge back-radiation flow of energy from the so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Let us take note of what the 324 W/m2 of back-radiation implies.  A black body radiator emitting this power would be at a temperature T, such that

P = 324 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4,

implying that T = 274.95K.  This is the temperature of the air in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of just barely more than 2000 meters.  The altitude would be higher in the tropics.  A back-radiation of this magnitude implies a long mean free path at the bottom of the atmosphere where there is usually much water vapor.

However, we can also examine the implied mean free path of the infra-red radiation emitted from the surface and absorbed by the atmosphere.  The power difference between the surface emission and the atmospheric absorption (390 - 350) W/m2 = 40 W/m2 has the property that 

P = 40 W/m2 = σ [ (288K)4 -  T4 ] = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) [ (288K)4 - T],

where T is the effective temperature of the atmosphere where the surface radiation emission is absorbed by the atmosphere.  This temperature is 280.3K, which is not equal to the 274.95K temperature of the atmosphere that radiates back to the surface as back-radiation according to the UN IPCC report physics.  The implied effective altitude of the surface radiation absorption in the atmosphere is much shorter in this case than that for the 2000 meters altitude from which the atmosphere radiates the surface in the UN IPCC energy budget.  The energy spectrum from the higher temperature Earth surface has more higher energy infra-red radiation in it than does that emitted by the cooler atmosphere, so the mean free path of surface radiation should be greater, not less.

This inconsistency in the infra-red absorption lengths implies that the numbers in the UN IPCC Earth energy budget are simply made up to balance the flow of energy in and out of the Earth's surface, without concern even for a consistent physical theory.  This is exactly what would happen if the 390 W/m2 of surface emitted infra-red radiation were too large, as it is due to conservation of energy.

Examining Fig.1., one sees that 40 W/m2 of radiation from the surface is emitted through the atmospheric window directly into space without absorption in the atmosphere.  Thus, of the total of about 235 W/m2 of infra-red radiation that the Earth emits into space, about 195 W/m2 is emitted from the atmosphere.  This is also the sum of the emission from the clouds and the atmosphere in the diagram.  We can calculate the effective temperature of this emission and from that find the effective altitude from which the emission from the atmosphere into space occurs.  We have


P = 195 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) (T)4

and we find that T = 242K.  In the U.S. Standard Atmosphere Tables of 1976, this temperature is at an altitude just above 7000 meters.  It is a higher altitude in the tropics.

Now if the mean free path for water emitted and absorbed radiation where water is very prevalent in the bottom 2000 meters of the atmosphere is as great as is implied by Fig. 1, then one should expect that the emission of atmospheric radiation into space would occur from about the same altitude that water freezes into ice. There is much less water vapor above that altitude than below it.  Everyone agrees that the vast majority of infra-red radiation into space is from water vapor.  In the U.S. Standard atmosphere tables, the altitude at which water freezes is a bit below 3000 meters, which is much lower than 7000 meters.  There is a contradiction here in this IPCC theory of how the so-called greenhouse gases work.

The very large back-radiation does not happen for several reasons.

1)  It violates electric field theory by claiming that photons flow from a weaker field region up the electric field strength gradient.

2)  The infra-red active molecules are not black-body radiators or absorbers.  They are only able to absorb and emit radiation at wavelengths representing only a minority portion of the wavelength range of a black-body radiator.

3)  It fails because the mean free paths of the infra-red radiation that can be absorbed or emitted by water vapor and carbon dioxide are very short.  That means that these molecules absorb the infra-red energy they can absorb and emit over a very short distance.  While the mean free path length for wavelengths that water can absorb depends upon the humidity, this length is commonly less than 200 meters.  For carbon dioxide in a water vapor-free atmosphere at present concentrations, this distance in the lower atmosphere is only a few times greater than that for water vapor.  When water vapor is present, because most of the wavelengths at which carbon dioxide is active are also absorbed by water vapor, the effective mean free path length for carbon dioxide emitted infra-red radiation is much shorter than that due to only having the same concentration of carbon dioxide in a water vapor free atmosphere. In the lower half of the troposphere, the likelihood that the absorbed radiation in a greenhouse gas molecule will be re-emitted before it is transferred to non-radiating molecules in the infra-red range is very small.  There is just too high a collision rate between molecules, so that radiation energy absorbed in a so-called greenhouse gas is almost immediately changed into molecular kinetic energy in non-radiating molecules.  That energy is then very predominantly transported by the relatively slow mechanism of convection.

Thus, there is no way that the atmosphere as a whole can radiate a large quantity of infra-red radiation back to the Earth's surface in accordance with the IPCC viewpoint.  The supposed back-radiation in the energy budget above is 1.93 times the solar radiation energy absorbed by the surface! This back-radiation under the equilibrium conditions with a linearly decreasing temperature gradient with altitude cannot occur.  There are conditions when the atmosphere is warmer than the surface and then there is some radiation from the atmosphere to the surface, but the amount of such radiation is still severely restricted by the short mean free path of radiation from the main so-called greenhouse gas, water vapor and that of the very secondary carbon dioxide.

In reality, the Earth's surface is a very dense array of oscillating electric dipoles which create a comparatively strong electric field.  Upon entering the atmosphere, only a small fraction of the molecules are sufficiently strong oscillating electric dipoles to absorb or emit infra-red radiation. These are water vapor and carbon dioxide for the most part.  Consequently, the electric field in the lowest atmosphere virtually in contact with the surface has a rapidly decreasing strength and it then further slowly decreases as the density of water vapor and carbon dioxide decreases with altitude in the lower troposphere.  The strength of the electric field then decreases more rapidly as water vapor freezes at altitudes above its freezing temperature.   Above that altitude it continues to decrease at a slower rate as carbon dioxide continues to become less dense along with the main atmospheric gases of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.  The actual emission of infra-red radiation follows the electric field from its stronger regions to its weaker regions, which means that infra-red photon emission is strongly biased in the upward direction.

The basic problem that greenhouse gas theory is trying to address is the fact that the surface temperature of the Earth is about 288K, while the effective radiative temperature with respect to space of the entire Earth including both surface and atmosphere is about 255K.  Much of the radiation of infra-red into space is from altitudes in the atmosphere which are considerably cooler than the surface temperature, though some of the radiation is from the surface through the atmospheric window.  Note that the temperature difference between 255K and 288K is 33K, which is attributed by the greenhouse gas hypothesis to warming of the Earth by greenhouse gases.  The viewpoint is one which is entirely dominated by a belief that by far the only significant transport of energy in the entire atmosphere is by means of radiation.


In fact, the transport of energy away from the surface of the Earth is dominated by the sum of the energy transport by water evaporation and condensation at altitude and by convection currents. As noted above, the transport by radiation in the lower troposphere is small, except for that transmitted through the atmospheric window and not absorbed by the atmosphere.  Transport by radiation that can be absorbed by infra-red active gases is so small due to the short mean free path for the absorption of radiation from water vapor molecules predominantly and very secondarily from carbon dioxide combined with the very high collision rate of air molecules. Infra-red active molecules radiate energy which is very quickly converted into kinetic energy in non-radiating nitrogen and oxygen molecules, and in argon atoms. Most of the air molecules can only transport heat energy by convection.

According to Fig. 1. above, the sun provides the Earth's surface with 168 W/m2 of absorbed energy power. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation for the relationship between the power density of the emitting surface and the temperature of the surface, one can calculate the highest temperature the Earth's surface can attain from such solar radiative warming, when ignoring non-radiative cooling mechanisms:

P = 168 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4, 

solving which we find that T = 233.3 K, which is nearly 55K cooler than our actual 288K surface temperature.  

The fact that this maximum solar radiative surface heating temperature is so low informs us that the surface temperature is not entirely due to the absorbed radiation from the sun.  168 W/m2 cannot produce a surface with a temperature of 288K. There has to be another major contributor to that high temperature. Of course, the greenhouse gas hypothesis advocates say this is due to a large back radiation of energy from the atmosphere, which is not so because photons do not flow up the electric field gradient and because their mean free path lengths are too short.

Now if we had no infra-red active gases in our atmosphere, we would have no water vapor and hence no clouds.  So 77 W/m2 would not be reflected from the clouds back into space, as seen in Fig.1.  In addition, most of the 67 W/m2 of incident solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere would not be absorbed if there were no water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so being conservative, let us estimate that about 35 W/m2 additional solar radiation would be absorbed by the Earth's surface due to having a much less absorbing atmosphere.  The total solar power absorbed by the Earth's surface is then about 280 W/m2 .   In this case, the maximum surface temperature can be calculated from: 

P = 280 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) (T)4

and T = 265.1K, which is a 31.8K higher temperature than the maximum temperature of 233.3K with infra-red active gases absent another warming mechanism than the present solar insolation at the surface.  Thus, one concludes that the presence of the so-called greenhouse gases in our atmosphere causes the Earth's surface temperature to be almost 32K cooler than it otherwise would be.  Using such a radiation dominant model used, the Earth's surface temperature without greenhouse gases is only about 23K cooler than the Earth's radiative temperature as seen from space. Instead of searching for a means to warm the surface by 33K as in the quest of the IPCC, one only needs another warming mechanism to raise the surface temperature by 23K.  Removing the greenhouse gases has proved a 10K warming effect from this viewpoint.

This proposed greenhouse gas-free atmosphere and the above calculation ignore the air convection that results from non-infra-red active molecules striking the surface, but because radiated surface energy is not absorbed by the atmosphere in the infra-red active gas free hypothetical atmosphere, surface radiation is not quickly transformed into more convection transport of energy.  Also, there is no formation of water vapor, hence no evaporation of water.  Consequently, this calculation is much closer to reality than is the usual UN IPCC radiation-dominated calculation with greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  So, it is by no means clear that there is any kind of greenhouse gas warming of the Earth.  One can make at least as good a case for a cooling effect if one has a radiation dominance mindset.

Interestingly enough, when the problems with the usual greenhouse gas viewpoint of man-made global warming featured in the IPCC reports and vaguely taught in the schools are pointed out, many of the scientists who hold that viewpoint will then begin arguing a second and very different theory of man-made global warming based on the effects of infra-red active gases.  It seems not to register on them that one cannot claim a scientific consensus if there is no general agreement on the actual mechanism upon which an infra-red active molecule can catastrophically warm the Earth.  They have turned to a second and incompatible mechanism, yet they do not stop making the claim that they have a scientific consensus.  Some of those who argue from the start for this second greenhouse gas theory are lukewarmers, who maintain that the warming effect is less than would be catastrophic, but still significant.

Let us recall that the atmosphere emits infra-red radiation into space at a temperature of about 242K and that this corresponds in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere tables to an altitude of a bit less than 7000 meters.The catastrophic man-made global warmers like to examine the case of a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Imaging such a doubling.  The added carbon dioxide would absorb somewhat more of the radiation now emitted by water vapor into space, though water vapor emission would still be the main source of radiation into space.  Water vapor absorbs and emits infra-red radiation over a greater range of wavelengths and its half-life in the excited state is much less than that for carbon dioxide.  This makes water vapor a more efficient transporter of energy.  Water vapor concentration is actually very low at altitudes of 7000 m and above because the temperature there is way below the freezing point of water at 273.15K or 0C. Despite this, water vapor radiation emission will be greater than that from a doubled carbon dioxide concentration.

The warming argument goes that radiation from lower altitude water vapor will be absorbed by carbon dioxide molecules and emitted by them into space at cooler temperatures since they are at higher altitudes.  The cooler temperature of emission will mean that less energy is radiated into space, which results in warming the entire atmosphere.  This ignores the fact that at these altitudes, some re-emission of absorbed radiation will occur without being distributed to non-radiating molecules since the gas molecule collision rate is now much lower than in the lower troposphere.  More of the absorbing molecules are not in equilibrium with the surrounding air molecules.  The argument makes a much greater mistake, as we will see.

Let us suppose for an estimate of the maximum carbon dioxide effect that all of the emission from altitudes near 7000 m and all of the emission from water vapor molecules is captured by higher altitude carbon dioxide molecules. In fact, it is not and would not be with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but we want to establish an upper limit on the effect claimed.  Let us suppose that instead of an emission temperature of about 242K, the carbon dioxide emission occurs at the lowest emission temperature from the tropopause beginning at about 11000 m in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976 or a higher altitude in the tropics.  The tropopause temperature is about 217K.  The stratosphere is above the tropopause and the temperature increases with altitude in the stratosphere.  Again we are maximizing the size of the supposed effect in favor of the warming claim.  Let us calculate the power of emission possible by twice as many carbon dioxide molecules at the temperature of 217K:


P = 2σ T4 = 2 (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4)(217)4 = 251  W/m2 


It is clear that twice as many emitters at the lowest available temperature of 217K can emit more power than they can absorb despite the lower temperature.  In fact, these cooler carbon dioxide emitters are not going to emit more power than is transmitted to them by the predominantly warmer and lower altitude water vapor molecules, but they are not going to have any problem transmitting the 195 W/m2 into space that is presently transmitted.  Therefore, they will not cause the lower atmosphere to warm up.


One of the keys to understanding the basic physics of the lower atmosphere and its effects on the temperature at the Earth's surface where we live is that surface cooling mechanisms transporting energy in the lower troposphere are very much dominated not by rapid radiation, but by the slow mechanisms of water evaporation and condensation at altitude and by convection.  Any argument that minimizes this fact is in serious error. Another critical understanding is that the temperature gradient in the troposphere is mostly due to gravity, which causes molecules which are at lower altitudes to have a higher kinetic energy and a lower potential energy than do those at higher altitude.  The increased kinetic energy at lower altitude is directly proportional to temperature, with the proportionality constant being the inverse of the heat capacity of the air molecule.  The fact that most of the radiant energy into space is from the upper troposphere means that the surface temperature will of course be much higher due to the action of gravity on air molecules.  Yes, the radiant heating of the Earth's surface also matters, but in fact it raises the surface temperature less than does the effect of gravity acting on air molecules.

Let us make a ballpark estimate of the amount of power that the surface radiates into the atmosphere and which is absorbed by the atmosphere.  I will use values for the solar absorption, thermal or convection cooling, and water evaporation cooling from Fig. 1.  These values may not be highly accurate, but the idea here is get a sense of the scale of the greenhouse gas effect.  Recall from above that the atmosphere, due to water vapor and carbon dioxide mostly, radiates infra-red radiation into space from an altitude of about 7000 meters according to the temperatures provided in the US Standard Atmosphere.  A simple calculation I provided here estimates the temperature gradient in the dry atmosphere based on an approximation of atmospheric molecular mass, general rules for the heat capacity of an ideal gas molecule, the ideal gas law, and the variation of kinetic energy with altitude provided by the gravitational field.  This yields a static atmosphere temperature gradient of 5.93K/1000m.  This is not in perfect agreement with the US Standard Atmosphere temperature gradient of 6.49K/1000m, but I know the details of my calculation and do not know all the details of theirs.  Consequently, I will use my temperature gradient in this ballpark approximation, since I know it to only be based on the temperature gradient due to gravity.  The US Standard Atmosphere of 1976 was also primarily based on the effect of gravity, but may have some other minor adjustments that I do not know about.

Fig. 1. says the solar radiation absorbed by the surface is 168 W/m2 .  The surface loses radiant infra-red energy at the rate of 40 W/m2 through the atmospheric window straight into space.  This energy is at wavelengths not absorbed by the so-called greenhouse gases.  The surface loses energy at the rate of 78 W/m2 due to water evaporation and it loses it at a rate of 24 W/m2 due to thermals or convection. The effective altitude from which infra-red active gases radiate their energy into space is about 7000m in the US Standard Atmosphere, where the temperature is 242.7K in the US Standard Atmosphere.  With a temperature gradient of 5.93K/1000m due to gravity, the surface temperature is then 284.2K,  This is less than 4K less than the 288K surface temperature, greatly reducing the possible warming effect of greenhouse gases by virtue of absorbing radiative emissions from the Earth's surface.

Let us calculate the additional net power from solar heating required to increase the surface temperature from 284.2K to 288K.  This is

P  = σ [(288K)4  - (284.2K)4] = 20 W/m

But P is also equal to

P = [ 168 - 40 -78 - 24 - R] W/m2 =  20 W/m

where R is the infra-red radiation from the surface which is absorbed by the atmosphere and the power fluxes due to absorbed solar insolation, infra-red emitted through the atmospheric window, water evaporation, and rising thermals are taken from Fig. 1.  I am assuming for reasons discussed above that there is no significant back-radiation from the atmosphere. Solving this, we find that

R = 6 W/m2 .

Now this value of the atmospheric absorption of surface emitted infra-red radiation bears a much more reasonable relation to the 40 W/m2 transmitted through the atmosphere than does the 350 W/m2 atmospheric absorption shown in Fig. 1. We know this from many an infra-red sensor application.  Infra-red sensors, such as in military applications, would be much more limited if the atmospheric window were only barely more than 10% of the normal total Earth infra-red emission. Because the W/m2 is based on several powers which are approximate, it is only a ballpark value. Continuing in this spirit, we can calculate an effective altitude for this surface radiation absorption. We will calculate the temperature of the atmospheric layer absorbing the infra-red emission from the surface that can be absorbed by the so-called greenhouse gases, chiefly water vapor:

 = 6 W/m = σ [(288K) - (T)4]  

T = 286.9K, which according to the US Standard Atmosphere temperature gradient is an altitude of about 170 meters, or about 12 times less than the 2000m implied by the IPCC Fig.1! This will be a surprise to those who believe the IPCC story, but in fact we know that the mean free path for the absorption of infra-red by water vapor near the surface is commonly only a few meters.  The absorption of the wavelengths that carbon dioxide can absorb has a longer mean free path, but that is still only a few tens of meters and water vapor absorption dominates near the surface.

This calculation shows that radiation from the surface absorbed by infra-red active gases is actually in total a small effect and that small effect is dominated by water vapor.  The IPCC hypothesis that water vapor and carbon dioxide and a smattering of other greenhouse gases contribute a warming effect causing a surface warming of about 33K is absolutely a huge exaggeration.  Gravity causes the surface to be at about 284K or a bit higher and solar radiation only has to supply another total temperature increase of about 4K.  It is not clear that there is any warming caused by greenhouse gases at all.  At most, it is a small fraction of 4K! Given that most of whatever small fraction that is is caused by water vapor, any effect by carbon dioxide is minuscule.  What is more, the carbon dioxide absorption effects are already largely saturated.  It is clear that there is simply no need for a large back-radiation warming of the surface to explain the 288K surface temperature. Indeed, if there were a large back-radiation of 324 W/m , the surface temperature would be much, much hotter than it is.

It is hardly a wonder that the size of any warming effect by CO2 has not been measured.  In fact, adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, causes a very small increase in the heat capacity of the atmosphere and that causes the temperature gradient due to gravity to decrease very slightly, causing a cooling of the surface.  There is also a very small transport of energy to higher altitudes aided by rapid infra-red transport of energy from one layer of the atmosphere to the next which will increase very slightly.  Carbon dioxide also has a small effect in absorbing solar insolation in the upper atmosphere, thereby cooling the surface as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere.  The net very small effect of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should therefore be an infinitesimal decrease in the surface temperature. What is certain is that carbon dioxide is not threatening a catastrophe and will never likely even have a measurable effect on temperatures.

It is my hope that this relatively short and simple description of aspects of the physics of the atmosphere will give the reader much to think about and open new avenues for the evaluation of the usual arguments made for catastrophic man-made warming.  Few of the scientists who might claim that this science is well-understood and agreed upon by most scientists actually understand the science.  There are many who cannot at all reasonably describe the science of the theory they claim is universally understood and agreed upon.  There are many vague and poorly examined versions of the above hypotheses for the cause of man-made warming.  To my knowledge, there is no theory that stands up to a critical examination of the physics and there is certainly none that is proven by evidence.

It is a terrible thing that many scientists have been so careless or so corrupted by government incentives and intimidation that there is no massive scientific rebellion against the catastrophic man-made global warming alarmism.  Their hypotheses are such flimsy houses of cards that they will fall apart in time. Opposition by many scientists has been growing, though most of that opposition is of the sort that the warming effects are less than catastrophic.  In the meantime, the damage has been horrible to the People in the form of less freedom and a lower standard of living due to an increased cost of energy and a loss of energy reliability.  They will also suffer from the waste of many tens of billions of their taxes on wasteful government spending in support of non-viable renewable energy projects and companies.

Those scientists who are fighting this scientific fraud are serving mankind and science. Those scientists who are perpetrating the fraud should be remembered for their infamy.  The reputation of science will suffer, but ultimately, science will prevail and the fraud will be known as such.  Many so-called scientists will be found to have failed in the practice of rational thinking and the use of the scientific method.  This will be a massive human failure, but not an actual failure of science.  After all, reality is what it is, whether fallible or corruptible humans are willing to acknowledge that reality or not.

Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the presidency, most governorships, and most state legislatures and they are not nearly as convinced about catastrophic man-made global warming as are the Democrats.  This will give the pretense of a scientific consensus about this climate alarmist theory more time to continue its collapse.  However, the Republicans will come under great fire for their reluctance to treat catastrophic man-made global warming as a real threat.  It is important that scientists who have feared to come forward and argue the truth should do so now.  We all know that politicians rarely have strong backbones.  Good scientists need to take some of the pressure off of them by putting forth good science and wrecking any appearance of a scientific consensus in favor of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis.

Updated on 29 November 2016
Updated on 3 December 2016
Updated on 4 December 2016 with a calculations based on the gravity temperature gradient to estimate properties of the surface IR radiation absorption by the atmosphere
Updated on 12 December 2016
Updated on 13 December 2016
Updated on 15 December 2016

26 November 2016

Justin Trudeau, while a controversial figure, loved socialism with all his heart.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, as part of his official statement on the overdue death of Cuban Communist and Military Dictator Fidel Castro, said:
"it is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.”
“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante."
Except of course those Cubans who fled Cuba, died in his prisons or in rebellion, or were afraid to complain about the total lack of freedom and the sad deprivation of all material needs that Castro blessed his beloved people with.

The Canadian people should be terrified that their Prime Minister could affirm the dark and life-threatening actions of the Monster of Cuba.  Under Stephen Harper, Prime Minister from 2006 to 2015, Canada climbed in the freedom rankings of nations.  As too often happens, the emptiness of the promises of the Socialists are soon forgotten and the people yearn for something for nothing once again.  They turned to the socialist Justin Trudeau in Canada as a pleasant mask to hide this dark and evil yearning.  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just flashed a sight of how destructive and corrosive his core belief in socialism is.

24 November 2016

Pipeline and Coal-Fired Power Plant Alarmism

In view of the recent controversy about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Paul Driessen post I just recently put up called Pipeline Anarchy, I want to refer back to a post of mine in November 2011 called Democrat Socialism, Energy, and Pipeline Hysteria.  One of the points I made was that the U.S. was already extensively filled with oil and gas pipelines.  Many of them were old and were not nearly as safe as the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline or as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  It makes little sense to prevent the building of these pipelines on safety or environmental grounds, since they are improvements in the system.  I also pointed out that most any aquifer was already crossed by less superior pipelines.  Now we learn from Driessen's article that the Dakota Pipeline in the only area unconstructed is running parallel to an already existing pipeline.

From my earlier post:

In 2009, there were 148,622 miles of oil and oil product pipelines in the U.S.  There were also 1,539,911 miles of natural gas pipeline in the U.S.  The Keystone XL project wanted to add 1,661 miles of oil pipeline to this massive network of pipelines.  Some of the major pipelines now in existence are shown in the map below.


The green-coded pipelines are major oil pipelines, the red lines are major gas pipelines, and the blue lines are product pipelines. 

Returning to the present:

The pipeline case in which a safer pipeline is denied while less safe ones continue in use has an interesting parallel in the case against coal fired power plants.  The Obama EPA established a regulation that required power plants to release much less mercury than they do into the atmosphere.  The claim was that despite the low concentrations of mercury, a pregnant woman eating a constant diet of fish from nearby rivers might suffer some health problem based on cherry-picked studies of islanders who ate nothing but seafood from the ocean with its 200 ppm of mercury.  There have long been recommendations that pregnant women not eat too much seafood, as an abundance of caution.  But, pregnant women are presumably thought incapable of following a similar recommendation for avoiding too much fish from rivers as an abundance of caution.

See my posts Coal-Fired Power Plants Produce Insignificant Mercury and Evaluating the Mercury Emissions Danger from Coal-Fired Power Plants.  It is clear that many areas of the country should be evacuated due to the overwhelming concentrations of mercury from natural sources of mercury, such as the mineral cinnabar if the mercury from coal-fired power plants is a problem.  If it is safe to live in much of the American Southwest and the southern Great Plains states, then it is generally immaterial whether one lives near a coal-fired power plant as far as mercury exposure is concerned.

It is also of no significance that coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide than do natural gas power plants or than wind generators do for reasons described in Why Greenhouse Gas Theory is Wrong -- An Examination of the Theoretical Basis.

But, we must have many horrors, terrors, and alarms from which ever bigger government can pretend to save us.

26 Nov 2016:  10 other fossil fuel pipelines cross the Missouri River upstream from the Dakota Access Pipeline already.