Hey, Lowell, Check Out This New Global Warming Post!

Source: Dominion Energy 2018 Integrated Resource Plan

One of my goals in life is to drive Lowell Feld insane. From what I call tell, my insidious plan is working.

Lowell, the hyperbolic publisher of the left-wing Blue Virginia blog, deems me a “climate denier” and an all-around right-wing whack job. A few days ago, he included several of my Bacon’s Rebellion posts in his list of “18 of the Craziest Right-Wing Political Posts of 2018.” His main form of argumentation is taking quotes stripped of context and supporting fact, and dialing up the invective. One piece, he described as “completely baseless” and “crap,” another as “conspiracy theory lunacy,” and another as “a litany … of nonsensical right-wing tropes.” You get the idea.

Given his proclivity for substituting insults for facts and reason, Lowell seems to be losing it. I’m hoping that one more push — this post — will reduce him to gibbering madness.

When Lowell calls me a climate denier, it’s not because I deny that human activity influences the level of CO2 in the atmosphere (because I don’t), or that I deny that CO2 contributes to rising temperatures (because I don’t), or that I deny that rising temperatures contribute to sea level rise (because I don’t), or that I deny that harmful economic and ecological consequences can flow from global warming (because I don’t). I can conclude only that he calls me a denier because I don’t buy into the end-of-the-world prophecies of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis that some (but not all) environmentalists embrace.

I could respond by calling Lowell a hysterical warming “alarmist,” but that would lower me to his level. Instead, I will present a series of facts and logical inferences which I welcome readers to support or rebut.

According to numbers readily available on the Internet, the global emissions of carbon dioxide amounted to about 36 billion tons per year in 2015. (The number has been increasing by a couple of percentage points per year since then.) The United States accounts for about 14% of that total, making it the second largest CO2 emitter in the world behind China. And the U.S. electric power industry accounts for roughly 28% of the U.S. total, amounting to about 4% of total CO2 emissions.

Virginia is just one state among 50, of course, so the Old Dominion accounts for a much smaller percentage of global CO2 emissions. The most recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data says that Virginia’s electric power sector emitted CO2 at the annual rate of 31 million tons. Thus, Dominion Energy, Appalachian Power Company, and the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative collectively account for between .08% and .09% of global CO2 emissions. For the mathematically challenged, that’s between 8/100th and 9/100th of one percent.

The current debate in Virginia is how aggressively we should act to drive that number lower. The Northam administration wants Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional carbon cap-and-trade system that has the goal of cutting Virginia’s electric-sector CO2 emissions from a 33 to 34-million-ton baseline to as low as 23.1 million tons a year by 2030.

Dominion Energy’s 2018 Integrated Resource Plan explores several different scenarios. One is the low-cost, do-nothing-extra plan. And one is “Plan D,” in which Virginia joins RGGI and, instead of importing carbon-intensive electricity from outside the state, builds its own low-carbon generating sources. Plan D, the utility projects, would increase electric rates 5.6% higher than the do-nothing-else plan. Dominion’s projections have been subjected to criticism by environmental groups, most significantly on the grounds that the utility over-estimates increasing electricity demand and, thus, the projected need for additional generating capacity. Whomever you choose to believe in that regard, both plans call for a massive expansion of solar power, extending the licenses of CO2-free nuclear power plants, implementation of demand-side management (energy efficiency) reductions equivalent to 800 GWh per year, the potential retirement of 2,785 megawatts of old coal- and gas-fired facilities, and the potential retirement of an 83-megawatt biomass facility.

Thus, even the no-extra-measures plan — which Dominion does not advocate or reject, by the way — would push CO2 emissions lower by 2030 before climbing again later that decade. The delta between the highest-carbon and lowest-carbon scenarios looks to be about 7-8 million tons per year by 2030; the gap would grow slightly in subsequent years. In other words, if Virginia adopted the most stringent scenario instead of the loosy-goosiest scenario, it would cut annual global CO2 emissions by one ton out of 4,500 and reduce global temperatures by about a thousandth of a degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century (depending upon how alarmist your projections are).

Dominion’s do-nothing-extra plan is probably pessimistic in that it doesn’t take into account future technological innovations — more efficient natural gas combustion, higher rates of solar light-to-kilowatts conversion, more economical battery storage, or the application of information technology and devices to the transmission and distribution grid. As those technologies become available in a no-extra-measures world and prove themselves, electric utilities will begin adopting them — if not voluntarily then under the prodding of the State Corporation Commissions. CO2 emissions will decline, and the gap between no-extra-measures and the low-carbon RGGI scenario will diminish.

If other states choose to move aggressively against CO2 emissions, become early adopters of new technologies, work out the kinks, and reduce the risk for us, I’m fine with that. I’m happy for Virginia to follow behind. Given our flyspeck contribution to global warming, it won’t be the end of the world. 

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39 responses to “Hey, Lowell, Check Out This New Global Warming Post!

  1. I love the thought of the New Green Deal left leadership pushing the evil power corporations to 100% renewable energy. When the necessary costs will likely “disproportionately” impact “marginalized” populations. I am also enamored by the thought of that green energy powering all those $1,500 imported nongreen suspect-labor built petroleum plastic iGadgets that go to the landfill when version 2.0 hits the market every 18 months. Sometimes I believe this reality is just one extra long Portlandia sketch. Meanwhile not only is half the world still burning dung, coal, wood, bunker oil, etc… but almost half don’t even have access to a toilet.

  2. You are correct but the question is and has always been – can we do better?

    Should we do better?

    Should there be LESS damage to the environment that does indeed harm everyone and especially those on the margins?

    This country once had MORE than half without access to a toilet. Did we get to where we are now by arguing that others also did not have access to toilets, therefore, we can’t not pollute either?

    Our country, at one point, had open cesspools of raw sewage AND we also had smokestacks belching deadly toxins that killed people. Some folks said we did not have enough resources to fix both so it was portrayed as a binary choice – i.e. a better life with pollution or a worse life if we cleaned it up.

    sorry guy… it’s bad logic but well used…

  3. Virginia’s CO2 (within our boundaries) is very low due to our big nuke plants and importation of much if our power, similar to NJ and many other northeast states.

    A couple implications of this: (1) the carbon footprint of the average Virginian is higher than you quoted if we account for the coal burnt on our behalf in WV and PA. (2) The Virginia environmentalist’s position that fossil fuels must be phased out in Virginia is truly an extreme postion, since we do not make much CO2 here anyways, and unfort Virginia does not have cost-effective renewable wind resources like PA, MD, WV do have (in the Appalacians).

    This where Tom H. always points out Virginia’s CO2 emissions are higher than the other Northeast states – who do near zero power generation within their state boundaries- and is thus unacceptable.

  4. re: ” The Virginia environmentalist’s position that fossil fuels must be phased out in Virginia is truly an extreme postion, since we do not make much CO2 here anyways”

    I only sort of agree as I think their position is that in the bigger scheme of things – we need to cut coal in general where we can.

    Looking at Virginia in isolation as to “our share” is a lot like we originally looked at acid rain as an individual state issue as opposed to a regional one.

    Virginia can afford to shutter it’s coal – and it should – especially if it has access to gas – which is lower priced anyhow. There is no real justification to keeping coal plants open in Virginia. In some states – without access to gas – shuttering the coal plants without real alternatives would be “extreme”.

    People need to keep in mind – that coal and nukes are baseload and you cannot replace them with wind/solar which are not and will never be – baseload.

    So the premise that we close coal plants and replace them with wind/solar is misguided and promoting it as the path forward is a disservice not matter where in the environmental spectrum one puts themselves.

    The only way that wind/solar could conceivably function as baseload would be if there was so much of it – everywhere that it could be dispatched but solar won’t do that at night so the other path is batteries and batteries of that scope and scale are decades away…

    And that’s why Tom advocate demand-side reductions – it’s a principled position that recognizes these realities – and I agree with him – we could likely shutter most every coal plant in the country – if, as a country, we implemented current demand-side technologies universally.

    It’s a choice – and so far – it’s not recognized nor embraced.

    And at the very least, that scenario should be one of the paths shown in Doms IRP. They should have a ” what if we installed demand-side in every home” … analysis…

    If you think about it – one very, very simple one is one in which digital thermostats turn off HVAC when no-one is home… and turn it on when they head towards home. That’s much if not most of Peak hour demand.

    You don’t have to be an “environmentalists” to advocate for less energy use .

    It’s actually a variant of the word “conservative” – when it used to be that not wasting resources was a real conservative ethic.

    • I like the analogy to solving acid rain via in-state boundary regulations and policies: it does not solve anything since we do not create much SOx in-state– the SOx wafts in the air from elsewhere…

    • Well said, LG, and especially, running those demand side scenarios in the IRP is the right next step and the right forum for doing so.

      There is a lot more to demand-side management (DSM) opportunity than merely turning off the HVAC in one’s home. Businesses and industrial customers can make real money, today, by signing up with interruptible load managers who sell their aggregated curtailment rights to PJM. The PJM wholesale energy market encourages DSM aggregators to bid their “negative load” product into the market and receive the same marginal energy market price as those who sell generated energy to meet additional load. The marginal price is highest when load is high and resources are scarcest, so even a limited number of interruptions annually can earn a lot of cash if the timing is right. That takes expertise, and that is what the middle-men provide. PJM also pays for the right to curtail load a limited number of times annually when system conditions require it: this operating flexibility in an emergency can be extremely valuable to the system operator (PJM) and consequently it is valuable to the customer that sells it, usually into the PJM capacity market through an aggregator.

      Residential DSM works best when the customer is largely unaware of it. A good example is paying customers to allow electric hot water heaters to be turned off for an hour or two during the day; most never are aware of it happening, yet the curtailment can be worth a nice discount on the monthly bill.

      And that’s just DSM. In addition there are all the ways we can and should be reducing residential energy demand through better energy-wise building codes and more efficient HVAC equipment. Today there’s no incentive for a landlord or home builder to do right by the future occupant; it takes government and utility building standards and lots of public education to get people to start asking the right questions about future utility bills before they rent or buy.

      And there is on-site residential (“rooftop”) solar generation. For most residential customers this will never exceed their total consumption but it can be a huge offset, reflected in the utility’s retail load profile and planning decisions, including some of those fossil fuel reductions mentioned above.

      Yes, renewable resource generation cannot entirely displace fossil fueled generation on today’s grid, but we are getting better at managing higher percentages of renewables on the grid, and a battery breakthrough would open all sorts of new possibilities. There’s a great need today for fossil fueled generation that can be cycled on-and-off quickly yet runs efficiently when it’s on, and that is what these newer NGCC (natural gas combined-cycle) do. For now, we need more of them on the regional grid (whether Dominion should build more of them in Virginia at ratepayer risk and expense is another discussion.)

      Retiring old, inefficient coal plants is an admirable goal. Just remember, there may be more consequences than simply building or buying more generation elsewhere, such as the need for more transmission to bring in the power to areas previously served by local coal plants (e.g., Yorktown).

      • I suspect there need always be appropriate insurance against unexpected future demand, given long lead times to ramp up to meet unexpected needs. The Cloud being a prime example of such new demand in recent past.

        • Indeed! That insurance is those old plants — even if they are “mothballed” they can be brought back fairly quickly if demand spikes, or if disaster strikes at the operating facilities.

          That’s why this fuss over Dominion’s IRP is significant: for better or worse, this is the time set aside for the SCC to take a hard look at the projected reliability and cost of electric service in Virginia. If the the GA forbids the SCC to investigate or to hear witnesses who ask the hard questions, then we have only Dominion’s projections, Dominion’s rosy assumptions.

          • true – but……… extreme demand requires very quick response and you can’t get that from coal… the only thing coal can be used for is baseload and it must run 24/7 to function.

            what used to happen in the bad old days – was once a coal plant was up and running – it ran flat out 24/7 no matter the demand. They had to have enough of them online to meet peak demand but at other hours of the day – they still ran flat out – but with generators idle. They just continued to burn coal even when electricity was not needed because that’s the way coal electric generation “works”.

            And that’s why keeping coal plants for “insurance” is a bit of an anachronism…

            The reason for keeping coal plants is that if PJM also has demand – it can be sold but even then once that demand subsidies and is no longer needed – Dom, other utilities, have to decide if they want to keep that plant up and running – burning coal and polluting if demand has dropped below capacity.

            The other “insurance” is that if extreme weather is forecast and Dom thinks it may not have enough other capacity – it might bring the coal plant online as “insurance” but again, keep in mind, once that plant is up and running 24/7 – it’s polluting – no matter if any or all of it’s capacity is needed.

            That’s why BOTH coal and nukes are called “baseload”.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_load

            so “baseload” is literally the minimum needed demand in a place like Virginia and so 24/7 generation sources are appropriate – coal and nukes.

            That changed when gas became cheaper than coal and gas could be used for baseload instead and gas has the added advantage that even with combined cycle – it can ramp up and down faster than coal and nukes can.

            FINALLY – that ‘insurance” Dom intends to charge customers for – they want them to pay for the upgrades that are necessary to keep them open…..

            search Google for:

            “Dominion seeks $300M from ratepayers for coal plant upgrades”

            More IRONY – this is the same company that does not want to pay for coal ash cleanup, instead wants taxpayers to.

          • We don’t disagree; but even a coal plant that must run as ‘baseload’ can help in an emergency. In a system capacity emergency, like during a heat wave or one of those extended cold spells, you don’t care about the operating cost, you are throwing everything you’ve got at the problem. So, that coal plant will be brought on line and kept there for a few days; its presence will displace more-efficient cycling units, but the PJM profile these days is several years away from having less 24/7 load than baseload coal and nuke generation even including the old coal units. If needed in the next several days, PJM will call for that coal unit and, once called for, will keep the coal unit on-line even though it has to back down lower-cost gas units, if the load and generation-availability forecasts indicate that the coal unit will be needed again within its shut-down time (several days).

            More baseload capacity than 24/7 base-load is where we are headed someday soon, with more and more solar generation in the daytime and none after dark, but we are a decade or two away from that. By then the old coal units we’re talking about will probably be not just in cold-reserve but dismantled.

  5. Interesting side point about cement manufacture CO2 impacts:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46455844

    I have been criticizing cement manufacture using the Dominion coal pond sludge, but here is another angle. I always knew cement manufacture was energy intensive.

    And guess what goes along with that CO2? Probably particulates and who knows what else.

    • Yes, there’s an amazing amount of energy consumed in China and India just to make cement. The combined pollution impact is horrendous. As your article says, marine based techniques offer promise of an alternative.

    • Coal ash (either right after burning the coal, or dredged from old coal ash ponds and processed) has binding capabilities and can be substituted for up to 10% or so of the cement in making concrete. This not only gets rid of the fly ash but cuts down on the cost and pollution impact of making that much new cement. The big negative, usually exceeding those benefits, is the cost of excavating and transporting the old fly ash to where it can be consumed; but the net cost of disposal of old fly ash in this manner may be less than the alternatives, such as removal and reburial in new lined pits. http://appvoices.org/2017/02/10/could-concrete-help-get-coal-ash-out-of-neighborhoods/

    • For a more technical, less biased discussion of this disposal method: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/recycling/fach03.cfm

      • Acbar- There is no doubt that dry fly ash has benefits to cement manufacture (whether or not it has enviromental downside, I do not know). But I seriously question if mixing recovered coal pond sludge into cement makes eco-sense. But we off topic, so I defer to next time we discuss that.

      • Does “mixing recovered coal pond sludge into cement makes eco-sense”? That is the subject of the federal (FHWA) technical paper cited above, which concludes, “Fly ash is used to lower the cost and to improve the performance of PCC [portland cement concrete]. Typically, 15 percent to 30 percent of the portland cement is replaced with fly ash. . . . Basic guidelines for selecting concrete proportions are contained in the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Manual of Concrete Practice, Section 211.1.” What’s not to like about doing something that lowers the cost and improves the performance of highway concrete and eliminates a toxic waste at the same time?

        • I am saying pond sludge is not suitable as fly ash anymore. Pond sludge is a mixture of fly ash, bottom ash, SOx scrubber sludge mixed up and watered down to make it pumpable to the disposal pond. At that point we have a useless waste.

          • I’m a little leery of it being used for construction .. unless it is sealed but even then consider the remediation we are seeing right now for
            other materials used years ago and now those sites have to be “cleaned up” before redevelopment …

            But in general, agree with the approach which is to do it outside of Dominion… make them pay for the studies but have them done by 3rd party companies that report to a non-Dominion entity,

  6. Isn’t there a cross-over point where bringing a cold home up to a normal living temperature would involve more energy consumption than setting the thermostat only a few degrees colder? Of course, if one were to be away from home for several days, the savings from a more significant temperature reduction might be greater.

    Energy conservation, like any problem solving task, requires analysis.

    • Yes; you are correct about a crossover point; also condensation in the walls can become an issue in a house that gets too cold on a regular cycle. What I’ve seen says keep that vacation home at 50 degrees plus, when you’re not there. Not sure if even this minimum would be high enough for daily cycling of a home.

      Our ancestors had an interesting approach to this: they socialized and ate in front of the fireplace, then went to bed in colder parts of the house, which were never heated as much as the family room.

      • well yes.. there IS a crossover point but “smart” themostats can and do do that analysis to include the humidity/condensation issue.

        But just a regular day where the folks that live there are away at work and even a few degrees down then up will save energy – as will doing something similar with the water heater. LED lights – will more than pay for themselves over their life… several times over. Roof solar could combined with HVAC reductions could save even more.

        The point that TMT makes – ought to be part of an analysis about cost-benefit of these various options by Dominion,

        One of the things that Dom could actually do with their excess profits and tax rebate – besides use it for coal ash – would be to make a fund that provides cheap loans for HVAC and other demand-side conservation equipment upgrades – like on-demand water heaters… that loan would be paid back in the bill as part of the excess profit refund.

        The bigger problem here is that Dominion does not think this way – AND they put out info that convinces folks like TMT that such conservation is problematical and not worth it – when the reality is that Dom owes the money back to start with and using it for true ROI demand-side equipment is a win-win for energy use but not so good if you’re making money selling electricity and selling less of it is not good.

  7. I would not say that you, Jim, are a climate denier … but let me ask a few more questions …
    Do these facts indicate to you that we should all reduce GHG emission levels as fast as we can?
    • Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels.
    • Extreme weather has affected all continents,
    • the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue.
    • Sixteen of the last 17 years have been the warmest years on record for the globe.

    Do you believe, as the charity Christian Aid says … “the costs of inaction continue to mount”? The report, Counting the Cost: A Year of Climate Breakdown highlights … 10 disasters that cost more than $1 Billion in damages.
    • Four of them cost more than $7 billion. They include … Hurricanes Michael and Florence, Camp and Woolsey Fires, Droughts that broke heat records across Europe, Australia, Argentina and South Africa, and floods and typhoons in Japan, China, India and the Philippines.

    OR … The US Climate Report from 13 federal agencies says climate change could slash up to a tenth of gross domestic product by 2100, more than double the losses of the Great Recession a decade ago.
    • extreme weather events have cost the United States $1.1 trillion since 1980

    Do you really believe it is impossible to reach 100% CO2 reduction without major technological inventions/improvements, even though “70% of the world’s energy experts agreed: 100% Renewable Energy is Possible?”
    • In China, an entire province the size of Texas was powered on 100% renewable energy last year.
    • Norway produces 98% of its power needs through renewable energy.
    • Holland’s entire train system now runs on wind power.
    • The Scottish government confirmed the country is on track to get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

    Do you believe that Dominion’s demand numbers are really just statistics, not just numbers inflated to protect their monopoly status?
    • NREL’s GIF study says that rooftop solar can provide 24% of Virginia’s electricity demand, a 25% reduction in centrally generated demand.
    • Community solar will increase that potential.
    • Tom has calculated efficient buildings can supplant VA’s nuclear fleet over 15 years with no replacement generation needed, 22% of demand.
    • Both mean almost 50% reduction in demand with reduced GHG emissions.

    Do you really believe it isn’t necessary for everyone in the global community to do the best they can to reduce GHG emissions?
    • Bet you didn’t tell your kids it was OK to do whatever the other kids were up to.

    • Jane, I can’t possibly answer all your questions. Let me just tackle those in the first paragraph. Yes, global mean temperatures are 1.8F higher than they were back in 1900 or so, so yes, global temperatures have increased. But temperatures have not increased steadily. They peaked in the 1930s, then dipped in the 60s and early 70s enough to prompt an ice age scare. That fear proved groundless, as temperatures began cycling higher again. Yes, this cyclical peak is higher than the cyclical peak of the 1930s (although the degree to which that is true is disputed — there is an arcane battle over the official temperature “adjustments,” every one of which have had the result of flattening the 30s cyclical peak and accentuating the temperature increases since then — very suspicious).

      If the current cyclical peak is somewhat higher than the previous cyclical peak, logically one might expect 16 of the 17 warmest days in recorded history to have occurred during the current peak. (Again, those numbers are disputed. Unadjusted numbers suggest that the 30s peak had several of the warmest days.)

      The big question is if the current temperature cycle can be explained by natural variability. I fully acknowledge that my understanding of statistics is too primitive to draw an informed conclusion. However, I would say that there is a natural-variability hypothesis out there that assigns great value to the cycles in sun spots, which are theorized to exercise an effect on earth’s climate through the interaction of solar radiation and the earth’s magnetosphere. With an extended lull in sun spots, that theory is currently being tested. If it is valid, we should see a significant dip in temperatures within the next few years. The CO2-warming hypothesis anticipates no such dip. A marked temperature decline would falsify the CO2-driven models upon which people base their fear of catastrophic global warming.

      If no such temperature dip occurs, the sun spot hypothesis will be falsified, leaving CO2-driven global warming as the only credible theory standing. We still would debate which of the global warming scenarios is most likely, but the theory as a whole would have more credibility than it does now.

      Personally, I’m willing to wait a few years to see the results of the lull in sun spots before committing the planet to a multi-trillion effort to accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy.

      • I have not seen a discussion about the challenges to the global temperature rise that you bring up. The trajectory that I have seen is unequivocally up. Although of course it varies year by year, the facts of a warming temperature is clearly agreed and all the research i have seen states that the greatest increase has occurred over the last 30 years.

        I would be more concerned with the fictions produced by the American Petroleum Institute and Exxon. and other companies ….
        “Between 1988 and 2005, ExxonMobil invested over $16 million in a network of front groups that spread misleading claims about climate science, leading to strong public condemnation from the British Royal Society. It also exploited its close relationship with the administration of President George W. Bush to pressure the administration to remove top scientists from leadership roles in the IPCC and the US National Climate
        Assessment and to promote federal policies driving further reliance on fossil energy.”

        The charge is not that Exxon’s scientists did not speak up. The charge is that the corporation did not head the warnings of their own scientists and continued “business as usual” as well as spending prodigiously to challenge the climate scientists.

        “… the long history of ExxonMobil’s denial of climate change, namely that the company knew about climate change and its global risks by the late 1970s and maybe even the 1960s.” Their big bucks and political power won them a lot of denial and the records clearly show that the API and the oil companies set out to “create doubt” about climate science.
        Their action were clearly unconscionable.

        • Jane- Where are you getting this information? Sounds awful one-sided.

          • The information has been floating around out there since 2015. Investigations started with a report from The Union of Concerned Scientists’ entitled “The Climate Deception Dossiers,” augmented by subsequent investigative reporting by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times.

            The report set off a whirlwind of activity, … statements by a former tobacco prosecutor noting the parallel between the tobacco companies and fossil fuel industry, and op-eds in various national newspapers decrying this conduct. Even the Dallas Morning News, the hometown paper of Exxon Mobil, has jumped in to the fray with an editorial critical of the company’s behavior.”

            Finally, 3 years after the NY investigation was launched, the NY attorney General filed suit against Exxon in October. Along the way there have been subpoena fights for information from Exxon etc. In 2016, Exxon tried to block the suit in federal court, claiming that the investigation was a “political witch hunt.” That suit was thrown out in March.

            “The civil suit, filed in state (NY) Supreme Court, claims the Texas-based company was “deceiving” investors by essentially using two sets of books to account for the rising costs of environmental regulations around the world.” (NY Post)

            Guess we will see how one-sided it is …

          • Jane Twitmyer

            Update … The MA attorney General’s suit against Exxon’s hiding information about their products and climate change on behalf of both customers and shareholders just cleared the US Supreme Court and will now go forward.

            Here is last year’s background. Exxon’s charge tht the suit was politically motivate was tossed! … “Exxon responded ( by a request for documents) by suing Healey in Massachusetts, claiming she lacked jurisdiction and alleging that her investigation was politically motivated. The suit was dismissed in January 2017 by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger, who ruled that “zealously” pursuing defendants does not make Healey’s actions improper and ordered Exxon to turn over the requested documents.

            Brieger’s decision was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in April 2018 and last October, Exxon asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling.

  8. re: Do you believe?

    That’s a big problem with the skeptics who actually do NOT “believe” science in general and pretty much do believe in worldwide conspiracies of science to include our own NOAA and NASA and Academia.

    When you ask them – they talk about data that contradicts what science says but the problem is that that data is data also collected by science AND used in THEIR analysis… but the non-scientist folks say that science is either doing the analysis wrong or is lying or both.

    So basically none of those studies convince them… it’s all hand-waved away because Science “lies”.

  9. “Worldwide conspiracies of science”

    By labeling skepticism of the CO2 warming theory as a “conspiracy” you are insinuating that the skeptics are tinfoil hat-wearing goobers. But it is entirely possible that the scientific profession is affected by a bias reinforced by politicized research funding directed by non-scientists. Ask yourself a simple question. Given the current political environment, would any proposed research project that is not aligned with the conventional wisdom ever get federal scientific funding?

    • I have to admit, my scientist friends frequently talk about the bias in their “politicized research funding.” That said, there are long term and short term measures. Even if action on global CO2 were plainly warranted I just don’t see much progress in the next decade on that, for better or worse. What’s shameful is that we are doing so little to deal with the obvious consequences of short term sea level rise (not all of it due to warming) in places like Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay. Letting developers build new homes in what will soon be tidal marshland is only multiplying the public cost of clearing that land when it becomes uninhabitable.

      • Yes, Acbar … I do believe that I read that Norfolk has changed their zoning maps to meet the study that has been done regarding sea level rise. Norfolk, pushed by the Navy, has actually been a leader. AND VA should be … “Virginia Flooding Has Increased By 180% Since 2000 and has started examining a future with higher seas … Sea levels are now rising by one inch every five years, on average. Why? Ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland, an expanding ocean, a slowing Gulf Stream and sinking land are to blame.”
        Norfolk has over $1 billion of proposed projects to protect against flooding by 2035. Virginia Beach has allocated $450 million for stormwater projects in the next 5 years. Hampton Roads has allocated $240 million toward projects to protect sewage systems from flooding. Hampton Roads Sewage District in Virginia has initiated a $25 million pilot project to inject water underground to slow land sinkage.

        Other state planning …. Louisiana has allocated $25 billion for risk reduction in their coastal master plan. The Texas Gulf Coast has an $11.6 billion storm surge protection plan. New York City has a $3.7 billion coastal protection plan for the next 10 years.

        The facts are there that require us to do some things NOW

        • Jane- Even if we stop climate change, Norfolk is still sinking slowly into the ocean. So yes some thought to managing that issue would be warranted

          • As I commented … Hampton Roads Sewage District in Virginia has initiated a $25 million pilot project to inject water underground to slow land sinkage … What I didn’t include is the estimate that land sinkage in Hampton Roads represents about 50% of sea level rise there.

            If the project appears to actually work the budget was to be expanded to $1Billion in 2018 (Don’t know where it stands) and the city will inject a million gallons of water a day underground. The goal is to replenish groundwater, reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution and slow down or reverse land sinkage.

            That still leave the other 50% of sea level rise unaddressed..

  10. Seeing government entities address land use and their own buildings, instead of just calling for more regulations yields credibility in my view. Levying an extra tax for mitigation of higher sea levels on landowners in affected zones would add more credibility.

    But we still have Alexandria pontificating on climate change while it continues to dump raw sewerage into the Potomac River, then the Chesapeake Bay and then the Atlantic Ocean. If you cannot stop filing bodies of water with human ****, why would any thinking person give you credibility on climate change?

    I’d also give governments, Crazy California, for example, credibility on climate change if they also followed sound forestry management practices that I learned while working for the Minnesota DNR back in the early 1970s. When you prohibit all fires and harvesting mature timber, you will have disastrous fires. Undergrowth is the perfect tinder for big fires. Blaming fires on global warming while ignoring sound forest management practices is in the league with the City of Alexandria.

    And cycling between rainy years and droughts is long been a part of California climate. Go read General Wm. T. Sherman’s autobiography where he discusses climate during the years before the Civil War while he was stationed in California.

    I’d also give government agencies more credibility if they didn’t doctor numbers. I learned in high school science to record the actual data found even when it’s inconsistent with the theory being studied. I guess that’s optional when taxpayers provide the funding for the research.

  11. TMT … I completely agree with you that Alexandria should have taken care of their ancient sewage system a long time ago. I imagine that separating sewage and runoff would be too difficult in a town as built up as Alexandria but read that they are under the gun to fix the issue by decree from our former Gov.

    I actually looked up the bonding issue and see that Alexandria had some rules in place regarding the total amount of debt. One rule was based on the total income of the population. The town is now comparing its total debt to real estate value instead. Before any sewer borrowing found it’s debt limit at 1.6% while “similar population and demographics as Alexandria showed an average established policy limit of 3.0%.”

    All that says to me is that Alexandria can afford to fix their sewer and if they haven’t done so the liability rests first with the DEQ, which is designated to police the national clean water and air laws, and secondly with the EPA who can step in if the state is not doing their policing job adequately.
    I raise all this to say to all you conservatives … enforcing the laws takes money. Is that the problem with regulations that protect the larger community? Starve all regulations?

    Re the forest management. I understand there was a dispute some years ago
    about what is the best forest management, but I also believe the fire issue in
    CA is more complicated. “Wildfires in the western United States have been increasing in frequency and duration since the mid-1980s. Between 1986 and 2003, wildfires occurred nearly four times as often, burned more than six times the land area, and lasted almost five times as long when compared to the period between 1970 and 1986.”

    Climate science says that “As the climate warms, moisture and precipitation levels are changing, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier.

    AND “Warmer temperatures threaten the water supplies of billions of people who depend on water from the seasonal melting of mountain ice and snow in several ways: by causing glaciers and snowpack to melt, by increasing the amount of precipitation that falls as rain instead of snow, and by altering the timing of snowmelt. Evidently western states ha e experienced a six fold increase in the amount of land burned over the last 30 years. As the snow melt occurs earlier the summers become both longer and drier and fires more prevalent.

    At least CA is moving ahead. One day last May renewable energy served 67% of California’s demand. Crazed huh?

    • If the data show Alexandria can afford to fix its sewers, where are the enviros? They should be pounding on the City. Oh, wait a minute, Alexandria is run by Democrats. They get a pass on environmental issues. Science or politics? Politics.

      I don’t buy the argument that anyone with a degree in forestry and experience would argue that not cutting mature trees or stopping small controllable fires is good forest management. The idiots in control of California and other places either don’t understand or won’t follow sound forest management practices. The result, especially, in a climate that can be dry, is massive fires. Jerry Brown, aka Governor Moonbeam, is simply using climate change to cover up the fact that his (and probably Schwarzenegger’s (Governor Weightlifter)) forestry policies were based on emotion. I guess it’s easier for the enviros to blame CO2 emissions, rather than unscientific forest management policies. And even if a changing climate is involved, why wouldn’t one mitigate the impact by managing forests based on sound principles that includes clear cutting mature forests and allowing small, natural fires to burn themselves out? I suspect there are some enviros so cynical that they prefer massive fires so they can yell “climate change.” A/k/a Barack Obama – Never let a good crisis go to waste.

      If government needs more money, it can change the FIT law so that every nonprofit that spends any money to influence public policy immediately becomes subject to income taxes. That would help clean out the D.C. Swamp and force a lot of people to work for a living, as well as raise money.

      I get the argument that CO2 emissions retain heat in the atmosphere. It makes sense to me. Ergo, we need to work towards non-fossil fuel generated energy. But humanity knows about as much about climate than its knows about the back side of Mars. Any idiot can blame everything on climate change. There are many factors that affect weather and, indeed, climate.

      The lakes in Northern Minnesota were very high in the 1950s. I was there. I saw it as a young kid. In the 1960s, lake levels dropped considerably. I saw it as a teenager. And back in the early to mid 70s, the water levels were high again. I saw it as a young adult. Ten to one, a climate scientist would claim climate change caused everything.

      As far as I know, 1936 remains the most extreme year with an incredibly cold winter and an extremely warm summer. Climate change?

      My problem is that most things in life and, indeed, science are complex. But rather than admit that, we have a government system that rewards people financially that simply claim climate change f/k/a global warming causes everything. From my perspective, the environmental movement is as crooked as Wall Street. That does not mean everything they say is wrong. But they are not above twisting facts, altering data and using scare tactics to make money. Nor is Wall Street.

  12. US Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service own and manage 57% of California’s 33 million acres of forest. Another 40% is owned by private families, Native American tribes and companies. Industrial timber companies own 14%, but wood products sustainability is harder to maintain with high costs and lower income. Sawmill capacity is down 25%.

    State and local agencies own only 3% so to rail against Gov Brown for forest mismanagement is not an accurate charge. UC has a program to help private forest management and regulations do not allow timber companies to leave cuttings that would create fuel for a fire.

    I don’t understand how you can judge climate change in MN from a few views of lake water levels over a few different years. What I read says it is raining more in MN. Rainfall varies across Minnesota, but all of the state now gets an average of at least 20 inches a year, something that wasn’t true in the last century. And the portion of the east that gets more than 30 inches a year is much larger than it was a century ago. And … big-storm analysis says that 37 percent more rain falls as the result of heavy storms than was true 50 years ago. This increase is more pronounced in the Midwest and Northeast than in the rest of the United States.

    Plants that once worked no farther north than Iowa are now successful in southern Minnesota and bird habitat has moved north along with the maple trees and the moose. That by itself says a lot to me.

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