Month: May 2018

Amy Myers Jaffe: Anger at Fossil Fuel Dominance (remembering Jeffrey Sachs too)

“I have long been noted for ability to call turning points for industry: this suicide is one. Current industry support of EPA will create massive political backlash such as never seen before in US. ‘My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.’ D. Buckel”

The above tweet by Amy Myers Jaffe (@AmyJaffeenergy) on 8:31 am – April 16th should live in infamy.

First, the author claims superior knowledge and prediction, not exactly a talking point for the Malthusians who have long predicted a (premature) end to the fossil-fuel-driven, growing energy sector. Peak oil demand is her new mantra, replacing her old fears of Peak Oil and “geopolitical peak oil.”

Second, Jaffe wildly predicts that the Trump Administration’s consumer-first, taxpayer-first, entrepreneur-first/crony-last energy policy is setting itself up for a massive reversal. Actually, Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency, Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior, and other federal agencies are creating the legal momentum and market confidence for a more robust fossil-fuel future.

Third, Jaffe exploits a grotesque suicide as a supposed great turning point in public policy. The name does not matter, but his act was to douse himself with gasoline and light himself on fire to demonstrate what he thought the world was doing to itself with fossil fuels. And he sent a letter to the New York Times just to make sure his act would make national news.

Failed Martyrization

Regarding the suicide, Jaffe is already wrong. There was initial reporting, but the world has moved on. Not even the hyperbolic Joe Romm or Paul Krugman tried to glorify the ultimate act of self-immolation.

Second, there is little redeeming about self-immolation where loved ones get to suffer. His real friends were shocked and disappointed. (“Total shock,” said [Erik] Martig, 34. “It just isn’t who he was.”)

Third, if the subject had really wanted to study the issue of fossil fuels and humankind, he could have reached the opposite view: fossil fuels and its byproduct of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are pro-life. He evidently did not want to go there for a few dollars and a several hours of study.

Obviously, the subject was very troubled and at war with himself. In the ultimate act of vainglory, he decided to try to be a martyr. But a loser did not become a winner in this case.

Anger Is Not Scholarship

Emotions are the enemy of dispassionate analysis. Jaffe of the Council on Foreign Relations is hardly a scholar in this regard. I am reminded of what Jeffrey Sachs, head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, wrote in the wake of Hurricane Harvey nine months ago:

Gov. Abbott, we would like to bid you a political adieu. Perhaps you can devote your time to rebuilding Houston and taking night classes in climate science.

And to ExxonMobil, Chevron, Koch Industries, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, and other oil giants doing your business in Texas: You put up the first $25 billion in Houston disaster relief. Call it compensation for your emissions. Tell the truth about growing climate threats. Then, as citizens seeking the common good, we will match your stake.

– Jeffrey Sachs, “Sachs: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott Needs to Resign,” CNN Opinion, August 29, 2017.

Sachs’s fossil-fuel hate speech lives in infamy, just another exaggeration in a Malthusian house of intellectual horrors. Amy Myers Jaffe’s similar outburst of April 16th lives in infamy as well.

It is high time that Jaffe and Sachs engage in real scholarship and self-reflection and front a debate about trending climate science, dense vs. dilute energy, intermittent vs. reliable power, taxpayer welfare, consumer sovereignty, Public Choice, and business/government cronyism.

The post Amy Myers Jaffe: Anger at Fossil Fuel Dominance (remembering Jeffrey Sachs too) appeared first on Master Resource.

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May 1, 2018 at 01:08AM

Remember how climate change was going to wipe out all the mountain Pikas? Never mind.

American pikas tolerate climate change better than expected

The American pika (Ochotona princeps), a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?

Previously, when researchers visited pika habitat sites warmer or drier than usual in the Great Basin, where they had historically lived, they found that many of these sites no longer were occupied. It was thought that pikas had been forced to higher ground to escape the warming temperatures or had died, and it was concluded that pikas were in threat of extinction in the Great Basin due to climate change. However, these studies were focused on historic sites and did not examine the distribution of pikas at other marginal locations or in environments where they would more typically be expected to occur.

A new study, “Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas in the Great Basin, USA”, published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, examined the largest set of records for occupied and extirpated (vacant) pika sites across a four-state region encompassing the entire Great Basin, and documented pikas inhabiting climates and territories never before reported.

The study found that pikas occur in conditions wetter and colder, as well as warmer and drier, than described from the prior limited sites. Pikas were found at elevations spanning 7,800 feet in elevation, from 5,350 feet to above 13,000 feet, and traversing 40 mountain ranges across California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah.

“This evidence provides an important new perspective on the status of pikas in the Great Basin,” said Connie Millar, a senior research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and lead author of the study. “Pikas are persisting broadly across the region, and these findings give us reason to believe that the species is able to tolerate a wider set of habitat and climate conditions than previously understood.”

Millar and her colleagues gathered 2,387 records of occupied pika sites, 89 records of previously occupied sites that were later found vacant, and 774 records of sites that contain older signs of occupancy, but at which extirpation could not be confirmed. No consistent pattern could be detected in the elevations or climates of the confirmed and unconfirmed extirpated sites. Additionally, some areas of population loss were found close to other inhabited areas sharing similar climate.

“Climate conditions do not adequately explain locations of the extirpated and ‘old-sign’ sites,” Millar said, “suggesting that other factors interact with climate and contribute to the loss of pika populations in some environments.” Recognizing that non-climatic factors influence pika declines is important information that enriches our understanding of conditions that allow this species to persist and those that may contribute to local declines.

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Link to journal article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15230430.2018.1436296

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May 1, 2018 at 12:48AM