Apr 10

The April 10, 2012 dead-tree edition of The Oregonian lead with a big dose of global warming realism.

This is what I was greeted with when I trotted out to fetch my dead-tree edition of The Oregonian this morning:  “Global warming without warming” – above the fold!  I’d seen the on-line version of this story last night with its own headline – “Global warming ‘hiatus’ in recent years helps spur skepticism” – but to see it lead the dead-tree edition was even more satisfying.

To his credit, reporter Scott Learn points out some facts that Joe Romm would characterize as “long-debunked denier talking points”.  And yet, The Oregonian is nobody’s idea of a global warming denier :

For people who want more action on global warming, an inconvenient truth has arisen over the last decade: Annual average temperatures stayed relatively flat globally — and dropped in the United States and Oregon — despite mankind’s growing release of greenhouse gases.

The hiatus in temperature increases may be contributing to higher public skepticism about warming, particularly in the United States.

Computer climate models didn’t predict the hiatus, notes Portland meteorologist Chuck Wiese….

Climatologists, and climate models, are overestimating the impact of greenhouse gases on warming relative to natural climate cycles, they say, and aren’t being held accountable when warming projections don’t pan out.

“They just keep moving the goalposts to where you can never get a satisfactory answer,” Wiese says.

Kudos to The Oregonian for having the guts to report the truth, rather than just regurgitating the blathering coming from “the consensus”.

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Mar 03

We’re told that wind is free energy.  130,000 Google search results prove that this is an incontrovertible fact, right?


The newspaper’s web edition of this story didn’t contain the wind farm photo that my dead tree edition did (as pictured above), which juxtaposes so inconveniently the truth about the cost of wind power.

Company officials acknowledged that it’s a terrible time for rate increases, but said the investments were in many cases being driven by state and local mandates for more renewable power and pollution controls.

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Nov 01

Investigation by The Oregonian reveals state officials deliberately low-balled the cost of green subsidies; program ended up costing 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told

By Editor Gov. Kulongoski, green jobs, The Oregonian Comments Off on Investigation by The Oregonian reveals state officials deliberately low-balled the cost of green subsidies; program ended up costing 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told

Harry Esteve of The Oregonian reports:

State officials deliberately underestimated the cost of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s plan to lure green energy companies to Oregon with big taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told, an investigation by The Oregonian shows.

Records also show that the program, a favorite of Kulongoski’s known as the Business Energy Tax Credit, has given millions of dollars to failed companies while voters are being asked to raise income taxes because the state budget doesn’t have enough to pay for schools and other programs.

The incentives are now under intense scrutiny at the Oregon Department of Energy, which is scrambling to curb their skyrocketing costs.

What’s the Business Energy Tax Credit?

A renewable energy company can receive a credit on its Oregon taxes worth half the cost of building a new facility, up to a limit of $10 million, or $20 million for solar manufacturers.

The credits are better than tax deductions — $1 of tax credit means $1 less paid in taxes. If a company has little or no tax liability, the credits can be sold at a discount to another Oregon taxpayer.

Energy officials were worried about the impact on the state budget in 2006, when Kulongoski and his staff proposed a dramatic boost in tax breaks to woo wind and solar companies to Oregon — upping the subsidies from a high of $3.5 million per project to as much as $20 million.

According to documents obtained under Oregon’s public records law, agency officials estimated in a Nov. 16, 2006, spreadsheet that expanding the tax credits would cost taxpayers an additional $13 million in 2007-09. But after a series of scratch-outs and scribbled notes, a new spreadsheet pared the cost to $1.8 million. And when energy officials handed their final estimate to the Legislature in February 2007, they pegged the added cost at just $1.2 million for the first two years and $4.1 million for 2009-11.

The higher estimates were never shown to lawmakers. Current and former energy staffers acknowledged a clear attempt to minimize the cost of the subsidies.

“I remember that discussion. Everyone was saying, yes, this is going to be a huge (budget) hit,” recalled Charles Stephens, a former analyst for the Energy Department who left in 2006. “The governor’s office was saying, ‘No, we need a smaller number.'”

Dave Barker, an analyst who is still with the agency, told The Oregonian that the initial cost estimates started high but got lower after he was told by his superiors to plug in smaller figures.

“What I would hear pretty consistently was, ‘We want to keep it conservative,'” Barker said.

The official estimates turned out to be absurdly low. In 2007-09, the business tax credit cost the state $68 million, of which about $40 million can be attributed to the bigger subsidies. The latest estimate for 2009-11 puts the tab for subsidies at $167 million in lost revenue, which is projected to grow to $243 million for 2011-13 — about what Oregon spends now from its general fund on the entire state police budget.

Is this about a sincere and urgent need to “save the planet”? Or to lower the earth’s temperature a fraction of a degree? Heck no, it’s just part of Gov. Kulongoski’s selfish and opportunistic effort to build his green legacy:

The program has become the centerpiece of Kulongoski’s legacy-making effort to turn Oregon into a center for environmentally friendly industry.

Read it all at The Oregonian.

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Jul 26

This is getting ridiculous.

Lately it’s been called “our deteriorating atmosphere“.  Before that it was the “climate crisis”.  Before that it was called “climate change”.  Before that it had been called “global warming”.  Before that it had been called the weather.  Now, Joy Trueblood, of Sandy, Oregon proposes it be called, “man-made atmosphere change”. No doubt because the earth hasn’t been warming for the past eleven years.

From The Oregonian:

The recent letters in your paper disputing climate change show clearly why we need to relabel the problem as “man-made atmosphere change.”

Man-made atmosphere change is real. It’s happening now. It can’t be disputed. It can be measured. All reputable scientists know it’s happening, and most laymen can understand it.

It can be shown in pictures of smokestacks and tailpipes emitting carbon dioxide along with other pollutants. Pictures make it easier for climate change deniers to understand what is happening.

Climate change is just one consequence of letting polluters mess with our atmosphere. It seems incredibly stupid, as well as morally wrong, to change the atmosphere that produced and sustains our life on Earth, especially if solutions are as simple as more emissions controls on smokestacks and cars, driving less, eating less beef and using birth control.


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May 26

Here’s climatologist Philip Mote’s full quote offer to wager as reported by The Oregonian:

“I’m willing to bet large sums of money that we will have a bottom in this cool period,” he said, “and we’ll see the long-term trend again.”

The quote was contained in a March 20, 2008 article written by Michael Milstein for The Oregonian titled, “You call this global warming ? Uh, yeah”, which The Oregonian published amidst a particularly cold winter of 2007/2008 to reassure the local global warming alarmists that the world was still going to end at the hands of man-made global warming.

An excerpt:

This winter has been the coldest in the northern Oregon Cascades since 1993. Snow is piling up on Mount Hood. The past two winters in the Willamette Valley have been the coolest in more than a decade.

Globally, it was the coldest winter since 2001, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Sea ice even made a bit of a comeback after a dramatic melt-off last summer.

So is global warming a thing of the past?

Maybe for the time being, scientists say, but probably not over the longer term. One or even two years isn’t nearly enough time to indicate a climate trend, researchers say.

In the short window of a few months, routine shifts in weather such as the one the Northwest is experiencing now –driven by a well-known climate cycle known as La Nina –easily overwhelm whatever trends might be gripping the globe over years or decades.

The cool resurgence is fueling arguments by global warming skeptics that natural forces, not human factors such as greenhouse gases, dominate the climate.

But Northwest climate scientists say it’s a matter of short-term versus long-term perspective. The cool winter doesn’t mean there’s no warming trend, they say. Any trend remains subtle and is simply hidden for the time being.

“As you move to smaller and smaller time scales, it gets harder and harder to see the effect of rising temperatures,” said Philip Mote, a climate scientist at the University of Washington who was lead author of a recent international report on global climate change. “If La Nina goes away and the long-term temperatures are still below average, I’ll eat my hat.”

Mote, Washington’s state climatologist, said the past three months do seem unusually cool, within the perspective of the past 10 years.

Mote said that this winter does not change projections by his University of Washington research group that temperatures will inexorably rise, over the long term, by 0.2 to 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade.

“I’m willing to bet large sums of money that we will have a bottom in this cool period,” he said, “and we’ll see the long-term trend again.”

For the record, Mote is now the director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, and become a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University – which is to say that he replaced man-made global warming skeptic George Taylor, who held the equivalent position until he was forced out by the Green Governor Ted Kulongoski.

There’s no evidence that anyone ever took Mote up on his offer to wager, and fourteen months later we still don’t “have a bottom in this cool period”.

GORE LIED note: No link is available to the March 20, 2008 article from The Oregonian, as the entire article has disappeared from the internet, but still exists on The Oregonian’s archives that I have access to via my local library.  However, the first portion of the article was excerpted on this Oregonian blog, with no link to the entire article.

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