You keep using that word … I. Consensus

Apparently, Al Gore, David Suzuki, and many other experts in global warming, have said that there is an international scientific consensus that man is the cause.  Looking out the window, I long for global warming, dreaming of returning to Grand Cayman Island for a month of summer weather.

Oh, and this is just in from Human Events (I don’t know why I get these e-mails everyday, but this one was worth sharing):

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Sarah Palin’s dead lake: her god-like ability to influence things before she was born

N.B.:  I was having this discussion at City of God with Sarah-Palin detractor who has taking aim at Craig Carter, a friend and one of my favorite bloggers. I was doing some research and found this:

Gov. Sarah Palin, former mayor of Wasilla, killed Lake Lucille.  This is according to piece by Salon’s founder David Talbot, covering the 2008 presidential campaign, “Sarah Palin’s dead lake: By promoting runaway development in her hometown, say locals, Palin has “fouled her own nest” — and that goes for the lake where she lives“);  as evidence, he cites a local assembly member:

“Lake Lucille is basically a dead lake — it can’t support a fish population,” said Michelle Church, a Mat-Su Valley borough assembly member and environmentalist. “It’s a runway for floatplanes.”

I grew up in Anchorage.  We passed Lake Lucille hundreds of times on our way to our cabin at Crooked Lake which is only about 30 minutes from Wasilla on South Big Lake Rd.  Assembly woman Michelle Church describes an all-too familiar scenario, a lake with lousy fishing, and suggests that that it is directly caused by float planes.  Our own Crooked Lake 40 years ago was by no means crowded with float planes; but the couple dozen families with cabins there fished it regularly with hardly any success.  Some lakes just don’t have good fishing.  We also used to fish Upper Russian Lake near Cooper Landing.  Now that was heaven for Rainbow Trout fishing.  Upper Russian Lake, situated between mountains is deep, cold and rocky, with little vegetation.  It avoided over-fishing because its access was by float plane or by a 12-mile hike through grizzly country.  Crooked Lake is warm and shallow with a lot of vegetation and sticklebacks, but trout only thrive in cold, highly oxygenated water.  One summer at Ontario’s Lake Opeongo I caught a 2 pound trout from my canoe but only after letting out hundreds of feet of line–I’ve never repeated that again.  Most summer trout fishing south of Alaska requires special rigging which holds the line 90 or so feet below the surface where the water is sufficiently cold.

Did Sarah Palin foul her nest (a distinctly misogynist slight) and make it impossible for fish to live in the lake?  Here is an excerpt from a 2009 article that explores a little bit of the history of the lake (Anchorage Daily News):

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has for several years called Lake Lucille an impaired water body because vegetation chokes the shallow pool and its decomposition robs the lake of oxygen.[snip]

According to an account published as part of a 1993 study by Anchorage engineering firm Hattenburg, Dilley and Linnell, rotenone, a poison, was added to the water in 1955 and 1963 to kill stickleback that had invaded the lake.

The treatments killed an estimated 25 million stickleback, along with 80,000 suckers, 450 rainbow trout and 235 silver salmon. A fish weir was added in the late 1960s to stabilize the lake levels and keep the stickleback population in check.

Measures have been taken to improve the lake’s water quality as well… [snip] But the lake is still choked by vegetation and doesn’t have enough dissolved oxygen.

Sarah Palin was apparently born in 1964, and her family doesn’t seem to have moved to Wasilla until 1972.  So she could be the cause of Lake Lucille’s death only if she has god-like powers to influence:

(1) the structure and nature of Lake Lucille, i.e., shallow with a lot of vegetation;

(2) events that occur before her alleged date of birth.

Perhaps she is an immortal alien from another planet or an überterrestial.  But it seems more likely that Salon founder David Talbot is not a journalist but a propagandist.  It took me less than five minutes of internet research to debunk his tendentious article.

Marcellus disappoints

An important report from Oil Drum, published at the Business Insider, explains that the Marcellus shale play will not break even when natural gas is selling at less than $7/Mcf, as the result of faster than expected decline rates for the wells.  Why then do companies continue to drill?  The report says:

Returning to the broader subject of shale plays in general, why do operators keep drilling while their own over-production has depressed the price of natural gas by half of its value since January 2010? It seems fairly clear at this time that the land is the play, and not the gas. The extremely high prices for land in all of these plays has produced a commodity market more attractive than the natural gas produced.

Foreign companies invest in U.S. shale plays for different reasons but the most often-stated reason is to learn about the technology that they may be able use to their advantage in future shale plays around the world. It is possible that some companies enter into joint ventures with U.S. shale operators for strategic reasons based on fears of future resource scarcity particularly as China expands its efforts to control everything from petroleum and minerals to rare earth metals around the world.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/marcellus-shale-disappointment-2010-10#ixzz144mz6QDy

But with currently reported natural gas futures at $3.84, it does not seem like this play is going to be viable.  Indeed, the report explains that while debt for Marcellus-focused companies has gone up and reserves have increased somewhat, shareholders’ equity has dropped dramatically.   To add insult to injury, the states of Pennsylvania and New York are placing moratoriums on new drilling in the play for fear of the new fracking technology that is used to exploit these wells, and in the case of Pennsylvania, because of a dispute between the republican legislature and the democrat Governor Edward Rendell over the drilling tax; of course, it’s the democrat who is insisting on a higher rate and has thus issued the moratorium.  I wonder if Governor Rendell has read the Oil Drum report showing that the drilling is largely unprofitable in the region.  This is no golden goose.  But I suppose a brass goose can also be strangled by taxes.

As a result of this, I’ve decided to sell 50% 75% 100% (update 11 Nov) of my holdings in Enerplus (ERF.un: TSX; ERF: NY) which has a large Marcellus shale operation.  This follows an excellent run for Enerplus, which still has many other great holdings.  Along with Marcellus, Enerplus recently acquired some lands on the US side of the Bakken.  I am uncomfortable with their large stake in the US with Obama at the helm–he illegally shut down  drilling in the Gulf and he and the other democrats in the US intend to destroy the US-based energy industry, all while subsidizing Brazil and Soros.  I will probably sink the funds that are now freed up into Pengrowth Energy and Penn West Energy, which are both listed as Action-List Buys by TD Newcrest.  These can also be bought on the New York Stock exchange and they can thus add to my US dollar carry trade.

The bad news for Marcellus shale may turn out to be good news for conventional natural gas plays in Canada, and it would come at an excellent moment.  The shale plays in the US have put great pressure on the prices causing a glut of available gas. I am maintaining my shares of Perpetual Energy (PMT:TSX) which dropped about 7% immediately after being trashed on BNN by Eric Nuttall of Sprott Asset Management (hat tip: Devon Shire), who said it is due for a dividend cut if natural gas prices don’t improve soon.  Some think that dividend cut is already factored into the current price. I’m looking to buy in at $3.85-4.00. Nuttall, a cognoscente of the Canadian oil industry, claims that no managed funds own Perpetual, only retail investors because of its high dividend yield.  Ouch!  He excused himself for previously recommending Terra Energy (TT:TSX), a natural gas weighted junior (which I started buying recently).  So Nuttall is not inerrant. 

Do you believe in anthropogenic global warming? Did you fail math?

A response to those who still believe in anthropogenic global warming at City of God.  This post responds to the question of how much man’s contribution is to total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and whether human reductions in greenhouse gas emission would have any effect on the greenhouse effect.

CO2 is not an issue at all because it is not by any means the most important green house gas; H2O is. Water vapor in the atmosphere causes a noticeable difference in green house effect whereas when there is no cloud cover, it’s as if a blanket has been lifted, causing the earth’s heat to radiate into space. Thus, when all there is are other green house gasses and no water vapor there is little noticeable green house effect. Yet to stop the green house effect of water vapor would require the abolition of evaporation. The theory of anthropogenic global warming is straining the gnat, by fretting about CO2, and swallowing the camel, by ignoring H2O.

Dr. Timothy Ball, whose PhD is in the field of climatology and is a professor emeritus in the field, makes this observation:

FC: In layman’s language, can you describe the role played by water vapour in determining atmospheric conditions?

TB: Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. This is part of the difficulty with the public and the media in understanding that 95% of greenhouse gases are water vapour. The public understand it, in that if you get a fall evening or spring evening and the sky is clear the heat will escape and the temperature will drop and you get frost. If there is a cloud cover, the heat is trapped by water vapour as a greenhouse gas and the temperature stays quite warm. If you go to In Salah in southern Algeria, they recorded at one point a daytime or noon high of 52 degrees Celsius – by midnight that night it was -3.6 degree Celsius. That’s a 56-degree drop in temperature in about 12 hours. That was caused because there is no, or very little, water vapour in the atmosphere and it is a demonstration of water vapour as the most important greenhouse gas.

If it is green house gasses that we are worried about then, what is the plan for dealing with water vapor? If we want to “do something” about the Green House Effect, we must abolish evaporation. Since that can’t be done, nothing significant can be done to stop the Green House effect, period.

Now mankind is not the only contributor to CO2 in the atmosphere.  Indeed, Peter Foster in the National Post mentions that humans contribute only about 1/20th of the CO2, and the rest is caused by nature.

Consider this: Let’s say that you, your wife and children are overspending by $100,000 per annum. She (H2O) overspends $95,000; your children (non-man-made emissions) overspend by $4750; you overspend by $250 (man-made emissions). You offer to cut your overspending by 50%– your family now overspends by $99,775. This won’t effect in the slightest your family’s budget woes. It is not a perfect analogy but at least it attempts to deal with the magnitude of the numbers. If man reduced his greenhouse emissions to nothing, the overall green house effect would change by completely insignificant numbers (less than 1/4 of one per cent). The more people that believe this hoax, the more I think we are entering into a kind of anti-intellectual age of anti-reason, a new Dark Ages. At very least, people are just not good at math anymore.

Imagine if a financial planner came to you and said, I have this really risky investment, a gold mine in Timbuktu. If you invest $100,000, you could lose everything. But the rewards are great and, if all goes well, you might just make $125 per annum. You would laugh at him, because you could bank the money at ING and make $1000 per annum with no risk of losing the $100,000.

This is a very simple math problem. Michael Crichton in his novel State of Fear suggests that if the problem were seen in terms of football field, man’s contribution would be one inch of 100 yards. He has developed the math much better than me; man’s contribution to the problem is about 1/3600; i.e., .028% vs. 99.972% caused by nature).

Note:  Foster wrote:  “During his CNN interview, Mr. Gore went through his usual parade of extreme weather factoids, technological wonkery and green stimulus fantasies, while spouting blatant untruths. Asked about the relative contribution of humans to atmospheric CO2 emissions, he claimed that they put up “the majority” (in fact, they are estimated to contribute about one-twentieth).”

The above article is based on comments I made at Craig Carter’s blog.