Joe Bastardi is Back!

Hurricane Isabel
Creative Commons License photo credit: John Antoni Griffiths

After an unexpected departure from Accuweather about 3 weeks ago, I’ve been frantically searching for Joe to resurface.  I had just about given up hope when I decided this evening to give another look and I found this–Where Joe Bastardi Landed on Watts Up With That? He is know with a start-up weather consulting firm called WeatherBell.

Here is his first (free) video under his new moniker “The Atmospheric Avenger.” Unfortunately, like at Accuweather, I can’t seem to find a way to embed his videos.  So do click the link and check it out.

If Global Warming was Real . . . Environmentalists Would Save Vermont Yankee

Train to Bath
Creative Commons License photo credit: Newhaircut

According to John McClaughry at Vermont Tiger, Vermont policymakers are bent on closing Vermont’s only nuclear power station (known as Vermont Yankee) that generates 620 Mw of precious base-load power.

Three months from now Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (VY) will be forced to make a fateful decision: whether to give in to the furious anti-nuclear campaign led for years by Vermont’s anti-nuclear new Governor, and abandon a safe, reliable, low-cost, nuclear plant that generates about a third of Vermont’s electrical consumption.

VY’s federal operating license expires in March 2012. In 2006 the company applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a twenty year license extension. Slowed to a crawl by the torrent of regulatory interventions by anti-nuclear groups, the NRC has yet to release its recommendations for extension. But based on its approval of extensions for dozens of similar plants, there is little doubt but what it will give VY a green light.

Anticipating that, the 2006 legislature passed a law unique among the fifty states. It declared that the Public Service Board cannot take any final action to authorize continued operation of nuclear plant without an affirmative vote of both houses of the legislature.

It is now clear that the legislative leadership – Speaker Shap Smith and Senate president pro tem John Campbell – have absolutely no intention of allowing a resolution of approval to come to a vote. That resolution would likely be voted down, but not allowing anyone to vote on it will shield the anti-nuclear legislators from having to answer to their voters for the likely consequences of a shutdown.

Yet, Vermont Yankee produces zero carbon emissions.  In the short-term, the production from Vermont Yankee will have to replaced with natural gas-fueled power plants.  Natural gas, of course, produces carbon emissions.  If environmentalists truly believed in global warming, they would be the first in line to protest the closing of Vermont Yankee.  Yet . . . crickets.  It’s not like we are even talking about new construction (where construction itself creates carbon emission), Vermont Yankee is preexisting so continuing its operation, on the margin, is one of the greenest source of energy available.

On a related note, the folks in New Hampshire are up-in-arms over a proposed transmission line, known as Northern Pass, which would bring low-carbon hydroelectric power from Quebec to the New England grid.  Where are the environmentalists in support of Northern Pass?  Surely a transmission line is worth averting world-ending global warming . . . yes/no?

Natural Gas Powered Cars?

I’ve become a big fan of natural gas, even replacing my old oil burning furnace with a natural gas furnace.  My rationale for doing so was that big, domestic natural gas fields were coming on-line thanks to the new hydraulic fracturing technology.  That would mean: a) domestic energy security and b) lower prices.  The lower prices haven’t quite played out yet, but I blame that on the Fed-induced energy bubble . . . but I digress.

At any rate, it seems that natural gas may also be in the running not just for heating our homes, but also for fueling our cars.  Tom Evslin has a post at Vermont Tiger called Fueling the Future: Oil, Gas or Electricity where he discusses the pros and cons of the major competing fuels.  It’s a very interesting analysis so do read the whole thing, but here is his conclusion:

So do we build the infrastructure for electric cars or CNG [compressed natural gas] cars? Or are we going to continue with gas and diesel? Interestingly, the low price of natural gas favors both electricity and CNG as fuels since the cost of electricity is very dependent on the price of natural gas. It’s not economically crazy to burn natural gas to generate electricity and then use that electricity to power cars, even when transmission losses are taken into effect.

Joe Bastardi’s National Review Interview

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi was recently interviewed by the National Review.  The interview lists six reasons for Bastardi’s global warming skepticism:

  1. Climate scientists are too quick to extrapolate from current trends.
  2. When climate scientists do measure long-term trends, they use unreliable methods.
  3. Modern climate scientists are inordinately fixed on carbon dioxide at the expense of other major factors.
  4. He believes the climate tends toward equilibrium, not disequilibrium.
  5. Today’s weather exhibits no unique patterns that require a unique explanation.
  6. The climate is really, really complex.

Wow, for a second I thought it was a critique of modern economics 🙂  Seriously, academia, be it climate studies or economics, needs a dose of reality.  I particularly like the ending the of the interview . . .

Whereas a significant portion of today’s climate scientists are politically motivated, Bastardi has only one incentive in his job: accuracy. He won’t be denied tenure or publication if he ends up on the wrong side. He gets paid handsomely — he won’t tell me just how much — for long-term weather forecasts by traders who have an interest in commodities whose production is affected by the weather. And he still gets hired, despite his rising to fame and infamy as a global-warming skeptic. His credential, in other words, is that he’s passed the market test: “Because I know the physical drivers of the atmosphere . . . people see me on TV talking about things, but that’s the tip of the iceberg — I get calls from companies when money is on the line. They want the right answer, the best answer, the quickest answer. Do you realize how much money you save if you get the weather right?”

There are economists who, like Bastardi, live on the quality of their forecasts rather than in the sheltered halls of academia–Austrian economist Mark Skousen comes immediately to mind.  We need more economists who pass such a market test.

Bastardi adds to the National Review interview on his free European blog (please forgive the length as I’m reposting the entire blog since there are no publicly available archives on his blog meaning this entry will disappear in the near future).

If I had my druthers, it would be “Bastardi’s Challenge.”

My challenge was never intended to be a monetary “BET” with every single person that decides he will put up money on the matter of the global temperature. If there is a bet, it is on a rather minor item, mainly 35 years of hard work being judged on this forecast. I am willing to accept that, but the challenge here is for the climate scientists to come forth and put out their forecast for global temps, over the next two decades as I have done for the PAST THREE YEARS, since introducing the triple crown of cooling. THIS IS NEITHER A NEW CHALLENGE NOR A NEW FORECAST ON MY PART! IT’S BEEN OUT THERE SINCE 2007… THE TARGET DATE BEING 2030. By the way, that date has been referred to long before me, that people that believe that we are entering a series of solar cycle minima that will send the world’s temps tumbling back to where they were in the early 1800s! At least, I am only to the late 1970s.

So somehow, this is turned into a game where I am being called upon to bet with money I don’t have, yet people seem to think I do (one of a string of utterly nonsensical misconceptions about me… my “wealth” is measured by my closeness to the good lord, and while that falls short, in matters of manna, I am much shorter for those overly concerned about that. Like anyone, I try to support my family with the talent I have been given… there have certainly been more lucrative paths I could have taken over the years, but I thought if you loved the weather, AccuWeather was the place to work.. That is it, in a nutshell) But the upside for me is this: If I am correct and stand my ground in what I believe and perhaps, if this becomes as obvious as I think it will, it will attract people interested in a hard-working meteorologist whose goal is the correct answer, not just a position driven one, to perhaps given me a chance to prove myself to them. The downside.. well with how people drag my name through the mud, distort and twist what I say and seek to destroy my credibility, this will give them the nails to put in my coffin. I realize my detractors believe I am worthless, but I would like to think that the body of my work in a competitive field was worth more than proposed bets.

Keep in mind, these folks, crowing so loud about the global spike in temps in 2010, are now being forced to see what I was saying even before the spike, that temps would return to or below normal in 2011. So now that they are joining the fray, that is fine. No one need bet money… just accept the forecast challenge, make your forecast and see where we are according to objective satellite data in 2020 and 2030. If I am wrong, it will be worth so much more than just $10k… you will have shut me up with facts that I can’t dispute.

Now keep in mind… a standoff gets proponents of AGW nothing! For while it means I don’t win, it means you lose! Why. Though the last decade was warm, there was no significant increase in the past 10 years. It was warm to start, warm to finish, curious given the warm PDO (up until two years ago) warm AMO and the solar cycle that peaked in 2001. Add the CO2 increase of nearly 5% as far as CO2, but just a minute amount compared to the whole atmosphere, which is our point in the first place, and if the PDO changes, the AMO changes, the solar cycles change to favor, as I and many of us believe, cold, then if there is no increase in temps, the emperor (CO2) has no clothes. Thirty years of flatline when you have panicked the globe about imminent tipping points and no return doesn’t hack it and exposes the charade… if it is such. If it rises in the face of what I am saying then you expose me as the charlatan. Somehow, $10k seems trivial to all this, doesn’t it?

But what will you do if it goes down? Will you actually stop your obsession with destroying those that disagree with you and shutting down debate? Can we get your committment to that? If it goes up, I will be forced to become an advocate for your position, which if I am proven wrong, I will. I rather doubt the vast majority of people opposed to me will open their eyes even if we went into a mini ice age, as some have opined. In the end, there is the difference.. I am not guided by blind faith, but faith formed from the foundation of facts on past events. If the facts prove me wrong, then I will be guided by what I know to be is right.

But at the very least, the challenge has been accepted, and you can keep your money. What you need to do is be rich enough in your heart to open your mind to other ideas, and if need be, like me, change if you are proven wrong over the coming years.

Given what I have experienced so far, it’s much easier to believe the globe will cool than people actually admit it is doing so, no matter what.

Thanks for allowing me to clarify this.

Ah, if economists were only so humble . . . especially the Paul Krugmans of the world.

Why the Globe Will (Is) Cool(ing), or Will Appear To

Joe Bastardi explains the cyclical nature of global warming/cooling in this video (link opens video).  What I find fascinating is how global forecasters are splicing data from the pre- and post-satellite era (1979).  Anyone who works with data knows that splicing data created from two different methodologies is a very perilous exercise.  In this case, who with a straight face could believe that comparing pre-1979 land-based observations with post-1979 satellite observations is ever a good idea.  Yet, it apparently goes on all the time with nary a whimper of protest.  Such is the state of “global warming” science.

I think I will continue to worry about the next ice age instead . . . at least we know that has actually happened (several times) in the past.  Heck, where my home now stands was once under a glacial lake only a few thousand years ago.  Maybe a little global warming is not such a bad idea 🙂