On CO2 Sources and Isotopes

A recent rigorous analysis was published, creating discussion among those concerned with global warming/climate change science.  The paper is World Atmospheric CO2, Its 14C Specific Activity, Non-fossil Component, Anthropogenic Fossil Component, and Emissions (1750–2018) by Kenneth Skrable, George Chabot, and Clayton French at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The analysis employs ratios of carbon isotopes to calculate the relative proportions of atmospheric CO2 from natural sources and from fossil fuel emissions. The results are welcomed by skeptics and repulsed by warmists. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The specific activity of 14C in the atmosphere gets reduced by a dilution effect when fossil CO2, which is devoid of 14C, enters the atmosphere. We have used the results of this effect to quantify the two components: the anthropogenic fossil component and the non-fossil component.  All results covering the period from 1750 through 2018 are listed in a table and plotted in figures.

These results negate claims that the increase in total atmospheric CO2 concentration C(t) since 1800 has been dominated by the increase of the anthropogenic fossil component. We determined that in 2018, atmospheric anthropogenic fossil CO2 represented 23% of the total emissions since 1750 with the remaining 77% in the exchange reservoirs. Our results show that the percentage of the total CO2 due to the use of fossil fuels from 1750 to 2018 increased from 0% in 1750 to 12% in 2018, much too low to be the cause of global warming.

Synopsis of Analytics

Readers will find in the the linked paper a complete description of the assumptions, definitions, data sources and equations leading to the above findings.  This post attempts to explain the logic of the analysis for a general audience, with excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon having a half-life of 5,730 y. Carbon-14 atoms are produced in the atmosphere by interactions of cosmic rays, and they have reached an essentially constant steady state activity, i.e., disintegration rate, in the total world environment (Eisenbud and Gesell 1997). The age of fossil fuels is much longer than the 5,730 y half-life of the 14C radioactive isotope; consequently, fossil fuels are devoid of the 14C isotope. The units used in this paper are disintegrations per minute per gram of carbon abbreviated as dpm (gC)−1, the common units used in 14C dating.

The global carbon cycle for CO2 is described by the Energy Information Administration (EIA 2020). Natural, two-way exchanges of CO2 occur between the atmosphere and its two exchange reservoirs, the oceans and terrestrial biosphere. Two-way exchanges with the atmosphere also occur from changes in land use. The ocean is the largest reservoir of CO2, and it contains 50 times that for the atmosphere and 19 times that for the terrestrial biosphere (Water Encyclopedia 2005). All of the two way exchanges are considered in this paper to be comprised of both the non-fossil component and the anthropogenic fossil component. Annual changes, DCNF(t) in CNF(t), in the atmosphere relative to the 1750 initial value, C(0), can be positive or negative depending on the net flow of CO2 between the atmosphere and its exchange reservoirs as well as on land use changes.

A one-way pathway of anthropogenic fossil CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion and industrial fuel processes since 1750 is represented by annual emissions,  DE(t), of anthropogenic fossil CO2 to the atmosphere, which have been increasing each year since 1750. These emissions over time t result in increasing annual mean anthropogenic fossil concentrations, CF(t), that result in values of 14C in C(t) that are increasingly lower than the initial value.

During the last long glacial period, the oceans absorbed a large amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. It appears in the figure that Earth is still in the Holocene interglacial period that started 11,500 y ago. Its peak temperature change over the 11,500 years, thus far in 1950, appears to be significantly less than those over the three previous interglacial periods. Its peak CO2 appears less than 300 ppm and less than the peak value in the previous interglacial period. Thus, the increase in CO2 that Earth has been experiencing since 1800 appears to have started more than 5,000 years ago.

A Wikipedia link for14C describes the increase in the concentration of 14CO2 in the atmosphere that resulted from high altitude nuclear bomb tests, circa 1955–1963. Based on the figure in the Wikipedia link, 14CO2 from the atmospheric bomb tests during this period would be significant in 1955 to about 2005. For the purpose of estimating the anthropogenic fossil and non-fossil components of CO2, measurements of 14C specific activities of atmospheric CO2 during this period should be corrected for the contribution from bomb tests. Outside of this period, no correction would be required.

The methodology used to calculate fossil concentrations CF(t) and non-fossil CNF(t) relies on two accepted facts:

(1) the initial total mole fraction C(0) of (280 ± 10) ppm before 1750 has been essentially constant for several thousand years (Prentice et al. 2018) and

(2) the production rate of 14C atoms in the atmosphere has been essentially constant for at least 15,000 years (Eisenbud 1997).

Therefore, the steady-state activity of 14C per unit volume of the atmosphere also would have been constant except for the redistribution of CO2 in the atmosphere in each year with its exchange reservoirs. The product is proportional to the activity per unit volume of the atmosphere, which varies each year depending on whether there is a net input or output, DCNF(t), of non-anthropogenic fossil CO2 in the atmosphere. The change in the product each year is independent of the value of CF(t) in the atmosphere because it contains no activity of 14C . Also, except for the dilution of S(0) by the anthropogenic fossil component, C(t), present in the atmosphere each year, the 14C would have remained constant at our chosen initial value, S(0), of 16.33 dpm (gC)−1 in 1750.

Based on a molecular weight of 44.01 g mole−1 for CO, the total mass of anthropogenic fossil CO2 present in the atmosphere in 2018 is calculated as 3.664 × 1017 g. The Table 2 value of 1,589.86 billion metric tons of anthropogenic fossil-derived CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in 1751 through 2018 (EIA 2020a and 2020b) represents 1.590 × 1018 g. The inference is that the quantity of anthropogenic fossil CO2 in the atmosphere in 2018 represents about 23% of the total amount of anthropogenic fossil-derived CO2 that had been released to the atmosphere since 1750.

Therefore, 77% of the total anthropogenic fossil emissions of CO2 then would be present in the atmosphere’s exchange reservoirs in 2018. These results differ significantly from those reported by others:

The assumption that the increase in CO2 since 1800 is dominated by or equal to the increase in the anthropogenic component is not settled science. Unsupported conclusions of the dominance of the anthropogenic fossil component of CO2 and concerns of its effect on climate change and global warming have severe potential societal implications that press the need for very costly remedial actions that may be misdirected, presently unnecessary, and ineffective in curbing global warming.

Footnote On Elements and Isodopes

The study above, along with the foibles of the current US administration, reminds me of this announcement of a newly discovered element.

The new element is Governmentium (Gv). It has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312, the heaviest of all.  These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lefton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction normally taking less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3-6 years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.  In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. All of the money is consumed in the exchange, and no other byproducts are produced. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. Usually it can be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

Credit: William DeBuvitz, Heaviest Element Discovered

Leftist Energy Ignorance Abounds

Leftists are recognized by having three personality traits:  Know-it-alls, Drama Queens and Control Freaks.  The latest example is Liz Warren blaming rising fuel prices on energy producers rather than on her favored restrictive energy policies.  An article schooling the senator and her constituents is published at the Delaware Valley Journal PA Energy Pros Dismiss Liz Warren’s Complaints: ‘It’s Econ 101, Not Rocket Science’.  H/T Tyler Durden Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s latest attempt to “turn up the heat” on the energy sector sparked a backlash from industry leaders who say the real problem comes from policies the Massachusetts’ Democrat has endorsed.

In recent letters to natural gas producers, Warren blasted what she called their “corporate greed” and demanded an explanation for the record exports of natural gas at the same time prices are rising in the U.S.

Warren wants the industry to respond to questions about “the extent to which these price increases are being driven by energy companies’ corporate greed and profiteering as they moved record amounts of U.S. gas out of the country,” she wrote.

She got a response, but not the one she demanded.

Leaders in the natural gas sector responded with a letter of their own, dismissing Warren’s comments as a diversion, one intended to distract consumers from the impact of the energy policies she’s championed.

“This a misguided and headline-grabbing ploy,” says David E. Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC).

“If she knows anything about these highly complex energy markets, she must know what’s really going on here,” added Callahan, who co-authored a response letter alongside the leaders of the Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia (GO-WV), and Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA). “It’s a commodity market, prices ebb and flow, and the market is responding to those signals.

Warren is an aggressive supporter of the Green New Deal, which would drastically restrict the production of oil and natural gas. In her state of Massachusetts, policies blocking the expansion of natural gas pipelines have resulted in Russian LNG tankers in Boston Harbor bringing fuel to the Bay State.

“She has her constituents to represent and her political affiliation to support,” said Charlie Burd, executive director of GO-WV. “But to be perfectly honest, I just think those comments almost show a complete lack of understanding on how energy is explored for, produced, and transported in this country.”

And those constituents are paying the price, according to Callahan.

“Number one, her region has very high energy costs, and her region is severely capacity-constrained when it comes to pipeline infrastructure,” Callahan said. “A Carnegie Mellon study from within the year pointed out that due to those pipeline constraints, customers in the New England region paid upwards of $1.8 billion in excess energy costs during just one month in 2014.”

“It’s really supply and demand 101,” added Burd. “It’s not rocket science.”

Republican National Committee spokesperson Allie Carroll said Warren’s latest attempt to blame energy companies for the results of Biden and Democrats’ war on energy is an insult to hardworking Pennsylvanians.

“From canceling the Keystone XL pipeline to stripping away our energy independence, Democrats’ reckless anti-energy policies are crippling our country, and turn after turn, Pennsylvania families are paying the price.”

Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas, and attacks on the industry have an impact on the state’s economy.

“Hostility toward the fossil fuel industry ill-serves the American people, including Pennsylvanians who sit atop huge natural gas and coal deposits that provide plentiful and affordable energy to millions of people,” said Gordon Tomb, a senior fellow at Commonwealth Foundation. “The benefits of these resources can hardly be overstated: well-paying jobs and prosperity as well as a foundation for all kinds of business activity and energy security.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz also pushed back on Warren’s approach.

“The ground under Pennsylvania and surrounding states has almost as much natural gas as Saudi Arabia that is readily accessible through fracking,” Oz said. “We should be using this to make our nation safer, create jobs, and less dependent on China. As the Senator for Pennsylvania, I will fight against any effort to destroy Pennsylvania’s energy leadership and the jobs it supports.”

Meanwhile, Europe is facing fuel scarcity as winter approaches and some of the nations are turning back to coal to meet immediate demands. American exports are vital, experts say.

“Our friends and allies in Europe and Asia, they need natural gas and for a whole host of reasons including over-reliant policies on intermittent renewables,” says Callahan. “The wind is not blowing as hard as they expected it to this year, they find themselves in need of natural gas, and so we’ve been shipping some gas overseas to supply those markets and help our friends.”

Frank Macchiarola, American Petroleum Institute (API) Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, also has a message for U.S. policymakers.

“They play a critical role in spurring long-term investment in U.S. natural gas supplies as well as expanded pipeline capacity to deliver the energy America and the world needs while driving down emissions,” says Macchiarola. “Rising natural gas costs reflect an imbalance between supply and demand that is exacerbated in regions like the northeast due to added state-level policy restrictions on building much-needed gas infrastructure that has made the region more reliant on foreign imports.”

Callahan believes Warren should “support infrastructure expansion” to get product where it is needed, domestically and globally.

“We felt the need to set the record straight, that the rhetoric is dangerous,” said Callahan.

 

Don’t Forget Biden’s War on Energy Producers

Hugo Gurdon writes at Washington Examiner that  Biden Hopes You Forget His War on US Energy Producers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Joe Biden’s decision to order the Federal Trade Commission to investigate high gasoline prices and see if Big Oil is manipulating them prompts an ironic chuckle, for it is perfectly emblematic of this presidency. It is calculated to suggest concern about a widely felt problem without actually giving two hoots about it except insofar as it might do serious electoral damage to the party of the Left.

Since their drubbing in the Virginia governor’s race and elsewhere on Nov. 2, panicky Democrats have scrambled to create the illusion that they’re still in touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Biden touts his Build Back Better — or is it Bankrupt? — welfare plan as a “blue-collar blueprint” for prosperity. Translation: Hey, little people, I’ve got your back. The hapless veep nods toward government’s need to hear everyone’s voice. Translation: We don’t think you’re deplorables.

Uh-huh.

And now, because everyone notices and dislikes rising pump prices, Biden wants to persuade us saps to disregard Occam’s razor and believe corporate baddies are to blame, not his mismanagement and cheek-by-jowl adherence to the Left’s anti-energy agenda.

The reality is that Biden and his minions have waged war on domestic energy producers since his first day as president. Even now, he is doing his best to foist a comptroller of the currency onto the nation who explicitly calls for the ruin of oil companies, saying she wants them to “go bankrupt.”

Prices are soaring because demand outstrips supply, and several of the reasons can be laid at Biden’s door.

He’s weakened the supply chain, discouraged domestic production in part by raising costs, and failed to persuade Russia, the Saudis, and others to bail him out with more output. (He begged them to increase production — another national embarrassment — which would substitute dirty overseas output for the world’s most regulated and cleanest production here at home. So much for concern about greenhouse gas emissions).

The problem for Biden is that sleight of hand, extra PR, and frantic communication efforts don’t fix underlying problems, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York recently noted . The administration can spin like a dreidel — goodness knows, it’s trying — but spin doesn’t change the facts.

Obscuring the real causes of rising prices won’t make prices come down or people feel them less. Saying inflation is a luxury concern and anyway is only temporary won’t make it so. Saying another $4 trillion of spending, much of it with borrowed money, will reduce price acceleration won’t achieve that end.

So, as you drive to join family members to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, you’ll know who to thank for the extra $20 you must pay to fill your gas tank each time. When you sit down to dinner, you’ll know who to thank for the fact that your favorite foodstuffs were out of stock.

Yet, for all that, there are real reasons, even in today’s politics, to be thankful. One is that voters have already seen through the Democrats’ spin and are signaling that change is a-coming. Another is that presidential terms don’t last longer than four years.

War on Energy Case Study:  Trainer Refinery south of Philadelphia

Gordon Tomb writes at Real Clear Energy East Coast’s Remaining Refineries’ Daunting Domestic Threat.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The modernization of the Trainer Refinery south of Philadelphia is initially obscured by aged brick buildings and hulking equipment. With closer examination, however, emerge brightly painted pipes, scores of gleaming white tanks and towering construction cranes that hint of ongoing upgrades.

With a growing post-pandemic economy and strong energy prices, prospects are bright save for threats of a controversial carbon tax scheme by the governor and federal regulations. Federal rules have contributed to the closure of seven independent refineries on the East Coast since 2009, leaving only Trainer and three others remaining. And one of those — owned by PBF Energy in New Jersey — closed half its refining units and laid off 250 employees last summer.

Monroe Energy, which owns the Trainer Refinery, annually spends tens of millions of dollars on improvements to keep abreast of government regulations and customer needs. A few years ago, it invested nearly $200 million on installing equipment to make low-sulfur gasoline. Currently, the company is building high-efficiency electrical substations, as well as water-cooling units that enable millions of gallons of water to be reused, drastically reducing dependence on Delaware River water.

It employs approximately 500 people and hires at any one time up to 1,400 members of the Philadelphia Building Trades for maintenance projects that can last for months. Because of their work, Trainer produces daily more than 8 million gallons of fuel, mainly for transportation and heating.

Among the worries is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to institute a tax on electricity generators that use fossil fuels through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This taxation scheme is intended to replace fuels like coal and natural gas with more expensive wind and solar energy.

In comments to regulators, Monroe Energy noted its extensive use of electricity and cited data showing that the cost of power was 38 percent less outside existing RGGI states. The company has spent hundreds of millions on environmentally beneficial investments with plans for more. “However, Monroe added, “we fear that enacting a program like RGGI will increase costs to such an extent that we may be unable to move forward with some of these projects.”

RGGI also would put at risk tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania’s electric-power and manufacturing industries by inducing operations to move away.

An even more immediate issue for Monroe is the federal government’s 16-year-old Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to add ethanol to transportation fuels or buy credits. The RFS has expanded since its inception creating a burden that threatens to put Monroe out of business if not addressed.

Ethanol is added to fuel as it is distributed to end users — or shortly before — to protect the equipment of refiners and transporters from the additive’s corrosive effect. Because Monroe does not sell to end users, it has virtually no ability to add ethanol and has to buy credits, whose price has risen from a few cents to nearly two dollars.

“The difference between credit prices of 2 cents and 2 dollars for us is hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance-obligation costs,” says Mr. McGlaughlin. Since buying Trainer in 2012, Monroe has spent more than $800 million on RFS compliance — multiples more than the refinery’s purchase price.

The negative consequences of both RFS and RGGI — including job losses and diminished fuel security — seem obvious to nearly everybody. Yet the employees at Trainer are still waiting for relief from Washington while also hoping to avoid the economic wreckage proposed by the governor and the absurdity of bureaucrats trying to improve the climate.

“We hope people will side with us and allow us to keep doing our jobs,” says Ron Pierce.

See also Energy Industry Fights Off Biden Hostile Takeover

 

 

 

 

 

King Coal is Dead. Long Live the King!

You’ve heard the pronouncements:  “Coal Is Dead and Oil Is Next.”  “Glasgow is the Death Knell for the Coal Industry” (Boris Johnson).  “Coal is declining sharply, as financiers and insurance companies abandon the industry” (Yale360) “Parties to accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power” (COP26 agreement). The unspoken reality is the opposite:  Demonizing coal has increased coal consumption.  MISH explains in his article The Big Green Push to Get Rid of Coal Had the Opposite Effect.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

An alleged big win to eliminate coal turned into a bust and then some.

Investors Pushing Mining Giants to Quit Coal is Backfiring

Bloomberg has an interesting story on how Environmentalists Pushing Mining Giants to Quit Coal has backfired.

It was supposed to be a big win for climate activists: another of the world’s most powerful mining companies had caved to investor demands that it stop digging up coal.

Instead, Anglo American Plc’s exit from coal has become a case study for unintended consequences, transforming mines that were scheduled for eventual closure into the engine room for a growth-hungry coal business.

And while it’s a particularly stark example, it’s not the only one. When rival BHP Group was struggling to sell an Australian colliery this year, the company surprised investors by applying to extend mining at the site by another two decades — an apparent attempt to sweeten its appeal to potential buyers.

Now, after years of lobbying blue-chip companies to stop mining the most-polluting fuel, there’s a growing unease among climate activists and some investors that the policy many of them championed could lead to more coal being produced for longer.

BHP may end up holding on to the Australian mine it was battling to sell, Bloomberg reported last week. Earlier this year, Glencore Plc sounded out a major climate investor group before announcing it would increase its ownership of a big Colombian coal mine, according to people familiar with the matter.

India now burns more coal than Europe and the U.S combined and miners are betting on rising demand over the next decade from countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia, although pollution concerns and cheaper alternatives threaten to derail those plans.

Tough to Eliminate Coal

The push to abandon coal made selling the mines difficult. So companies chose to extend their life.

Developing countries that invested in coal-powered electrical plants that have many years of useful life want reparations to develop new plants.

New wind and solar plants are cheaper but unreliable. And they are not cheaper than plants already built.

Moreover, wind can die for days and solar has on average 12 hours a day of outages.

This places additional capital investment requirements for countries to build energy storage facilities.

China alone is currently building or planning coal power plants that are the equivalent of six times Germany’s entire coal burning capacity.

It’s tough to get rid of coal when you build more coal plants than you retire.

Beware the Green Bubble Popping

David P. Goldman writes at Asia Times Green bubbles threaten to pop stock markets.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Magical US thinking of a Green agenda financed by endless amounts of printing-press money will only end in tears

Prices for all energy commodities jumped during the past month, some by record margins, as a global energy shortage set off a scramble for gas, coal and oil. Brent crude has doubled in the past year, Newcastle coal has quadrupled, and Netherlands natural has risen seven-fold.  There are many small reasons for the global energy squeeze, and one big one:

Investment in hydrocarbons has collapsed under pressure from the Green agenda adopted by international consensus.

Energy investment in the United States has dwindled as large institutional investors boycott fossil fuel investments. China’s critical electricity shortage is the result of draconian regulation of coal mining, exacerbated by Beijing’s punitive ban on Australian coal imports.

The idea is fanciful that the world can re-direct US$100 trillion in capital investment during the next 30 years to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, as the International Energy Agency has proposed. . . To put in context what this number implies, the entire free cash flow of the world’s private corporations would barely make up a third of the Global Reset investment budget.

The political pressure of the Green agenda has virtually wiped out investment in the US oil and gas industry. Capital expenditures for US exploration and development companies during 2021 (and projected for 2022) are only a fifth of the 2015 peak of $150 billion.

Meanwhile, oil and gas companies are sitting on mountains of cash. The free cash flow of the oil and gas industry will rise to $50 billion next year, the highest on record. In 2015 the oil and gas industry showed negative free cash flow because it borrowed to expand production.

Now oil and gas companies are paying down debt and returning cash to shareholders rather than take hydrocarbons out of the ground.

Virtually the whole of the world’s political elite has signed on to the carbon neutrality agenda, including the government of China, which appears to believe that support for carbon neutrality (which China has pledged by 2060) will mitigate hostility to China in the West.

But the energy market suggests that the hard reality of supply constraints will overwhelm the Green agenda before it gets started.

The cost of shelter, which comprises about two-fifths of the US Consumer Price Index, continues to rise at a record pace in the United States. This hasn’t turned up in the official data, because it takes time for old rental leases to expire and new leases to be written.

But several additional percentage points of inflation are now programmed into US inflation for the next two years.

As the Fed forced down the “real” interest rate, by reducing its overnight rate to zero and by purchasing hundreds of billions of dollars in TIPS, investors were forced into stocks.

At some point, the Fed’s game is going to come to an end. The magical thinking of a green agenda financed by endless amounts of printing-press money will be followed by a nasty hangover. Rates will rise and the asset bubble will pop.

Exactly when that will happen is beyond anyone’s capacity to forecast, but the unpleasant September in US equity markets was a foretaste of what we can expect.

A worker installs polycrystalline silicon solar panels as terrestrial photovoltaic power project starts on November 17, 2015 in Yantai, China. Photo: Getty

Updated Sept. 28 Europe Energy Stress Test Under Way

Update Sept. 28  Additional commentary in Footnote at end

Europeans are going to get a strong dose of energy cuts Greta has long called for since starting her Fridays for the Future.  Shortages of fossil fuels are in the outlook and already reflected in skyrocketing prices. Tyler Durden explains at zerohedge All Hell Is Breaking Loose In Energy Markets.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

By now readers are well aware that Europe is suffering from a historic gas crisis, one which according to Rabobank is now even more extreme than the US oil price shock.

And unfortunately for Europe’s population, with every passing day – and to a lesser extent hedge funds such as Statar Capital which suffered a big loss in the past few days – it’s only getting worse. As Bloomberg’s Javier Blas notes today, both UK NBP and Dutch TTF natural gas benchmarks have closed the day at their highest ever settlement level, up ~11% on the day (to a closing price equal to more than $26 per mBtu).

Natural gas prices in Europe have surged past $25 per million British thermal unit, more than 400% higher than the 2010-2020 average, and significantly higher than in the U.S., where the commodity trades at around $5 per million Btu. In Asia, liquefied natural gas has recently changed hands at around $27 per million Btu, a seasonal record high, as China has also been hit by a widespread energy crisis (see “Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, “Unexpected” Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is “New Normal””). Also, for those who haven’t read it yet, please check out Rabobank’s extensive recap of Europe’s energy crisis which we posted over the weekend.

Europe’s energy crisis is not contained to nat gas, and as we discussed over the weekend in another flashback to the 1970s US, UK gas station pumps are running dry in British cities on Monday with vendors rationing sales as a shortage of truckers strained supply chains to breaking point. Pumps across British cities were either closed or had signs saying fuel was unavailable on Monday, Reuters reporters said, with some limiting the amount of fuel each customer could buy.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent fuel retailers accounting for 65% of all the 8,380 UK forecourts, said members had reported that 50% to 90% of pumps were dry in some areas.

A post-Brexit shortage of truck drivers as the COVID-19 pandemic eases has sown chaos through British supply chains in everything from food to fuel, raising the specter of disruptions and price rises in the run-up to Christmas. Drivers lined up for hours to fill their cars at petrol stations that were still selling fuel, albeit often rationed. There were also calls for National Health Service (NHS) staff and other emergency workers to be given priority.

Hauliers, gas stations and retailers said there were no quick fixes as the shortfall of truck drivers – estimated to be around 100,000 – was so acute, and because transporting fuel demands additional training and licensing. “We need some calm,” Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA, told Reuters. “Please don’t panic buy: if people drain the network then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Shifting from gasoline and nat gas to oil, the near-term outlook is looking even more grim. According to Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodity trading houses, the world faces higher oil and gas prices this winter and beyond as supply struggles to catch up with fast-rising demand.

“We’re going to see higher oil prices,” Ben Luckock, Trafigura’s co-head of oil trading said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Luckock said the market was mispricing forward oil contracts for the next couple of years because traders hadn’t yet woken up to the fact the supply-demand balance will remain tight for some time. Translation: even higher prices are coming with no easing in sight.

“I struggle to see anything but higher prices going forward in the next two years,” he said, one day after Goldman hiked its price target, now predicting that Brent would hit $90 some time in December. On Monday, Brent crude for immediate delivery surged toward $80 a barrel, setting its highest price in nearly three years.

On natural gas, he said prices could shoot up even more this winter if cold weather forces demand higher in Europe and Asia.

The bullish outlook comes as oil demand fast recovers toward its pre-pandemic level, with most traders expecting that consumption will reach the 2019 by early-to-mid 2022. As demand rebounds, supply has struggled to keep up: U.S. shale companies have kept a lid on spending, preferring to pay dividends to shareholders. With U.S. shale reacting slowly to higher prices, the OPEC+ oil cartel has been able to keep control of the market.

The U.S. shale industry is showing very strong discipline. Oil prices are roughly double what they were a year ago and despite that we’re not seeing a huge increase in drilling,” Luckock said.

Luckock said that it was difficult to see lower natural gas prices this winter in Europe, despite the commodity trading at a record high already: “If it’s a cold winter in Europe or Asia, we have a big problem,” he said. “If it’s cold, and on top, it isn’t windy, then we have a much bigger problem. We will face shortages.”

Notably, Luckock said he was skeptical that Russia, the biggest gas supplier to Europe, was intentionally tightening the market for political gain, suggesting that Moscow was already pumping as much gas as it could right now.

“It’s easy to say that’s politically motivated, but I think it’s simpler than that: Russia is facing maintenance in many gas fields, very low domestic inventories, substantially increased flows to Turkey, and Gazprom is struggling to increase production,” he said.

Footnote: Commentary from Bloomberg Green and National Review

Ewa Krukowska at Bloomberg Green Energy Crisis Puts World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plan to Test.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

  • Soaring power and gas prices shoot up EU political agenda
  • Governments across EU fear backlash over costs of green shift

Natural gas and power prices are surging to all-time highs in the 27-nation region, as the bloc’s economies rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. The surge in demand comes amid limited gas imports from Norway and Russia, with some countries accusing Moscow of manipulating supplies. At the same time, the EU strategy to accelerate emissions cuts in every sector from transport to manufacturing and agriculture boosted demand for carbon permits, with prices more than doubling over the past two years to new records.

The green package unveiled in July aims to align the economy with a 2030 stricter binding goal of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels. The laws need to be approved by the European Parliament and member states in the Council of the EU, with each institution entitled to amending the plan, in a process likely to take around two years.

But for Europe’s lower-income countries — as well for the continent’s energy-intensive industries — the pain of any transition will be significant, and the EU will be under pressure to help cushion the blow from the current price jump.

But European governments are limited in what they can do to tackle the power crunch — without making their climate goals even harder to reach.

“It feels unlikely that politicians will reverse track and go back to coal generation or make changes to the approach to carbon,” said John Musk, an analyst at RBC Europe Ltd. “It is hard to see what measures can be adopted to alleviate near term supply-demand constraints on gas and power. There are likely be a couple of difficult years to navigate in terms of consumer prices and there may have to be some measures to help consumers here and there.”

Andres Stuttaford adds an essay at National Review The Gathering Storm (But with Not Enough Wind): Europe’s Energy Mess Gets Worse — a Lesson the U.S. Looks Set to Ignore.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Instead of looking at these alternative approaches, the EU, the U.K., and, soon enough, the U.S., seem set on what is looking more and more like a headlong rush into disaster.

To understand why this might be, it is important to understand that for many climate warriors a “bloody hard” transition is a feature, not a bug.

I wrote about this a week or so back:

Concentrating on resilience and adaptation do not follow the millenarian narrative that is an unmistakable subtext of the message now being sent out by many climate warriors, whether inside government, linked to government, or outside it. Underpinned by the expectation of apocalypse, this narrative, which has repeatedly demonstrated its dangerously persuasive power over the centuries, is based on the thought that a wicked humanity faces punishment and must, with the assistance of a morally superior, enlightened vanguard, be made to change its dreadful (often self-indulgent) behavior. Adaptation and resilience, by contrast, offer the prospect that our species will muddle on through, living pretty much as it has been doing, except even better, and without donning the hairshirt integral to so many climate warriors’ faith. Theirs has the characteristics of a religion, and there is little that is original about it. Pointless asceticism comes with the territory.

Questioning whether those setting the climate agenda are going about things the right way is not a matter of climate “denial,” but simple common sense. It is not, however, a conversation that the climate establishment wants to have. Fundamentalists are like that.

They may not want to have that conversation, but, as winter approaches, the growing crisis in Europe suggests that it is a conversation that may be difficult to avoid.

 

 

 

Europe Energy Stress Test Under Way

Update Sept. 28  Additional commentary in Footnote at end

Europeans are going to get a strong dose of energy cuts Greta has long called for since starting her Fridays for the Future.  Shortages of fossil fuels are in the outlook and already reflected in skyrocketing prices. Tyler Durden explains at zerohedge All Hell Is Breaking Loose In Energy Markets.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

By now readers are well aware that Europe is suffering from a historic gas crisis, one which according to Rabobank is now even more extreme than the US oil price shock.

And unfortunately for Europe’s population, with every passing day – and to a lesser extent hedge funds such as Statar Capital which suffered a big loss in the past few days – it’s only getting worse. As Bloomberg’s Javier Blas notes today, both UK NBP and Dutch TTF natural gas benchmarks have closed the day at their highest ever settlement level, up ~11% on the day (to a closing price equal to more than $26 per mBtu).

Natural gas prices in Europe have surged past $25 per million British thermal unit, more than 400% higher than the 2010-2020 average, and significantly higher than in the U.S., where the commodity trades at around $5 per million Btu. In Asia, liquefied natural gas has recently changed hands at around $27 per million Btu, a seasonal record high, as China has also been hit by a widespread energy crisis (see “Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, “Unexpected” Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is “New Normal””). Also, for those who haven’t read it yet, please check out Rabobank’s extensive recap of Europe’s energy crisis which we posted over the weekend.

Europe’s energy crisis is not contained to nat gas, and as we discussed over the weekend in another flashback to the 1970s US, UK gas station pumps are running dry in British cities on Monday with vendors rationing sales as a shortage of truckers strained supply chains to breaking point. Pumps across British cities were either closed or had signs saying fuel was unavailable on Monday, Reuters reporters said, with some limiting the amount of fuel each customer could buy.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent fuel retailers accounting for 65% of all the 8,380 UK forecourts, said members had reported that 50% to 90% of pumps were dry in some areas.

A post-Brexit shortage of truck drivers as the COVID-19 pandemic eases has sown chaos through British supply chains in everything from food to fuel, raising the specter of disruptions and price rises in the run-up to Christmas. Drivers lined up for hours to fill their cars at petrol stations that were still selling fuel, albeit often rationed. There were also calls for National Health Service (NHS) staff and other emergency workers to be given priority.

Hauliers, gas stations and retailers said there were no quick fixes as the shortfall of truck drivers – estimated to be around 100,000 – was so acute, and because transporting fuel demands additional training and licensing. “We need some calm,” Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA, told Reuters. “Please don’t panic buy: if people drain the network then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Shifting from gasoline and nat gas to oil, the near-term outlook is looking even more grim. According to Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodity trading houses, the world faces higher oil and gas prices this winter and beyond as supply struggles to catch up with fast-rising demand.

“We’re going to see higher oil prices,” Ben Luckock, Trafigura’s co-head of oil trading said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Luckock said the market was mispricing forward oil contracts for the next couple of years because traders hadn’t yet woken up to the fact the supply-demand balance will remain tight for some time. Translation: even higher prices are coming with no easing in sight.

“I struggle to see anything but higher prices going forward in the next two years,” he said, one day after Goldman hiked its price target, now predicting that Brent would hit $90 some time in December. On Monday, Brent crude for immediate delivery surged toward $80 a barrel, setting its highest price in nearly three years.

On natural gas, he said prices could shoot up even more this winter if cold weather forces demand higher in Europe and Asia.

The bullish outlook comes as oil demand fast recovers toward its pre-pandemic level, with most traders expecting that consumption will reach the 2019 by early-to-mid 2022. As demand rebounds, supply has struggled to keep up: U.S. shale companies have kept a lid on spending, preferring to pay dividends to shareholders. With U.S. shale reacting slowly to higher prices, the OPEC+ oil cartel has been able to keep control of the market.

The U.S. shale industry is showing very strong discipline. Oil prices are roughly double what they were a year ago and despite that we’re not seeing a huge increase in drilling,” Luckock said.

Luckock said that it was difficult to see lower natural gas prices this winter in Europe, despite the commodity trading at a record high already: “If it’s a cold winter in Europe or Asia, we have a big problem,” he said. “If it’s cold, and on top, it isn’t windy, then we have a much bigger problem. We will face shortages.”

Notably, Luckock said he was skeptical that Russia, the biggest gas supplier to Europe, was intentionally tightening the market for political gain, suggesting that Moscow was already pumping as much gas as it could right now.

“It’s easy to say that’s politically motivated, but I think it’s simpler than that: Russia is facing maintenance in many gas fields, very low domestic inventories, substantially increased flows to Turkey, and Gazprom is struggling to increase production,” he said.

Footnote: Commentary from Bloomberg Green and National Review

Ewa Krukowska at Bloomberg Green Energy Crisis Puts World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plan to Test.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

  • Soaring power and gas prices shoot up EU political agenda
  • Governments across EU fear backlash over costs of green shift

Natural gas and power prices are surging to all-time highs in the 27-nation region, as the bloc’s economies rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. The surge in demand comes amid limited gas imports from Norway and Russia, with some countries accusing Moscow of manipulating supplies. At the same time, the EU strategy to accelerate emissions cuts in every sector from transport to manufacturing and agriculture boosted demand for carbon permits, with prices more than doubling over the past two years to new records.

The green package unveiled in July aims to align the economy with a 2030 stricter binding goal of reducing emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels. The laws need to be approved by the European Parliament and member states in the Council of the EU, with each institution entitled to amending the plan, in a process likely to take around two years.

But for Europe’s lower-income countries — as well for the continent’s energy-intensive industries — the pain of any transition will be significant, and the EU will be under pressure to help cushion the blow from the current price jump.

But European governments are limited in what they can do to tackle the power crunch — without making their climate goals even harder to reach.

“It feels unlikely that politicians will reverse track and go back to coal generation or make changes to the approach to carbon,” said John Musk, an analyst at RBC Europe Ltd. “It is hard to see what measures can be adopted to alleviate near term supply-demand constraints on gas and power. There are likely be a couple of difficult years to navigate in terms of consumer prices and there may have to be some measures to help consumers here and there.”

Andres Stuttaford adds an essay at National Review The Gathering Storm (But with Not Enough Wind): Europe’s Energy Mess Gets Worse — a Lesson the U.S. Looks Set to Ignore.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Instead of looking at these alternative approaches, the EU, the U.K., and, soon enough, the U.S., seem set on what is looking more and more like a headlong rush into disaster.

To understand why this might be, it is important to understand that for many climate warriors a “bloody hard” transition is a feature, not a bug.

I wrote about this a week or so back:

Concentrating on resilience and adaptation do not follow the millenarian narrative that is an unmistakable subtext of the message now being sent out by many climate warriors, whether inside government, linked to government, or outside it. Underpinned by the expectation of apocalypse, this narrative, which has repeatedly demonstrated its dangerously persuasive power over the centuries, is based on the thought that a wicked humanity faces punishment and must, with the assistance of a morally superior, enlightened vanguard, be made to change its dreadful (often self-indulgent) behavior. Adaptation and resilience, by contrast, offer the prospect that our species will muddle on through, living pretty much as it has been doing, except even better, and without donning the hairshirt integral to so many climate warriors’ faith. Theirs has the characteristics of a religion, and there is little that is original about it. Pointless asceticism comes with the territory.

Questioning whether those setting the climate agenda are going about things the right way is not a matter of climate “denial,” but simple common sense. It is not, however, a conversation that the climate establishment wants to have. Fundamentalists are like that.

They may not want to have that conversation, but, as winter approaches, the growing crisis in Europe suggests that it is a conversation that may be difficult to avoid.

 

 

 

2021 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

gas in hands

Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2020) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2020 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

Note:  British Petroleum (BP) now uses Exajoules to replace MToe (Million Tonnes of oil equivalents.) It is logical to use an energy metric which is independent of the fuel source. OTOH renewable advocates have no doubt pressured BP to stop using oil as the baseline since their dream is a world without fossil fuel energy.

From BP conversion table 1 exajoule (EJ) = 1 quintillion joules (1 x 10^18). Oil products vary from 41.6 to 49.4 tonnes per gigajoule (10^9 joules).  Comparing this annual report with previous years shows that global Primary Energy (PE) in MToe is roughly 24 times the same amount in Exajoules.  The conversion factor at the macro level varies from year to year depending on the fuel mix. The graphs below use the new metric.

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide (WFFC).  The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2020.

WFFC 2020

The graph shows that global Primary Energy (PE) consumption from all sources has grown continuously over 5 decades. Since 1965  oil, gas and coal (FF, sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 89% of PE consumed, ranging from 94% in 1965 to 84% in 2019.  Note that last year, 2020, PE dropped 25 EJ (4%) slightly below 2017 consumption.  WFFC for 2020 dropped 27 EJ (6%), 83% of PE and matching 2013 WFFC consumption. For the 55 year period, the net changes were:

Oil 168%
Gas 506%
Coal 161%
WFFC 218%
PE 259%
Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the five decades from 1965 to 2020 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST3.

WFFC and Hadcrut 2020

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 218% from 146 to 463 exajoules.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.9C over 55 years, 7% of the starting value.

The graph below compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST3 for the satellite era from 1980 to 2020, a period of 40 years.

WFFC and UAH HadSST 2020

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 82% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.52C, or 3.7% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.7C, or 5% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less than WFFC.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Background context for today’s post is at Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming.

Disputing Ignorant Virtue Signaling

Adam Anderson, CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions, wrote the letter below to Steve Rendle, CEO of North Face’s parent, VF Corporation, in response to the latter’s refusal to fulfill a shirt order for the oil and gas company. Mr. Rendle has not responded to date. H/T Master Resource  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

I am proud to be the CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions. We are an industry leader providing tools and technologies to service oil and natural gas producers worldwide.

Our work enables our customers, employees and communities to thrive. Low-cost, reliable energy is critical to enable humans to flourish. Oil and natural gas are the two primary resources humanity can use to create low-cost and reliable energy. The work of my company and our industry more broadly enables humans to have a quality of life and life expectancy that were unfathomable only a century ago.

The merits of low-cost and reliable energy are too numerous to cite in totality but here are a few key highlights:

  • Lifespans and quality of life have expanded dramatically over the last 150 years, enabled by access to abundant energy.
  • Low-cost and reliable energy enables life-saving technologies. For example, the new Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 0C. This would be impossible without low cost and reliable energy.
  • American industry is dependent on low-cost and reliable energy to thrive and compete internationally.
  • More than a billion people worldwide live today without access to electricity. As a result, these people live shorter, more difficult and dangerous lives than necessary. The solution to this problem is more low-cost and reliable energy, not less.

Hydrocarbons are the only source of supply for the vast majority of our low-cost and reliable energy needs.  The Oil and Gas industry is essential to enable human flourishing and no low-cost and reliable alternative exists:

Oil and natural gas are the only viable sources for low-cost, reliable energy today.

Wind, solar and many other alternatives suffer from an intermittency problem that has not yet been solved.

Any attempts to move our energy consumption to these unreliable, higher-cost sources of energy will have many negative impacts for humanity as it will dramatically decrease our access to low-cost and reliable energy.

For example, Germany has endeavored to transition their energy grid to alternatives such as wind and solar with disastrous consequences. Electricity costs in Germany have tripled over the last 20 years and are roughly 2x the US costs (which are themselves elevated due to the partial shift to unreliable, intermittent sources of energy in the US).

Oil and natural gas are used in many other important ways to create materials that go into thousands of critical products including, clothes, smart phones, vehicles and life-saving medical devices.

Lastly, the Oil and Gas industry is a bastion of high-quality, high-paying, industrial jobs for our people. Last year, Innovex employed ~650 people and paid our employees an average salary of >$85,000 per year. More than 230 of our employees earned over $100,000 last year. The majority of these individuals do not have a college degree and achieve these high levels of income due to their intelligence, dedication and work ethic. We need more high-quality jobs staffed with individuals like my team members in this country, not fewer.

Frequently people are concerned about the impacts of CO2 released from the burning of hydrocarbons. I acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and modest increases in CO2 level will have modest impacts on global temperatures. However, I think the climate catastrophists who claim we will endure dramatic negative impacts from these changes are terribly wrong and misunderstand how low cost energy can help us adapt to our ever changing climate:

  • The US Oil and Gas Industry has enabled an ~14% reduction in US CO2 emissions over the last decade, largely as a result of significant growth in Natural Gas production
  • Climate related deaths have declined ~90% since the beginning of the 20th century as a direct result our society is more robust against floods, draughts, storms, wildfires and extreme temps
  • As there has been a modest increase in CO2, there has been an increase in carbon dioxide fertilization in plants across the Globe. According to NASA there has been significant greening of the Earth over the last 35 years
  • This greening combined with incredible technological progress enabled by low cost and reliable energy has led to a dramatic decrease in death by famine. The death rate due to famines has declined by more than 95% over the last century.

At this point, you may wonder why I am directing this letter to you, the CEO of one of the world’s largest apparel companies. We recently contacted North Face to inquire about buying jackets with the Innovex logo for all of our employees as Christmas presents. We viewed North Face as a high-quality brand that our employees would value and cherish for years to come. Unfortunately, we were informed that North Face would not sell us jackets because we were an oil and gas services company.

The irony in this statement is your jackets are made from the oil and gas products the hardworking men and women of our industry produce. I think this stance by your company is counterproductive virtue signaling, and I would appreciate you re-considering this stance. We should be celebrating the benefits of what oil and gas do to enable the outdoors lifestyle your brands embrace. Without Oil and Gas there would be no market for nor ability to create the products your company sells.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

Adam Anderson, CEO, Innovex Downhole Solutions, 4310 N Sam Houston Parkway E Houston, TX 77032

2020 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

gas in hands

Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2019) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2019 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

Note:  British Petroleum (BP) for the first time uses Exajoules to replace MToe (Million Tonnes of oil equivalents.) It is logical to use an energy metric which is independent of the fuel source. OTOH renewable advocates have no doubt pressured BP to stop using oil as the baseline since their dream is a world without fossil fuel energy.

From BP conversion table 1 exajoule (EJ) = 1 quintillion joules (1 x 10^18). Oil products vary from 41.6 to 49.4 tonnes per gigajoule (10^9 joules).  Comparing this annual report with previous years shows that global Primary Energy (PE) in MToe is roughly 24 times the same amount in Exajoules.  The conversion factor at the macro level varies from year to year depending on the fuel mix. The graphs below use the new metric.

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide. The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2019.

To enlarge, open image in new tabl

The graph shows that global Primary Energy consumption from all sources has grown continuously over 5 decades. Since 1965  oil, gas and coal (FF, sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 89% of PE consumed, ranging from 94% in 1965 to 84% in 2019.

Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the five decades from 1965 to 2019 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST3.

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 237% from 146 to 492 exajoules.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.9C over 54 years, 6% of the starting value.

The graph below compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST3 for the satellite era from 1979 to 2019, a period of 40 years.

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 87% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.52C, or 3.7% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.58C, or 4.7% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less than WFFC.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Background context for today’s post is at Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming.