In the Pipeline: 6/11/13

We mentioned the “social cost of carbon” last week, but here’s the full analysis. The Obama administration is quietly making it easier for their “benefit” numbers to go head to head against costs. IER (6/6/13) reports: “The very concept of the ‘social cost of carbon’ is not nearly as objective and scientific as, say, the charge on an electron. It is based on subjective human decisions as to which scenarios to include in the model, the discount rate to apply to future costs and benefits, and how to deal with uncertainty. Especially in light of the fact that these modeling choices keep pushing the official estimates up and up—more than doubling in some cases in just three years—one can’t help but wonder whether there is a desire to ease the case for political action at work. In any event, the public should realize just how ‘unsettled’ the economic side of the carbon debate is. The estimates keep bouncing around all over the place, and the estimates are driven by very controversial parameter choices, not objective assessments given by physicists and climatologists.”

Apparently, the New York Times did not get the memo that the science is settled. NYTimes (6/10/13) reports: “As unlikely as this may sound, we have lucked out in recent years when it comes to global warming… The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace… The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.”

Meet Tim Yeo. Tim is the Al Gore of the U.K. Tim is just getting started. Hold onto your wallets, blokes. MailOnline (6/9/13) reports: “Tim Yeo was challenged in an interview last week over his role as chairman of the Commons energy and climate change committee and his lucrative work with the green industry… A former environment minister, he airily dismissed any suggestion of a conflict of interest, even though last year alone he earned £140,000 from his commercial work, much of it to do with the booming business of green energy… ‘I think it’s hard for anyone to sustain the argument that what I’m doing is the result of financial interests. I will stand and fall by the judgment of my peers on the committee,’ he said.”

The bonds of kinships are being used by His Majesty’s court to wage war against the commoners. No wonder DOE’s stimulus babies turned out to be a little whacky… Energy Guardian (6/10/13) reports: “Energy Department officials and employees routinely seek paid internships for their children and relatives despite internal warnings against nepotism, the agency’s internal  watchdog reported Monday… ‘Despite the department’s ethics program and information regarding prohibited personnel practices, advocating for the selection of relatives appears to have become an open and widely accepted departmental practice,’ Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman wrote.”

This is why we fight for energy that real people can afford. The Economist (6/8/13) reports: “LIKE most Pakistanis Mohammad Hussain complains bitterly about the paltry few hours of electricity available each day during the sweltering summer. Life for the 43-year-old labourer, already pretty miserable in the Lahore slum where he lives, is more unbearable without a fan to cool him at night or a pump to guarantee water… Like many of his countrymen, he has never paid a rupee towards the cost of the dribble of electricity used by his wife and five children, who all live in a one-bedroom flat. Their building is illegally connected to the city’s power grid by a metal hook attached to a nearby electricity line.”

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