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Methane Hydrates Have a Bright Future

August 3, 2016

Scientists from India, Japan and the United States USGS, have discovered large deposits of methane hydrates in the Bay of Bengal.

They report that these methane hydrates were found in “coarse-grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari basin” and are more easily mined than the methane hydrates off the United States continental shelf.

“[Methane] gas hydrate at high concentrations in sand reservoirs represent the best combination for production using existing technologies.”

The work being done by the USGS is intended to not only discover where large concentrations of methane gas hydrates are located, but also to determine the best method for safely extracting the methane trapped in the hydrate.

Methane hydrates are, methane, i.e., natural gas, trapped in an ice lattice. They form under very low temperatures or high pressures, or a combination of the two.

Map of world showing underwater topography from USCD

Map of world showing underwater topography from USCD

The pink areas of this map are the outer continental shelves on which methane hydrates can be found. Methane and natural gas, are the same, i.e., CH4.

Extreme environmentalists have declared war on methane, so they will be attacking any development of natural gas from methane hydrates.

The world, however, can benefit from this clean burning fuel.

Tim Collett, USGS senior scientist, said: “The discovery of what we believe to be several of the largest and most concentrated gas hydrate accumulations yet found in the world will yield the geologic and engineering data needed to better understand the geologic controls on the occurrence of gas hydrate in nature and to assess the technologies needed to safely produce gas hydrates.”

Japan has a program for producing natural gas from methane hydrates located near its coast, and predicts it will be successful by 2019. See, Natural Gas Bonanza from Hydrates.

The Indian National Gas Hydrate Program was an important part of the Bay of Bengal explorations, as India can use a natural gas supply to replace LNG imports.

There are huge reserves of natural gas entrapped in methane hydrates around the world.

For example, methane hydrates along the United States outer continental shelf could provide more than 20 times its existing natural gas reserves.

Methane hydrates represent another wonderful supply of fossil fuels that can benefit mankind.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 18, Remarkable Availability of Life Saving Fossil Fuels, explains why the United States has a huge potential supply of natural gas from methane hydrates.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Corporate Cowards Hang Separately

July 29, 2016

Exxon recently began to aggressively support a carbon tax.

Admittedly, Exxon has been the target of radical environmentalists, and even of state AGs who have subpoenaed Exxon while accusing it of fraud.

Exxon’s motive in promoting a carbon tax may be to appease radical environmentalists.

Or, Exxon may see a carbon tax as a way to improve its competitive position versus coal, since Exxon has huge shale holdings and major investments in natural gas that compete with coal for power generation.

Or, perhaps Exxon is being hypocritical, assuming that Congress will never pass a carbon tax, while possibly benefitting from an improved PR image.

Exxon Logo

Exxon Logo

But history is clear: Trying to play nice with the Devil, no matter what the motive, is a prescription for disaster.

And, history is also clear, it’s foolish to assume how a political organization, such as Congress, will act.

For example, the United States Senate ratified the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) assuming ratification would have no effect on the United States because actions under the treaty were voluntary.

Unfortunately, the United States, with only one vote among 195 countries at UNFCCC COP meetings, has been consistently outvoted and held up for ridicule around the world.

The US delegation was booed by the other 190 countries at the COP meeting in Bali because the US delegation didn’t want to approve the Bali Road Map for fighting climate change.

Assuming that your enemy will forget and forgive is even more dangerous.

Chesapeake Energy donated large sums of money to the Sierra Club hoping the Sierra Club would decrease its attacks on natural gas, but to no avail.

Exxon should take heed, because the Sierra Club, and nearly every other radical environmental group has declared war on fracking, and is determined to eliminate fracking.

The Democrat party’s platform calls for the end of fracking.

The experience of the coal industry is a good example of what happens when you try to appease your enemies.

The coal industry, rather than fighting the supporters of anthropogenic climate change, where CO2 is the cause, tried to placate its enemies by proposing “clean coal”, a process where the coal is cooked to create syngas, so the CO2 can be separated, removed and sequestered, while using the hydrogen from the syngas to power a gas turbine. The so called “clean coal” process would eliminate CO2 from the atmosphere and allow coal to be used for power generation.

But, the radical environmentalists would have no part of this peace offering, and worse yet, the “clean coal” Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant has become exorbitantly expensive. See, Kemper is No Keeper 

To have any possibility of lowering CO2 emissions sufficiently to limit atmospheric CO2 levels to 450 ppm, one of the levels frequently mentioned as the tipping point, would require a carbon tax much higher than previously proposed, i.e., $15 per ton of CO2 (which is mentioned most frequently and used by the EIA), and would have to apply to much more than oil and power generation. It would, for example, have to apply to livestock production, and other agricultural processes.

Rather than fighting for their industry and opposing the bad science on which CO2 caused global warming is based, some in the fossil fuel industry are trying appeasement.

The end result has been the bankruptcy of major coal producing companies, such as Peabody Coal.

By appeasing its opponents, Exxon is joining the major European oil companies who are doing the same.

But some oil companies, including Chevron, are standing their ground, and fighting for a scientific resolution of the issue.

Crony capitalism (where companies, such as GE, with its wind energy business taking advantage of government subsidies) and the concept of a carbon tax to raise money for the government, with the money supposedly being redistributed to the needy, is not in the best interests of a free market … or a free society … or America.

Appeasing big government and radical environmentalists is a fools game, not worthy of Exxon.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Key, Electric Vehicle Headlines

July 26, 2016

There are three key headlines for US electric vehicle sales after the first six months of 2016:

  1. BEV (battery powered vehicles) sales have stalled.
  2. PHEV (plug-in vehicle) sales are up dramatically.
  3. HEV (hybrid) sales are down dramatically.

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs* 

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & EV

January

20,967

3,137

3,576

27,680

6,713

February

24,371

3,909

4,424

32,704

8,333

March

28,756

5,290

7,115

41,161

12,405

Total 1Q

74,094

12,336

15,115

101,545

27,451

Total 1Q 2015

86,005

7,722

14,127

107,854

21,849


% 1Q change


-16%


37%


7%


-6%


20%

April

28,988

5,842

6,266

41,096

12,108

May

30,573

5,619

6,526

42,718

12,145

June

27,679

6,094

7,678

41,451

13,772

Total 2Q 2016

87,240

17,555

20,470

125,265

38,025

Total 2Q 2015

104,965

10,787

20,069

135,821

30,856


% 2Q change


-17%


63%


2%


-8%


23%

*Extended Range Vehicles

(Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association)

Introduction:

BEVs are vehicles powered entirely by battery power. PHEVs use the battery to travel for the first 35 miles, but then switch to an internal combustion engine to extend its range.

An important distinction between HEVs, such as the Prius, and BEVs or PHEVs is that an HEV can travel on battery power for an extremely short distance, if at all, while BEVs and PHEVs can travel for at least 35 miles using batteries alone.
HEVs are essentially battery-assisted vehicles that use the internal combustion engine to power the car.

Perhaps the most significant observation after the first six months of 2016, is that the sale of battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) has stalled.

This, in spite of the hype that Tesla received when it announced its new Model 3, priced at $35,000, with a 215 mile range.

It’s possible that drivers are beginning to see the PHEV as a better value than a BEV, since PHEVs have a range comparable to ordinary internal combustion engine vehicles of approximately 400 miles.

This may also account for the substantial increase in PHEV sales.

Meanwhile, sales of the HEV, similar to the original Prius, have fallen dramatically.

The price premium of HEVs is difficult to offset when gasoline prices are as low as they have been this year.

Norway, where 50,000 BEVs have been sold, provided generous subsidies for electric vehicles, so generous it was almost foolish to not purchase a BEV, has decided to roll back the subsidies. This could seriously crimp Tesla’s sales in Europe where Tesla has outperformed German luxury car makers.

Meanwhile China has been a disappointment for Tesla.

Tesla

Tesla

Tesla has been the most important seller of BEVs in the United States, with the LEAF and other manufacturers BEVs accounting for only a small part of BEV sales during the first six months of 2016.

Any slowdown in European sales by Tesla could be significant if BEV sales in the United States have stalled.

In addition, when Tesla sells more than 200,000 vehicles in the United States, Tesla vehicles will no longer be eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, which is likely to affect Tesla’s sales.

The media is, of course, still hyping BEVs, but the next six months could be a negative turning point for Tesla if sales of BEVs remain sluggish.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative

Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Europe’s High Cost of Renewables

July 19, 2016

In its quest to cut CO2 emissions, Europe has promoted the adoption of wind and solar to replace fossil fuels.
This has resulted in a large increase in electricity rates for Europeans.

Electricity Rates US v EU

The first chart shows the change in electricity prices after Europe initiated its efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

EU Electricity Prices in Euros

The first chart shows the impact of adding wind and solar to the energy mix for all of Europe, while the second chart distinguishes the effect between countries.

It’s immediately evident that those countries that have invested most heavily in wind and solar have seen their electricity prices soar.

Specifically Denmark and Germany, followed by Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

Costs have gone up least, in countries that have continued to use coal, except for France, where nuclear is the primary source for electricity, and Norway where hydro is the primary source.

Poland, Rumania, Hungary and the Czech Republic continue to use coal to provide most of their electricity. For the most part, these and other countries, such as Croatia and Finland, have not invested heavily in wind and solar.

The message from Europe is clear, wind and solar significantly increase the cost of electricity.

The same message can be found within the United States.

States using natural gas or coal as their primary source of electricity have markedly lower electricity prices than California, the leading proponent of wind and solar for generating electricity.

Specifically, California’s electricity rate, at an average of 15.34 cents/kWh, is 50% higher than Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, and Wyoming, which have a combined average rate of 10.25 cents/kWh, and rely on fossil fuels for generating electricity.

States like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have residential electricity prices that are, on average, 50% or more higher than states that rely on natural gas and coal for electricity, but these higher prices are primarily due to taxes, including efforts to promote wind and solar and pay the carbon tax.

For example, “Up to 70% of New York’s retail electricity price per kWh goes toward Delivery, Taxes, and Regulations.” And, “Since 2008, the cost to produce electricity has stayed the same or been reduced while transmission costs and taxes have shot up dramatically.” Including, “New York’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, Renewable Portfolio Standard, and Systems Benefit Charge.”

In summary:

  • It’s clear that wind and solar in Europe has resulted in higher prices for electricity.
  • It’s also clear that states promoting wind and solar, such as California, and to some extent the states included in the regional greenhouse gas initiative, have also caused higher prices for electricity.

We can learn from Europe’s use of subsidies to promote wind and solar, where the subsidies have resulted in the high cost of electricity.

We have examples in the United States that confirm the lessons learned from Europe.

Wind and solar substantially increase the cost of electricity, which harms families and makes manufacturing more expensive.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Job Displacement Threat

July 12, 2016

(Another article on manufacturing and jobs)

The use of robots in factories is not likely to cause large job displacement, as the process of using robots in factories has evolved over a period of 30 to 50 years, with robots still primarily used for repetitive operations. See Robots inManufacturing.

If there is a threat to jobs, it probably comes from elsewhere.

The University of Oxford’s Martin School, in England, predicted that computerization would eliminate nearly half the jobs in the U.S. over the next 20 years.

As already noted, this seems very unlikely, even when considering concepts such as Uber, autonomous vehicles and deep learning.

Off-highway vehicles, used in mining, etc., have been singled out for conversion to autonomous vehicles. It should be noted that off-highway vehicles follow repetitive routes using GPS or other electronic means, including LiDAR and RADAR, for accurate location of the vehicle as it moves. Their environment is relatively controlled, when compared with autonomous vehicles used on highways where the surrounding environment is constantly changing.

Accuracy for autonomous vehicles may mean a few inches, while for robots used in manufacturing, accuracy will mean a fraction of an inch. This is an important distinction.

While truck drivers may lose jobs, other new jobs will be created and the productivity of the mining operation will be improved by eliminating, for example, unnecessary stopping and starting, and waiting during shift changes, etc.

But, the situation may be different if long-haul 18 wheelers, are replaced by autonomous trucks.

Freightliner Truck, Courtesy of Freightliner Corporation

Freightliner Truck, Courtesy of Freightliner Corporation

If long-haul autonomous trucks become ubiquitous, millions of truck driver jobs could be lost. Freightliner board member, ­Wolfgang Bernhard, predicted that production of autonomous 18 wheeler trucks is only “two, to three years away.”

There is a view that the potential for job displacement could become more pronounced if the family car becomes an autonomous vehicle.

However, the transition of family cars to autonomous vehicles should require considerable time. The recent high-profile hacking of a Jeep ­Cherokee demonstrates there are many obstacles and threats to autonomous vehicles on major highways or in crowded city traffic. And there is the recent fatality involving a Tesla vehicle.

The more extreme view, that many  jobs will be lost, has been expressed by Barcaly’s Capital, which predicted:

“With autonomous vehicles shared between family members and across communities, [coupled with the proliferation of Uber and similar concepts], autonomous vehicles will displace much of the current fleet of privately owned cars.”

Barclay’s Capital went on to say:

“Annual auto sales in the United States could decline by as much as 40 percent, and there would be a 60-percent drop in the total number of vehicles on the road.”

If this becomes reality, there will be a huge displacement of workers.

But that forecast seems extreme.

While Uber may displace car ownership in cities, it seems unlikely that it will have the same effect in the suburbs and rural areas.

People will still need to go to the local dry cleaners or grocery store, and won’t want to call Uber or a driverless taxi for a ride. Autonomous vehicles can be a godsend for the elderly who can’t drive because of poor eyesight or slow reflexes.

Forecasting a dramatic drop in car ownership seems to be a radical view of the future.

If it required 30 to 50 years for factory automation, with the use of robots for repetitive operations, to become common place, it’s likely to require a comparable amount of time for autonomous vehicles to replace the family car.

The idea that every American should be given an annual grant to compensate for job displacement seems inappropriate, counter productive and unworkable.

Without addressing where the money for such grants will come from, let’s look at better alternatives.

As with the use of robots in factories, new jobs will be created, where many of the new jobs can’t be envisioned at this time.

Historically, this is the way the country has confronted change. For example, the transition from horses to automobiles displaced workers, but created new opportunities.

Many sweepers pushing brooms in the factory were replaced with ride-on sweepers, and so forth.

A better way to prepare for the future, than with grants of taxpayer money, is by preparing people for the new jobs that frequently require higher levels of technical skills.

Education should be tailored to the new reality of a technology driven economy.

Expensive college courses that are no better than basket weaving which lead to low-paying, menial jobs are inappropriate in a technology driven economy. They rob from the student and leaves him ill-equipped for the future.

Mathematics, engineering, and science need to be emphasized, along with vocational training for the jobs that can’t be done by robots, of which there will be many, such as welding and tool and die makers. History, especially American history, must be taught to prepare students for a vibrant economy where work is rewarded.

Robots at McDonalds and other fast food stores will eliminate introductory jobs and temporary jobs for students, so, perhaps, vocational training can be supported to compensate for these lost introductory jobs.

Rather than stifling the work ethic with government handouts, let’s prepare people for the technology driven future.

When appropriate, additional articles will focus on manufacturing and the new, high-tech economy. Meanwhile, articles on energy issues will remain the primary focus.

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Nuclear May Be Green After-all

July 9, 2016

Radical environmentalists may be having regrets over their campaign to kill nuclear energy.

After decades of demonizing nuclear power, some environmental groups are rethinking their opposition to nuclear power.

Unfortunately, they may be too late in the United States and Germany, and possibly France.

Germany is on the path to shutting down all its nuclear power plants by 2020.

In the United States, several plants are on the verge of being shut down, and it’s clear all existing nuclear power plants will be shut down over the next 80 years as they fail to get their operating licenses renewed, and that no more new nuclear plants, other than the four being built now, will be built.

See Nuclear Fallout and U.S. Nuclear Demise Amid Increases Elsewhere.

Radical environmentalists killed the coal industry in the United States, while ignoring and campaigning against the only method for generating base-load electricity that doesn’t emit CO2 … nuclear power.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that environmental groups were rethinking their opposition to nuclear power. The Sierra Club is, according to the article, “debating whether to halt its longtime position in support of shuttering all existing nuclear-power plants earlier than required by their federal operating licenses.”

How can they now say nuclear power is safe, when for decades they have been warning people against the threat of radiation and the China syndrome?

Suddenly, there is no threat from radiation?

Suddenly, there is no threat of the China syndrome?

Chernobyl reactor 4, courtesy of RT

Chernobyl reactor 4, courtesy of RT

Actually, the China syndrome was a creature of radical environmentalists’ imagination, so as to scare people from using nuclear power. The China syndrome could not happen, but it had the appeal of being able to scare people into thinking thousands, if not millions would be harmed by radiation. See Destruction of America’s Nuclear Industry.

Were the radical environmental groups lying then?

Or are they conveniently changing their stripes now?

Was nuclear power dangerous last year, and for the last 70 years? So why isn’t it dangerous now?

The perfidy of radical environmental groups is appalling.

How can they be trusted?

They have misrepresented the dangers from radiation. They have misrepresented the dangers from nuclear power plants. They have hastened and promoted the closure of existing nuclear power plants.

Now … they want to save nuclear power?

What else have they been lying about?

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Appendix, explains why nuclear power is dying in the United States.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

CO2 Through the Ages

July 5, 2016

In my book, Nothing to Fear, I use the 2,000 year period between today and the time of Christ to demonstrate that there is no clear evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels have had an effect on temperatures. For example, the medieval warm period had temperatures as high as today’s, while CO2 levels were unchanged.

In the book, I use an IPCC chart showing that, prior to around 1850, atmospheric CO2 levels were constant at around 280 ppm going back for 2,000 years. I used the IPCC chart since few people would likely criticize the data.

GHG Graph from IPCC AR4

GHG Graph from IPCC AR4

In my talks, I go back 4,000 years to make the same point.

4,000 year history of temperatures and CO2

4,000 year history of temperatures and CO2

During this 4,000 year period, there have been four warm periods, including today’s. In the previous warm periods, Medieval, Roman and Minoan, temperatures have been as high, or higher, than they are today, while atmospheric CO2 has remained essentially constant at around 280 ppm.

This again supports the contention that CO2 is having little effect on temperatures rise.

It’s possible to go back hundreds of thousands of years and still see that CO2 hasn’t seemed to affect temperatures. I didn’t propose going back that far in my book since there were so many other forces at work about which much is still unknown.

During the Carboniferous period, for example, the formation of skeletal life drew CO2 from the atmosphere and locked it permanently in the Lithosphere as Limestone.

However, as the following chart shows, atmospheric CO2 has been very much higher than today, while CO2 levels over the past three million years have been among the lowest levels during the Earth’s history. Meanwhile temperatures have varied widely, with little correlation to atmospheric levels of CO2.

While these records comparing atmospheric CO2 levels with variations in temperatures provide substantial proof that CO2 has not been the primary cause of temperature change, they do not infer that CO2 hasn’t had some effect on temperatures.

They also don’t infer that mankind hasn’t affected the environment.

They do, however, demonstrate that the CO2 hypothesis, claiming that atmospheric CO2 is causing global warming and climate change, is unsubstantiated, and that history has shown there is little correlation between CO2 and temperatures.

Geologic Time Scale CO2 and Temperatures

Geologic Time Scale CO2 and Temperatures

There are other hypotheses for the cause of global warming with greater scientific support than the CO2 hypothesis.

For example, there is Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis, where cosmic rays create low-level clouds that shade the Earth and reflect sunlight back into space. This is explained more fully in Nothing to Fear.

The recent CERN CLOUD experiments have provided support for Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis. See, Global Warming Science isn’t Settled.

Not only does it appear that the CO2 hypothesis is weak, but that it has been transformed into a political weapon with political, rather than scientific, purposes.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

Go to the photo on the right side of the article where it says email subscription. Click and enter your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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