Global Warming: Does CO2 Heat The Atmosphere? No ….

Original post here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/

CO2 heats the atmosphere…a counter view

A guest post on Watts Up What With That by : Tom Vonk (Tom is a physicist and long time poster at many climate blogs.

The simplistic view of CO2 heat trapping

If you search for “greenhouse effect” in Google and get 1 cent for statements like…

“CO2 absorbs the outgoing infrared energy and warms the atmosphere” – or – “CO2 traps part of the infrared radiation between ground and the upper part of the atmosphere”

…you will be millionaire .

Even Internet sites that are said to have a good scientific level like “Science of doom” publish statements similar to those quoted above . These statements are all wrong yet happen so often that I submitted this guest post to Anthony to clear this issue once for all.

In the case that somebody asks why there is no peer reviewed paper about this issue , it is because everything what follows is textbook material . We will use results from statistical thermodynamics and quantum mechanics that have been known for some 100 years or more . More specifically the statement that we will prove is :

A volume of gas in Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE) cannot be heated by CO2.

There are 3 concepts that we will introduce below and that are necessary to the understanding .

  1. The Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE)

This concept plays a central part so some words of definition . First what LTE is not . LTE is not Thermodynamic Equilibrium (TE) , it is a much weaker assumption . LTE requires only that the equilibrium exists in some neighborhood of every point . For example the temperature may vary with time and space within a volume so that this volume is not in a Thermodynamic Equilibrium . However if there is an equilibrium within every small subvolume of this volume , we will have LTE .

Intuitively the notion of LTE is linked to the speed with which the particles move and to their density . If the particle stays long enough in a small volume to interact with other particles in this small volume , for example by collisions , then the particle will equilibrate with others . If it doesn’t stay long enough then it can’t equilibrate with others and there is no LTE .

There are 2 reasons why the importance of LTE is paramount .

First is that a temperature cannot be defined for a volume which is not in LTE . That is easy to understand . The temperature is an average energy of a small volume in equilibrium . Since there is no equilibrium in any small volume if we have not LTE , the temperature cannot be defined in this case.

Second is that the energy distribution in a volume in LTE follows known laws and can be computed .

The energy equipartition law

Kinetic energy is present in several forms . A monoatomic gas has only the translational kinetic energy , the well known ½.m.V² . A polyatomic gas can also vibrate and rotate and therefore has in addition to the translational kinetic energy also the vibrational and the rotational kinetic energy . When we want to specify the total kinetic energy of a molecule , we need to account for all 3 forms of it .

Thus the immediate question we ask is : “If we add energy to a molecule , what will it do ? Increase its velocity ? Increase its vibration ? Increase its rotation ? Some mixture of all 3 ?”

The answer is given by the energy equipartition law . It says : “In LTE the energy is shared equally among its different forms .

As we have seen that the temperature is an average energy ,and that it is defined only under LTE conditions , it is possible to link the average kinetic energy <E> to the temperature . For instance in a monoatomic gas like Helium we have <E>= 3/2.k.T . The factor 3/2 comes because there are 3 translational degrees of freedom (3 space dimensions) and it can be reformulated by saying that the kinetic energy per translational degree of freedom is ½.k.T . From there can be derived ideal gas laws , specific heat capacities and much more . For polyatomic molecules exhibiting vibration and rotation the calculations are more complicated . The important point in this statistical law is that if we add some energy to a great number of molecules , this energy will be shared equally among their translational , rotational and vibrational degrees of freedom .

Quantum mechanical interactions of molecules with infrared radiation

Everything that happens in the interaction between a molecule and the infrared radiation is governed by quantum mechanics . Therefore the processes cannot be understood without at least the basics of the QM theory .

The most important point is that only the vibration and rotation modes of a molecule can interact with the infrared radiation . In addition this interaction will take place only if the molecule presents a non zero dipolar momentum . As a non zero dipolar momentum implies some asymmetry in the distribution of the electrical charges , it is specially important in non symmetric molecules . For instance the nitrogen N-N molecule is symmetrical and has no permanent dipolar momentum .

O=C=O is also symmetrical and has no permanent dipolar momentum . C=O is non symmetrical and has a permanent dipolar momentum . However to interact with IR it is not necessary that the dipolar momentum be permanent . While O=C=O has no permanent dipolar momentum , it has vibrational modes where an asymmetry appears and it is those modes that will absorb and emit IR . Also nitrogen N-N colliding with another molecule will be deformed and acquire a transient dipolar momentum which will allow it to absorb and emit IR .

In the picture left you see the 4 possible vibration modes of CO2 . The first one is symmetrical and therefore displays no dipolar momentum and doesn’t interact with IR . The second and the third look similar and have a dipolar momentum . It is these both that represent the famous 15µ band . The fourth is highly asymmetrical and also has a dipolar momentum .

What does interaction between a vibration mode and IR mean ?

The vibrational energies are quantified , that means that they can only take some discrete values . In the picture above is shown what happens when a molecule meets a photon whose energy (h.ν or ђ.ω) is exactly equal to the difference between 2 energy levels E2-E1 . The molecule absorbs the photon and “jumps up” from E1 to E2 . Of course the opposite process exists too – a molecule in the energy level E2 can “jump down” from E2 to E1 and emit a photon of energy E2-E1 .

But that is not everything that happens . What also happens are collisions and during collisions all following processes are possible .

  • Translation-translation interaction . This is your usual billiard ball collision .
  • Translation-vibration interaction . Here energy is exchanged between the vibration modes and the translation modes .
  • Translation-rotation interaction . Here energy is is exchanged between the rotation modes and the translation modes .
  • Rotation-vibration interaction … etc .

In the matter that concerns us here , namely a mixture of CO2 and N2 under infrared radiation only 2 processes are important : translation-translation and translation-vibration . We will therefore neglect all other processes without loosing generality .

The proof of our statement

The translation-translation process (sphere collision) has been well understood since more than 100 years . It can be studied by semi-classical statistical mechanics and the result is that the velocities of molecules (translational kinetic energy) within a volume of gas in equilibrium are distributed according to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution . As this distribution is invariant for a constant temperature , there are no net energy transfers and we do not need to further analyze this process .

The 2 processes of interest are the following :

CO2 + γ → CO2* (1)

This reads “a CO2 molecule absorbs an infrared photon γ and goes to a vibrationally excited state CO2*

CO2* + N2 → CO2 + N2⁺ (2)

This reads “a vibrationally excited CO2 molecule CO2* collides with an N2 molecule and relaxes to a lower vibrational energy state CO2 while the N2 molecule increases its velocity to N2⁺ “. We use a different symbol * and ⁺ for the excited states to differentiate the energy modes – vibrational (*) for CO2 and translational (⁺) for N2 . In other words , there is transfer between vibrational and translational degrees of freedom in the process (2) . This process in non equilibrium conditions is sometimes called thermalization .

The microscopical process (2) is described by time symmetrical equations . All mechanical and electromagnetical interactions are governed by equations invariant under time reversal . This is not true for electroweak interactions but they play no role in the process (2) .

Again in simple words , it means that if the process (2) happens then the time symmetrical process , namely CO2 + N2⁺ → CO2* + N2 , happens too . Indeed this time reversed process where fast (e.g hot) N2 molecules slow down and excite vibrationally CO2 molecules is what makes an N2/CO2 laser work. Therefore the right way to write the process (2) is the following .

CO2* + N2 ↔ CO2 + N2⁺ (3)

Where the use of the double arrow ↔ instad of the simple arrow → is telling us that this process goes in both directions . Now the most important question is “What are the rates of the → and the ← processes ?

The LTE conditions with the energy equipartition law give immediately the answer : “These rates are exactly equal .” This means that for every collision where a vibrationally excited CO2* transfers energy to N2 , there is a collision where N2⁺ transfers the same energy to CO2 and excites it vibrationally . There is no net energy transfer from CO2 to N2 through the vibration-translation interaction .

As we have seen that CO2 cannot transfer energy to N2 through the translation-translation process either , there is no net energy transfer (e.g “heating”) from CO2 to N2 what proves our statement .

This has an interesting corollary for the process (1) , IR absorption by CO2 molecules . We know that in equilibrium the distribution of the vibrational quantum states (e.g how many molecules are in a state with energy Ei) is invariant and depends only on temperature . For example only about 5 % of CO2 molecules are in a vibrationally excited state at room temperatures , 95 % are in the ground state .

Therefore in order to maintain the number of vibrationally excited molecules constant , every time a CO2 molecule absorbs an infrared photon and excites vibrationally , it is necessary that another CO2 molecule relaxes by going to a lower energy state . As we have seen above that this relaxation cannot happen through collisions with N2 because no net energy transfer is permitted , only the process (1) is available . Indeed the right way to write the process (1) is also :

CO2 + γ ↔ CO2* (1)

Where the use of the double arrow shows that the absorption process (→) happens at the same time as the emission process (←) . Because the number of excited molecules in a small volume in LTE must stay constant , follows that both processes emission/absorption must balance . In other words CO2 which absorbs strongly the 15µ IR , will emit strongly almost exactly as much 15 µ radiation as it absorbs . This is independent of the CO2 concentrations and of the intensity of IR radiation .

For those who prefer experimental proofs to theoretical arguments , here is a simple experiment demonstrating the above statements . Let us consider a hollow sphere at 15°C filled with air . You install an IR detector on the surface of the cavity . This is equivalent to the atmosphere during the night . The cavity will emit IR according to a black body law . Some frequencies of this BB radiation will be absorbed by the vibration modes of the CO2 molecules present in the air . What you will observe is :

  • The detector shows that the cavity absorbs the same power on 15µ as it emits
  • The temperature of the air stays at 15°C and more specifically the N2 and O2 do not heat

These observations demonstrate as expected that CO2 emits the same power as it absorbs and that there is no net energy transfer between the vibrational modes of CO2 and the translational modes of N2 and O2 . If you double the CO2 concentration or make the temperature vary , the observations stay identical showing that the conclusions we made are independent of temperatures and CO2 concentrations .

Conclusion and caveats

The main point is that every time you hear or read that “CO2 heats the atmosphere” , that “energy is trapped by CO2” , that “energy is stored by green house gases” and similar statements , you may be sure that this source is not to be trusted for information about radiation questions .

Caveat 1

The statement we proved cannot be interpreted as “CO2 has no impact on the dynamics of the Earth-atmosphere system” . What we have proven is that the CO2 cannot heat the atmosphere in the bulk but the whole system cannot be reduced to the bulk of the atmosphere . Indeed there are 2 interfaces – the void on one side and the surface of the Earth on the other side . Neither the former nor the latter is in LTE and the arguments we used are not valid . The dynamics of the system are governed by the lapse rate which is “anchored” to the ground and whose variations are dependent not only on convection , latent heat changes and conduction but also radiative transfer . The concentrations of CO2 (and H2O) play a role in this dynamics but it is not the purpose of this post to examine these much more complex and not well understood aspects .

Caveat 2

You will sometimes read or hear that “the CO2 has not the time to emit IR because the relaxation time is much longer than the mean time between collisions .” We know now that this conclusion is clearly wrong but looks like common sense if one accepts the premises which are true . Where is the problem ?

Well as the collisions are dominating , the CO2 will indeed often relax by a collision process . But with the same token it will also often excite by a collision process . And both processes will happen with an equal rate in LTE as we have seen . As for the emission , we are talking typically about 10ⁿ molecules with n of the order of 20 . Even if the average emission time is longer than the time between collisions , there is still a huge number of excited molecules who had not the opportunity to relax collisionally and who will emit . Not surprisingly this is also what experience shows .

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/

Global Warming: Climate Gate – Mann’s Hockey Stick Findings Refuted – Irrelevant To Accurate Warming Predictions – Annals of Applied Statistics

From:

Watts Up With That? –  New paper makes a hockey “sticky wicket” of Mann et al 98/99/08

Sticky Wicket – phrase, meaning: “A difficult situation”.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/17/breaking-new-paper-makes-a-hockey-sticky-wicket-of-mann-et-al-99/

Now, there’s a new look to the familiar “hockey stick”.

The “infamous Hockey Stick” below:

Multiproxy reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperature variations over the past millennium (blue), along with 50-year average (black), a measure of the statistical uncertainty associated with the reconstruction (gray), and instrumental surface temperature data for the last 150 years (red), based on the work by Mann et al. (1999). This figure has sometimes been referred to as the hockey stick. Source: IPCC (2001).

McShane and Wyner re-examine and replot the data below …

Backcast from Bayesian Model of Section 5. CRU Northern Hemisphere annual mean land temperature is given by the thin black line and a smoothed version is given by the thick black line. The forecast is given by the thin red line and a smoothed version is given by the thick red line. The model is fit on 1850-1998 AD and backcasts 998-1849 AD. The cyan region indicates uncertainty due to t, the green region indicates uncertainty due to β, and the gray region indicates total uncertainty.

“Not only are the results stunning, but the paper is highly readable, written in a sensible style that most laymen can absorb, even if they don’t understand some of the finer points of bayesian and loess filters, or principal components. Not only that, this paper is a confirmation of McIntyre and McKitrick’s work, with a strong nod to Wegman. I highly recommend reading this and distributing this story widely.”

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/17/breaking-new-paper-makes-a-hockey-sticky-wicket-of-mann-et-al-99/

The original paper submitted by McShane and Wyner to Annals of Applied Statistics here: A Statistical Analysis of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions of Surface Temperatures Over the Last 1000 Years Reliable?

EXCERPT:

On the one hand, we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a ”long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data … Consequently, the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of regression and less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth… Climate scientists have greatly underestimated the uncertainty of proxy based reconstructions and hence have been overconfident in their models…  

Global Warming: IPCC Global Warming Model Used To Predict Temp Changes Overstates Warming By 60% – American Meteorological Society

Abstract

The observed increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST) over the industrial era is less than 40% of that expected from observed increases in long-lived greenhouse gases together with the best-estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity given by the 2007 Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Possible reasons for this warming discrepancy are systematically examined here. The warming discrepancy is found to be due mainly to some combination of two factors: the IPCC best estimate of climate sensitivity being too high and/or the greenhouse gas forcing being partially offset by forcing by increased concentrations of atmospheric aerosols; the increase in global heat content due to thermal disequilibrium accounts for less than 25% of the discrepancy, and cooling by natural temperature variation can account for only about 15%. Current uncertainty in climate sensitivity is shown to preclude determining the amount of future fossil fuel CO2 emissions that would be compatible with any chosen maximum allowable increase in GMST; even the sign of such allowable future emissions is unconstrained. Resolving this situation, by empirical determination of the earth’s climate sensitivity from the historical record over the industrial period or through use of climate models whose accuracy is evaluated by their performance over this period, is shown to require substantial reduction in the uncertainty of aerosol forcing over this period.

Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?

 

Stephen E. Schwartz Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York

Robert J. Charlson University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Ralph A. Kahn NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

John A. Ogren NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

Henning Rodhe Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009JCLI3461.1

The full PDF of the  paper can be viewed here: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2009JCLI3461.1

2009 Obama Administration Honored BP “outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance “

MMS Industry Awards Program

 
2009 Safety Award for Excellence Finalists and Winners

These awards recognize outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry in four categories.

MMS announced the winners at the Offshore Technology Conference luncheon on May 7, 2009, in Houston, Texas.

The finalists and winners for 2009 in each of the 4 categories are listed below:

2009 Safety Award for Excellence Finalists    Production Contractors:

bullet John Whiteford, President, accepting for Baker Energy
bullet Michael Crosby, Vice President, accepting for C&D Production Specialist Company
bullet Hank Danos, President and CEO, accepting for Danos & Curole Marine Contractors *Winner*

    Drilling Contractors:

bullet Larry Dickerson, President and CEO, accepting for Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc.
bullet John Knowlton, General Manager, accepting for ENSCO International Inc.
bullet Tommy Travis, Vice President and Division Manager, accepting for Noble Drilling Corporation *Winner*
bullet Keelan Adamson, Division Manager, accepting for Transocean

    Moderate Activity Operators:

bullet Steve Maley, Operations Manager, accepting for Badger Oil Corporation
bullet Mike Kelly, Vice President, accepting for BHP Billiton Petroleum
bullet Keith Karwile, Vice President, accepting for Hunt Petroleum Corporation
bullet Michael Radabaugh, Vice-President, accepting for Noble Energy, Inc. *Winner*

    High Activity Operators:

  • Darrel Hollek, Vice President, accepting for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • Richard Morrison, VP of GoM SPU Production, accepting for BP Corporation North America, Inc
  • Tony Vaughn, Senior Vice President, Gulf Division, accepting for Devon Energy Production Company
  • Randy Cleveland, U.S. Production Manager, accepting for Exxon Mobil Corporation

http://www.mms.gov/awards/2009SAFEFinalists.htm

Gulf Oil Crisis – Sanctimonious Congressional Hearings – Obama Administration Awarded BP & Transocean 2009 Safety Award For Excellence

To: President Obama & The  U.S. Congress – Please explain this –   

MMS Industry Awards Program

 These awards recognize outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry in four categories.MMS announced the winners at the Offshore Technology Conference luncheon on May 7, 2009, in Houston, Texas.The finalists and winners for 2009 in each of the 4 categories are listed below:2009 Safety Award for Excellence Finalists   

Production Contractors:

  John Whiteford, President, accepting for Baker Energy
  Michael Crosby, Vice President, accepting for C&D Production Specialist Company
  Hank Danos, President and CEO, accepting for Danos & Curole Marine Contractors

    Drilling Contractors:

  Larry Dickerson, President and CEO, accepting for Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc.
  John Knowlton, General Manager, accepting for ENSCO International Inc.
  Tommy Travis, Vice President and Division Manager, accepting for Noble Drilling Corporation
  Keelan Adamson, Division Manager, accepting for Transocean

    Moderate Activity Operators:

  Steve Maley, Operations Manager, accepting for Badger Oil Corporation
  Mike Kelly, Vice President, accepting for BHP Billiton Petroleum
  Keith Karwile, Vice President, accepting for Hunt Petroleum Corporation
  Michael Radabaugh, Vice-President, accepting for Noble Energy, Inc.

    High Activity Operators:

  • Darrel Hollek, Vice President, accepting for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • Richard Morrison, VP of GoM SPU Production, accepting for BP Corporation North America, Inc.
  • Exxon Mobil Corporation Tony Vaughn
  • Randy Cleveland, U.S. Production Manager, accepting for

 http://www.mms.gov/awards/2009SAFEFinalists.htm

The Congress people are so sanctimonious:

Congressman Dingell is asking about “centralizers” and can’t even read his staffers notes. The ‘BIG” controversy here – Haliburton suggested that 21 “centralizers be used and only 6 “centralizers” were used. Who the hell cares? We don’t know if “centralizers had anything to do with the incident yet. They probably had nothing to do with this incident.

Asking about centralizers now is like asking an Airline President if the Hijackers of 911 were given the proper number of frequent flyer miles. The only difference is that we all know what frequent flyer miles are and most people won’t know what the heck “centralizers” are. “Centralizers” are “rings” placed along the outside of “pipe casing” to hold the casing in the center of the “well hole”. They are intended to help create a “uniform sheath of cement outside the pipe casing”. There is no information to suggest that there was anything wrong with the “cement sheath” around the pipe casing. The importance of using 6 instead of 24 “centralizers” – at present, appears to be none, however, he good Congressman can let the innuendo cast a negative light …. I’ve researched this and 1/3 of all oil wells don’t use any “centralizers” at all – centralizers are really a carryover from the 1920’s and the “oil drilling” of a much earlier day when different materials were used in the industry.

This hearing is ridiculous …. DAY 57 and we don’t know why this happened but the Congressman keep asking … so this happened because you are greedy, because you cut corners … Truthfully, the Congressman has no idea why or how this actually happened. Come November we can ask the politicians where the hell they were before it happened and where were you for the first 2 months afterward it happened.

Why didn’t anyone in Congress come to the assistance of Governor Jindal, Governor Perry and Governor Riley when they were screaming for help. How dare these Congress people sit in this silly ass committee meeting asking their politically motivated questions while the Jones Act is still preventing thousands of skimmer vessels from reaching our coast where they could provide assistance, waiving the Jones Act so we can get thousands of booms and additional assistance from dredging vessels to build more berms ……….

Oh My Gosh – A Congressperson with a memo saying “it was a nightmare well”.

How damning! Say, I can’t imagine that I am the only one to have used the term “nightmare” without it being a “Federal Offense”. When my kids were young, they could be “nightmares”, however, I never meant to imply I thought that my kids would become serial killers. Gee, some nights the drive home is a “nightmare”. As I’ve been single for some time now, I’ve learned that returning to the dating scene can be a “real nightmare”. On any given morning my hair can be “a  nightmare” too. I wonder, are there any congress people who understand the concept of a “bad hair day”. Gee I hope I don’t have to testify before Congress.

Now a Congress person is onto “cement bond logs”! Oh my gosh! – Lets reserve judgment – there is no evidence of improper cement or that improper cementing caused this incident. This may be significant or it may not – I’ll reserve judgment until I know if there were any irregularities in the cement and if irregularities in the cement played a role in this event.

Now there is a Congressman pointing to a highlighted memo, which states, “which will take 10 hours to install and I don’t like that”. I am deeply troubled that a member of Congress would take this effort to misrepresent the contents of a memo. The “upset” refers to a belief that a “contractor” was “overbilling” BP for services rendered, not that BP was trying to cut costs at the expense of safety. Anyone who has had a brake job done on their auto will understand this. When you entrust your vehicle to a “service mechanic” to have your brakes overhauled, you might resent the cost, however, you are willing to pay the prevailing rate in anticipation of having a “proper” job done. If the prevailing “rate” for the brake job includes “5 hours of labor” to complete the job, you expect the invoice to reflect as much. If, however, your mechanic submits an invoice for twice the number of hours, or “10 hours of labor” for a 5 hour job – you had better never relay an email that says “10 hours and I don’t like that”.        

Unseemly and sanctimonious.

Gulf Coast Crisis: Day 56 – BP starts burning oil leaking from well – What Took So Long?

BP starts burning oil from leaking ruptured well

By Ray Henry   Associated Press   Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 8:37 a.m. MDT
NEW ORLEANS – BP began burning oil siphoned from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday as part of its plans to more than triple the amount of crude it can stop from reaching the sea, the company said.

BP PLC said oil and gas siphoned from the well first reached a semi-submersible drilling rig on the ocean surface around 1 a.m.

Once that gas reaches the rig, it will be mixed with compressed air, shot down a specialized boom made by Schlumberger Ltd. and ignited at sea. It’s the first time this particular burner has been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP officials previously said they believed the burner system could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to 420,000 gallons of oil daily once it’s fully operational. The company did not say how much oil the new system has burned. It said work to optimize the new system was still ongoing.

Under pressure from the Coast Guard, the energy firm is attempting to expand its ability to trap leaking oil before it reaches the water. Already, oil and gas are being siphoned from a containment cap sitting over the well head and flowing to a drill ship sitting above it in the Gulf of Mexico.

Adding the burner is part of BP’s plan to expand its containment system so it can capture as much as 2.2 million gallons of oil a day by late June, or nearly 90 percent of what a team of government scientists have estimated is the maximum flow out the well.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700040730/BP-starts-burning-oil-from-leaking-ruptured-well.html

McAuleysWorld: Why did it take so long to do this? Why did BP stop burning the oil in the first place? Who were the players who participated in the decision making process? Who made the decision to stop burning oil in the first place? 

Crisis On The Gulf Coast: Day 56 – Excerpts & Criticisms of Obama’s Oval Office Speech

The Presidents words are “bolded”, the comments and criticisms are not.  

On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

The underwater spill actually began two days after the “explosion or fire” and after the “Rig” sank into the sea.  Why did the President not simply say as much – to avoid discussing why the rig sank? We don’t know if the rig sank because of fire or structural damage related to an “explosion or fire” of if the rig sank because of negligence in fighting the fire. It has been suggested that the “Rig” sank because the 4 “legs” of the rig were filled with water as a result of the firefighting. So who owned the 5 boats used to fight the fire? BP? Transocean Ltd. , the company that owned and operated the rig and was drilling the well, or the U.S. Coast Guard?  It has also been reported that the EPA prohibited the use of a chemical fire fighting agent, Purple K, that may have allowed those fighting the fire to extinguish or control the fire without sinking the rig. Had the “rig” not sank, there may be no “spill” now. Later we will review the topic of regulation, but for the moment I’ll note that the President has not suggested a need to review the actions of the Coast Guard or EPA and whether additional regulation of those entities is being considered.   

That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge – a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

Mr. President it took you 9 days to even mention the crisis. Do you expect me to believe that you “assembled a team” prior to even mentioning the event.

Who exactly, are the other team members? So Dr. Chu is the “Capitan”, but who are the team members and when were they added to the team?

Steven Chu (born February 28, 1948)[3] is an American physicist and currently the 12th United States Secretary of Energy. Working at Bell Labs and Stanford University, Chu is known for his research in cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.[3] At the time of his appointment as Energy Secretary, he was a professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where his research was concerned primarily with the study of biological systems at the single molecule level.[1] He is a vocal advocate for more research into alternative energy and nuclear power, arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combating climate change.[4][5][6] For example, he has conceived of a global “glucose economy”, a form of a low-carbon economy, in which glucose from tropical plants is shipped around like oil is today.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Chu

While Chu is a very bright man, Chu has no specific specialty even remotely related to the issues of oil production, offshore oil production or deepwater oil production. In fact, his specialty is in the remotely related field of “alternative energy” sources. If we were in the middle of a crisis involving “alternative energy sources” I doubt that I would look to a specialist in “deep water drilling” to lead the team to address the problems. Would you?

Again, I want to know which of our “experts” and “academics” are participating? What are the suggested back-up plans?

As a result of these efforts, we have directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well.

This isn’t good enough for me. A fuzzy estimate of when we will be capturing 90% of the oil. Do we have a back-up plan? The Government originally reported that 5,000 barrels a day were leaking into the gulf – that “estimate” is now 60,000 barrels a day. If we capture 90% of the 60,000 barrels that leaves 6,000 barrels leaking into the gulf, 1000 barrels more than originally estimated.

Isn’t anyone looking for alternate ways to cap the well? 

The President who gutted NASA’s budget and ended our plans to return to the moon, has the nerve to invoke memories of the Lunar Program, but can’t convene a group of our best scientists to develop an alternate plan to cap this well? How pathetic!

17 nations have offered assistance – can’t we benefit from the assistance of at least one of these Countries?

First, the cleanup. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history – an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost forty years of experience responding to disasters.

President Obama has a strange sense of time. Admiral Allen wasn’t appointed until 14 days after the spill. Mr. President, it took you 9 days to even mention the incident.  

Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. ……and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

The Governors of the involved states dispute the count of “ships & vessels” and so do I. As to the National Guard Troops, they were requested 6 weeks ago and apparently were authorized during last night’s speech. The President spent the previous two days in the gulf and then waited to return to Washington for his speech to “authorize deployment”.  

You can Google it if you like …. When you do you might note that the President authorized 1200 National Guard Troops to our southern the border to assist with immigration issues – the 1200, authorized 3 weeks ago,  have yet to arrive – maybe they are walking to the border from Washington.

Forty eight hours ago, Admiral Allen proudly announced that 400 skimmers were deployed. 400 skimmer boats for 3000 miles of coast line. Other than say, a strange desire to support American Unions during this crisis, is there any scientific reason that Dutch oil skimming vessels can’t skim oil off American waters. Scientific not political.  

Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents.

This is a great idea. Why doesn’t this approach apply to capping the well and pursuing the cleanup – why did it take so long – 7 weeks to be exact. I’m thankful for this step – but I am also overwhelmed by the totality of inaction.

I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe – that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. That was obviously not the case on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion – these families deserve to know why. And so I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.

How odd. After 7 weeks we don’t know what happened – not a clue. We have guesses but no facts. Yet the President refuses to acknowledge that we may, in fact, need no additional regulation. We may not need a single new regulation. There are over 16 million pages of regulation that that govern oil drilling …. 16 million pages. The odds are quite good that, just like with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and immigration, the regulations have already been written, but they are not being enforced today. 

Already, I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.

I’ll say this simply, I don’t trust the Presidents motives. I believe his motivation is in passing “Cap & Trade”. We have known since day two that 11 men were lost as a result of this accident. The President waited for over 40 days to schedule and capitalize on a photo opportunity with the dead men’s families.  The President has not focused on determining what the facts are and taking the actions to prevent a reoccurrence. The President and other Politicians are interested in photo opportunities and “30 second sound bites”.

Deepwater drilling has gone on for years. Rather than suspend the needed drilling, before we have even identified what went wrong or what caused the “disaster” the President could order “permanent safety inspectors” aboard the rigs to oversee operations and insure compliance with the safety standards already in place. Rather than throwing 10’s of thousands of people out of work, increasing the cost of American energy and reducing our supply of American Oil, why not do what we know to be possible now and move forward with production in the most heavily regulated manner I can think of … an ever present “inspector” overseeing the current work? Is the answer, because that won’t help the President meet his true objective, passage of “Cap & Tax”.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

Speaking of a lack of candor, cheap and easily accessible oil is, in fact, bountiful.  Americans are denied access to this “natural resource” by the politicians and their supporters in the “green agenda machine”. Environmental regulation places 80% of America’s oil “off limits”, the vast majority of which is easily accessible.  America is not “addicted” to oil. America’s reliance on oil and other fossil fuels is based on our native intelligence, an intelligence that rejects wasting trillions of dollars on “alternative fuels” that are less portable, less plentiful, less effective, and less reliable, alternative fuels that lack any type of cohesive marketing or distribution network. Other so called “clean fuels” like natural gas or nuclear energy are attacked just as is oil. The rejection of carbon fuels is about the subsidization of the “alternative energy sources” that fund and control the “green agenda”. Solar, wind and battery powered initiatives have been around and subsidized for almost 40 years. If and when these “alternative energy” programs become practical and profitable, artificial Government subsidies will not be necessary.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

Oh please, Mr. President. You have the statistics available to you; please don’t lie to the American people. China is investing in alternative energy, but it is doing so as it buys every drop of oil it can get its hands on. China is also opening 10 new coal fired energy plants every month with plans to continue to do so for the next 10 years.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels will take some time, but over the last year and a half, we have already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.  

Mr. President, we are well aware of your exaggerations concerning the “green economy” and all of the green jobs it has created.

When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.

You just could not resist the opportunity to use this tragedy to try to manipulate the people, to manipulate the Congress, to rally support for “Cap & Trade”, a policy that has been around for years, to resurrect this “bill” on the backs of those suffering in the Gulf. Mr. President “Cap & Trade” will not plug that well. “Cap & Trade” will not get the oil workers back to their jobs and Cap & Trade will not return the crowds to their vacation destinations throughout our south. “Cap & Trade” will make that small group of your supporters in the “Green Agenda Movement” wealthy beyond all imagination; a wealth that will be taken from America’s working families.

The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon. And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom.

 

Mr. President, on behalf of those working on our Space Coast, let me remind you that you gutted the NASA budget and ended our program to return to the moon. How dare you make reference to our Lunar Program when in practice you reject all that it has done and all that it can do, while you lay off the workers from the space industry, workers who will join the ranks of the oil rig workers you are putting out of work? Please save us from the rhetoric and phony job counts, more action less words.  

Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is our capacity to shape our destiny   

 

Exactly, Mr. President. We want to shape a destiny, an immediate destiny, a destiny that finds a solution to capping that well.  Let us just leave all the “Cap & Trade” frenzy for later and focus on “capping” the well and cleaning up the spill, now.

Mr. President you just don’t get it. When we, the people say, we need to get the “outhouse painted white”, we want a plan to “paint the outhouse white”, not for someone to form a working group, panel or committee of architects and environmentalists to study building a museum to display various works of “outhouse” art. Heavens no – besides it takes too long to get the Washington bureaucrats to pass all the required “outhouse art” regulations necessary to keep us all safe. Regulations no one will ever enforce.    

 The President’s full and unedited speech can be read here: http://gretawire.blogs.foxnews.com/this-is-what-president-obama-wanted-you-to-know/n

Update: BP starts burning oil from leaking ruptured well

NEW ORLEANS – BP began burning oil siphoned from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday as part of its plans to more than triple the amount of crude it can stop from reaching the sea, the company said.

BP PLC said oil and gas siphoned from the well first reached a semi-submersible drilling rig on the ocean surface around 1 a.m.

Once that gas reaches the rig, it will be mixed with compressed air, shot down a specialized boom made by Schlumberger Ltd. and ignited at sea. It’s the first time this particular burner has been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP officials previously said they believed the burner system could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to 420,000 gallons of oil daily once it’s fully operational. The company did not say how much oil the new system has burned. It said work to optimize the new system was still ongoing.

Under pressure from the Coast Guard, the energy firm is attempting to expand its ability to trap leaking oil before it reaches the water. Already, oil and gas are being siphoned from a containment cap sitting over the well head and flowing to a drill ship sitting above it in the Gulf of Mexico.

Adding the burner is part of BP’s plan to expand its containment system so it can capture as much as 2.2 million gallons of oil a day by late June, or nearly 90 percent of what a team of government scientists have estimated is the maximum flow out the well.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700040730/BP-starts-burning-oil-from-leaking-ruptured-well.html

McAuleysWorld: Why did it itake 56 days to do this? When was it first suggested? Who was involved in the decission to delay burning the oil and why was that decision made?  

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