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Vol. 15, No. 9 Week of February 28, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

MARCHING ON WASHINGTON, D.C. … More than 1.6 million people have joined the “Pickens Army.” Intrigued? T. Boone Pickens says the United States paid more than $27 billion for foreign oil in January, based on figures from the federal Energy Information Administration. No surprises there since the country imports 60 percent of its oil! The subhead on his monthly update points to part of Pickens’ solution to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign energy imports: “J.P. Morgan report estimates 8,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in North America.” Pickens, who wants Congress to pass “The NAT GAS Act,” says that gas “can do a lot more than just power our vehicles. It can power our economy and get America back on its feet in ways no other resource can.” The Pickens Plan, unveiled in mid-2008, is not being ignored. Visit

SPEAK OUT ON SOLAR INCENTIVES … We need to help the students out! Graduate student Mike Davidson, Evergreen State College, is researching opinions on the effectiveness of state renewable energy incentives. His project is titled “Opinions on the Effectiveness of State Government Incentives for Solar Energy.” Info and survey here:

SPEAKING OF OPINIONS … Greening of Oil has an opinion poll on the left-hand side of our contents page that stops taking votes at 11:59 p.m. on Wed., March 3. Pay a visit and tell us to what degree you trust what oil and gas companies tell the public; and to what degree you trust what anti-development groups tell the public. You have five options for each, starting with 0 percent and topping off at 100 percent. Ideas, comments or suggestions for our polls? E-mail me!

ATTENTION UNIVERSITY STUDENTS … Is your school preparing you to make a difference? Bill Streever, BP biologist and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places,” would like to hear from students and professors involved with programs “intended to prepare young environmentalists for work with industry.” Bill wants to know, “what sort of courses are out there? Are those courses integrating an understanding of how various industries work and looking at innovative environmental measures undertaken by these industries?” For the rest of what he has to say go to the comments section at the end of our recent article about him, Bill Streever: Making a difference from inside BP. Remember to scroll to the bottom of the page.

A SENSITIVE QUESTION … In my Feb. 19 column, under “Snake oil science,” I asked readers to comment on a response from one of the people in charge of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fourth assessment—the report that Sarah Palin and others refer to as snake oil science. Interestingly, most people preferred to email a private response, but two brave fellows posted comments, one with a full name—David W. Lappi, a geologist based in Alaska. Here’s a snippet from the first guy, Gary. To read what Lappi had to say, see the link that follows Gary’s comment.

From Gary: hunting for the truth takes new twists and turns.

The Climate Research Unit occupies an undistinguished grey concrete building on the storm-battered North Sea coast of England.

It’s been likened to a bunker, containing the world’s largest collection of climate-change data—Siberian tree-ring counts and Greenland ice-layer measurements among the items.

It was also where CRU head Professor Phil Jones put himself at the center of what has been dubbed Climategate.

Thousands of e-mails computer hacked from the CRU disclosed a concerted attempt to withhold data and censor people who questioned the scientific underpinning of the United Nations’ key document that insisted the “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “most” of the global temperature increase since the mid-1990s is the result of human activity.

That conclusion is endorsed by a majority of atmospheric scientists and adopted by most governments as the basis of their carbon-emissions strategies.

But when word of the CRU leaks was, in turn, leaked on the eve of the carbon-policy summit in Copenhagen in December, Jones was in a fix.

He was forced to step down pending an investigation and became the target of a vicious campaign that Jones said included “death threats. … People said I should go and kill myself. … I think about it, yes … about suicide.”

The CRU has been accused by scientists of setting back the climate-change debate by years, if not decades—a view that has likely been reinforced by Jones’s own acknowledgements on the British Broadcasting Corp. earlier in February when he said there has been no “statistically significant” global warming since 1995.

“The trend is positive (plus 0.12 degrees Centigrade per decade), but not significant at the 95 percent significance level,” he said.

Furthermore, Jones said:

• The Middle Ages may have been warmer than now, contrary to CRU denials of a Medieval Warm period.

• There is “still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties (about the science of climate change), not just for the future, but for the (distant) past as well.”

Robert Watson, the former head of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, further stoked the fires that are scorching one of the most critical sources of climate data, when he said the CRU “mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying.”

To read what geologist David W. Lappi had to say on the subject, go to

Contact me! I am Greening of Oil’s social networker. My weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and on Greening of Oil’s Buzz page. My email address is [email protected]

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