Facts Matter; Stupid systems with perverse incentives.

Walker talks budget fix during Homer visit
Homer News, Megan Pacer, May 23, 2018

During a visit to Homer last Thursday, Gov. Bill Walker touted a relieved, cautiously optimistic message: Alaska is on the mend, fiscally. Walker’s talk at the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and an interview with the Homer News was part of a post-Legislature tour by state officials. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director Ken Alper also spoke at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for a chamber brown-bag luncheon.

Our Take: In response to a question about his stance on the Pebble mine, Governor Walker claimed that the entire Bristol Bay fishery could be lost. Facts matter, especially when you are asking the people of Alaska to re-elect you. We’d like to see the data that led to this wild, inaccurate statement but have a sneaking feeling that there isn’t any.

Arctic refuge production likely to hit 880,000 b/d: EIA
Argus, May 24, 2018

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could double Alaska’s oil production even under conservative estimates of the area’s resource base, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Oil production from the refuge would peak at 560,000 b/d in 2039 if the resource is only 5.7bn bl, EIA said yesterday. That is twice as much as is currently produced in the state and would cause throughput on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) to approach 1.1mn b/d, a level that last occurred nearly two decades ago.

Our Take: Lots of naysayers about ANWR’s potential – the EIA is a nonpartisan, well respected agency. Filling the pipeline isn’t a pipe dream.

New EID Video/Digital Campaign Launches Ahead of Climate Panel Focused on Boulder Climate Lawsuit
Energy In Depth, Spencer Walrath, May 24, 2018

A new Energy in Depth digital short launching today provides the facts and information on why the Boulder climate lawsuit is simply the wrong approach for Colorado. The video features key Colorado voices pushing back against the suit and shows how Colorado’s energy industry is helping grow the economy while improving the environment. The video launches the day before an event sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that will take a deeper dive into the lawsuit itself and the ramifications for Colorado manufacturers.

Our Take: Facts matter part 2: “the state’s leading newspaper has criticized the lawsuit. In an editorial, the Denver Post wrote: “Such lawsuits are especially unfortunate in a state like Colorado where tens of thousands of people work in a vibrant energy industry and understandably do not consider themselves engaged in a malignant occupation. And yet when the companies they work for are stigmatized and even demonized for engaging in commerce still critical to our economy, by extension so are they.” This scenario certainly could be applied to Alaska where tens of thousands of people work in a vibrant energy industry.

OPEC, Russia prepared to raise oil output under U.S. pressure

Reuters, Katya Golubkova, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Rania El Gamal, May 24, 2018

Saudi Arabia and Russia are discussing raising OPEC and non-OPEC oil production by some 1 million barrels a day, sources said, while OPEC’s chief said a complaint from U.S. President Donald Trump over high prices had triggered the idea of upping output. OPEC began a discussion about easing production cuts following a critical tweet from Trump, OPEC’s Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said. Trump tweeted last month that OPEC had “artificially” boosted oil prices.

Our Take: Is OPEC really making economic decisions in response to a tweet from President Trump?

How Scientists Succumb to Corruption and Cook Results

Bloomberg, Faye Flam, May 25, 2018

It starts with a dash of temptation. Stir in some rationalization and deception. The final and key ingredient is: stupid systems with perverse incentives. Horrible bosses can cause misery in any kind of business, but in science, they wield uniquely destructive power. In a recent survey compiled by the journal Nature, a number of young scientists reported that they felt pressured to find “particular results” that would presumably please their bosses, as opposed to the truth. That’s a problem for society at large, since it degrades the integrity of research that we’re supporting.