Coldest winter in a decade coming?

by Ed Morrissey
September 29, 2009

The East Coast should brace for its coldest winter in a decade, and oil commodities traders for sharply higher prices, says a forecaster who serves the commodity markets. This comes as two people on the East Coast introduce a bill designed to combat global warming by imposing emissions controls on the energy industry — which will also make prices go higher, but for much longer and much less reason:

The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

“Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It’s pretty good odds.”

As a result, the oil traders have stockpiled heating oil to levels not seen in 27 years. Even with the huge inventory, prices have still risen, and hedge funds have kept betting on long positions for oil. They’re expecting a long, cold winter with plenty of demand for heating oil.

On the other hand, we have noted meteorologists John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, insisting that the world is growing warmer:

Ending some nine months of closed-door deliberations, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) will release global warming legislation Wednesday that they hope will be the vehicle for broader Senate negotiations and an eventual conference with the House.

The bill’s authors said last week that they expect to start hearings early next month on the bill, with a markup in Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee to follow soon thereafter. They also acknowledged that their legislation is just a “starting point” in a bid to win over moderate and conservative Democrats, as well as Republicans. …

Kerry last week sought to change the vernacular surrounding the climate bill and sell its concepts more broadly, insisting it is not a “cap and trade” proposal but a “pollution reduction” bill. “I don’t know what ‘cap and trade’ means. I don’t think the average American does,” Kerry said. “This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it’s a pollution reduction bill” (E&E Daily, Sept. 25).

But a leading GOP opponent to the Senate climate effort quickly pushed back on the Democrat’s strategy.

“No matter the semantic games employed, or the extent to which Democrats wish to hide the truth from the American people, cap and trade will mean more job losses, more pain at the pump, and higher food and electricity prices for consumers,” said EPW Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.).”

Jules Crittenden wonders why no one will explain why the El Nino didn’t get stronger rather than weaker, considering the global-warming activists insist that we’re on an inexorable path to Saunaville:

I’m confused about this bit, though. El Nino is a periodic warming in the eastern Pacific. The article doesn’t explain why it isn’t warming as much as it usually does, which is odd. I thought everything is getting warmer. El Nino is a somewhat mysterious and poorly understood phenomenon, like much of the often subtle underpinnings of weather. In fact, the article, focused mainly on what great news a cold winter is for energy traders, doesn’t mention the bigger “warming” picture at all…

…Great timing, Senators!

Addendum: It looks like a colder and longer winter for us in Minnesota, too, and that follows the 2008-9 winter, one of the coldest and longest in the last 15 years. The temperatures have dropped 15 degrees since last week. We got snow in October last year, and we may see that this year again, although it will have to drop down quite a bit farther for that. This follows a summer in which we never saw a 90-degree day. Global warming? Not so much in the upper Midwest…

The article continues at

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