The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century. The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick. The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees -- thus showing ZERO warming

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

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30 November, 2017

Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions

The Simple Physics of Energy Use

We all like the convenience of electrical energy. It lights our home and offices, and drives motors that are needed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that keep us comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside. It’s essential for refrigeration that secures our food supply. In short, it makes modern life with all its comfort and conveniences possible.

However, most electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas, leading to carbon dioxide emissions that could be responsible for climate change. In many circles there is a comforting belief that renewables such as solar and wind can replace fossil fuel electrical generation and leave us free to live as we do without carbon dioxide emissions. Fundamental physics and engineering considerations show that this is not so.

Power needs fluctuate with time of the day and, to a lesser extent, day of the week. In most places, peaks occur in the evening when people come home, start cooking, and turn on lights and entertainment systems. In Arizona in summer, the peaks are even more extreme due to the air conditioners all cutting in. There are also morning peaks, as people get up and turn on lights and hair dryers. Commercial and industrial use generally doesn’t change much throughout the day. The electrical utilities call this a baseload.

The wicked capitalist-monopoly electric utilities have spoiled us; we’ve gotten used to the idea that we can turn on the lights at night and run an electrical appliance at any time we want. Since electrical energy cannot be stored in sufficient quantities, the utilities are always continuously matching supply and demand. Power generation systems that take a long time to ramp up or down, like nuclear or coal, are left running continuously and used to meet baseload demand. Fast response turbines using natural gas are typically used to match peaks.

Solar and wind present two problems. One is low power density; massive areas have to be devoted to power generation. The other, more serious problem is intermittency. If we only wanted to run electrical appliances when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fine, but don’t expect to use solar to turn on your light at night! So solar and wind cannot manage on their own; it’s always solar or wind AND something else. It’s hard to make it all work. They need either extensive storage or to be used in combination with gas turbines.

Batteries are also not a solution. In principle, I could run my house in Arizona on solar energy because almost every day is sunny. However, I would need a battery as big as the one in the Tesla S, about eight times the size of the Powerwall marketed for homes, and it would have to be replaced every three years. As Elon Musk said “Batteries suck.”

On a large scale, the only practical solution is pumped hydroelectric, where water is pumped uphill when there’s sunshine or wind and runs downhill to generate electricity when the wind stops blowing or the sun doesn’t shine. In many places, the extended sunny days are in the summer, the windy periods are in March and October, but the electrical energy is needed in the winter. In such cases, very large reservoirs are needed, comparable to the 250-square-mile lakes like Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Very few places meet these conditions.

So in practice, solar and wind have to be combined with gas turbines to deal with the drop in electricity generated when the sun goes down or the wind dies away. If the solar or wind displaces coal it results in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. However if solar or wind displaces nuclear that cannot be ramped up and down, more carbon dioxide is emitted because gas turbines have to be used when the sun isn’t shining and the wind stops blowing. Displacing the highly efficient combined cycle natural gas power plants, on average, results in no change in emissions. The gains from not running the fossil fuel plant when the renewable is available are offset by the losses from running the less efficient gas turbine on its own when the renewable is not available.

One can easily verify this claim by looking to Germany, which has been in the forefront of adopting solar and wind in their Energiewende or energy transition. There is now as much solar and wind generating capacity in Germany as coal and natural gas. Has the increased reliance on renewables made any difference in Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions? Evidence suggests it hasn’t changed very much.

The careful reader may note that the French emit less carbon dioxide per person than the Germans and attribute it to the fact that the Germans are busy churning out BMWs and Bosch appliances, while the French lounge around on extended lunch breaks. However, the reality is more prosaic. The French baseload is almost completely nuclear with negligible carbon dioxide emissions.

If one really wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions the best thing to do is substitute nuclear power for coal. However, that path is not available in the United States, where nuclear is a four letter word. Instead, we have achieved significant reductions in baseload carbon dioxide emissions over the last decade by substituting high-efficiency combined cycle natural gas for coal burning plants, a change made possible by the low cost of natural gas from fracking. The carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of electrical energy generated is approximately three to four times lower than in the corresponding coal-fired power plant, resulting from the higher thermal efficiency (50-60%) of combined cycle natural gas, compared to coal (30-35%) and the greater amount of energy from natural gas for a given quantity of carbon dioxide emitted.

To make a real difference one has to make a serious impact on the baseload. Intermittent renewables can’t do this, which is why they won’t significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions.


Wind and Solar Power Advance, but Carbon Refuses to Retreat

Global carbon-dioxide emissions have stopped rising. Coal use in China may have peaked. The price of wind turbines and solar panels is plummeting, putting renewable energy within the reach of meager budgets in the developing world.

And yet as climate diplomats gather this week in Bonn, Germany, for the 23rd Conference of the Parties under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, I would like to point their attention to a different, perhaps gloomier statistic: the world’s carbon intensity of energy.

The term refers to a measure of the amount of CO2 spewed into the air for each unit of energy consumed. It offers some bad news: It has not budged since that chilly autumn day in Kyoto 20 years ago. Even among the highly industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the carbon intensity of energy has declined by a paltry 4 percent since then, according to the International Energy Agency.

This statistic, alone, puts a big question mark over the strategies deployed around the world to replace fossil energy. In a nutshell: Perhaps renewables are not the answer.

Over the past 10 years, governments and private investors have collectively spent $2 trillion on infrastructure to draw electricity from the wind and the sun, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Environmental Progress, a nonprofit that advocates nuclear power as an essential tool in the battle against climate change, says that exceeds the total cost of all nuclear plants built to date or under construction, adjusted for inflation.

Capacity from renewable sources has grown by leaps and bounds, outpacing growth from all other sources — including coal, natural gas and nuclear power — in recent years. Solar and wind capacity installed in 2015 was more than 10 times what the International Energy Agency had forecast a decade before.

Still, except for very limited exceptions, all this wind and sun has not brought about much decarbonization. Indeed, it has not added much clean power to the grid.

Environmental Progress performed an analysis of the evolution of the carbon intensity of energy in 68 countries since 1965. It found no correlation between the additions of solar and wind power and the carbon intensity of energy: Despite additions of renewable capacity, carbon intensity remained flat.

Some countries have bucked the trend. Denmark has sharply cut its carbon intensity with vast installations of wind turbines. And yet Germany’s experience seems to be more typical. The country went all out in deploying wind and solar energy over the past 10 years, but the decline in carbon intensity was minuscule, from 212 to 203 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.

The renewables-or-bust crowd on the periphery of the meeting in Bonn might argue that the sun and wind owe their poor track record at decarbonization in countries like Germany to the fact that nuclear power was being phased out at the same time that they came online.

It is true that Germans would have made more progress in the battle against climate change had they kept their nuclear reactors running and shut plants burning lignite instead. Still, there are other reasons behind renewables’ poor track record in decarbonizing electricity.

Nuclear power faces hurdles beyond popular mistrust. Notably, reactors require a lot of capital up front. But renewables have a hard time producing power at a nuclear scale.

For instance, the Diablo Canyon reactor that California plans to close produces 14 times as much power as the Topaz solar farm, which requires 500 times as much land, according to Environmental Progress. The Wind Catcher farm in Oklahoma occupies 2,400 times as much land as Diablo Canyon but produces half as much energy.

The most worrisome aspect about the all-out push for a future powered by renewables has to do with cost: The price of turbines and solar panels may be falling, but the cost of integrating these intermittent sources of energy — on when the wind blows and the sun shines; off when they don’t — is not. This alone will sharply curtail the climate benefits of renewable power.

Integrating renewable sources requires vast investments in electricity transmission — to move power from intermittently windy and sunny places to places where power is consumed. It requires maintaining a backstop of idle plants that burn fossil fuel, for the times when there is no wind or sun to be had. It requires investing in power-storage systems at a large scale.

These costs will ultimately be reflected in power prices. One concern is that by raising the retail cost of electricity they will discourage electrification, encouraging consumers to rely on alternative energy sources like gas — and pushing CO2 emissions up.

Another concern is that they will drive wholesale energy prices down too far. Because they produce the most energy when the sun is up and the wind is blowing, renewable generators can flood the grid at critical times of the day, slashing the price of power. This not only threatens the solvency of nuclear reactors, which cannot shut down on a dime and must therefore pay for the grid to accept their power, but also reduces the return on additional investment in renewables.

A study by Lion Hirth of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin found that the value of wind power falls from 110 percent of the average power price to 50 to 80 percent as the penetration of wind rises from zero to 30 percent of total consumption. “Competitive large-scale renewables deployment will be more difficult to accomplish than many anticipate,” he concluded.

The diplomats in Bonn may be tempted to wave away these concerns. Thomas Bruckner of the University of Leipzig argues that in the case of Germany, expanding renewables to supply 80 percent of power by 2050 is “not a significant burden.” Heavy German investment in renewable energy technologies over the last decade succeeded in bringing prices down, he contends; it will be much cheaper to go the rest of the way.

Perhaps. But there is some evidence that among investors, at least, the excitement may be waning. After half a decade of sustained increases, investment in solar and wind energy has been fairly flat since 2010, at around $250 billion per year. While that is a lot of money, it is nowhere near enough.

“We will need twice as much investment over a sustained period of time to get anywhere close to achieving 2 degrees,” said Ethan Zindler, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in the Americas, referring to the objective of the world’s climate diplomats: keep the average world temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above its average in the late 19th century.

I would suggest that the challenge is not just to raise more money. Building a zero-carbon energy system requires broader thinking about the technological mix.


NOAA Lets Politics Corrupt Its Science

Larry Bell

Objective science once conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was coopted by the Obama administration to push anti-fossil energy policies under the guise of CO2 influences on climate change and ocean acidification. Just as they got caught by a whistleblower fudging ocean temperature records in advance of 2015 U.N. Paris Climate talks, they also actively played politics to garner media alarm attributing CO2 emissions to invalidated claims of impacts upon aquatic ecosystems.

As I previously reported in my Feb. 13 Newsmax column titled "Whistleblower Links NOAA Study to Climate Treaty Agendas," former NOAA scientist Jim Bates charged that his boss Thomas Karl had "adjusted" sea surface temperature measurements between 1998 and 2012 in order to make recent global temperature changes appear to warm more than twice as much as the original records showed.

Karl then rushed to publish his scientifically unverified report in time "to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy." The U.K.’s Daily Mail reported, "His [Bates’] vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a 'blatant attempt to intensify the impact' of what became known as the Pausebuster Paper."

In July, 2014, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed NOAA for the suspicious research records. NOAA has subsequently stonewalled demands for Karl’s corroborating research evidence and related internal communications . . . even from Congress.

As Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, explained, "It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get politically correct results they want, and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made."

Internal emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by website publisher and attorney Steven Milloy reveal NOAA media campaigns to politicize unsubstantiated CO2-caused ocean ecosystem impacts along with its "evil twin" climate influences.

A communication from NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Director Libby Jewett lauds a previous "great job" by staff member Madelyn Applebaum in writing "two widely-praised and referenced op-eds." She notes that the first one on space weather was quickly bumped up to Obama White House Science Director John Holdren.

The second article addressing ocean acidification (OA) which was developed "literally overnight" was also immediately approved by Holdren. It appeared in an Oct. 15, 2015 New York Times article titled "Our Deadened, Carbon-Soaked Seas."

Although written by Applebaum, the co-authorship was attributed to NOAA’s Chief Scientist Richard Spinrod and his U.K. counterpart Ian Boyd.

Jewett wrote that Boyd was "very interested in doing another op-ed on ocean acidification, and our team hopes that Madelyn can be assigned to develop it." She continued, "Ideally, the op-ed could appear in the fall prior to the second ocean conference at which Secretary Kerry and ocean acidification will be prominent. We want visibility for NOAA’s pioneering global leadership to be prominent too!"

Whereas later emails show that The New York Times initially rejected the proposed op-ed for its U.S. print edition, NOAA staff achieved success getting it placed in the newspaper’s The New York Times International print edition and its online Again attributed to co-authorship by Spinrod and Boyd, it was ominously titled, "In a High CO2 World, Dangerous Waters Ahead."

Research ecologist Shallin Busch at NOAA’s Fisheries Service insisted that the op-ed exaggerated the ocean acidification problem. Writing to Madelyn Applebaum she said " . . . the study of the biological impacts of OA is so young that we don’t have any data sets that show a direct effect of OA on population health or trajectory."

Busch later suggested in another e-mail, "It might be good to mention that some species will be harmed by ocean acidification, some will benefit, and some won’t respond at all!"

A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study that I reported in my April 10, 2012 column, "Is Your SUV Killing Ocean Coral Reefs?" agrees with this observation. Their findings concluded that the world’s marine biota are "more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions identifying ocean acidification as a major threat to marine biodiversity."

Higher seawater carbonation levels and temperatures actually have positive effects upon many marine species. Included are shell-building "calcifers" which are observed to grow faster over natural volcanic CO2 vents.

Most of the significantly negative responses occurred at atmospheric concentrations exceeding 2,000 parts per million (ppm). This is five times higher than the current 400 ppm today, and about three times higher than even the alarmist U.N.’s IPCC predicts will occur by end of this century.

No one should doubt that the health of ocean ecosystems must be of vital concern. For exactly this same reason we must be able to place trust in a non-political NOAA to get both its facts and messaging straight.


Ireland faces €600m fine for missing EU energy targets

Ireland’s failure to tackle climate change was laid bare yesterday in a report that showed greenhouse gas emissions had risen by 7 per cent since 2015 despite policies aimed at reducing them.

The country is likely to face multimillion-euro fines for failing to meet EU 2020 targets or will have to spend similar amounts buying credits from member states who overachieve on their targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that comprehensive action must be taken after its latest report showed that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 3.5 per cent last year on top of a similar rise in 2015. The increases, caused by the growing economy, have undone all the progress made since 2009.


Australia's Barrier reef not as fragile as once thought

It has inbuilt recovery from damage mechanisms

About 100 coral reefs within the Great Barrier Reef have been identified as having particular resilience that may help corals recover from bleaching and other threats.

The hardy "robust source reefs" – about 112 in number or about 3 per cent of total coverage – were found to be in cooler, outer reefs.

Their location helped shield them from the recent back-to-back annual bleaching that had devastated corals, the Australian and British researchers found.

Their proximity to stronger ocean currents than inland reefs also meant their annual spawning events could disperse coral larvae over a large region, fostering recovery after bleaching or cyclones.

A third characteristic was a relative absence of crown-of-thorns starfish, lowering their susceptibility to that threat.

Peter Mumby, one of the authors of the reef paper appearing on Wednesday in PLOS Biology, said a single coral spawning event from the robust sites could "almost reach half the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef".

"These sites are important ecologically, providing some of the backbone of the reef," said Professor Mumby, who is based at the University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences.

"We are trying to uncover the natural life-support system of the reef, so we can then support it," he said, adding: "The reef is much better connected than we thought."

The importance of supporting natural recovery processes would likely increase in the future "as climate change reduces the average size of coral populations and the need for recolonisation becomes more frequent," the paper said.

But with most of the robust sites clustered off Mackay in the central-south region of the Great Barrier Reef, any relative resilience might be of little benefit to more distant regions, such as the northern end.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


29 November, 2017

Canadian Documentary Pokes Holes in Global-Warming Mantra

Our planet is actually colder than previous eras when life already existed, and, believe it or not, carbon dioxide does not have any clear correlation with global temperature growth. Examining climate fluctuations and natural dynamics from over 12,000 or 50,000 years appears to discredit the arguments of climate-change alarmists and the assertion of man-made global warming.

The documentary The Environment: A True Story invites us to rethink global warming and to question what the media and some influential actors say about it. Produced by Canadian history professor John Robson, the film presents historical evidence and comments from climate scientists, such as climatologist Richard Keen from the University of Colorado, Boulder, to demonstrate that “alarmism is not a good science.”

Robson, who describes himself as a passionate environmentalist, demonstrates in two hours and 40 minutes that the Earth's climate has always fluctuated. It is, therefore, derelict to blame humans for something that already happened when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It is even worse to study global warming with computer models originally designed to predict natural phenomenon that have, at most, only 150 years of recorded data.

Robson claims that a historical overview of the geographical and weather conditions of the planet is enough to shake up the commonly accepted belief in man-made global warming.

The interviewed specialists explain that the Earth passes through cycles of big ice ages and big melts. The Holocene epoch — the period since the last ice age — began 12,000 years back and has permitted human life, but it is actually an interglacial stage. Now the Earth is approaching the next big melt, and that explains some rising temperatures in recent years.

Robson suggests another key line of reasoning: the natural processes of the Earth recycle and reuse almost everything, including carbon dioxide. CO2 emissions are not as harmful as alarmists argue, and their presence “does not explain the climate variability” to the degree that sun activity does. In other words, the magnetic field of the sun alters the physical dynamics of the Earth, particularly those related to the water cycle. Therefore, the climate scientists presented argue that water vapor is instead the most important greenhouse gas when it comes to global temperature change.

Despite the film's long duration of almost three hours, it addresses specific topics in brief scenes and presents consistent evidence against the analyses that favor man-made global warming. Robson finally recommends that decision-makers, who are wrongly basing their policies on alarmist analyses, stop wasting money and time on trying to solve a natural event and deal instead with real threats, such as withdrawing plastic from the oceans and taking conscious care of “our only home,” the Earth.


Opposition to movement of fracking sand

Sounds like they are desperate to find something to protest about

SUPPORTERS OF Olympia Stand, a climate justice coalition in Olympia, Washington, has constructed an encampment blocking the railroad tracks to the Port of Olympia--under a banner reading "No Fracking Sand in Our Port."

The purpose of the blockade is to prevent fracking sands, known as ceramic proppants, from being shipped from the port to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and other places.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of extracting oil and natural gas from source rock, primarily shale. This is done by pumping a mixture of fracking sands, and large amounts of water and chemicals into the veins of the source rock to open them and extract the oil and natural gas.

As one activist at the blockade said in an interview: "We are here because we reject the port's complicity with the fossil fuel industry. For example, they have a bad contract with Rainbow Ceramics [the Houston-based company that produces the proppants] that allows the proppants to be stored at the port for free."

At about the same time last year and at the same place, a similar blockade was built to stop the trains then shipping fracking sands to North Dakota. The same activist added, "We are here to celebrate the anniversary of last year's blockade and also the 10-year anniversary of the attempt to prevent the port from sending military equipment to [Joint Base Lewis McCord]."

In 2007, members and supporters of Port Military Resistance engaged in a protest that included street battles with police over transporting military equipment between the port and Joint Base Lewis McCord. The equipment consisted mostly of motor vehicles that were returning from Iraq for maintenance and repair and were then scheduled to be returned to Iraq.

OLYMPIA PORT Resistance, a participant in the current encampment and blockade, has issued two demands: First, that the Port of Olympia cease all fossil fuel and military infrastructure shipments; and second, that control of the port should be horizontal and democratic.

The second demand relates to concerns about the port that many area residents share. The port is governed by a commission consisting of three members. Only one of the members, E.J. Zita, has opposed allowing the port to accept anti-ecological and military cargos.

The future of the blockade is unclear. As this article was being written, it had lasted for four days. Both the Olympia Police Department and Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks, have stated that they have no plans to break the encampment up.

However, last year after the blockade had stood for about a week, a railroad lawyer offered to meet with representatives of the encampment the following day, assuring them that no efforts would be made to disrupt the encampment beforehand.

Instead, both local police and railroad police raided the encampment at 4 a.m. on the day that the meeting was to take place. Twelve demonstrators were arrested and others were injured in the process.

Whatever happens this time around, activists have one message for attempts to ship fracking materials: "No frackin' way!"


Beware the army worm

Africa needs GM crops

An even more dangerous foe than Robert Mugabe is stalking Africa. Early last year, a moth caterpillar called the fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, turned up in Nigeria. It has quickly spread across most of Africa. This is fairly terrifying news, threatening to undo some of the unprecedented improvements in African living standards of the past two decades. Many Africans depend on maize for food, and maize is the fall armyworm’s favourite diet.

Fortunately, there is a defence to hand. Bt maize, grown throughout the Americas for many years, is resistant to insects. The initials stand for a bacterium that produces a protein toxic to insects but not to people. Organic farmers have been using the bacterium as a pesticide for more than five decades, but it is expensive. Bt maize has the protein inside the plant, thanks to genetic engineers, who took a gene from the bacterium and put it in the plant.

However, influenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, or suffering famine, relieved by expensive imports of food.

Fortunately, inch by inch Africa is changing its mind on biotech crops, though only South Africa has approved Bt maize. Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya are slowly changing their legislation. But bureaucrats with empires to build keep putting roadblocks in the way of change, and environmental pressure groups are campaigning to undermine the efforts.

Some years ago I spoke to the leaders of a large charity working with African farmers and asked them why they did not come out in support of biotechnology. They replied that they dared not do so for fear of retribution from the big environmental pressure groups, such as Greenpeace, for which opposition to biotechnology is a totemic issue when fundraising in Europe.

Money came before humanity, in other words. Greenpeace’s former director, Stephen Tindale, changed his mind about biotechnology and said two years ago, before his death: “I worry for Greenpeace and the other green groups because they could, by taking such a hard line . . . be seen to be putting ideology before the need for humanitarian action.”

Last year 129 winners of the Nobel prize signed a letter, saying: “We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology.” Yet Greenpeace remains opposed to biotech crops. The European Parliament also voted to accept a Green Party report arguing against involvement in a new international agricultural technology initiative in Africa because of the involvement of biotech firms. A Kenyan farmer, Gilbert Arap Bor, wrote: “They want us to remain agricultural primitives, stuck with technologies that were antiquated even before we entered the 21st century.”

More than half of the two billion people who will be added to the world’s population by 2050 will be Africans. Yet feeding the continent’s growing population, largely from African farms, is possible. And, like Asia before it, Africa can initially prosper through agriculture more than any other industry, but only if there is a green revolution of farming modernisation comparable to what happened in Asia in the Sixties.

The average yield of an African maize crop is less than a quarter of that of a North American crop, even before the effect of the fall armyworm. This is largely down to a lack of fertilisers, pesticides, hybrid seeds and biotechnology, and frequent drought. Hybrid seeds alone, produced by conventional breeding, can deliver improvements in yield of 20 to 30 per cent, I’m told. Drought-resistant varieties, also conventionally produced, can double the yield. But neither helps against the fall armyworm.

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation is co-ordinating a public-private partnership called Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema). Its aim is to develop drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize using both biotechnology and modern techniques of conventional breeding. Its first product, a drought-tolerant, white maize hybrid seed, was delivered to farmers in Kenya four years ago. It resulted in a harvest of 4.5 tons per hectare, compared with 1.8 tons normally. The Wema project has the support of industry to make the varieties available royalty-free to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa through African seed companies. Monsanto, for example, is giving away its intellectual property in the region.

Ah, say its critics, but Monsanto is hoping that Africans will use its hybrids and thus become rich enough to buy more seeds from it one day. Yes, and what is wrong with that? Suppose Wema does result in many African smallholders earning enough money to buy a tractor, put a child through school and go into the market in search of the best seeds, as well as sufficient fertiliser? Where’s the problem? All right, say the critics, but resistance to the Bt toxin is already developing in fall armyworms in Brazil. True, but so is resistance to insecticides. Agriculture is an arms race against the other species, and newer techniques should keep us easily one step ahead, so long as we do not prevent them.

The next technology to help farming will be gene-editing, different from the transgenic technique that produced Bt maize, and involving the introduction of no foreign DNA, the thing that critics say they most object to. A tweak to the genes of maize can make it resistant to maize lethal necrosis, a viral disease hurting yields in parts of Africa. There is an opportunity for Britain here. Freed from Europe’s deadly precautionary principle, British plant scientists could be well placed to support their colleagues in Africa.

Those who think poverty a price worth paying for nostalgia say we should go back to traditional agriculture, in better harmony with the land. Not if we want wildlife. Globally, if we had the yields of 1960 we would need more than twice as much land to feed today’s population. In which case, you could kiss goodbye to all rainforests, nature reserves and national parks.


Climate Change Alarmism Is ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out,’ Retired NASA Physicist Says

Unvalidated climate models that don’t correspond with physical data and the requirements of the scientific method contribute to unfounded climate alarmism, a retired NASA physicist said at the Heartland Institute’s recent America First Energy Conference.

Since America’s national security depends in part on energy security, unsubstantiated claims about global warming that prevent policymakers from making “rational decisions” with regard to the development of U.S. energy resources have become a national security threat, said Hal Doiron, a 16-year NASA veteran.

The “propaganda” underpinning climate alarmism is “causing tremendous political bottlenecks” that prevent government officials from “doing the right thing” on energy, he said.

Doiron, who helped develop the Apollo Lunar Module’s landing dynamics software during NASA’s moon missions, also expressed concern that the U.S. military has been directly affected by climate alarmist claims separated from sound science.

He criticized the Navy for “preparing for something that is unreasonable and would cost too much money” in the form of “extreme sea-level rise,” which has not been borne out by rigorous scientific study. 

Doiron defines unvalidated climate models as those that do not agree with physical data. Public policy and military planning should be based only on models validated by physical data, he said.

“At NASA, we have a policy: You can’t make a design decision on a spacecraft or rocket that is not validated,” he said. “You don’t make critical decisions based on ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ Yet our government has been doing that with respect to climate alarm, because too many academics in universities are writing papers, drawing conclusions from models that don’t agree with physical data.”

Doiron is part of a group called “The Right Climate Stuff,” which includes engineers and scientists from across generations who have taken part in NASA’s most high-profile missions dating back to Apollo.

The group has produced its own “rigorous, earth surface temperature model using conservation-of-energy principles” that operates similarly to the way the surface and internal temperature of a spacecraft is analyzed, the Right Climate Stuff team explains on its website.

The reports produced from the analysis provide more “realistic projections” of the rise in the earth’s surface temperature over the next 150 years that show severe anti-fossil fuel regulations are not justified, Doiron and other former NASA team members contend.

“The scientific method requires that your hypothesis and theories be confirmed by physical data,” he said. “Computer models are not physical data, although I think many in academia don’t understand that.”

When unvalidated models are compared with validated models based on physical evidence, the validated models predict much less global warming, Doiron said. Moreover, the fact that unvalidated models often don’t agree with each other should be a “big, red flag.”

The retired NASA physicist is calling for U.S. policymakers to establish official data on two key metrics; specifically, “the true sensitivity of surface temperature to greenhouse gases” and a “reasonable projection of greenhouse emissions and [the] concentrations rise in our atmosphere.”

Doiron and his team have developed “a new metric” called “transient climate sensitivity,” which measures how much warming can be seen with a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the “way that it’s actually happening,” based on a “very small amount of [carbon dioxide] each year.”

That’s something that can be measured and verified against available physical data, he said. But because policymakers, including military planners, are not operating from reasonable projections, they are not in a position to adequately plan for the future, Doiron cautioned.

Another way climate change alarmism has worked to undermine America’s national security standing is by consuming too much of the military budget at the expense of military readiness, a top naval commander said during the panel discussion.

Adm. Thomas Hayward, who retired from the Navy as chief of naval operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after serving as commander of the 7th Fleet and commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, also addressed the Heartland Institute’s energy conference and sounded concerns.

For the past six to eight years, Hayward said, climate change has been given “a higher priority” than the readiness of the Navy’s fleet. During that time, the Defense Department has spent $100 billion on “just climate change,” while the Navy has spent “$58 billion chasing what is called the ‘green fleet.’”

That means many Navy vessels are using biofuels, but Hayward wonders how many ports around the world are equipped to accommodate Navy vessels that rely on a high percentage of biofuels, and he worries how that would work in a combat situation.

This report has been modified to state correctly how much Hayward said the Defense Department has spent on climate change.


Crocodiles:  Conservative Australian politician versus "experts"

Crocs mean "no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast" but that's OK by the Greenies, apparently. They also look at the long term average of croc attacks and say it is low but that is an inappropriate statistic where the population is rising.  They should look at the trend.  And if you do that you see the four recent attacks as a minimum not as an outlier.

And to demonstrate ecological benefit from lots of crocs they had to go to Brazil.  Pretty good evidence that there are no such benefits here.

They are right in saying that crocs are a tourist attraction and some areas should be set aside for that purpose.  But limiting their Queensland population to the Daintree and parts North would be a reasonable compromise.  That would leave a big areas for crocs while leaving most of the North Queensland coast safe.  But compromise is alien to Greenies.  They always want it all

Australian politician Bob Katter wants to launch a war … against crocodiles. 

Katter, known for his controversial opinions on multiple topics including same-sex marriage, claimed on Nov. 15 that there are too many crocodiles in Australia. They have no natural enemies, and in the Australian region of North Queensland alone, they eat up to four people each year, he said.

Katter made the anti-croc statement on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program "Insiders"

But crocodile experts assert that the ancient reptiles are, in fact, good for Australia.

The animals have a positive effect on the ecosystem, as well as the local economy, said Adam Britton, a leading crocodile expert and zoologist at Charles Darwin University in Australia. Though Britton conceded that crocodiles in the rivers of northern Australia can threaten people's lives, these dangers can be easily managed, he said.

"There are probably between 150 [thousand] and 180 thousand crocodiles in the Northern Territory [of Australia] and some 40 [thousand] to 50 thousand in Queensland," Britton told Live Science. "They are certainly not endangered. But over the last 30 to 40 years, we were able to deal with the risks [posed by crocodiles] via a management program."

For local people, that program means no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast.

Britton, who runs the website CrocBITE, which monitors attacks by all sorts of crocodile species around the world, noted that North Queensland has experienced an unusual streak of crocodile attacks over the past year. However, he said that he doesn't think there are too many crocodiles in Queensland's rivers. Rather, the croc population is still recovering from overhunting that occurred in the first half of the 20th century, he said.

"This year has been a little bit unusual for Queensland," Britton said. "They had four attacks in total. Two of them were fatal. It has been the worst year they've had for a long time."

But in the long term, the statistics look less sinister, Britton said. "Over the last 10 years, there have been 14 crocodile attacks in North Queensland, six of them fatal," he said. "That would be about one person killed by crocodiles every 20 months."

Most of the victims had ignored a slew of warning signs, Britton said. The crocodile habitats are known and marked by warning signs, yet some people decide to risk their lives nonetheless.

In one of the recent cases, for example, a guy "was attacked by a crocodile when he was showing off to a girl," Britton said. "He jumped into the water, where he knew there were crocodiles, and sure enough, one of them bit him. It's like putting on a blindfold and walking into a highway. You may be lucky or you may not."

Britton added that even though crocodiles place limitations on people living in the areas, northern Australia benefits from the animals' presence. The reptiles attract adventure-seeking tourists, and the wild-crocodile egg-harvesting program is an important source of income for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, he said. Harvesters can sell the eggs to crocodile farms that breed the animals for skins, which are popular in the fashion industry.

Moreover, artificially reducing the crocodile population could disrupt the balance of the wider ecosystem, Britton said.

"There are examples from other parts of the world," Britton said. "For example, in Brazil, when they removed black caimans [a large crocodile species], the economically valuable fish that were captured by local people disappeared."

After the reintroduction of the caimans, the fish population recovered. Researchers eventually found that the juvenile caimans feed on crabs, which eat fish eggs. The lack of juvenile caimans had meant too many crabs in the water, which resulted in a reduced fish population and economic problems for local fishers.

Katter said he is concerned that crocodiles don't have natural enemies and that the only way to keep the population within limits is to kill off the animals. But Britton said the population will stabilize naturally once it reaches healthy levels.

"As the crocodile population recovers, the mortality rate of juveniles increases through competition," said Britton. "Crocodiles actually self-control their own population growth, eventually slowing down and reaching a stable level like any wild animal population with limited resources."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


28 November, 2017

Global warming creating child brides

This is a typical example of Leftist assertion without evidence.  Leftists KNOW the truth:  No evidence needed.  So no evidence is offered for the claim that recent rainfall variations in East Africa are due to anthropogenic global warming.  The cause is more likely to be El Nino, in fact.

Because rainfall is unpredictable almost everywhere -- even the monsoon fails at times -- farming is an inherently risky business.  I call farmers "Rural gamblers".  So even in a First World country like Australia, farmers go broke from time to time because of bad bets about rain.  Rainfall variation is normal and in no need of "explanation" by global warming

And if I might slightly misquote a famous Rabbi (Matthew 26:11), pictures of starving Africans seem always to be with us so offer an unlikely explanation of anything on the present occasion

It was the flood that ensured that Ntonya Sande’s first year as a teenager would also be the first year of her married life. Up to the moment the water swept away her parents’ field in Kachaso in the Nsanje district of Malawi, they had been scraping a living. Afterwards they were reduced to scavenging for bits of firewood to sell.

So when a young man came to their door and asked for the 13-year old’s hand in marriage, the couple didn’t think about it for too long, lest he look elsewhere. Ntonya begged them to change their minds. She was too young, she pleaded. She didn’t want to leave. But it was to no avail. Her parents sat her down and spelled it out for her: the weather had changed and taken everything from them. There was not enough food to go around. They couldn’t afford another mouth at the table.

That night she lay down in bed for the first time with the man she had never seen before and followed the instructions of her aunt, who had coached her on the important matter of sex. Ten months later, she gave birth to their first daughter.

Around 1.5 million girls in Malawi are at risk of getting married because of climate change. That’s  a huge number

Everyone has their own idea of what climate change looks like. For some, it’s the walrus struggling to find space on melting ice floes on Blue Planet II. For others, it’s an apocalyptic vision of cities disappearing beneath the waves. But for more and more girls across Africa, the most palpable manifestation of climate change is the baby in their arms as they sit watching their friends walk to school.

The Brides of the Sun reporting project, funded by the European Journalism Centre, set out to try to assess the scale of what many experts are warning is a real and growing crisis: the emergence of a generation of child brides as a direct result of a changing climate.

And time and again, in villages from the south of Malawi to the east coast of Mozambique, the child brides and their parents told an increasingly familiar story. In recent years they had noticed the temperatures rising, the rains becoming less predictable and coming later and sometimes flooding where there had not been flooding before. Families that would once have been able to afford to feed and educate several children reported that they now faced an impossible situation.

None of the villages had any way of recording the changes scientifically, or indeed felt any urge to do so. All they knew was that the weather had changed and that where they used to be able to pay for their girls to go through school now they couldn’t. And the only solution was for one or more daughters to get married.

Sometimes it was the parents who made the decision. For the good of the rest of the family, a daughter had to be sacrificed. She would be taken out of school and found a husband, one less mouth to feed. Sometimes it was the girl herself who made the decision and forced it upon her parents. Unhappy, hungry, she hoped that a husband might be the answer.


Uh oh! More evidence that temperature influences CO2, not the other way around


Causal feedbacks in climate change

Egbert H. van Nes et al.


The statistical association between temperature and greenhouse gases over glacial cycles is well documented1, but causality behind this correlation remains difficult to extract directly from the data. A time lag of CO2 behind Antarctic temperature—originally thought to hint at a driving role for temperature2,3—is absent4,5 at the last deglaciation, but recently confirmed at the last ice age inception6 and the end of the earlier termination II (ref. 7). We show that such variable time lags are typical for complex nonlinear systems such as the climate, prohibiting straightforward use of correlation lags to infer causation. However, an insight from dynamical systems theory8 now allows us to circumvent the classical challenges of unravelling causation from multivariate time series. We build on this insight to demonstrate directly from ice-core data that, over glacial–interglacial timescales, climate dynamics are largely driven by internal Earth system mechanisms, including a marked positive feedback effect from temperature variability on greenhouse-gas concentrations.


'All observed climatic changes have natural causes completely outside of human control'

This paper came out a few months ago but seems to have sunken from sight.  It in fact says what I have always said but puts some good numbers up in support of the claim

A new scientific paper contends the entire foundation of the man-made global-warming theory – the assumption that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere by trapping heat – is wrong.

If confirmed, the study’s findings would crush the entire “climate change” movement to restrict CO2 emissions, the authors assert

Some experts contacted by WND criticized the paper, while others advised caution.

Still others suggested that the claimed discovery represents a massive leap forward in human understanding – a “new paradigm.”

The paper argues that concentrations of CO2 and other supposed “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have virtually no effect on the earth’s temperature.

They conclude the entire greenhouse gas theory is incorrect.

Instead, the earth’s “greenhouse” effect is a function of the sun and atmospheric pressure, which results from gravity and the mass of the atmosphere, rather than the amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere.

The same is true for other planets and moons with a hard surface, the authors contend, pointing to the temperature and atmospheric data of various celestial bodies collected by NASA.

So precise is the formula, the authors of the paper told WND, that, by using it, they were able to correctly predict the temperature of other celestial bodies not included in their original analysis.

The paper

The paper, published recently in the journal “Environment Pollution and Climate Change,” was written by Ned Nikolov, a Ph.D. in physical science, and Karl Zeller, retired Ph.D. research meteorologist.

The prevailing theory on the earth’s temperature is that heat from the sun enters the atmosphere, and then greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and water vapor trap part of that energy by preventing it from escaping back into space.

That theory, which underpins the anthropogenic global-warming hypothesis and the climate models used by the United Nations, was first proposed and developed in the 19th century.

However, the experiments on which it was based involved glass boxes that retain heat by preventing the mixing of air inside the box with air outside the box.

The truth about global warming is no further than the WND Superstore, where “Climategate,” “The Greatest Hoax,” and more publications are available.

The experiment is not analogous to what occurs in the real atmosphere, which does not have walls or a lid, according to Nikolov and Zeller.

The new paper, headlined “New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model,” argues that greenhouse theory is incorrect.

“This was not a pre-conceived conclusion, but a result from an objective analysis of vetted NASA observations,” Nikolov told WND.

The real mechanisms that control the temperature of the planet, they say, are the sun’s energy and the air pressure of the atmosphere. The same applies to other celestial bodies, according to the scientists behind the paper.

To understand the phenomena, the authors used three planets – Venus, Earth and Mars – as well as three natural satellites: the Moon of Earth, Titan of Saturn and Triton of Neptune.

They chose the celestial bodies based on three criteria: having a solid surface, representation of a broad range of environments, and the existence of reliable data on temperature, atmospheric composition and air pressure.

“Our analysis revealed a poor relationship between global mean annual temperature] and the amount of greenhouse gases in planetary atmospheres across a broad range of environments in the Solar System,” the paper explains.

“This is a surprising result from the standpoint of the current Greenhouse theory, which assumes that an atmosphere warms the surface of a planet (or moon) via trapping of radiant heat by certain gases controlling the atmospheric infrared optical depth,” the study continues.

The paper outlines four possible explanations for those observations, and concludes that the most plausible was that air pressure is responsible for the greenhouse effect on a celestial body.

In essence, what is commonly known as the atmospheric “greenhouse” effect is in fact a form of compression heating caused by total air pressure, the authors told WND in a series of e-mails and phone interviews, comparing the mechanics of it to the compression in a diesel engine that ignites the fuel.”

And that effect is completely independent of the so-called “greenhouse gases” and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, they added.

“Hence, there are no greenhouse gases in reality – as in, gases that can cause warming,” Nikolov said when asked to explain the paper in layman’s terms.

“Humans cannot in principle affect the global climate through industrial emissions of CO2, methane and other similar gases or via changes in land use,” he added. “All observed climatic changes have natural causes that are completely outside of human control.”

For the first time, Nikolov said, there is now empirical evidence from NASA data that the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere is not caused by the trapping of heat, but by the force of atmospheric pressure.

The pressure is the weight of the atmosphere, he added.

And the combination of gravity and the mass of the atmosphere explains why the Earth, for example, is warmer than the moon.

“The moon receives about the same amount of heat from the sun as Earth, yet it is 90 degrees [Celsius] colder than the Earth, because it has no atmosphere,” Nikolov explained.

Polar bear climate change global warming

What it all means for science and the climate debate

This is not the first paper to reject the greenhouse-gas theory entirely.

In 2009, for example, Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner published a paper titled “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics” in the International Journal of Modern Physics.

They wrote that the “atmospheric greenhouse effect” that “is still supported in global climatology” basically “describes a fictitious mechanism.” The second law of thermodynamics, they said, shows that “can never exist.”

However, their paper did not propose a mechanism to explain the higher temperature of Earth relative to the moon.

The new paper by Nikolov and Zeller does propose such a mechanism – atmospheric pressure.

If correct, the implications of the discovery would be enormous, multiple scientists told WND.

For one, it means the climate projections used to forecast warming doom and justify a wide range of policies are completely wrong.

That is because they were produced by computer models built around a “physically deeply flawed concept, the radiative greenhouse theory,” said Nikolov, who works as a federal scientist but did the new study completely on his own time.

“One major implication of our recently published study is that there is indeed a fundamental problem with the physics of current radiative greenhouse concept,” he told WND, highlighting the origin of the “inaccurate” theory in two 19th century papers.

“The foundation of the greenhouse theory was born of an assumption, it was never shown experimentally, and our results show this is completely wrong,” Nikolov said. “Our study blows the greenhouse theory completely out of the water. There is nothing left.”

“Hence, the public debate on climate needs now to shift focus to the fact that the basic science concept underlying current climate projections by the UN [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC and other international bodies is physically flawed,” Nikolov added, saying the new findings require a “fundamental overhaul of climate science” and that Earth may be heading for a cooling period.

“This is what the data shows,” he said. “We didn’t start with a theory, we started with the data, which is the opposite of how the greenhouse theory came about.”

The greenhouse theory, Nikolov explained, is based on the assumption that a free convective atmosphere – an atmosphere with no “lid” on it – can trap heat.

“This was an assumption born out of a misinterpretation of experiments involving glass boxes in the early 19th century by Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician,” he said.

“Glass boxes get warmer inside when exposed to the sun not because they trap long-wave radiation, as thought by Fourier, but because they hamper the exchange of air between the inside of a box and the outside environment,” he added.

Next came Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, who assumed Fourier was correct and in 1896 created an equation to calculate the Earth’s temperature based on CO2 in the atmosphere.

“This equation is both mathematically and physically wrong,” argued Nikolov. “Yet, this paper is still cited as ‘evidence’ that the physics of the greenhouse effect have been well-known for over 100 years.”

The atmosphere does, indeed, increase heat near the surface of celestial bodies.

The truth about global warming is no further than the WND Superstore, where “Climategate,” “The Greatest Hoax,” and more publications are available.

“But until our paper, the mechanism to explain this – pressure – was not known,” Nikolov continued. “All of the climate science has been based on these false assumptions, all the computer models were based on the assumption, but it’s incorrect.”

Zeller, a retired U.S. Air Force reserve colonel and a retired research meteorologist who worked for the U.S. Forest Service and NOAA, also said that the monumental implications of the findings would extend even beyond the climate debate.

“The implications, beyond the scientific ones, of this study, are that once understood, it may be an opportunity for healing by looking back and seeing that even in this day and age science can be wrong,” he told WND.

“Possibly this will demonstrate that the world’s peer-review system needs to be rethought so that it doesn’t continue retarding the advancement of human evolution: Medicine, pharmaceuticals, cancer cures, proper dietary guidance, etc. are all hampered by combinations of greed and strongly held beliefs,” he added.

In terms of advancing scientific inquiry, “our formula, if we can get it out there to the world, is going to open up all sorts of new lines of research,” Zeller continued.

Among other examples, he noted that if the formula is applied to the earth’s temperature record stretching back to previous warm and cold periods, it would explain everything from the observed reduced differences in temperature between the earth’s poles and the equator, to how pterodactyls could fly despite the physics of flight not working based on today’s atmospheric density.

While describing himself as a “flaming, bleeding heart liberal,” Zeller noted that this should all be about science, not politics.

“This climate controversy is costing billions, making the wrong folks rich, and keep us from solving real environmental problems,” he explained.


2017 Global Cyclone Energy Almost 20% Below Normal …Southern Hemisphere Near Record Low!

A look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s site here tells us a lot about how 2017 cyclone activity is doing as the Atlantic hurricane season winds down.

In September the Atlantic indeed saw some powerful hurricanes, such as Harvey, Irma and Maria, which led the media into a fit of Armageddon hysteria and calls to do something about climate change. It is true that the Atlantic saw an unusually active hurricane season, some 227% of what is normal in terms of energy, but the Atlantic is not the global situation.

Global accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is currently running 19% below average and is only 73% of what it was at this time one year ago (2016).

This seems to fly in the face of all the warnings suggesting that global warming would intensify storm activity. Naturally 2017 is only one single year, and so it’s necessary to look at longer term trends.

Lowest levels since 1970s, frequency at a “historical low”

At his site Maue refers to an abstract of a paper: Geophys. Res. Lett. (2011) which tells us that cyclones don’t seem to be correlating with atmospheric CO2 at all:

In the pentad since 2006, Northern Hemisphere and global tropical cyclone ACE has decreased dramatically to the lowest levels since the late 1970s. Additionally, the frequency of tropical cyclones has reached a historical low.”

Looking at the last 25 years, since 1992, the following chart tells us ACE globally, for the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere have been trending significantly downward:

Downward cyclone trend over the past 25 years. Source: Dr. Ryan Maue

Southern hemisphere near record low

Obviously there’s a lot more behind cyclones than CO2. So far the southern hemisphere is near a record low, running only at 44% of what is normal.


Australian cities could soon be uninhabitable because of extreme heat with 'brutal' global warming already making temperatures soar to SEVENTY degrees (?)

What a lot of slime!  The alleged 70 degrees reported was the temperature reached by bitumen roads at  midday on a dry sunny day in the tropics.  No air temperature ever gets near that.  And bitumen roads in the tropics have always got very hot -- so hot that the bitumen sometimes melts.  It is neither unusual nor diagnostic of anything. I well remember sitting on my verandah in the tropics one Christmas day long ago and watching the heat waves rise like worms from the bitumen road outside

And you can't draw global conclusions from what happens in one country.  Australia is at the moment having a hot spell but at the same time Britain is having an unusually cold spell. The two average out to say nothing global is happening.  I reproduce both the Australian and British reports below

Climate scientists have warned that some Australian cities could become 'virtually uninhabitable' due to a combination of blistering heat and smothering humidity.

In the past week alone, surface temperatures in parts of Darwin's inner city have been nudging 70C - and experts have told that some regional cities in Queensland 'may not be far behind'. 

This year, Bureau of Meteorology senior climate liaison officer Greg Browning warned Darwin residents that 'everything would be hotter than normal' in the lead-up to the wet season.

Average temperatures all over the country have been shattering records all year, with Hobart's recent run of six consecutive November days unparalleled in 130 years.

Darwin residents have 'suffered' through a 'hotter than average' lead up to the 2017 wet season

Sydneysiders are also in the midst of the warmest November week in nearly 50 years, ending a dismal run of rain and cooler temperatures.

A prolonged run of uninterrupted warm weather is due to hit the city with temperatures set to reach or exceed 25 degrees every day until the end of November.

'The last time this happened in November was in 1968, and it's only happened four times in the last 160 years,' Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke told Daily Mail Australia.

The last times Sydney basked in seven consecutive days of temperatures at or above 25 degrees were in 1968 and 1897.

The consistently warm weather is the result of a high pressure system - known as a 'blocking high' - that is centred over the Tasman Sea and is stopping any strong cold fronts from moving up Australia's east coast.

And it's not just Sydney that's rolling into summer - Melbourne residents have had sweltering spring temperatures for the past week, enduring the longest stretch of November days exceeding 28 degrees on record.

Australian National University's Dr Elizabeth Hanna warned that the issue would mostly affect the Top End due to the tropical humidity.

'We can cope with much higher temperatures in Melbourne because the air is drier, but in Darwin the high temperatures and humidity are oppressive.

'If it gets worse, those unpleasant times of the year (like the build-up) will extend longer and longer making it not a viable place to live,' she told the news site.

Professor Mattheos Santamouris explained that the way to combat climate change and battle rising temperatures is to 'understand what is happening at a local level'.

He warns that if Australia can't find a solution, the cities will eventually become 'uninhabitable'.

But it's not just the environment that will suffer - when it's oppressively hot, people feel 'crappy and grumpy' which impacts on people's social behaviour.  

Professor Samtamouris recommends planting more greenery - the surface temperature of grass in the city of Darwin is only 27.4øC, while bitumen can have a surface temp of nearly 70øC

Three months ago, the Territory Government kicked off a project to see where Darwin's hot spots were - and what was causing them - so they could cool down the CBD.

'The study found our streets, parking lots, roofs and pavements have very high surface temperatures, ranging from 45-67C,' said Chief Minister Michael Gunner at the time.

'Areas such as the Post Office carpark, the Supreme Court car park, and the Bus Terminal are incredibly hot - Cavanagh Street (the CBD's main thoroughfare) is a river of fire.'

Professor Samtamouris told Darwin was a 'classic case of an urban heat island' where materials used in roads and buildings 'turbocharged' temperatures.

Excessively hot surface temperatures can raise the temperature around them - for instance, black bitumen can heat the air by around 3ø - which is why Professor Samtamouris recommends more greenery in the city.

He also suggests building with alternative materials, like 'cooling' asphalt which works to bring own the surrounding air temperature.

The urban heat island effect is being felt most strongly in Darwin, but the rest of Australia may not be too far behind.

'Townsville and Cairns are not as bad but they will start to become like Darwin. Everything is just moving to the extreme but we just don't know exactly when or how fast it will happen,'' warned Professor Hanna.

'Global temperatures are going so badly and emissions are increasing so much that it's not looking good.'

Planting more trees and creating shady streets was a good strategy to make cities more liveable, she said, but as temperatures continue to rise, there's only so much that plants can do.


Britain is gripped by a deep FREEZE: Health chiefs warn of 'very real risk' of deaths as temperatures plummet to -4C and November looks set to be coldest on record

Just as quickly as the temperatures across Britain dropped this weekend, bookmakers have slashed the odds on November to be the coldest on record.

Britain is facing more sub-zero temperatures tonight as the cold snap which has braced the nation is expected to bite again.

The mercury dipped to -3.5C (25.7F) in Hurn, Bournemouth, while South Newington reached -2C (28.4F) and Drumnadrochit, near the Loch Ness dipped to -1.7C (28.94F), while health watchdogs have urged people to prepare for a prolonged cold snap. 

Ladbrokes slashed their odds to just 5/2 that November will be the coldest on record. The betting firm has also slashed the odds of the UK seeing a White Christmas to just 8/15, while Coral is offering 4/6 on the same bet.

Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: 'The sun might be shining but the odds are shivering south as much as the mercury is. It looks like the UK could finally see a proper White Christmas this year.'

Weathermen believe records may have been broken as this weekend was the fifth autumn weekend which saw temperatures fall below at least -4C. 

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: 'All regions are at risk of rain, sleet and snow later in the week.

'Five autumn weekends in a row each having sub-zero cold snaps must be a record.'

And the low temperatures are likely to see a new level 2 Government health warning as hospitals prepare be to busier than usual., while staff prepare to make daily visits or phone calls to the vulnerable. Figures earlier this week showed there were more than 34,000 'excess deaths' across England and Wales over the last winter period, the second highest level in eight years. 

But despite the chilly temperatures last night, the mercury did not drop near to this Autumn's lowest temperature of -6.3C which was recorded this Friday in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

On Saturday there were smatterings of snow in parts of Scotland and the West Midlands, with more forecast for higher parts of Wales, the Pennines and parts of Northern Ireland overnight.

On Saturday there were smatterings of snow in parts of Scotland and the West Midlands, with more forecast for higher parts of Wales, the Pennines and parts of Northern Ireland overnight. The mercury dipped to -3.5C (25.7F) in Hurn, Bournemouth, while South Newington reached -2C (28.4F) and Drumnadrochit, near the Loch Ness dipped to -1.7C (28.94F)

A yellow weather warning was issued for the length of the western side of Britain and Northern Ireland from 10pm on Saturday until 10am on Sunday, alerting people to the risk of ice.

Yet the weather warnings have now been lifted, although a Met Office spokesman warned people living in coastal areas to remain vigilant as there is the possibility that showers which happen into this evening and overnight could pose a risk of icing over. 

Heading into next week, the Met Office warned of snow as far south as Essex by Wednesday, with the East, Northern Britain and Wales all due low-level snow near coasts.

While temperatures will remain similar to the 3-6C that most of Britain felt during the day this weekend, the bitter polar winds next week could make it feel a bitter -1 to -2C.

Temperatures in some parts of Britain could plummet to a brisk -7C on either Wednesday or Thursday in both Scotland or England, which would beat Saturday morning's low of -6.3C in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. 

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said: 'It turns cold again from Monday afternoon and stays colder-than-average through the week and for up to 10 days, with winds from the Arctic.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


27 November, 2017

Climate change could increase volcano eruptions?

This is even nuttier than saying correlation proves causation.  The "correlated" events are not correlated at all.  There is a 600 year gap between the two. As the well-named Dr Swindles says below:  "there was a time lag of roughly 600 years between the climate event and a noticeable decrease in the number of volcanic eruptions". When is a gap big enough to reject a claim of  correlation?

Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, scientists have warned.

A new study, led by the University of Leeds, found there was less volcanic activity in Iceland when glacier cover was more extensive. As the glaciers melted, volcanic eruptions increased due to subsequent changes in surface pressure.

Dr Graeme Swindles, from the School of Geography at Leeds, said: “Climate change caused by humans is creating rapid ice melt in volcanically active regions. In Iceland, this has put us on a path to more frequent volcanic eruptions.”

The study examined Icelandic volcanic ash preserved in peat deposits and lake sediments and identified a period of significantly reduced volcanic activity between 5,500 and 4,500 years ago. This period came after a major decrease in global temperature, which caused glacier growth in Iceland.

The findings, published today in the journal Geology, found there was a time lag of roughly 600 years between the climate event and a noticeable decrease in the number of volcanic eruptions. The study suggests that perhaps a similar time lag can be expected following the more recent shift to warmer temperatures.

Iceland’s volcanic system is in process of recovering from the ‘Little Ice Age’ — a recorded period of colder climate roughly between the years 1500 to 1850. Since the end of the Little Ice Age, a combination of natural and human caused climate warming is causing Icelandic glaciers to melt again.

rock fragments and particles ejected by a volcanic eruption.
Small rock fragments and particles ejected by past volcanic eruptions have been preserved in peat deposits and lake sediments

Dr Swindles said: “The human effect on global warming makes it difficult to predict how long the time lag will be but the trends of the past show us more eruptions in Iceland can be expected in the future.

“These long term consequences of human effect on the climate is why summits like COP are so important. It is vital to understand how actions today can impact future generations in ways that have not been fully realised, such as more ash clouds over Europe, more particles in the atmosphere and problems for aviation. “

Icelandic volcanism is controlled by complex interactions between rifts in continental plate boundaries, underground gas and magma build-up and pressure on the volcano’s surface from glaciers and ice. Changes in surface pressure can alter the stress on shallow chambers where magma builds up.

Study co-author, Dr Ivan Savov, from the School of Earth & Environment at Leeds, explained: “When glaciers retreat there is less pressure on the Earth’s surface. This can increase the amount of mantle melt as well as affect magma flow and how much magma the crust can hold.

“Even small changes in surface pressure can alter the likelihood of eruptions at ice-covered volcanos.”


Sharing our blessings

This Thanksgiving we should give thanks for fossil fuels – and promote them for rest of world

Paul Driessen

This Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to express our gratitude for the jobs, living standards and life spans we enjoy today – largely because of abundant, reliable, affordable energy, 83% of it still because of fossil fuels. As my CFACT colleague Craig Rucker suggests, we should also be grateful that we live in a country that can provide hundreds of millions of turkey dinners, at a price anyone can afford, all on the same day, thanks to our free market economy (and fossil fuels).

Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to ponder why billions in our human family still do not enjoy those blessings, have electricity only sporadically or not at all, and try to survive on a few dollars a day or less. It’s a time to reflect on what we can do to help change policies that perpetuate that situation.

For thousands of years, humanity was mired in poverty, disease, malnutrition, misery, and average life expectancies of 40 years or less. Even nobility in their fancy homes had few of the luxuries we take for granted today. Then, in the late nineteenth century, a sudden surge in life expectancy, health and wealth transformed much of the world, as the growing use of coal and petroleum powered incredible advances in construction, sanitation, transportation, communication, medicine, agriculture and other technologies.

In 1882, Wisconsin’s Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit by hydroelectricity. No one then could have foreseen how electricity would dominate, enhance and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today – or envisioned the many ways we generate electricity today.

Today, Asian countries are roaring far beyond where they were just two decades ahead, as they adopt freer economies and use coal to generate electricity, create jobs, and bring hope, health, technology and prosperity to billions. Africa still lags behind, but here too coal and natural gas are providing electricity to a continent where more people than live in North and Central America’s still do not have access to it.

Pollution from coal-fired power plants remains a problem in countries where bringing electricity to billions has been deemed more important than eliminating unhealthy emissions. But that is changing, as electricity brings jobs, modernity and prosperity – and people demand cleaner air. Once scrubbers are installed, the only emissions will be what now comes out of US and EU “smoke” stacks: water vapor and plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, which alarmists still claim is causing weather and climate chaos.

A real irony in all this is that China is financing and building many of these power plants – instead of the United States and Europe, which pioneered electricity generation and pollution control technologies. This is largely the result of US and EU policies, driven by global warming ideology and politics.

Too many still-impoverished nations have been ruled by corrupt, self-centered leaders who care little about their people. But all too often in recent years, when countries wanted to build coal or gas-fueled power plants, a cabal of climate activists in every position of power and privilege told them to drop dead.

Literally. Certainly that has been the result of their policies. It is as though we have returned to the days when Mayans drowned children in cenotes to appease the gods and prevent droughts – and then saw a century-long drought end their civilization.

This 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution memorializes how Communist regimes starved and murdered over 100 million helpless, innocent Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, North Koreans and others unlucky enough to have been born in those places and times – to serve that savage ideology. Even now, Castro protégé Nicolas Maduro is sending countless Venezuelans to early graves.

Today, countless millions are sacrificed on the altar of Gaia, because callous environmentalists continue to tell the world’s most destitute, energy-deprived families they must be content with whatever living standards they can derive from wind and solar – and must never employ fossil fuels. Even in Britain, deaths have risen 40% in the past year among elderly people who cannot heat their homes properly, because renewable energy policies have made energy costs unaffordable for too many pensioners.

Those “fuels of the past” are not sustainable, green ideologues say. They’re running out. They cause dangerous climate change. We will tell you what living standards you may aspire to. Better that you die today from diseases of preventable poverty, than perish tomorrow from manmade climate cataclysms.

One source of these attitudes is Obama science adviser John Holdren. He wrote in 1974 that it was essential to “de-develop the United States,” bringing its economic system and consumption “into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.” Once that is underway, he continued, the US should focus on de-developing other industrialized nations and on the “ecologically feasible development” of under-developed countries. These views strongly influenced President Obama.

In 2009, Mr. Obama told Ghanaians they should refrain from using “dirty” fossil fuels and utilize their “bountiful” renewable energy. In 2013, he told South Africans, if “everybody has got a car and … air conditioning and … a big house, the planet will boil over – unless we find new ways of producing energy.”

His Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a power plant that would provide clean, affordable electricity from natural gas that companies were just burning in Ghana’s oil fields. President Obama refused to support South Africa’s request for a World Bank loan to continue building a state-of-the-art, coal-fired power plant. In 2013 his Power Africa initiative for a “sustainable Africa” energy strategy emphasized wind, solar, biofuel and geothermal power – but not fossil fuels.

It’s all part of the “wrenching transformation of society” that Al Gore has said is absolutely necessary.

Today, climate claims increasingly reflect a desperate determination to remain relevant and keep the research gravy train on its shaky tracks. “Global warming might be especially dangerous for pregnant women,” says one new study. “Climate change may be making bearded dragons less intelligent,” wails another. (It’s a good thing deep fat fryers are cooling the planet down a bit.) Climate Crisis, Inc. doesn’t seem to care that its depraved ethics have lethal consequences.

Thankfully, developing countries are no longer listening. They have built hundreds of coal-fired generating units and have 1,600 more under construction or in planning. Most now realize industrialized nations will not contribute billions (much less trillions) of dollars to the Green Climate Fund. They are beginning to understand that, if they want health, wealth and jobs, they should not do what many rich nations are saying or doing now that they are rich; they should do what those nations did to become rich.

After 50 years of Nazi and Communist domination, Poland is charting its own destiny, catching up to Western Europe, thumbing its nose at the EU, using more coal to generate electricity, and importing coal from the USA. (The UN’s 2018 climate meeting in Katowice, Poland will be very interesting.)

The UK government says there will be no new renewable energy subsidies until 2025. Even Germany’s “utopian dream of transforming itself into the world’s green powerhouse is collapsing as its political and media establishment is mugged by reality,” says Euro climate and energy observer Benny Peiser.

Al Gore, Barack Obama, Tom Steyer, Nat Simons, George Soros and their elitist ultra-green comrades will never give up their jet travel, limos, mansions, wealth, perks and privileges – to “save the Earth” or for any other reason. How dare they lecture us “common folk” – and tell families in impoverished countries what kinds and amounts of energy, homes, cars and consumer goods they will be “permitted” to have.

As we enjoy our turkey dinner leftovers, let us give thanks in the best, most humanitarian way possible: by promoting free market principles and selling, financing and building large-scale modern coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power generation equipment, pollution control systems, and other technologies that will improve and save lives all over this wondrous planet.

Via email

UK: Backlash as Ineos puts fracking on fast track with plans to bypass local councils

Ineos is seeking to bypass local councils by using controversial new rules to fast-track plans to drill for shale gas in the Midlands without their planning approval.

The privately held petrochemicals giant run by the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, one of the world’s ten biggest chemical companies with operations in 16 countries and sales of $40 billion a year, is taking the lead in the development of Britain’s shale gas industry.

It will become the first business to use powers created in 2015 to allow companies to request intervention from ministers in order to secure permission for delayed infrastructure projects deemed to be of national importance.


Every once in a while, environmentalists will let slip that the goal of fighting climate change can't be won unless capitalism is first defeated.

And the fact that there's no evidence to support the claim doesn't seem to matter.

The latest to make this case is Arizona State University fellow Benjamin Fong in an Op-Ed published recently by the New York Times, headlined "The Climate Crisis? It's Capitalism, Stupid."

"It should be stated plainly: It's capitalism that is at fault," he writes. Or, what he later calls "the rampant stupidity of capitalism." The answer, he says, is a "democratic socialist society."

Fong isn't the only one making this claim. Naomi Klein's 2014 book titled "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate" argues that the planet is doomed unless the world abandons "free market" ideology.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of climate change policy wasn't just to cut CO2 emissions, but "to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution."

Assume for the sake of argument that everything environmentalists say about global warming is true — that the computer models are perfectly accurate in predicting future warming and that the result will be entirely negative.

Is capitalism to blame? Let's review the evidence.

Free market economies have become far less carbon intensive over time. Data from the United Nations show that the U.S. emitted 62% less carbon for each dollar of GDP produced in 2014 than it did in 1990. In Hong Kong, which is ranked as having the most free economy, its carbon intensity dropped by 58% over those years.

What about more socialist countries? Communist China emits 86% more CO2 per dollar of GDP than does the U.S.; Russia emits 50% more.

Worldwide, carbon intensity has steadily dropped since 1990. Those were years when free market capitalism was spreading, and the trend started long before the world was taking climate change seriously.

Why? Because even without any government oversight, free markets reward efficiency. And one of the biggest sources of waste is energy use. Trying to increase profits, therefore, invariably means less energy use, and less pollution, including CO2.

Free markets are also inherently "sustainable" because businesses want to stay in business. That means making sure resources are carefully managed for the long term.

Socialism, in contrast, is dirty business. The Soviet Union was a horrendous polluter, as were other Eastern Bloc countries. "The socialist world suffers from the worst pollution on Earth," noted Thomas DiLorenzo back in 1992.

Here at home, the federal government is the biggest energy consumer and polluter — despite being free of any profit motive.

The simple truth is that, as long as there are people on the planet, they're going to need and want things. The best, most sustainable, most earth-friendly way to deliver those things is through free market capitalism.


In order to drain the swamp, President Trump must first destroy the Green Blob.

James Delingpole

This is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from a series of data leaks and Freedom of Information (FOI) revelations exposing the relationship between left wing campaigners and the great climate change scam.

Global warming, it becomes clear, is primarily a left-wing political issue, not a scientific one. Green is the new red.

These leaks show how rich liberal backers—left-wing institutions like the Rockefeller Foundation, eco hedge-fund billionaires like Tom Steyer, and the various socialistic Geek Emperors of Silicon Valley—are funneling millions of dollars into sock-puppet environmental organizations both to undermine Trump’s economic agenda and to finance his political opponents both in the Democratic Party and the GOP.

U.S. Climate Alliance

This poses as “a bi-partisan coalition of states is committed to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.” Or so the website says. But anyone can set up a website.

The truth, as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has discovered through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)-requested email correspondence, is that U.S. Climate Alliance is just a front. Its real purpose is to enable the richly funded green lobby to buy up Democrat governors—and one, token, squishy Republican governor: Gov. Charlie Baker (MA)—by effectively bribing them with free office, research and staffing facilities which they can run off books.

There is nothing actually illegal in any of this. But to appreciate how ethically dubious it is, just consider how the liberal media would respond if the roles were reversed and it were conservative politicians being provided with all these off-books services by, say, the fossil fuel industry.

Chris Horner, who initiated the FOIA for the CEI, put it like this in the Washington Times:

Mr. Horner asked how the media would react if, for example, the Koch brothers provide staffing on behalf of a Republican governor.

“This would unleash a tsunami of Pulitzers and hysteria if the political parties or priorities were changed,” said Mr. Horner. “Here is a real test for ‘good government’ activists—is this all right if the ‘right’ politicians and donors pushing the approved agenda outsource government?”

What the emails show is the intimate relationship between the liberal donors, green sock puppet organizations and Democrat politics.

Energy in Depth Climate reports here on some of the details:

Climate activist groups, most notably Climate Nexus—a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors—act as the press arm for these governors’ offices at no charge. They also operate as a “shadow staff”to support climate change communications efforts, and supplied research later promoted by these state governors as their own. This includes at least one for-profit contractor, raising the question who its actual paying client is.

The three main Democrat governors fronting the U.S. Climate Alliance are Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But the people actually running it are green lobbyists and activists, doing the bidding of their wealthy anonymous donors in liberal strongholds like Silicon Valley, as well as the usual liberal suspects such as the Rockefeller and Hewlett Foundations. One prominent figure is Jeff Nesbit, Executive Director of a green organization called Climate Nexus. In the emails he is revealed in close discussion with Sam Ricketts, director of Jay Inslee’s Washington DC office.

According to the Washington Times:

“How come governors aren’t even listed on the website?” Mr. Ricketts asked in a June 5 email.

Mr. Nesbit replied: “They will be! I promise. It’s controlled by WWF [apparently referring to the World Wildlife Fund]. They’re melting down over there. I’ll make sure the 9 governors are listed ASAP.”

Mr. Nesbit also wore the hat of press secretary, saying he needed to send a joint statement from Mr. Inslee, Mr. Brown and Mr. Cuomo to The New York Times.

“Do you have it? Is it approved? Is Inslee available to talk to the NYT and others today before Trump does his Rose Garden ceremony at the WH?” Mr. Nesbit asked in the June 1 email.

According to Mr. Nesbit, Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, provided its services free of charge and without a contract.

What becomes clear from the emails is the extent of sock puppetry—which the Green Blob uses to give the impression of representing many disparate groups, when in fact they are all just a small group of the same people wearing different hats. There is no shortage of money to support this scam.
According to the Washington Times:

Even before Mr. Trump announced his intention in June to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord, state employees in California, New York and Washington had discussed enlisting the help of outside advocacy groups.

Aimee Barnes, senior adviser to Mr. Brown, proposed reaching out to the Georgetown Climate Center, Under2 Coalition and others, saying that “it can’t always be us staff running around trying to corral each other for sign on.”

“We are fortunate that at the moment there are many resources keen to be at our disposal to support us further, but in order to make the best use of them, we need to tell them what we need,” Ms. Barnes said in a May 5 email.

Mr. Ricketts responded in a May 9 email by noting, “There’s of course a plethora of advocate and funder interest,” adding, “We can approach the different groups (G-town, Rhodium, UNF, whomever) about which of them will play a roll.”

A week later, Georgetown Climate Center Deputy Director Kathryn Zyla provided an update in an email sent to state staffers and climate change advocates.

“We also wanted to let you know that we are working with the Georgetown IT department to develop a platform that can assist this group with communications and shared resources, and will keep you posted. (Please let us know if you have any thoughts on key features for that platform.),” Ms. Zyla said in a May 16 email.

GCC spokesman Chris Coil said the group had no contract with the states. “We support state engagement on climate change (as we have done on a bipartisan basis for many years) free of charge,” he said.

Inslee senior adviser Chris Davis put in a plug for Ann McCabe and her team at the Climate Registry, calling them in a June 5 email, “Great partners who’ve covered our costs for COPs and provided extraordinary on site services and support.”

Inevitably, there is a Clinton connection to all this skullduggery:

In another instance, the Alliance released a report about economic output and greenhouse gas emissions. Although branded as their own research, it turns out that the report relied almost exclusively on data compiled by the Rhodium Group—an organization headed by a former Hillary Clinton energy and climate advisor, Trevor Houser.

Indeed, given that the central focus of the emails obtained by CEI is tapping the “plethora of advocate and funder interest” in providing support functions  which were beyond the ability of the governors’ offices, it seems far more likely this pricey gift was provided to the governors by the for-profit Rhodium Group. What isn’t yet clear is which clients paid for this glossy product of a high-priced consultancy.

It’s unsurprising that the Rockefellers have found a way to exert their influence inside state governors’ offices. Climate Nexus has also been heavily involved in promoting the #ExxonKnew campaign for the Rockefellers. When the RICO 20—a group of professors who petitioned the Obama administration to bring racketeering charges against those who disagreed with the president’s climate agenda—faced enormous backlash for their efforts to silence dissent, Climate Nexus rushed in to clean up the mess. You see, the RICO 20 was suggesting that the government prosecute individual climate skeptics, which got in the way of the Rockefellers’ plans to have the government go after energy companies.

Climate Nexus also receives funding from the Energy Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, two other groups heavily involved in backing the #ExxonKnew campaign.

 The Great Republican Carbon Tax Myth

Earlier this year I reported here and here for Breitbart News on the bizarre spectacle of various Republican elder statesmen—including Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz—campaigning to “combat climate change” by agitating for a carbon tax. Naturally the New York Times got very excited at the idea that conservatives were starting to see the light.

The truth: there is next to zero support, anywhere within the GOP, for something as stupid and frankly socialistic as a carbon tax.

So why does this zombie concept keep clawing its way out of the grave?

Because, yet again, we’re being played by the usual suspects: a handful of extremely well-funded lobbyists using their money and influence to give the impression of widespread, cross-party demand for what is in fact only the preoccupation of such paid-up Green Blob members as Elon Musk. They planned this far in advance.

This is clear from two leaked campaign documents dating back to 2015.

One is from the National Wildlife Federation. Its strategy explicitly states that its plan is to co-opt conservatives into its carbon tax scheme:

The Wind Energy Foundation, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), EDP Renewables North America (EDPR), Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES), Pattern Energy, and Tesla Motors are working in a cross-sector coalition to enact a federal price on carbon pollution.

We believe that a carbon tax or similar price on carbon pollution is achievable in Congress within five years as part of a grand political bargain on tax and fiscal policy. The key to this success will be the effective deployment of business and conservation leaders and their networks, who will create a non-threatening, non-ideological space for conservative decision makers to engage on climate policy. We anticipate that this campaign will be complemented with efforts in the political sphere to hold accountable those who are unresponsive to our network members or to defend those who are responsive.

Note the presence of Tesla on this list: Mr President—Elon Musk is not your friend!

The other is another 2015 strategy document, floated among D.C. think tanks, created with the aim to “Engage Congress on Carbon Pricing.”

Again, the tactic used to achieve this was to reposition a carbon tax as an essentially free-market, pro-business solution in order to attract conservative support.

“Carbon Funded Tax Cuts” will stimulate GDP growth, create jobs, make U.S. companies more competitive in the global market place, make the tax system fairer, and result in dramatic climate change benefits.

Did you see what they just did there? These people are sneaky.

And the money for these campaigns—coordinated by think tanks and lobby groups like RStreet and RepublicEn—is in turn funneled via organizations like the Energy Foundation.

Here is the Energy Foundation giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to RStreet.

Here it is donating $200,000 to another lobby group Niskanen.

There’s nothing illegal about this. Just something very dishonest and deliberately misleading.

It’s called Astroturfing.

The Green Blob wants you to believe that, right now, there are a heap of disparate groups of sincere campaigners all of which just happen to share the same worthy and noble mission to combat climate change.

Except they’re really not. They’re just a bunch of liberal sock puppets, bankrolled by plutocrats on a mission to allay their rich-guilt by splashing money on “saving the planet” and green industry rent-seekers who want to rig the market in favor of their renewable energy interests.

This is not about saving the planet. This is about greed—and left-wing politics.

If President Trump is to drain the swamp he must destroy the climate industrial complex.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


24 November, 2017

Melting Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in Antarctica -- more prophecy from the prophets who keep getting it wrong

And as the authors below say: "The science isn’t yet certain. Not enough is understood about the mechanics of glaciers or the physics of ice to be sure"

PINE Island. Thwaites. These two names are likely to become increasingly familiar in future years.  They’re among Antarctica’s biggest and fastest-melting glaciers.

But what makes these different is that they’re fed from ice sitting on solid ground. This ice does not displace the ocean.

That means all the water that melts off them must be added to the total mass forming the world’s seas.

[But that mass will be diluted by snowfall onto the glaciers -- thus taking water OUT of the sea and onto land-based glaciers -- for no probable net effect.  Once again we have the Green/Left mentioning only half the story.  They make no attempt to calculate the net effect]

Current calculations put that at roughly 3.4 meters.

According to US meteorologist Eric Holthaus, that’s enough to inundate every coastal city on our planet.  “There’s no doubt this ice will melt as the world warms,” Holthaus writes. “The vital question is when.”

And that’s the thing.

Scientists used to think it would take thousands of years for Antarctica’s ice sheets to melt under a warming atmosphere.

But new evidence shows it could happen within a few decades.
Clash of titans ... A satellite image showing the calving of the Mertz Glacier, left, after it was struck by a 97km-long iceberg in Antarctica. Such a chain of collapses could result in rapid sea level rise. Picture: Australian Antarctic Division.

Clash of titans ... A satellite image showing the calving of the Mertz Glacier, left, after it was struck by a 97km-long iceberg in Antarctica. Such a chain of collapses could result in rapid sea level rise. Picture: Australian Antarctic Division.Source:Supplied


They’re slumbering some 4000km beneath the southernmost tip of South America.

They sit on a 300km long frozen plain, and stem from a 3km thick ice pool roughly the size of Texas.

Holthaus says they are holding human civilisation hostage.

“Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet (3.4m) of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans,” he writes. “For that reason, finding out how fast these glaciers will collapse is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today.”

Holthaus cites a study published in the science journal Nature last year which warned of an unstoppable chain of ice-cliff collapses.

Ice, it turns out, is not as strong as we thought.

Traces remain of the last time Earth underwent a major climate-change event — the end of the most recent ice age 11,000 years ago.

That evidence points to a rapid collapse of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers.

The cause is in the region’s geology. The sea gets deeper beneath the glaciers’ outflow. So every new iceberg exposes taller and taller cliffs.

“Ice gets so heavy that these taller cliffs can’t support their own weight,” Holthaus writes. “Once they start to crumble, the destruction would be unstoppable.”

Given the unabated rise in carbon emissions, the study concluded that a 2m rise in sea levels was now much more likely than the 1m predicted under earlier models. But a worst-case carbon-atmosphere model shows a full 3.4m could be unleashed if West Antarctica’s ice reserves were unlocked.

A one-metre rise in sea levels would cause frequent flooding in almost all coastal settlements. At 2m, some of the worlds biggest cities — including Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City — would simply be swallowed by the sea.

At 3.4m, the majority of the planet’s fertile — and densely habited — coastal regions would be inundated.

Such scenarios are just decades away.  Holthaus says these key glaciers could conceivably collapse within 20 to 50 years.

“The new evidence says that once a certain temperature threshold is reached, ice shelves of glaciers that extend into the sea, like those near Pine Island Bay, will begin to melt from both above and below, weakening their structure and hastening their demise, and paving the way for ice-cliff instability to kick in.”

Iceberg after iceberg would break away in an unstoppable chain-reaction.

And the landlocked ice sheet behind them — no longer contained by a floating ice shelf — would start to slip faster and faster.

“A wholesale collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites would set off a catastrophe. Giant icebergs would stream away from Antarctica like a parade of frozen soldiers. All over the world, high tides would creep higher, slowly burying every shoreline on the planet ...”

Such an event would unleash a human tide of refugees unlike anything seen in history — hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seawater.

And it would all happen to fast for our infrastructure — and society — to adapt.

“Previous models suggested that it would take hundreds or thousands of years for sea-level rise of that magnitude to occur,” Holthaus writes. “But once they accounted for marine ice-cliff instability, DeConto and Pollard’s model pointed toward a catastrophe if the world maintains a “business as usual” path — meaning we don’t dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

The science isn’t yet certain. Not enough is understood about the mechanics of glaciers or the physics of ice to be sure. But climate researchers agree the new evidence is pointing in a deeply disturbing direction.

“Next to a meteor strike, rapid sea-level rise from collapsing ice cliffs is one of the quickest ways our world can remake itself,” Holthaus says. “This is about as fast as climate change gets.”


This week, thousands of scientists issued a bleak and terrifying "second notice" to mankind about how we will destroy the planet unless we take "urgent" action.

If this warning is as reliable as the first notice these scientists issued in 1992, we have nothing to worry about.  There is also some doubt about who were the scientists giving the second warning.  There is some suggestion that the whole thing is a prank

In an article published in the journal Bioscience, 15,364 scientists warned that we are "jeopardizing our future" and that "immediate action" is needed to "safeguard our imperiled biosphere."

"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out," the scientists say.

The article is meant to be an update on a 1992 notice — ominously titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" and signed by 1,700 leading scientists — that predicted environmental catastrophes to come if humans remained on the current course.

But the 1992 statement was wildly off the mark in its dire predictions.

Back then, the world's leading scientists said that, if current trends continued, air pollution would get worse, water supplies would run short, the world's supply of fish would sharply decline because of dying oceans, land would become less productive, vast acres of forests would be "gone in a few years," mass extinctions would limit the ability to develop new medicines, and unchecked population growth would cause more to live in poverty and suffer malnutrition.

"No more than one or a few decades remain," the scientists warned 2-1/2 decades ago, "before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished."

Turns out that the world didn't make any "fundamental changes" those scientists said were so urgently needed. If anything, it went faster in the same direction.

There was no concerted effort to control population, which grew by almost 1.9 billion — a 34% increase in 25 years. We didn't "move away from fossil fuels" — global consumption climbed nearly 56% since 1992. We didn't "greatly reduce overconsumption," either. Consumer spending on goods and services soared some 56% from 1990 to 2010.

And what happened to the "fragile planet" that was supposedly on the knife's edge of permanent destruction?

Global supplies of clean water have increased. In 1990, 76% of the world's population had reasonable access to drinking water. By 2010 that had increased to 89%, according to a report from the Food and Agricultural Organization at the U.N.

The per-capita supply of fish worldwide climbed roughly 30% over those years.

World hunger and poverty have dropped dramatically. The share of the global population that is undernourished declined more than 40% between 1990 and 2015, U.N. data show. The share of the global population living in abject poverty went down by more than 35%.

Land has gotten far more productive, not less. In fact, the share of land devoted to agriculture hasn't budged since 1990, according to the U.N. report. Think about that for a minute: We are able to feed 34% more people, and feed them better than ever, using the same amount of land!

In the U.S. at least, air pollution is down since 1992 for every single pollutant the EPA measures. And our CO2 emissions are down since the mid-1990s, thanks not to government regulations, but because of the fracking innovation.

That massive deforestation predicted by scientists? The amount of forest land in the world declined by just 3% from 1990 to 2010, the U.N. report says. (In the U.S., it's increased.)

How about the warning that we were cutting off new medicines by destroying species? The pharmaceutical industry is in a golden age of innovation, with more than 5,000 new treatments in the production pipeline.

What's also interesting about the scientists' 1992 warning is that it barely mentions global warming, which is the cause for all the current end-of-the-world predictions.

But today's doomsday scientists are making the same fundamental mistake they made 25 years ago.

They are blind, apparently, to the fact that when people are emboldened by free-market capitalism they are amazingly innovative and will ceaselessly devise new technologies and new ways of doing things that are cheaper, less energy-intensive and less polluting. There's no need for the massive central planning or worldwide austerity these scientists keep demanding.

Our bet is that when 2042 comes around, the terrifying "second notice" from the world's leading scientists will look just as ridiculous as the first one does today.


The University of Reading say molecules from burning fat could counteract global warming

Amusing that the article below assumes (rightly) a cooling effect from clouds.  Warmist theory is that clouds HEAT the planet!

Fatty acids released into the air from cooking may contribute to the formation of clouds that cool the climate, say scientists.  Fatty acid molecules comprise about 10% of fine particulates over London, and such particles help seed clouds.

But researchers dismiss the idea that cooking fats could be used as a geo-engineering tool to reduce warming. Instead, the research is designed to help reduce uncertainties about the role of cooking fats on climate.

Researchers believe the fatty molecules arrange themselves into complex 3-D structures in atmospheric droplets.

These aerosols persist for longer than normal and can seed the formation of clouds which experts say can have a cooling effect on the climate.

The authors say the study will shed new light on the long term role of aerosols on temperatures.

Atmospheric aerosols are one of the areas of climate science where there are considerable uncertainties.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Molecules from deep fat frying may have a cooling effect on the climate

The description covers tiny particles that can be either solid or liquid, ranging from the dusts of the Saharan desert to soot to aerosols formed by chemical reaction.

These can have a variety of impacts, while most aerosols reflect sunlight back into space others absorb it.

Aerosols and the clouds seeded by them, are said to reflect about a quarter of the Sun's energy back into space.

Researchers have known for some time that the emissions of fatty acid molecules from chip pans and cookers may coat aerosol particles in the atmosphere - but this is the first time that scientists have looked at their role inside the droplets.

Using ultrasonic levitation to hold individual droplets of brine and oleic acid in position, the research team was able to make them float so they could analyse them with a laser beam and X-rays.

The X-rays proved crucial in revealing the inner structure.

"We found these drops could form these self-assembled phases which means these molecules can stay much longer in the atmosphere," said lead author Dr Christian Pfrang, from the University of Reading.

"These self-assembled structures are highly viscous so instead of having a water droplet you have something that behaves much more like honey, so processes inside the droplet will slow down," he told BBC News.

"They are resistant to oxidation so they stay around longer, so cloud formation will be easier."

Scientists believe that the number of fatty acid molecules in the air is relatively high, comprising about 10% of the fine particulate matter over London, according to research published last year.

This could be having an impact on the number of clouds and the amount of heat they reflect back into space.

"If you want to establish emissions control measures for McDonalds for example, you could assume that instead of two hours the molecules can last more than one day," said Dr Pfrang.

"Then this air parcel that comes from McDonalds will travel 10 times further, this is important for local air pollution but also to determine the effect of clouds which is the largest uncertainty."


UK: Renewable energy project developers have been dealt a huge blow as the government said there will be no new subsidies until 2025


A document published by the Treasury, alongside the Budget yesterday, suggests the government wants to keep energy costs “as low as possible” and therefore there will be no new low carbon electricity levies “until the burden of such costs is falling”.

It states: “Until the total burden of these costs is forecast to fall in real terms over a sustained period, the Control will not allow for new low carbon electricity levies to be introduced. Based on the current forecast, this will rule out new levy spend until 2025.”


Australia's Energy Guarantee Could ‘Decimate’ Wind, Solar


Australia’s proposed National Energy Guarantee program could slash investment in large-scale wind and solar projects if the government fails to boost its 2030 emissions-reduction target, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull government’s goal of reducing emissions by 28 percent by 2030 only requires an additional 1.5 gigawatts of new large-scale renewables, according to an estimate by BNEF. That target “could decimate large-scale wind and solar construction” while a 45 percent reduction target advocated by the opposition Labor party would “continue the current boom,” it said.

“The National Energy Guarantee could be an effective and innovative policy mechanism, but if the target is weak, it will deliver little,” BNEF’s Australian head Kobad Bhavnagri said in an email.

Turnbull’s Liberal-led coalition government will provide information to the states on Friday in a bid to get them to back the National Energy Guarantee, which aims to bolster reliability of Australia’s faltering electricity grid. Australia’s six states and two territories will need to approve the program for it to function properly with a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments to be held Friday in Hobart to discuss the plan.

The Labor plan would require 17.3 gigawatts of large-scale renewables, according to BNEF’s modeling. The level of ambition by the nation’s political parties on emissions reduction targets will ultimately play a big part in determining the success of the government’s proposed energy policy, according to BNEF.

Turnbull on October 17 ditched plans to set renewable power targets as part of his latest policy to lower electricity prices and require generators to guarantee reliable supply and limit emissions. The government has argued that falling costs mean the technologies no longer need government subsidies to compete against traditional energy sources.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


24 November, 2017

An attempt to prop up an EPA obsession. Does fine dust kill you?

Because motor vehicles put out a lot of fine particles from their exhausts, the EPA has long tried to show that such pollution kills you.  But the EPA are not alone in that.  With great regularity studies from all sources emerge which show that living near a major road has adverse health consequences.  I have critiqued many of those studies over the years and ALL of them fail to allow for confounding.  For instance, it is mainly the poor who live beside major roads and the poor are unhealthier anyway. So the association between roads and health is actually  an association between poverty and health -- an association we knew all along.

The study below seems to be similarly inconclusive. The poor probably live in more polluted areas.  As far as I can tell they failed to account for poverty and other social class variables that could have mediated the findings.  And they have no actual data on anyone's cause of death.  Because a person who died lived near a polluted area they simply assume that pollution was the cause of his death.  That seems to me to be assuming what you have to prove.

Futhermore all the associations reported were in the form of  very low relative risks clustered around 1.0, which is most parsimoniously interpreted as "no association".  There is much more that could be said about this study and Steve Milloy has said it.  Like many studies before it, this study too is junk

Long-Term PM 2.5 Exposure and Respiratory, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Mortality in Older US Adults

Vivian C Pun, Fatemeh Kazemiparkouhi, Justin Manjourides, Helen H Suh


The impact of chronic exposure to fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 ?m (PM2.5)) on respiratory disease and lung cancer mortality is poorly understood. In a cohort of 18.9 million Medicare beneficiaries (4.2 million deaths) living across the conterminous United States between 2000 and 2008, we examined the association between chronic PM2.5 exposure and cause-specific mortality. We evaluated confounding through adjustment for neighborhood behavioral covariates and decomposition of PM2.5 into 2 spatiotemporal scales. We found significantly positive associations of 12-month moving average PM2.5 exposures (per 10-?g/m3 increase) with respiratory, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia mortality, with risk ratios ranging from 1.10 to 1.24. We also found significant PM2.5-associated elevated risks for cardiovascular and lung cancer mortality. Risk ratios generally increased with longer moving averages; for example, an elevation in 60-month moving average PM2.5 exposures was linked to 1.33 times the lung cancer mortality risk (95% confidence interval: 1.24, 1.40), as compared with 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 1.11, 1.15) for 12-month moving average exposures. Observed associations were robust in multivariable models, although evidence of unmeasured confounding remained. In this large cohort of US elderly, we provide important new evidence that long-term PM2.5 exposure is significantly related to increased mortality from respiratory disease, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 180, Issue 12, 15 December 2014, Pages 1159–1167

UK: Another environmental bureaucracy?  Protect us from it!

Local action improves the environment, not more officials
My Times column on environmental policy:

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is right to promise higher, not lower, environmental standards once we leave the European Union. Britain has always been a pioneer of environmental policy, and indeed many of our protections pre-date our joining the EU. Besides, thanks to the productivity of our farmers, we can spare land for nature in increasing amounts, and thanks to new science and technology, we can afford ever more effective interventions on behalf of wildlife. Improvement, not just protection, is the aim.

But if Mr Gove thinks that the way to achieve this is to set up a new statutory body, “independent of government” with “clear authority” whose job is to “uphold environmental standards”, then he has clearly been spending far too much time with north London greens rather than real conservationists. This is their agenda, not wildlife’s. Too many urban activists in the environmental movement simply see policy as a cash cow to be milked to support paper-pushers enforcing rules while doing precious little on the ground to help the environment.

The first problem with Mr Gove’s proposal is that such a body already exists. Or rather three of them already exist. If you wish to do anything to or with a species of plant, animal or fungus in the British countryside, the chances are that you will need permission from Natural England (or its Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish equivalents) or the Environment Agency, or the Forestry Commission. Or if you are in a national park, add in the national park authority. And then there are the conservation officers of local authorities. Oh, and the Committee on Climate Change will probably sermonise too.

In short, the last thing the natterjack toads and sphagnum mosses of the British Isles need is another vast bureaucracy. They need people in boots, not people in suits. On land, Natural England is almost all the things Mr Gove promises: an arm’s-length, independent, science-based body with “real authority”; in the water, ditto the Environment Agency; in woodland, ditto the Forestry Commission.

So what’s going on? Mr Gove is too canny a politician to set up another quango for the sake of it, and he is familiar enough with the tenets of public-choice theory to know that “regulatory capture” is a very real problem. That is to say, the vested interests in the environmental lobby groups would soon dominate such a body, directly or indirectly.

But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has long made clear its opposition to grouse shooting practices, despite their economic and ecological benefits, and has asked the European Commission to find Natural England in breach of the Habitats Directive by not doing enough to ban such burning. Brussels is a sort of appeal court for green pressure groups when they don’t like what British government agencies do. That is essentially what spooks environmentalists about Brexit: the loss of a power of last resort to overrule the government and its arm’s-length agencies.

To which I say, and Mr Gove should say: welcome to democracy. Natural England is answerable to parliament, as are the politicians who appoint its board. If it goes rogue and does something that is arguably bad for its mission, then complain through parliament. There is still judicial review as well.

The arrangement by which unelected organisations such as the RSPB get unelected commissioners in Brussels to decide what should happen in say, Wensleydale, whatever British politicians or civil servants decide, is exactly the problem Brexit is there to address. If an organisation wants to alter policy, let it take on the interests it opposes in parliament rather than behind the notoriously closed doors of Brussels: it can get its view heard in questions to ministers, select committee hearings, meetings of all-party groups in two Houses — all on the record. That’s democracy.

We can’t afford to be complacent about environmental standards. They need to be improved and strengthened. Our agencies and civil servants do far too little about invasive species at the moment, for example. The EU has been futile in the battle to save the red squirrel from the grey. I want to prevent the extinction of the curlew, which is a real danger throughout all of England except on Pennine grouse moors, where heather burning is vital to its continuing survival.

Yes, Natural England and the Environment Agency are frustratingly obtuse at times. I have battled the former over its (until recently) idiotic policies on great crested newts, where fences to keep them off development sites make far less sense than agreements that developers should create habitat for them. I have battled the latter over its not allowing us to eat the invasive American crayfish infesting certain rivers in the north of England, thus preventing us improving, perhaps saving, the ecology of an entire river.

But what is wrong here is the policy and its execution, not the administrative structure. Talk to anybody in the countryside involved in conservation and you will find them brimming with ideas about how to help wildlife. For example, we currently incentivise some farmers to cultivate seedy plants to encourage birds in winter, but most of these run out of seed by February and the birds starve then. It is an easy fix to require plants with longer-lasting seeds; it does not require a super-powerful new body. Countryside policy is disfigured by the triumph of intentions over outcomes.

The last thing the environment needs is further nationalisation. It needs a free schools-type revolution. Ofgreen, as Mr Gove’s new body should be called, would be an undemocratic, interest-group-captured, top-down hindrance to the exciting task of steadily improving our environment with ingenious science, imaginative policy and local decision-making.


An MIT Study Linking Hurricane Harvey Rainfall To Climate Change Is Alarmist Bunk

Says Rep. LAMAR SMITH, Chairman, House Science Space, and Technology Committee

An article published last week by The Daily Caller, entitled “Here’s The Inconvenient Truth Behind MIT’s Study Linking Hurricane Harvey to Global Warming,” rightly exposes the major flaws in a newly-published Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate change study.

The MIT study attempts to attribute rainfall during Hurricane Harvey to climate change. As expected, media outlets are sensationalizing the findings of the study without checking the facts. The result is a continuation of the alarmist climate rhetoric we have seen for years.

Many of the extreme weather events cited by the media have no link to climate change.

This hurricane season has been no different. For instance, Hurricane Harvey was portrayed in the media as a deadly consequence of a warming climate. However, the facts are that this just isn’t the case. When looking at historical data for hurricanes affecting the United States, the data shows no trend over time.

The United States recently experienced one of its longest hurricane “droughts” in modern history, spanning a decade since a major hurricane made landfall.

Likewise, flooding has been found to have no correlation to climate change. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found in its latest report that there is a lack of scientific evidence pertaining to floods and thus it has low confidence regarding any trends in magnitude or frequency of floods on a global scale.

The story is the same for many indicators of extreme weather, such as tornadoes and drought.

The data does not support the claims often made in the media, yet this does not stop journalists from using alarmist rhetoric to gain a larger readership. Scientists should look to trends before making dire predictions about extreme weather, but the trends show no link to climate change.

Basing a hypothesis on flawed reasoning and assumptions goes against the scientific method. These types of practices are all too common today. Scientists should instead adhere to sound science that is based on the core principles of the scientific method. These principles will steer scientists in the right direction. Assuming an outcome with no supporting evidence will not.

While the media will continue to report unfounded claims about climate change, the facts don’t lie.


EPA Progresses Through HUNDREDS Of FOIA Requests Left Unanswered Under Obama

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials are making progress on responding to the hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests left unanswered by former President Barack Obama’s administration.

EPA FOIA officers had responded as of October, to 70 percent of the 652 requests left open at the beginning of 2017, according to an agency release. Some requests had been open since 2008.

That doesn’t include the 34 pre-2017 FOIA requests submitted to EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, according to an agency release.

“We are committed to transparency,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

“EPA staff have quickly responded to the challenge to clear the backlog of FOIAs that built up from the previous administration, all while continuing to respond to the large volume of incoming requests,” Pruitt said.

It’s a big commitment since the agency has been hit with a surge of FOIAs from environmentalists and news outlets, all looking to find out about the inner workings of President Donald Trump’s administration.

EPA received 11,493 FOIA requests in fiscal year 2017, that is the most they’ve gotten since 2007 when outside groups filed 11,820 records requests. EPA got 995 more FOIAs this year than in 2016.

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard noted in September several FOIAs wanted “all emails that include ‘climate change’ in them, a list in the millions and will be costly in money and hours to retrieve.”

Bedard pointed to another FOIA from “New York Times reporter Eric Lipton seeking emails that include his name.” Lipton has been a thorn in the side of EPA officials and has been digging into Pruitt’s political activity for years.

Conservative groups have been some of the most vocal critics of EPA’s handling of FOIAs. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Chris Horner accused EPA of sitting on FOIA’s submitted by conservative groups.

EPA’s inspector general investigated and found no evidence of political interference in FOIA requests, but Horner contested the findings, arguing it was the process, not political appointees, that hampered conservative requests.

Horner said he’d been stonewalled in FOIA requests for former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s emails. Horner eventually sued EPA and got access to Jackson’s emails, that were masked using a fake alias.

CEI also sued EPA in 2015 over the agency’s extremely slow handling of a FOIA request for emails from Jackson’s alias account “Richard Windsor.”

EPA said it would release the 120,000 records associated with CEI’s request at a pace of 100 per month — meaning the FOIA request will be fully processed in about 100 years.


Australia:  China will finance Adani coal mine, insiders say, as Greenies vow obstruction

The Adani Group is close to securing finance for its controversial coal mine and railway project in outback Queensland, with an announcement expected in coming weeks that Chinese state-owned enterprises, banks, and export credit agencies are backing the venture.

Australian taxpayers may be let off the hook under the deal, which could mean Adani no longer requires an Australian Government-subsidised loan of up to $1 billion for the railway it needs to transport the coal to port.

But China's money will come at the cost of local jobs.

Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China, effectively shifting work out of Australia and undermining Adani's claims its project will create many thousands of additional jobs for Queensland.

Jobs and exports from existing coal regions will be decimated by new project, according to new research.

Just days ago, a director of Adani Mining, an Australian subsidiary of the Adani Group's flagship company Adani Enterprises, told industry figures Adani had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine in North Queensland and the Carmichael rail project.

He said Adani would not need the loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the 388-kilometre railway, and claimed a formal announcement of "financial close" was imminent, the ABC has been told.

Details are sketchy, however the ABC revealed earlier this month that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was in negotiations with Adani for contracts to build key mining plant and equipment in return for China's financial backing of the Carmichael mine.

CMEC is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is 78 per cent owned by the giant Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corporation Ltd, or Sinomach.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

We asked if you thought leaving Australian taxpayers off the hook in funding the coal mine was more important than keeping jobs in Queensland.

Adani Mining's chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told Reuters in October that Adani was in talks to secure loans from export credit agencies for its mining equipment and tie up other funding.

"The company is in advanced discussions in all these cases with merely term sheets under final negotiations," he said.

Mr Janakaraj said Adani was looking to sell minority equity stakes in the coal project, and rail line, to financial institutions and contractors to help fund it.

"By the end of this financial year, all things will be in place," he said.

The Indian financial year ends on March 31.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


23 November, 2017

That pesky Antarctic

A careful new reconstruction of the Antarctic climate record confirms much of what skeptics have been saying. They found evidence of a medieval warm period ("between 300 and 1000 CE") and the Little Ice Age ("1200 to 1900 CE") and show some recent warming as a rebound off the LIA.  They also show that the Antarctic peninsula -- the Warmist's favorite bit of Antarctica  -- is anomalous. I have often pointed to subsurface vulcanism as an influence on peninsula temperatures.  I have truncated the Abstract below at the point where they leave the facts and drift into speculation

Antarctic climate variability on regional and continental scales over the last 2000 years

Barbara Stenni plus Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all


Climate trends in the Antarctic region remain poorly characterized, owing to the brevity and scarcity of direct climate observations and the large magnitude of interannual to decadal-scale climate variability. Here, within the framework of the PAGES Antarctica2k working group, we build an enlarged database of ice core water stable isotope records from Antarctica, consisting of 112 records. We produce both unweighted and weighted isotopic (? 18O) composites and temperature reconstructions since 0 CE, binned at 5- and 10-year resolution, for seven climatically distinct regions covering the Antarctic continent. Following earlier work of the Antarctica2k working group, we also produce composites and reconstructions for the broader regions of East Antarctica, West Antarctica and the whole continent. We use three methods for our temperature reconstructions: (i) a temperature scaling based on the ? 18O–temperature relationship output from an ECHAM5-wiso model simulation nudged to ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalyses from 1979 to 2013, and adjusted for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet region to borehole temperature data, (ii) a temperature scaling of the isotopic normalized anomalies to the variance of the regional reanalysis temperature and (iii) a composite-plus scaling approach used in a previous continent-scale reconstruction of Antarctic temperature since 1 CE but applied to the new Antarctic ice core database.

Our new reconstructions confirm a significant cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE across all Antarctic regions where records extend back into the 1st millennium, with the exception of the Wilkes Land coast and Weddell Sea coast regions.

Within this long-term cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE, we find that the warmest period occurs between 300 and 1000 CE, and the coldest interval occurs from 1200 to 1900 CE.

Since 1900 CE, significant warming trends are identified for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Dronning Maud Land coast and the Antarctic Peninsula regions, and these trends are robust across the distribution of records that contribute to the unweighted isotopic composites and also significant in the weighted temperature reconstructions.

Only for the Antarctic Peninsula is this most recent century-scale trend unusual in the context of natural variability over the last 2000 years.


EPA Spending $1.2 Million on ‘Environmental Justice’

Taxpayer-funded projects to focus on 'community capacity-building' and 'consensus building'

The Environmental Protection Agency is spending $1.2 million on "environmental justice."

The agency will award 10 grants to nonprofit organizations and religious groups, according to a grant announcement released earlier this month.

"EPA defines ‘environmental justice' as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies," the announcement states. "Fair treatment means that no one group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal environmental programs and policies."

Grant opportunities are available to "environmental justice networks," "faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions," and other nonprofit groups.

The EPA said it would give special consideration to grant proposals from rural areas.

Groups will have until February to apply. "The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $1,200,000," the EPA said, with plans to award 10 projects in different regions worth $120,000 each.

Under the Obama administration, the EPA spent $90,000 per year on an "Environmental Justice Academy."

The academy and the latest round of EPA environmental justice grants follow the EPA's "Collaborative Problem-Solving Model," a seven-step flow chart that urges communities to work together to "bring about positive change" for sustainability.

Steps in the "Collaborative Problem-Solving Model" include "community capacity-building," "consensus building," and "sound management."

Taxpayer-funded projects will go to underserved communities, which the EPA defines as a "community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including minority, low income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and risks and has a local environmental and/or public health issue that is identified in the applicant's proposal."


Badgering Badgers on Climate Change

The Cap Times in Madison, Wisconsin, recently ran an article titled “Climate change is here: Wisconsin is seeing earlier springs, later falls, less snow and more floods,” to which a Badger state resident called our attention.

It’s typical climate alarmist propaganda, and it bemoans what it considers the ignorance, or worse, of those who disagree:

“There are still people who refuse to see what the vast majority of scientists consider self-evident. The president has called climate change a Chinese hoax. The governor’s chief environmental agency, the Department of Natural Resources, has eliminated climate research, disbanded its science bureau and scrubbed all mention of climate change from its website. The agency’s communications director didn’t respond to a Cap Times request for an interview on the subject.”

“Badger State folks have a front-row seat to the effects of global warming,” the article continues. It then discusses rising temperatures and predictions of “earlier springs, later falls, less snow, less lake ice, more floods, more drought, more algae” as well as “more heat.”

The article begins by referring to a map taken from a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on “plant hardiness” for the state: “The new map marked a sea change. … The new map extended the state’s warmest zone — with temperatures bottoming out at minus 10 to minus 15 degrees — from two small pockets clinging to the Lake Michigan coast near Manitowoc and Milwaukee to a swath that runs from the Illinois border up the coast to the tip of Door County.

Madison, which used to be the westernmost point of the next warmest zone — with coldest temperatures bottoming out at minus 20 to minus 15 degrees — is now squarely in the middle. The coldest zone — minus 35 to minus 40 degrees — has fallen completely off of the map.”

Although in an agricultural state, you’d think this would be celebrated as great news, the article treats this news as catastrophe coming ‘round the corner.

Well, what’s to be said? How do we respond?

The first and most important point to make about that article is simply that it uses a sleight of hand typical of many climate alarmists. It speaks of “climate change” with the tacit assumption that it’s primarily human-induced. But changes in temperature — upward and downward — have happened throughout Earth’s history, long before any human activity could conceivably have contributed anything significant to them.

The second is that it considers only a relatively short period in Wisconsin’s climate history. Had it gone back, via proxy measures, to the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period, or especially the Holocene Climate Optimum, it would have found Wisconsin’s climate equally warm or warmer.

A third failure in the article is to focus on negative consequences of Wisconsin’s warming while ignoring positive consequences. Earlier annual thaw and later annual freeze mean longer growing seasons; fewer cold snaps mean fewer temperature-related deaths (because cold snaps kill 10 times as many per day as heat waves); and increasing precipitation raises crop yields.

Those are fairly broad problems with the article. Now for a few more technical, narrower matters.

“One of the many findings was the 1.1-degree statewide temperature increase between 1950 and 2006,” the article reports. “Scientists expect the average statewide temperature to rise by another 6 or 7 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 9 degrees. Even discounting the worst-case scenario, that’s an acceleration over the increase between 1950 and 2006 by a factor of about eight.”

The rate of rise reported for 1950–2006 was 0.196 degrees per decade. To rise by 6 degrees by mid-century would require a decadal rate of 1.875 degrees ([6/32]*10), which is not eight but nine times the prior rate — and that’s just for the lowest number they present. So their math is a little off. For the highest, 9 degrees by mid-century, the decadal rate would have to be 2.8125 degrees, which is 14.35 times the prior rate.

But the really crucial question is, what basis have they for projecting that the rate of rise will increase by a factor of 9 to 14.35 times? Well, granted that we’re talking about the future, the only possible basis is computer modeling. Two problems then arise.

First, the computer global climate models have consistently predicted two to three times as much warming as actually observed, so it would make sense to adjust their projections of future warming downward by one-half to two-thirds, i.e., from “6 or 7 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 9 degrees,” to “2 or 3, or 2.33 or 3.5 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 3 to 4.5 degrees.”

Those would still indicate an increase in the decadal rate by a factor of 3.19 to 6.78 times instead of 9 to 14.35 times. What could justify the prediction of such an increase in the rate? Again, we’re left with only the computer models.

But, as the comparison between observed and predicted warming rates shows, the models haven’t been validated (a charitable way of putting it), and another important difference between predictions and observations pushes us hard toward the conclusion that the models are invalidated. What’s that?

It’s the fact that none of the models predicted the complete absence of statistically significant increase in global average temperature from early 1997 to late 2015, a period of roughly 18 years and nine months and typically called simply “the pause,” while various modelers had said in the late 2000s and early 2010s that a period of no statistically significant warming lasting eight or more years couldn’t be reconciled with the models.

Even more important, the computer models’ predictions, inflated as they have been, and as wrong as they were about the pause, predict that warming (two to three times observed) to be driven 100% by human activity, none at all by natural. But there are two problems with that assumption.

The first is that the fact of past warming in the absence of the alleged human causes demonstrates that we can’t be sure a priori that human activity drove all the observed warming.

The second is that recent research by John Christy, Joseph D'Aleo, and James Wallace finds that if you control for solar, volcanic, and ocean current (especially El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation), no warming is left to blame on human activity.

The article also assumes that the warming predicted will be harmful to people — e.g., in the discussion of heart waves. But, as I pointed out above, cold snaps kill 10 times as many people per day as heat waves, which implies that with warming you’ll get a reduction in temperature-related deaths. Further, simply looking at migration patterns for temperature-sensitive people — primarily the aged — tells you they recognize that they’re healthier in warmer than in colder climates. They move closer to the equator, not farther from it.

In short, insofar as the article, and the research on which it’s based, is intended to persuade people that we should “do something” to prevent the feared warming, and insofar as we can only “do something” about the human causes of it, not about natural causes, both the article and the research paper commit the post hoc fallacy. Seeing that some warming has occurred, and predicting that more warming will occur, they jump to the conclusion that it must be caused by human activity. But there are other possible causes, they can’t be ruled out, and the Christy-D'Aleo-Wallace research makes it quite likely that natural causes far outweigh human causes.


Keystone XL pipeline gets Nebraska’s approval, clearing a key hurdle in 9-year effort and allowing Trump to claim a win

TransCanada’s $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline got the go-ahead from the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Monday, clearing the last regulatory hurdle in a nine-year effort to build a line to carry thick crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

But the five-member commission rejected TransCanada’s preferred route and voted to approve an alternative plan that would move the pipeline further east. The route of the new pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels a day of crude, would circumvent more of the state’s ecologically delicate Sandhills region.

The commission’s decision to back an alternative route could complicate TransCanada’s plans, forcing the pipeline company to arrange easements from different landowners. In its submissions, TransCanada had portrayed the alternative route as unworkable. Further litigation is likely.

“As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive, said in a statement.

But the commission’s decision could still enable President Trump to claim a victory on a campaign issue. Trump revived the project with an executive order during his first week in office and later gave it the required federal approvals.

In 2012, President Barack Obama approved the construction of the southern leg of the original Keystone XL pipeline proposal; it ran from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Tex. But in late 2015, he turned down TransCanada’s application to build a pipeline through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, citing climate concerns and Nebraska’s ecological concerns.

The 3-2 commission decision comes just four days after a rupture in the existing Keystone pipeline also owned by TransCanada leaked an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil in a rural part of northeast South Dakota. The spill, the latest in a series of leaks on the existing pipeline, raised concerns about other potential spills, economic impact and climate change.

The independent commission had come under pressure from the Nebraska state legislature and labor unions to approve the pipeline while environmental groups and prairie populists have vowed to appeal, if necessary, to the courts and follow that up with civil disobedience.

The commissioners who voted for the pipeline permit included Frank E. Landis Jr., a lawyer first elected in 1988; Rod Johnson, a former Republican state legislator; and Tim Schram, a former county commissioner. The pipeline was opposed by newly elected Mary Ridder, a cattle rancher from the Sandhills region, and Crystal Rhoades, who has worked with a variety of community organizations before becoming a commissioner.

While the approved alternative route would largely avoid the Sandhills, it would still cross small shallow parts of the Ogallala aquifer, the main source of drinking and irrigation water in Nebraska and much of the Great Plains.

In her dissent, Rhoades said she opposed the pipeline regardless of the route. She said that the pipeline was not in the state’s public interest, that jobs would not go to Nebraskans, that it would create “significant burdens” on landowners whose use of the pipeline corridor would be limited, and that she was still worried about the environmental impact.

“All human-made infrastructure degrades and fails over time,” she wrote. “No infrastructure ever designed has lasted for eternity and there is no reason to believe this pipeline will be an exception.” Rhoades acknowledged that the commission was not supposed to weigh the risks of spills, but she said the state’s Department of Environmental Quality had included it in the record.

While TransCanada has promoted the pipeline project as a jobs creator, Rhoades said that “there was no evidence provided that any jobs created by the construction of this project would be given to Nebraska residents.”

She also said that TransCanada had failed to consult Nebraska’s Native American tribes. She noted that the company said it had consulted with the Southern Ponca Tribe, but Rhoades said that resides in Oklahoma. “This is the equivalent of asking a distant relative for permission to do a major construction in your backyard,” she wrote.

The impetus for the controversial pipeline has been to provide transportation for the thick bitumen produced in Alberta to the Gulf Coast. Many oil sands producers currently ship crude by railroad, which is not immune from accidents. Pipeline transportation is also cheaper than rail.

“Nebraska’s decision today greatly diminishes the political risk for the project, likely clearing the way for increased volumes of West Canadian heavy crude to reach the Gulf Coast,” Zachary Rogers, refining and oil markets research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in an email.

The Association of Oil Pipe Lines hailed the decision, saying that sales of construction equipment in Nebraska would generate $16.5 million in tax revenue for state government. In its first full year of operation, the Keystone XL would generate $11.8 million in additional property taxes for counties in the state of Nebraska, the group said.

But critics said that the property where the pipeline would cross would lose value. And climate change activists are trying to block increased output in the oil sands region, where high amounts of energy are needed to extract the oil.

David Domina, who represented landowners before the commission, called the commission’s decision a victory. “TransCanada had the burden of proof and its proof failed,” his firm said in a statement. The firm said that any party could appeal the PSC order within 30 days. The Court of Appeals would then review the matter without a jury and using only the record created during the PSC hearings.

Rhoades said the new route would create new problems because there are an estimate 40 landowners along who did not know they lie along the new pipeline path.

The Sierra Club also greeted the commission’s decision as a partial victory. It said in a statement that during its testimony in the PSC’s public hearings, TransCanada had “argued that building along an alternative route would be unworkable, and will now need additional easements if the company tries to proceed with the project.”

The Sierra Club added that it would oppose the pipeline along any route because “the pipeline would transport dirty, climate-polluting tar sands through Nebraska to the Gulf Coast for export, threatening land, water, and communities along the way.”

“It is a huge victory for us today,” Jane Kleeb, longtime foe of the pipeline and now head of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said in an email. She said “it opens all sorts of legal challenges.”


Legal battle in Australia: James Cook Univer­sity trying to muzzle critic of coral reef alarmism

Outspoken James Cook Univer­sity professor Peter Ridd has taken Federal Court action claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias against vice-chancellor Sandra Harding.

Professor Ridd wants JCU to drop a misconduct investigation launched following his interview with Alan Jones on Sky News on August 1 in which he criticised the quality of Great Barrier Reef science.

In the interview, he said research findings by major institutions could not be trusted. “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

JCU responded in late August by launching a formal investigation for misconduct which could result in Professor Ridd’s employment being terminated.

Professor Ridd engaged legal counsel, with new accusations being made by JCU and Federal Court action being lodged by him.

JCU has said Professor Ridd’s comments were “not in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth”. It said his comments had denigrated AIMS and the ARC Centre and were “not respectful and courteous”.

In letters lodged with the court, JCU said Professor Ridd’s comments could damage the reputation of AIMS and the university’s relationship with it.

In a letter to JCU on September 7, Professor Ridd’s legal team, ­Mahoneys, called on JCU to drop the case. They said the university suffered a conflict of interest in its investigation.

“The vice-chancellor is a council member (akin to a director) of the Australian Institute of Marine Science,” Mahoneys said. “The vice-chancellor is in a position of conflict between her duties and ­office to the AIMS and to bringing an impartial mind to a decision on the allegations (against Professor Ridd).”

JCU responded on September 19 that it was “not satisfied that there has been no serious misconduct or that the allegations are unsubstantiated”. It said Professor Ridd “must not disclose or discuss these matters with the media or in any other public forum”.

Mahoneys responded on September 27, repeating concerns about conflict of interest: “There are only two conclusions our ­client can reach as to why the complaint is continuing to be prosecuted: incompetence or act­ual bias, neither of which is satisfactory or tolerable to our client.”

JCU then engaged law firm Clayton Utz, which on October 6 wrote to Mahoneys to say: “The matters you have raised are not matters that prevent JCU from ­addressing your client’s conduct and JCU’s expectations of your client as a JCU employee.”

Mahoneys responded on ­October 13 that the Utz response was “evasive and inadequate”.

On October 17, Clayton Utz wrote “further allegations and concerns” had been raised against Professor Ridd. “These matters ­related to allegations of similar conduct and/or a pattern of insubordination and denigration of the university,” Clayton Utz wrote. It rejected the allegation of bias, ­apprehended bias, or inability of the officers of the university to ­address Professor Ridd’s conduct.

JCU again wrote to Professor Ridd on October 23 highlighting comments made to Jones. In the Jones interview, Professor Ridd said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff — they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef; I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally ­attached to their subject.” In its letter, JCU said it “is not satisfied that the principles of academic freedom excuse or justify your comments”.

The university said it did not accept a conflict of interest or apprehended bias existed.

On November 7, Mahoneys said “new evidence” was “entirely separate”. “The revised offending conduct cannot reasonably have had any effect on the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, that is, of course, unless the employer was hypersensitive in the extreme and determined to find slight in every action,” Mahoneys responded.

Professor Ridd said in correspondence to The Australian he hoped the court action would “draw attention to the quality ­assurance problems in science and the obligation of universities in general to genuinely foster debate, argument and the clash of ideas”.

“I think it is right to challenge our science institutions about whether their work is reliable and trustworthy,” he said.

A JCU spokesman said “it is not appropriate to comment on confidential matters’’.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


22 November, 2017

An amazingly silly attempt to erase the "pause"

They recalculated Arctic temperatures from readings off buoys floating in the Arctic ocean.  You are apparently supposed to assume that those temperatures are the product of anthropogenic global warming.  But the Arctic is known for vulcanism --  at the Gakkel ridge and elsewhere -- so basing the new data on instruments afloat in the Arctic ocean tells us nothing. The high temperatures were almost certainly caused by all the undersea volcanoes warming the Arctic ocean, not by anthropogenic global warming. The causes of the warming were irretrievably muddled.

And here's the amazing bit.  Their own findings showed that the elevated Arctic temperatures were not part of anthropogenic global warming.  They found that the Arctic was warming at five times the rate in the rest of the world.  Their own data showed that they were studying something NON-global!  Warmism produces some quite crippled thinking

An apparent pause in global warming that spawned a decade-long controversy never took place, according to new data.

Between 1998 and 2012, the world is thought to have experienced a slower rise in temperatures. 

This 'pause' has been cited by climate skeptics as a sign that the climate is less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought. But new research suggests the so-called global warming hiatus was the result of missing data from the Arctic, not a real downturn.

And the more accurate data actually shows that the Arctic region is warming up five times quicker than the rest of the world.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor and his colleagues in China constructed the first data set of surface temperatures from across the world that significantly improves representation of the Arctic during the 'global warming hiatus.'

They analysed temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean.

Professor Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist with UAF's International Arctic Research Centre, said: ' 'We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought.

'We estimated a new rate of Arctic warming at 0.659 C per decade from 1998-2014.

'Compared with the newly estimated global warming rate of 0.130 C per decade, the Arctic has warmed more than five time the global average.

'The new data set and resulting estimates show conclusively that global warming did not take a break.

The global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 – which is surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Some people used this apparent contradiction to question climate change per se – or at least the harm potential caused by greenhouse gases – as well as the validity of the climate models.

Meanwhile, the majority of climate researchers continued to emphasise that the short-term 'warming hiatus' could largely be explained on the basis of current scientific understanding and did not contradict longer term warming.

The latest study recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought.

'It was missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012.'

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change incorporated new methods of working the Arctic temperature data into global temperature data so that they could better estimate the average temperatures.

Most current estimates use global data that tend to represent a long time span and provide good coverage of a global geographic area. But the remote Arctic lacks a robust network of instruments to collect temperature data.

So the team relied on temperature data collected from the International Arctic Buoy Program at the University of Washington and for global data, the team used newly corrected sea surface temperatures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This led to them rejecting the idea of a 'global warming hiatus' by reestimating the average global temperatures during that time period with more accurate and representative data.

The Earth's average global temperatures have been rising over the past century and accelerating as more human produced carbon dioxide enters and lingers in the atmosphere, which is why the idea of 'global warming hiatus' seemed baffling.

Some scientists theorised that an unusually warm El Niño in the years 1997-1998 and an extended period afterwards without occurrence of El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean may have disrupted the rate of global warming.

It also highlights the importance of considering the Arctic when thinking about climate change.

Until recently many scientists didn't consider the Arctic big enough to greatly influence the average global temperatures.

Prof Zhang added: 'The Arctic is remote only in terms of physical distance.

'In terms of science, it's close to every one of us. It's a necessary part of the equation and the answer affects us all.'


The green civil war: A lawsuit reveals a bitter split over renewable energy

One hopes the lawsuit proceeds.  It will draw judicial and probably public attention to crooked Greenie "science" -- JR

Matt Ridley

You can always tell when there is a United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties (COP) coming up, because there are any number of carefully timed press releases about how hot it has been or is going to get in the future. The media has been snowed under with such things for a while now, and sure enough, this week sees the gathering in Bonn of the usual circus of thousands of diplomats, bureaucrats, quangocrats, envirocrats and twittercrats.

Sceptics and lukewarmers are not welcome, despite the falling poll numbers for alarmism: in Britain public “concern” over climate change has dropped steadily from 82% in 2005 to 60% today – which is in line with the scientific evidence that warming is proving slower and less harmful than the models predicted. As Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University said in September “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.” It’s nice to have that confirmed authoritatively, but of course the public has known the truth for some time.

Meanwhile, NASA says the globe has 14% more green vegetation than 33 years ago, largely because of extra carbon dioxide in the air, which makes plants grow faster and use less water doing so, in all ecosystems from the arctic to the tropics.

Germany is an inappropriate, even embarrassing, place for the climate circus to meet. Its “Energiewende” is probably the most expensive, ambitious and comprehensive carbon-reduction policy in the world, for the size of the country. But it has been a pretty big disaster, in its own terms (emissions remain stubbornly high), as well as economically and ecologically. It is the main sticking point in the talks between political parties to form a new “Jamaica” coalition, with the Green party trying to take the “coal” out of coalition and the Free Democrats trying to keep it in.

The German countryside is now pockmarked with 28,000 wind turbines, rashes of solar farms and lashings of anaerobic digesters making gas out of maize crops. Renewables are now providing more than a third of Germany’s electricity, which sounds like a green triumph. But the cost is enormous. The cost of subsidising all this so far is about €190 billion, and is heading for 500 billion euros in total by 2025

In spite of that, the impact on emissions has been small, even if you count biogas as low-carbon (which it is not). This is because to back up and balance the renewables, while killing off nuclear (to appease greens scared by Fukushima), the country is unable to reduce and has actually had had to expand its coal-burning sector. It has built 10 gigawatts of coal-burning power stations in the past five years. Last year Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions actually rose.

Meanwhile, the renewables are causing an environmental disaster as well as an economic one. The wind farms kill thousands of rare birds of prey every year, the biogas plants cause run-off and soil erosion, while the solar farms industrialise and denature the land. Many soi-disant ‘environmentalists’ are shamefully silent. “If dead eagles and kites were found next to chemicals plants or nuclear power stations, the public reaction would be fierce and furious,” says Michael Miersch of the German Wildlife Foundation.

As this quotation illustrates, the green movement is fracturing. Half of it is becoming ever more shrill in favour of the renewable-energy industry, a crony-capitalist business that takes money disproportionately from the poor (through poorly controlled levies on consumers) and gives it disproportionately to the rich through rents and dividends. (To declare an interest, my family business does receive money for one wind turbine, which we give away, but has turned down many more offers; we also get money from unsubsidised coal mining.)

Thus adverts have been appearing all over London recently boasting, unconvincingly, about the halving cost of wind power, though not offering to give up the subsidy addiction. They bear the logos of wind companies and big green multinationals like Greenpeace and WWF. Big Green is increasingly behaving like the PR arm of Big Wind.

Other greens and climate scientists, however, have lost faith in renewables, arguing that they have diverted funds from more worthwhile projects and have effectively killed nuclear power in some parts of the world – because nuclear cannot economically be turned on and off to match the intermittent nature of wind output. Globally, wind power produced just 0.7% of total energy use (including transport and heat) last year, showing how minuscule its contribution to decarbonisation is, even after decades of subsidy.

These two tribes – the ones who argue that only nuclear can deliver carbon-free energy on a sufficient scale to make a difference versus the ones who are wedded to a renewable future, whatever the cost – have now fallen out badly inside the scientific establishment. A paper by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues published in December 2015 argued that the continental United States could meet virtually 100% of its energy needs using wind, water and solar power alone by 2050.

A rebuttal paper, published in the same journal (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) in June this year by Christopher Clack and 20 colleagues from various universities and companies argued that Jacobson had made absurd assumptions to reach his conclusion. For instance America would have to increase its hydro-electric capacity by an implausible amount to back up intermittent wind and solar. This would be unfeasible physically, let alone environmentally – dams are not good for wildlife.

Dr Clack’s paper argues that Dr Jacobson’s paper “contains modeling errors; incorrect, implausible, and/or inadequately supported assumptions; and the application of methods inappropriate to the task. In short, the analysis performed in [it] does not support the claim that such a system would perform at reasonable cost and provide reliable power.”

To the astonishment of the entire world of science, Dr Jacobson has responded by suing the journal and Dr Clack and his colleagues for defamation, demanding $10 million in damages. Jacobson argues that the Clack paper contains “materially misleading errors” and the decision to publish it “has had grave ramifications” for his reputation and career.

The history of science is full of feuds, often bitter ones, going back to Isaac Newton’s vendetta against Gottfried Leibniz and beyond. But that is how science works – through disagreement followed by discussion. Not by taking your enemy to court. “Using court to resolve sci issues? Generally a bad idea” tweeted Gavin Schmidt of NASA – who has none the less defended a similar law suit by the climate scientist Michael Mann against the journalist Mark Steyn. “Enormously chilling for academic discourse. Would I ever write a paper challenging Jacobson’s analyses, even if they’re wrong? No way” tweeted Professor Roger Pielke of Colorado University in Boulder.

Reality is slowly dawning on at least some of the climatocrats meeting in Bonn, that their success in scaring the world as to future global warming has enabled an eruption of profitable capitalism to occur under the disguise of saving the planet. The economist Bruce Yandle has a phrase for this phenomenon, whereby pious preaching goes along with pure profiteering: “Bootleggers and Baptists”. During Prohibition in the 1920s, an unholy alliance developed between Baptist preachers and the lucrative bootlegging industry, both of which favoured a ban on alcohol, one through misguided principle, the other because they cynically saw a way of increasing the price of their product and gouging the consumer. After little more than a decade Prohibition collapsed under the weight of its own hypocritical contradictions. Will Green Prohibition go the same way? It certainly deserves to.


Canada’s Climate Action Plans: Are They Cost-effective?

Four provinces in Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec) have promulgated “action plans” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These plans have several broad components. There is a carbon pricing component; there are assortments of energy efficiency programs; there is a “renewable energy” component; and most of the plans have vehicle electrification components (or such programs have been enacted separately from the climate action plans).

For example, Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan consists of five key elements: a coal-power phase-out by 2030, a tripling of renewable energy generation to reach 30 percent of generation by 2030, reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector, creating Energy Efficiency Alberta to deliver cost-saving programs, and implementing an economy-wide price on carbon.

Ontario’s climate action plan contains similar efforts, including a “Green Bank” to fund efficiency programs, increasing vehicle electrification, running education programs for homeowners seeking more efficient buildings, and, of course, supporting their “carbon market” which unlike Alberta is a cap-and-trade carbon emission trading system.

Quebec and British Columbia have similar programs. But a review of literature as well as an examination of how carbon pricing is being implemented in Canada suggests that the money of Canadians will not be well spent on these carbon action plans.

An examination of Canada’s various carbon pricing programs reveals a history of flawed implementation that undermines the utility and efficiency of carbon pricing. Rather than obeying fundamental economic principles of true revenue neutrality, regulatory displacement, and allowing markets to find lower cost ways to reduce carbon, Canada’s carbon taxes are piled on top of regulations, are not revenue neutral, and subvert the functioning of energy markets by mandating particular technologies such as wind and solar power, and electric vehicles.

With regard to efficiency programs, studies from the US and abroad suggest that home efficiency programs often underperform, proving less effective than predicted at reducing energy use, and coming in at a cost far in excess of what was originally planned. In some cases, this inverts the cost-benefit analyses used to justify the programs.

Vehicle electrification is the newest intervention into energy markets and consumer behavior. Ontario, for example, offers up to $14,000 worth of subsidies for buying an electric car, waives HST on the purchase, and throws in “free energy” for overnight charging. BC is a bit less generous, with only $6,000 subsidies for the electric cars, but is another with more lucre on tap if you install a charging station. But the laboratory of electrification has to be California, which has pushed vehicle electrification for more than 20 years. California’s experience is telling. As Los Angeles Times reporter Russ Mitchell points out, “[o]ver seven years, the state of California has spent $449 million on consumer rebates to boost sales of zero-emission vehicles. So far, the subsidies haven’t moved the needle much. In 2016, of the just over 2 million cars sold in the state, only 75,000 were pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars. To date, out of 26 million cars and light trucks registered in California, just 315,000 are electric or plug-in hybrids.” And the cost of GHG reductions for this program? Researchers have estimated that Ontario’s spending on electric cars reduces greenhouse gases at a cost of $523/tonne, while Quebec’s price of avoided emissions comes in at $288/tonne.

Finally, all of Canada’s climate action plans feature the expansion of renewable energy. But Canada’s own experience with that in Ontario has been nothing short of disastrous. Ontario’s renewable expansion has come at a stunningly high cost, with electricity prices in Ontario having risen by 71 percent from 2008 to 2016, over twice the average growth in electricity prices elsewhere in Canada. From 2008 to 2015, electricity prices also increased two-and-a-half times faster than household disposable income in Ontario. The growth in electricity prices was almost four times greater than inflation and over four-and-a-half times the growth of Ontario’s economy (real GDP).

Canada’s climate action plans include carbon pricing, but also rely heavily on regulatory interventions that undermine its efficiency properties, such as expanding renewable sources, energy efficiency measures, and vehicle electrification. There is little reason to believe that money will be well spent on these efforts. Every jurisdiction in Canada with a carbon pricing program has violated the fundamental economics of such programs in ways that will greatly inflate their costs and impair their effectiveness. Evidence from the economic literature suggests that the energy efficiency programs proposed by the various provincial climate plans are likely to cost more than projected and deliver fewer savings than promised. Electric vehicle subsidies are likely to hit Canadians in the pocketbooks, producing at best small quantities of greenhouse gas emission reductions at exorbitant costs.

Canadian governments have aggressively, and with little up-front analysis, rolled out climate action plans that are going to cost a great deal of money, but, most likely, will yield very little return in terms of environmental benefits. Governments would be well advised to slow or temporarily halt their climate action program implementation, and give the public solid analysis of their proposed programs’ economic costs and benefits.



Four current articles below

Green voters are snobs, says Labor Party survey

About 70 per cent of Greens voters in inner Melbourne are rich, dislike unions and think suburban people are backwards, ­racist and bigoted, Labor has concluded based on its own research.

A six-month survey of Melbourne Greens voters has encouraged the Victorian Labor Party to give up on campaigning to most of them, arguing they do not share Labor values and are closer to the Liberals.

Labor has dubbed them “Teal Greens”, with teal being a colour blend of green and blue. The party has decided to target the 30 per cent “Red Greens” in Melbourne’s inner city who are typically university students or Millennials starting their careers.

“Red Greens” are usually renters who are more likely to come from Labor families, while “Teal Greens” own expensive inner-city homes and have parents who vote Liberal.

The qualitative research surveyed more than 50 Greens voters in inner suburbs such as Fitzroy, Brunswick and Clifton Hill, from January to June this year. Party sources said the findings showed the biggest concern of many Greens voters was the ­notion of living in the outer suburbs that contributed to their ­interest in local planning laws.

“Teal Greens” are usually highly paid professionals in two-wage households, are aged in their 30s and 40s and “look down on” ­people in suburbs, thinking they hold Australia back from being “tolerant” and “just”.

After the Greens’ victory in the state seat of Northcote at the weekend, Labor faces a fight to hold inner-Melbourne federal seats such as Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports. Labor thinks the broader boundaries of the electorates will help it retain the seats as they encompass modest suburbs as well as affluent inner-city ones.

Victorian senator Kim Carr said: “The blue Greens are really the hardcore Liberal types in their attitudes, the red Greens are more sympathetic to our message. There is the homeowners and the renters big divide.

“The homeowners talk about their sense of privilege and their sense of entitlement, their wealth is the natural order of things ­rather than good fortune.”

Senator Carr, the federal ­opposition industry spokesman, said many “blue Greens” migrated into inner-city Labor seats from traditionally Liberal areas or from Sydney and Brisbane.

“These are traditionally Liberal voters that are moving into these areas. They are not Labor people,” Senator Carr said. “They claim to be progressive social values but we surveyed them and their biggest fear was actually being forced to live in Pascoe Vale and Coburg.

Their real anxieties are different to what they claim them to be. Their preoccupations are ­essentially material conditions, not with the state of the world ­environment.” The “blue Greens” traded on “snob appeal” and were closed to Labor, he said.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the claims were “fairytales” and voters were shifting because of Labor’s support for offshore processing and the Adani coalmine.


Greenie dam-hatred to cost Queenslanders big

Foot-dragging on building Rookwood Weir

Queenslanders face a $500 million bill to pay for 600 B-double trucks to transport water into central Queensland every day unless the weir was built, an explosive report kept secret by the State Government revealed.

A shock business case for Rookwood Weir warns Rockhampton and nearby towns could run out of water from just one “failed wet season”, raising questions why the State Government repeatedly refuses Mr Turnbull’s offer to build the weir.

The Prime Minister yesterday accused the Premier of being “beholden to an inner-city Green-Left agenda that doesn’t like dams”.

Sources told The Courier-Mail that Mr Turnbull had pledged to fund the entire project in a meeting with Ms Palaszczuk earlier this year.

Speaking in Mackay this morning, Ms Palaszczuk said her Cabinet is still yet to receive the full business case for the project but conceded her Government has received the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Report.

“Let’s be very clear, with Rookwood Weir, I attended a meeting with the Prime Minister, Senator Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce,” she said.

“What was discussed there very clearly was ... they would look at building and operating it themselves. Subsequently to that we did not hear anything further about that proposition that they were canvassing at that meeting.

“Let me make it clear, after the meeting some of his (Mr Turnbull’s) senior officials came up to my senior officials and said ‘oh no they don’t mean that’. So lets get some clarification from him, does he want to pay for the whole lot? If he does, all well and good.”

Ms Palaszczuk also said she was not concerned that Rockhampton would run out of water, despite the project continually being stalled. “I am not concerned because the detailed work is happening and will be discussed by Cabinet,” she said.

“Unfortunately I believe there is a little bit of politics being played locally but I believe in the best interests of Central Queensland — we need to work together.”

Asked in north Queensland yesterday if there had been any progress on the Rookwood Weir business case, the Premier said: “No, not at the moment.”

The 229-page Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project report, exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail, was commissioned by State Government-owned corporation, the Gladstone Area Water Board. It implores the Government to build the weir and soon, advising it is the cheapest way to secure water for the region.

The report was handed to the State Government on October 27, which was two days before the election was called.

However, Building Queensland, which provides the State Government with independent advice on major infrastructure, provided its assessment in September.

Rockhampton’s main source of water is the Fitzroy Barrage storage, which is heavily reliant on regular seasonal inflows, including the annual wet season, to maintain supply.

The report flagged water would have to be trucked in from Awoonga Dam if there was not enough water.

“Building Queensland estimated ... a total cost for five months’ emergency supply at $486 million, while noting that there were doubts over the feasibility of this solution,’’ the report said.

“Gladstone Area Water Board’s position is that this solution is not feasible at the required scale (and) the logistics involved are daunting. “(It would mean) 4000 daily B-double movements of a 260km round trip.

“Working 24 hours, seven days and assuming a filling, travel, delivery and return travel time of only 3.5-4 hours, a fleet of at least 600 B-doubles would be required.

“The as-yet unidentified filling point(s) and delivery point(s), and the regional road network would need to be able to accommodate the constant movement of 300 B-doubles in each direction between Rockhampton and Awoonga, ie approximately two departures per minute.”

The report revealed power could become more expensive for Queenslanders because Stanwell power station might need to reduce its water use during severe water restrictions.

“Rockhampton’s continued reliance on a single source is particularly risky because that source is uniquely vulnerable to low inflows,’’ the report said.

“The characteristics of the barrage storage and the Fitzroy flows, combined with Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast’s demand, mean the storage is insufficient to make sure supply can survive a single failed wet season.

“In the event of a period of low rainfall, such as a failed wet season, Rockhampton has no means to respond with demand management measures or contingent water supply arranges and instead is likely to experience a complete supply failure.”

The report also pointed to a boom for the agricultural sector because more water meant more crops.


Diesels win the day

They are very polluting and run on "fossil" fuels but what the heck!  Anything is better than the demon coal

South Australia, Australia’s wind power capital, has signed up to squander $150 million on one of Elon Musk’s creations, that would power the state for all of 4 minutes when the wind stops blowing and/or the sun goes down.

Weatherill’s wonder has been nicknamed the ‘NeverReady’ battery by wits in SA, because, despite being trumpeted for months as SA’s saviour, it is unlikely to be operable this Summer.

Meanwhile, over the border in Victoria, a long-touted plan for mega-batteries in that State has just run out of juice.
Instead of running on wind and sunshine – having killed the 1,600 MW baseload plant, Hazelwood earlier this year – Victorians (like their South Australian cousins) are going to be running on diesel powered generators. Oh, the irony.

Plans for two large-scale batteries to help secure Victoria’s power supplies this summer are in disarray, with a $25 million proposal by the Andrews government still in the planning stage months after construction was due to start.

Touted as a “game-changer” by Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio when she and Premier Daniel ­Andrews announced the investment in March, no successful bidder has been announced for the storage initiative.

The project, which is meant to deliver two 20-megawatt batteries with combined capacity of at least 100MWh, was due to start construction in August so it would be ready for peak demand in January.

The state will now rely on diesel generators pumping up to 100MW of power into the grid to guard against blackouts during heatwaves. It is understood the government is still assessing the bids to provide the batteries, but a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio yesterday declined to answer questions about the delay and whether the battery plan would proceed.

“We’re making sure Victoria is equipped with the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system,” the spokesman said.

The batteries were to be installed in western Victoria, and each would be capable of powering a town such as Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period.

Opposition energy spokesman David Southwick said the Andrews government was “delivering a third-world energy policy” and changing its policy on the run.

“These are desperate policy ­announcements by a government who simply can’t figure out how to solve the problem they created in closing down Hazelwood and taking 22 per cent of energy out of the market,” he said.

Experts have previously questioned the business case for large-scale storage in Victoria and whether $25m would be sufficient to pay for it. The government has claimed energy storage will play a “vital” role in integrating renewable energy into the network and improving grid reliability.

“This initiative will highlight Victoria’s position as a leader in managing the transition to a secure and modern energy system through deployment of new energy technologies,” the state’s Environment Department said in an information packet for potential bidders.

AGL Energy has flagged plans to build a 250MW battery — which would be the world’s biggest battery and more than twice the size of the 100MW plant being built by Tesla in South Australia — at the site of the Liddell black- coal power station.

The federal government last month unveiled the National Energy Guarantee, which attempts to align climate and energy policy by obliging retailers to buy certain amounts of energy from ready-to-use power such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries, and from renewable sources such as wind and solar to lower emissions.


'No plans' to shut power plants: Qld Labor

Queensland's Labor government says it has no plans to shut down state-owned coal-fired power stations so it can meet its renewable energy target.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey has rubbished a new analysis of Labor's 50 per cent renewable target by 2030, which warns of power station closures and an increased risk of widespread blackouts.

He says the analysis is the work of former LNP federal candidate Jonathan Pavetto, and claims of plant closures are politically-driven nonsense. "We have got no plans to close any of them," Mr Bailey has told ABC radio.

"Mr Pavetto was intimately involved in the privatisation program as a consultant by Tim Nicholls and Campbell Newman ... you've got to see it in that context."

Mr Pavetto, an electricity economist, produced the analysis for the Australian Institute for Progress, whose executive director is former Queensland Liberal Party vice president Graham Young and whose directors include former Queensland Liberal Party state president Bob Tucker.

Mr Pavetto's analysis says Stanwell's Tarong plant near Kingaroy would be first to close in 2018-19, followed by two units at the Gladstone Power Station in 2020-21 and Stanwell's Rockhampton station in 2026-27.

He also warns Labor's green power policy could result in blackouts across the state, for up to 15 per cent of the year, once the policy is in full force.

Mr Pavetto went on ABC radio on Monday to defend his views, which he says are backed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

"What their reporting shows is that to get to a 50 per cent renewable target by 2030 - and they have modelled this - is that there will be some requirement to close down power stations in Queensland," he said.

He says AEMO has stated in its National Transmission Network Development Plan that coal-fired power generation would have to be cut to reach the 2030 renewables target, with Tarong, half of the Gladstone plant, and then Rockhampton to close.

"If you're going to be having a 50 per cent renewables capacity ... you have to displace some of that coal generation from somewhere," Mr Pavetto said.

The Electrical Trades Union backed the Labor government, calling Mr Pavetto's work a "deeply partisan" analysis from a right-wing think-tank backed by Liberals. Union spokesman Keith McKenzie says the ETU trusted Labor not to shut power plants and not to sell public assets.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls says he's seen the reports of plant closures, and his party flatly rejected Labor's "crazy" renewable energy target.

"Queenslanders want reliable and affordable power; they don't want to end up like South Australia with blackouts and the most expensive power in the western world," he told reporters in Bundaberg.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


21 November, 2017

Trump's climate stance galvanises world

In a childish display of petulance, the global elite use climate nonsense to show their hatred of Trump

If the Paris accord was the spark igniting the global fight against climate change, then the latest round of talks, held in Bonn, served to fan the flames.

These were not talks intending to deliver bombshell moments for the 10,000 government delegates, 8000 business and policy leaders or the 2000 members of the media who gathered near the Rhine. These talks were about tightening the bolts on the Paris Agreement to drive momentum behind the global climate juggernaut.

It has been two years since 194 countries agreed to limit global warming to less than 2C above the Earth's pre-industrial average. In an act of almost audacious ambition, the Paris accord aims to keep temperatures within 1.5C by reducing net carbon emissions to zero.

But this was two years ago. Since then the US, the world's second greatest polluter, elected Donald Trump as president on soaring campaign rhetoric over a coal renaissance for the forgotten pockets of the US.

Trump duly followed through on threats to withdraw from the accord, pull research funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and loosen federal regulation on coal use.

But in an intriguing diplomatic twist Trump's unilateral U-turn has proved to be the kindling for a fired-up climate agenda. Christiana Figueres, the UN's chief climate negotiator, went as far as to say she thanks him.

"Trump's announcement provoked an unparalleled wave of support for the treaty. He shored up the world's resolve on climate action, and for that we can all be grateful," she says.

Tom Delay, once an executive at Royal Dutch Shell, is now the chief executive of the Carbon Trust, a UK climate advisory group. Not so long ago, he says the common riposte of chief executives was to "be realistic" about the potential of clean technologies.

This is an argument fast being unwound. The falling cost of renewable energy and growing pool of investment waiting to flood into green growth has bolstered the confidence of business and finance leaders representing trillions of pounds.

"This is not about taking the moral high ground. There's very little 'morality' in what is being argued. Quite simply, there's now a business case to do something different and do it better," he says.

The heavily heckled members of the US delegation felt the full brunt of the "enormous pushback" against their president's policies. Few others there supported the views, meaning that instead of polarising the conference, the US stance served as a warning beacon for which side of the debate was safest.

Opposition to Trump was perhaps fiercest from with his own country. Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is leading the charge, delivering a staggering broadside against the president via a climate action report, billed as the "first communication to the international community" of US climate goals, on a non-federal level, since Trump's rejection of the Paris Agreement.

Bloomberg calls it the American Pledge, neatly reclaiming a commitment to tackling climate change as a national endeavour while alienating Trump as somehow "un-American" in this context.

The report finds that 20 US states, 110 US cities and some 1400 businesses worth more than $US25 trillion have adopted quantified emissions reduction targets despite the administration's views. The most ambitious of these targets, such as those adopted by California, mirror similar emissions-cutting goals as national governments.


Overpopulation Is Not Killing the Planet

And yet ecofascists keep arguing that the "moral" thing to do is have fewer children

Population control to save the planet is hardly a new idea. It goes back at least 50 years. Indeed, we’ve written about it many times before.

The latest entry in this man-hating earth-worship genre is from NBC News in a “think” piece entitled “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.” The author, Travis Rieder of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, begins, “A startling and honestly distressing view is beginning to receive serious consideration in both academic and popular discussions of climate change ethics.”

Um, “beginning to”? Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb was published in 1968 and received a lot of attention from lefty environmentalists. Ehrlich predicted a “substantial increase in the world death rate” within a decade because of the difficulty in feeding so many people. Of course, Ehrlich’s dire prediction didn’t happen — on the contrary, there’s more food now than ever. But when have, er, inconvenient truths ever stopped leftists from hollering the same apocalyptic climate warnings even louder? In fact, despite being a false prophet, Ehrlich wrote two more books on population control in the 1990s.

Note the irony here: Totalitarian regimes are responsible for the only real famines since Ehrlich first warned of food shortages, yet his and other ecofascists’ solution is … totalitarian population control. What could go wrong?

Thus it’s no surprise that an academic like Rieder would smugly assert, “Moral responsibility simply isn’t mathematical. If you buy this view of responsibility, you might eventually admit that having many children is wrong, or at least morally suspect, for standard environmental reasons: Having a child imposes high emissions on the world, while the parents get the benefit. So like with any high-cost luxury, we should limit our indulgence.”

He tries to back off some, adding, “I am certainly not arguing that we should shame parents, or even that we’re obligated to have a certain number of children. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think there is a tidy answer to the challenging questions of procreative ethics. But that does not mean we’re off the moral hook.”

Yet the implication of such morality remains that if you can’t limit your own “indulgence,” government might just have to step in. The only recipe leftists ever offer is to eliminate choice by way of ever more powerful government — even if it means violating another of their long-held tenets: “Get your laws out of my bedroom/off my body.”


False promises in Canadian climate change goals

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to the United Nations’ Paris climate accord in 2015, he repeated exactly what his predecessor, Jean Chretien, did when he signed the UN’s Kyoto climate accord in 1997.

Both Liberal prime ministers committed Canadians to achieving industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions they knew they couldn’t deliver.

In 2007, a decade after Chretien signed Kyoto, and a year after the Liberals lost power to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2006, Chretien’s principal secretary, Eddie Goldenberg, acknowledged that Chretien knew when he signed Kyoto that Canada had very little chance of achieving the emission cuts he promised.

But he said Chretien believed it was necessary to prepare Canadians for future actions needed to reduce emissions.

Except that never happened.

When Trudeau agreed in 2015 to less onerous emission cuts for Canada under the Paris climate accord, the Liberals again knew they couldn’t achieve them.

The Trudeau Liberals, unlike the Chretien Liberals after the fact, haven’t admitted they can’t achieve Trudeau’s Paris accord emission reduction commitments for 2020 and 2030. But it’s inconceivable they do not know they cannot achieve them.

The UN itself said last month Canada is very likely to miss its 2020 and 2030 commitments unless it buys billions of dollars worth of carbon offsets annually on international carbon markets.

But these markets are riddled with fraud, so there’s no guarantee any offsets Canada buys will actually reduce global emissions.

Basic math tells us the Trudeau Liberals today, as did the Chretien Liberals in 1997, know they cannot meet the commitments they’ve made to the UN.

In 1997, Chretien committed Canada to reducing its GHG emissions to an annual average of 6% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Since Canada’s emissions in 1990 were 611 megatonnes annually (a megatonne, or MT, equals one million tonnes), Chretien would have had to reduce emissions to an average of 574 Mt annually between 2008 and 2012.

When the Liberals, now led by Paul Martin, lost power to the Harper Conservatives in 2006, Canada’s emissions were 729 Mt annually, 155 Mts above Chretien’s Kyoto commitment, which would have started in 2008.

Using 2006 figures, that means the Liberals, had they remained in power, would have had to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire oil and gas sector (161.6 Mt annually in 2006) starting within two years.

The Trudeau government faces the same dilemma.

The UN reported last month that for Trudeau to fulfill his 2015 Paris accord commitments to lower Canada’s emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and to 30% by 2030, Canada will have to cut its emissions by 111 Mt annually by 2020 and 219 Mt annually by 2030.

To meet his 2020 commitment, Trudeau will have to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire electricity sector (79 Mt annually) and 44% of its agricultural sector (73 Mt annually) within three years.

To meet his 2030 commitment, Trudeau will have to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire transportation sector (173 Mt annually), plus its entire waste disposal sector (48 Mt annually) in 13 years.

Given that this is impossible, the last thing Trudeau, and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna want to talk about — as we saw last week at the UN’s Bonn climate summit — is their plan to reduce Canada’s emissions to the levels Trudeau promised the UN for 2020 and 2030.

That’s because they don’t have one.


Delusions of grandeur: Catherine McKenna Calls Herself “Minister Responsible For Weather”

If Catherine McKenna’s goal is to use Twitter to get attention, she’s doing quite well. But if her goal is to exude an image of competence, there’s definitely some room for improvement.

McKenna’s latest “interesting” tweet can be seen below:

That’s not how it works.

McKenna’s foolish tweets would be funny, if not for the fact that the terrible policies she and Trudeau are implementing are destroying real jobs and hurting Canadian workers.

It’s easy for people like McKenna and Trudeau to feel relaxed and have a fun time when they’re getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the taxpayers and have job security for 4 years.

Meanwhile, they’re destroying Canada’s coal industry, and imposing restrictions and adding to a bureaucracy that takes wealth and opportunity from Canadians. So, it’s even more disturbing when the Minister of the Environment doesn’t even seem to know what her job is.

Canadians deserve far better.


Renewables Battery ‘Boom’: Exploding Mega-Storage System Generates Fireball & Toxic Lithium Plume

There’s nothing ‘stable and secure’ about lithium batteries. As Samsung mobile phone owners are painfully aware, lithium batteries have a horrifying habit of spontaneous ignition. And there have been plenty of incidents where the lithium batteries in Tesla’s electric cars have suddenly exploded in flames

A wind power storage battery has exploded into flames at a power station located near the city of Brussels. The fire resulted in a cloud of toxic fumes that flew over the city and forced thousands of people to stay at home.

The battery was part of the first real live testing of power batteries being used to store wind power in Belgium. After less than one month, the test miserably failed with the battery being destroyed by fire and residents hiding in their houses to escape the polluted cloud. Here is the story.

On Saturday the 11th of November 2017, around noon, people in some western areas of the city of Brussels (Belgium) could smell a strong and irritating odour that some described as being similar to the smell of “burning plastic”.

A little later, the population was informed of a fire going on in the Electrabel-Engie power plant located at Drogenbos.

Electrabel-Engie is the main electricity producer in Belgium, and operates a gas turbine power plant in Drogenbos, a village located at the western limit of the city of Brussels – where the wind came from at the time of the accident.

An official alert was broadcast by the Belgian authorities

Still a bit later, some local newspapers explained that “a container-size lithium battery has blown up in flames. The fire has produced a cloud of potentially toxic smoke”. The message circulating on the social networks was that “a cloud full of toxic lithium was blowing over the city”.

It took several hours for firemen to control the fire. The alert was lifted around 4pm local time. No injuries were reported, although some people did complain of respiratory irritation.

At that time the population was informed that “Measures of air pollution were normal and they were no more risks for health or the environment”. However they didn’t say what were the pollutants found in previous measurements and in what quantities they were present in the air.

So, apparently, they did indeed start up full-scale testing of their carefully selected batteries. But it took less than one month for the first of them to blow up in flames and force tens of thousands of inhabitants to stay hidden indoors to avoid the toxic cloud that resulted from this experiment.

One of the mainstream newspapers has reported a press release of the Electrabel-Engie group saying that the “battery that has burned was not in operation at the time the fire broke out”. Let’s hope that at least this one is fake news, otherwise it would mean that these batteries are just chemical bombs ready to explode at any time.

If the dream of wind proponents is to materialize, our landscapes will be scattered with such container-size batteries. In the light of what occurred this weekend in Drogenbos, authorities everywhere should take note and impose on the industry safety measures to protect the public and avoid the possibility of another such accident.

Not a single article in the local media mentioned the link between the battery that has polluted the city of Brussels and wind power backup and storage requirements.

For the uninformed reader, the message was that “the villain Electrabel that operates nuclear power plants has once again polluted the environment”. But this accident was really due to the presence of wind turbines in the power production system.
We should see it as chemical pollution directly related to supposedly ‘clean’ wind power.

Welcome to your exciting wind, sun and battery ‘powered’ future!




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


20 November, 2017

Norway shakes oil world by dumping oil and gas investments

This is just typical Leftist silliness.  All it does is impoverish the seller and enable other investors to pick up a bargain

Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund has unveiled plans to dump its entire holding in oil and gas companies in a $37 billion sell-off that was welcomed by campaign groups but put downward pressure on share prices.

The $1 trillion fund, which manages the assets of the oil-rich nation, signalled its intent to prune its exposure to companies including BP and Royal Dutch Shell in a move aimed at making it less vulnerable to a permanent drop in the price of crude.

Norway is western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, pumping just under 1.8 million barrels per day, or roughly double the UK’s output.


Virginia goes Don Quixote

State will defy Trump, double down on renewables and CO2 reductions – and hurt poor families

Paul Driessen

Democrat Ralph Northam had barely won the Virginia governor’s race when his party announced it would impose a price on greenhouse gases emissions, require a 3% per year reduction in GHG emissions, and develop a cap-and-trade scheme requiring polluters to buy credits for emitting carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, liberal governors from California, Oregon and Washington showed up at the COP23 climate confab in Bonn, Germany to pledge that their states will remain obligated to the Paris climate treaty, and push ahead with even more stringent emission, electric vehicle, wind, solar and other programs.

Leaving aside the unconstitutional character of states signing onto an international agreement that has been repudiated by President Trump (and the absurdity of trying to blame every slight temperature change and extreme weather event on fossil fuels), there are major practical problems with all of this.

Attempting to abate, control or limit CO2 from electric power facilities has consequences. It means creating “carbon capture and storage” systems that don’t work, are huge energy hogs, drive up electricity prices, and leave us with the massive, unaddressed problem of where to put all the carbon dioxide – depriving crop and habitat plants of this essential miracle nutrient, and risking sudden catastrophic CO2 eruptions from whatever underground storage facilities might actually get approved.

It means forcing the premature shutdown of fully functional coal and gas-fired power plants – with no viable alternatives to replace them. Virginia has two nuclear power plants, and it is unlikely that the current or incoming Democrat governor (or any of their “progressive” supporters) would support building new nuke units, or even new pumped storage systems in the state’s mountainous areas.

The supposed wind and solar alternatives involve massive land use, environmental, ecological, economic, and human health and welfare impacts. Based on my previous rough calculations, using wind power to replace all current US electricity generation (3.5 billion megawatt-hours per year) … and charge batteries for seven windless days of backup power … would require some 14 million 1.8-MW bird-killing turbines, each one 330 to 410 feet tall, across some 210 million acres (twice the size of California). The backup power would require some 700 billion 100-kWh Tesla battery packs (also requiring vast acreage).

The raw materials required to build all these turbines, batteries and transmission lines – would be astronomical; the earth removal, mining, processing, smelting and manufacturing even more so. And this doesn’t even consider what it would take to replace today’s vehicles with electric versions, or (in a truly fantasy world) replacing the energy for foundries, refineries and factories with wind or solar power.

The USA has made virtually all of its mineralized areas off limits to exploration and mining. So this grand transition would make us 100% dependent on foreign suppliers for wind (and solar) energy.

Another net effect would be soaring electricity prices, forcing countless factories and businesses to close their doors, affecting livelihoods and living standards, especially among the poor, minority and blue-collar families that liberal politicians and activists profess to care so deeply about.

Right now, average Virginia families pay $1,500 a year for electricity. At California prices, their annual electricity bills would increase by $875; at German rates, by a whopping additional $2,900 a year!

At its current 8¢ cents per kilowatt-hour, Virginia’s Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital pays about $1.6 million annually for electricity. At California’s or Germany’s business rate (18¢ per kWh), the hospital would have to shell out $3.6 million for electricity. That unsustainable $2 million annual increase in the cost of keeping lights, heat, air conditioning, surgery centers and diagnostic equipment running would result in employee layoffs, reduced services, higher medical bills and declining patient care.

At 8¢ per kWh, the United States can power its homes, hospitals, businesses and industries for $280 billion annually. At German or California business and industry rates (18¢ a kWh), that electricity would cost $630 billion a year. At German family rates (35¢ a kWh), an economy-busting $1.2 trillion!

Equally important, California, Oregon and Washington are uniquely advantaged. Thanks primarily to Works Progress Administration dams, Oregon gets 43% of its electricity from hydroelectric projects; Washington gets 75% from hydro. California not only enjoys such mild climate that 40% of its homes don’t have air conditioning, and a seventh don’t have heating; it imports 25% of its electricity from other states. (And yet California’s electricity rates are the second highest in the Lower 48 States.)

Obviously, not every state can import one-fourth of its electricity from other states. As Margaret Thatcher would say, at some point you run out of other people’s energy. Not every state has or can have hydroelectric (which rabid greens also hate). Not every state has abundant sun or wind – and the best sites would likely be litigated until Hell freezes over. Few states have the topography for pumped storage.

As they demand de-carbonization (and thus de-industrialization) for the entire country, California, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and other “We Are Still In” (the Paris climate treaty) states, cities, businesses and organizations claim they now represent one-half of the US Gross Domestic Product. They also call themselves the Under2 Coalition, claiming they can prevent Earth’s post-1850, post-Little Ice Age, industrial era average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C (1/2 degree above today’s.

However, amid all their demands and sanctimonious moral preening, these WASI members studiously neglect to mention what IPCC officials have said are the true primary goals of climate policy: replacing capitalism with a new centralized world economic order, and redistributing world wealth and resources.

They likewise ignore the real reason all those developing countries signed the Paris accords … and what all the rancor in Bonn has been about: poor nations were promised hundreds of billions of dollars in Green Climate Fund “adaptation and reparation” money from the very nations they demand must de-carbonize and de-industrialize. They want their loot right now, with no more delays or excuses.

The Paris Climate Treaty would have obligated the United States to pay over $20 billion per year initially – rising to more than $100 billion per year by 2030! So if they love Paris so much, these half-of-US-GDP WASI members should be obligated … and happy … to pay one-half of the USA’s Green Climate Fund obligations: $10 billion in 2017, rising steadily to $50 billion a year by 2030.

In reality, they won’t try, want or be able to meet any of the Paris requirements. It’s all Resistance, hype and holier-than-thou pixie dust. That’s why the WASI acronym is more accurately translated as We Are Still Ideologues – Intransigent, Irresponsible and Insane.

Their “we can opt into Paris” attitude also raises the interesting question of whether communities in those states (especially rural counties that voted for candidate Trump) can opt out of their de-carbonization, cap-and-trade, pseudo-renewable, pseudo-sustainable, unreliable wind and solar energy schemes. Especially if there was no debate and no statewide vote – on issues like those raised in this article – why should those most severely impacted by these schemes not be able to opt out of them?

Net US greenhouse gas emissions declined 11.5% from 2005 to 2015 – because the Obama EPA forced coal-fired power plants to shut down, more switched to natural gas, energy efficiencies increased, and a hyper-regulated US economy used less energy. Indeed, the USA is miles ahead of any other country in reducing its CO2 emissions since 2000. The next closest is the UK, which reduced its emissions by barely a fourth of the US amount. But WASI/Under2 demands would have horrendous adverse repercussions.

Meanwhile, developing countries built hundreds of coal-fired generating units, have 1,600 more under construction or in planning, and are driving millions of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks. They will not give up fossil fuel electricity generation and rely on wind and solar – though they will be happy to sell turbines and panels to WASI members. So all the US, EU and WASI sacrifices will achieve nothing.

WASI members are not just sanctimoniously tilting at windmills. They are demanding that others kowtow to their climate alarmism and imposing real harm on real people. America and the world must not base energy, ecological, health and welfare policies on Don Quixote fantasies.

Via email

Dems compete with Trump at Bonn climate summit

Dueling U.S. delegations are competing for attention at this week’s United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany — the official team and a competing one made up of Democratic officials opposed to President Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The annual gathering of nations and environmentalists has heard separate cases about the U.S. interest in that agreement, laying bare the division in the United States between Trump and his energy industry backers and Democrats.

“Whatever the president may say about climate, he cannot stop clean energy,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), one of five U.S. senators who attended the conference last weekend as part of the counter-delegation. “He’s a powerful man, but he’s not a monarch, and we are going to continue the clean energy revolution.”

This 23rd Conference of the Parties, or COP 23, has lower stakes than the meeting two years ago that yielded the landmark Paris climate agreement, which was designed to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet the meeting still has importance as delegates negotiate a rulebook for how countries will comply with the Paris agreement and prepare to take stock at next year’s conference in Poland of where the world stands in achieving its goals.

The Trump administration’s message to attendees, which is based on an energy agenda that props up coal and other fossil fuel industries, contradicts much of what other leaders said.

At an event Monday, White House advisers promoted the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels equipped with emissions controls as a way to grow electricity access around the world while also trying to cut down on climate change-causing greenhouse gases.

“The significant cuts in emissions envisioned by the framework and by the Paris agreement require advanced technologies, including [carbon capture and sequestration],” George Banks, Trump’s adviser for international energy and the environment, said Monday.

“The math otherwise does not work, no matter how much we want it to.”

Most other speakers at the conference — and the competing U.S. delegation — are focused on cutting emissions, switching to renewable power and mitigating the impacts climate change is already having around the world.

While Trump has suggested the U.S. could stay in the climate accord if the world would renegotiate it, White House officials told reporters before COP 23 that they wouldn’t aim to renegotiate the Paris agreement while there.

Still, Trump officials have negotiated aggressively during the event, with Banks telling reporters that their top goal was preventing easier rules under climate agreement for developing countries. Judith Garber, the United States’ lead climate negotiator, will speak to the conference on Wednesday.

The Democratic senators, governors and environmentalists who travelled to Bonn have aimed to reaffirm the country’s commitments under the Paris deal made by former President Obama.

“The rest of the world’s got to carry the ball while we’re temporarily in America off to the sidelines,” California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said at the conference. “But there’s still California, there’s still New York, Washington, Oregon, all these other places, and there’s still corporations.”

They also went out of their way to diminish the Trump administration's talking points.

“This is a sideshow; it is a blip,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said at an impromptu press conference before Banks’s session on Monday.

“The world is not paying any attention to it, because the world is not going to listen to someone who says that climate change is a hoax. Climate change is a fact. It is just as certain as the laws of gravity. Every single other nation in the world today understands it, and so do our states and so do our people. So this isn’t going to have an impact on the world today.”

Trump’s approach to climate change has been a jarring one for many world leaders, who worked closely with the Obama administration on climate measures during his presidency. In public appearances this week, they focused more on the pro-Paris American delegation.

“I am very encouraged to see all the good side events that have been taking place in the American states’ pavilion, because that reflects what’s happening in the United States at the moment: real climate action on the ground,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy and climate commissioner.

“I would like to say that I very much welcome this, because it underlines the importance attached to climate protection in broad swaths of the American society, irrespective of the decision of President Trump to leave the climate agreement of Paris,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a plenary event.

The idea of parallel U.S. delegations is not unprecedented, and was common during the presidency of George W. Bush, when Democrats and environmentalists sought to contrast themselves with Bush’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

“But I’d say a much starker contrast at this point,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and a veteran of the U.N. climate conferences.

Diringer said State Department negotiators — usually career diplomats who have long represented the nation in climate talks — are still participating in good faith in the talks, though Trump officials sent a far smaller contingent than in the past.

“Both the unofficial and official U.S. presence are generally appreciated,” Diringer said from Bonn.

“People are glad to see the U.S. negotiators still at the table, and they’re very glad to see the presence of senators, governors and others demonstrating the huge momentum for climate action back home.”

Trump’s supporters, meanwhile, are very happy with what the official delegation is doing.

Marc Morano, an outspoken climate change skeptic and head of the website Climate Depot, said the coal event — and the protests and negative reaction to it — served to show how unreasonable Trump’s opponents are.

“I think they’re content to step back and let the states do all the grandstanding. Ultimately, I don’t think the Trump administration, or Trump himself, gives a damn about this conference, one way or another,” said Morano, who is attending the event. “Frankly, as a skeptic, that’s very refreshing.”


Poland Ready For Showdown With EU Over Climate Change As Trump Sends 74,000 Tonnes Of Coal

Poland is on a collision course with EU chiefs over its continued heavy use of fossil fuels, as the country prepares to receive its first shipment of US coal.

Prime Minister Beata Szyd?o has warned MEPs she will “throw it back at them” if they criticise her nation’s carbon consumption at next month’s EU summit.

And that could set the scene for more stand-offs next year, when Poland hosts the next round of UN climate talks.

The EU is playing a leading role in the Paris climate accord, which aims to radically cut global carbon emissions. But Poland, the EU’s biggest coal burning nation, is at odds with Brussels over the targets.

The ruling Law and Justice party are unapologetically pro-mining, a belief shared by US President Donald Trump, who visited the country in the summer and said: “Whenever you need energy, just give us a call.”

Poland has taken the President – who wants to exit the Paris agreement – at his word. This week The Navios Helios, a vessel carrying a 73,616 tonne coal shipment for Weglokoks from Baltimore, is expected to enter the harbour in Gdansk.

The new trade arrangement is mutually beneficial – Poland has to meet a shortfall left by the failure of national mining giant PGG to achieve its production targets, while US miners are relying on export growth as power utilities at home switch to cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski rejected any suggestion of a fuel crisis due to the problems at PGG, even though smaller traders have often queued for coal in recent weeks.

He told reporters: “A psychosis related to coal shortages has appeared on the market. “I can say that this winter no one will be cold in their homes because of a lack of coal.”

He declined to comment on the US import.

Meanwhile, EU ministers are meeting in Bonn today, where they are expected to tell Poland to “do more” on climate change – particularly by ratifying the Doha amendment, the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol, predecessor of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Ironically, next year’s climate conference will be held in the southern city of Katowice – the centre of the coal-producing Silesia region and PGG’s home.

The timing of Warsaw’s new-found fondness for American coal will be a concern to Brussels and the UN as a whole.

Polish imports of US coal have already leapt more than 500 per cent in the first half of this year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

And in promoting a national coal industry and trying to preserve jobs in traditional heavy industries, Poland has far more in common with President Trump than almost any other EU member.
However, while Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement, Warsaw is staying in.

The government of Silesian-born miner’s daughter Szydlo has opposed EU policies to reduce carbon emissions as they set binding targets, but backs the Paris deal as it did not impose specific obligations on signatories.


Australia slow at adopting electric cars

In the race to adopt electric vehicles, Australia is sputtering along in the slow lane.

Rather than growing, Australian sales of electric cars are actually in decline. In 2016 they represented just 0.02 per cent of new car sales — even lower than in 2013.

Contrast that with Norway, the country with the highest levels of electric car adoption. Almost 30 per cent of new cars sold there in 2016 were electric.

Why are Australian motorists rejecting electric cars while those in other advanced economies are embracing them? As the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) has previously pointed out, high vehicle prices are an obvious barrier.

But that is only part of the answer.

Our current research, in which we used online questionnaires to survey Australian motorists' attitudes to electric vehicles, suggests that a comprehensive network of recharging stations — particularly on popular intercity routes, is essential to encourage drivers to go electric. This seems to be even more important than subsidising the cost of the cars themselves.

Rechargers on highways, in country towns and at service centres need to be fast and convenient, so that motorists are not unduly delayed. Without the right charging infrastructure, there is no foundation to allow Australian motorists to go electric with confidence.

The average Australian motorist drives 36 kilometres per day for all passenger vehicles. This is well within the range of modern fully electric vehicles - more than 150km for the models on sale in Australia — and actually less than Norwegians, who drive more than 40km a day on average.

Norwegian drivers also enjoy the highest proportion of rechargers in the world. But on another criterion the world leader is Estonia. It's credited as the first nation to build a country-wide network, with a recharging station every 50km on major roads, and one in every town with a population of at least 5,000.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


19 November, 2017

The Problem With Electric Cars

At just 1% of the world's vehicles, mandates, bans and other regulations are becoming the "solution."

In spite of what you may have heard, electric cars don’t have the market share you might think. A new report from the Energy Information Administration reveals that although plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) (which include battery electric vehicles and hybrid plug-in electric vehicles) have reached 1.2 million in worldwide sales in 2015, such cars account for only 1% of vehicles in global use.

Why is this?

Some of it has to do with consumer preference — what people want to drive. Some of it has to do with public policy — that the government isn’t forcing people to get rid of their fossil fuel dependent cars. Yet.

Many countries realize that consumers prefer gas and diesel vehicles to electric ones and thus seek to remedy this “problem” by coercion. Britain and France have both vowed to ban the sale of gas and diesel vehicles by 2040. California’s governor has also made statements about phasing out traditional cars. These sorts of statements always carry with them a hidden coercive element, because, as research shows, people won’t switch if it’s up to their preferences. People will only switch if the government mandates it.

Driven by central planning authorities, governments and leaders hope to control the population’s preferences by simply changing their choices. Instead of “Which car do you want?” they hope to ask, “Which of these electric car options do you want? You have no other options.”

Coercion not only compromises the free-market ethic of choices, but it stands as a hallmark feature of totalitarianism and can be identified in practices of the former Soviet Union, modern Cuba and every other communist nation. Cuba’s communist dictatorship holds elections, but only gives the citizens communist “options.” The regime enforces “free and fair elections” by threatening to punish those who do not vote. Ultimately, government coercion does not allow freedom — of choices, of preferences, or of life in general.

Moreover, electric-car supporters seem to charge America with the greatest culpability in not being “green enough.” Yet recent data reveals that the U.S. has declined in emissions, while global emissions have increased. How? China.

China’s emissions account for 30% of the world’s emissions according to the Center for International Climate Research. China stands as the world’s largest polluter and according to the recent Global Carbon Project study, with an expected 3.5% increase in emissions this year.

When confronted with this reality, many environmentalists simply state, “Well, America should lead the way. We should be the world’s example.” Yet this hasn’t seemed to change China’s mind. Prudent policy toward cleaner global air should include confronting China with its problem, not simply cleaning up the U.S. as an “example.”

We should also be asking the question, “Who is getting all of the money?” The answer lies in government-subsidized electric car companies. Even Bloomberg observes, “Clean-energy vehicles still aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy.” Take, for instance, Tesla, which would have been underwater long ago if it had not been for government (i.e. taxpayer) money. The Las Angeles Times reports that Tesla, along with her sister companies Solar City Corp. (solar panels) and SpaceX (space exploration) have received roughly $4 billion dollars in government subsides.

In short, the entire premise of going “all electric” so far relies solely upon government money. This means that even if you don’t buy an electric car, your tax dollars are essentially paying for someone else’s — or at least covering the sales loss if they don’t sell.

The highly subsidized electric car business has become a sort of “cottage industry” for the federal government from which both electric car companies and the government benefit. Combined with the increased desire to coercively force consumers to purchase them while ignoring health concerns shows a lack of both intellectual freedom and free market purchasing freedom.

Ultimately the debate over electric cars should be about what you prefer to drive, not about what the government forces you to buy.



Figure shows ‘death knell’ of coal-fired power as countries agree to stop using coal for electricity

Unmentioned below is the way Britain keeps the lights on -- like burning woodchips at Drax and having vast banks of Diesel generators for when backup is needed.  Both produce lots of CO2 so their use is totally irrational

ONE country has revealed a huge drop in coal-fired power, as many countries agree to stop using coal for electricity.

MANY disagree about the future of coal but at least one statistic brings home the stark reality facing coal-fired power.

Overnight, the United Kingdom led a group of nations in pledging to stop using coal-fired power, revealing one figure that highlighted its dire future.

“In a few short years, we have almost entirely reduced our reliance on coal,” British Minister of State Claire Perry said at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

She revealed exactly how significant the drop had been with the share of electricity generated by coal in Britain dropping from 40 per cent in July 2012 to just two per cent in July of this year.

The huge 95 per cent drop will continue with Britain pledging to phase out coal altogether within 10 years.

It was one of 25 countries, states and organisations to sign the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” that will phase out coal-fired electricity completely and also place a moratorium on new power plants that don’t capture carbon emissions.

To cap global warming at “well under” 2C coal must be phased out in developed countries by 2030, and “by no later than 2050 in the rest of the world,” the countries said in the declaration.

Other signatories included Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and New Zealand.

Most of the enlisted countries don’t have far to go to complete a phase-out.

Deadlines range from 2022 for France, which has four coal-fired plants in operation, to 2025 for Britain, where eight such power stations are still running, and 2030 for the Netherlands.

But none of the countries that truly depend on coal fired power — which still provides about 40 per cent of the world’s electricity — signed on to the pledge.

In fact China has increased its coal consumption this year due to renewed infrastructure stimulus and a decline in hydropower because of floods and droughts, according to the Global Carbon Project.

The United States has also made a point of promoting the development of “clean fossil fuels” during the 12-day talks, which end Friday.

“This climate meeting has seen Donald Trump trying to perversely promote coal,” said Mohamed Adow, top Climate analyst at Christian Aid, which advocated for the interests of poor countries.

“But it will finish with the UK, Canada and a host of other countries signalling the death knell of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel in their countries.”

World Coal Association president Benjamin Sporton said 24 nations were still expected to use coal and will meet their carbon reduction targets using low-emissions technology.

Coal continues to play a major role in powering the Chinese economy, and will see “big increases in India and Southeast Asia,” he told AFP.

Making coal “clean”, Sporton acknowledged, depended on the massive expansion of a technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which carbon emitted when coal is burned is siphoned off and stored in the ground.

The UN’s climate science panel, and the International Energy Agency, both say that staying under the 2C temperature threshold will require using CCS.

The problem is that — despite decades of development — very little CO2 is being captured in this way.

There are only 20 CCS plants in the world that stock at least one million tonnes of carbon per year, a relatively insignificant amount given the scope of the problem.

One reason is the price tag: it costs about $US1 billion ($AU1.3 billion) to fit CCS technology to a large-scale, coal-fired plant.

“If you could develop cost-effective technology that would be permanent and work at scale, it could be a real game-changer,” said Alden Meyer, a climate analyst at the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“But you have to be realistic about the prospects.”


Big Government and Environmentalists Are Causing Massive Fires in Western States

The massive fires that took the lives of over 40 people in California were not the only devastating wildfires as of late.

Utah, Montana, and other states have been hit by destructive infernos that have left death and widespread property damage in their wake.

Forest fires—what firefighters call wildland fires—are undoubtedly a part of nature and can never be stopped entirely, but the measurable uptick in extraordinarily large fires is a trend that is causing intolerable amounts of damage.

Forest management policy has become calcified and centralized over the last half century, but there are some serious ideas that can turn things around.

Since the 1970s, the number of forest fires in the United States has remained fairly constant, but there’s been a significant uptick in the size of these blazes. The average wildfire is now twice the size of fires of 40 years ago.

Some have tried to pin the blame on climate change, but as a 2015 Reason Foundation study noted, climatic factors like higher temperatures and increased droughts “cannot explain the pattern of fires observed over the past century.”

“While it is possible that climate change has played a role in increasing the size of fires, the primary cause seems to be forest management practices, which have changed several times over the course of the past 200 years,” the study said.

The United States Forest Service, which manages most of America’s wilderness, made some big changes in the 1970s that many say have led to our modern predicament.

The selective clearing of forests, in which only certain trees are removed, had been highly successful in the past. But perverse incentives for the agency made clear-cutting, or uniformly chopping down trees, more common in the 1950s. This led to a backlash of lawsuits, environmentalist attacks, and unfortunately, more centralization in Washington for the Forest Service.

“In 1976 Congress tried to resolve the debate by instituting a comprehensive forest planning process,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “The resulting plans proved to be a costly mistake: The agency spent more than a billion dollars planning the national forests, but the plans were often based on fabricated data, and they did not resolve any debates.”

Nearly a half century of bureaucratic centralization and environmentalist initiatives have left forests overgrown, vulnerable to fire, and dangerous to individual property owners and the economies of many states.

California state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat, estimated that the recent fires may have caused over $3 billion in damages to his state.

California’s fires have gathered most of the media attention, but other Western states also have suffered immensely from out-of-control wildland fires in the past few years.

Last year alone, large wildfires hit nine states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, according to The Washington Post.

“Fires nationwide have consumed 8,036,858 acres—about 12,550 square miles, larger than the size of Maryland—since Jan. 1,” the Post reported.

A large fire near the town of Brian Head, Utah, burned 13 homes and over 93 square miles of land.

Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican, along with other Utah legislators and officials, made a short video in October explaining how better forest management could have prevented what became the most expensive forest fire in the state’s history.

In the video, they say the buildup of dead trees caused what should have been a small brush fire to balloon into something much worse. The video notes at the end:

The [United States Forest Service] and the [Bureau of Land Management], like helpless giants, are constrained by a self-imposed web of bureaucratic rules and regulations that impede and stop proper management options that could reduce these large catastrophic fires.

Now Congress is working on measures to stop the bleeding of an increasingly unmanageable problem.

The House recently passed a bill that would allow more aggressive tree clearing and local collaborative organizations to have more control of public land. It would also redirect funds from fighting fires to preventing fires, correcting what has become a major budgetary imbalance over the past few decades.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

What is clear is that, unlike the effects of many other natural disasters, there are proven ways, such as aggressively limiting overgrowth and clearing dead wood, to control the effects of wildfires and contain their damage.

Previous generations more effectively dealt with the problem, and federal and state policymakers would be wise to emulate and improve on what they did as we come up with our own innovative solutions.


Australia: One step closer for Kidston solar and pumped hydro generator

Pumped Hydro electricity is intrinsically an enormously expensive way to generate electricity.  You need two dams for a start.  So it will never be anything but the tiniest contribution to baseload.  No wonder the project below is "world first"!

The folk below, however, seem to have found two conveniently located existing dams so might have a workable project with taxpayer support

The world’s first integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project in Kidston is one step closer to being built as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced up to $5 million in funding to Genex Power Limited (Genex) to help bring the landmark project to financial close in 2018.

This morning, Genex Power Limited made an ASX announcement that ARENA, on behalf of the Australian Government, would provide up to $5 million to support pre-financial close activities.

The Kidston Stage Two is a hybrid solar and hydro project is expected to comprise a hybrid 250MW pumped hydro electricity storage (PHES) facility and 270MW solar PV, generating around 783GWh of renewable electricity per year and powering over 140,000 Australian homes.

The Kidston site is located 270km north west of Townsville and will utilise two existing gold mining pits as the reservoirs for the project to minimise construction time and costs.

The solar PV and PHES hybrid enables Genex to create a reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy generator that is entirely renewable. PHES will also be also be able to provide stability and support to the grid, including ancillary services.

During peak power demand periods water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off peak periods and when sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity primarily from the solar farm.

“Stage Two of the Kidston hydro and solar project is an important step in achieving a secure and reliable grid for Australia and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.

“Kidston will be the only grid connected solar project located in Australia’s solar red zone, providing consistent strong sun throughout the year, and combining it with pumped hydro will provide Queensland access to an entirely renewable flexible energy option,” he said.

ARENA’s funding will help the project reach financial close by mid-2018, with up to $4.5 million of the grant to be convertible at the Minister’s discretion.

ARENA has previously provided $4 million to Genex towards the technical feasibility study of the PHES portion of the project, and a further $8.9 million towards Kidston Stage One solar PV project as part of the $92 million large scale solar PV competitive round.

Genex Managing Director Michael Addison said: “Genex is grateful to the Australian Government for its continuing support of the Kidston Stage 2 project, and the help of ARENA in bringing this to fruition in the near future.

The continued support from ARENA is testament to the innovative nature of the project, and the growing importance of large scale energy storage in Australia’s energy system as it transitions,” he said.

Via email

NZ eyes climate refugees visa

Deputy PM and coalition partner Winston Peters is against ALL new imigration so this is unlikely to fly.  It would rapidly be abused if implemented

New Zealand wants to introduce a special visa category for Pacific Islanders who are refugees because of climate change.

New Zealand is proposing a special refugee visa for Pacific Islanders who are forced to migrate because of rising sea levels, the nation's new climate change minister says, as world leaders wrap up United Nations climate talks in Germany.

In the low-lying and vulnerable Pacific islands, the number of people moving within their own nations to flee worsening storms, sea level rise and other climate-related crises is still relatively small.

But countries like New Zealand are making plans now before climate migration grows into a regional emergency.

"We want to get ahead of this before it turns into a real problem ... we want to start a dialogue with the Pacific Island countries about this notion of migrating with dignity, if things get to that point," said climate minister James Shaw, leader of New Zealand's Green Party.

"One of the options is a special humanitarian visa to allow people who are forced to migrate because of climate change," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from the UN climate talks in Bonn, which were hosted by Fiji.

In 2014, a New Zealand judge granted residency to a family from Tuvalu, in part on humanitarian grounds related to climate change.

"The reason why we were throwing around an idea of a visa is because people who have been displaced by environmental conditions like rising seas and climate change aren't counted under the UN Convention on Refugees," said Shaw.

The 1951 UN Refugee Convention grants refugee status to those fleeing persecution, wars, and conflicts, but does not include climate change as a reason to seek asylum.

Australia has said it would invest $A300 million over four years to help Pacific Islands cope with climate change, but was not planning to implement a similar climate migration scheme.

"The best response, where feasible, is effective adaptation and internal relocation, rather than cross-border resettlement as a first response," a government spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

Shaw agreed that the main priority was to keep Pacific Islanders in their own communities, which means slashing carbon emissions to prevent rising sea levels.

The Paris climate agreement set a goal of ending the fossil fuel era this century and to limit warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5C.

New Zealand's new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made tackling climate change one of her top priorities and committed last month to erase the nation's carbon footprint by 2050.

Shaw said he hopes to have formal talks with Pacific islands early next year to discuss the idea of issuing humanitarian visas for climate migration.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


17 November, 2017

Avalanches of global warming alarmism

UN climate cataclysm predictions have no basis in fact and should not be taken seriously

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Throughout the United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapping up in Bonn, Germany this week, the world has been inundated with the usual avalanche of manmade global warming alarmism. The UN expects us to believe that extreme weather, shrinking sea ice, and sea level rise will soon become much worse if we do not quickly phase out our use of fossil fuels that provide over 80% of the world’s energy.

There is essentially nothing to support these alarms, of course. We simply do not have adequate observational data required to know or understand what has happened over the past century and a half. Meaningful forecasts of future climate conditions are therefore impossible.

Nevertheless, this year’s session has been especially intense, since the meeting is being chaired by the island nation of Fiji, a government that has taken climate change fears to extremes.

COP23 (the 23rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties on climate change) conference president, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, has called for “an absolute dedication to meet the 1.5-degree target.” This is the arbitrary and most stringent goal suggested by the Paris Agreement. In support of Bainimarama’s position, the COP23/Fiji Website repeatedly cites frightening forecasts made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

One prediction stated: “The IPCC recently reported that temperatures will significantly increase in the Sahel and Southern African regions, rainfall will significantly decrease, and tropical storms will become more frequent and intense, with a projected 20 per cent increase in cyclone activity.”

To make such dire forecasts, the IPCC relies on computerized models built on data and formulas to represent atmospheric conditions, and reflect the hypothesis that carbon dioxide is the principal factor driving planetary warming and climate change.

However, we still do not have a comprehensive, workable “theory of climate,” and thus do not have valid formulas to properly represent how the atmosphere functions. We also lack data to properly understand what weather was like over most of the planet even in the recent past. Without a good understanding of past weather conditions, we have no way to know the history, or the future, of average weather conditions – what we call the climate.

An important data set used by the computer models cited by the IPCC is the “HadCRUT4” global average temperature history for the past 167 years. This was produced by the Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, both based in the United Kingdom.

Until the 1960s, HadCRUT4 temperature data were collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the UK, and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations, and none of the Earth’s oceans (which cover 70% of the planet) had more than occasional stations separated from the next ones by thousands of kilometers of no data. Temperatures over these vast empty areas were simply “guesstimated.”

Making matters even worse, data collected at weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees F), and oftentimes no better than +/-1.0 degree C. Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine past or future global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful – and certainly nothing accurate or valid enough to use in making critical energy policy decisions.

Modern weather station surface temperature data are now collected using precision thermocouples. But, starting in the 1970s, less and less ground surface temperature data was used for plots such as HadCRUT4. Initially, this was done because governments believed satellite monitoring could take over from most of the ground surface data collection.

However, the satellites did not show the warming that climate activists and computer models had forecast. So, bureaucrats closed many of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations, while many stations in the vast frigid area of Siberia were closed for economic and other reasons. The net result was that cold temperature data disappeared from more recent records – thereby creating artificial warming trends, the very warming that alarmists predicted, desired and needed for political purposes.

Today, we have virtually no data for approximately 85% of the Earth’s surface. Indeed, there are fewer weather stations in operation now than there were in 1960.

That means HadCRUT4 and other surface temperature computations after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the sensitivity (accuracy) problems in the early data, and the fact that we have almost no long-term data above Earth’s surface, the conclusion is unavoidable:

It is not possible to know how or whether Earth’s climate has varied over the past century and a half. The data are therefore useless for input to the computer models that form the basis of the IPCC’s conclusions.

But the lack of adequate surface data is only the start of the problem. The computer models on which the climate scare is based are mathematical constructions that require the input of data above Earth’s surface as well. The models divide the atmosphere into cubes piled on top of each other, ideally with wind, humidity, cloud cover and temperature conditions known for different altitudes. But we currently have even less data above the surface than on it, and there is essentially no historical data at altitude.

Many people think the planet is adequately covered by satellite observations – data that is almost global 24/7 coverage and far more accurate than anything determined at weather stations. But the satellites are unable to collect data from the north and south poles, regions that are touted as critical to understanding global warming.

Moreover, space-based temperature data collection did not start until 1979, and 30 years of weather data is required to generate a single data point on a climate graph. The satellite record is far too short to allow us to come to any useful conclusions about climate change.

In fact, there is insufficient data of any kind – temperature, land and sea ice, glaciers, sea level, extreme weather, ocean pH, et cetera – to be able to determine how today’s climate differs from the past, much less predict the future. The IPCC’s climate forecasts have no connection with the real world.

Sherlock Holmes warned that “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this famous quote for fiction, of course. But it applies perfectly to today’s global warming debate, especially where the IPCC’s scary conclusions and forecasts are involved. Of course, this will not stop Bainimarama and other conference leaders from citing IPCC “science” in support of their warnings of future climate catastrophe.

We should use these facts to spotlight and embarrass them every time.

Via email. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition


EPA Deregulation Equals Discrimination?

The NAACP implies that Trump's deregulation initiatives at the EPA are — you guessed it — racist

The Obama administration facilitated the most onerous climate-related regulations ever devised. The Trump administration is doing just the opposite — giving agencies like the EPA a much-needed deep cleaning. But according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) along with the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), Trump’s deregulation initiatives are — you guessed it — racist.

That exact word isn’t found in the duo’s new “Fumes Across the Fence-Line” report, but it’s most certainly implied. The report surmises that minorities “are impacted by the negative health impacts of oil and gas facility operations because of discrimination.”

The study highlights these statistics: “More than 1 million African-Americans live within a half mile of existing natural gas facilities and the number is growing every year.” By extension, “Over 1 million African-Americans live in counties that face a cancer risk above the EPA’s level of concern from toxins emitted by natural gas facilities,” and more than “6.7 million African-Americans live in the 91 counties with oil refineries.”

“African-Americans are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than Caucasian Americans,” the report elucidates, “and they are 75 percent more likely to live in fence-line communities than the average American.” To summarize: “In the current regulatory environment, the disproportionate burden of pollution will only increase for low-income communities and communities of color.”

As Joe Biden is fond of saying, this is a bunch of malarkey. Even if you could so precisely quantify pollution’s disproportionate effects on minorities, it’s important to consider that many blacks are confined to areas that have been designated by the government (a.k.a. urban poverty plantations). Republicans promote economic freedom and prosperity, which would give minorities the incentive to escape these supposedly toxic housing areas (again, assuming it’s as bad as the report claims). Not to mention that regulation in general disproportionately affects the poor. Thus, deregulation helps them.

But part of the “fix,” the NAACP and CATF assert, is to permanently abandon oil and gas facilities. Economically, this is absurd. Furthermore, to insinuate that Republicans are racist malcontents because they want to bolster the economy and livelihoods helps nobody. Ben Carson had a point back in May when he opined, “I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.” Poverty and agendas that include bogus platitudes about “discrimination” in the energy sector go breathlessly together.


Democratic governors outsource climate campaigns to activist groups, emails reveal

It may look as if Democratic governors — not climate change activists — are driving the campaign to “fill the void” left by President Trump’s exit from the Paris agreement, but that’s not necessarily the impression left by behind-the-scenes emails.

Shortly after the June 1 launch of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a senior aide to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee warned Climate Nexus Executive Director Jeff Nesbit that some governors were considering withdrawing from the multistate coalition aimed at meeting the targets of the global warming accord.

“Can you call me asap?” Sam Ricketts, director of Mr. Inslee’s Washington, D.C., office, asked in a June 5 email. “Sounds like we states have some particular, and substantively very valid, concerns about how this coalition is messaged. If not met I think states will pull out.”

“OMG, come on. I’ve been dealing with this all weekend,” Mr. Nesbit responded. “We’re not messaging it incorrectly at this point. But yes, I’ll call you.”

It turns out that the governors who descended this week on the Bonn climate summit had plenty of help — not just from state aides, but also from a kind of shadow staff supplied by climate change advocacy groups and funded by liberal foundations in support of the ambitious foreign policy effort.

A cache of emails obtained via open records requests by Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner shows state employees relying on activists for organizational and communications work in what he described as “outsourcing government off the books.”

The relationship raises questions about whether the governors have crossed an ethical line by bringing in privately funded advocacy groups to help staff a multistate operation — apparently at no charge — and whether their time and resources constituted a gift that would need to be disclosed to the public.

“It is inarguable. They are being given very expensive staff time and services,” said Mr. Horner. “These governors should immediately release all details about the collusion with these groups, who themselves have a lot to answer for.”

The alliance of 14 states and Puerto Rico is led by Mr. Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Their offices did not respond immediately Tuesday to requests for comment.

“In all three of those states, a gift is anything of value,” Mr. Horner said in an email. “The gifts here include a report, and PR services yielding, for example, a New York Times story promoting their ‘leadership.’ We see they met to discuss private offers to hire staffers to be at politicians’ disposal.”

Who’s in charge? Who’s paying?

It’s not uncommon for governors to seek out the expertise of think tanks, universities, corporations and advocacy groups when preparing policy initiatives on matters such as energy, education and the economy.

But the email traffic from Mr. Inslee’s office indicates that activists play an outsize role in not merely advising but also running the day-to-day operations of the “bipartisan coalition of states,” which includes one Republican: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

The U.S. Climate Alliance website is operated by climate activists, not state staff, judging from another email exchange between Mr. Ricketts and Mr. Nesbit.

“How come governors aren’t even listed on the website?” Mr. Ricketts asked in a June 5 email.

Mr. Nesbit replied: “They will be! I promise. It’s controlled by WWF [apparently referring to the World Wildlife Fund]. They’re melting down over there. I’ll make sure the 9 governors are listed ASAP.”

Mr. Nesbit also wore the hat of press secretary, saying he needed to send a joint statement from Mr. Inslee, Mr. Brown and Mr. Cuomo to The New York Times.

“Do you have it? Is it approved? Is Inslee available to talk to the NYT and others today before Trump does his Rose Garden ceremony at the WH?” Mr. Nesbit asked in the June 1 email.

According to Mr. Nesbit, Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, provided its services free of charge and without a contract.

“We worked with them at no cost just as we work with a wide range of groups,” Mr. Nesbit said in an email to The Washington Times.

In September, the alliance issued a 12-page report that included extensive data from the Rhodium Group on the economic output and net greenhouse gas emissions of the 14 member states compared with the rest of the states.

Who compiled and paid for the report? Not Rhodium, according to a spokeswoman, although The New York Times described it at the time as “a new study by the research firm Rhodium Group.”

“U.S. Climate Alliance state staff put together the report using data that the Rhodium Group produced as part of previous projects which were funded by private philanthropy,” Rhodium spokeswoman Hannah Hess said in an email to The Washington Times.

The Rhodium Group is headed by former Hillary Clinton campaign climate and energy adviser Trevor Houser, who also co-directs the Climate Impact Lab.

‘A tsunami of Pulitzers’

Even before Mr. Trump announced his intention in June to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord, state employees in California, New York and Washington had discussed enlisting the help of outside advocacy groups.

Aimee Barnes, senior adviser to Mr. Brown, proposed reaching out to the Georgetown Climate Center, Under2 Coalition and others, saying that “it can’t always be us staff running around trying to corral each other for sign on.”

“We are fortunate that at the moment there are many resources keen to be at our disposal to support us further, but in order to make the best use of them, we need to tell them what we need,” Ms. Barnes said in a May 5 email.

Mr. Ricketts responded in a May 9 email by noting, “Theres of course a plethora of advocate and funder interest,” adding, “we can approach the different groups (G-town, Rhodium, UNF, whomever) about which of them will play a roll.”

A week later, Georgetown Climate Center Deputy Director Kathryn Zyla provided an update in an email sent to state staffers and climate change advocates.

“We also wanted to let you know that we are working with the Georgetown IT department to develop a platform that can assist this group with communications and shared resources, and will keep you posted. (Please let us know if you have any thoughts on key features for that platform.),” Ms. Zyla said in a May 16 email.

GCC spokesman Chris Coil said the group had no contract with the states. “We support state engagement on climate change (as we have done on a bipartisan basis for many years) free of charge,” he said.

Inslee senior adviser Chris Davis put in a plug for Ann McCabe and her team at the Climate Registry, calling them in a June 5 email “great partners who’ve covered our costs for COPs and provided extraordinary on site services and support.”

The Bonn climate summit, which runs through Friday, is officially known as COP23, or the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties, an annual event sponsored by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, a nonbinding accord calling for signatory nations to lower emissions in order to hold temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius this century, was hammered out at COP21.

Those attending COP23 included Mr. Brown and Mr. Inslee, as well as fellow alliance members Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who participated in a Monday panel on “U.S. state-driven climate leadership.”

“The U.S. Climate Alliance has a message for the world: We are here. We are your allies on climate change,” the alliance said in a Nov. 6 press release, which listed a Climate Nexus staffer as the contact.

Mr. Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris agreement unless the conditions were changed, saying it puts the U.S. economy at a “very, very big economic disadvantage.”

Is enlisting climate activists to assist state staff a problem if they are both acting at the direction of the governor? Mr. Horner asked how the media would react if, for example, the Koch brothers provide staffing on behalf of a Republican governor.

“This would unleash a tsunami of Pulitzers and hysteria if the political parties or priorities were changed,” said Mr. Horner. “Here is a real test for ‘good government’ activists — is this all right if the ‘right’ politicians and donors pushing the approved agenda outsource government?”


Do States Have a Role in Making Climate Policy?

No: It Won’t Work —and This Isn’t the States’ Role Anyway

Most state-level efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions cannot help being incoherent and ineffective. Consider Vermont, which has established a so-called renewable portfolio standard requiring the use of 75% renewable energy by 2032. That may be a laudable aspiration, but it ignores how energy markets work.

Vermont recently shut its emissions-free nuclear power plant, which accounted for the majority of the state’s electricity generation. Without renewable capacity to fill the resulting hole, the state began importing more electricity from other states, generated primarily with emissions-producing natural gas. Ironically, it had already banned fracking, the technology that extracts the natural gas that now keeps its lights on.

Meanwhile, rather than rapidly developing its own renewable resources, the state is leading a nationwide backlash against wind power: Vermont added no wind capacity during 2013-16. The issue featured prominently in last November’s gubernatorial race, which saw an anti-wind Republican beat a pro-wind Democrat by almost 10 points. And, just last month, state legislators approved strict noise limits that will further limit development.

Vermonters can confidently reject nuclear, coal, gas and wind from the comfort of their warm and well-lit homes because shirking responsibility for their energy supply has few consequences. They can draw electricity from a regional power grid and import energy-intensive goods by exhaust-belching truck. Their 75%-renewable goal presumes the availability of someone else’s nonrenewable plants to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Those plants will be operating affordably only if other states remain committed to a conventional grid.

But Vermont is not alone. Twenty-nine states have renewable portfolio standards, and lawmakers in both Massachusetts and California have recently proposed 100%-renewable mandates. If everyone tries to reach their goals, and more states feel compelled to join and out-green each other, the grid will fall apart.

This is not only irresponsible, but also fails to address climate change. Since nationwide carbon-dioxide emissions peaked in 2007, states with renewable portfolio standards have achieved smaller reductions, on average, than states without them. And even significant state-level achievements would mean little. The Obama administration acknowledged that its Clean Power Plan for cutting emissions in every state would not have meaningfully affected global temperatures.

The reality of climate change is that the overwhelming majority of future greenhouse-gas emissions will come from the developing world. American emissions cuts are justified primarily as a means of showing leadership. But the symbolic actions of former Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin and his colleagues are not going to lead developing nations away from their pursuit of economic progress.

Nor is it the role of state leaders, no matter how displeased with President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord, to offset or undermine our national government’s negotiating position on the international stage. California Gov. Jerry Brown is plainly incorrect when he defends his climate talks with China by saying California is a “separate nation.” No one, presumably, would countenance governors opposed to the Iran nuclear agreement traveling to Qatar to coordinate continued sanctions against the Iranian regime.

States will sometimes advance an economic, rather than environmental, rationale for their renewable-energy policies—boosting a promising industry. That strategy makes no more sense here than in any other industry, where politically motivated efforts at market distortion would be rightly recognized as foolhardy.       
If renewables are as economically attractive as their proponents claim, then government mandates should not be necessary to spur investment and deployment. Conversely, state policy makers do neither their consumers nor their fledgling industries any favors when they mandate the purchase of things that the market doesn’t want. A strong case exists for funding precommercial research and development in a variety of speculative technologies, renewable energy included. But that already exists and has bipartisan support at the federal level.

States can supplement such efforts in their own universities. If they are looking for other ways to act on climate, they can encourage responsible urban planning and build infrastructure that will be resilient against stronger storms and higher seas. But they should limit their empty political gestures to ones that damage neither the nation’s energy markets nor its foreign policy.


Study: Cold kills 20 times more people than heat

Cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather, and it's not the extreme low or high temperatures that cause the most deaths, according to a study published Wednesday.

The study found the majority of deaths occurred on moderately hot and moderately cold days instead of during extreme temperatures.

"Although the risk of mortality due to extremely cold or hot days is actually higher, they are less frequent," said lead author Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The study — published in the British journal The Lancet — analyzed data on more than 74 million deaths in 13 countries between 1985 and 2012. Of those, 5.4 million deaths were related to cold, while 311,000 were related to heat.

Because the study included countries under different socio-economic backgrounds and with varying climates, it was representative of temperature-related deaths worldwide, the study said. The sharp distinction between heat- and cold-related deaths is because low temperatures cause more problems for the body's cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it added.

"Public-health policies focus almost exclusively on minimizing the health consequences of heat waves," Gasparrini said. "Our findings suggest that these measures need to be refocused and extended to take account of a whole range of effects associated with temperature."

This report backs up a U.S. study last year from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that cold kills more than twice as many Americans as heat.

However, both studies contradict data from the National Weather Service, which found hot weather to be the biggest killer, followed by tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. According to the service, cold is only the eighth-leading cause of death.

The discrepancy is likely because the weather service data is not as thorough and focuses more on the weather than the number of deaths caused by it.

"The NWS' fatality and injury information is derived from a database where the primary function is to collect weather reports and any details associated with an event's impact," Brent MacAloney, NWS Storm Data Program Manager said last year. "The fatality and injury information is only supplementary."

The most recent study doesn't project what its findings could mean for the future, particularly with climate change warming much of the globe over the next century.

"Extrapolating the results of this study for this purpose would only provide speculations not based on evidence," Gasparrini said. However, he has received a grant from the United Kingdom to study that and hopes "we will answer this question soon," he said.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


16 November, 2017

UN Climate Chief tries to laugh off her call for UN ‘centralized transformation’

She wants to be bigger than Hitler

By: Marc Morano

BONN, Germany — Climate Depot’s Marc Morano conducted an exclusive sidewalk interview with former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres as she was getting into a taxi during the UN climate summit in Bonn Germany on November 13, 2017.

Morano asked her about her message to President Trump and her own calls for a UN “centralized transformation” that “is going to make life of everyone on the planet very different.”

Morano to Figueres: “What about [your call for UN] “centralized transformation.” What about people who might be afraid the UN is essentially going to be a climate central power?

Figueres: (Laughs loudly)

Morano: That is your response?

Figueres: Now that is real humor. (Continues laughing as she ends interview and gets in waiting taxi.)

See: Flashback: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres seeks ‘centralized transformation’ that is ‘going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different’ –

‘The Industrial Revolution was also a transformation, but it wasn’t a guided transformation from a centralized policy perspective. This is a centralized transformation that is taking place because governments have decided that they need to listen to science. So it’s a very, very different transformation and one that is going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different’


President Trump is pushing America towards energy dominance

Despite what the media is spewing, President Donald Trump is continuing his push to improve the American economy. The President made not just energy independence a priority of his campaign and now administration, but energy dominance. The President knows the U.S. has been blessed with vast quantities of energy, but the previous administration spent eight years trying to kill the energy industry and the hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs that go with it. President Trump and Secretary Zinke are taking steps to correct eight years of bureaucratic war waged against the petroleum extract industry.

An independent study conducted by Rystad Energy released in 2016 estimates the U.S. now holds more recoverable oil than both Saudi Arabia and Russia. If the report is accurate, it would be worth an estimated $50 trillion. Even if the estimates are off by half, it is still $25 trillion just waiting for U.S. firms to pull out of the ground. Unfortunately, much of that is on federal lands.

On June 29, while speaking at the Department of Energy, President Trump outlined six concrete steps his Administration is immediately taking to promote strength and innovation in America’s energy sector. The President’s sixth step was crucial, stating, “Finally, in order to unlock more energy from the 94 percent of offshore land closed to development under the previous administration, we are creating a new offshore Oil and Gas Leasing program. America will be allowed to access the vast energy wealth located right off our shores.”

The administration is living up to that promise and is taking steps to ensure American energy dominance and create high paying jobs. The Department of Interior is proposing the largest oil and gas lease sale it has ever held. Next March, 76 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico of the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It is estimated there is at least 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Gulf of Mexico that is recoverable with current technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the petroleum extraction industry almost 180,000 people in the U.S. This does not include the truck drivers that deliver the supplies. This does not include the steelworkers making the pipes and equipment needed for the industry.

These are not minimum wage jobs. Entry-level jobs in the industry “roustabouts” start between $19-21 per hour, plus significant amounts of overtime according to Rigzone. These are jobs that require no skill and can be trained onsite. Rig foreman make $150,000+, while engineers and consultants make $200,000+. People in the petroleum extract industry pay a lot of federal, state, and local taxes, increasing government revenues across the board.

Contrary to popular belief, the industry is not made up of a few large corporations. The petroleum extract industry is a small business driven industry. Because everything involved in oil and gas production is highly specialized, from personnel transportation to the gloves rig workers wear, the oil and gas sector is made up of thousands of small businesses. Exxon or Shell may lease a plot, but they hire dozens of smaller companies to test for, extract and transport the product. Those companies, in turn, hire more companies and buy products to complete their part of the operation. One offshore platform can involve dozens of companies across the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated, “In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant.”

Elected officials up and down the gulf coast are applauding the move by the administration. They know the economic benefit these jobs will bring and the millions per year in royalties. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stated, “This will strengthen our state’s status as a leader in oil and gas exploration and create good jobs for hardworking Mississippians.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey stated, “As he has done time and again, President Trump has proven to the people of Alabama that he is a man of his word, and we are grateful to him and to Secretary Ryan Zinke for their determination to open a vast tract of American waters to oil and gas exploration. This decision is not only in the best interest of all Americans, it allows Gulf Coast states, like Alabama, to utilize our natural resources not only to provide energy for our nation, but increased economic opportunities for our people.”

President Trump is continuing to push for American energy dominance. The President is getting the government out of the way of the free market, so it can put people to work in good-paying jobs. Thanks to this administration the U.S. could very well be on its way to a Golden Era of American Energy.


Globalists Want Solar Tariffs When They Bailout Obama’s Foreign Cronies

If you heard that a Chinese company, controlled by a hedge fund, based in an offshore tax haven, had teamed up with a German company funded by a Qatari wealth fund, the same people behind Al-Jeezera, the Islamic propaganda wing, in order to file a petition at the International Trade Commission (ITC), would you believe their motivation is to help the American factory worker?

That is exactly what SolarWorld and Suniva are doing as these two foreign owned entities have joined together to petition the ITC to impose tariff protections for their products on the rest of the world.

The tariffs requested by these two failed companies and their global capital backers would double the price of solar panels. More than 1000 American companies in the Solar Energy Industries Association are opposed. The two foreign solar companies survived for years only because they received subsidies and protection from Obama and now they want tariffs in order to pay off German cronies of Angela Merkel and their Islamic financiers.

Consider who’s in favor of these tariffs:

Solar World is a German company run by Jurgen Stein and owned by Frank Asbeck, a crony and frequent travel companion of German chancellor Angela Merkel.  Their most prominent investor is the Qatar Foundation, an entity of the Qatari royal family which remains funded by the government of Qatar and would ultimately receive a payout should Solar World win this case before the ITC.  The Qatari government also funds the Islamic propaganda broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Suniva is the other company asking for tariffs.  They are Chinese-owned but controlled by a hedge fund domiciled in offshore tax haven Guernsey.  They paid a lobbyist married to Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff to get them $48 million in federal taxpayer subsidies under Obama, all while using prison labor in their factory.  Then, when they went bankrupt anyway, their New York operative, Jeremiah Silkowski, wrote a letter to the Chinese offering to liquidate the Suniva plant, lay off their workers, and drop the trade case in exchange for a $55 million payoff.

These two companies are the quintessential example of how global financial interests manipulate the DC swamp to fleece the taxpayer and sell out the American factory worker.

In this case, it is the American factories that are opposed to tariffs.  Solar manufacturing jobs have grown 58 percent in the last five years and those are largely concentrated in factories in the Midwest and Deep South that make steel racking and other metal equipment using American steel.  From Youngstown, Ohio to Huntington, West Virginia and down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, there are over 50 factories producing steel equipment for the solar industry, and none of them received federal subsidies or protection.  They’ve been succeeding all on their own.

But the globalists’ trade principles are clear: when tariffs hurt foreign companies, they’re bad; when tariffs give cash to the foreign friends of Obama, Hillary, and Merkel, all of a sudden they’re just fine.  The globalists just don’t care if the American factory worker in the Midwest loses his job, so long as the foreigners don’t lose anything.

President Trump made a strong commitment to defend American companies but, in this case, the global financial interests behind two failed foreign companies are trying to get a bailout on their bad investment by manipulating U.S. trade laws for their benefit and hurting many successful American companies in the process.  President Trump shouldn’t be fooled by this three-card monte of foreign financial capital – the Germans, and Qataris, and offshore hedge funds are trying to pull one over on him.   President Trump needs to back the factory workers of Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama, and say no to tariff bailouts for foreign owned solar speculators.


American business big at Bonn conference

They see it as good PR to be there, hoping that  the Greenies will leave them alone in future

On the fringes of the ongoing global climate summit in Bonn, US leaders will once again demonstrate their commitment to the issue, with a packed agenda of film screenings, panel discussions and cocktail parties where they will highlight the country’s carbon dioxide cuts.

Unlike past years, however, the leaders are from corporate America — not the White House.

US President Donald Trump sent a bare-bones negotiating team to the two-week long climate gathering that began Monday in Germany, after pledging to withdraw from the Paris climate accord earlier in 2016. Instead of holding an array of events highlighting naturally clean energy, it scheduled a lone panel discussion on how fossil fuels fit into a low-carbon future.

But the official US presence is buttressed by an army of company executives, governors, mayors and activists who will deliver a different message. Coca-Cola, Mars and HP are planning to tout US progress in cutting emissions. A Citigroup vice-president is set to elaborate on how finance can help the world reach the Paris goals. A Berkshire Hathaway executive is scheduled to discuss how markets can drive carbon reductions.

"We’re all playing a role in moving this forward," said Nate Hurst, HP’s chief sustainability officer. "Our customers, some of which are right here alongside us on these panels, and the investment community are expecting this."

The next two weeks may reveal whether the unofficial delegation will be enough to convince leaders in Beijing, New Delhi and Brussels to continue to fight climate change — or if the scepticism in Washington spurs them to back off as well.

Business leaders from Coca-Cola, Citigroup, HP, Mars and Microsoft are set to join those from Ingersoll-Rand, Target Corporation, Johnson Controls and other companies to emphasise their climate commitments.
"When the US government is engaged in a serious way and puts some of its political capital behind this, it makes a difference," said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, which represents dozens of renewable power, natural gas and other companies. "Without that, there is a possibility of backsliding and postponing the needed action."

Many of the events are being held at a "US Climate Action Centre" — a city-block-sized pavilion next to the formal negotiation site. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Hewlett Foundation and NextGen America, founded by hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, are the top funders of the pavilion. Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

The US government has said it will continue participating in climate negotiations until the country’s expected withdrawal from the Paris agreement in 2020. But there’s no sign of the enthusiasm that previous administrations brought to the issue, much less the kind of personal involvement that former president Barack Obama brought in the run-up to the 2015 Paris agreement.

The Trump administration is taking a different approach.

At the sprawling summit site, the US government is sponsoring a panel discussion on "the clean and efficient use of fossil fuels and nuclear power", as it works to persuade other countries they can meet their climate objectives without abandoning coal and natural gas. Expected participants include representatives from Tellurian, a liquefied natural gas company, and coal-producer Peabody Energy.

Only official government representatives have a formal role in the summit’s planned negotiations over how to validate countries’ carbon-cutting claims and take stock of progress in a few years.

"The bad news is obvious, which is this administration is a bunch of climate deniers, and we will look pathetic," said Carol Browner, who was Obama’s top climate adviser.
Under secretary of state for political affairs Tom Shannon is leading the US delegation, which includes members of the state department’s climate office. State department spokesman Yoon Nam declined to provide more specifics about the size and members of the US delegation, but it’s likely to be far smaller than the contingent of 93 US government participants who were registered for last year’s summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

While the US government presence will be decidedly low-key, the unofficial representatives of the US hope to make a splash. Representatives of the "We Are Still In" coalition representing nine states, 1,780 businesses and investors, 252 cities and counties and 339 colleges will use more than a dozen events at the US pavilion to showcase their action.

Business leaders from Coca-Cola, Citigroup, HP, Mars and Microsoft are set to join those from Ingersoll-Rand, Target Corporation, Johnson Controls and other companies to emphasise their climate commitments. The US chamber of commerce is hosting an event on the role businesses play facilitating dialogue on climate. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy plans to describe how clean-energy technology can be deployed globally to help satisfy carbon-cutting goals.

For companies, it’s good PR to make climate commitments and be present in Bonn. It’s also a matter of managing risks that they recognise as real, even as the science of climate change is still debated in Washington.

"Real things are happening in the real world, and that’s where our supply chains operate, that’s where our factories operate and that’s where our customers live," said Kevin Rabinovitch, global sustainability director with Mars. "It’s critically important to us to tackle some of these issues, to manage risks to our supply chain and to capture some of the opportunities that exist in this space."

Local political leaders are also trying to emphasize their role.

"The world needs to know that Donald Trump cannot stop us," said Washington state governor Jay Inslee. The rest of the world needs to realise "they’ve got good partners here and their efforts will not be in vain".

Trump is rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations seen as helping satisfy the US Paris agreement pledge to pare greenhouse gas emissions to between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. But he doesn’t have the authority to stop state-level policies, such as Washington state’s cap on carbon pollution or its initiatives supporting clean energy research and development, Inslee said.

Federal policy and regulations are important to ensure action by all states — even those with political leaders who are sceptical of climate science and eager to support coal.

Even as it rescinds regulations, Trump’s team has a positive story to tell. US emissions are declining, driven by state mandates for renewable electricity, cities and companies committing to 100% green power, and utilities switching from coal to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. The US is already halfway to the 26% goal Obama set out.

"The bad news is obvious, which is this administration is a bunch of climate deniers, and we will look pathetic," said Carol Browner, who was Obama’s top climate adviser. "The good news is a lot of the countries that are providing leadership on this issue know that all of these things are going on, and they see that there is another America."


The COP Ritual: Frustration Shows Up As Bonn Climate Summit Is Deadlocked Again

Developing countries are demanding money in addition to the $100 billion developed nations have promised to provide every year from 2020.

With more than half the schedule of climate change conference already over, frustration was beginning to show at the lack of progress on any of the key issues under discussion, including the issues of finance, loss and damage, and ‘pre-2020 actions’. Developing country negotiators lamented the fact that the United States, which has decided to pull out the Paris Agreement, was continuing to block any meaningful breakthrough on these issues and that other developed countries were not helping matters either.

“Other developed countries are hiding behind the United States on loss and damage and finance issues. And, I think they need to be called out on this. They need to be asked whether they would side with (US President) Donald Trump or with the vulnerable countries of the world and meet their responsibilities,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, echoing what many country negotiators were saying off the record.

A demand from the developing countries, asking for inclusion of ‘pre-2020 actions’ — a reference mainly to the obligations of the developed countries under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that has still three years to run — in the official agenda of the negotiations has still not been decided on, despite the expiry of two deadlines. The matter was to be decided on Saturday and then on Monday, but till evening on Monday consultations with various country groups was still continuing.

“Informal meetings (on ‘pre-2020 actions’) have been happening throughout the day. I am not sure whether there will be an outcome in the form of any decision by the end of the day today. Things are moving slowly, and there is hardly any significant progress on any important issue till now. But this is not the first time this is happening. We have seen such things at previous conferences as well. There are still four days to go and a lot happens on the last days,” an Indian negotiator said.

One major disappointment has been over the lack of any headway on issues related to finance, particularly that meant for loss and damages. Developing countries, especially the smaller island nations which also happen to be the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, have been demanding the setting up of mechanisms through which then can access financial help in the event of destruction caused by extreme weather events. This financial help needs to be in addition to the US$ 100 billion that the developed countries are obligated to provide every year from 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change.

One of the options being discussed is to raise money through taxes on fossil fuel industry. “Countries are looking for money that is additional to the US$ 100 billion, because loss and damage is additional to the mitigation and adaptation needs. The US$ 100 billion was agreed upon long before the issue of loss and damages became part of discussions at these negotiations. The kind of money we are looking at … has to come by levying taxes on fossil fuel industry that has caused climate change in the first place,” Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead at Christian Aid, said.

But the developed countries, mainly the US, have not been quite agreed to look at this, suggesting instead that insurance might be a good way to deal with the problem. “On loss and damage and finance, they (the US) have been taking a pretty hard line and that has started to cause some real anger,” Meyers said.

Even on the US$ 100 billion commitment, the demand that developed countries spell out the roadmap and enhance the proportion of public finance in their contributions, has largely been stonewalled. “Developed countries have not come prepared to put any new money on the table or make new pledges. So we are not expecting any strong outcome on this. The best we can hope for, we think, is to get some assurance that next year they will demonstrate stronger commitment,” Tracy Carty of Oxfam said.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


15 November, 2017

Catastrophic warning about the fate of humanity is given by 15,000 scientists who claim human destruction of the natural world will lead to 'misery' and an 'irretrievably mutilated' planet

Utter nonsense, as we expect from Greenies.  Nothing significant happened in response to their earlier prophecy of doom.  So what did they do?  Apologize?  No way!  They just issued a new and more lurid warning.  When they get ANY prophecy right will be the time to take notice of them. There have been many warnings of doom over the last thousand years but, despite them all, life has steadily got better for mankind

That various species have decreased in numbers may be true, though species counts are notoriously unreliable.  But that is what you expect from species competition.  Introduced species either eat or outcompete native species in what is essentially accelerated evolution. 

And the most invasive species of all -- mankind -- also outcompetes other species for land and other resources.  Greenies see that as deplorable but that very success is the foundation of the better lives we live today.  You can't pretend it is bad for us.

And not all species are equally affected.  Species that can coexist with mankind are having a rare old time. Never have rodents had it so good! And trees are included in that.  The alarmists deplore the number of trees being cut down but "forget" to mention the expansion of woodlands in the USA and other technologically advanced countries

And many of their other claims are also tendentious. Global warming has been trivial over the last century and there is still no good evidence that mankind is responsible it.  And the increase in CO2 has been beneficial rather than detrimental.  It has greatly greened the planet, with desert areas like the Sahel shrinking

And the population trend is up only in poor countries. In advanced countries it is down. If Greenies would stop obstructing development, much of the third world could advance to Western standards of living and the consequent birthrates.

I could go on and fisk the whole thing but I have no inclination to clean out the Augean stables.

In sum, the "warning" below is just an assemblage of all the old and ill-founded Greenie scares.  As such, it is totally worthless

A prophetic 'warning to humanity' giving notice of perils facing the Earth has been issued by more than 15,000 scientists from around the world.

Climate change, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and uncontrolled human population growth are all threatening mankind's and the Earth's future.

The letter, originally written in 1992 argued human impacts on the natural world were likely to lead to 'vast human misery' and a planet that was 'irretrievably mutilated'. 

But a quarter of a century since a majority of the world's living Nobel Laureates united to sign a warning letter about the Earth, scientists argued too little was being done.

They pointed out that in the past 25 years:

- The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26 per cent.

- The number of ocean 'dead zones' - places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation - has increased by 75 per cent.

- Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.

- Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.

- Human population has risen by 35 per cent.

- Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29 per cent.

The message, posted online, updates an original Warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists and around 1,700 signatories delivered in 1992.

In the second warning letter to the globe, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries said humans had 'unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century'.

People should eat less meat, have fewer kids, consume less and use green energy to save the planet, the world's leading scientists urged.

'We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats', it said.

'By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.'

But now it required the public to pressure their political leaders to take more decisive action.

This could include more nature and marine reserves, tougher laws to stamp out poaching and trade in wildlife, better family planning and educational programmes, more vegetarianism and less food waste, and massively adopting renewable energy and other 'green' technologies.

Professor William Ripple at Oregon State University said: 'Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist.

'Scientists are in the business of analysing data and looking at the long-term consequences.

He said that those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm.

'They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path', Dr Ripple said.

'We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.'

The article 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice' notes 25 negative global trends.


Another declaration that ignores the evidence

This time it is the "2017 Global Carbon Budget".  All the factual statements below are true but all the interpretations are wrong.  CO2 levels DO NOT MATTER.  They don't cause warming.  In 2017 their levels are higher than ever but at the same time the planet is COOLING -- the exact opposite of the rule believed below.  Don't believe me?  Here are the numbers again:  The CO2 figures are here (see column 4) and the temperatures are here.

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry have renewed their climb after a three-year pause, driven higher by quickening economic growth and the failure to find alternatives particularly to oil, international researchers say.

Carbon emissions will rise 2 per cent in 2017 to almost 37 billion tonnes as the world economy heads for 3.6 per cent annual growth. Total emissions, including from land clearing, push that tally to 41 billion tonnes.

A slightly faster pace of GDP expansion in 2018 will also send emissions from industry and fossil fuel combustion higher for at least another year, according to the 2017 Global Carbon Budget.

"This year's carbon budget news is a step back for humankind," said Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth, a sponsor of the report.


Australia's lush street trees face grave threat if emissions keep rising (?)

How strange that a group called the "Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub" found a problem!  Could they have done otherwise?  It's all arrant nonsense anyway. Plants generally like warmth.  A popular street tree in Brisbane is the colourful Croton.  But it only grows to shrub height here.  In Darwin, where the climate is much hotter, it grows to tree height.  And even in Sydney cumquat trees are planted as an ornamental shrub.  But in far North Queensland they grow to tree height. Warmth is more likely to make the trees BIGGER.

And they have overlooked something that flows from their own Greenie theories.  What they are warning against is a CO2-caused temperature rise.  But elevated levels of CO2 have a fertilizing effect, and can cause plants to colonize places where they were not previously found -- as has happened in the Sahel.  So in the unlikely possibility that a couple of degrees of warmth were bad for some tree, the higher levels of CO2 could well counteract that.  But they have completely ignored that factor.  So the assumption below that present distribution is also a distribution limit is very shaky.  It's a typically one-sided Green/Left document below

Much-loved leafy streets and shady parks in Sydney and Melbourne are in jeopardy, according to new research that found climate change severely threatens the health of more than one-third of tree species in Australia's cities.

The federally funded study of 1.5 million trees in 29 council areas across Australia found that higher temperatures and urban heat means new tree species may be introduced, existing trees must be given special care and some trees may disappear in certain locations.

More than four in 10 houses in Australia's capital cities have a street tree.

Trees can greatly affect people's experience of a city - providing shade, places for recreation and a sense of place and heritage. They also cool the city, capture rain, slow stormwater and provide habitat for birds and other animals.

But the study found 24 per cent of all public trees, or 35 per cent of tree species, were at high risk from increased temperatures under a business-as-usual scenario in which emissions continue to increase to 2070.

Some 14 per cent of all public trees, or 22 per cent of tree species, were at high risk of increased temperatures if emissions were limited, in line with international commitments, in the years to 2040.

Trees were deemed at high risk when predicted temperatures were warmer than 97.5 per cent of locations where the species is found – making them particularly susceptible to drought, physiological stress and pest and disease outbreaks.

In the City of Sydney, 50 per cent of trees were at high risk under a business-as-usual scenario. They included brush box, rose gums, grey oaks and several eucalypt species.

In the Sydney council area formerly known as Marrickville, now part of the Inner West Council, a business-as-usual scenario put 40 per cent of trees at high risk, including casuarina she-oaks, black locusts and several eucalyptus species.

Some 32 per cent of trees were at high risk under business-as-usual in the City of Melbourne. They included rose apples and several species of elms, oaks and eucalypts.

Melbourne's inner north City of Moreland would see 26 per cent of trees at high risk under a business-as-usual scenario, such as purple-leafed plums, prairie crabapples and the narrow-leaved ash.

Darwin had the highest proportion of trees – 85 per cent - most at high risk if emission levels rose to 2070, while Ballarat had just 1 per cent at high risk.

Risks to trees were posed by both rising global temperatures and the urban "heat island" effect, where localised warming occurs due to dark-coloured and paved surfaces, buildings and the emission of heat from human activities.

The study was conducted by the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub, a consortium of four universities funded by the Department of Environment and Energy.

It said "changes to the composition and the traits of the urban forest will lead to changes in the sense of place and identity of cities."

"Many cities in south-eastern Australia have a strong European colonial heritage expressed in their many broad-leaved deciduous trees that is likely to change under future climates," it said.

Conversely, local native trees helped create unique city identities and connections to natural heritage and traditional Indigenous ownership.


Endocrine Disruption is a Medieval Spell in the Hands of Environmentalists

By Rich Kozlovich 

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is back on the endocrine disruption (ED) bandwagon and it's important we understand the history of this issue in order to make sure more "new" science on ED's isn't being made up as was the "old" science on ED's. Truth is the sublime convergence of history and reality - unless you're the EPA - then truth is meaningless. We need to get that.

In chapter one of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring she talks about some community where "a strange blight" crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community".

Then she claims there were all sorts of maladies sickening and even killing the sheep, chickens, cattle, unexplained deaths among children and adults who would suddenly sicken and die....and the birds disappeared....and the people had done it to themselves. There was only one problem with this story. That town didn't exist! She even says it doesn't exist! Then goes on to claim some of these things are happening in a lot of communities - somewhere. Yet she conveniently fails to give a name to even one of those cities or towns. Why? Because these communities didn't exist!

Reality and green speculatory scare mongering rarely have anything in common, and time is the great leveler of truth. As the cancer scare was running out of steam, environmentalists needed a new voodoo scare. Endocrine disruption was just the thing. The National Academy of Science more accurately refers to them as hormonally active agents" (HAAs), a term that's bound to generate anxiety.

A 1996 book called Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?--A Scientific Detective Story, caught the public's attention, especially when they called these chemical "environmental estrogens".........[that] disrupted normal hormonal processes, even at low exposure levels generally accepted as safe." According to the book mankind's future was in serious jeopardy because ED' s were going to impact our fertility, intelligence, cause attention deficit disorder and even jeopardize our survival.

According to Geoffrey C. Kabat in his book Getting Risk Right, "hormones are chemical messengers secreted by ductless glands and travel through the blood stream to affect distant organs. Hormones play a role in orchestrating the body's growth, maintaining physiologic balance, and sexual functioning and development." "Once secreted a hormone must be transported via the blood stream to the target organ by a carrier protein. Once ether it binds to a receptor and the hormone-reception unit binds to a specific region of a cell's DNA to activate particular genes."

As Michael Fumento noted in his paper " Hormonally Challenged": "Virtually any real or possible human or animal health problem may be blamed on these chemicals, including cancer, birth defects, falling sperm counts, lesbian seagulls (giving rise to the term "gender benders" for HAAs), and alligators with shrunken members", impacting all life like some medieval witch's spell in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale instead of science.

In comes Steven F. Arnold of the Tulane University Center for Bioenvironmental Research who along with his gang published a study in June of 1996 "claiming that combinations of pesticides and PCBs were up to 1,000 times more potent as endocrine disruptors than the individual chemicals alone."

Carol Browner - head of EPA at the time - declared: "The new study is the strongest evidence to date that combinations of estrogenic chemicals may be potent enough to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, birth defects and other major health concerns." She went on to say: "I was astounded by the findings. Dr. Lynn Goldman, EPA pesticide chief, claimed "I just can't remember a time where I've seen data so persuasive … The results are very clean looking."

But time - the great leveler of truth - once again came into play. According the journal Science, Arnold was found to have "committed scientific misconduct by intentionally falsifying the research results published in the journal Science and by providing falsified and fabricated materials to investigating officials." It was also found "there is no original data or other corroborating evidence to support the research results and conclusions reported in the Science paper as a whole."

Steve Milloy noted: "by August 1997, Arnold was forced to retract his study from publication. His retraction stated, "We … have not been able to reproduce the results we reported." He later added, "I can't really explain the original findings."'

Six months after the Food Quality Protection Act was enacted (which required the EPA to identify chemicals which were HAA's) it was reported there wasn't a lab anywhere in the world that could replicate the Tulane study, and it was then formally withdrawn. Now we know why — he cheated. The penalty imposed on Arnold was a five-year ban from federal grants. Although a lifetime ban and perhaps even criminal prosecution would have been more appropriate — after all, he was found guilty of "intentionally falsifying" taxpayer-funded research".

He wasn't alone by the way, there's hermaphrodite frog study and the small phallus alligator study, but space makes it impossible to discuss them all.

Yet the endocrine disruption component of the FQPA remains requiring the EPA to identify chemicals which are considered HAA's. In 2001 they were spending 10 million dollars a year attempting to meet that requirement. But they've had trouble declaring chemicals as HAA’s. Why?

Well there's that time as the great leveler of truth problem.

I've followed this issue from the beginning and I knew the problem they were having was - and still is - separating the ED potential of synthetic chemicals versus those which are naturally occurring. And that's the rub.

In his book The Really Inconvenient Truths Iain Murray states:
"The entire theory that industrialization is causing severe endocrine disruption falls completely apart when exposures to naturally occurring endocrine modulators are taken into account. Plants naturally produce endocrine modulators called "phytoestrogens" to which human being are expose at levels that are thousands and sometimes millions of time higher than those of synthetic chemicals. Humans consume these chemicals every day without adverse effects some even contend these chemicals promote good health."

He goes on to say

"Laboratory experiments have shown that there are so-called "endocrine disruptors" present in forty-three different foods common in the human diet, including corn, garlic, pineapple, potatoes, and wheat. Most amusingly, soybean, that product so beloved by liberal environmentalists, is a particularly potent source of phytoestrogens"....."it appears that on average human beings consume just over 100 micrograms of estrogen equivalents a day from natural sources. Compare that to the amount of industrial chemical amount of 2.5 micrograms."

He also notes:

"As it turns out phytoestrogens are actually much more potent than the chemicals that act like estrogens. Our friend DDT, for instance, has a relative potency to natural estrogen of 0.000001, meaning it takes one million molecules to have the same impact of one molecule of real estrogen."

And what is the most potent ED the public is exposed to? Oral contraceptives! And that number is massive. Oral contraceptives are the most potent ED in the nation's waterways today. But EPA only screen and test pesticide chemicals, commercial chemicals and environmental contaminants because they claim pharmaceutical regulation is a Food and Drug Administration concern. That's an easy way for the EPA to avoid facing the fact if they "compared contraceptives and phytoestrogens these two sources would dwarf the impact of pesticides."

Solution? Repeal or seriously revise the Food Quality Protection Act, which has nothing to do with food, protection or quality. But it has had a great deal to do with creating the national bed bug plague.    And that really is a Medieval Spell!


Geochemist Says Oil Fields May Be Refilled Naturally

Abiotic oil, anyone?

COULD it be that many of the world's oil fields are refilling themselves at nearly the same rate they are being drained by an energy-hungry world?

A geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts says she believes that hitherto undetected gas and oil reservoirs lying at very great depths within the earth's crust could stave off the inevitable oil depletion much longer than many experts have estimated.

The scientist, Dr. Jean K. Whelan, whose research is part of a $2 million Department of Energy exploration program in the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans, has found evidence of differences in the composition of oil over periods of time as it flows from greater to shallower depths. By gauging degradative chemical changes in the oil resulting from action by oil-eating bacteria, she infers that oil is moving in quite rapid spurts from great depths to reservoirs closer to the surface.

Skeptics of Dr. Whelan's hypothesis acknowledge that oil is almost certainly flowing into certain reservoirs from somewhere, but say her explanation remains to be proved, as does the exact extent of the phenomenon.

A site in the gulf of particular interest to the Pennzoil Exploration and Production Company and several independent scientific teams, including Dr. Whelan's group, is Eugene Island Block 330, which is not an island but a patch of sea floor 700 feet beneath the water's surface. Discovered in 1972, an oil reservoir some 6,000 feet beneath Eugene Island 330 is one of the world's most productive oil sources; it has yielded more than one billion barrels, or 42 billion gallons, and is still going strong.

But Eugene Island 330 is remarkable for another reason: Its estimated reserves have declined much less than experts had predicted on the basis of its production rate.

Dr. Whelan's somewhat controversial hypothesis is a possible explanation.

Although the reservoir from which Pennzoil is pumping oil was formed at the time of the Pleistocene epoch less than two million years ago, oil now being recovered from the reservoir has a chemical signature characteristic of the Jurassic period, which ended more than 150 million years ago, Dr. Whelan said. The implication, she believes, is that highly pressurized oil from lower levels of "stacked" reservoirs is frequently breaking through geological barriers and "burping" upward, eventually reaching the reservoir from which oil is being pumped. The source of the pressurized gas Dr. Whelan believes to be powering the process is a bed of Jurassic period "source rocks," more than 30,000 feet deep, which are rich in very hot hydrocarbons.

Oil created during the Jurassic period from the decayed bodies of plants and animals that lived during the age of dinosaurs would initially have been a liquid, but in some cases, geological processes are believed to have gradually dragged oil reservoirs downward to great depths, where pressures are enormous and temperatures are greater than 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Under these conditions, oil is "cooked," decomposing into hydrocarbon gases consisting mainly of methane.

The methane, however, cannot exist in its normal gaseous form at such pressures and temperatures, but is transformed into a "supercritical fluid" -- neither a gas nor a liquid but something in between. Large amounts of oil can be dissolved in supercritical methane, and the oil-and-methane mixture is probably capable of flowing upward from deep reservoirs through faults, cracks and geological "plumbing" to higher reservoirs. At the higher levels where temperatures and pressures are lower, methane can no longer remain in its supercritical state, and the mixture of gas and oil separates into its respective components.

"It could be," Dr. Whelan said, "that at some sites, particularly where there is a lot of faulting in the rock, a reservoir from which oil is being pumped might be a steady-state system -- one that is replenished by deeper reserves as fast as oil is pumped out." Extensive fault systems like those along the California coast might offer such a geological environment, she said.

The discovery that oil seepage is continuous and extensive from many ocean vents lying above fault zones has convinced many scientists that oil is making its way up through the faults from much deeper deposits. Faulting associated with such seepage is common along the Pacific Coast, in parts of the North Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, among other areas, Dr. Whelan said.

The amounts and types of hydrocarbons lying at great depths are highly uncertain, because oil companies have had little incentive to sink exploratory wells to depths of 20,000 feet or greater. The cost of drilling increases exponentially with depth, and there are still ample supplies of oil in relatively shallow reservoirs.

Dr. K. K. Bissada, a geochemist at Texaco Inc. in Houston, is doubtful that a true steady state exists in reservoirs that seem to be refilling themselves.

"I think we pump oil out much faster than oil can come in," he said. "But from a long-term perspective, I believe that hydrocarbons are coming in from great depths and are filling the newer reservoirs at shallower depths.

"It's impossible to put a number on the rate at which this goes on," Dr. Bissada said, "but I could imagine that this kind of stacked reservoir system, with favorable geologic plumbing between the reservoirs, might refill the upper reservoirs in, say, 10 or 20 years. If we were to go back to some old oil field that had been abandoned 50 years ago, we might drill a test well, and we might find fresh oil. The trouble is that that kind of experiment is too expensive in the present economic climate."

A recent report from the Department of Energy Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development concluded from the Woods Hole project that "these new data and interpretations strongly suggest that the oil and gas in the Eugene Island field could be treated as a steady-state rather than a fixed resource."

The report added, "Preliminary analysis also suggests that similar phenomena may be taking place in other producing areas, including the deep-water Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan North Slope."

Dr. Thomas Ahlbrandt, chief of the United States Geological Survey's Petroleum Geology Branch in Denver, is among many skeptics who believe that the Woods Hole hypothesis has not been demonstrated, although experts appear to agree that an increase in estimated reserves is occurring at many sites.

"I have the impression that although the people who drilled at Eugene Island encountered a fault plane," Dr. Ahlbrandt said, "they did not find oil coming up through it. On the other hand, drilling is a high-risk proposition, and the fact that it didn't produce oil doesn't necessarily make the hypothesis wrong."

There is much evidence that deep reserves of hydrocarbon fuels remain to be tapped. A recent estimate by the Geological Survey of "conventional" oil resources within the 48 states and state waters offshore has doubled America's estimated oil reserves since the last estimate was prepared in 1989. Dr. Ahlbrandt said that the estimate of continental American oil resources was 60 billion barrels, up from 30 billion in 1989.

But Dr. Ahlbrandt hastens to add that this does not mean that prospectors are finding large new oil fields; it means that "people are becoming more clever at finding and extracting hydrocarbons from previously overlooked resources."

This results from a trend oil experts call "field growth."

In some cases, he said, an oil company may discover an oil field, pump it almost dry, and then, using new seismic techniques that produce three-dimensional images of the fine details of deep geological structures, discover that an unsuspected and untapped extension of the field exists in some new direction.

In other cases, Dr. Ahlbrandt said, prospectors may find new reservoirs by drilling beneath old ones, penetrating salt barriers that had obstructed seismic probes. Finally, oil companies sometimes unknowingly drill right through oil-rich deposits on their way to reservoirs they had identified at greater depths. From such drill holes, oil is sometimes discovered simply by piercing the drill casing with a few holes at relatively shallow depths and analyzing the fluid that flows into the pipe.

But petroleum experts agree that no one has more than a vague notion of how much gas and oil remain in the world, or how long it will last.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


14 November, 2017

More BOM Shenanigans

Australia’s BOM ignores all pre-1910 temps, because it was warmer in the late 1800’s, than now, leading up to the “Federation Drought” – and that wrecks their and ABC-news' scam.

The moment a climate zealot realises his coreligionists are only in it for the power & money

From the latest climate conference in Germany

Leaving @COP23 at 21.58 & tho almost everyone has already left, all the PCs & lights are on in a country that uses lots of coal generation. @UNFCCC promote offsetting & the @IPCC_CH brace negative emission tech - but as usual in modern society energy waste is simply ignored!

Via Twitter

Climate Policies Now Account For 35% Of Electricity Bills

Mark Rogers came across this chart on the website of LSI Energy, a company involved in energy procurement and management:

It tells us that environmental costs (RO, FIT, CfD, CM and CCL) now account for 35% of electricity prices.

According to BEIS figures, domestic users consume 108 TWh a year, which based on 26.7 million households works out at 4000 KWh.

I pay 13.2p/KWh for my electricity, including standing charges, so the average annual bill must be around £528. Environmental costs would therefore account for £185pa.

OBR figures suggest a cost of £10.1bn this year, which on a pro-rata basis work out at £132 per household.

Either way, bills are set to rise higher, as LSI note:

"Contributing to the rise of non-commodity costs is Renewables Obligations, which are set to continue to rise significantly between now and 2020. It is also estimated that there will be a steep rise for FiT Contracts for Difference (CfD), which will contribute to the increase in non-commodity costs"


Nuclear power out of fashion

This year has been catastrophic for nuclear power, and just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse for the industry, it did. There are clear signs of a nuclear slow-down in China, the only country with a large nuclear new-build program.

China’s nuclear slow-down is addressed in the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report and also in an August 2017 article by former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd.

China’s nuclear program “has continued to slow sharply”, Kidd writes, with the most striking feature being the paucity of approvals for new reactors over the past 18 months. China Nuclear Engineering Corp, the country’s leading nuclear construction firm, noted earlier this year that the “Chinese nuclear industry has stepped into a declining cycle” because the “State Council approved very few new-build projects in the past years”.

Kidd continues: “Other signs of trouble are the uncertainties about the type of reactor to be utilised in the future, the position of the power market in China, the structure of the industry with its large state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the degree of support from top state planners and public opposition to nuclear plans.”

Over-supply has worsened in some regions and there are questions about how many reactors are needed to satisfy power demand. Kidd writes: “[T]he slowing Chinese economy, the switch to less energy-intensive activities, and over-investment in power generation means that generation capacity outweighs grid capacity in some provinces and companies are fighting to export power from their plants.”

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 GW by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030, “not unusual only a few years ago, now seem very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ? nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 is highly unlikely in the context of the slow-down.

Kidd states that nuclear power in China may become “a last resort, rather as it is throughout most of the world”. The growth of wind and solar “dwarfs” new nuclear, he writes, and the hydro power program “is still enormous”.

Chinese government agencies note that in the first half of 2017, renewables accounted for 70 per cent of new capacity added (a sharp increase from the figure of 52 per cent in 2016), thermal sources (mainly coal) 28 per cent and nuclear just 2 per cent. And just in the past week, Beijing announced plans to stop or delay work on 95 GW of planned and under-construction coal-fired power plants.

Crisis in the US and malaise elsewhere

The plan to build two AP1000 reactors in South Carolina ? abandoned in July after A$11.5?13.3 billion was spent on the partially-built reactors ? is now the subject of multiple lawsuits and investigations including criminal probes.

Westinghouse, the lead contractor, filed for bankruptcy protection in March. Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba is selling its most profitable business (memory chips) to stave off bankruptcy.

Pro-nuclear commentator Dan Yurman discussed the implications of the decision to abandon the VC Summer project in South Carolina in a September 11 post:

“It is the failure of one of the largest capital construction projects in the U.S. Every time another newspaper headline appears about what went wrong at the VC Summer project, the dark implications of what it all means for the future of the nuclear energy industry get all the more foreboding…. Now instead of looking forward to a triumph for completion of two massive nuclear reactors generating 2300 MW of CO2 emission free electricity, the nation will get endless political fallout, and lawsuits, which will dominate the complex contractual debris, left behind like storm damage from a hurricane, for years to come.”

The only other nuclear new-build project in the US ? two partially-built AP1000 reactors in Georgia ? is hanging on by a thread. Georgia’s Public Service Commission is reviewing a proposal to proceed with the reactors despite the bankruptcy filing of the lead contractor (Westinghouse), lengthy delays (5.5 years behind schedule) and a doubling of the cost estimate (the original estimate was A$17.9 billion and the latest estimates range from A$32.5?38.4 billion for the two reactors).

Indicative of their desperation, some nuclear advocates in the US (and to a lesser extent the UK) are openly acknowledging the contribution of nuclear power (and the civil nuclear fuel cycle) to the production of nuclear weapons and using that as an argument to sharply increase the massive subsidies the nuclear power industry already receives.

Elsewhere, the nuclear industry is in deep malaise and has suffered any number of setbacks this year. Pro-nuclear lobby groups are warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies”.

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever“ according to former EDF director Gérard Magnin. The only reactor under construction in France is six years behind schedule, the estimated cost has escalated from A$5 billion to A$16 billion, and the regulator recently announced that the pressure vessel head of the reactor will need to be replaced by 2024 following a long-running quality-control scandal. The two French nuclear utilities face crippling debts (A$56.5 billion in the case of EDF) and astronomical costs (up to A$151 billion to upgrade ageing reactors, for example), and survive only because of repeated government bailouts.

In South Africa, a High Court judgement on April 26 ruled that much of the country’s nuclear new-build program is without legal foundation. There is little likelihood that the program will be revived given that it is shrouded in corruption scandals and President Jacob Zuma will leave office in 2019 (if he isn’t ousted earlier).

Public support for South Korea’s nuclear power program has been in free-fall in recent years, in part due to a corruption scandal. Incoming President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years.

In June, Taiwan’s Cabinet reiterated the government’s resolve to phase out nuclear power by 2025.

In the UK, nuclear industry lobbyist Tim Yeo says the compounding problems facing the industry “add up to something of a crisis for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme”. The estimated cost of the only two reactors under construction was recently increased to A$46.2 billion (A$23.1 billion each) and they are eight years behind schedule.

India’s nuclear industry keeps promising the world and delivering very little ? nuclear capacity is 6.2 GW and nuclear power accounted for 3.4 per cent of the country’s electricity generation last year.

In Japan, Fukushima clean-up and compensation cost estimates have doubled and doubled again and now stand at A$245 billion. Only five reactors are operating in Japan, compared to 54 before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

In Russia, Rosatom’s deputy general director Vyacheslav Pershukov said in June that the world market for new nuclear power plants is shrinking, and the possibilities for building new large reactors abroad are almost exhausted. He said Rosatom expects to be able to find customers for new reactors until 2020?2025 but “it will be hard to continue”.

In Switzerland, voters supported a May 21 referendum on a package of energy policy measures including a ban on new nuclear power reactors. Thus Switzerland has opted for a gradual nuclear phase-out and all reactors will probably be closed by the early 2030s, if not earlier (while all of Germany’s reactors will be closed by the end of 2022 and all of Belgium’s will be closed by the end of 2025).


Australia: Major private health insurer to transition to low-carbon investments in its international portfolio

They appear to have meekly swallowed the arrant nonsense about warmth being bad for your health.  Every hospital manager knows that it is COLD weather that increases his caseload.  And a health insurer should certainly know that

Medibank, one of Australia's biggest health insurers, has announced it will dump its holdings in fossil fuel companies amid concern over the health effects of climate change.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday morning, Medibank said it would transition to low-carbon investments in its international portfolio within the next year, to reflect the global transition to clean energy.

"We are also committed to exploring a similar approach with our domestic equity portfolio, and so we will be actively encouraging fund managers to develop a suitable product for us that is socially responsible, cost effective and delivers a sustainable investment return," the statement said.

The announcement by chairwoman Elizabeth Alexander preceded the company's annual general meeting in Melbourne on Monday.

"We understand that the health of the environment has an impact on the health of the community ... Medibank acknowledges the science of climate change and the impacts on human health," the statement said.

"We also recognise our role as a corporate citizen, and the increasing expectations the community has of corporate Australia."

Divestment from fossil fuel companies has emerged as a key front in the fight against climate change, helped by major institutions that have started to divest, including Norway's government pension fund.

Campaigns have targeted universities, churches, local councils, superannuation funds and banks.

Environmental finance group Market Forces said the announcement by Medibank, which has 3.8 million members, means all of Australia's major health insurers have now agreed to shift their money from fossil fuels.

"It's extremely positive that Medibank has ended its unhealthy addiction to fossil fuels," campaigner Pablo Brait said.

"The medical profession has long understood that climate change has a devastating effect on people's health, so it stands to reason medical insurers should not be invested in the industries which drive it."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


13 November, 2017

Celebrity scientist has only abuse to offer

He is certainly a popularizer but he is a poor scientist.  Tony Abbott offered facts and detailed reasoning for his claim that global warming could be a good thing.  Cox offered nothing comparable or even an attempt at refutation.  Assertion and abuse was all he had to offer. 

Cox actually discusses politics, not science.  But is he a politician?  What is his expertise on politics?  He is talking way outside his area of expertise.  Abbott on the other hand is a professional politician

Physicist Brian Cox has slammed former prime minister Tony Abbott for his views on climate change.

The celebrity scientist, in Australia for a speaking tour, was responding to Mr Abbott's comments last month that climate change is doing more good than harm.

'Climate change itself is probably doing good, or at least more good than harm,' the former prime minister told the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

'It's complete nonsense to say that,' Cox told the The Daily Telegraph. 'It is not only a legitimate question to ask but it is a necessary question to say, what will the climate be like in 10 years, 50 years, 100 years.

'That is the question any responsible politician would ask because it is vitally important. It is very irresponsible for many reasons for a politician to say they don't believe in this [that climate change is harmful].'

Cox went on to claim Mr Abbott's comments suggest the former prime minister believes he is more knowledgeable on the topic than the world's top scientists.

Mr Abbott had said the 'so-called settled science of climate change' was 'absolute cr*p'.

'Then there's the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields,' he said.

'In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it's accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.'

Cox's tour - Professor Cox Live 2017 - starts in Melbourne on Thursday and will visit Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth, as well as Auckland and Wellington.


Livestock to blame for 19% of global warming - study

The heading above is an example of assuming what you have to prove.  The study quantified the emissions of various gases from livestock but the claim that such gases cause global warming remains unproven, to put it politely.  There is plenty of evidence that such gasses have NO influence on temperature.

For instance, although global temperatures are dropping, CO2 levels are higher in 2017 than they have ever been: The  exact opposite of what Warmist theory predicts. The CO2 figures are here (see column 4) and the temperatures are here

Livestock emissions are responsible for almost a a fifth of total global warming, a new study has revealed.

Research from the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre shows methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock contributed to 19 percent of the world's global warming in 2010.

An additional 4 percent was due to emissions created when land was converted to pasture.

The study's author, Andy Reisinger, said the figures showed the critical role methane played in global warming.

"This estimate does not consider indirect emissions from energy use or growing livestock feed, such as soy beans, so this can be taken as a lower bound of the actual contribution of livestock to global warming.

Dr Reisinger said livestock emissions were likely to increase as global demand for livestock products increased.

He said that even though methane behaved differently to carbon dioxide - it does not last in the atmosphere for as long - reducing methane emissions would makes a significant contribution to reducing climate change impacts.

"If countries are serious about meeting the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change - which is to limit global warming to well below 2°C and ideally even 1.5° - then livestock emissions still make up about 20 percent of that warming in the year 2100, even if we make a lot of effort to reduce those emissions."


A Test of the Anthropogenic Sea Level Rise Hypothesis

Scary though it may be, there is no evidence to suggest that sea level rise can be controlled by cutting fossil fuel emissions

Jamal Munshi


Detrended correlation analysis of a global sea level reconstruction 1807-2010 does not show that changes in the rate of sea level rise are related to the rate of fossil fuel emissions at any of the nine time scales tried. The result is checked against the measured data from sixteen locations in the Pacific and Atlantic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. No evidence could be found that observed changes in the rate of sea level rise are unnatural phenomena that can be attributed to fossil fuel emissions. These results are inconsistent with the proposition that the rate of sea level rise can be moderated by reducing emissions. It is noted that correlation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a causal relationship between emissions and acceleration of sea level rise.


German Wind Farms To Be Terminated As Subsidies Run Out

Wind power is the most important component of Germany’s green energy transition. The end of subsides for older turbines, however, threatens countless wind farms. By 2023, more than a quarter of Germany’s onshore wind farms may be gone.

Several thousand wind turbines in Germany are likely to be closed down in the next decade because they will no longer receive any subsidies. “If electricity prices do not rise over the next decade, only a few plants will survive on the market without subsidies,” says an analysis by the Berlin-based consulting firm Energy Brainpool. This assessment is shared by most professionals. “In any case, by 2020, the shutdown of existing facilities is to be expected to a greater or lesser extent,” an article by several economists of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig concludes.

The sticking point is the electricity price of 2021, which nobody knows today. Older wind turbines who have been running for 20 years or more will lose their subsidies under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), but not their operating permit. They could go on generating power, if they would be profitable. Like all older technology, after 20 years of wear and tear, wind turbines are prone to repairs and are more maintenance-intensive than new products. Operating costs are higher too. The current electricity price of around three cents per kilowatt hour would not be enough to keep wind farms running – with perhaps a few exceptions in particularly good locations.

By 2021 alone, 5,700 wind turbines with a capacity of 4,500 megawatts will be closed down. In the following years, 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts each will be decommissioned. The German Wind Energy Association estimates that by 2023 around 14,000 megawatts of installed capacity will be gone. That would be more than a quarter of the currently installed onshore wind power capacity which would be eliminated.

The planned expansion corridor for onshore wind energy envisages that 2,900 megawatts of power will be installed in 2020 and in subsequent years. But that’s gross, not net. Decommissioned and dismantled facilities are not considered. In light of the current situation, more wind capacity would be decommissioned than new capacity added. Onshore wind energy would shrink, not grow.



Tim Blair is rather sarcastic below but his last sentence is solid logic

Of all the terrifying warnings we've been given about the effects of climate change, this is the most terrifying yet.

Previously we were warned about such dire outcomes as declining snowfalls, which distressed skiers and other delicate members of the ecosystem. According to the UN, the earth should already be overrun by climate refugees, many presumably lugging their Volkl Mantras from peak to snowless mountain peak in doomed searches for decent powder.

In 2011, Australian academic Tony McMichael foretold of "infectious disease risks, mental depression and community destruction" brought about by climate change. But, as scary as McMichael's predictions were, they didn't even come close to the shocking truth.

Last week the New York Times finally revealed the full, appalling extent of climate change's horror. Trust me, people. After reading this, you will not want to live in a climate-changed world. Rather, you will curse unto death those who have so cruelly and carelessly destroyed our planet. For, as the NYT exclusively reported, rampant climate change may achieve something almost unimaginably dreadful.

It could extend race times for marathon runners.

"The interactions between climate and a sport like long-distance running are only going to get more pronounced as the climate changes," declared Michael Greenstone, head of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, in his landmark NYT piece.

"Over the last 50 years, the temperature has exceeded 60 degrees on just 5 percent of the days during the first week of November, when the New York race is typically held. By 2050, this is projected to rise to 18 percent of days, and by 2090 it is expected to be 38 percent.

"How will runners and organizers react?"

Just a guess, but probably by running and organising. That's generally what these people do. But it gets worse: "Runners may switch from the New York City Marathon to others held in cooler climates to find the perfect temperature at just the right time of year. Could a Montreal Marathon be among the world's most prestigious by 2050?"

See? I told you it was shocking. I'm certain I speak for many when I say suicide is preferable to co-existing with prestigious Canadian endurance events.

"In many other areas of our lives," Greenstone continued, "the costs of climate change are expected to be greater." Yes. Even greater than marginally-extended 42.195 kilometre completion schedules for Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii.

"More intense hurricanes, and the increased occurrence of extremely hot days, will elevate risks to life and property."

Not to mention the specific risks to marathon runners. Your typical long-distance competitor doesn't weigh much, and a Cat 5 hurricane would really knock around any chances of a personal best.

One question, though. If heat is so bad for marathon runners, how come the sport's finest and fastest all come from Kenya?




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


12 November, 2017

Cheers! Skeptics toast U.S. exit from Paris pact at UN climate summit in Germany

Global warming skeptics have descended upon the UN climate summit in Germany this week, hosting a summit of their own to highlight the errors of the UN’s climate change claims. On the final day of the skeptics’ climate summit, the group gathered for a champagne toast to the U.S. climate exit or “clexit” from the UN Paris pact.

Lord Christopher Monckton, former Thatcher adviser: “President Trump is right. He speaks not only for the former Democrat workers from the rust-belt states whom the new totalitarians have callously abandoned but also for all who fear the establishment of global totalitarian rule on the specious pretext of saving the planet. The science behind global warming has collapsed. So too will the “climate process”, a rent-seekers’ nirvana in which the many are compelled to impoverish themselves to enrich the gilded few.”

Dr. Holger Thus, President of the EIKE – European Institute for Climate & Energy on U.S. climate exit: “It was very important. What people don’t want to see is the U.S. is blamed for a lot of things, but in the past it has also been paying for a lot of things. The core of the message of President Trump was is that he is no longer willing to pay things are not in the interest of the United Sates. The U.S. could be a policy model for other countries. There are many countries that are thinking of undertaking such steps.”

French climate skeptic Pierre Bouteille of the French group Climato-Réalistes on U.S. climate exit:“It was a boost to our morale. On climate Trump is doing the right thing. He is appointing the right people.”

Craig Rucker, the executive director of CFACT: “The Europeans congratulate the U.S. for the courage to stand up to the UN, academia and the media and are willingness to go it alone when it comes to the UN Paris pact. A champagne toast celebrating the U.S. withdrawal during the UN climate summit was the perfect message to send to the UN climate summit.”

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, author of upcoming book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change”: “President Trump waded into a religious war by going after UN climate pact. The former UN chief has actually said global warming is my religion.  Trump is actually standing up and willing to taking on the religion of climate change. No modern leader other than former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has shown this kind of strength. Trump is a leader! When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, he was called the reckless cowboy and many were worried. This is what leadership looks like, you buck even your allies and do what’s right not only for your country but for the planet. The planet does not need nonsense about a UN climate treaty somehow saving us and now we are all doomed because we did not adhere to it. That is belief in superstition. This is America reborn. Trump is showing unbelievable courage.”


Climate debate at the Cambridge Union -  summary of the main problems with the standard alarmist polemic

By Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv - Professor at the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Shaviv has also been granted the IBM Einstein Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University

Last week I participated in an interesting debate that was held at the Cambridge Union, the oldest debating club in the world (dating back to 1815. The invite was to be on the side opposing the proposition "This house would rather cool the planet than warm the economy".

Although I think the phrasing of the question is problematic to begin with, since it assumes that "warming the economy" necessary would cool the climate, I should applaud the Cambridge Union for supporting free speech and allowing people on both side to voice their arguments, especially given how many on the alarmist side refuse to do so, claiming that there is nothing to debate anymore.

I should also add that I was quite shocked to see how the audience was so one sided (though far less than the ridiculous 97:3 ratio we hear about!) and unwilling to listen to scientific arguments. I am actually quite lucky to be living in Israel where free speech and free thought are really more than lip service. Having honest debates in Israeli academia or in the media is actually the norm. 

Below you will find the summary I wrote myself before the debate. Since it is rather concise I thought it would be a good idea to bring it here as well.

Dr. Shaviv: Let me begin by asking you a question. What is the evidence that people, like the proponents here, use to prove that we humans are responsible for global warming and that future warming will be catastrophic if we don't get our act together?

The fact is that this idea is a misconception and the so called evidence we constantly hear is simply based on fallacious arguments.

To begin with, any one who appeals to authority or to a majority to substantiate his or her claim is proving nothing. Science is not a democracy and the fact that many believe one thing does not make them right. If people have good arguments to convince you, let them use the scientific arguments, not logical fallacies. Repeating it ad nauseam does not make it right!

Other irrelevant arguments may appear scientific, but they are not. Evidence for warming is not evidence for warming by humans. Seeing a poor polar bear floating on an iceberg does not mean that humans caused warming. (Actually, the bear population is now probably at its highest in modern times!). The same goes to receding glaciers. Sure, there was warming and glaciers are receding, but the logical leap that this warming is because of humans is simply an unsubstantiated claim, even more so when considering that you can find Roman remains under receded glaciers in the Alps or Viking graves in thawed permafrost in Greenland.

Other fallacious arguments include using qualitative arguments and the appeal to gut feelings. The fact that humanity is approaching 10 billion people does not prove that we caused a 0.8øC temperature increase. We could have just as much caused an 8øC increase or an 0.08øC. If all of humanity spits into the ocean, will sea level rise appreciably?

In fact, there is no single piece of evidence that proves that a given amount of CO2 increase should cause a large increase in temperature. You may say, "just a second, we saw Al Gore's movie, in which he presented a clear correlation between CO2 and temperature from Antarctic ice cores". Well, what he didn't tell you is that one generally sees in the ice cores that CO2 lags the temperature by typically a few hundred years, not vice versa! The simple truth is that Al Gore simply showed us how the amount of CO2 dissolved as carbonic acid in the oceans changes with temperature. As a matter of fact, over geological time scales, there were huge variations in the CO2  (a factor of 10) and they have no correlation whatsoever with the temperature. 450 million years ago there was 10 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere but more extensive glaciations.

When you throw away the chaff of all the fallacious arguments and try to distill the climate science advocated by the IPCC and alike, you find that there are actually two arguments which appear as legitimate scientific arguments, but unfortunately don't hold water. Actually, fortunately! The first is that the warming over the 20th century is unprecedented, and if so, it must be human. This is the whole point of the hockey so extensively featured in the third assessment report of the IPCC in 2001. However if you would google "climategate" you would find that this is a result of shady scientific analysis - the tree ring data showing that there was little temperature variation over the past millennium showed a decline after 1960, so, they cut it off and stitched thermometer data. The simple truth is that in the height of the middle ages it was probably just as warm as the latter half of the 20th century. You can even see it directly with temperature measurements in boreholes.

The second argument is that there is nothing else to explain the warming, and if there is nothing else it must be the only thing that can, which is the anthropogenic contribution. However, as I mention below, there is something as clear as daylight. and that is the sun.

Before explaining why the sun completely overturns the way we should see global warming and climate change in general. It is worth while to say a few words on climate sensitivity and why it is impossible to predict ab initio the anthropogenic contribution.

The most important question in climate science is climate sensitivity, by how much will the average global temperature increase if you say double the amount of CO2. Oddly enough, the range quoted by the IPCC, which is 1.5 to 4.5øC per CO2 doubling was set, are you ready for this, in a federal committee in 1979! (Google the Charney report). All the IPCC scientific reports from 1990 to 2013 state that the range is the same. The only exception is the penultimate report which stated it is 2 to 4.5.

The reason they returned to the 1.5 to 4.5 range is because there was virtually no global warming since 2000 (the so called "hiatus"), which is embarrassingly inconsistent with a large climate sensitivity. What's more embarrassing is that over almost 4 decades of research and billions of dollars (and pounds) invested in climate research we don't know the answer to the most important question any better? This is simply amazing I think.

The body of evidence however clearly shows that the climate sensitivity is on the low side, about 1 to 1.5 degree increase per CO2 doubling. People in the climate community are scratching their heads trying to understand the so called hiatus in the warming. Where is the heat hiding? While in reality it simply points to a low sensitivity. The "missing" heat has actually escaped Earth already! If you look at the average global response to large volcanic eruptions, from Krakatoa to Pinatubo, you would see that the global temperature decreased by only about 0.1øC while the hypersensitive climate models give 0.3 to 0.5øC, not seen in reality.

Over geological time scales, the lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature places a clear upper limit of a 1.5øC per CO2 doubling sensitivity. Last, once we take the solar contribution into account, a much more consistent picture for the 20th century climate changes arises, one in which the climate drivers (humans AND solar) are notably larger, and the sensitivity notably smaller.

So, how do we know that the sun has a large effect on climate? If you search on google images "oceans as a calorimeter", you would find one of the most important graphs to the understanding of climate change which is simply ignored by the IPCC and alarmists. You can see that over more than 80 years of tide gauge records there is an extremely clear correlation between solar activity and sea level rise - active sun, the oceans rise. Inactive sun - the oceans fall. On short time scales it is predominantly heat going to the oceans and thermal expansion of the water. This can then be used to quantify the radiative forcing of the sun, and see that it is about 10 times larger than what the IPCC is willing to admit is there. They only take into account changes in the irradiance, while this (and other such data) unequivocally demonstrate that there is an amplifying mechanism linking solar activity and climate.

The details of this mechanism are extremely interesting. I can tell you that it is related to the ions in the atmosphere which are governed by solar activity and in fact, there are three microphysical mechanisms linking these ions to the nucleation and growth of cloud condensation nuclei. Basically, when the sun is more active, we have less clouds that are generally less white.

So, the main conclusion is that climate is not sensitive to changes in the radiative forcing.

This means that we are not required to "cool the economy" in order to cool earth. In Paris and Copenhagen the leaders of the world said that we should make sure that the total global warming will be less than 2øC. It will be less than 2øC even if we do nothing. There are several red flags that people do their best to ignore. The lack of warming in the past 2 decades is a clear sign that sensitivity is low, but people ignore it.

Last point. People say that we should at least curb the emissions as a precautionary step. However, resources are not infinite. Most people in developed nations can pay twice for their energy, but for third world nations? It would mean more expensive food, hunger and poverty, and many in the developed world actually freezing in winter. So in fact, taking unnecessary precautionary steps when we know they are unnecessary is immoral. It is even committing statistical murder.

Now the really last point, I am also optimist that humanity will switch to alternative energy sources in less than 2-3 decades just because they will become cheap enough, and just for the reason that people want to save money. Just like the price of computers has plummeted exponentially (Moore's law- number of transistors doubles every 18 months) so does the cost of energy from photovoltaic cells (cost halves every 10 years). Once they will be really cost effective, without subsidies, suddenly we won't be burning fossil fuels because it would be the expensive thing to do!

Let us use our limited resources to treat real problems.

Via email

Obama's EPA Spent $690,000 on Parking Spots No One Used

IG: $1.5 million wasted on subsidies and empty spots in final 2 years

The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $700,000 for parking spots that no one used during the final two years of the Obama administration.

The office of inspector general released an audit Wednesday finding the agency wasted taxpayer dollars on subsidized parking for employees at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.

"Only EPA headquarters (based in Washington, D.C.) and Region 4 (based in Atlanta, Georgia) subsidized employee parking," the inspector general said. "These offices paid over $840,000 to subsidize employee parking from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2016."

"In this time period, none of the other EPA regional offices provided their employees with subsidized parking, which is not a required employee benefit," the inspector general added.

Not only did the EPA use resources on unnecessary parking benefits that could have gone towards environmental projects, it also paid $293.45 per month for parking spots that were not being used. More than a quarter of the parking spots the EPA paid for its D.C. headquarters were unoccupied.

"We also found that, from January 2015 through December 2016, 29 percent of the parking spaces that headquarters leased for its employees and 27 percent of the parking spaces that Region 4 leased for its employees remained unoccupied," the inspector general said. "The EPA paid approximately $690,000 for these unoccupied parking spaces."

The inspector general said the $1.5 million spent on subsidized parking and unused parking spots could have been used for mission-critical work.

"While the parking subsidy is permitted, it is not required," the inspector general said. "In an age of dwindling federal resources, the EPA's use of taxpayer money-over $840,000 in a 2-year period-to fund employee parking may not be an effective use of federal resources and may take funds away from mission-critical public health and environmental initiatives."

Under administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA made plans to return 53 unused parking spaces earlier this year, which would save taxpayers $186,634.20 annually.

This entry was posted in Issues and tagged EPA, Government Waste. Bookmark the permalink.


Why Calling Electric Cars 'Zero Emission' Is Blatantly False Advertising

Environment: If truth-in-advertising laws were properly enforced, any company that labeled a battery-powered car as "zero emissions" would be guilty of breaking the law. A new report, in fact, shows that electric cars can be worse than conventional cars when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.

In a recent news release, General Motors (GM) said it planned to someday be an all-electric "zero emissions" car company. Toyota (TM) says it wants all its cars to be "zero emission" by 2050. Other car companies are making similar promises. The push to go electric is largely being driven by fears about global warming and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions.

But the term "zero emission" is so unbelievably and wildly misleading that it's a wonder anyone gets away using it.

Yes, the plug-in electric cars that automakers are touting - and states like California are mandating - don't emit pollutants from their tailpipes.

That doesn't mean they don't contribute to pollution. It just means that the source of the pollution moves from the car to a power plant. That's especially true when it comes to CO2 emissions, which the power plant might pump out in copious amounts, depending on its energy source.

So, every time an electric car gets recharged, it's contributing to additional CO2 emissions.

Just how much CO2 is made plain in a new report from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. It calculated the CO2 emissions from plug-in electrics, depending on the energy sources used to generate electricity in various countries, and then translated that into miles per gallon.

The result is eye-opening.

The report - authored by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle -  notes that an electric car recharged by a coal-fired plant produces as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon. (For context, the average mpg of all the cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks sold in the U.S. over the past year is 25.2 mpg.) A plug-in recharged by a natural gas-powered plant is like driving a car that gets 58 miles per gallon.

Solar, wind and geothermal do far better on this score, but they generate a small portion of the nation's electricity. More than 64% of electricity is generated by coal, natural gas or other fossil fuels.

The U of M researchers calculate that, given the energy mix in the U.S., the average plug-in produces as much CO2 as a conventional car that gets 55.4 miles per gallon.

In China - which is winning all sorts of plaudits for its commitment to electric cars but is more dependent on coal - a plug-in generates the same CO2 as a 40 mpg car. In India, plug-ins are even less clean, emitting the same CO2 as a car that gets 35.7 mpg.

Worldwide, the researchers found, the CO2 emissions from electric cars are equal to a 51.5 mpg car.

That is better than conventional cars on the road today, to be sure, but it is far from zero.

And even this exaggerates the environmental benefits of electric cars because the report doesn't take into account the additional CO2 emissions involved in making batteries.

A separate study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that, depending on the type of plug-in being built, manufacturing a battery-powered car generates anywhere from 15% to 68% more CO2 emissions than a conventional gas-powered car. The reason is that producing the batteries is incredibly energy intensive.

Over the lifetime of a car, then, a plug-in could, depending on where one lives, contribute more to global warming than those nasty gasoline powered cars.

Whatever the case, it's clear that labeling electric cars as "zero emission" is one of the biggest consumer scams going.


Free Market Solutions to Environmental Issues

Giving the government more power is the wrong way to go when the market can steward resources.

Yuval Levin, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, states, "Some of what is good about our world is irreplaceable and has to be guarded, while some of what is bad is unacceptable and has to be changed."

Nothing could be more true in terms of the environment. Some of what is good is irreplaceable, and requires our guardianship: the protecting of species, the sustainability of our forests, oceans and wetlands, and the cleanliness of the air we breathe and water we drink. Yet some of what is bad (the ineffective policies and overregulation) is unacceptable and requires change.

The 19th century U.S. conservationist movement sought to guard the irreplaceable aspects of our national nature and history and initially started with a focus on private property as the impetus for stewardship. The environmentalists in the 1970s and beyond grew to favor the federal government (rather than individuals) as the custodian, manager and enforcement officer of the United States environment.

Leaning heavily on regulations, permits and compliance papers, the 1970s brand of environmental protection traded private stewardship for public management. Yet government-owned and managed public lands have been notoriously mismanaged through passivity and fiscal irresponsibility.

The key issue here is the incentive structure. What do the laws incentivize people to do? Are they incentivized to "be in compliance" or to actually take care of the land? Does collective ownership or private ownership incentivize the best care of goods?

Here's a basic example: Most people who have a pool in their backyard don't use it as a giant trash bin. Why? Generally, because they want to swim in it later. In the short run, throwing your trash in the pool may be more convenient than putting it in plastic bags and hauling it out to the dumpster, but everyone knows that at some point, you're going to have to clean up the mess that you made. Ultimately you feel incentivized to care for that which is yours because it's your property.

This same principle applies to the environment.

The inextricable relationship between a person and his or her property cannot be ignored. It is as natural to have a vested interest in your own "stuff" as it is for a toddler to yell, "Mine!" when grasping his favorite toy.

Jonathan Adler, law professor at Case Western University, describes effective market-driven management of the environment in "Conservative Principles for Environmental Reform." He gives the example the U.S. fisheries who have adopted the "catch-share" concept that fuses species sustainability with privatization incentives.

It works like this: Scientists decide the number of fish that can be caught in a particular area without causing the species to die out. Fishing associations divide that number among themselves and can catch their fish quota in any season throughout the year. As the fish population increases, the share amounts increase. Thus, the ownership piece of the catch-share concept incentivizes fishing associations to take care of their area (stewardship), and not overfish (sustainability).

Other organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy list properties for purchasers interested in private conservation of land and work with these individuals to restore and preserve the land to its natural state. In Texas, for example, they have a property listed that is one of the largest protected pieces of the Texas Blackland Prairie, of which only 2% remains. Potential buyers can purchase the land and receive help or advice in planting indigenous wildflowers and other plants in order to maintain the land's natural state.

Other private initiatives include ranchers who breed and sell endangered species, which act simultaneously as a conservationist effort and profitable business. WildLife Partners LLC currently holds permits to own, breed and sell 10 endangered species, which they sell to collectors and other ranches.

Government has and will maintain a key role in our environmental laws, many of which have been good and useful. However, many laws and regulations have been on the books for years and merit a re-examination to determine their actual effectiveness or redundancy - or constitutionality. We must ask the question, "Do the regulations exist to just be regulations, or do they help to achieve environmental stewardship?" We need to examine the incentive structures of the laws and regulations to see if they are incentivizing private management or public apathy.

In light of the recent controversial Trump administration Climate Report, it's time to focus less on problems and more on real solutions to environmental issues. Market principles and privatization can and will deliver effective results if we allow them to be part of the environmental conversation.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


10 November, 2017

NASA satellite spots cause of unprecedented spike in atmospheric CO2

Nice try but no cigar.  El Nino just shifted rainfall around. Warmer oceans would in fact have increassed it overall.  Yet the article below seems to posit an overall increase in drought.

And in 2017, well after El Nino, CO2 levels have never been higher.  So blaming higher CO2 levels on El Nino just will not fly.  They are independent phenomena. 

But it's nice to see NASA blaming ANYTHING on El Nino. They mostly try to ignore it -- as with the 2015 temperature spike.  At least they now admit that it happened

Since the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been steadily increasing, but 2015 and 2016 saw an unprecedented spike. A NASA study has now analyzed data gathered by the atmosphere-monitoring satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), over more than two years and pinpointed the cause: the El Nino weather effect caused certain tropical regions to release far more CO2 than they normally would.

Although there's been some huge efforts to reduce the amount of CO2 produced through human activity, the amount of the gas pumped into the atmosphere has still increased by an average of 2 parts per million (about 4 gigatons of carbon) annually, in recent years. But 2015 and 2016 broke the trend with the largest spikes on record: up to 3 parts per million, amounting to 6.3 gigatons of carbon. Emissions from human activity stayed roughly the same in those years, so where was it all coming from?

The climate cycle El Nino was a prime suspect, but it wasn't clear exactly how. This phenomenon occurs over the Pacific Ocean every few years, when warmer water from near the Phillipines and Indonesia drifts east towards South America, and the effects can be strong enough to alter weather across the entire planet. Warmer waters at the surface of the ocean drag the rains with it, lowering precipitation and causing droughts in areas like Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, northeastern South America, while increasing rainfall in places like Peru, Chile and Ecuador.

The El Nino event in 2015 was one of the strongest since the 1950s, so it's no coincidence that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. To study what effects the event may have had on atmospheric CO2 concentrations, NASA researchers analyzed 28 months of data gathered by the OCO-2 satellite, which can take thousands of readings of carbon dioxide levels per day in a given area, as well as measure how well vegetation is processing the gas via photosynthesis.

The team compared that data to 2011 as a reference year, when weather and carbon cycle processes were normal. Their conclusion? The increase was due to warmer-than-average temperatures and drought in tropical parts of South America, Africa and Indonesia, which in turn were caused by El Nino.

The effects of the 2015 El Nino event in different tropical regions, which in turn caused...

"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011," says Junjie Liu, lead author of the study. "Our analysis shows this extra carbon dioxide explains the difference in atmospheric carbon dioxide growth rates between 2011 and the peak years of 2015-16. OCO-2 data allowed us to quantify how the net exchange of carbon between land and atmosphere in individual regions is affected during El Nino years."

The researchers combined the OCO-2 data with that gathered by other satellites, to figure out the specific processes in each of those regions that were contributing to the extreme increase in CO2. Drought ravaged eastern and southeastern tropical areas of South America, bringing about the driest year in the last three decades. Coupled with higher than average temperatures, vegetation in these regions were stressed and as such, photosynthesis slowed, meaning the plants plucked less carbon from the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, tropical Asia suffered through its second-driest year in 30 years, which increased the severity of forest fires that in turn pumped more carbon into the air. During the same time, tropical Africa endured hotter temperatures but no drought, which sped up the rate of decomposition of dead trees and plants, resulting in more CO2 emissions.

"We knew El Ninos were one factor in these variations, but until now we didn't understand, at the scale of these regions, what the most important processes were," says Annemarie Eldering, Deputy Project Scientist on the OCO-2 mission. "Understanding how the carbon cycle in these regions responded to El Nino will enable scientists to improve carbon cycle models, which should lead to improved predictions of how our planet may respond to similar conditions in the future. The team's findings imply that if future climate brings more or longer droughts, as the last El Nino did, more carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere, leading to a tendency to further warm Earth."


The impact of wind turbines on suicide

“Exploiting over 800 utility-scale wind turbine installation events in the United States from 2001-2013, I show robust evidence that wind farms lead to significant increases in suicide.” -- Eric Zou


Current technology uses wind turbines’ blade aerodynamics to convert wind energy to electricity. This process generates significant low-frequency noise that reportedly results in residents’ sleep disruptions, among other annoyance symptoms. However, the existence and the importance of wind farms’ health effects on a population scale remain unknown. Exploiting over 800 utility-scale wind turbine installation events in the United States from 2001-2013, I show robust evidence that wind farms lead to significant increases in suicide. I explore three indirect tests of the role of low-frequency noise exposure. First, the suicide effect concentrates among individuals who are vulnerable to noise-induced illnesses, such as the elderly. Second, the suicide effect is driven by days when wind blows in directions that would raise residents’ exposure to low-frequency noise radiation. Third, data from a large-scale health survey suggest increased sleep insufficiency as new turbines began operating. These findings point to the value of noise abatement in future wind technology innovations.


Get the EPA out of the way of American exporters

When Americans think of exporting goods, they rarely, if ever, think of ethanol. But America has a growing ethanol export industry being constrained by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). A few minor changes to rules within the EPA can create a substantial increase in ethanol exports, which means more work for everyone in the value chain for ethanol from the farmer to tanker. Creating more demand for your product makes economic sense.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program that requires transportation fuel to contain a minimum amount of renewable fuels. The program originated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, H.R. 6. The RFS was later amended with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, H.R.6. The statute required the U.S. to use four billion gallons of renewable fuel starting in 2006 reaching thirty-six billion gallons in 2022.

In the current system, Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are generated for each denatured gallon of ethanol produced in the U.S. When the biofuel is exported the RINs are retired, satisfying the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). It is important to remember, the RINs themselves have value, and are traded like commodities.

Blending ethanol domestically results in RIN value that encourages increased ethanol production and use. The majority of export gallons are never assigned a RIN. The export gallons that are assigned RINs also receive a matching RVO, thus creating a disincentive for exporting ethanol relative to domestic blending of both US-produced ethanol and imported ethanol.

The President and the EPA can make two minor changes to EPA rules to increase the amount of ethanol exported, thereby increasing overall U.S. exports.

Revise “ethanol” within the definition of “Renewable Fuel” to include both denatured and undenatured gallons of ethanol intended for fuel use.

Remove the export RVO on all gallons of exported ethanol intended for fuel use.  This change would also include accompanying changes to compliance and recordkeeping provisions for exports.
Ethanol can be denatured or undenatured for fuel use. If ethanol is denatured, it has been altered with additives to make it bad tasting, foul smelling or nauseating. Undenatured ethanol has none of the additives. For ethanol to qualify in the RFS, it must be denatured, under current EPA regulations. Because of the rule, only denatured ethanol get RINs. This presents a problem for many ethanol exporters.

Many markets outside the United States, such as Brazil and India, specifically require ethanol to be undenatured. In 2016 the U.S. exported 1.05 billion gallons of ethanol to more than 50 countries, with more than fifty percent of exports going to Canada and Brazil.

Because markets move quickly, and governments move slowly, it is in everyone’s best interest if the EPA definition of ethanol included both denatured and undenatured. Updating this would align the definition of ethanol with the present day global market realities, which demand both undenatured and denatured ethanol for fuel use. It would also allow refiners and exporters to rapidly adapt to unfolding events such as natural disasters or political instability.

Removing the RVO on exported volumes would remove a self-imposed non-tariff barrier to trade in ethanol and enhance U.S. energy security by enabling a U.S.-produced energy source to meet global demands. Ethanol would join liquid natural gas and crude oil as part of a new era in U.S. energy dominance.

As ethanol exports rise, U.S. ethanol producers can increase production despite challenges in the domestic market. Increased production means more shifts for plant workers, more farm equipment purchased, and more loads for truck drivers. All high paying jobs that expand the tax base.

Ethanol producers would also benefit from holding separated RINs from ethanol exports that they can sell to obligated parties for compliance. This change would also benefit obligated parties by increasing liquidity and ameliorating the potential for RINs price spikes that threaten domestic refining.

President Trump has made narrowing the trade deficit a mission of his administration. These two small rule changes could significantly increase U.S. exports while creating jobs. The rule changes would give U.S. exporters the chance to compete on the international stage. The EPA needs to make the rule changes and get out of the way of American ethanol exporters.


GOP tax bill ends electric vehicle tax credit, overhauls other energy taxes

A massive GOP tax-reform bill would end a $7,500 credit for the purchase of electric vehicles and overhaul other energy-related provisions within the tax code.

The 429-page bill would repeal the electric vehicle tax credit, which supporters have credited with reducing the price of emission-free cars for consumers and helping the burgeoning American electric vehicle industry grow.

Advocates have ramped up lobbying efforts to save the credit, which has benefited electric vehicle manufactures like Tesla. The credit is limited at the first 200,000 electric vehicles sold by each manufacturer, but no one has yet hit that cap.

“Electrification for vehicles is extremely important for the future of the auto industry, particularly given the fact that as we move towards autonomous, self-driving vehicles, those vehicles will be powered by electric,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who represents America's automobile manufacturing hub, on Wednesday.

“That tax credit is really important for moving this technology forward.”

The electric vehicle credit is one of several tax breaks Republicans would end as a way to help pay for their bill, which aims to reduce individual brackets and cut rates for businesses.

The legislation also reforms several energy-related tax credits.

It would repeal an inflation increase for renewable energy production tax credits, a move that would increase taxes for power sources like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydropower and others. That provision would raise $12.3 billion in new revenue over ten years.

The bill also aligns the expiration date for investment tax credits affecting the renewables industry and extends a tax credit for residential energy efficiency programs. The two proposals would cost the government a combined $2.3 billion over a decade.

Republicans also seek to end two small tax credits for the oil industry, reducing government revenue slightly, and extend a nuclear industry production tax credit to newly built power plants beginning in 2021.


'Completely perverse' wind energy subsidies aren't reducing emissions

We all see the hundreds of wind power turbines which dot the beautiful landscape of our region. We're told, by the supporters of these wind farms, that they're a boon to our society. That they're reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing cheap, reliable energy.

Except, this week I spoke with a man from the University of California, Berkeley who says that's a lot of bunk.

Steven Hayward, a Senior Resident Scholar at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, has produced a report for Minnesota's Center of the American Experiment which finds that power sources like wind and solar aren't really accomplishing what their supporters say they are.

This despite what Hayward described on my radio show as "completely perverse" subsidies so massive they sometimes allow renewable energy companies to pay utilities to take their energy and still turn a profit.

Pause for a moment to consider that fact. The taxpayers dole out so much money to the wind power industry, their subsidies are so gigantic, that it's sometimes profitable for them to literally pay utilities to take their product.

Imagine the taxpayers giving Coca-Cola money so they can, in turn, pay restaurants to sell their drinks.

Hayward told me that the wind energy companies get a tax credit in the amount of $2,3 per kilowatt hour of energy they produce. That's roughly double what the average energy customer in our region pays for their power.

That's not just a colossal abuse of taxpayer dollars, but it poses a real threat to the reliability of power grids.

Consider the position baseload power operators like coal and nuclear plants find themselves in. They must compete with massively subsidized renewable energy companies who, again, can sometimes pay utilities to take their power. But because wind and solar power are only intermittent sources of power, the baseload operators must still maintain the capacity to provide all the electricity the grid needs in case the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining.

Anyone else seeing a problem?

The fiscal realities of our energy marketplace, distorted as it is by the aforementioned subsidies, is causing coal and nuclear plants to close down. But that, in turn, is making us more dependent on intermittent wind and solar power which may not always be there when we need it.

Wind, specifically, produces the least energy "in the summer months when energy demand is higher," Hayward told me.

At least renewables are driving down emissions though, right?

Well, not really. Hayward told me that Minnesota, which has had a renewable energy mandate for years, has seen emissions reductions that amount to "half as much as the rest of the nation."

In fact, Hayward says the "largest share [of emissions reductions] has come not from renewable energy but from natural gas."

Ironically, what's unlocked vast new reserves of natural gas is hydraulic fracturing, that bête noire of the increasingly radicalized environmental movement.

Hayward said that if we want to reduce emissions even more we should "deemphasize wind."

Maybe we could start by halting those subsidies.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


9 November, 2017

Mysterious geothermal 'mantle plume' under Antarctica is heating its ice sheet, NASA study confirms

It's nice to be able to say "I told you so" and I said years ago that the occasional bits of melting in polar ice were most likely the result of subsurface vulcanism.  Due to the oblate shape of our globe, the earth's surface is closest to the molten core at the poles

Scientists have uncovered new evidence for an ancient heat source beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

The underground mantle plume is thought to be driving some of the melting seen beneath the ice, giving rise to lakes and rivers.

It’s thought to have formed 50-110 million years ago, long before the ice sheet itself, and has likely played a role in rapid collapses that took place during past periods of climate change – and, it could help explain the instability seen today.

According to NASA, mantle plumes are narrow streams of hot rock, which spread like a ‘mushroom cap’ beneath Earth’s surface.

As the material is buoyant, it pushes the crust upward.

 The study found that the energy flux from the mantle plume must not exceed 150 milliwatts per square meter – compared, for example, to a heat flux of 490 to 60 milliwatts in regions with no volcanic activity, and an average 200 milliwatts per square meter beneath Yellowstone.

When the researchers simulated a greater heat flow, they found it resulted in too much melting.

The suspected geothermal heat source is situated deep beneath Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land.

While it’s not a new phenomenon, it could help scientists better estimate the rate of future ice loss in the area, as the meltwater helps to lubricate the glaciers.

A scientist at the University of Colorado Denver first suggested the presence of a mantle plume beneath Marie Byrd 30 years ago.

This could explain volcanic activity and the dome feature.

‘I thought it was crazy,’ said Hélène Seroussi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, of when she first heard the idea.

‘I didn’t see how we could have that amount of heat and still have ice on top of it.’

In a new study, however, researchers used numerical modelling with the Ice Sheet System Model to study the plume, revealing natural sources of heating and heat transport from a number of processes.

They scientists also used observations of changes in the altitude of the ice sheet surface, captured by NASA’s IceSat satellite and airborne Operation IceBridge campaign.

‘These place a powerful constraint on allowable melt rates – the very thing we wanted to predict,’ said Erik Ivins of JPL.

The study found that the energy flux from the mantle plume must not exceed 150 milliwatts per square meter – compared, for example, to a heat flux of 490 to 60 milliwatts in regions with no volcanic activity, and an average 200 milliwatts per square meter beneath Yellowstone.


If you MUST "decarbonize", you need nukes and dams

Which Greenies hate.  Sadly for them, windmills and solar have hardly any effect

By Michael Shellenberger

This report was born from an ongoing effort by the staff and research fellows of Environmental Progress and other researchers to understand the fastest way to decarbonize national economies (i.e., reduce emissions per unit of gross domestic product) in order to mitigate anthropogenic climate change. We publish it to fill a gap in the scientific literature and the regularly issued reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are overwhelmingly focused on modeling future scenarios with little regard for real-world historical trends.

My own involvement in analyzing decarbonization began a half-decade ago when I was president of Breakthrough Institute. In 2012, we published an analysis that decomposed the two drivers of carbon intensity of the economy: changes to the energy intensity of the economy and changes to carbon intensity of energy. The study found that five nations decarbonized their economies at rates double the global historic average. Sweden and France did so mostly by decarbonizing energy supply, while the United Kingdom and Ireland did so mostly by reducing the energy intensity of their economies. Belgium did so through a roughly equal contribution of the two.

The Breakthrough study concluded that state-led efforts to deploy nuclear energy caused the decarbonization of energy in France and Sweden while the shift to service economies caused the decline in energy intensity in the UK and Ireland. Contrary to widespread opinion at the time, the decline in energy intensity was driven not through increased energy efficiency but sectoral shifts largely independent of state policies. Moreover, those nations that had decarbonized rapidly by reducing energy intensity were outliers. “[E]xcepting Ireland,” the Breakthrough analysis concluded, “in no cases are sustained energy intensity improvement rates observed much in excess of 2 percent per year, with most nations experiencing rates ranging from 1 to 1.5 percent per year.”

As such, the Breakthrough analysis reached a conclusion that was, at least at the time, surprising: state-led efforts to deploy nuclear power plants are the only proven way for governments to deliberately and rapidly decarbonize economies. If there were other ways for governments to achieve the same outcome, they hadn’t been proven. The analysis reads:

While sectoral economic transitions are largely outside the domain and impact of energy policy, and deindustrialization is hardly a global strategy for rapid decarbonization, it appears that history presents at least one replicable strategy to accelerate the pace of decarbonization: the directed decarbonization of global energy supplies via the state-led development and deployment of scalable zero-carbon energy technologies.

The analysis was surprising to me for a different reason. The data appeared to contradict what Breakthrough and I had been arguing for several years. Until then, we had been calling for state-led efforts to accelerate technological innovation to make clean energy — principally renewables like solar and wind, but also nuclear — cheap. But the analysis concluded that what mattered most was “standardization, economies of scale, rapid construction and quick installation” of nuclear plants.

Renewable energy advocates responded that the Breakthrough findings had to be wrong because it takes so much longer to build a nuclear power plant—with much of the protracted timeframes owing to construction delays—than, say, a solar or wind farm. This response was specious, since it compared solar and wind farms that generated far less electricity than nuclear plants—a point that would be made one year later in a then-novel analysis by Geoff Russell, a mathematician in South Australia, for Breakthrough.

Russell’s analysis compared the total amount of clean, electrical energy added by different nations during 11-year periods of peak deployment. (Russell calculated per-capita added energy to control for population.) He found that Sweden, France, and Belgium produced seven, two, and five times more electrical energy, respectively, with nuclear during their 11-year peak deployment periods than did Germany during its own 11-year peak deployment period with solar. As such, Russell noted, it could be said that nuclear was “faster” in decarbonizing than solar or wind.

Part of the power of these studies was the fact that no complex modeling was required to reach their conclusions and thus could be easily replicated by lay analysts without need for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Even so, a team of six respected scientists, including Environmental Progress (EP) Senior Science Advisor, James Hansen, published a bar chart of “Average annual increase of carbon-free electricity per-capita during decade of peak scale-up” in Science in August last year. (See Figure II.) That chart used more recent data than Russell and, generously, combined solar and wind into a single bar. But even then the chart showed the peak deployment of nuclear was up to 12 times faster than the peak deployment of solar and wind.

Then, in the summer of 2017, EP Senior Analyst Mark Nelson and EP Research Fellow Arun Ramamurthy took these analyses of energy decarbonization a step further. Where I had simply sought to update existing analyses, Mark and Arun were after something far more ambitious. Why only compare decades of peak deployment between a small set of countries, they reasoned, when there was publicly available data covering 68 nations over 52 years (1965 - 2016)? And why only look at solar, wind, and nuclear? Why not include hydroelectricity, which is the largest source of clean electricity globally?

I was both surprised and unsurprised when they showed me an early version of the four-square chart (See Figure IV.) that aggregated the national cases depicting the relationship, or lack thereof, between the per-capita deployment of nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar and carbon intensity of energy. I was unsurprised in that it showed what I had come to expect: the deployment of nuclear was strongly correlated with declining carbon intensity of energy. I also wasn’t particularly surprised by the correlation between the deployment of hydroelectricity and energy decarbonization, given how much power large dams generate.

On the other hand, I was surprised to see no correlation between solar or wind and the carbon intensity of energy at an aggregated level. After all, both clean energy sources are associated with the decarbonization of electricity, and the deployment of wind appears to have caused the decarbonization of energy in Denmark. Additionally, the decadal “peak deployment” bar graphs had suggested some correlation between solar and wind deployment and decarbonization, albeit a far more modest correlation than that between nuclear and hydro deployment and decarbonization. (I was further surprised nobody had conducted a similar analysis before — something we address directly in this report.)

While the deployment of nuclear (and hydro) at national scales for some countries can be safely said to have caused reductions in carbon intensity, we err on the side of caution and refrain from claiming a causal connection at aggregated national levels. In the context of a single nation like France, the deployment of nuclear energy very clearly drives energy decarbonization.

The causal relationship between nuclear and changes to carbon intensity are further demonstrated when nuclear plants are closed, as they were in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima accident. When their nuclear plants were closed, the Japanese energy supply recarbonized immediately, and there is no doubt as to why. There are too many other factors that could confound such a strong claim of causality at aggregated national levels, however.

In service to transparency, we have reproduced all 68 national carbon intensity of energy charts used in this analysis in our appendix, in addition to publishing the aggregated national charts.

Ten years after my initial forays into this subject area I am more than ever of the view that a future-facing climate policy must be informed by backward-facing energy analysis. The attention given by energy analysts, policymakers, and the IPCC to scenarios ungrounded from history is wildly disproportionate to the attention given to the real world experience of deploying clean energy technologies and their impact, or lack thereof, on carbon intensity and emissions. Given what’s at stake, this constitutes a grave error. Those who insist on ignoring the past, to modify Santayana, should not be allowed to force the rest of us to repeat it.


'Bombshell' Climate Report, Part 5,743,865

Leftist holdovers are working overtime to demonize the Trump administration's work

Jordan Candler    

On Friday, the fourth edition of the Climate Science Special Report was officially unveiled. In summary, “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” according to the report. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

Recall back in August when The New York Times claimed to have procured a draft copy that it asserted “has not yet been made public.” This was false — the draft had long been up for public review, which the Times later clarified — but it helped support the premise supplied by the Times’ headline: “Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report.”

As we reported at the time, this now-demonstrably fake news bolstered the narrative two-fold: It furthered the Times’ agenda of portraying Donald Trump as a Neanderthal who “could change or suppress the report” without the public’s knowledge, and it also helped portray ecofascists as brave whistleblowers who had no choice but to “leak” a report to save humanity. In reality, the report formally went out without a hitch. But hey — narrative!

According to CBS, “The Trump administration did not seek to block its release, but the conclusion directly contradicts statements made by senior members of his cabinet.” That’s the difference between the Obama and Trump administrations — the former pulled out all the stops to suppress every little thing with which it disagreed, while the latter respects debate and the Rule of Law.

There are many ways to question and counter causation without pulling out an executive order, a practice that became Barack Obama’s modus operandi. As Trump spokesman Raj Shah put it, “The Administration supports rigorous scientific analysis and debate and encourages public comment on the draft documents being released today.”

Interestingly, not everyone on the Left agrees wholeheartedly with the report — and not because it lacks sensationalism. Even an Obama-era official is calling into question some of the report’s findings. Physicist Steven E. Koonin, former undersecretary of energy under Obama, addresses two specific issues in The Wall Street Journal, where he writes:

One notable example of alarm-raising is the description of sea-level rise, one of the greatest climate concerns. The report ominously notes that while global sea level rose an average 0.05 inch a year during most of the 20th century, it has risen at about twice that rate since 1993.

But it fails to mention that the rate fluctuated by comparable amounts several times during the 20th century. The same research papers the report cites show that recent rates are statistically indistinguishable from peak rates earlier in the 20th century, when human influences on the climate were much smaller. The report thus misleads by omission.

This isn’t the only example of highlighting a recent trend but failing to place it in complete historical context. The report’s executive summary declares that U.S. heat waves have become more common since the mid-1960s, although acknowledging the 1930s Dust Bowl as the peak period for extreme heat. Yet buried deep in the report is a figure showing that heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900.

This artifice also appeared in the government’s 2014 National Climate Assessment, which emphasized a post-1980 increase in hurricane power without discussing the longer-term record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently stated that it has been unable to detect any human impact on hurricanes.

Koonin rightly calls this dichotomy “the difference between science and advocacy.” It’s not like anything in this report is “news.” If anything, it’s a regurgitation of what we’ve been hearing for decades, only with fresh data and enhanced alarm. The report also should not be interpreted as a Trump administration flip-flop, as many of these agencies are controlled by career activists.

More importantly, Trump officials — particularly EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — are enacting policies that jettison the agenda being propagated by climate activists. It’s for that reason climate reports will be sensationalized further in the years ahead, as holdovers work to demonize the Trump administration’s work.


Green Energy Crash: Wind Turbine Maker Siemens Gamesa To Cut 6,000 Jobs

Siemens Gamesa is to cut 6,000 of its 27,000-strong workforce as part of a restructuring plan “to consolidate its position as a market leader”, the company said on Monday. Since Siemens took full control earlier this year, the wind company’s shares have fallen 46 per cent.

The world’s second-largest maker of wind turbines announced the job cuts as it released disappointing earnings and a 2018 outlook that was below forecasts.

“The guidance for next year is 14 per cent lower than the street had expected,” said Gurpreet Gujral, analyst at Macquarie, referring to operating profits.

Gamesa, the Spanish wind and renewable energy group acquired by Siemens this year, projected 2018 revenues of between €9bn and €9.6bn — about €1bn lower than the median consensus — while operating margins were targeted at between 7 per cent and 8 per cent, a modest projection relative to forecasts of 7.9 per cent.

Mr Gujral said the projections implied an underlying operating profit next year of €698m, well below forecasts of €814m.

The second half of the year, including the six months since April when Siemens completed its takeover, was hampered by a downturn in India and an inventory impairment in the US and South Africa. Sales in the six months declined 12 per cent, while underlying operating profit fell 63 per cent to €192m.

Management problems at Gamesa emerged in April when Ignacio Martín, chief executive, abruptly indicated he would not be staying on once the deal was complete. Siemens’ embarrassment over its inability to retain senior management was exacerbated by two profit warnings this year.


Greenie scientists want West Australia iron ore mine banned

Some big rocks need saving?

Fifty scientists and academics have signed a letter urging the West Australian government to block an iron ore mine expansion that would affect the Helena Aurora Range.

The range and its distinct red rocks that were formed billions of years ago is a refuge for threatened flora and fauna, including two declared rare native flowering plants found nowhere else on earth, according to the letter.

The fact the Environmental Protection Authority had rejected miner Mineral Resources' proposal in June should send a clear message that the range's "natural and cultural values ... should be preserved in perpetuity and for all to enjoy", the letter said.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson received a report last Friday by WA's Appeals Convenor, who considers appeals to EPA decisions.

But it would be a whole of government decision, a spokeswoman said.

The 50 scientists and academics called on Premier Mark McGowan and Mr Dawson to adopt EPA duty chair Robert Harvey's recommendation to protect it and the letter calls for the area to be made a "class A" national park.

The Helena and Aurora Range Science Declaration was released on Monday by Emeritus Professor John Bailey, a past member of the EPA and chair of the Conservation Commission of WA.

He said the Helena Aurora Range was the most significant intact banded ironstone formation range left in the Yilgarn region, 500km northeast of Perth.

"These ranges are remnants of a landscape dating back over 2.6 billion years, meaning that they are among the most ancient landforms on Earth," the letter says.

Former premier Carmen Lawrence says the area is an incredible landscape.  "I think as a community we're only just starting to really appreciate how unique and rare places like this are," she said.

Yilgarn Iron Ore Producers Association chief David Utting rejected claims the range was unique.

"It is not a unique area. There are also not endangered species of animals and plants there that stand to be wiped out," he told ABC radio.

The previous WA Liberal National government intervened in support of Mineral Resources and ordered a review after the EPA rejected the project in 2014.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


8 November, 2017

Even without an El Nino kick, 2017 heads for top-three ranking for global heat

An amusing bit of Warmism below.  Now that 2017 is trending much cooler than 2016, they suddenly admit that the 2016 temperature was pushed up by El Nino.  They previously avoided mentioning the El Nino effect and pretended the warming was part of anthropogenic global warming.

The authors below say that there was no influence of ElNino in 2017 so therefore the warmth must be  traceable to the higher CO2 levels in 2017.  What they omit to mention is that the ocean is a very slowly-changing heat sink and that ElNino was affecting  temperatures for nearly two years.  So one must expect that heat absorbed in that time will take a similar period to dissipate.  And we are only half way through that period.  So a drop back to pre 2015 temperatures is the trend and a continuation of that trend should bring us right back to "stasis" temperatures and a resumption of the infamous "pause".

Most amusingly, note that although global temperatures are dropping, CO2 levels are higher in 2017 than they have ever been.  Once again the exact opposite of what Warmist theory predicts.  Much fun!

You can't beat going back to the numbers.  The CO2 figures are here (see column 4) and the temperatures are here.  The numbers show you what the carefully selected guff below never would

The world is headed for its third warmest year on record, even without the boost from an El Nino, as the signs of climate change continue to mount, the World Meteorological Organisation said.

In a report released to coincide with the opening of the Bonn climate conference in Germany on Monday, the WMO said the five-year average was now running at about 1 degree warmer than the average for 1880-1900 period. The same conference two years ago in Paris agreed to keep warming to below 2 degrees.
Headwinds for climate change conference

A UN-led climate conference in Bonn begins this week with President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in a potentially awkward sticking point.

Based on the first nine months of the year, 2017 is unlikely to match 2016 - the hottest year on record - or the previous year. Still, it is likely to dislodge 2014 as the third warmest.

Such a ranking for 2017 will be notable not least because El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions have been neutral this year, removing the warming boost the past two years had from an El Nino.

"It's clearly the warmest year [on record] that doesn't have a warming influence," said Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology and scientific coordinator of the WMO report.

According to the first 10 months of the year, Australia will have its third-warmest year on record, the bureau said in a separate report.

Mean temperatures are running 0.96 degrees above the 1961-90 average used by the bureau. Maximum temperatures were even more unusual, running at 1.34 degrees above average.

The WMO's report comes a week after the United Nations agency said greenhouse gases are now at levels not seen for perhaps five million years. Carbon dioxide levels rose the most on record last year, increasing 3.3 parts per million to 403.3 ppm.


Ireland: Citizens’ assembly in favour of a new pollution tax for farmers

Can't they leave the poor bloody farmers alone?? Farming is a big enough challenge as it is

Farmers would be forced to pay a new “polluter pays” tax on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a crackdown on climate change recommended by the citizens’ assembly.

The overwhelming majority of the advisory forum also called on the government to set up an independent body that could legally pursue the state if it failed to live up to its own climate change obligations. The assembly also said Ireland must scrap subsidies for peat extraction on a five-year phased basis and prioritise investing in public transport and cycling over private cars.

The group of 99 members of the public was tasked with examining how Ireland could become a “world leader” in tackling climate change and issuing a report to the government on its findings. Between 80 per cent and 100 per cent of the citizens supported 13 sweeping reforms covering energy, food, forestry, transport and agriculture.

The chairman of the Climate Change Advisory Council said yesterday that Ireland would miss its 2020 emissions targets by more than the government expected. John Fitzgerald told the assembly that the problem was getting bigger because of better economic growth leading to higher emissions.

Professor Fitzgerald claimed the government was distracted from the issue of climate change by issues ranging from Brexit to the tracker mortgage scandal. He said the country had a carbon tax equivalent to €20 per tonne of carbon emitted on products such as turf and coal, but that tax would need to be raised possibly up to €70 per tonne to be consistent with its 2020 targets.

Ninety eight per cent of the citizens’ assembly voted in favour of a new or existing independent body being granted powers and resources to hold the state to account on environmental failings. The body would be able to legally pursue the state, set national targets and report on environmental laws.

A “polluter pays” carbon tax would be imposed on greenhouse gas emissions from farmers under the recommendations. Any revenue generated would have to be ringfenced for climate-friendly agriculture policies. The new tax would be coupled with “rewards” for farmers who stored carbon long term to defer global warming.

The assembly recommended phasing out government subsidies for peat extraction over five years, “making provision” to protect the rights of affected workers. Plants that burn peat to generate electricity benefit from subsidies of €115 million a year. The plants, based in the midlands, have been criticised for generating greenhouse gas emissions.

On transport, it called for a national network of charging points for electric cars along with help-to-buy schemes and lower taxes, and lower or free motorway tolls to incentivise the public to buy them. It said these measures would have to be combined with higher taxes on petrol and diesel cars year on year. Eighty per cent of the citizens said they would be happy to pay higher carbon taxes. A total of 96 per cent said that bus lanes, cycle lanes and park and ride facilities had to be given “much greater priority” than private car use.

The Irish Farmers’ Association rejected proposals for extra agricultural taxes. “IFA and farmers are conscious of the need to play our part in addressing climate change but a second carbon tax would be the wrong approach,” Joe Healy, the IFA president, said.

Friends of the Earth welcomed the “polluter pays” model for farmers.


The UN Admits That The Paris Climate Deal Was A Fraud

Global Hot Air: Here's a United Nations climate report that environmentalists probably don't want anybody to read. It says that even if every country abides by the grand promises they made last year in Paris to reduce greenhouse gases, the planet would still be "doomed."

When President Obama hitched America to the Paris accords in 2016, he declared that it was "the moment that we finally decided to save our planet." And when Trump pulled out of the deal this year, he was berated by legions of environmentalists for killing it.

But it turns out that the Paris accord was little more than a sham that will do nothing to "save the planet."

According to the latest annual UN report on the "emissions gap," the Paris agreement will provide only a third of the cuts in greenhouse gas that environmentalists claim is needed to prevent catastrophic warming. If every country involved in those accords abides by their pledges between now and 2030 — which is a dubious proposition — temperatures will still rise by 3 degrees C by 2100. The goal of the Paris agreement was to keep the global temperature increase to under 2 degrees.

Eric Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment Program, which produces the annual report, said this week that "One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future. Governments, the private sector and civil society must bridge this catastrophic climate gap."

The report says unless global greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2020, the CO2 levels will be way above the goal set for 2030, which, it goes on, will make it "extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2 degrees C can still be reached."

Not to worry. The UN claims that closing this gap will be easy enough, if nations set their collective minds to it.

But this is a fantasy. The list of what would need to be done by 2020 — a little over two years from now — includes: Boosting renewable energy's share to 30%. Pushing electric cars to 15% of new car sales, up from less than 1% today. Doubling mass transit use. Cutting air travel CO2 emissions by 20%. And coming up with $1 trillion for "climate action."

Oh, and coal-fired power plants would have to be phased out worldwide, starting now.

According to the report, "phasing out coal consumption … is an indispensable condition for achieving international climate change targets." That means putting a halt to any new coal plants while starting to phase out the ones currently in use.

Good luck with that. There are currently 273 gigawatts of coal capacity under construction around the world, and another 570 gigawatts in the pipeline, the UN says. That would represent a 42% increase in global energy production from coal. Does anyone really think developing countries who need coal as a cheap source of fuel to grow their economies will suddenly call it quits?

So, does this mean the planet is doomed? Hardly. As we have noted in this space many times, all those forecasts of global catastrophe are based on computer models that have been unreliable predictors of warming. And all of the horror stories assume the worst.

What the report does make clear, however, is that all the posturing by government leaders in Paris was just that. Posturing. None of these countries intended to take the drastic and economically catastrophic steps environmentalist claim are needed to prevent a climate change doomsday.  As such, Trump was right to stop pretending.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, the Paris climate accord amounted to nothing, or pretty close to it. Even the UN admits that now.


Renewable energy – by royal decree!

Or at least by paper certificate, as St. Louis city council raises electricity costs for poor families

Paul Driessen

In 2016, Missouri generated 96.5% of its electricity with fossil fuel and nuclear power, 1.6% with hydroelectric, and just 1.5% with wind and solar. The St. Louis Metro Area did roughly the same.

But now, by royal decree, the St. Louis City Crown has made it clear, the climate must be perfect all year – and by 2035 the city will somehow, magically be powered by 100% “clean, sustainable” electricity.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution calling for this to happen – via tougher energy efficiency measures and a transition to wind and solar power. The decision was supported by “environmental, advocacy and religious” organizations, which cited “sustainability and climate consciousness” as major concerns, an effusive article noted. The decision was simply “smart business,” they claim, because renewable energy is becoming “cheaper and cheaper,” and businesses want to move to cities that rely on renewable energy.

City officials have promised to launch an immediate “transparent and inclusive stakeholder process,” to develop a “plan of action” by December 2018. Who will actually be included in this “inclusive” process, and who will not be invited to participate, they did not say. However, recent marches, rants, dis-invitations, property destruction and physical assaults around cities and campuses offer helpful clues.

The following observations may help initiate the St. Louis review process – and similar discussions about renewable energy in other communities.

The local utility company (Ameren) already has a Pure Power program that lets St. Louis residents and businesses voluntarily purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). When a customer signs up for 100% renewable energy, Ameren charges an extra penny for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. That increases utility bills by 10-20% and on average adds about $150 to annual residential bills; $850 to commercial bills; and $20,000 to industrial electricity charges.

However, it does not mean customers are actually getting wind or solar energy. Each REC simply represents “environmental attributes associated with past renewable energy generation” and proof that “renewable energy was generated by an eligible renewable energy source.”

In other words, an REC merely means electricity was generated somewhere, sometime in the past, and sent somewhere, along a transmission line, whether or not it was really needed at the time. It simply pays wind developers for every kilowatt generated – transferring wealth from customers to developers.

All this raises intriguing questions. If wind and solar are getting cheaper, and more affordable than fossil fuels, why does Ameren charge a 1-cent-per-kWh premium for them? Why do they to be mandated? How many times might certain wind operators sell the same certificates? How many counterfeits will con artists sell? How many “certificate cops” will be needed to police the lucrative trade?

Once St. Louis makes renewables mandatory, the involuntary wealth transfers will become huge. Worse, the system will be enormously regressive – falling hardest on poor and working class families, small businesses operating on slim profit margins, and major energy users like hospitals and factories.

Missouri currently has relatively low electricity prices; St. Louis rates are even lower. Imposing renewable energy mandates will send city electricity rates into realms now “enjoyed” in California and Connecticut: 19 cents per kWh for families, 17 cents for businesses and 13 cents for industries. They could even reach the punitive rates now paid in Germany: 35 cents for families, 18 cents for all others!

How might that affect a vital energy-intensive customer like the 635,000-square-foot Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Advanced Medicine? At today’s rates, it pays around $1.4 million a year for electricity. A 13% Pure Power REC hike would increase that bill by $180,000. At CA-CT-German rates, that bill would skyrocket to $3.3 million annually – a massive, unsustainable $1.9 million increase.

How many employees would the hospital have to lay off, to make up for that spike? How many services would it have to eliminate or reduce in quality? How badly would patient care suffer?

How will poor and blue-collar families fare if their electricity rates nearly double? United Way recently found that 56% of St. Louis families are already unable to pay their basic living expenses: housing, food, clothing, transportation, taxes, healthcare and child care. How much worse will this situation become?

Then why are the city and its allies (especially religious groups) so intent on implementing these renewable energy mandates? Perhaps because that is easier than tackling real city problems. Missouri high school students as a whole have an 85% graduation rate; in St. Louis only 46% graduate. The city ranks #12 among “worst US cities to live in,” #4 for murders, and #2 for “most dangerous.”

Instead of trying to improve on this dismal record, the Aldermen & Allies want to be at the forefront on “disastrous manmade climate change” and “sustainability” (or at least “consciousness” about the issues).

Average global temperatures have dropped back to where they were before the 2015-16 El Niño. Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the US mainland in a record 12 years. Tornado, drought and storm frequency and intensity are on par with historic records. Where’s the disaster or human connection?

As to clean and sustainable, wind and solar are not. The enormous installations require vast amounts of land and raw materials, plus more for ultra-long transmission lines. (The wind installations Anheuser-Busch plans to use for its 100% renewable PR stunt are 350 miles away – in Oklahoma.) Still more land and materials are required for backup fossil fuel power plants or ginormous battery arrays – so that families, hospitals and businesses have electricity when they need it, instead of when it’s available.

For the wind option, just generating the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours of electricity the United States uses every year – and storing power in batteries for just seven windless days – would require some 14 million turbines! That’s because more turbines force us to go to lower and lower quality wind areas, which means instead of generating electricity 33% of the year at best wind sites, they’d only do so half of that time. Using Tesla-style 100-kWh battery packs would require something on the order of 600 billion units!

Have the Aldermen & Allies run those numbers – and costs – for the St. Louis share of all this? Will Gov. Greitens and the state legislature go along with all this – and help pay the costs?

More to the point, all of this would require unfathomable amounts of mining, processing, smelting, manufacturing and shipping: concrete, iron, copper, fiberglass, lithium, cadmium, rare earth metals and more. Since St. Louis and other environmentalist groups generally oppose mining (and foundries, refineries and factories) in the USA, most of those materials will come from someone else’s backyards:

Places like Baotou, Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – where men, women and even children dig them out and process them under horrific environmental, health and safety conditions. Their risk of dying due to cave-ins or exposure to toxic, carcinogenic materials is intense and constant.

Some claim renewable energy is nevertheless sustainable, and moral. It must be an interesting group of religious leaders who’ve come to the fore in St. Louis (and elsewhere) to reach that conclusion, support major wind and solar energy programs – and denounce fossil fuels and investment in oil and mining companies.

People in impoverished and developing countries have little interest in wind and solar power, except as a stopgap for distant villages. They want abundant, reliable, affordable electricity. That’s why they have built hundreds of coal-fired power plants and have 1,600 more under construction or in planning.

One has to wonder if those who promoted and voted on the St. Louis program (and others like it) ever considered these hard realities. Too often, they seem content just to feel righteous, at least among their peers and certain stakeholders – even if most big renewable energy programs are really just pixie dust.

Via email

Clean Power Plan: Real Costs, Fake Benefits

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan represents an amazing and long overdue breakthrough in the history of environmental regulation. Not only has no Republican administration ever before mustered the courage to rollback a major EPA regulation, but the Trump administration has done so by directly challenging the rule’s purported health benefits. That’s unheard of.

Although the Clean Power Plan was pitched as being about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, the benefits of averted climate change is not how the Obama EPA justified the rule on an economic basis. There certainly were no discernible climate change benefits to be claimed as House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) forced Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to acknowledge in testimony. (Video below).

Instead, the EPA justified the net benefit of the rule on the basis of collateral reductions (so-called “co-benefits” in regulatory parlance) in fine particulate matter (soot or “PM2.5”) emissions from power plants. So while the compliance costs of the Clean Power Plan could be as high as $33 billion per year, the Obama EPA was able to overcome this immense number and coal industry complaints by proferring an even larger off-setting one. The Obama EPA claimed that the rule’s benefits from reducing PM2.5 amounted to as much as $55 billion per year.

What are the supposed $55 billion in economic benefits? That sum is intended to represent the monetized value of thousands of premature deaths allegedly prevented every year by the Clean Power Plan via the co-benefit of reduced PM2.5 emissions. Given that EPA values premature deaths avoided at around $9 million per life “saved”, thousands of lives “saved” times millions of dollars per life “saved” equals tens of billions of dollars in purported annual benefits.

EPA staff invented this calculus in 1996 to justify its first effort to regulate PM2.5. As I wrote on this page at the time (link goes to WSJ, copy of 1997 op-ed below this one), there was no science to support the notion that PM2.5 in outdoor air killed anyone. But EPA regulated anyway, stiff-arming not only the objections and demands rom the Republican controlled Congress for the scientific data underlying its claims, but also stiff-arming the objections of then-Vice President Al Gore who thought the PM2.5 rule too costly.

As it had historically always been difficult for EPA to tighten air quality standards because of costs, the EPA used its imaginary notion that PM2.5-kills as a way to game the cost-benefit analysis. As the Clean Power Plan amply demonstrates, no industry cost-benefit analysis could possibly trump EPA’s thousands-times-millions-equals-billions ruse – that is until, well, Trump.

The Trump EPA has now largely jettisoned the notion that PM2.5 kills. And it has done so in a clever way that not only justifies the repeal of the Clean Power Plan but simultaneously hoists the Obama EPA on its own petard.

The Trump EPA has reduced the Obama EPA-claimed benefits of PM2.5 emissions reductions by as much as a whopping $29 billion per year, which then nets out very favorably against the rule’s anticipated costs of as much as $33 billion per year. Here’s the clever part.

The Clean Air Act requires that air quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 be set at a safe level which includes an ample margin of safety for supposedly especially vulnerable populations. The Obama EPA reduced the national outdoor air standard for PM2.5 in 2012 from a level of 15 millionths of a gram per cubic meter of air to 12 — thereby making 12 standard the de facto safe level.

Despite the existence of the 12 standard, the EPA has long claimed that there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 and that any inhalation of PM2.5 can cause death within hours of inhalation. But EPA could never lower the PM2.5 standard to zero because such a standard could not be attained even if the economy was entirely shut down.

Neverthless, EPA’s benefit analysis for the Clean Power Plan assumes that PM2.5 does kills people below the 12 standard. But the devilishly clever Trump EPA has simply accepted the Obama-issued PM2.5 standard of 12 at its legal meaning and, so, there are no lives saved by reducing PM2.5 levels below that level. Thus vanished $29 billion in fake Clean Power Plan benefits.

There is a large, robust body of scientific literature that supports the Trump EPA decision — everything from large epidemiologic studies to clinical research to historical air quality episode data to other real-life experiences with PM2.5 to just plain old common sense. Standing against the Trump decision is nothing but dubious, pre-Trump EPA-funded epidemiology, the key data for which pre-Trump EPAs have kept secret from more than 20 years thereby preventing independent analyses. The Obama EPA even defied Congressional subpoena to keep its PM2.5 epidemiologic data hidden from view.

New York Attorney General Keith Schneiderman and green activist groups have already announced they will sue over the repeal. Good luck. When the Supreme Court voted to stay the rule in February 2016, the Court implicitly decided the coal industry and state plaintiffs would prevail on the legal merits alone. That the Clean Power Plan has no economic or climate benefits will just underscore its final demise.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has hailed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan as the end of the Obama “war on coal.” It’s more like the beginning of the end. The end will be reached when scientific reality about PM2.5 is applied to all the Obama war-on-coal rules.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


7 November, 2017

Eco-Fascism: Prominent Environmentalist Proposes Climate Dictatorship

The gall of this argument is staggering. It is even more staggering that the Swedish newspaper bringing this large interview today does not clearly mark the viewpoint as extreme and unreasonable. Instead, they seriously have their political analyst muse about whether a climate dictatorship is really necessary, and ending with a conclusion of ‘yeah, possibly.’

The claim comes from Jørgen Randers, professor of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School. His main claim to fame is as co-author of the 1972 Limits to Growth book, which scared a generation to believe we would run out of all resources and kill humanity with suffocating air pollution. Time magazine headlined their 1972 story on the book: “The Worst Is Yet to Be?” and it began: “The furnaces of Pittsburgh are cold; the assembly lines of Detroit are still. In Los Angeles, a few gaunt survivors of a plague desperately till freeway center strips, backyards and outlying fields, hoping to raise a subsistence crop. London’s offices are dark, its docks deserted. In the farm lands of the Ukraine, abandoned tractors litter the fields: there is no fuel for them. The waters of the Rhine, Nile and Yellow rivers reek with pollutants. Fantastic? No, only grim inevitability if society continues its present dedication to growth and “progress.””

Of course, their scare scenarios were almost entirely wrong. You can read more in my Foreign Affairs article and my short summary in Project Syndicate below.

Now Professor Randers — correctly – tells us that democracy is unwilling and unable to pay the exorbitant amounts that he and many other environmentalists are asking us to pay. Surveys of willingness to pay for climate policies show most people in the US are willing to pay $180 per household or $70 per person. In China, the average willingness to pay is $30 per person per year. (They would all rather use it on education, health, poverty alleviation etc.)

Yet, the current Paris promises will cost each American $500 per year, each European $600 and each Chinese $170. Of course, most Americans and Europeans are unlikely to elect leaders that will actually incur a much larger cost than most people are willing to pay.

Moreover, these promises will not *solve* global warming – indeed, they will together achieve almost nothing: By the UN’s own estimate, the Paris Treaty will reduce emissions by less than 1% of what would be needed to keep temperature rises under 2°C and yet cost $1-2 trillion per year by 2030, mostly in reduced GDP growth. So Paris will deliver far less than what most people expect, yet will cost much more than most people are willing to pay.

Of course, most smart people would be against paying lots for achieving little or nothing. If anything, this suggests that democracy works just fine.

But Randers instead takes this unwillingness to spend fortunes on little benefits as an argument for ending democracy. ‘if people don’t want my preferred solution, then people are stupid, shouldn’t be allowed to decide their fate, and we should install a climate dictatorship instead.’ The argument literally seems to be: If I can’t have my way in a democracy, I want my way with a dictatorship.

That is hardly a good argument. It is also phenomenally expensive: Look at the costs to achieve the sort of climate policies that Randers and many others are advocating. If the EU fulfils its promise of cutting emissions by 80% in 2050 (which is the most ambitious climate policy in the world today), the average of the best peer-reviewed models show that the cost would run to at least $3 trillion per year, and more likely double that – meaning $6,000 for each EU citizen per year. Of course, few will vote for that.


Energy Experts Confirm GWPF Report: Carbon Capture And Storage Is Uneconomic

Following SaskPower saying it is unlikely to recommend government pursue more carbon capture and storage projects because of the high cost, critics are saying pursuing carbon capture and storage was uneconomical from the start.

“It’s not economic, and it was clear at the time it wasn’t economic,” said former SaskWind president James Glennie.

“It cost $140 per megawatt hour,” to produce electricity with carbon capture and storage technology at a coal-fired plant, he said.

“Clearly, then, it wasn’t economic even at the time if that’s what it cost, because that’s substantially more than wind cost back when the investment decision was taken.”

In the fall of 2014, the $1.5-billion Boundary Dam power station near Estevan became the first power station in the world to install carbon capture and storage technology on a commercial scale. SaskPower argued using carbon capture and storage allowed the Crown corporation to reduce emissions while still using coal as a fuel source.

Glennie’s organization started a project in 2012 aiming to build a community-owned wind farm in Saskatchewan. He said that after years of being met with many obstacles, he decided to close down SaskWind and leave the province.

In March 2015, he produced a financial analysis of the Boundary Dam project. He conducted a breakdown of the costs versus revenues of the project over a 30-year time frame.

By his count, the carbon capture facility loses just over a $1 billion once the initial investment, the cost for operations and maintenance, and the parasitic load needed for carbon capture are subtracted.

Altogether, considering the profits and losses of both the power station and the carbon capture facility, his financial analysis shows a total $651-million net financial loss for SaskPower and Saskatchewan ratepayers.

Cheaper options

SaskPower’s president, Mike Marsh, said the economics of power generation have changed since it decided in 2010 to pursue carbon capture and storage.

Marsh said that with falling gas prices, electricity generated from gas now costs about $60 to $70 per megawatt hour.

But according to the levelized cost of energy analysis by the financial advisory firm Lazard, energy from natural gas combined cycle plants cost between $67 and $96 per megawatt hour back in 2010. With carbon capture and storage costing $140 per megawatt hour, natural gas was still the cheaper option in 2010.


London’s Latest Diesel Traffic Pollution Scare Exposed

Expert who co-authored a detailed report for Britain’s Department of Health (1999) into London’s traffic pollution pours cold water on Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s latest push to ban diesel cars

British Civil Engineer, Ed Hoskins helped perform a detailed study with the Department of Civil Engineering Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine [1] and found that emissions from diesel-powered vehicles in the UK capital (and most major UK cities) is a “comparatively marginal problem.”

Speaking through Principia Scientific International(PSI) Hoskins said the fuss over diesel emissions is centered around nitrogen oxides (Nox). In atmospheric chemistry, NOx is a generic term for the nitrogen oxides most linked to air pollution, namely nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The fact is, London is now one of the world’s least air-polluted megacities.

Hoskins explains:

“In 1999 I participated in this study with two colleagues, including the then Professor of Transport Stephen Glaister at Imperial College undertaken for the NHS in London. Our report found that the biggest culprit, Nitrogen Oxides generated by human road traffic are  far outweighed by naturally generated oxides of nitrogen (arising from bacterial action, volcanic eruptions and lightning).”

Optimism as Traffic Pollution Outweighed by Natural Emissions

To an expert like Hoskins the latest Green scare story saying diesel vehicles are causing many thousands of deaths from traffic pollution is utter bunkum. The detailed government report he co-authored notes that NOx should be regarded as a normal very minor constituent of the atmosphere. Hoskins told PSI:

“The fact that some vulnerable people may die a matter of a few days earlier and that earlier death might be on occasions attributable to NOx is entirely lost on the scaremongers.”

Dismayed that Mayor Khan is either scientifically ill-informed or, more likely pursuing a tax raising strategy by deceit, Hoskins insists that since the publication of his 1999 report  “new diesel technologies have substantially reduced the problem.” He adds, “NOx chemically breaks down within a day or so and thus rapidly disappears as a pollutant.”

Rather than seeking to whip up yet another bogus environmental scare story Hoskins urges political figures like London’s Mayor Khan to take a balanced view of the proven scientific evidence.

Nonetheless it seems that the Mayor of London, along with the UK Government, wants to progressively ban diesels in UK’s capital city and elsewhere, or at least to try to tax them out of existence.  Hoskin laments:

“When they are on an environmental roll nobody thinks about or counts the benefits that diesel engines and internal combustion engine brings to the everyone.”

Hoskin has posted online key sections of that Department of Health (100) study. Adding further comment, he says:

“These results are actually optimistic showing substantial reduction of pollution from traffic. And amongst other things it exposed the level of over emphasis of pollution levels as pronounced by Green oriented organisations.”

Even in 1999 the dangers of overemphasis of the pollution problem, as opposed to the benefits to the populace of road transport, were noted on page 8 of the report as follows:

“Air quality standards have been set with inadequate attention to the benefits of meeting them and there is a risk that the ill-considered costs imposed by the authorities seeking to secure compliance will greatly exceed any benefits. The social costs of compliance with regulations that impede movement should not be underestimated.”

The fact is, many policies associated with Green thinking rarely account for their unintended consequences and their attendant costs. But Hoskin soon became aware of the severe blow-back his report’s rather benign conclusions would trigger among zealous environmental activists. He recalls:

“When published, this rather optimistic report elicited a great deal of Green anger and even death threats.  Those extreme and aggressive attitudes generated my own interest in examining the great Catastrophic Man-made Global Warming scam.”


WAKE UP Libs! It’s Impossible For Renewable Energy To Meet Our Needs

“Green energy is the way of the future” say environmental advocates. They argue that the transition away from fossil fuels is inevitable and inexorable, desirable. Some brazenly claim that the entire world could be powered by renewables as soon as 2030—assuming the governments’ subsidies don’t dry up. But is their exuberance justified? No.

Although renewable energy capacity has grown by leaps and bounds over the last three decades (wind power capacity grew on average 24.3 percent per year since 1990, and solar by 46.2 percent), renewable energy still generates an insignificant proportion of mankind’s power, and their rapid growth is not sustainable.

The truth is that after decades of beefy government subsidies wind power still meets just 0.46 percent of earth’s total energy demands, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).  The data includes not only electrical energy but also the energy consumed via liquid fuels for transportation, heating, cooking, etc.  Solar farms generate even less energy. 

Even when combined, the figures are minuscule: wind and solar energy together generate less than 1 percent of earth’s energy output.

Bottom line: wind and solar energy are not making a difference in the left’s crusade against fossil fuels. It would be far more cost-effective and reasonable to simply invest in more energy-efficient technology.  But of course, doing so would not line the pockets of welfare billionaires like Elon Musk, founder of the Tesla Group.

Furthermore, the rapid growth of renewable energy is unsustainable—the future will not likely be wind nor solar-powered.

Looking first at wind energy: between 2013 and 2014, again using IEA data, global energy demand grew by 2,000 terawatt-hours.  In order to meet this demand the earth would need to build 350,000 new 2-megawatt wind turbines every year—enough to entirely blanket the British Isles.  For context, that is 50 percent more turbines than have been built globally since the year 2000.

Given these facts, it is extremely unlikely that the future will be wind-powered: we simply cannot build turbines fast enough, and there is just not enough land (nor continental shelf) available to farm. And unfortunately, this is not a problem that can be overcome with better technology: turbines can become only so efficient due to something called the Betz limit (which determines how much energy can be extracted from a moving fluid, ie. the atmosphere). As it stands, modern wind turbines are already very close to their physical limit.

The state of solar energy is only slightly more promising.  Recent findings reported in Business Insider suggest that humanity would need to entirely cover an equatorial region the size of Spain with solar panels in order to generate enough electricity to meet global demand by 2030. 

Not only is this an enormous amount of land that could otherwise be used for agriculture—or left unmolested—but it also greatly underestimates the size of the ecological footprint, since only 20 percent of mankind’s energy consumption takes the form of electricity.  Were we to abandon fossil fuels for transportation, the area needed would be five times as large.

An additional problem is that earth lacks the mineral resources to build that many solar panels. For example, an article published in USA Today estimates that each standard 1.8 square meter solar panel requires 20 grams of silver to build—silver is essential to modern solar cells. Since there are 1 million square meters in a square kilometer, 11.1 tons of silver is needed per square kilometer of solar panels.  Spain is 506,000 square kilometers. Covering this much space with solar panels would require 5,616,600 tons of silver.  As it turns out, that is 7.2 times as much silver as is estimated to exist in Earth’s crust—never mind the fact that we would need five-times this amount to displace fossil fuels. 

Granted, new technology could mitigate the need for silver, but this same logic applies to dozens of other minerals present in solar panels—they are simply too resource-hungry to be built on a global scale.

One must also remember that such massive investments in solar panels would inevitably contribute to resource scarcity: modern electronics require many of the same minerals as do solar panels.  Increased competition for a finite supply of minerals would raise the prices of our electronic goods, as well as the price of electricity. 

Of course, this analysis wholly ignores the many other problems with solar and wind energy, such as the problem of intermittency and the hidden systemic risks it entails.

This is not to say wind and solar energy have no uses.  In some cases, they may be preferable to other types of energy.  For example, remote townships and homesteads can benefit greatly from local electricity production—especially since renewable energy does not require fuel.

Likewise, they could be useful for providing backup capacity in the case of fuel shortages.  However, wind and solar energy are unlikely to underpin the global energy supply, especially since more cost-effective options remain on the table.

Given these facts, we can reasonably conclude that the green energy industry is little more than a corporate welfare scheme marketed under the guise of noble intentions.


Climate change: 5 things to know about Bonn climate summit

Climate change is back on the agenda with a global climate conference kicking off Monday in the German city of Bonn.

Who's coming, what are the key debates about and how green will this meeting be? Five things to know about the U.N. conference known as COP23, which runs from Nov. 6-17.


Up to 25,000 people are expected to attend the talks, which will be presided over by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji - the first time that a small island nation will be at the helm of a major international climate conference. Participants will include diplomats from 195 nations, as well as scientists, lobbyists and environmentalists.

The United States, which has announced its intention to pull out of the landmark Paris climate accord, will be represented by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

Key countries to watch during the talks are the emerging economic powers China and India. Other nations - Estonia, Peru, Ecuador, Iran, Mali, Ethiopia and the Maldives - will also be in the spotlight for leading major international groupings.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders are expected to fly to Bonn toward the end of the summit to give the talks a final push and signal their commitment to fighting climate change.


The 2015 Paris accord set a target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) - or 2 degrees at the most - by the end of the century.

But diplomats didn't agree on the details of how their nations will reach that ambitious goal. The Bonn talks will flesh out the rule book that countries have to abide by.

This includes coming up with international standards for how to measure carbon emissions, to make sure that one nation's efforts can be compare to another's. A second debate centers around how countries take stock of what's been achieved and set new, more ambitious goals for curbing carbon emissions after 2020.

The third big issue concerns money. Experts agree that shifting economies away from fossil fuels and preparing countries for some of the inevitable consequences of climate change will require vast financial resources - including some from the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump, which is doubtful about man-made climate change.


Organizing a massive global conference in Fiji would have strained the Pacific nation's resources and posed a travel nightmare for thousands of delegates. Germany offered to host the talks in Bonn, the country's former capital, because it has ample conference space and is already home to the U.N. climate change agency.

Still, they are going to miss the sunshine of Fiji. The weather in Bonn is generally dreary at best in November.


Germany says the two-week talks will as environmentally friendly as possible. The country is setting aside part of the 117 million euro ($136.3 million) budget for a fleet of bicycles and electric buses to ferry people between venues.

Each participant will receive a bottle to fill with tap water - a move organizers say will save half a million plastic cups.

Germany's environment ministry is also investing in renewable energy projects to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by people from all over the world flying into Bonn for the talks.


Germany likes to portray itself as a leader in the fight against global warming and Merkel's reputation as the "climate chancellor" is partly built on the pivotal role she played during past negotiations.

But environmentalists note that Germany still gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants - one of the most carbon intensive sources of energy. And German highways are also virtually unique in having no general speed limit, despite the fact that auto emissions rise dramatically at higher speeds.

If prosperous Germany fails to meet its own emissions targets, as current predictions suggest, critics say that would send a bad signal to the rest of the world.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


6 November, 2017

Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause

Government findings often reverse themselves in time (e.g. on peanut allergy, dietary fat etc) so this report has no special authority.  It is just an uncritical  regugitation of the orthodoxy. It's mostly prophecy and when they do get down to facts they are on very shaky ground.  They speak for instance of rapid sea-level rises.  But recent very sophisticated examinations of sea levels conclude that there is no such trend.  And so it goes.  It's just more of the usual speculation

It is "extremely likely" that human activities are the "dominant cause" of global warming, according to the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.

The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are "the warmest in the history of modern civilization." The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming.

The findings contradict statements by President Trump and many of his Cabinet members, who have openly questioned the role humans play in changing the climate.

"I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in an interview earlier this year. "There's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact."

That is not consistent with the conclusions of the 600-plus-page Climate Science Special Report, which is part of an even larger scientific review known as the fourth National Climate Assessment. The NCA4, as it's known, is the nation's most authoritative assessment of climate science. The report's authors include experts from leading scientific agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Department of Energy, as well as academic scientists.

The report states that the global climate will continue to warm. How much, it says, "will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally." Without major reductions in emissions, it says, the increase in annual average global temperature could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit relative to pre-industrial times. Efforts to reduce emissions, it says, would slow the rate of warming.

"This is good, solid climate science," says Richard Alley, a geoscientist at Penn State University, who says he made minor contributions to the report's conclusions on sea level rise. "This has been reviewed so many times in so many ways, and it's taking what we know from ... a couple of centuries of climate science and applying it to the U.S."

The assessments are required by an act of Congress; the last one was published in 2014. Alley says this year's goes further in attributing changes in weather to the warming climate, especially weather extremes. "More heat waves and fewer cold snaps, this is very clear," he says. The report also notes that warmer temperatures have contributed to the rise in forest fires in the West and that the incidence of those fires is expected to keep rising.

Some of the clearest effects involve sea level rise. "Coastal flooding, you raise the mean level of the ocean, everything else equal you get more coastal flooding," Alley says. The report notes that sea level has risen 7 to 8 inches since 1900, and 3 inches of that occurred since 1993. The report says that rate is faster than during any century over the past 2,800 years.

The report also points out that heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the U.S., especially in the Northeast, and that is expected to keep increasing.

Other connections are harder to nail down, Alley says, such as whether a particular hurricane can be attributed to climate change.

"The Climate Science Special Report is like going to a doctor and being given a report on your vital signs," says environmental scientist Rachel Licker of the Union of Concerned Scientists. She notes that the authors assessed more than 1,500 scientific studies and reports in making their conclusions.

Alley adds that the new report "does a better job of seeing the human fingerprint in what's happening." He says that while he hasn't read all of it yet, he sees no evidence that it has been soft-pedaled or understates the certainty of the science.

Alley notes that "there's a little rumbling" among climate scientists who are concerned that the Trump administration will ignore this effort. "I think the authors really are interested in seeing [the report] used wisely by policymakers to help the economy as well as the environment."

The report has been submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Trump has yet to choose anyone to run that office; it remains one of the last unfilled senior positions in the White House staff.


Gigantic Totten glacier in Antarctica is 'melting from beneath' and could cause sea levels to rise 11 FEET

The predictions are all speculation and not very logical speculation at that.  The glacier can only be affected by upwelling if it is floating ice.  And if it is floating ice it would not cause the sea level to rise one iota by melting

With the potential to cause sea levels to rise by more than 11 feet and unleash the ice of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, the massive Totten Glacier has come to be known as the ‘sleeping giant.’

And now, scientists have discovered that strong winds over the Southern Ocean could be causing it to wake up.

A new study has found that East Antarctica’s largest glacier is melting from beneath, as winds transport warm water to the ice – and, these winds are expected to intensify with climate change, the experts warn.

In the study, led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, used satellite images and wind stress data to investigate the effect of wind on the water beneath the glacier.

While the glacier is known to speed up some years, it also slows down in others.

The research revealed that the glacier’s flow speeds up when winds over the Southern Ocean are strong.

These winds pull warm water up from the deep ocean, in a process known as upwelling.

The warm water climbs to the continental shelf – and, once it reaches the coast, it circulates beneath a floating chunk of the glacier, and causes the ice sheet to melt from below, according to the researchers.

‘Totten has been called the sleeping giant because it’s huge and has been seen as insensitive to changes in its environment,’ said lead author Chad Greene, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG).

‘But we’ve shown that if Totten is asleep, it’s certainly not in a coma – we’re seeing signs of responsiveness, and it might just take the wind blowing to wake it up.’

Wind strength varies from year to year, the researchers explain.

But, climate change is expected to intensify the winds over the Southern Ocean, which could, in turn, effect the melting of the Totten Glacier.

The process does not require the air or ocean temperatures to rise – instead, upwelling occurs as the wind displaces the surface water, making way for the deeper, warmer water.

‘It’s like when you blow across a hot bowl of soup and little bits of noodles from the bottom begin to swirl around and rise to the top,’ said Greene.

The new study follows up on previous research led by a team with the Australian Antarctic Division at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center.

That research found that the warm water below Totten causes the glacier to detach from the seafloor, and instead float.

This can cause the flow to further accelerate.

‘The remaining question was, why do the canyons beneath Totten get flushed with warm water some years and cold water other years,’ said Jason Roberts, a glaciologist who led the earlier study.

The findings suggest melting at Totten could become more extreme as winds grow stronger with climate change.

‘Ice sheet sensitivity to wind forcing has been hypothesized for a long time, but it takes decades of observation to show unequivocal cause and effect,’ said Donald Blankenship, a senior researcher at UTIG who contributed to this study and Roberts’ study.

‘Now we’re at the point where we can explicitly show the links between what happens in the atmosphere, what happens in the ocean, and what happens to the Antarctic Ice Sheet.’


The changing world energy economy

Ingenuity and efficiency are reducing links between economic growth and energy consumption

James E. Smith and Alex Hatch

In recent years, particularly in the United States, we have seen substantial a change in public opinion regarding the production and distribution of energy, as well as its associated costs in the marketplace.

A good deal of that opinion can be attributed to publicity behind the push for green energy, coupled with misunderstandings of how energy is provided and paid for. However, the actual market changes that are occurring are more related to general business considerations, not public opinion.

For example, according to a recent report from Bloomberg, the United States economy has begun to grow steadily despite falling oil consumption. Up until the last decade, this phenomenon was unthinkable. Indeed, oil consumption and gross domestic product (GDP) were perfectly synchronized in their trends for many years – and the same trend was observed for overall energy consumption in both the United States and the world. For decades, energy consumption and GDP were linked and synched globally with economic growth.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy demand grew by only 0.8 percent in 2015, whereas the total GDP of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations grew by 2.7 percent – over three times the rate of energy demand. The OECD includes 35 countries in North America, Australia and Europe that are among the world’s most developed.

This marginal energy increase also flies in the face of population growth, another factor that has historically tracked with energy consumption. In 2015, the world population grew by roughly 1.2 percent, again showing that we are somehow supplying energy for more people while simultaneously consuming less per capita.

The IEA calculates that total final consumption (TFC) of energy decreased by 3.3 Exajoules (1018 Joules) between 2013 and 2015. That amount is roughly equal to what Australia consumed during the same period. So how are we providing energy for growing numbers of people while using less per person? The answer is due in part to steadily increasing efficiencies, and is also buried in the value that energy brings to survival and societal growth.

In recent years, through more efficient appliances on the consumer side and industrial equipment on the commercial side, we have been able to produce goods in higher quantity and at higher quality, while consuming energy at low enough levels per unit to essentially negate the energy use of the entire continent of Australia.

We also build more energy efficient homes and businesses that require fewer raw materials and consume less energy in their operation. We are traveling more but in more energy-efficient vehicles, both privately and commercially. Moreover, given the choice, many consumers will opt for short- or long-term energy cost savings – while others will realize their savings through sharply lower fuel prices and select larger or more powerful vehicles that meet their other needs.

This indicates that future energy need and use conundrums may not be solved simply with alternative “green” energy technologies. Instead, they may more likely be resolved first via wider acceptance and advancement of newer, more efficient energy systems, and second through a wider array of pricing choices for consumers.

Energy acquisition and accessibility is an appreciable portion of the costs of living in any culture. Because cultures require growing levels of technological sophistication in order to advance, costs associated with energy must be kept within a range that allows the social order to mature to a point where personal survival becomes less of a full-time requirement.

America has created a culture that values energy efficiency and the economic savings that it generates.  We are also learning to value the accessibility and reliability of energy, while understanding that the value and cost of energy are not necessarily linked. The true value of dependable, accessible, low-cost energy can best be understood by looking at the billions of people living in developing countries.

A brief study of their child mortality, adult longevity, and the diseases, deprivations and environmental conditions they are forced to endure speaks volumes to why low cost, freely accessible, reliable and environment-friendly energy is so essential. “Free” energy will never be achievable, but reducing the burden of energy costs against total income is an essential goal for any nation or world that intends to mature and progress as a productive society.

Future efficiency improvements will be seen most in the developing world, especially in India and parts of Southeast Asia, which have begun to rapidly industrialize in recent years, primarily thus far by using coal to generate electricity to power homes, hospitals, businesses and communities. As these newly developing countries begin to adopt modern consumer electronics, it is likely that their average consumer will look not only at up-front costs of appliances, but also at their efficiency and long-term costs.

This will create markets that are eager to get electronics which couple modern efficiency with low lifecycle and operating costs. It is up to today’s designers and engineers to face and meet the growing demand for these higher efficiency technologies, in order provide more responsive economic paths toward widespread energy use at lower energy intensities.

The efficiency increases that will likely come about within the next few decades are certainly not the final answer to all the world’s energy problems. However, it is already apparent that we have momentarily satiated our growing hunger for energy through these recent advancements, with the expectation that more will come in the near future.

During the next few decades, even marginal efficiency improvements could greatly offset growing overall global energy use. Such improvements could largely eliminate the need to add any new overall energy production capacity. That would allow us to focus on the important development of new energy technologies that may not yet even be on the drawing boards, or even in our imaginations.

By using these efficiency increases as a stopgap measure, we can expand research and development into next generation high-efficiency systems – including wind, solar, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear. Using these newly developed technologies could, in turn, lead to more a reliable, lower cost, more sustainable energy future for the USA and world.

That world would mean energy accessibility is a given, and not a line separating the haves from the have-nots. It would mean the only thing limiting our future progress and comity is our imagination and ingenuity.

Via email

Are Wind Power and Biofuels Really Green? How Germany’s ‘Energy Transition’ is destroying wildlife and forests

Michael Miersch

The German Green Party was founded in 1980. The Greens promised to save nature. They wanted to be the protectors of forests, birds and rivers. But their policies have led to the most widespread destruction of nature in Germany since the Second World War.

No industry consumes as much land as the generation of ‘natural electricity’. Without the pressure from the Greens and their friends in the environmental NGOs, the German governments of chancellors Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel would not have pushed the expansion of wind power, bioenergy and solar energy as much as they did.

As our former Minister of Agriculture from the Green Party, Renate Künast, once said: ‘Farmers will be the oil barons of the future!’ She and her party pushed for massive subsidies for growing energy crops.

The destruction of nature by the land-hungry wind and biogas industries is the opposite of what the environmental movement used to fight for: just as the communists made workers unfree and poor, the Greens have destroyed our landscapes and killed millions of birds and bats.

In Germany, there are some very large solar power plants. A solar farm covering 48 hectares with shiny metallic panels is located in the hills of the Franconia region. The local chapter of the Green Party had a problem with this, because the solar farm is located in a nature reserve. But the politicians in the Green Party agreed to the construction of the plant because to them, saving the global climate was more important than saving nature in the region.

But it is the wind industry that has the strongest impact on the German landscape. And not just on the landscape, but on wildlife as well. Germany is not a country with many endemic species, unlike Indonesia or Brazil. So the extermination of a species in Germany does not usually mean they will disappear from the Earth, as appears likely for the Sumatran rhino. That’s the good news.

But there are exceptions. The most famous of them is the red kite. More than half of the global population of red kites breeds in Germany, a total of about 15,000 pairs. One of the leading ornithologists in the country, Oliver Krüger, says ‘it does not look good for the red kite’. He also says, ‘we have a special responsibility for the red kite’.

The shot that marked the beginning of the red kite’s downfall was fired on 1 January 1991. It was fired by the German environment minister at the time, Klaus Töpfer, a member of the Christian Democratic Party. 1991 was when renewable energy feed-in tariffs came into effect, later enshrined in the renewable energy law, usually referred to using its German acronym, EEG.

The law guaranteed that, from 1991 on, anyone who invested in wind power or biogas plants would receive a highly subsidized price for their electricity for 20 years. The law set off the most dramatic changes in the German landscape since World War Two – slowly at first, then very noticeably, and finally faster and faster. Today about 28,000 wind turbines defile the face of Germany, from the North Sea to the Alps, from the Black Forest to Berlin.

Because politicians and investors want to avoid long legal battles with local communities and residents, they are planning to site more and more of their large wind farms in forests. In Baden Württemberg, in southwestern Germany, where the famous Black Forest is located, the state environment minister, Franz Untersteller, announced that ‘we are going to build wind parks in forest areas far away from residential buildings.’

1200 turbines have now been constructed in forests. The newer turbine models, such as the ‘Enercon E126’, are 200 m high, with a rotor diameter of 127 m. To build one of these towers, more than 5000 m2 of forest must be cleared.

If investors from any other industry had scarred natural areas and remote forests in this way, there would have been a political scandal. In the meantime, however, politicians of all parties are working to weaken German conservation laws, in order to allow wind and solar farms to be built in every last unspoilt corner of Germany.

Wind power has an enormous need for space. For example, to replace a single coal-fired power station, such as the Moorburg power plant in Hamburg, the entire area of the city-state would have to be covered with turbines.

An even more land-hungry form of energy is the cultivation of maize for biogas plants. Maize monocultures totaling 2.5 million hectares dominate the landscape in many German regions today. This is an area the size of Sicily. According to Torsten Reinwald from the German Hunting Association, ‘the past 30 years have seen a 22- fold increase in the area under maize cultivation’.

This mass of maize is not only used for biogas production, but for animal feed as well. But energy crops alone are using 1.5 million hectares of land. No hamsters, hares, butterflies or wild bees can survive in the barren ecological desert of a maize field. Field larks no longer sing, lapwings no longer call. Buntings, quail and wagtails all disappear. Partridges were once the typical inhabitants of the German agricultural landscape, a common sight on Sunday afternoon walks. Since the 1980s, their population has collapsed by 94%. Other bird species typical of agricultural areas have seen declines of between 20 and 50% over the past 20 years.

‘The bitter truth is that we cannot yet demonstrate an impact of climate change on biodiversity, but the effects of climate and energy policy have been dramatic’, says Martin Flade, an ornithologist and the publisher of Die Vogelwelt, Germany’s leading magazine on ornithology and birding.

He says that ‘the main problem in nature and species protection is the intensity of agriculture’. While there used to be more fallow land than land used for maize, now it’s the other way around. Flade says that ‘this has an immediate effect on the population of breeding birds’. Today, the ratio of maize area to fallow land is 20 to 1.

In 2013, Flade received the annual award of the German Ornithological Society for his work. In the award statement, the society said: ‘As a result of the rash and hasty expansion of renewable energy from agricultural biomass and wind power, the populations of almost 50% of all bird species have significantly decreased’.

But it’s not just birds that are affected. So are fish. There are 9000 biogas plants in Germany, which are regularly subject to breakdowns. In some of these cases, toxic slurry has spilt into streams, poisoning the water for many kilometers downstream. The result has been the mass killing of trout and other freshwater fish. Whole populations have been extinguished. Unlike other toxic spills, none of these incidents are systematically recorded.

On top of all this, it’s not even certain that growing plants for energy creates any benefit for the climate at all. The biologist Josef Reichholf says that the energy used to create the fuel is much higher than the energy contained in the fuel itself. Only with massive amounts of fertilizer can a maize seed grow into a plant, 3 m tall, in just a few months. That fertilizer is usually liquid manure. The energy and carbon dioxide balance for biofuels does not take this fertilizer into account.

The destruction of rain forest in South America also isn’t included in the balance. Brazil and other countries in South America grow the soy used to feed the livestock that produce the manure.

Unlike an oil spill or an accident at a chemicals plant, the expansion of maize farming and the wind industry does not happen suddenly, but stretches out over years. That’s why most people do not notice the ecological disaster unfolding around them. Nevertheless, the impact of these changes is much greater than that of any single sudden disaster, because the changes take place almost everywhere, and cover very wide areas.

Most German states want to reserve 2% of their land area for wind power. That doesn’t sound like much, but the figure of 2% only refers to land covered by the rotor blades. The area in which birds are affected will be many times larger. According to the government bird protection observatories, there should be a 6-km buffer between a wind turbine and the nest of a lesser spotted eagle (a very rare species in Germany). In theory, not a single new wind turbine should therefore be built in the entire Vorpommern region in northern Germany, where many of these eagles breed.

But nevertheless they are being built: Building on 2% of Vorpommern would therefore be an appalling threat to the species: ‘Two percent of the area can destroy 100 percent of our landscapes’, says Harry Neumann, president of the Nature Conservation Initiative.

The ornithologist Klaus Richarz was commissioned by the German Wildlife Foundation to examine the effect of wind power in forest habitats. For 22 years, Richarz headed a Bird Protection Observatory covering three German states. His study proves that we have an urgent problem. The rotor blades of a wind turbine have a radius as long as a football field and rotate at 300 km/h.

Against these huge propeller walls, red kites and other birds don’t stand a chance. The rotor blades hit large birds, such as storks, raptors and ducks, particularly often. ‘Birds of prey’, says Professor Oliver Krüger, ‘are relatively rare, need large areas, but collide disproportionately often.’

The problem is getting accurate numbers, since foxes, rats, wild boars and other scavengers remove the bird corpses at night. However, it is estimated that 12,000 birds of prey are killed by wind farms every year. For the number of all birds killed by the German wind industry there is an extrapolation from Hermann Hötker, an ornithologist at German Foundation for Nature Conservation. He estimates that each turbine kills between one and five birds per year, meaning between 28,000 and 140,000 fatalities in total.

Wind power lobbyists say the numbers are small compared to the millions of birds that collide with windows, cars, power lines and other obstacles. But this is a fallacy, because the argument ignores which species are affected. If ten city pigeons fly into windows or cars, it has no effect on the population of pigeons. But when a breeding red kite is chopped up by a rotor blade, it represents a significant loss for the species in the region. If one red kite is caught in a rotor every eight years, then the 28,000 turbines in existence at present will kill 3500 birds. In a total population of only 15,000 breeding pairs in Germany, that’s a dramatic loss.

According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Brandenburg State Environment Office, rotor blades killed about 300 red kites each year in this one state alone. If the German climate protection plan is implemented as planned and the number of turbines is doubled, the red kite could soon be extinct in Germany.

The plan would mean one turbine every 2.7 km on average all over Germany, each one 200 m tall, without regard for landscapes, lakes, mountains, forests or cities. The PROGRESS study showed that even a widespread raptor like the common buzzard would be threatened if wind power is expanded as planned.

Birds that aren’t killed by the rotor blades are often driven away. One of these wind power refugees is the black stork, a very shy forest bird. When 170 turbines were installed in the Vogelsberg region in the state of Hesse, nine of the 14 pairs of black storks in the region simply disappeared. If the argument that windows and other obstacles kill even more birds is very misleading, when it comes to bats the argument is completely wrong.

Since bats use ultrasound to navigate, they almost never collide with any barriers. They can even fly through spinning rotor blades without getting hit. But even so, they fall dead from the sky. The cause is barotrauma: Their lungs burst because of the pressure drop behind the rotors. This happens to about 240,000 bats each year. The actual number is probably much higher, because they often fly a little longer before they die and their little cadavers are eaten.

Whenever there was a construction project in Germany such as a motorway, bridge, airport, office park or residential building, the presence of a bat colony could hold up the project in the courts for years, or prevent it altogether. Yet when the wind industry kills masses of these animals, there is no such outrage.

The supporters of the German energy transition brush aside all collateral damage to the environment, such as dead bats, with the argument that global climate disaster must be prevented. The Green ex-minister in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, Evelin Lemke, justified the destruction of a forest by a wind farm in her state with the words: ‘Without protecting the climate, we will have no more biodiversity at all.’ Saving the world seems more important than the nature at our doorstep.

With wind power, solar farms and biogas, Germany is supposed to lower its carbon dioxide emissions and slow down global warming. But so far, this has turned out to be wishful thinking. Despite the rapid expansion of alternative energy and nearly e30 billion in subsidies every year via the feed-in tariff scheme, we are not seeing any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. On the contrary, they have increased slightly, because Germany has switched off emissions-free nuclear power plants. And every time the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the electricity companies have to fire up their coal power stations to prevent a blackout. 

The more dubious our energy transition becomes, the more we find nature-loving people becoming active in the fight against landscape destruction and bird killing. There are already 1000 grassroots initiatives campaigning against wind power. Not everyone involved cares about protecting birds. Some are afraid that their homes will lose in value when they’re surrounded by gigantic rotors. But many no longer accept the destruction of our beautiful historic landscapes.

However, as this resistance grows stronger, the methods employed by wind power investors are becoming less savoury. Trees that contain the nests of protected birds – such as the red kite or lesser spotted eagle – are being cut down illegally. That’s because a new turbine would not be permitted near such a nest. Just look through German regional newspapers and you’ll examples of these crimes all over the country. Eight incidents were reported to the German Wildlife Foundation in only one year.

The reason of course is money. Lots of money. A lease payment from the owner of the turbine to the owner of the land could be as high as e80,000 every year for 20 years. (This money is ultimately paid by consumers via their electricity bills.) If a forest owner has land for ten turbines, they can receive a windfall of e16 million.

That kind of money leads to criminal actions. The German Wildlife Foundation has therefore proposed a policy that puts a ten-year ban on wind farm construction in areas where the nest of a raptor has been destroyed. A similar rule worked well in Sicily, where the mafia stopped burning forests after a law introduced a fifteen-year ban on construction after any forest fire.

The expansion of alternative energy is wreathed in a sense of urgency. In the face of all the frightening scenarios of future climate change, pointing out the environmental consequences of wind farms and biogas plants seems petty and secondary to most people, as if we wanted to stop the fire truck from coming to the rescue just to help a few wandering toads.

Yet with no other technology do Germans accept the destruction of nature as they do with wind power. If dead eagles and kites were found next to chemicals plants or nuclear power stations, the public reaction would be fierce and furious.

In 1962, the start of the environmental movement was marked by a book about birds of prey: Silent Spring, written by the American biologist Rachel Carson. She argued that the excessive use of certain pesticides had pushed America’s national bird, the bald eagle, to the brink of extinction. Despite this, in Germany today we are allowing the red kite to be destroyed by an industry that claims it is protecting the climate but in reality is merely promoting its own interests.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


5 November, 2017

How can so many people be so wrong?

There are quite a lot of authors who produce scientific articles in support of global warming. Yet they must know of the many holes in the theory. In particular, they must know how vanishingly small are the effects and changes that they document. They spend their lives studying and writing about minutiae. Some, such as the litigious Stefan Rahmstorf, even plumb the depths of absurdity by writing about temperature changes in thousandths of one degree Celsius. Why do they do it? What makes them think that the energies they put into their calculations are well deployed? Do they ever think that they are wasting their precious time?

I think I know the answers to that. For a start, it is not a conspiracy. It is however something nearly as powerful. It is an intellectual fashion. It is a testimony to the power of a bandwagon effect. People want to be "in" with the crowd. So their writing is largely a game. They want to show that they are doing significant and important work and joining in with what is currently accepted as wise is by far the easiest way to do that.

But that is only part of the story. Participation in a folly has to satisfy deeper psychological needs. And my background in psychological research exposed me to a quite extraordinary example of that. Let me tell the story of it:

Most psychologists are Leftists. And in the immediate aftermath of WWII that posed a big problem: In the context of his day, Hitler was a Leftist too. The name of his political party gave the first hint of that -- it was (translated) "The National Socialist German Worker's party" (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). Hitler's antisemitism was normal among the prewar Left and even his nationalism had a long history on the Left. None other than Joseph Stalin referred in his propaganda to his war with Germany as "The Great Patriotic war" (???????? ?????????????? ??????). And Theodore Roosevelt, founder of America's "Progressive" party, did a pretty good line in conquering other countries -- with his involvement in taking over Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

And nationalism even lingered on for a while in the post-war American Left. JFK's "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" was essentially what Hitler also preached to Germans.

Just to show that Hitler actually won his elections by socialist appeals, note one of his election posters below:

It translates as: The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights", which is very much what the American Left preached during the Cold War. Here's another one:

It translates as "With Hitler against the armaments madness of the world". Again that could have been a slogan of the American Left during the Cold War. The Left to this day criticizes military spending.

So there you have the very great and embarrassing problem that faced the American Left after 1945. They somehow had to dissociate themselves from the reviled Hitler. He had actually put their ideas into practice. Ideally, they had to blame Hitler on conservatives, as unlikely as that was -- considering that the most relentless foe of Hitler had been the arch-Conservative Winston Churchill. But they accomplished their task. To most people today, Hitler is known as "right wing".

So you can see where I am going here. The big lie that Hitler was a "Rightist" shows the way for the big lie of global warming.

How did the Left do it? With the complicity of the whole American Left, including the media. With so many people preaching the lie, it became accepted as fact. In truth, Hitler was to the right of Russia only, in that he was less destructive of the existing society. But that shred of truth was focused on. The American Left as a whole adopted the Soviet "line".

But psychologists helped too. They were overwhelmingly Leftist so had a vested interest in the lie too. They became the equivalent of today's global warming scientific establishment. They in fact went to work straight after the war to work on the lie. The fruit of their labours emerged in 1950, in the form of a book under the lead authorship of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno: A book called "The authoritarian personality". The book claimed that American conservatives were authoritarian, just like Hitler and that authoritarianism was not a political system but rather a form of personality maladjustment. They might not be politically the same but Hitler and American conservatives were psychologically the same.

They made those claims while the greatest authoritarian regime of C20 loomed over the world of politics: The Soviet Union. The Soviets were unmistakably Leftists but they were allegedly not authoritarians at the personality level. They were just noble idealists who accepted that "To make an omelette, you have got to crack eggs".

It was all immensely implausible but the story was greeted with glad cries by virtually all psychologists. The individual liberty orientation of conservatives was held to flow from a love of authority. Black might as well have been white.

There were of course many attacks on such an absurd theory and every aspect of it eventually wound up on the wrong side of the research evidence. The first half of Altemeyer's 1986 book gives a good run-down of all the critiques concerned.

But the critiques and refutations were like water off a duck's back. They were ignored just as critiques of global warming are now mostly ignored.

And although it must hold the records for the most refuted theory in psychology, it still seems to be accepted by most psychologists today. Uncritical mentions of it continue to emerge.

So you can see that if a theory SUITS people's needs it will be accepted regardless of the evidence. People believe what they want to believe. And that is what is happening with global warming. It gives people a feeling of significance and even heroism. What achievement can beat "Saving the planet"? Intellectual fads and fashions are one thing but nothing beats saving the planet. So the theory has to be saved too. And that is what the climate scientists are doing when they write in support of global warming. They are desperately trying to save a wonderful theory -- a theory which gives all sorts of psychological rewards. So the tiniest scrap of apparently supportive evidence is seized upon and publicized.

That is what we read in mainstream climate science today.


Adorno T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik E., Levinson D. J. and Sanford R. N. (1950) The Authoritarian Personality. Harper, New York.

Altemeyer R. A. (1981) Right-wing Authoritarianism. University of Manitoba Press, Winnipeg.

Switching over to an all-electric car fleet would create a huge demand for rare resources and require a huge expansion of mining

But the Green/Left HATE mining

The global embrace of electric cars is being hailed by myriad enthusiasts as yet another kind of digital disruption coming out of Silicon Valley. But if that transformation comes to pass, what it would actually signal is a new era of mega mineral mining and chemical processing — and rising American import dependencies.

Batteries are, after all, not digital but chemical machines. Given the scale of global transportation, using electricity as the primary fuel for personal mobility would mean fabricating gigatons of batteries. And that, in turn, would require mining astounding quantities of minerals and processing a virtual sea of chemicals.

But when it comes to betting on the future of anything, whether you're a stock picker or policy planner, which are you more bullish on: the future of chemicals and mining, or computing and machine learning? The question answers itself, except apparently for electric-car boosters. You could call that the real Tesla effect.

This is no knock on Tesla, which has gone in just five years from zero to selling more cars in America in the $100,000+ category than Mercedes-Benz. That unprecedented achievement, aided by the aura of CEO Elon Musk, has made Tesla the icon of the electric-car future, animating enthusiasm in ways no government program or lobbying could ever have achieved.

There are now more than 100 different models of EVs in the pipelines of the world's automakers, not counting China.

This flood of potential EVs has not only generated a lot of competition for money-burning Tesla stock, it has so emboldened bureaucratic aspirations that outright bans on the sale of internal combustion engines are now on the table, notably in Germany, France, England, China and, predictably, the state of California.

Green lobbyists are advising investors to get ahead of the inevitable and sell stocks in oil companies before the collapse in demand.

And policymakers are similarly being warned that the end of the petroleum age is in sight and they should assume a future of declining tax and royalty revenues from the oil sector.

Here's the problem: While electricity is invisible and weightless compared with gasoline, batteries and the materials required to build them are not.

Holding the energy value of 300 pounds of oil (that's one barrel) requires about 20,000 pounds of batteries and far more weight — often 10- to even 100-fold more — in minerals dug out of the earth in order to produce materials to fabricate them, commodities such as lithium, copper, nickel, manganese, rare earths and cobalt.

In an all-EV future, global mining would have to expand by more than 200% for copper and by at least 500% for minerals like lithium, graphite, and rare earths, and far more than that for cobalt.

An EV requires at least 2,000 times more weight in cobalt than a smartphone. Even the modestly aspirational goals for EVs will require cobalt production to rise far more than even the most optimistic forecasts for expansion of that mining sector. To paraphrase, there will be digging.

Fortunes stand to be made by companies and countries able and willing to dig up and process so much of the earth. Analysts, including those at the Motley Fool, have been assiduously charting the little-known mining and chemical stocks that would benefit.

Most are foreign, and many are Chinese. Given the reflexive regulatory and environmentalist hostility to mining, this means the EV path also promises greater import dependencies for America than we've ever seen with petroleum.

At the center of the EV supply chain are countries such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, Russia, Congo … and China. Notably, China refines 40% of all cobalt today.  In a sign of the times, China Molybdenum recently bought, for $2.7 billion, a major Congolese cobalt mine.  It's China Sinochem that's rumored to be bidding $4 billion to buy a big stake in Chile's SQM, one of the world's biggest lithium mines.

Meanwhile, China already dominates global battery manufacturing, and is on track to supply nearly two-thirds of all production by 2020.

There is indisputably "gold in them thar hills" for commodities traders, brave investors and Chinese exporters, should the subsidies for EVs expand. But it won't actually make much difference to global oil dependency. Do the math.

The International Energy Agency's most optimistic forecast puts the world EV fleet rising from today's 2 million to 200 million by 2030, which translates into about 15% of all cars by that date. That share, in turn, means displacing about 7% of world oil demand because light vehicles use about half of all oil. (The rest is for trucks, aircraft, chemicals, etc.)

That 7%, as they say, is not nothing. But it's hardly an existential threat to oil producers in a world where petroleum demand has been rising for thirty years, and has actually accelerated over the past five.

Battery chemistry isn't upending energy markets in any time frame that's meaningful. But it would certainly upend global mining and ignite geopolitical tensions.

Meanwhile, the real energy disruption on the horizon is happening in the oilfields with the rise of all things digital: the industrial Internet of Things, machine learning, analytics and automation.  It's a classic example of a revolution hidden in plain sight.

A conga line of consultancies and banks have published reports about the emerging digital oilfield revolution: Citi, BCG, Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, KPMG and Goldman Sachs.

The potential to more broadly employ software is also clearly on the radar of both legacy oil majors as well as the hundreds of smaller shale companies. The latter were responsible for the shale revolution coming out of left field to double America's oil production in a half-dozen years. Imagine what happens when digital fuel is added to that fire.

It's unclear who will come to dominate the real digital energy revolution. A decade or two ago it was also unclear which companies would eventually sit atop the digital landscape in media, mail, advertising and entertainment.

In hindsight, we know that Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon each acquired about 100 companies along the way to dominance. Odds are the same pattern emerges in digital-industrial domains.

Even the green-leaning World Economic Forum sees "digitalization" bringing over $1 trillion of value to global oil and gas companies and, at the same time, nearly that much value again for consumers.

Meanwhile, the EV future will require trillions of dollars in value-destroying subsidies, never mind how many backhoes are put to work digging up the earth. Which future would you bet on — or prefer — given such stark economic asymmetry


Ending the War on American Energy

The Trump administration just proposed the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history

For decades, many American leaders have talked about energy independence. The Trump administration actually takes this commitment seriously. Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced his department’s proposal for the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history. Known as the Proposed Lease Sale 250, the Department of the Interior will be offering leases totaling 76.9 million acres. The lease locations span the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the unleased areas of the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), as well as offshore locations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The sale will be held and livestreamed from New Orleans in March of 2018.

Proposed Lease Sale 250 will not only create jobs for Gulf Coast states, but it also enhances our national security position. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2016, the U.S. net imports on petroleum accounted for about 25% of all petroleum consumption (about 10.1 million barrels per day (MMb/d)). Roughly 70 countries supply our imports, with Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia being the top five.

Petroleum and petroleum products include crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, asphalt, biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) and others. Our importing not only means that the U.S. economy supports off-shore jobs rather than American jobs, but it presents a significant strategic hurdle in our foreign policy. The U.S. dependence on foreign oil places us in a strategically vulnerable position where we must rely on another country (often those who do not share our interests) to fuel our cars, boats, planes and military equipment. Energy independence means that we gain self-sufficiency, and do not have to play political games with oil-supplying countries who use their energy supply as a way to manipulate our geopolitical position and our loyalties.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that the development of the lease sites could be between .21 and 1.12 billion barrels of oil and breaks through barriers that have prevented job growth and expansion in the energy industry. A recent report by the Department of the Interior outlines the many burdens and barriers to energy growth in the U.S. including slow permitting processes and redundant regulations. Vincent De Vito, counselor to the secretary for energy policy, stated, “The federal government can and must be a better business partner. … The recent actions outlined in this energy report show how interior is rolling back some of these burdensome regulations that add little or no value, while promoting responsible energy development.”

The sale excludes whole and partial blocks of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, and other blocks due to congressional moratoriums and other statutes. According to the statement from the Department of the Interior, “In addition to the high bids and rental payments, the Department will receive royalty payments on any future production from these leases. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease revenues are directed to the U.S. Treasury, Gulf Coast states, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Historic Preservation Fund.” This means a great increase in funding for the federal government, Gulf Coast state governments and funds committed to preservation and conservation.

Proposed Lease Sale 250 also creates a stability and certainty regarding the future of the energy sector. Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, observes, “If we are serious about energy dominance and long-term energy affordability, we must create certainty about future access in the Outer Continental Shelf.”

Under Barack Obama, 94% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) was prohibited from leasing. In May, Secretary Zinke issued Secretarial Order 3350, which began a five-year program to help develop the OCS. Uncertainty regarding lease availability, permitting and regulations has adversely affected the American energy industry. Companies don’t want to risk their business if the government decides to fine them for “new rules” or close their drilling area. With an administration that has their back, American energy producers can face the future with certainty and optimism.

Optimism, in fact, has been a huge factor in the revitalization of the economy since Trump’s inauguration, and, according to Investor’s Business Daily, stronger optimism and factory output has greatly increased.


Business is based on the principle of optimistic risk in which business owners risk their money and resources hoping for a reward. Take, for example, the lemonade stand. You invest money to buy the lemons and sugar. You invest money in marketing (signs made from posters and markers). You invest time to sit outside and advertise your product, hoping that the combination of a good location (corner lot), supply (you were the first one out there) and the hot weather (demand) will mean that you will have customers. You price each cup so that you can make a profit. In total, you risk the investment in the lemonade stand for the reward of people purchasing your lemonade. This is basic business.

Now imagine that you invested all this money into your lemonade stand with the projected profit of a certain amount. Then the government comes in unannounced and says, “You need a permit. That will cost $50. You can only sell lemonade on this block, in the middle and not the corner lot. You can only sell three cups per hour. You can’t use real sugar, you need to use alternative sugar (that has a bad aftertaste).” Then they create additional rules without warning and fine you for non-compliance. Now that the government has reshuffled your deck, you must deal with multiple variables and things just became uncertain. This is called business uncertainty.

Under the previous administration, energy and other industries endured multiple aspects of uncertainty including unpredictable rules and regulations, which stifled productivity, optimism and business confidence. Now, with Proposed Lease Sale 250, and an administration committed to removing burdens and regulations, the business landscape for American energy has begun to change.

As Senator Bill Cassidy notes, “President Trump and his administration are following through on their promise to end the war on American energy,” which ultimately means a big win for American industry, the American worker and the American geopolitical position.


If Industry-Funded Scientists Can Be Conflicted, Surely Government-Funded Scientists Can Be Too

Scott Pruitt blocks EPA-funded researchers from serving on the agency's advisory boards

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has
declared that researchers who receive funding from his agency cannot serve on its scientific advisory committees. "It is very, very important to ensure independence, to ensure that we're getting advice and counsel independent of the EPA," Pruitt told reporters Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

Nearly 10 years ago, I researched the issue of research conflicts of interest for the American Council on Science and Health. My report concluded that

there is very little evidence that alleged conflicts of interests are significantly distorting scientific research, harming consumers and patients or misleading public policy. Most conflicts of interest activists clearly have prior strong ideological commitments against markets and corporations. They view the conflicts of interest campaign as another tool to attack an enterprise which they already despise on other grounds.

Interestingly, in my review of the voluminous conflicts-of-interest literature 10 years ago, I could find no published studies that even attempted to see whether government funding might skew research results in the direction favored by the agency that supported such research.

If there are any such studies out there, please direct my attention toward them now. The topic is certainly worth addressing. As the economists William N. Butos and Thomas J. McQuade argued in 2005,

Scientists' success in securing funding testifies to their submission of proposals that receive a favorable hearing by the funding agencies. Thus, scientists have an incentive to develop and nurture professional relationships with agency members, advisors, and consultants. Finally, government funding of science, including that associated with military R&D, unavoidably establishes linkages between the funding agencies' preferences (or legislative charge) and the scientific activity that university and industry researchers perform. These linkages relate to the purposes for which funds are made available, thereby affecting the direction and regulation of scientific research as well as specific protocols for military R&D.

In a column published just when the anti-fracking hysteria was peaking, I asked, "Is Regulatory Science an Oxymoron?" At the conclusion I posed a couple of questions:

Why is it that environmentalists and environmental agency bureaucrats can always gin up studies that show that any activity they oppose and/or want to regulate is dangerous to the environment? On the other hand, why is it that energy producers and energy agency bureaucrats can gin up studies that suggest that the benefits of any activity they favor outweigh the costs?

My tentative answer: Regulatory science is an oxymoron.

In any case, the foregoing is not meant endorse any of the candidates nominated by Pruitt to serve on the EPA's scientific advisory board. Each will need a case-by-case evaluation; avoiding both government shills and industry shills is a good idea. But Pruitt's ruling that researchers dependent on agency funding should not serve on EPA advisory committees is not self-evidently wrong.


Avalanche of global warming propaganda about to hit

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference starting on Monday in Bonn, Germany, we need to brace ourselves for an avalanche of global warming propaganda. We’ll be told that extreme weather, sea level rise, and shrinking sea ice are all about to get much worse if we do not quickly phase out our use of fossil fuels.

What will make this session especially intense is that this year’s meeting is being presided over by Fiji, a government that has taken the climate change alarm to extremes.

Conference president Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama calls for “an absolute dedication to meet the 1.5-degree target,” the most stringent goal suggested by the Paris Agreement. In support of Bainimarama’s position, the COP23/Fiji Website repeatedly cites the frightening forecasts of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating, for example, “The IPCC recently reported that temperatures will significantly increase in the Sahel and Southern African regions, rainfall will significantly decrease, and tropical storms will become more frequent and intense, with a projected 20 per cent increase in cyclone activity.”

To make such dire forecasts, the IPCC relies on computerized models built on data and formulae to represent atmospheric conditions. Besides the fact that we lack a comprehensive ‘theory of climate,’ and so do not have valid formulae to properly represent how the atmosphere functions, we also lack the data to properly understand what weather was like over most of the planet even in the recent past. And, without a good understanding of past weather conditions, we have no way to know the history of its average condition—the climate. Meaningful forecasts of future climate change are therefore impossible.

An important data set used by the computer models cited by the IPCC is the ‘HadCRUT4’ global average temperature history for the past 167 years produced by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and the Hadley Centre, both based in the United Kingdom.

Until the 1960s, HadCRUT4 temperature data was collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the UK, and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which cover 70% of the planet, had more than the occasional station separated from its neighbor by thousands of kilometers.

The data collected at weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius, often times no better than +/-1 degree. Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful.

Modern weather station surface temperature data is now collected using precision thermocouples. But, starting in the 1970s, less and less ground surface temperature data was used for plots such as HadCRUT4. This was done initially because governments believed that satellite monitoring could take over from most of the ground surface data collection. But the satellites did not show the warming forecast by computer models. So, bureaucrats closed most of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations, thereby yielding the warming desired for political purposes.

Today, there is virtually no data for approximately 85% of the Earth’s surface. Indeed, there are fewer weather stations in operation now than there were in 1960.

So, the HadCRUT4 and other surface temperature computations after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the problems with the early data, and the fact that we have almost no long-term data above the surface, the conclusion is unavoidable: it is not possible to know how the Earth’s climate has varied over the past century and a half. The data is therefore useless for input to the computer models that form the basis of the IPCC’s conclusions.

In fact, there is insufficient data of any kind—temperature, land and sea ice, glaciers, sea level, extreme weather, ocean pH, etc.—to be able to determine how today’s climate differs from the past. So, the IPCC’s climate forecasts have no connection with the real world.

This will not stop Bainimarama and other conference leaders from citing the IPCC in support of their warnings of future climate catastrophe. No one should take them seriously.



Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


3 November, 2017

The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change

By Dr Nick Watts and uncle Tom Cobleigh and all

This article is a real hoot.  The direct effects of the tiny upwards movement in temperatures in recent decades have to be equally tiny and hence probably below the level of detection.  So the article excerpted below focuses on extreme weather events, which Lancet asserts are warming-related and more frequent.  But even that dubious strategy is disappointing to them.  Note the highlighted (red) clause in the excerpt below. The allegedly more frequent events have NOT caused more frequent deaths.  The health effects of extreme events are NIL!

So the whole article boils down to a parade of things that SHOULD affect health but don't. What a laugh!

And claiming that warming is bad for you is crazy anyway.  Winter is the time of increased deaths.  Warming would alleviate that.  Lancet has long been politicized and their claim that George Bush killed 655,000 Iraqi civilians shows how far they stray from what they know. But in this issue they have reduced themselves to absurdity.  Global warming theory clearly rots the brain

Lancet seems to hope that an impression of "consensus" will make up for their lack of facts and logic. The number of co-authors they have listed for their article must be some sort of record.  They truly are "uncle Tom Cobleigh and all"

The Lancet Countdown tracks progress on health and climate change and provides an independent assessment of the health effects of climate change, the implementation of the Paris Agreement,1 and the health implications of these actions. It follows on from the work of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change,2 which concluded that anthropogenic climate change threatens to undermine the past 50 years of gains in public health, and conversely, that a comprehensive response to climate change could be “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”.

The evidence is clear that exposure to more frequent and intense heatwaves is increasing, with an estimated 125 million additional vulnerable adults exposed to heatwaves between 2000 and 2016 (Indicator 1.2). During this time, increasing ambient temperatures have resulted in an estimated reduction of 5·3% in outdoor manual labour productivity worldwide (Indicator 1.3). As a whole, the frequency of weather-related disasters has increased by 46% since 2000, with no clear upward or downward trend in the lethality of these extreme events (Indicator 1.4), potentially suggesting the beginning of an adaptive response to climate change. Yet the impacts of climate change are projected to worsen with time, and current levels of adaptation will become insufficient in the future.

Additionally, in the longer term, altered climatic conditions are contributing to growing vectorial capacity for the transmission of dengue fever by Aedes aegypti, reflecting an estimated 9·4% increase since 1950 (Indicator 1.6).


Stanford Prof sues scientists who criticized him – demands $10M

Another example of a decayed Warmist brain

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) [link to published paper] and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.

A copy of Jacobson’s complaint and submitted exhibits can be found here and here.

What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.

The lawsuit rests on the claim that Clack et al. defamed Jacobson by calling his assumption that hydroelectricity could be significantly expanded a “modeling error.”

Environmental Progress weighed in on this controversy when Clack et al. published their article. In our view, it’s clear that Jacobson made a false assumption about the possibility of expanding U.S. hydroelectricity.

Jacobson’s assumption speaks to the essential fallacy of the 100 percent renewables proposal.

Renewables like solar and wind require vastly larger amounts of land and mining in order to produce power that is unreliable. Under the guise of protecting the environment, renewables destroy the environment.

One of the most environmentally devastating ways of producing electricity is with hydroelectric dams. While poor nations have a right to make cheap power from hydroelectricity, their environmental impact is enormous.

Jacobson’s proposal is to expand radically hydroelectric dams so they can support unreliable solar and wind energy. Such a proposal would devastate fish species even more than they have already been devastated.

The only way to promote such an environmentally devastating agenda is to claim it is good for the environment. That requires lying. Now that these lies have been exposed, it is revealing that Jacobson has resorted to a lawsuit that cannot and will not do anything more than intimidate his opponents.

Scientists and energy analysts should not be intimidated. We must stand up to bullies. We urge all lovers of nature and science to join us in denouncing this unprecedented and appalling attack on free inquiry.


The Media’s Reaction After Trump’s EPA Chief Cites Bible To Justify Agency Changes

Reporters spun themselves in knots after Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt used a biblical analogy to explain his recent decision to change how the agency’s science advisory panel is staffed.

Any academic who receives EPA grant money can no longer serve as an adviser on the Scientific Advisory Board, among other boards, Pruitt said at a press conference Tuesday. Yet reporters honed in on his decision to use a Bible quote suggesting that people can’t serve two masters.

“Joshua says to the people of Israel: choose this day whom you are going to serve,” Pruitt said, referring to scientists who accept government grants while also using an advisory position to give independent advice.

“This is sort of like the Joshua principle,” he said. “You are going to have to choose either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or chose the grant. But you can’t do both. That’s the fair and great thing to do.”

New York Times reporter Lisa Friedman suggested on social media that the analogy was an example of Pruitt’s supposed messianic ambitions.

“I think Pruitt just likened himself to Joshua leading the Israelites to the Promised Land by ending ability of EPA advisers to get grants,” Friedman tweeted shortly after the agency chief made his comments.

“Scott Pruitt Is Using the Bible as His Guide for Reorganizing EPA’s Science Board,” liberal media outlet Mother Jones wrote in a headline addressing the topic. The outlet’s writer, Rebecca Leber, implied the so-called Joshua principle was now the new guiding metric for Pruitt and the EPA.

Pruitt, who sued the agency a dozen times during his time as Oklahoma’s attorney general, said the board will be made up of environmentalists, industry groups, academics and other experts to provide a diverse perspective on EPA science policy. The agency has more than 20 boards, but his directive only applies to Scientific Advisory Board, the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the Board of Scientific Counselors.

Members of the three targeted committees got $77 million in EPA grants during the last three years. Conservative groups found CASAC members have gotten $192 million in EPA grants since 2000, an amount they say claim makes it difficult to maintain an air of independence.

Pruitt also put a big emphasis on “geographical diversity” in appointing science advisers.  Science boards have typically left out experts from large swaths of the country, especially western states that feel most of the brunt of clean air rules, EPA officials said.

Republicans have worked for years on separating the committees from grants. The House passed a bill in March, for instance, that would prevent scientists currently receiving EPA grants from serving on EPA advisory committees. The bill is stuck in the Senate.


Reality vs. Theory: Scientists Affirm ‘Recent Lack Of Any Detectable Acceleration’ In Sea Level Rise

According to peer-reviewed, “consensus” climate science, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are the cause of Arctic sea ice decline.  In fact, peer-reviewed, “consensus” climate science indicates the causal relationship is so direct and so linear that it can be said with confidence that we humans melt one square foot of sea ice for every 75 miles we travel in a gasoline-powered engine.

The modeled results are even more alarming for the polar ice sheets.   Like Arctic sea ice, the peer-reviewed, “consensus” climate science says that there is a direct, causal relationship between the magnitude of our CO2 emissions and the magnitude of polar ice sheet melt.   Therefore, by driving our vehicles and heating our homes we are catastrophically melting the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets to such a degree that our CO2 emissions will likely cause sea levels to rise 10 feet during the next 50 years (by 2065).

Ten feet is the equivalent of about 3.05 meters of sea level rise by 2065.

So, according to peer-reviewed, “consensus” climate science, the catastrophic melting of the polar ice sheets will produce 0.61 of a meter of sea level rise per decade, which is 61 mm/year, over the course of the next 50 (now 48 – a 2015 paper) years.  To achieve this, more than an order of magnitude greater sea level rise acceleration will need to begin . . . immediately.

The trouble is, the physics, and reality, do not support “mainstream” climate science models predicated on anthropogenic CO2 emissions as the principal driver of  ice sheet melt and sea level rise.  For example:

1. East Antarctica, which comprises two-thirds of the continent, has been gaining mass since 2003 (Martín-Español et al., 2017).

2. The Western Antarctic Peninsula has been rapidly cooling since 1999 (-0.47°C per decade), reversing the previous warming trend and leading to “a shift to surface mass gains of the peripheral glacier” (Oliva et al., 2017).

3. The Greenland ice sheet (GIS) has been melting so slowly and so negligibly in recent decades that the entire ice sheet’s total contribution to global sea level rise was a mere 0.39 of a centimeter (0.17 to 0.61 cm) between 1993 and 2010 (Leeson et al, 2017) .  That’s a sea level rise contribution of about 0.23 mm/year since the 1990s, which is a canyon-sized divergence from the 61 mm/year that adherents of peer-reviewed, “consensus” climate science have projected for the coming decades.

And now Australian scientists have published a new paper in the journal Earth Systems and Environment that “does not support the notion of rapidly changing mass of ice in Greenland and Antarctica“.  The paper highlights the “loud divergence between sea level reality” and “the climate models [that] predict an accelerated sea-level rise driven by the anthropogenic CO2 emission“.

In fact, the key finding from the paper is that long-term observations from tide gauges reveal a “recent lack of any detectable acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise“.    The modern rate of sea level rise acceleration – 0.002 mm/year² – is so negligible it falls well below the threshold of measurement accuracy.

The lack of a detectable global-scale sea level rise acceleration recorded in tide gauge measurements isn’t a novel finding.  In recent years, dozens of other scientists have bravely come forward to challenge “consensus” modeling that implicates anthropogenic CO2 emissions as the preeminent cause of ice sheet melt and sea level rise.

Perhaps at some point “consensus”-based climate science will jettison its focus on models and projections of perilous future climate states directly caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions and instead embrace the observational evidence that may undermine the alarm.

Until then, we will likely need to continue learning about how many millimeters we humans raise sea levels for each kilometer we drive in our fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.   Because that’s how “consensus” climate science works.

More HERE 

More evidence thast the medieval warm period was widespread

The MWP is too well documented for Warmists to deny it.  Instead they claim it was a "local" effect of the North Atlantic region. But it has in fact been documented in many places worldwide.  Below is the latest such

Warming and Cooling: The Medieval Climate Anomaly in Africa and Arabia

Sebastian Lüning et al.


The Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) is a well-recognized climate perturbation in many parts of the world, with a core period of 1000-1200 AD. Here we present a palaeotemperature synthesis for the MCA in Africa and Arabia, based on 44 published localities. The data sets have been thoroughly correlated and the MCA trends palaeoclimatologically mapped. The vast majority of available Afro-Arabian onshore sites suggest a warm MCA, with the exception of the southern Levant where the MCA appears to have been cold. MCA cooling has also been documented in many segments of the circum Africa-Arabian upwelling systems, as a result of changes in the wind systems which were leading to an intensification of cold water upwelling. Offshore cores from outside upwelling systems mostly show warm MCA conditions. The most likely key drivers of the observed medieval climate change are solar forcing and ocean cycles. Conspicuous cold spikes during the earliest and latest MCA may help to discriminate between solar (Oort Minimum) and ocean cycle (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, AMO) influence. Compared to its large share of nearly one quarter of the world's land mass, data from Africa and Arabia are significantly underrepresented in global temperature reconstructions of the past 2000 years. Onshore data are still absent for most regions in Africa and Arabia, except for regional data clusters in Morocco, South Africa, the East African Rift and the Levant coast. In order to reconstruct land palaeotemperatures more robustly over Africa and Arabia, a systematic research program is needed.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


2 November, 2017

Q: What nation on Earth has reduced its carbon emissions more than any other?

Inconvenient Answer: According to climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels, it’s “the good old USA, and that’s because we’ve been substituting natural gas for coal for power generation”. CO2 emissions from electric power generation in the US last year were the lowest in 28 years, going all the way back to 1988. How often is that reported in the media?

Dr. Patrick Michaels explains how the free market is allowing natural gas to be substituted for coal  worldwide at a rate that will achieve a lower level of global warming than would occur with strict adherence to the regulations of the Paris Accords.


Warmist admits it is all political

Ten free-market groups advise Trump to reject solar tariffs

A group of 10 conservative groups are lobbying the White House to make sure President Trump rejects a proposal to place tariffs on solar panel imports.

"If trade restrictions are imposed, the cost of solar products in the United States could double, endangering tens of thousands of good-paying domestic jobs within the solar industry," the conservative groups said in a letter sent to the president Thursday night.

The tariffs "would amount to nothing more than a crony capitalist giveaway to failing foreign-owned companies," the letter said. "They would be paid for by crippling an otherwise growing domestic solar industry (one whose preferential federal tax treatment has been correspondingly phasing down) and higher prices for energy consumers."

The International Trade Commission had unanimously decided last month that the solar industry is being hurt by cheap solar panel imports, which set the stage for Trump to impose tariffs that falls under the the president's authority. Trump could make a decision soon.

The coalition, including the R Street Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, and others, point out to the president why approving tariffs would be an inappropriate move.

They also pointed out that there is precedent for not taking action, saying tariffs to help the steel industry that were put in place under former Republican President George W. Bush were harmful.

"The last time the United States imposed import restrictions under its safeguard power was in 2002, when then-President George W. Bush tried to implement stiffer tariffs on imported steel," the letter said. "The tariffs sparked a threat of retaliation by the European Union, caused up to 200,000 domestic job losses and nearly $4 billion in lost wages, and eventually were withdrawn after a successful challenge at the [World Trade Organization]."

The two companies that want the tariffs imposed, majority Chinese-owned Suniva and Germany's SolarWorld, are "both bankrupt, foreign-owned solar firms" that filed a petition under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, "claiming that an increase in solar imports has seriously injured them."

The conservative groups said the "rarely used but powerful statute" under Section 201, if approved, would apply to otherwise “fairly traded” products from all countries and companies that export to the U.S.

"In short, it’s an extreme remedy with a troubling recent history," the letter stated.

"While granting these companies import relief may preserve a minimal amount of jobs in their companies, tariffs or other trade restrictions would no doubt jeopardize far more domestic jobs than could possibly be saved," the coalition stated.

"In fact, it is questionable whether the petitioners’ requested relief would revive their companies at all."


British Industry Faces Green Energy Cost Crisis – And That Is Set To Grow

Behind the political battles over household bills lurks a far greater energy cost crisis. It risks damaging British industry and undermining attempts to boost productivity after Brexit.

Households are paying more for clean power than they should, but official data shows UK bills are still below average compared to the EU.

The picture is more worrying for industrial and commercial customers. In this league table UK businesses pay well above the average. The cost burden they bear is second only to Denmark.

The issue is under discussion at the Treasury. Officials are clear that for the UK to attract inward investment the country needs to be competitive on energy costs, even while taking action to reduce carbon emissions.

“This is why the Government has commissioned an independent review into the cost of energy led by Prof Dieter Helm … to deliver the Government’s carbon targets and ensure security of supply at minimum cost to both industry and domestic consumers,” the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said earlier this year.

The Helm review concluded that bungled policymaking and Governmental tinkering has meant the UK is paying “significantly” more than it should.

Andrew Buckley, a director at the Major Energy Users Council (MEUC), agrees. “The report refers to decarbonisation and social policies making up 20pc of bills,” he says.

“For our members we calculate that these costs will reach over 40pc by 2020 and this is the main reason why our industrial power bills are the amongst the most expensive in Europe.”

The Government has already been forced to provide an 85pc rebate on green energy taxes for UK steel makers. The £5m a month refund is meant to help avoid another crisis for the embattled industry. Energy costs remain a threat to other high-energy industries, however. Water companies are some of the highest energy users in the country, alongside factories and the data centres run by some of the biggest tech and telecoms giants

“Some energy intensive businesses receive some relief from these charges but the great majority of commercial and industrial companies amongst MEUC membership do not,” Buckley says. It comes at a time of paramount importance for the economy as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. At the same time the cost of importing parts is rising and attracting skilled labour is becoming more difficult.

Today, an annual electricity bill for one of Britain’s top 10 highest energy users stands at around £120m a year, but within a few years this will rise to £170m.

If Helm had his way, all the costs of subsidising Britain’s low carbon power projects – such as wind, solar and new nuclear plants – would be scrapped from industrial bills altogether.


Australian CO2 emissions to 'far exceed' 2030 Paris pledge

Good news for Australians

National pledges to cut carbon emissions fall well short of what's needed to avoid dangerous climate change, with Australia likely to miss its 2030 commitment by a wide margin, a United Nations body said.

The UN Environment Program's Emissions Gap 2017 report found pledges to cut pollution made at the Paris climate summit two years ago are only about one-third of what's needed to be on a "least-cost pathway" to stopping the worst effects of climate change.

The target is to stop global average temperatures from rising 2 degrees or more above pre-industrial levels. Change on that scale is expected to cause major droughts, food shortages and damaging sea level rise.

The emissions gap to keep with a 1.5-degree goal is 16-19 gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent, while the 2-degree target would need an extra 11.13.5 gigatonnes of CO?-e of cuts by 2030 to be attained, the report said.

Sea levels could rise 1.3 metres by 2100 if coal use continues
"There is an urgent need for accelerated short-term action and enhanced longer-term national ambition, if the goals of the Paris Agreement are to remain achievable," the report said.

The positive news is that global emissions have largely flatlined for the past three years, thanks in large part to a plateauing in China. Still, other potent greenhouse gases such as methane are rising, and carbon dioxide emissions could accelerate if global economic growth picks up.

Frank Jotzo, a professor at the Australian National University's Crawford School and a contributor to the report, said tumbling costs of renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies suggest nations could increase their emissions cuts "and it won't be terribly hard".




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 November, 2017

Atmospheric CO2 levels hit a record high in 2016: UN warns increase could fuel a 20 metre rise in sea levels and add 3°C to global temperatures

This is just publicity seeking -- but as long as the papers keep printing it, some galoot will keep churning it out and enjoy seeing his name in the papers.

It's not even news. CO2 levels have been edging up for many years but there has been no concomitant rises in temperature.  From 1945 to 1975 there was a temperature plateau yet CO2 levels rose sharply at that time.  CO2 levels do NOT drive temperatures up

And the article below generalizes from just ONE YEAR! That is a travesty of science.  You can't extract generalizations from one instance! But if you are going to be that fine-grained, why not mention  that for part of 2016, CO2 levels went down to 401ppm -- or mention that in 2017 levels went as high as 409 ppm before dropping back to 403ppm?  Clearly CO2 levels are rising but in an erratic and unpredictable way that makes absurd any dependence on one year for significance.

The Mauna Loa CO2 record from Dec 15 to date is below. Column 4 is the average.

Note that the high average is mainly the product of some high levels in the middle of the year.  There were also some rather low levels. And the December 2016 figure was only a little above the January figure.

Note however that these are total CO2 levels in the atmosphere, not just human emissions of CO2.  Human emissions did not rise in 2016.  So the rise observed was NOT due to human activities.  It was the product of natural factors.  The pretence below that that humans were responsible for the rise and are therefore to blame for something is plainly a bare-faced FRAUD.  The 2016 figures are in fact good evidence that CO2 levels can rise regardless of what humans do.  They tell us NOTHING about human activity

And what's this nonsense abut melting ice?  96% of the world's glacial ice is in the Antarctic and that is GROWING, not melting.  It also averages about 30 degrees below zero so a global temperature rise of 2 degrees would melt it only at the extreme margins, if at all.  Do I have to mention that the melting point of ice is zero degrees?

The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere grew at a record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years, the United Nations has revealed.

This increase could fuel a staggering 20-metre rise in sea levels and add 3°C to temperatures.

Experts hope the findings will encourage environment ministers around the world to work on new guidelines for the Paris climate accord.


- Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400.0 in 2015

- That growth rate was 50 per cent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 per cent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods

- The last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm was three to five million years ago, in the mid-Pliocene era

- This increase potentially fuelled a staggering 20-metre rise in sea levels and added 3°C to temperatures

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the main man-made greenhouse gas, hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400.0 in 2015, the UN World Meteorological Organisation said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

That growth rate was 50 per cent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 per cent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.

The WMO said: 'Today's CO2 concentration of ~400 ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years.'

The latest data adds to the urgency of a meeting in Bonn next month, when environment ministers from around the world will work on guidelines for the Paris climate accord backed by 195 countries in 2015.

The agreement is already under pressure because US President Donald Trump has said he plans to pull the US out of the deal, which seeks to limit the rise in temperatures to 'well below' 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times.

Human CO2 emissions from sources such as coal, oil, cement and deforestation reached a record in 2016, and the El Niño weather pattern gave CO2 levels a further boost, the WMO said.

Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said: 'These large increase show it is more important than ever to reduce our emissions to zero - and as soon as possible.

'If vegetation can no longer help out absorbing our emissions in these hot years we could be in trouble.'


Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations At 400 PPM Are Still Dangerously Low For Life On Earth

With atmospheric CO2 concentrations reaching the 400 ppm level, the media and a number of alarmist scientists have set off the mega-alarm bells, claiming “record high levels” of CO2 had been reached, and that the planet is on the verge of an overdose. This is based purely on ignorance of the Earth’s history.

Worrying that 400 ppm is too high is like worrying about your fuel tank overflowing when it reaches the 1/8 mark during filling.

From a historical perspective, an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 ppm is actually almost scraping the bottom of the barrel. Over the Earth’s history, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have ranged from 180 ppm to 7000 ppm. On that scale we are in fact today barely above the Earth’s record lows.

That 400 ppm is actually dangerously low is a fact the alarmists keep avoiding and suppressing. Below 150 ppm, plant-life dies off on a massive scale. The Earth actually came very close to that point many times over the last 2 million years during the ice ages. At the bottom of the last ice age just 20,000 years ago, life on the planet literally teetered on the brink when CO2 fell to a level of just 180 ppm. Do we really want to live on the brink of extinction?

It’s a fact that biologists have shown that once the atmospheric CO2 level falls below the 500 ppm level, plants really begin to suffer. Many of us have seen the video showing how plants grow faster under higher CO2 concentrations.

Note that at high CO2 concentrations, such as 800 ppm, plants thrive. But as CO2 levels fall off, growth rates really start to plummet once they fall below 500 ppm. History shows that the Earth sustains much more life, i.e. is much greener and fruitful, when CO2 levels are higher, i.e. in the vicinity of 1000 ppm.

No one disputes that man’s activities have helped to increase atmospheric CO2 concentration, and it should not be in dispute that plants and life on the planet are thankful that man has done so. At 400 ppm, the planet is a safer place to be and will be even safer at 1000 ppm.


Elevated CO2 and Ozone Improve the Growth of Japanese Cedar Trees
Paper Reviewed:  Hiraoka, Y., Mine Nose, T.I., Tobita, H., Yazaki, K., Watanabe, A., Fujisawa, Y. and Kitao, M. 2017. "Species characteristics and intraspecific variation in growth and photosynthesis of Cryptomeria japonica under elevated O3 and CO2". Tree Physiology 37: 733-743.

Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a key silviculture species in Japan, making up approximately 44 percent of the country's plantation area. Given such prominence, Hiraoka et al. write that "in order to adapt to future environments, tree improvement programs will need to consider rising O3 and CO2 concentrations, as well as other changes in climate" that may occur. Therefore, as their contribution to this effort, the team of seven Japanese researchers investigated the individual and combined impacts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) on the growth of Japanese cedar.

To accomplish their goal, they planted 1-year-old cuttings from twelve C. japonica clones in a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) facility at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan. The trees were grown for two years under one of four treatment conditions during the growing season: (1) ambient air, (2) twice-ambient O3 (approximately +30 ppb), (3) elevated CO2 (~550 ppm during daylight hours) and (4) twice-ambient O3 and elevated CO2. During the experiment, as well as at its end, the scientists made a number of measurements to discern the impacts of the different treatments on the growth of the young trees.

Results of their analysis revealed that C. japonica had a low sensitivity to the negative (growth-retarding) effects of O3. In fact, as illustrated in the figure below, trees growing in the elevated O3 environment had higher plant dry mass than their ambient counterparts, though the difference were not statistically significant. With respect to elevated CO2, it induced a statistically significant increase in stem, shoot, root and total plant biomass (see figure below), the latter of which parameter increased by some 60 percent in response to a relatively small CO2 stimulation of approximately 175 ppm. Tree dry mass was also improved in the combined elevated O3 and elevated CO2 treatment, though not quite to the extent as it was in the CO2 treatment alone. Consequently, in light of all of the above, it would appear that Japanese cedar growth will experience enhancements in the years and decades to come as both the CO2 and O3 contents of the atmosphere increase. And that is great news for the silviculture industry in Japan.


Global Temperatures Continue To Drop Back To Pre-El-Nino Levels

The HadCRUT4.5 temperature anomaly for September calculated by spherical triangulation is 0.54C, a fall of 0.17C since August. Temperatures have seemingly returned to a long trend after the 2016 El Nino.

Monthly temperature anomalies for HadCRUT4.5 (HadSST3 and CRUTEM4.6 stations data) calculated by spherical triangulation method.

HadCRUT4 global temperature for September 2017 is 0.56 deg C — which is the same as the September temps in 2005 (0.57), 2009 (0.56), 2012 (0.55), and 2013 (0.54).

Source: Met Office, HadCrut4


Australians would rather have cheaper power bills than meet international climate change targets

More Australians would rather have cheaper power bills than meet international targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Almost one in two people surveyed by Newspoll agree with the idea of dumping global climate change agreements for less expensive electricity, with 45 per cent in favour compared to 40 per cent who oppose to the move.

The results, published in The Australian, come as U.S. President Donald Trump pulls out of the Paris accord on global warming which Australia continues to support.

One Nation voters, who support Pauline Hanson, were the most in favour of pulling out of international climate change agreements, with an overwhelming 70 per cent in favour of quitting the Paris accord.

A majority, or 54 per cent of Liberal and National party voters, also want Australia to relinquish global warming commitments.

However, voters on the left of politics want Australia to keep its commitment to climate change deals, with 50 per cent of Labor supporters opposed to pulling out, compared with 71 per cent of Greens voters.

Last year, Australia joined 174 other nations in formally signing up to the Paris accord, which commits our country to a 28 per cent reduction on 2005 emissions during the next 13 years.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here



Home (Index page)

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be challenged, no sacred truths.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

"Thinking" molecules?? Terrestrial temperatures have gone up by less than one degree over the last 150 years and CO2 has gone up long term too. But that proves nothing. It is not a proven causal relationship. One of the first things you learn in statistics is that correlation is not causation. And there is none of the smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship. Both temperatures and CO2 went up in fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced. CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive. Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb. So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time. Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible. It isn't, far from it. You should be able to read one from the other. You can't.

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman.

Consensus: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

Many newspaper articles are reproduced in full on this blog despite copyright claims attached to them. I believe that such reproductions here are protected by the "fair use" provisions of copyright law. Fair use is a legal doctrine that recognises that the monopoly rights protected by copyright laws are not absolute. The doctrine holds that, when someone uses a creative work in way that does not hurt the market for the original work and advances a public purpose - such as education or scholarship - it might be considered "fair" and not infringing.


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