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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29 September, 2017

Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year (?)

The claims made below are more moderate than what we read from most media commentators.  They say that the earth is about one degree Celsius warmer than it was 150 years or so ago and that may be true.

Missing from their story is any proof that hunan activity is to blame for the warming and missing also is any assurance that the warming will continue to rise.  Since we are at the end of a warm interglacial, it could fall.  Temperatures are generally LOWER in 2017 than they were in 2016.

Image from NASA/GISS

The connection to human activity is, in other words, pure theory, and poor theory at at that -- considering the lack of synchrony between CO2 rise and temperature rise

Extreme weather, made worse by climate change, along with the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, has cost the U.S. economy at least $240 billion a year over the past ten years, a new report has found.

And yet this does not include this past months’ three major hurricanes or 76 wildfires in nine Western states. Those economic losses alone are estimated to top $300 billion, the report notes. Putting it in perspective, $300 billion is enough money to provide free tuition for the 13.5 million U.S. students enrolled in public colleges and universities for four years.

In the coming decade, economic losses from extreme weather combined with the health costs of air pollution spiral upward to at least $360 billion annually, potentially crippling U.S. economic growth, according to this new report, The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States, published online Thursday by the Universal Ecological Fund.

“Burning fossil fuels comes at a giant price tag which the U.S. economy cannot afford and not sustain," said Sir Robert Watson, coauthor and director at the U.K's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research.

“We want to paint a picture for Americans to illustrate the fact that the costs of not acting on climate change are very significant,” Watson, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told National Geographic.

Watson is quick to point out that extreme weather events, including heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, are not caused by climate change. However, there is no question their intensity and frequency in many cases has been made worse by the fact the entire planet is now 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) hotter, he said in an interview.

While a 1.8 degree F (1 degree C) increase may seem small it’s having a major economic impact on the U.S. According to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the number of extreme weather events causing at least $1 billion in economic losses has increased more than 400 percent since the 1980s. Some of that increase is due to increased amounts of housing and commercial infrastructure along coastlines. “However that doesn’t account for big increases in the last decade,” Watson said.

And much more global warming is coming—3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) temperature by 2050 and even greater warming beyond that—unless bigger cuts in fossil-fuel emissions are made than those promised in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, said Watson. “The impacts of climate change are certainly going to get more than twice as bad,” he said.


Zeke to the rescue

Zeke Hausfather below kicks back at the recent finding that Warmist models overstate the actual degree of global warming observed in recent decades.  He in essence attacks the existing Warmist models and constructs a new model of his own that gives a result closer to reality.  So he is actually an enemy of the IPCC models too!  Refreshing!

His reasoning for his new model seems sound so perhaps we can look forward to more modest models from Warmists generally.

Sadly, however, Zeke's model still seems to be too warm.  Judith Curry has the details.

A new study published in the Nature Geosciences journal this week by largely UK-based climate scientists has led to claims in the media that climate models are “wrong” and have significantly overestimated the observed warming of the planet.

Here Carbon Brief shows why such claims are a misrepresentation of the paper’s main results. In reality, the results obtained from the type of model-observation comparisons performed in the paper depend greatly on the dataset and model outputs used by the authors.

Much of the media coverage surrounding the paper, Millar et al, has focused on the idea that climate models are overestimating observed temperatures by around 0.3C, or nearly 33% of the observed warming since the late 1800s. For example, the Daily Mail reported:

According to these models, temperatures across the world should now be at least 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th century average, which is taken as a base level in such calculations. But the British report demonstrates that the rise is only between 0.9 and 1 degree.

Lead author Dr Richard Millar and his co-authors have pushed back against such media coverage, releasing a statement which says:

A number of media reports have asserted that our [study] indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent. Both assertions are false. Our results are entirely in line with the IPCC’s 2013 prediction that temperatures in the 2020s would be 0.9-1.3 degrees above pre-industrial [levels].

[Carbon Brief’s guest post by Dr Millar earlier this week includes the paper’s key figures. Additionally, one of his co-authors, Prof Piers Forster, provides further reaction at the end of this article.]

Contrary to media claims, the study found that warming is consistent with the range of IPCC models, albeit a bit lower than the average of all the models.

Indeed, as Carbon Brief explains in detail below, the difference between models and observations turns out to depend largely on what climate model outputs and observational temperature series are used. The 0.3C value is based on a misinterpretation of the paper by the media and was not intended by the authors as an estimate of current model/observation temperature differences.

Other temperature datasets not used by the authors, such as those from NASA and Berkeley Earth, show much smaller model/observation differences than the one used in the paper, and these model/observation difference in turn disappear when model outputs more comparable to how temperature data is actually collected are incorporated, though differences in the implied future carbon budget would still remain.


Global carbon emissions stood still in 2016, offering climate hope

To use an old Australian expression:  "How'd ya be; How'd ya be? How would you bloody well be"?  I never expected the Guardian to publish something as deflationary as the article below. 

I pointed early on that atmospheric CO2 levels did not rise in 2016 and that was subsequently confirmed by others.  What the Guardian reports below may partly explain that.  Human emissions of CO2 in 2015/2016 plateaued.  That is another nail in the coffin for the dishonest Warmist claims that the 2016 temperature rise was due to Anthropogenic global warming.  It was of course due to El Nino. 

The logic of the finding -- logic which the Guardian avoids -- is that the panic is over.  CO2 levels ain't gonna rise no more.  So there's nothing to worry about now.  Global warming has stopped.

Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend.

All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy, according to data published on Thursday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). However other mainly developing nations, including Indonesia, still have rising rates of CO2 emissions.

Stalled global emissions still means huge amounts of CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year – more than 35bn tonnes in 2016 – driving up global temperatures and increasing the risk of damaging, extreme weather. Furthermore, other heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly methane from cattle and leaks from oil and gas exploration, are still rising and went up by 1% in 2016.

“These results are a welcome indication that we are nearing the peak in global annual emissions of greenhouse gases,” said climate economist Prof Lord Nicholas Stern at the London School of Economics and president of the British Academy.

“To realise the goals of the Paris agreement and hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C, we must reach peak emissions as soon as possible and then achieve a rapid decline soon afterwards,” Stern said. “These results from the Dutch government show that there is a real opportunity to get on track.”

Jos Olivier, the chief researcher for the NEAA report, sounded a note of caution: “There is no guarantee that CO2 emissions will from now on be flat or descending.” He said, for example, a rise in gas prices could see more coal burning resume in the US.

The flat CO2 emissions in 2016 follow similar near-standstills in 2014 and 2015. This lack of growth is unprecedented in a time when the global economy is growing. As the number of years of flat emissions grows, scientists are more confident a peak has been reached, rather than a temporary halt. In July 2016, senior economists said China’s huge coal burning had peaked, marking a historic turning point in efforts to tame climate change.


Jerry Brown Wants to Impose ‘China-Style’ Ban on Combustion Engine Cars

California’s Governor Jerry Brown visited China recently and came home with a radical new idea: banning the internal combustion engine in automobiles sold in what is already the greenest state in the nation.

Bloomberg News reports:

Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said.

Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

“To reach the ambitious levels of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we have to pretty much replace all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050,” Nichols said. “We’re looking at that as a method of moving this discussion forward.”

Instituting such a policy in California would affect the entire car industry globally, due to the massive size of California’s car market. Over 2 million new passenger vehicles were sold and registered in the nation’s most populous state last year — more than than the entire nations of Spain, France and Italy.

California has had the right to write its own pollution rules since the 1970’s under waivers granted by the EPA. But it’s unlikely the Trump administration would approve such a plan, forcing California to take a different legal route.

According to Motor Trend magazine, Nichols says California is considering regulating the types of cars that can be registered in the state or have access to highways.

“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from the EPA,” she told Bloomberg. “I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get that result.”

China plans to end sales of combustion engine vehicles in 2030. Other countries like France and the U.K. plan to follow suit a decade later.

California has not yet specified a date to copy China’s policy.


One in five Australians believe global warming is a hoax

Essential Research has surveyed about 1000 Australians on various beliefs to reveal some eyebrow-raising results.

It found 21 per cent believed global warming was a hoax perpetrated by scientists - with 9 per cent strongly believing in the statement and 12 per cent somewhat believing. Another 11 per cent were not sure.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has been among those to doubt climate change science, with a senior NASA official last year rejecting his claims the agency had falsified data to exaggerate warming in the Arctic.

And in June, after being asked by Senator Roberts whether it was important for scientists to keep an open mind, chief scientist Alan Finkel agreed: "But not so open that your brain leaks out."

Griffith University Climate Change Response Program director Brendan Mackey said climate change was an established scientific fact backed up by hard data.

"We have a really solid scientific basis for knowing and understanding the way the climate is changing rapidly," Professor Mackey said. [Like what?]

"I find it interesting as a scientist when people say they don't believe in science because science is not a matter of faith - religion is a matter of faith.

"It's really a matter of having a scientific understanding or explanation in relation to the cause and effect."

Professor Mackey said many people had never been taught about climate change science so found it difficult to understand.

And he said it was not something you could look out the window and see or experience, such as using an iPhone.

"The technology [for smartphones] comes from scientific understanding about quantum mechanics," he said.

"There's hardly anyone who understands about quantum mechanics but the iPhone works and they're happy their phone works and they're not worried about the reason why.

"People don't say 'I don't believe in gravity' because they can feel the effect of it.

"Climate change is a more abstract concept so part of it is people don't have that direct personal experience of climate change."




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 September, 2017

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on a Marine Food Web
Paper Reviewed: Taucher, J., Haunost, M., Boxhammer, T., Bach, L.T., Algueró-Muńiz, M. and Riebesell, U. 2017. "Influence of ocean acidification on plankton community structure during a winter-to-summer succession: An imaging approach indicated that copepods can benefit from elevated CO2 via indirect food web effects". PLoS One 12: e0169737, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169737.

Writing as background for their important new study, Taucher et al. (2017) state that "plankton communities form the base of the pelagic food web and provide many important ecosystem services such as productivity, sustenance of fish stocks, or carbon update." However, they note that it remains "one of the major challenges in biological oceanography to find general rules that explain and predict the trophic structure and biogeochemical functioning of marine ecosystems and how underlying ecological processes are affected by environmental drivers, particularly in the context of ongoing climate change and ocean acidification." Thus, it became their objective to investigate the impact of ocean acidification on plankton community structure and biogeochemical cycling during a long-term in situ study.

To accomplish their desires they used an imaging-based approach to obtain size distribution and taxonomic composition data of a natural plankton community housed in ten pelagic mesocosms (50 m3) deployed in the Gullmar Fjord of Sweden under natural or reduced seawater pH (simulate "ocean acidification," corresponding to ~760 µatm pCO2). The experiment ran for 113 days, covering the transition from winter to summer conditions, beginning in January of 2013. And what did their experiment reveal?

Simulated ocean acidification had a stimulatory effect on the biomass and size structure of the entire plankton community, from picoplankton to mesozooplankton. Notably, there were large biomass increases for copepods and diatoms, which increased by 40 and 30 percent, respectively (see figure below). In explaining this observation, it was the belief of the authors that elevated CO2 had an initial direct stimulatory effect on the phytoplankton productivity that indirectly "propagated up the food web and ultimately became visible as elevated biomass of copepods," though it is also quite possible that elevated CO2 directly stimulated the growth of the higher trophic organisms up the food chain as well.

With respect to the implications of their work, Taucher et al. write that "since copepods serve as a major food source for a variety of commercially important fish species, such CO2-driven trophic cascades could have important implications for ecosystem structure and fish stock dynamics in temperate and arctic regions." And based upon the results of their study, we would add that all indications are that those implications are of a highly positive nature.


Obama EPA hid Climategate emails from Trump transition team

Members of President Trump's U.S. EPA transition team were frustrated in their requests for documents dealing with climate change and carbon regulations.

More than 1,000 pages of emails and other records obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act show that some of EPA's fiercest critics who served on Trump's transition effort, such as Christopher Horner and Dave Stevenson, sought specific, detailed records on controversies like "Climategate" and the social cost of carbon rule.

Yet at least five of the Trump transition team's information requests were denied or "disapproved" by Matt Fritz, then EPA's chief of staff serving under Administrator Gina McCarthy.

In a Dec. 20 email to Myron Ebell, the head of Trump's EPA transition team, Shannon Kenny, an EPA career official serving as the agency's transition coordinator, shared documents with him detailing the denied requests.

"Per the process you and Matt Fritz discussed at your initial meeting, I recorded your requests and shared them with Matt for his consideration," Kenny said.

"He has agreed to grant one of the requests, and I will post that information in the morning on the site."

EPA staff and transition team members had set up an internal website to share briefing materials with each other.

Attached to Kenny's message were several information access request forms, submitted by her at the behest of various members of Trump's transition team, that asked for documents held by EPA.

One request from Horner and submitted by Kenny was for a "specific memo discussing Climategate emails."

"Climategate" refers to the 2009 hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit's server. The scandal has resonated with several Republican lawmakers and climate change skeptics, who argue the emails showed global warming was a conspiracy among scientists. Several reviews of the stolen material, however, found no scientific misconduct (Climatewire, April 15, 2010).

"Subject line had words: 'Hacked Emails CRU.' Memo begins: 'Issues raised regarding climate research,'" said the form. It also noted that Horner believed a 13-digit control number was associated with the memo.

Asked why the information was requested, the form said, "Information needed to implement the president-elect's climate agenda."

In a section on the form showing a decision on the request, "Disapproved" was circled.

"The memo referred in this request will be withheld," said the form, followed by Fritz's signature as indication that the EPA chief of staff is who made the decision.

Other requests were not approved.

Horner also requested access to correspondence from a two-week stretch in November 2013 between Lorie Schmidt, EPA's associate general counsel for air and radiation, and Michael Goo, a former EPA policy chief during the Obama administration. Horner was interested in communications regarding carbon capture and sequestration, which were needed to implement Trump's "climate agenda."

Fritz also disapproved that request.

In addition, Horner sought access to communications sent to Al McGartland, director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics, regarding setting discount rates for the social cost of carbon rule. Fritz denied that request as well.

Fritz told E&E News the information requests he disapproved were for documents not pertinent to the transition effort. Instead, they were related to some of the individual transition team members' prior litigation against EPA.

"These were related to topics that were already being litigated by members of the transition team," Fritz said. "They were related to very specific matters. They weren't related to matters of policy, of organization, of budget. ... They weren't relevant to actual transition items."

Fritz, who served nearly two years as EPA's chief of staff at the end of the Obama administration, said he didn't know Horner's motives in asking for the information but said the requests were part of a process set up with Trump's transition team.

"This was a process we established with the transition team, with Myron, that if they had requests for non-public information, we would have to approve them," said Fritz, who now works at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP.

Horner told E&E News that his information requests were relevant to Trump's transition effort at EPA. He also said he has not requested the same information again since the transition team wrapped up and Trump's appointees took charge of the agency.

"Transition work was and is confidential. About whether I made the same request post-transition, no, I did not seek those records after the transition was over. They were sought for transition purposes," Horner said.

Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has relentlessly pursued EPA records in the past.

A foe of mainstream climate science, he has hunted down documents through FOIA requests and subsequent litigation, battling EPA in court to force the agency to cough up more records. His best-known find was former EPA chief Lisa Jackson's alternative email address, "Richard Windsor," named for her dog and hometown (Greenwire, Dec. 12, 2016).

Horner said it was logical for a new administration to review records dealing with possible policy shifts.

"With that said, it would make sense for a new administration team to review an agency's internal record of matters that are subject of changes in policy. Indeed, it seems irresponsible if one did not," Horner said.

Bob Sussman, who served as co-chairman of President Obama's transition effort at EPA, told E&E News that his team asked the outgoing George W. Bush administration about general policies at the agency.

"We did not zero in on what particular individuals had done or said on specific issues," Sussman said. "The focus was understanding the state of play in the agency, where regulatory actions stood and so on."


The winner of the wind-power game won’t be the consumer

Last year, the average selling price that the Big Six energy companies got for electricity from their gas and coal-fired power stations was Ł45.49 per MWh. By contrast, the average price of electricity from Scottish Power’s wind farms was Ł117.14 – more than two and half times more – enabling Scottish Power to make a stonking Ł42.35 profit per MWh, almost as much as the selling price of conventional electricity. Small wonder Mr Anderson wants more wind.

Is wind-generated electricity so much better than conventional to justify such a huge price premium? As Matt Ridley and John Constable brilliantly explain in The Scottish Wind-Power Racket, Scottish wind power is like the sausage factory that only makes sausages when it wants to, and has to be compensated when it makes sausages you don’t want or the roads are too congested for the sausages to make it to your front door.

The bad news doesn’t end there. On top of the 157 per cent mark up on the wholesale price of conventionally generated electricity, you have to pay additional delivery charges for the privilege. National Grid is spending nearly Ł2 billion on extra grid infrastructure to transport Scottish wind power southwards, enabling National Grid to grow its profits and forcing us to pay even more for high cost renewable energy.

All this is important to bear in mind as we risk being swamped with renewable energy propaganda claiming that we’re on the verge of a wind bonanza. Indeed, one normally level-headed commentator talked of Britain swapping places with Saudi Arabia to become the energy sheikhdom of the northern seas, claiming that the economic argument over wind power had been settled. It hasn’t.

The offshore wind excitement – Keith Anderson is an onshore man – was triggered by the results of the second round of offshore wind contracts. These showed bid prices of between Ł57.50 and Ł74.75 per MWh compared to Ł114-150 per MWh for the projects in the previous round, hence the outpouring of joy at the apparent fall in costs.

Only the story is a little more complicated. According to a timely study by Gordon Hughes, Capell Aris and John Constable, there has been a real, but modest rate of technological improvement, which is only to be expected of a mature technology such as wind power. However, this improvement is offset by the trend towards building wind farms in deeper water as the cheaper, shallower sites get built out.

The key point, though, is that the bid numbers aren’t committed and don’t represent actual costs. As the authors explain, offshore wind bidders are in the game to get their hands on expected subsidies of around Ł300million a year, totalling more than Ł4 billion over the 15-year contract period.

But even more attractive than the expected subsidy stream, is the way the deals have been structured. They are one-sided deals, where there is almost no walk-away penalty for non-delivery by the contractor but where the Government has put the customer on the hook for 15 years.

The prospect of a huge upside and a negligible downside is a formula for encouraging what is politely called “strategic bidding”, where bidders sprinkle their bids with fairy dust in the knowledge that they won’t suffer the consequences when their bid numbers turn out to have been too optimistic.

A similar dynamic was at work in bidding for rail franchises. Because of the asymmetric upside and downside risk profile, the process meant that the Government ends up choosing the most risky bid. In 2012, this led to the collapse of the West Coast franchise award, when the Department for Transport had to rescind its decision to award the franchise to First Group in the face of an action in the High Court by Virgin, who demonstrated how First Group’s numbers didn’t stack up.

The West Coast fiasco should have led the Government to have binned a system where irresponsible bidding is rewarded. Instead, it commissioned a report from a former managing director of a rival train operator who argued that the government should embrace the prospect of failure. “Government should tolerate the idea that a franchise may default,” the Brown Report says. “For franchising to function effectively and for the market to function competitively, Government should accept that there can be failure.” This is a bad approach to running a railway, as it systematically favours the lowest quality, highest risk bidder.

In energy, this is even more irresponsible as it means gambling with the future security of Britain’s energy supply. Only a weak government would have gone ahead with the disastrous Hinkley nuclear deal. It sent a signal around the world that the British government preferred a bad deal to no deal. In these circumstances, it would be hardly surprising that offshore wind developers are queueing up to low-ball bids.

Having won control of vast acreages of the sea, like players on a Monopoly board, wind farm developers can be fairly sure that if construction costs start turning out to be higher than assumed in their bid numbers, the Government will have nowhere else to go. Having bid Old Kent Road and Whitechapel prices, they’ll tell the Government that if it wants to ensure that Britain has enough generating capacity, consumers will have to end up paying Park Lane and Mayfair prices.

There is a silver lining. Offshore wind will make Scottish Power’s windfarms – strung out along the wind energy equivalent of Oxford Street – look positively low cost. One thing is certain, the winner of the game isn’t going to be the consumer.


EPA needs to stick to its knitting

Barack Obama decided that the 1992 Clean Air Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to force states to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

He also expanded the Clean Water Act with a regulation called "Waters of the United States," which aimed to give the EPA regulatory control over land if sometimes it holds standing water.

The running theme of the Obama EPA was expanding the agency's reach and multiplying its responsibilities. This campaign was repeatedly halted by courts, but it has threatened to erode liberty and make life more expensive for families, farmers, and companies.

But the most tangible consequence of the EPA's mission creep has been the neglect of its core functions.

Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt laid out Obama's legacy in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner. "He left us with more Superfund sites than when he came in," Pruitt said, referring to contaminated lands which the EPA is supposed to be remediating. "He had Gold King and Flint, Michigan," Pruitt went on, referring to the massive 2015 spill of mine waste into the Animas and San Juan Rivers. Obama also left "air quality standards 40 percent of the country in nonattainment," Pruitt added.

The problem? Obama's EPA wouldn't stick to its knitting. Pruitt aptly described the EPA's mindset under Obama: "We think we just ought to re-imagine authority because you know what? We don't know if people are going to pass regulations or states are going to do their jobs."

Pruitt promises to return the EPA to its proper mission and to limit its activities to those actually prescribed by Congress. Will Pruitt's EPA address greenhouse gas emissions? Obama justified his Clean Power Plan by asserting the urgency of the issue. But the executive's belief that an issue is important doesn't give the executive branch the power to address an issue.

The EPA has only the power Congress has given it. Repeatedly, Obama tried to get Congress to pass climate legislation. Repeatedly, he failed. This should have been taken as a sign that there is no democratic will for it. But Obama took these failures exactly the wrong way, deciding that if Congress won't act, he would act on his own.

This is like a soldier deciding that if his officers won't give him permission to shoot, he'll just have to give himself the order to fire.

On climate, Pruitt says the relevant question is "what tools are in the toolbox of this agency to deal with CO2?" Neither Pruitt nor Trump are allowed to put tools in there. Only Congress can. "We're not going to simply just make up our authority," Pruitt said.

Doing exactly what you are called to do by the proper authorities is not a very exciting mission. But such is the lot of conservatism. Executive agencies are role-players, and even the president doesn't get to determine their role. The Constitution is very clear that Congress alone has that power.

We applaud Pruitt's mission of restoring the EPA to its proper shape and size. And we hope he has the humility, the diligence, and the skill to pull it off, for the sake of the Constitution, the economy, and the environment.


Unwinding Failing Renewables Policies

Brazil has started the process of cancelling contracts for wind and solar projects in an overheated market facing falling electricity demand. European governments should be making contingency plans for the similar necessities.

Global news about renewable energy development is generally positive, a fact that is in itself surprising and sufficient to arouse interest if not suspicion. In any technological sector there is always and regularly some bad news of a substantial kind, and yet on the face of things renewables are oddly free from the blotches and blemishes that are usual to even established sectors.

So it is particularly interesting to see the recent announcement by the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) that as a result of a reverse auction, nine unbuilt solar projects and 16 wind farms, with a total capacity of about 557 MW were being withdrawn, their contracts cancelled, with the developers forbidden to bid again in the next two power auctions (English press article here. Press release in Portuguese here).

This problem has been boiling away for some time. In March, Reuters reported that ANEEL believed that about 1.3 GW of wind and solar projects with contracts were in fact unlikely to enter operation due to weak prospects (“With power demand weak, Brazil mulls an auction to cancel projects”). In fact, the December 2016 auctions attracted no bids at all from new solar and wind plants.

The fundamental cause suggested for this slump in renewables development momentum is falling electricity demand; Brazil’s consumption fell by 2% in 2015 and a further 1% in 2016, largely as the the result of economic turbulence. That decline is doubtless a very large part of the explanation for the willingness of 500 MW of solar and wind to back out of its contracts, but it would hardly have caused such difficulties, requiring the construction of a reverse auction, if the market had not been so excited by favourable policy in the first place.

Indeed, the story serves to remind us that a sector overheated by enthusiastic policy remains vulnerable to real world realities that lie beyond easy control, such as falling demand. This is particularly interesting for those in the United Kingdom, where demand  is also falling, beginning in about 2005, and continues to fall, now standing at levels, about 280 TWh a year, not seen since the early 1990s. Renewables, however, continue to grow quite rapidly, with about 4.5 GW of capacity becoming operational in the year to July 2017, and a further 6.5 GW officially described as “under construction”. Even with very favourable terms of market access, and in spite of medium term hopes for electric vehicles, this narrowing market opportunity must be giving renewables projectors and exiting owners cause for concern, at least in the short term.

All this makes one wonder whether whether governments with major commitments to renewables, such as those in Germany and the United Kingdom, have made any contingency plans to extricate either subsidising consumers or subsidised renewables owners should circumstances require it. One suspects not.

Governments in the EU have tended to proceed as if renewables should be by virtue of their moral superiority exempt from normal business risk, and indeed those governments have take extraordinary measures to exempt renewables from normal risks. Nevertheless, as the Brazlian case reminds us, some substantial degree of risk remains and is irreducible. It may be falling demand, or general economic stagnation. It might be unrelenting and unacceptable cost to consumers, which itself could be responsible for falling demand economic recession or even depression. It might be rapid progress in a new, cheap, clean energy source, or that the inadequacy of renewables reveals itself as stubbornly resistant to remedy through technological change.

And while the daily news may not contain much that is bad, the global statistical headlines, the secular trends, are just not that encouraging: After decades of market favours, tax credits, portfolio standards, carbon taxes, guaranteed above-market prices, income top-ups, direct grants, relaxed environmental regulations and avoided costs, the modern renewables, wind and solar, still only accounted for only 1.5% of global Total Primary Energy supply in 2015, the most recent year for which there is data (IEA Renewables Information Overview, 2017). This really doesn’t look like a going concern.

This is much more than having a Plan B for the energy supply. In some senses that’s the easy bit; natural gas is right there, and so is coal if push comes to shove. The really awkward question for governments such as that in Germany or the United Kingdom, is how to respond if they are faced with the necessity of unwinding the vast contractual commitments made to renewable energy generators of all types and sizes, 30 GW of them in the UK, 95 GW in Germany? This is a much bigger problem than purging the planning queue of unbuilt and unwanted wind and solar farms, and it will require much more than a reverse auction. To all appearances the governments most in need of such forethought are the most completely unprepared.




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 September, 2017

France to spend E20b on Greenie follies

The French government plans to invest 20 billion euros ($A29.86 billion) in an energy transition plan, including 9 billion euros towards improved energy efficiency, 7 billion for renewables and 4 billion to precipitate the switch to cleaner vehicles.

The environment-related investments, drafted by economist Jean Pisani-Ferry and presented by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday, are part of a 57 billion-euro investment plan to run from 2018 to 2022.

Buildings are responsible for 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, so the government plans a 9 billion-euro thermal insulation program that will focus on low-income housing and government buildings, the government said in a statement.

"The number of badly insulated low-income housing and social housing will be divided by two, and a quarter of government buildings will be renovated in line with environmental norms," it said.

The program aims at financing the renovation of 75,000 dwellings per year, or 375,000 over the government's five-year term.

The government will also invest 7 billion euros to boost the growth of French renewable energies by 70 per cent over the next five years.

Investments will include research and innovation to combat climate change, and will speed up France's transition to low carbon and greater energy efficiency.

While efficiency investments will be a boon to the housing sector, the resulting lower power demand will hurt utilities, although the industry should also benefit from more support for renewable power.

The plan will also invest 4 billion euros in the switch to less polluting vehicles, with the transport industry responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions.

Further elements will focus on the road and railway network, boost local transport networks and will help low-income households to exchange old, polluting vehicles for newer, more environmentally friendly models.

The plan will target the phasing out of 10 million old vehicles and focus on cars with petrol engines registered before 1997 or diesel vehicles registered before 2001.


The inconvenient truth about Al Gore

A decade ago Al Gore released his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Second only to 9/11 it was the decade’s most significant event in shaping public policy worldwide. To mark the anniversary Gore has released An Inconvenient Sequel which has flopped. The politicians haven’t caught up yet but the public has lost interest in global warming – contrary to forecasts summer still feels like summer and winter still feels like winter. If there had been more scrutiny a decade ago of Gore’s life story we would have saved ourselves a decade of bad policy. Gore has written plenty of books but unlike every other vice presidential candidate in memory there haven’t been any memoirs. Why? Because Gore is politically ashamed of his past.

Gore’s father was a congressman and then senator for Tennessee for 32 years. His mother was an aide to über-liberal Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1956 Gore’s father lost a bid for the vice-presidential nomination and the family’s fierce ambition was channeled to infant Al. He studied politics and history at Harvard where he was elected student president. He’s confessed to smoking pot and a friend recalled ‘pot stimulated Gore’s imagination. He talked about what he would do as President. Political ambition coursed inside him like an underground river.’

Like his parents, Gore supported the Democratic Left. At college he described anti-communism as ‘paranoia and a national obsession’ and the US military as ‘fascist.’ In 1970, his father was struggling for re-election to the Senate due to his opposition to the Vietnam War which was still popular in Tennessee. After months of family anguish Gore volunteered for a war he didn’t believe in – his dad still lost but Gore knew one day America would ask ‘did you serve?’ After five months in Vietnam (far from the front line), Gore was discharged early after hearing the call to study religion. A few months into his theological studies he quit, made money in property (courtesy of his dad’s network) and worked as a reporter. Then his dad’s old congressional seat became vacant. Dad had learnt the hard way a lefty in Tennessee now had no future, so Gore campaigned stridently right-wing on everything: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tobacco, anti-gay and born-again. It was 1976 and he won.

By 1985 Gore was one of America’s youngest senators. This was the height of Reaganism and Gore boasted he was a ‘raging moderate’. He and his then wife founded the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) – which waged a morals crusade against rock music. Gore arranged congressional committees to investigate satanic and lewd influences on kids. Remember backward masking? Gore didn’t invent it but he did make it famous. In the mid-1980s the Gores were America’s Fred and Elaine Nile.

In 1988 Gore, 39, ran for president, finishing a dishonourable third after a slanging match with liberal hero and rival candidate Jesse Jackson. In the Democrats primary, Gore also introduced Willie Horton to the public and fatally wounded the nominee Michael Dukakis. It took years for African-Americans to forgive Gore’s 1988 race-baiting. Gore was devastated. He was just too conservative for the Democrats. Gore needed a makeover so wrote Earth in the Balance and the public met ‘global warming.’ Communism was dead, the Left needed a new cause and Gore delivered it in a worldwide bestseller. Lefties have short memories. Gore had redeemed himself.

When nominations opened for the 1992 election President Bush had stratospheric approval after liberating Kuwait. Gore calculated he would sit this one out and wait for the 1996 election. Only lightweights nominated for the Democratic nomination – Bush derided them as the ‘seven dwarfs’ which included the Governor of Arkansas. Gore was a national figure – Bill Clinton was not. But a recession hit and America warmed to Clinton. ‘Draft dodging’ and ‘womanising’ dogged Clinton, however, so when he weighed his vice presidential candidates a ‘veteran’ and former morals crusader ticked the boxes. The invitation was bittersweet for Gore (he was meant to be the next Democratic president!) but with Clinton looking like a winner Gore accepted. The ‘Dream Team’ shot to an overnight 11 point lead and victory.

Gore was a diligent VP who worked closely with Clinton but they were not friendly – the patrician Gore family were privately appalled their son had to serve under the commoner Clinton. Monica ended what relationship there was. Gore was furious Clinton’s recklessness had damaged his upcoming tilt for the presidency. The impeachment however backfired and Clinton had high approval on his departure. Gore’s resentment blinded him and ‘Clinton’ along with ‘global warming’ was jettisoned in campaign 2000.

On election night Gore conceded to Governor Bush but then retracted – an unprecedented act of bastardy in the history of democracy. It was also pointless. Gore contested the result to a 7-2 Supreme Court loss. In 1960, Richard Nixon was in a similar position but Nixon feared dividing America and conceded without dispute. Gore did neither and America’s acute polarisation today can be traced back to election night 2000.

Bar strategic forays Gore was largely quiet for six years. The first thing he did was write a book about family values but that didn’t take off so he plotted the revival of the cause that had rescued him in 1992 – global warming. He gave terrific performances on comedy shows to soften his wonky image and was the first significant Democrat to oppose the Iraq War. He endorsed Howard Dean in 2004 thereby locking in left activists for his coming crusade. In 2006 An Inconvenient Truth was unleashed – the book, the movie, the world-wide all-encompassing revolution. Saint Al and global warming were everywhere. After the bitterness of 2000 Gore was a liberal martyr and the press gave his ‘end is nigh’ thesis unquestioning approval. Millions if not billions were fooled temporarily into thinking life as we know it only had ten years to go. Gore, the most partisan politician, claimed ‘global warming is not a political issue but a moral issue.’ How cute. He demonised opponents with religious fervour – a sure sign it’s a bluff.

This simple fact was ignored all along – Gore has no standing to teach science. His academic research was on ‘Presidents and the media’ and yes he has proven profound skill in both these utterly non-scientific fields. Over the past four decades Gore has journeyed from hard left, hard right, centre and back to the hard left. Al Gore is a Pied Piper who the New York Times has estimated is on track to make a billion dollars from global warming.


Bridenstine to Lead NASA? Why Not?

President Donald J. Trump recently nominated Rep. James Bridenstine (R-OK) to lead NASA. Science Magazine promptly raised two objections. First, Bridenstine rejects climate change alarmism. Second, he’s a politician, not a scientist.

Professional advocates for science should come up with more substantive analysis. Reason, not ideology, should rule.

Let’s consider climate change.

NASA’s mission is pretty much the antithesis of that of the climate change movement.

Climate change alarmists would ratchet back mankind’s use of energy and technology to reduce our impact on the planet.

NASA’s mission is advancing technology through space exploration. That involves burning lots of fossil fuels not only as direct rocket fuels but also to generate electricity to make liquid hydrogen fuel. A NASA director who accepted climate alarmists’ goals might never launch another rocket.

During its earlier years, some might have construed part of NASA’s mission statement to support climate research. But NASA removed the phrase “to understand and protect the home planet” in 2006.

NASA’s mission is space science, not climatology. This is not to say a director can’t take an interest in climate research, but it’s not his job. It’s not directly relevant to space exploration.

The objection that NASA can’t be led by a politician is equally wrong.

The agency’s source of direction and funding is very political. NASA has always had credentialed scientists, but they haven’t been able to get funds to advance space exploration. A leader with political savvy is exactly what NASA needs.

Beyond that, Bridenstine is an advocate for science. He was the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He is a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

That Bridenstine isn’t a scientist can’t be the Science editors’ real objection. Only three of NASA’s 20 past administrators were scientists — 15 if you include engineers. But climate alarmists are loathe to do that. Why? Because engineers, including some retired NASA engineers, are prone to question climate alarmism.

So, does Bridenstine’s skepticism about climate alarmism disqualify him?

We depend on science to do what science does best — perform disciplined research and pass the results to decision-makers. Actual climate scientists try to do that. But science journalists fail to report the continuing controversies. They perpetuate the myth of an overwhelming consensus. The myth is not just that climate changes or that humans contribute to climate change (so far so good). It is that humans’ contribution will be catastrophic but can be averted by policies that cost trillions of dollars (not so good).

Bridenstine recognizes that myth for what it is. Far from disqualifying him, that’s one of his best qualifications.


Vermont Energy Goal Numbers Don’t Add up

Vermont, along with 19 other states, has a long-term greenhouse gas reduction mandate. The original mandate, signed into law in 2006, called for a 75 percent reduction below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. In 2011, then- Gov. Peter Shumlin raised the goal to a 90 percent reduction by 2050, something which the 2016 State Comprehensive Energy Plan discusses in detail.

Too bad the numbers don’t add up. Vermont’s mandate is much more than a requirement to supply consumers with electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar power. It will require virtually complete electrification of the Vermont economy to eliminate almost all fossil fuel consumption. Cars and trucks, oil- and gas-fired furnaces, industrial processes — virtually everything that now uses fossil fuels will need to be replaced with its electric counterpart.

In 1990, Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). By 2012, those emissions had increased to 8.3 million tons. (The “equivalent” arises because CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases and in Vermont, methane emissions from the state’s dairy industry account for almost 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.) The 90 percent goal means that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by about 5 million tons, to just over 500,000 tons of CO2-e by 2050, less than one ton per Vermonter. That’s less than the methane emitted by the state’s bovines in 2012.

By comparison, in 2014, total world greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be around 45 billion tons of CO2-e. To put that in perspective, Vermont’s CO2-e emissions in all of 2012 were about two hours’ worth of world emissions.

Meeting the 90 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal will require replacing virtually all fossil fuel used in the state with electricity, and ensuring that there is enough electricity to do that. According to data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Vermonters annually consume a total of 132 trillion BTUs of energy. Of that amount, about 20 trillion BTUs (15 percent) was in the form of end-use electricity consumption. Fossil fuel use accounted for 92 trillion BTUs. Although the Comprehensive Energy Plan discusses using biofuels, the amount of biofuel that could be produced on agricultural land is small, estimated at 4 million gallons. Thus, the prospects for a biofueled Vermont economy are slim. Moreover, biofuels cost far more than their fossil-fuel equivalents.

How much electricity will Vermont need? Suppose Vermont could reduce total end-use energy consumption to just 100 trillion BTUs by 2050. That’s 30 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, five times the amount consumed in 2015. Currently, Vermont gets 2 TWh of electricity each year from hydropower and another 1 TWh from burning wood. That leaves 27 TWh from wind and solar power.

Last November’s election appears to have confirmed that Vermonters don’t want thousands of giant wind turbines dotting the landscape. So assume that additional electricity will be generated by solar photovoltaics. To produce 27 TWh of electricity from solar panels would require about 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity. According to data published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1 MW of solar photovoltaic requires eight acres of land. So, 20,000 MW would require 160,000 acres, or about 250 square miles. And despite cost decreases, solar power is still much more costly than power purchased on the wholesale market. Thus Vermonters would pay even higher electricity prices.

Solar photovoltaic is not available at night or on cloudy days. Thus, enough solar photovoltaic will need to be installed to store excess electricity in batteries. Current battery technology can provide 8 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity for every MW of capacity, at a cost of about $1.2 million per megawatt. Twenty-seven TWh of electricity is equivalent to just over 80,000 MWh per day. Thus, suppose that on a cold, cloudy December day, electricity consumption is 100,000 MWh. Supplying that much electricity from batteries would require 12,500 MW of battery storage, at a cost of $15 billion. Even if battery costs drop by half, that’s still $7.5 billion.

Replacing all of the fossil-fuel-using equipment in the state and adding electric vehicle charging stations would cost billions of dollars more.

Curiously, nowhere does the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan discuss the benefits of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps that’s because there will be no benefits. Reducing Vermont’s two-hours’ worth of world CO2 emissions will have no measurable impact on world climate. Nor will similar greenhouse gas reduction mandates in other states. No measurable climate impacts mean zero climate benefits.

Ambitious, math-challenged legislators can always vote to impose costly and foolish mandates like Vermont’s with little pushback from voters. But Vermont’s mandate, like the mandates in other states, will impose additional costs on residents and businesses with zero offsetting benefits. Vermont’s is just another economically damaging exercise in symbolic environmentalism and political grandstanding.


Massachusetts wind turbine study is junk science

Raymond S. Hartman,

I am a mathematical economist. I have studied alternative green energy sources as a faculty researcher at MIT and have taught energy and environmental economics as an associate professor at Boston University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Voters in Savoy will soon decide whether to allow taller wind turbines in the town. In the discussion leading up to the relevant vote, the Minuteman Wind representative told the town that "there is not scientific consensus" about sound issues (Eagle, Aug. 25), citing a submitted noise study. She was likely referencing a state-sponsored January 2012 wind turbine study. Her assertion is a complete mischaracterization of the scholarly research.

As an expert witness, I have professionally reviewed hundreds of quantitative policy analyses and provided leading testimony that ended in landmark legal decisions. I thoroughly evaluated the state-sponsored study and found it to be fundamentally flawed in its analysis and conclusion that wind turbines do not cause negative health effects.

Simply put, the health impact study is not independent science. Rather, it is biased, distorted and in many cases outright deceitful. Several members of the panel were not independent; they benefit from big wind financially or have demonstrated a scientifically unsupported intellectual preference for this technology. The study relies primarily upon four to five articles while ignoring hundreds of other relevant studies. It summarizes health effects of much smaller turbines than the ones proposed for Savoy, for example, and examines the effects in Sweden, Holland and New Zealand, while inexplicably ignoring the serious health effects that have arisen from the many large wind projects in Massachusetts and the rest of New England.

Furthermore, the panel distorts, ignores and misstates the conclusions of the very studies upon which it relies. These studies conclude that industrial wind turbines disrupt sleep, and note that chronic noise exposure is a psychosocial stressor that can induce maladaptive psychological responses and negatively impact health. Furthermore, wind turbine sound varies unpredictably, and the noise does not cease at night.

Wind developers are eying our small towns, while unprepared to evaluate the adverse effects that 35 to 50-story wind turbines will have. These include lower real estate values near turbines and negative impacts on the tourism-based regional economy of Western Massachusetts. Would we alter these elevated ridge lines with 35- to 50-story Walmarts?

I hope voters in Savoy do not rely on this fatally flawed health study as science to evaluate the project. If one of my students had handed it in to me, I would have given it a failing grade.




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


26 September, 2017

The coffee bean belt: climate change map

Climate varies naturally all the time.  Saying that the variations noted below are due to anthropogenic global warming is nothing but an unproven assertion.

Climate change poses a serious threat to the world’s coffee “bean belt” and the 60-plus countries that produce the commodity. With 21.5m people involved in coffee farming, says the International Coffee Organization, 85 per cent of output is produced by smallholders.

“We know just how vulnerable farmers are to losing their crops as a result of climate change,” says Anna Pierides, coffee supply chain manager at the non-profit Fairtrade Foundation.

Compared with 10 years ago “people are really starting to see the impact,” says Aaron Davis, senior research leader at Kew’s royal botanic gardens in London. “It is the most serious concern for the coffee industry.”

Arabica coffee — 60 per cent of global output — grows in tropical highlands and performs best at an average temperature of 18C-21C. Lower-grade robusta — largely for the instant-coffee market — grows in low-lying regions.

“Combined changes in temperature and precipitation are the main avenues through which climate change affects coffee production,” says Charles Agwanda, co-ordinator at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International in Kenya.

Potentially hard times lie ahead. A 1.2C average temperature rise in Brazil, the world’s main producer, would threaten to cut 7 per cent of its 2.25m hectares of bean-growing land.

In 1899, Puerto Rico was the sixth largest world producer with about 770 sq km of coffee land. USDA Caribbean Climate Hub projections say this could fall to 24 sq km by this century’s end.

Productive area in Ethiopia, coffee’s original homeland, could fall by up to 60 per cent through the century. A 2C average rise in temperature would threaten much of Uganda’s coffee output.

In India, rainfall has decreased by a third in certain regions, where pests assisted by higher temperatures substantially lower yields.

Rising temperatures tend to force growers upslope. Where coffee was previously grown up to 2,200m in Ethiopia, says Mr Davis, the level has risen to 2,600m.


Climate Believers Won’t Go Cool On Global Warming, They’ve An Industry To Support

Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times

If you find a spare moment this weekend, check out the online biography of Professor Michael Grubb. He is a busy and hitherto (one would hope) important man.

Professor of climate change policy at University College London. Editor-in-chief of something called Climate Policy — hurry, hurry while stocks last. Adviser to the energy regulator Ofgem. Member of the government’s climate change committee. Adviser to the Germans on something to do with climate and to the European parliament’s exciting “progressive economy initiative”. And more, much more besides.

It’s a wonder Mikey even has time to step outside and see how the weather is looking, so feted has he been on account of his unquestionable knowledge about what is happening to our climate. Unquestionable, because climate change is a “settled science”, and those who question its reality or impact are “deniers”, like those who would deny the Holocaust ever happened.

Early one morning last week, as the dawn chorus began in what has been a colder September than usual, Mikey was roused from his slumbers by his wife, holding the report he’s just written, shrieking in his ear: “Professor Grubb, Professor Grubb, you have to know this: your entire life is a lie. Ha ha ha! All a terrible lie!” OK, I cannot be entirely certain this happened. I don’t even know if Grubb has a wife. But it should have happened, even if it didn’t.

Last week we learnt from a study co-authored by Grubb in the impeccable and neutral source Nature Geoscience that we have all been taken for a costly ride by the climate change people. The Earth is not heating up anything like they all told us it was. For years they had been telling us we will very soon burn to a crisp, accompanied by the howling of polar bears. Grubb himself suggested in 2015 that we would need to abandon democracy to address the rapid and calamitous rise in the Earth’s temperature.

Politicians were dragooned to the cause. Billions were spent in this country alone, subsidising useless wind farms and taxing ordinary people on their energy bills. People who opposed these strictures — the deniers — were called antediluvian and climate change activists demanded that those who challenged their views should not even be allowed to express their opinions. Only they had the truth. Except, it wasn’t the truth.

So what went wrong? Take a look at Prof Grubb’s CV and you might get an inkling. Science is supposed to be neutral, but it is never so when co-opted for political reasons. Call it “settled” and it becomes a kind of anti-science, an article of faith deeply resistant to investigation. Call a university department “climate change” and you immediately sign up to it as an indisputable fact. And suddenly a huge and lucrative industry is born, with panels and intergovernmental committees, transnational policy initiatives, world summits and swingeing taxes on the poorest. And the climate change proponents are required to hype up the rhetoric, to provide politicians with suitably scary predictions.

Even after last week’s revelations in Nature Geoscience, the mentalist wing of the climate change lobby was still shrieking — in The Guardian, natch. It will all lead to “the collapse of civilisation”, one daffy woman reported, while a bloke called John said those who disagreed with him were “elderly white male climate-deniers”.

Ah, John. I am white, male and getting elderly. I don’t deny the climate. I can see it, doing its stuff, outside my window. And as a layman I would guess that we have probably contributed to the warming of the planet. How much? I don’t know — and nor do you, for that matter. You haven’t a clue. It’s just an article of faith. And, as Karl Popper might tell you, that ain’t science.




Now it’s a war on pipelines

Efforts to block and sabotage pipelines hurt jobs, economic growth, middle class, human safety

Paul Driessen

The radical environmentalist war on fossil fuels has opened a new front: a war on pipelines.

For years, activist zealots claimed the world was rapidly depleting its oil and natural gas supplies. The fracking revolution (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) obliterated that argument, by sending US oil and gas production to new heights. Indeed, it was record gas supplies and plummeting gas prices, combined with the Obama EPA war on coal, that closed down so many coal-fired power plants.

So the battle increasingly shifted to the far more emotional claim that continued reliance on fossil fuels (which provide over 80% of the US and global energy that powers modern civilization and living standards) will cause dangerous manmade global warming and climate change. This gave birth to the climate and renewable energy consortium and the “keep it in the ground” movement. No evidence to the contrary will budge them from their hysteria-laden talking points on looming climate cataclysms.

The journal Nature Geoscience recently published a careful study that found there has been far less planetary warming since 1998 than alarmist scientists and computer models had predicted. Because the models are based on the assumption that carbon dioxide drives climate change, they “run too hot,” resulting in predictions that deviate from actual temperature measurements more and more every year.

But instead of admitting they were wrong, the usual strident suspects in the climate crisis industry doubled down and attacked the study and any news outlet that called attention to it. Britain’s BBC denounced the inconvenient study and displayed not a whit of apology over its climate chaos claims.

Climate campaigners jumped all over Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, insisting without an iota of evidence that manmade greenhouse gases had created or at least intensified them. They’re making the equally absurd claim that shutting down US and Canadian pipelines will somehow reduce atmospheric CO2 levels and prevent climate change and extreme weather – even though China already has 2,363 coal-fired power plants and is adding 1,171 more; India has 589 and is adding another 446; Indonesia and Vietnam are adding 140 to their fleet; and even Germany is burning more coal every year.

Pipelines carry conventional, fracking and oil sands petroleum to markets: natural gas to homes and power plants, oil to refineries, oil and gas to petrochemical plants – and crude oil, refined products and liquefied natural gas to export terminals that send the energy to Europe and Asia. If they can’t prevent companies from producing oil and gas, hydrocarbon haters want to prevent them from shipping it.

“Obviously the best means of transporting oil is none,” said an activist involved in campaigns against the Keystone XL Pipeline. But if there is going to be increased production, “I would rather it go by train.”

Some pipeline protesters somehow think rail or truck transport means the oil will be used domestically, whereas pipelined crude will more likely go to coastal refineries and be shipped overseas. Others claim pipelines are less safe than truck or railroad tanker cars. They cite a 2013 International Energy Agency report that said railroad transport is six times more likely to have an accident than pipelines are – but pipelines spill three times as much oil per-billion-barrel-miles of fuel transported.

However, the study is seriously outdated. It analyzed data from 2004 to 2012 – before the surge in US oil production … and before a monumental increase in rail transportation was necessitated by protests and Obama Administration decisions blocking construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.

In 2014, the USA set a new record for railroad tanker spills: 141 – versus an average of 24 during the years covered by the IEA report. Rail accidents in Colorado, Virginia, West Virginia and other states resulted in significant oil spills, evacuations and even serious explosions, but fortunately no deaths. However, a 2013 disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec burned 47 people to death and left many others seriously injured. The danger of moving oil on rails and highways through populated areas is clearly high.

Better track maintenance, stronger tanker cars, improved train scheduling and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, US State Department studies concluded that the Keystone pipeline would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in three rail spills that it evaluated. The same holds true for other modern pipelines.

New pipelines are built with state-of-the-art pipe and other components, to the latest design, manufacturing and construction specifications. Warning systems, automatic shutoff valves, 24/7/365 monitoring and other safeguards further minimize the risk of spills. New lines often replace older pipes that carry greater risks of corrosion and rupturing as they age. New lines can often be routed to avoid population centers and sensitive water and wildlife areas. Because they are underground, once they are installed and grasses are planted, pipelines are invisible except for occasional pumping stations, valves and other small facilities.

Environmentalists tend to focus on potential volumes of oil spilled when a major pipeline rupture occurs, and on impacts to waterways and wildlife. While these are important considerations, human safety should always be of paramount concern. Lac-Mégantic underscores that priority.

Light crude oils from North Dakota’s Bakken Field and other shale plays contain more dissolved gases and thus are more flammable than heavier crudes. That makes explosions more likely. On highways and along rail lines through rural or urban communities, the results would be devastating. The sheer volume of oil to be shipped further underscores these dangers.

The 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipe Line alone carries some 470,000 barrels of oil every day. Hauling that quantity overland would require 700 rail tanker cars per day (256,000 per year) or 2,000 semi-trailer tanker trucks per day on our highways (730,000 per year)! All would go through populated areas along parts of their route. Multiply that times the Keystone and other pipelines in planning or under construction, and the rail/truck “alternative” is mind-boggling in its scale and risks.

A new technology transforms heavy crude oil into pill-sized pellets – self-sealing balls of bitumen that can then be moved in coal rail cars or transported in trucks with less risk of spills. That may eventually reduce the need for new pipelines; but the innovative idea is currently only in the testing stage.

Moreover, we cannot ship natural gas by tanker truck or rail car. Pipelines are essential for that – unless the gas is chilled and liquefied, adding major cost and safety considerations. That’s one more reason 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution lines already crisscross the USA.

Even more important, some activists are now going far beyond mere rhetoric and protests – and engaging in sabotage of pipeline construction equipment and even pipeline safety valves. These intolerable acts should be met with police action, major fines and lengthy jail terms. Free speech and peaceful protests are a constitutional right. Eco-terrorism and threats to public safety cannot be tolerated.

These radical activists would never give up their reliance on – and addiction to – computers, smart phones, synthetic fiber shoes and clothing, affordable heating and air conditioning, cars, skis, kayaks, wind turbines and solar panels, and all the other blessings that petroleum brings. They should not expect the rest of us to give them up, either. Especially based on the flimsy arguments they present.

For all these reasons, it is hard to understand the increasing opposition of some states and communities to new pipelines: from Minnesota to New York and even Virginia and West Virginia.

It is even harder to understand or tolerate the actions of these tax-exempt anti-pipeline organizations – and equally callous and devious tax-exempt outfits that fund the radical groups: from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to the Sea Change Foundation and its secretive Russian donors, and even to railroad tycoon Warren Buffett’s NoVo Foundation. If they can block pipelines, they will next block rail and truck transport.

If an increasingly divided, partisan, dysfunctional Congress cannot address these problems, let us hope the Trump Administration and some state governors and legislators will do so.

Via email

Britain needs an energy revolution – stop the terrible renewable subsidies

It was reported this week that the estimated cost of energy produced by new offshore wind farms has halved in two years. Many observers seemed to conclude that Britain’s energy problems have been solved. The truth is rather different.

Britain still has significant trouble with its energy retail market, its power generation, and its energy strategy. All three require decisive government action.

The retail market is supposed to be founded on competition, with consumers switching between companies and tariffs. In practice, only a quarter of households have ever switched tariff with the same provider, and less than half have ever switched supplier.

The big energy firms rip off customers who do not switch. Two thirds – 18.5 million households – are on expensive default contracts. We need lower prices, and to get them we need a new energy strategy based on competition and a sensible regulatory framework.

For that to happen, there must be meaningful price transparency for all forms of power generation, including nuclear power and renewables. This will require a new approach to reducing carbon emissions.

There is no need to abandon our international commitments, and no need to abandon the Climate Change Act. We should, however, change the trajectory of Britain’s decarbonisation plans, so a greater share of the reduction comes later, through technological innovation, rather than earlier, through the imposition of higher energy costs and lower industrial output.

This would allow us to take sensible measures, like reducing Britain’s carbon price, which increases costs by pricing every tonne of carbon dioxide at three times the level set by the EU’s Emissions Trading System. It would also allow us fully to exploit the opportunities that lie in Britain’s shale gas reserves.

Proper price transparency and competition should mean no more subsidies for renewable energy. The Government has set out its intention to reduce these costs, but Britain has spent over Ł23 billion on subsidies for renewables since 2002, and now is the time to phase them out completely.

With the falling price of offshore wind, this should not be a problem. Wind power is still expensive: its intermittency causes higher costs elsewhere in the system, and this should be reflected in estimates of wind’s true cost. But it will almost certainly play an important role in Britain’s energy mix and, if its supporters are correct, it should not need subsidies to do so.

Price transparency would also mean no more nuclear deals without price competition from other providers. It might therefore mean no new nuclear at all, and it should certainly mean no new deals like Hinkley Point. And it would mean an end to long-term renewable contracts with guaranteed excessive prices.

Instead, energy technologies would compete against one another on a level playing field. That would mean a more rational energy market, with prices that are fairer for households and more competitive for industry.


Global warming alarmists need to lose the arrogance

Susan Stamper Brown

Natural disasters are no laughing matter, but you'd never know that recently watching God-denier Bill Maher and his "Real Time" show audience.

Maher appeared giddy with delight that homes of certain high-profile man-controlled climate change "deniers' were in the path of destructive hurricanes.

Meanwhile, during an interview, actress Jennifer Lawrence suggested hurricanes were "signs of Mother Nature's rage and wrath" for not believing in manmade climate change and electing Donald Trump.

Maher and Lawrence and other global warming barkers always fail to factor in the God-factor. Natural disasters aren't leftwing attack dogs who target those who dare question the cogency of man-caused and man-controlled climate change.

We know this because while Maher and Lawrence and others were superciliously wagging accusatory fingers, hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on some predominately leftwing metropolises that went for Hillary Clinton: Houston and Harris County, Texas and Key West and Miami and Palm Beach and Orange County, FL.

Using Lawrence's illogic, "mother nature" must have it out for Hillary Clinton supporters!

It is both arrogant and ignorant to cast blame for natural disasters on people, let alone people smart enough to question something that is quickly morphing into what seems like an autocratic religion across the globe.

Man-caused warming is questioned because there is indisputable scientific evidence this isn't the Earth's first rodeo when it comes to cyclical cooling and warming.

The Earth experienced periods of glaciation followed by melting long before Leonardo DiCaprio's excessive use of private jets and the construction of Al Gore's energy devouring Nashville dream home.

Robert Ballard, the world-renown underwater archaeologist who discovered the wreckages of the Titanic, the Bismarck, RMS Lusitania, USS Yorktown and others, has linked one of those previous melting periods to Noah's Great Flood.

In 2012, Ballard told ABC News, "Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that's a big ice cube." "But then it started to melt," he said. "We're talking about the floods of our living history."

Ballard said he believes he discovered proof of Noah's flood in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey when he discovered "traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah." Ballard said his group discovered evidence of "not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed" and "the land that went under stayed under."

Ballard carbon-dated unearthed shells discovered four hundred feet below the surface, establishing a timeline which happened to occur around the same time as Noah's flood. Ballard described his discovery as what was like "a bad some magic moment it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under."




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


25 September, 2017

Is the sun responsible for El Nino?

The authors below find a correlation with solar activity  but have no firm explanation for it

Modulations of solar activity on El Nińo Modoki and possible mechanisms


This paper uses the sunspot number (SSN) index and the El Nińo modoki index (EMI) to examine the possible modulation of El Nińo Modoki events by variations in solar activity. A significant positive correlation was found between SSN and EMI with a lag of two years, and both SSN and EMI have an obvious period of about 11–12 years. The evolution of El Nińo Modoki events was investigated using composite analysis.

There was a clear evolution of El Nińo Modoki events in the three years after the solar peak year. An ocean mixed layer heat budget diagnostic method is used to investigate the contributor to the anomalous patterns in the three years after the solar peak. The atmosphere radiation fluxes are confirmed as the major contributor to the warming response in the central tropical Pacific.

Two possible mechanisms are proposed, one is the direct mechanism that the solar radiation warms up the tropical pacific with a geographical difference, due to the cloud distribution. The warming response in the central Pacific is amplified by the coupled positive feedback between the ocean and atmosphere with 1–2 years lag.

Another possible way can be described as follows: the solar heating effect propagating from the upper atmosphere modulates the strength and variation of atmospheric anomaly at high and mid-latitudes in the northern hemisphere winter, which results in an anomalous subtropical cyclone over the northeastern Pacific in the winter seasons following the solar peak years. The anomalous cyclone reduces the cloud cover over the northeastern Pacific and enhances the local input of solar radiation.

As a result, a positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly occurs over the northeastern Pacific and extends towards the central tropical Pacific along the path of anomalous southwesterly winds, which may trigger an El Nińo Modoki event in the following years.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume 160, July 2017, Pages 34-47

The New Coal – Burning wood pellets creates more global warming pollution than coal, not less

British government idiocy at work: converting a big coal-fired generator to run on wood

The new coal. More CO2 than coal. Yet biomass is called green by the AGW cult and the EU and the other cult leaders .

“A controversy with reverberations across the Atlantic Ocean is brewing in Hamlet, North Carolina – a literal hamlet 120 miles northwest of Wilmington – where a new wood-pellet facility is already in the initial stages of construction.

The mill would become the fourth in North Carolina and the seventh in the Southeast built and operated by Maryland-based Enviva, the largest producer of wood pellets in the world.

The dried and compressed bits of wood produced at the plant would be shipped from Wilmington to a power company in the United Kingdom, who plans to burn them instead of coal as part of the country’s effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by the end of the decade.

The problem, according to many energy analysts, is that burning pellets creates more global warming pollution than coal, not less. One prominent research ecologist even calls wood biomass “the new coal.”

At the same time, environmental advocates say the new mill will further the destruction of deciduous forests in the Southeast – especially in wetlands – and disproportionately harm public health in Dobbins Heights, an overwhelmingly African-American town two miles northeast of the facility.”

“A 2015 analysis for the Southern Environmental Law Center examining the loss of forests found that Enviva wood pellets supplied to Drax would create two and a half times more greenhouse gas emissions than coal over 40 years.

A 2014 study by the U.K.’s environmental agency also factored in drying and transportation costs; it found climate pollution from southeastern U.S. wood pellets to be three times that of coal.”


UN Admits It Can’t Link Global Warming To The Spike In World Hunger, Then Does It Anyway

A United Nations report admits it’s “impossible” to link man-made global warming to a jump in world hunger statistics, but then goes ahead and does make that link anyway.

The new U.N. report estimated global warming helped increase the number of people around the world suffering from chronic hunger and undernourishment, which was mainly driven by violent conflicts in poor countries.

The U.N.’s mainline findings claim global warming compounded foot shortages and famine driven by economic slowdowns and violent conflict, while an accompanying Q&A document makes another stunning admission about global warming.

“Although it is impossible to establish a causal relation, the impact of climate change-related phenomena (such as the higher frequency of extreme events, be them floods or drought) cannot be ruled out as one of the causes for the reduced per capita availability of food in several countries,” the U.N. admitted.

Even so, the U.N. warned droughts and floods, “linked in part to El Nińo phenomenon and climate-related shocks,” hurt food production, they can’t say for sure this is behind the increase in global hunger. The U.N. even admits global food production was high enough to feed everyone on the planet, despite weather shocks.

The U.N. still claimed global warming was a compounding factor behind the spike in hunger statistics.

“Conflict, especially when compounded by climate change, is therefore a key factor explaining the apparent reversal in the long-term declining trend in global hunger, thereby posing a major challenge to ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030,” the U.N. reported.

Many in the media pointed fingers at global warming.

The New York Times editorial board highlighted the study’s grim findings, reporting hunger was on the rise “because of scourges like global warming and civil conflicts that show little sign of abating.”

The newspaper claimed “rising civil strife and climate disruption in explaining the sudden downturn” in success for fighting global hunger. Undernourishment increased from 777 million to 815 million people from 2015 to 2016, the U.N. estimated.

“Compounding these problems globally are the disruptions of climate change — droughts and floods, as well as political crises and severe economic drops in nations reliant on commodity exports, the study found,” wrote The New York Time’s editorial board.

However, most malnourished people “live in countries affected by conflict,” the U.N. said.

“Over the past ten years, the number of violent conflicts around the world has increased significantly, in particular in countries already facing food insecurity, hitting rural communities the hardest and having a negative impact on food production and availability,” the U.N. notes.


Rex Murphy: All global warming predictions are infallible... until they're not

There is a disturbance in the troposphere, much perturbation. The little Gore molecules that do so much to keep everybody in the climate change industry in a sweat are slacking off. The results are—let me coin a word—undeniable. The world’s leading climate entrepreneur’s new PowerPoint agitprop, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, hasn’t stirred the waters or warmed the air.

Take note of that bathetic subtitle, Truth to Power. With just about every government and sub-sovereign government in the world on side, every progressive university in full harmony, every pseudo-science radio and TV program treating global warming with the reverence only found these days among Scientologists and faith healing sorcerers, and every celebrity that owns a yacht and a private jet willing to swear, “It’s real and it’s happening,” which side do you think has the “Power?”

Not to mention the annual mass march of the penguins—sorry, my mistake—the annual trek (by jet) of the hordes of NGOs, Greenpeace camp followers, Green parties, and bureaucrats to Rio or Paris or Beijing or Marrakesh to piously intone The End is Near under the illustrious banner of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Conference of the Parties. All, of course, are lathered and lubricated by billions and billions of dollars in the fight against global warming, a.k.a., climate change, a.k.a. (for a little while there) global weirding. I think it’s fair to say the power and the publicity and the loot are squarely with the doomsayers of Camp Gore.

However, no Academy trinket, no Nobel olive leaf for the boring update—I don’t think it even made a showing at the Toronto International Film Festival (which is an omission worth noting when you consider that TIFF, the emporium of films fashionable, was willing to highlight the dreadful mother!, one of the bleakest flops of our time).

None of this, however, has cooled the troposphere as has the real news from an infinitely more prestigious source. From a number of venues normally in robotic lockstep with the great consensus of settled science, the London Times, the Washington Post, and even the maniacally warmist The Independent, a story emerges that the famous models of the global warming industry may have overstated the degree of global warming in the past two decades.

They do not say this on their own, mind you. That would localize the heresy, and no organ of respectable journalistic opinion is willing to go full apostate on the creed of the Ecopocalypse without external backup.

Instead, they issue the findings of the prestigious scientific oracle, Nature Geoscience, and the published work of two acknowledged experts in the field, Messers Myles Allen, professor of geo-system science at the University of Oxford, and Michael Grubb, a professor of international energy and climate change at University College London.

Be it noted: these two are not “deniers,” that being the vile term that those who champion global warming fling out with reckless ease at those who disagree with them. They deliberately, knowingly, associate their opponents with Holocaust denialism, without so much as an arched eyebrow of rebuke from the censors of political correctness. This stands in contrast to the stern policing from the commentariat when it comes to instances of “sexist” rhetoric. If we’re going to have standards on “correct” rhetoric, let’s have standards for all of it. No deniers, no Barbies.

The Geoscience article has it all. The models were wrong. They “were on the hot side.” They “overstated the impact of emissions.” From The Independent: “Michael Grubb… admitted his earlier forecasting models had overplayed how temperatures would rise.” As a consequence, the world now has a “larger carbon budget” than previously thought. There is, in other words, more time—the end is not as near as every crusader for the cause has insisted for the last 20 or 30 years.

One global warming scientist made a point everybody should pay attention to:

“Did the IPCC get it wrong? Just let me leave that question hanging for a while… While you ponder that question, it is worth noting that the authors of this paper developed the idea of carbon budgets, are the world leading experts on carbon budgets, and derived the carbon budgets in the IPCC process…”

Can these things be? Could even a smidgen of the skepticism some have been urging, some of the warnings that science and politics are a terrible blend, be justified? If those who design the models find the models have “overstated” matters, that the models “were too hot,” could we not find room to pause awhile before we redesign industrial civilization according to the imperatives of Al “The science is settled” Gore?

It isn’t settled. The science is emergent. The conclusions are at best tentative. I leave you with this consolation: All global warming predictions are infallible, but some global warming predictions are less infallible than others.”


Really dangerous climate change — The next ice age

Prudent Australian farmers take into account past climate events and provide for the risk of potential droughts and floods. No such past climate events have been taken into account with climate models based on theory and assumptions to predict the future. Unfortunately the predictions of  temperature from all the climate models have a record of exceeding the measured temperatures by a large margin for the last twenty years.

Model failures demonstrate the underlying theory and assumptions used are not supported by the results. This conclusion is further supported by evidence that the planet has continued to warm, with interruptions to the trend, independent of CO2 levels since the last Ice Age. For example the planet cooled from 1940 to 1976 while CO2 levels continued to rise. The absence of dangerous global warming is also relevant when past levels of CO2 were at least four times the present level.

The direct effect of higher CO2 levels as shown in the graph illustrates the diminishing global warming impact as CO2 levels increase. Climate models magnify this diminishing effect with a multiplier that results in increasing global warming.

We are at present at the 400 mark

The failure of models to predict future climate however does not support the multiplier assumption.

The dangerous global warming threat from using fossil fuels is therefore not supported either by climate models or evidence from past global climate experience.

As William Kininmonth, former Head of the National Climate Centre of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has observed, regard for earlier climate events is required to understand the future. It is clear from past Ice Ages that the next Ice Age should be the most serious climate event for humanity. During the Ice Age 22,000 years ago there was extensive permanent ice cover up to two kilometers thick. Sea levels fell 126 metres and there was mass extinction of species.

Nor has there been an appreciation that in the past carbon and energy stored in fossil fuels was CO2 and energy from the sun absorbed by various plant forms before conversion into fossil fuels.

There was no dangerous global warming prior to this period.

Accordingly the same CO2 when released from burning fossil fuels cannot be the cause of dangerous global warming as it did not do so in the first place.

Indeed the return of CO2, a plant food, to the atmosphere will benefit the planet with improved plant and forest growth. A benefit which satellites have already detected.

Nevertheless accepting the outcome of failed climate models has brought about policies which have made Australian power unreliable and moved costs from near the lowest to near the highest in the world despite subsidies of more than $3 billion per annum.

Families are struggling to meet their rising electricity bills. Jobs are threatened with industry in difficulty due to the increased cost of electricity.

There is an urgent need to bring power costs down. To do so Australia must follow other countries that are planning and installing 1200 clean high efficiency coal fired plants.

Australian industry will face competition in the domestic and export markets from companies having the significant advantage of low cost and reliable base power from these new plants.




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 September, 2017

Two New Boosts For Healthy Climate Scepticism

Two new boosts for skeptics recently.  We have already noted that the Warmist models are now acknowledged to have "run hot" (overestimated warming) but there are also now good indications that the influence of El Nino is over and temperatures are sinking back to their C20 norm. 

Even using the corrupt NASA/GISS data it is clear that 2017 is much cooler than 2016.  With only one small exception, in every month so far, 2017 has been cooler than the equivalent month in 2016.  The cooling has not yet got back to the C20 mean but it is clearly trending in that direction

Image from NASA/GISS

Confidence is rising in two key aspects of healthy climate scepticism. First, climate models have run “hot” and been wrong in predicting the speed and extent of warming. Second, the extended slowdown in the rate of warming since the turn of the century was real.

The jury is out on whether the so-called pause has ended but the bigger looming battle is whether machine learning and artificial intelligence will challenge the models on which much of the world’s climate understanding is built.

The British Met Office announced this week that temperature rises did slow for the 15 years to 2014.

More remarkable was a paper published in Nature Geoscience, by a team of international climate scientists, that says climate models have been “running hot”.

As a result, the team led by Richard Millar from the University of Exeter say the climate budget or amount of carbon dioxide that humans can emit before pushing warming past the aspirational 1.5C threshold is three times bigger than previously thought. This translates to a reprieve of at least 20 years — but the task still will be difficult and remains urgent, they say.

A report on the findings, also published in Nature, says the implications of the new research for global policymakers are significant. “Humanity is poised to blow through the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) carbon budget for a 1.5 C rise within a few years, leading many scientists to declare the goal impossible,” the report says. “But the new analysis suggests that it could be met with a modest strengthening of the current Paris pledges up to 2030, followed by sharp cuts in carbon emissions thereafter.”

The findings, together with the pause — which took place against a background of sharply rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere — and the failure of climate models to predict it, leave a question mark over exactly how sensitive the climate is to rising levels of carbon dioxide.

The issue of climate sensitivity remains hotly debated, as is the role of natural cycles, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Critics of the latest Nature Geoscience paper argue its findings are fundamentally flawed because they centre on a period of slower warming because of the “hiatus” when “natural variability in the climate system temporarily suppressed temperatures”.

The Met Office says the end of the pause is marked by rising temperatures across the past three years. But sceptics argue this uptick in temperatures coincided with El Nino weather conditions and may itself prove temporary.

Alongside debate about the pause, climate sensitivity, ocean cycles and model precision is new research analysing long-term natural cycles and proxy records — sometimes with artificial intelligence computer programs — to take a fresh look at what the past can tell us about the future.

A paper by Geli Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, examines natural cycles to try to answer the key question of whether natural events or carbon dioxide are mainly responsible for driving temperatures.

“Causality analysis in climate change is an active and challenging research area that remains highly uncertain,” the paper says.

“The IPCC advocates that human activity is the most important driving force of climate change, while some researchers have argued that natural forces might be the main cause.”

Wang analysed the Central England Temperature record, the world’s longest instrumental temperature record, for clues. “This investigation into the driving forces of climate change reproduces a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which may be connected to the El Nino–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively,” the paper says. “Moreover, these driving forces were modulated in amplitude by signals with millennial timescales.”

Other researchers have used proxy records and artificial intelligence computer programs to look for patterns in warming.

One paper, by John Abbot published in GeoResJ, uses a series of historic temperature proxy data sets such as tree rings to project what 20th-century warming would have been if there had not been an industrial revolution. Abbot found the IPCC methods over-estimate the role of human carbon dioxide emissions in temperature increase by a factor of six.

The use of proxy data, markers that scientists use for temperature change including coral, ice cores and tree rings, is widely accepted and formed the basis of the “hockey stick” predictions of runaway warming.

The findings of the Abbot paper, co-authored by Jennifer Marohasy, are supported by other international research.

German researchers Horst-Joachim Ludecke and Carl-Otto Weiss analyse other 2000-year-long proxy records. Like Abbot, they break the record into its component cycles and come to the same conclusion.

Another paper published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected a large number of proxies and used them to reconstruct a 2000-year temperature series.

Led by Quansheng Ge, the research found the most rapid warming in China was from 1870-2000, but “temperatures recorded in the 20th century may not be unprecedented for the last 2000 years, as data show records for the periods AD981-1100 and AD1201-70 are comparable to the present”.

Published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, the research illustrates the long-term natural oscillations in global temperatures across the past 2000 years. It clearly shows there was a Medieval Warm Period and then a Little Ice Age, with the medieval period about as warm as temperatures today.

“There is no reason to believe that cycles that have been present for thousands of years suddenly ceased to operate about a century ago,” Abbot says.

The key is to separate the natural cycles from the human influence. Abbot’s work suggests that even if there had been no industrial revolution and burning of fossil fuels, there still would have been some warming through the 20th century — to at least 1980. In short, he says it is possible to argue there was some impact from human activity but it was a lot less than the amount the IPCC required.


Germany’s $800 Billion Merkel-Made Climate Disaster

Germany has spent some 650 billion euros ($780 billion) on subsidies for green power in recent decades. But the country’s climate targets “won’t be a near miss but a booming failure.”

By 2030, the eastern German town of Poedelwitz will likely be razed to get at the rich veins of coal beneath its half-timbered houses. The reason: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to steer Germany toward greener energy, which has unexpectedly meant booming demand for dirty coal.

While Merkel aims to wean the country from nuclear power and boost renewable energy, the shift has been slow—Germany’s 140-plus coal-fired plants last year supplied 40 percent of the country’s electricity—and Poedelwitz is flanked by open-pit lignite mines that feed a 2 gigawatt power plant a few miles away.

“This is unparalleled destruction of the environment,” says Jens Hausner, a farmer who has seen 17 of his 20 hectares consumed by digging equipment that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. In a bit more than a decade, the hulking machines are expected to claw through the town’s 13th-century church and 40 or so remaining homes.

Fine-tuning the shift toward cleaner energy will be near the top of Merkel’s to-do list if she wins a fourth term as chancellor, as expected, in Sept. 24 elections. Germany began subsidizing wind and solar in 2000, but the pace picked up after 2011, when Merkel initiated her “Energy Shift” in reaction to the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Merkel aims to cut CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, and Germany has spent some 650 billion euros ($780 billion) on subsidies for green power in recent decades. But the country will at best get to 30 percent by 2020, according to Berlin climate researcher Agora Energiewende. Emission reductions “won’t be a near miss but a booming failure,” Agora researchers write.

That’s not to say Merkel’s policy has been a failure. Wind power alone has spawned 143,000 jobs, according to the BWE wind industry lobby, versus 135,000 who work in the traditional power sector and coal mining. More than a third of Germany’s electricity now comes from wind, solar and biomass, up from a quarter four years ago. And Germany is ahead of the European average, with emissions down 27 percent from 1990 levels, versus 22 percent for the 28 members of the European Union.

Merkel’s government says clean power investments will make Germany a global leader in the technologies, giving its manufacturers an edge for decades to come.  “For all the challenges of the Energy Shift, we’re on track to be at the forefront of a radical switch from a carbon-powered economy, ” her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said in an Aug. 29 speech in Leipzig.

The upside to the Energiewende can be seen in the North Sea port of Cuxhaven. Within a couple of years, about 1,000 people will work at Siemens AG’s new $240 million plant that manufactures massive turbines there. Those will be towed out into the windswept waters of the North Sea, where they’ll be mounted atop towers made a few hundred meters away by Ambau GmbH.

“We’ve benefitted from the Energy Shift, no doubt,” says Ulrich Getsch, mayor of Cuxhaven, which prevailed over scores of bidders to win the Siemens plant. There’s plenty of room for other green energy companies at the site, says Getsch, who aims to make the town “the hub of a boom.”

Yet the prosperity enjoyed by Cuxhaven and a handful of other towns has been fueled by generous government funding. Klaus Schaefer, chief executive officer of German utility Uniper SE, says subsidies have done little to rein in carbon emissions while forcing German companies to abandon valuable equipment. “It’s difficult to see a lot of winners from the energy transition,” Schaefer says.

Consumers bristle at the cost as Germany has the European Union’s second-highest rates for electricity after Denmark. A green surcharge raises German power bills by some 25 percent, to an average of about 29 euro cents (34.6 U.S. cents) per KW-h this year—more than triple the level in the U.S.


Unplugging the Electric Vehicle Summer of Love

It’s been a summer of unrequited love for electric vehicles. In July, Tesla finally rolled out its massively hyped Model 3. That same month, Volvo announced ambitious plans to go all-electric, or at least, all hybrid-electric. The British government declared it would ban the sale of “new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans” by 2040. The French government did the same, with the country’s new ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, declaring the move to EVs a “veritable revolution.”

Don’t buy the hype. The history of the electric vehicle is a century of failure tailgating failure.

There are three main problems with all-electric cars. Most important: they cost too much. Second, EVs compete with oil, which is cheap, and could get cheaper. Third, EVs compete with internal combustion engines, which are also cheap and getting cheaper.

To be sure, global EV sales are rising, they jumped 38 percent last year, and totaled 750,000 vehicles, worth $6 billion. Another $6 billion was spent on EV recharging spots. But drivers have been hearing about the promise of electric cars since the days of Thomas Edison, who in 1896 declared the EV won’t succeed because “the storage battery is too heavy.”

EV’s are still too expensive. Tesla’s Model 3 costs $35,000 before rebates. Why would the Benz and Beemer crowd buy a Tesla when a new BMW 3-series sedan can be had for $34,445? Oh, and that new Beemer gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway. And unlike the new Tesla, that BMW has effectively unlimited range, as it can be quickly refueled at tens of thousands of locations across the country, a luxury not afforded to subsidy-fueled EVs, which must be replenished, sometimes for hours, at special recharging stations.

Oil is cheap. The current price of gasoline is about $2.60 per gallon. That’s the same price as 2006. Plus, cars are getting more efficient, so drivers don’t need to buy as much gasoline to fuel their travels. Further, even if EVs gain significant market share, that would reduce gasoline demand, which would reduce prices and thereby make the liquid fuel even more competitive against EVs, whatever their range and price.

That doesn’t square with the “peak oil” crowd, which has been warning of doom for decades. Nor does it please the we-hate-foreign-oil-and-OPEC crowd.

Nevertheless, history shows that the global market has always had too much oil, not too little. That was proved by Hurricane Harvey. The catastrophic storm caused oil prices to fall, not rise. That’s the opposite of what is supposed to happen. Nevertheless, it showed just how much oil is sloshing around the global economy.

While EVs had a summer of romance, pundits are ignoring the fact that global automakers have been continually improving the engines first conceived of by Nickolaus Otto and Rudolf Diesel. Things like electronic ignition systems, better lubricants and improved metallurgy have made engines smaller, lighter, denser and more powerful.

They are also getting cleaner and more efficient. In 2015, Toyota introduced a new turbo-diesel that is 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor. The Japanese automaker is now cranking out 700,000 of the new diesels every year — a number equal to the global sales of EVs.

In 2019, Mazda will begin selling cars with HCCI engines, which stands for homogeneous charge compression ignition, a technology that allows gasoline engines to act like diesels under low-power demand thereby improving efficiency by 20 percent to 30 percent.  At the August unveiling of the new powerplant, Mazda said it aims to “perfect the internal combustion engine,” which “will help power the majority of cars worldwide for many years to come and can therefore make the greatest contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

To be sure, the electrification of the automobile is continuing. Hybrid vehicles are here to stay and will account for a growing share of auto sales. But it’s also obvious that the car of the future will look a lot like the ones we’re driving now. That is, they won’t be plugging in, they will be gassing up.


Irma illusions – and realities

If human emissions made Irma worse, did they also bring the 12-year lull in Cat 4-5 hurricanes?

Paul Driessen

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought out the best in us. Millions of Americans are giving money, toil and sweat to help victims rebuild. Unfortunately, the storms also highlighted some people’s baser instincts.

Some advanced ideological commitments to campaigns to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” raise energy costs and reduce living standards. Others hyped Harvey’s record rainfalls, claiming carbon dioxide emissions made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden. A few were just obnoxious.

These storms are a product of “this administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness,” activist Jenny Marienau fumed. “How many once-in-a-lifetime storms will it take, until everyone admits manmade climate change is real?!” Daily Show comedian Trevor Noah fulminated.

Perhaps these newly minted “experts” received mail-order degrees in climatology or meteorology – or recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. They should at least take a few minutes to review hurricane and climate history, and talk to real climatologists and meteorologists, before launching tirades.

My geology, ecology and other studies taught me that climate change has been “real” throughout history. I’ve learned to be humble, respectful and vigilant in the face of nature’s power; to recognize that climate shifts can range from beneficial or benign to harmful or unbelievably destructive; and to understand that the sun and other powerful natural forces totally dwarf whatever meager powers humans might muster to alter or control Earth’s climate and weather.

Harvey marked the end of a record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes hitting the US mainland. The previous 8-year record was set 1860-1869. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division counts ten Category 4-5 monsters 1920-1969 (50 years) hitting the USA, but only three 1970-2016 (46 years). This year has brought two more, and the hurricane season isn’t over yet.

If Harvey and Irma were caused or intensified by human greenhouse gas emissions, shouldn’t those gases be credited for the 12-year lull and half-century decline in Cat 4-5 landfalling storms? For Irma’s changed intensity and route as it reached Florida and headed north? Certainly not.

If fossil fuels caused Harvey’s rainfall, were previous deluges like Hurricane Easy (45 inches in Florida, 1950), Tropical Cyclone Amelia (48 inches in Texas, 1978) and Tropical Storm Claudette (a record 43 inches in 24 hours on Alvin, Texas, 1979) the result of lower fossil fuel use back then? Highly unlikely.

Indeed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concludes that neither the frequency of North Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, nor their energy level, has displayed any trend since 1950. Despite slightly warmer ocean waters in some regions, global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) levels in recent years have been at their lowest levels since the late 1970s.

When the []Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in its cyclical positive phase, the tropics, west coast of North America and our Earth overall get warmer; cooling occurs during the PDO’s negative phase. The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) also cycles between warm and cool phases, affecting regional and planetary temperatures, as well as hurricane formation, strength and duration.

Any link between hurricanes and human carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions is nebulous, tenuous and very poorly understood at this time. Asserted links to recent hurricanes are ideological illusions.

Hurricane Irma remained symmetrical and grew in size and intensity into the massive Category 5 hurricane seen in satellite photos, because it remained over warm water for a week as it crossed the Atlantic and Caribbean – and was not pulled apart by mid-altitude wind sheer – weather experts explained. Its encounter with Cuba’s coastal lands and mountains finally reduced its wind speeds and disrupted its symmetry.

Over Florida, strong north-to-south winds high in the atmosphere clipped the top off the hurricane. That further disturbed Irma’s shape and intensity, and steered the storm westward as it traveled north up the Citrus State. As is usually the case with storms moving north over Florida and parallel to its west coast, Irma’s front wall began to pull in both drier air and upwelling water. The bigger the storm the more it does this, WeatherBELL Analytics chief forecaster Joe Bastardi explained.

All these factor combined to slow whirling winds in the storm’s eyewall still more. It began wobbling on its axis, and Irma gradually became a disorganized tropical storm after it pounded Fort Meyers.

As to Hurricane Harvey, consulting meteorologist Joe D’Aleo notes that “hurricanes entering Texas are almost always very wet and often stall or meander.” This year, a large cool trough trapped Harvey and kept it from moving inland, enabling the Gulf of Mexico to feed it trillions of gallons of water for days, said Bastardi. It was “an unusual confluence of events,” said Weather Channel founder John Coleman, “but it was certainly not unprecedented.”

If there was a “human factor” in Harvey and Irma, climate alarmists need to explain exactly where it was, how big it was and what role it played. They must present hard evidence to show that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions played a significant role amid, and compared to, the hundreds of natural forces involved in these storms. Their loud rhetoric only highlights their failure and inability to do so.

In fact, the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions, whose origins and mechanisms are still unknown: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few.

The combination of all these factors – plus weather fronts and land masses along the way – determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts, and what track it follows.

Damage from hurricanes has certainly increased over the years. But that is because far more people now live and work in far more expensive communities along America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Since 1920, Greater Houston has grown from 138,000 people to 5.7 million; Miami from 43,000 to 6.1 million; Tampa from 50,000 to 3 million.

Meanwhile, death tolls have declined – at least in countries where fossil fuels, highways and modern technologies enable us to construct stronger buildings, track storms, warn, evacuate and rescue people, and bring in water, food, clothing, and materials to rebuild power lines and buildings in stricken areas.

Over 6,000 people perished in the 1900 Category 4 Galveston Hurricane, 2,500 in the 1928 Okeechobee, Florida Category 4 hurricane and storm surge. More than 1,800 died in Katrina (Category 3), due largely to corrupt and incompetent local and state governments.

Thanks to better preparation, warning and evacuation, overall tragic deaths were kept to 82 from Harvey and 93 from Irma. Incredibly, despite the vicious 185-mph winds that reduced most of Anguilla and Barbuda to rubble, Irma killed only one person on those Caribbean islands.

Even in recent years, cyclones and hurricanes have brought far more death and destruction to poor nations where modern energy and technology are still limited or nonexistent: 400,000 dead in Bangladesh in 1970, 138,000 in Myanmar in 2008, and 19,000 from Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998.

It may be fashionable to focus on alleged “social costs of carbon” and asserted fossil fuel contributions to extreme weather events. But it is essential that we never forget the enormous benefits these fuels bring.

Our Earth is a complex, wondrous, resilient planet. But it can unleash incredible fury. Wealthy, technologically advanced nations fueled by oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power are far better able to avoid, survive and recover from those disasters. We must count our blessings, but always be prepared.

Via email

Are DAMS the solution to "renewable" power?  You've got to be joking!  Dams are the original hate-object of the Greens

Notice that the word "dam" is not mentioned below.  They talk of "pumped hydro" without saying what the water will be pumped into.  Quite hilarious!  A pumped hydro scheme in fact requires TWO dams.  Is there no limit to deceptive journalism from the Green/Left?

Australia has more than 22,000 sites around the country that could be suitable for pumped hydro storage, according to a study by the Australian National University.

The report, details of which were obtained by Fairfax Media ahead of a public release on Thursday, extends work published last month. That partial study found 5000 suitable sites in Queensland and Tasmania.

The additional data shows that NSW has the most prospective locations in the country, with about 8500 identified by the ANU team led by Professor Andrew Blakers. Victoria had about 4400 sites, placing it second among the states.

Australia would only require a tiny fraction of these sites - for about 450 gigawatt-hours worth of storage - to underpin a 100 per cent renewable electricity system, Professor Blakers said in a statement.

"Fast tracking the development of a few of the best sites by 2022 could balance the grid when Liddell and other coal power stations close," he said, referring to the 1680-megawatt coal-fired power plant the federal government is trying to strong-arm AGL Energy to keep open five years beyond the 2022 scheduled close.

"We found so many good potential sites that only the best 0.1 per cent will be needed," he said. "We can afford to be choosy."

Interest in pumped hydro has increased in the wake of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's much-publicised twin visits to the Snowy Hydro scheme since March.

The ANU study, though, highlights the possibility of many alternative, smaller projects that could be completed sooner than the Snowy upgrade. Such ventures may also be less challenging than drilling many kilometres of tunnels under the Snowy region.

"Instead of propping up dirty old coal-fired power stations like Liddell, Malcolm Turnbull should be investing in energy storage now," Adam Bandt, Greens spokesman for climate change and energy, said.

"Snowy 2.0 is years away, but there are plenty of sites for smaller, flexible dispatchable pumped hydro that could be up and running in a couple of years if [he and energy minister] Josh Frydenberg showed some real leadership," Mr Bandt said.

Of the other states to be revealed in the new report, Western Australia has about 3800 prospective pumped hydro locations, and the Northern Territory 1500. Queensland has about 1770 and Tasmania 2050 and South Australia 185.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Frydenberg's office, which declined to release the ANU report.

A spokesman pointed to comments made by the PM earlier this month, saying that keeping Liddell open for another five years would give time for Snowy 2.0 - with its proposed 2000 MW capacity - to come on line.

Making 100 per cent possible

With pumped storage, water is kept in an upper reservoir and run through a turbine at a lower altitude to provide electricity during periods when supplies are otherwise low. The water can later be pumped uphill from a lower reservoir when electricity supplies are in surplus.

Typically, the height difference between upper and lower reservoirs measured for the prospective sites was at least 300 metres.

"All the potential sites we have found are outside national parks and urban areas, and like all hydro power can go from zero to full power very quickly," Professor Blakers said in August when the initial study results were released.

That partial research, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, identified pumped storage sites with capacity ranging from 0.9 to 100 gigawatt-hours – or as much as 1000 times being proposed for a giant battery being built for South Australia by Tesla.

At the time Professor Blakers said batteries also had the disadvantage of lifetime use of eight to 15 years at current technology, compared with 50 years for hydro plants.

Pumped hydro is one of the possible technology solutions to firming up renewable energy for when the sun is not shining or the wind blowing.

The Finkel Review identified the need to provide back-up capacity as one of the potential road blocks hindering much greater penetration of clean energy as a share of national electricity supplies.

The extended atlas of sites will build on the partial study of the states to reinforce the view that Australia could shift to 100 per cent renewable if enough pumped storage is made available.

 "About 3600 hectares of reservoir is required to support a 100 per cent renewable energy grid for Australia, which is five parts per million of Australia's land mass," Matthew Stocks from the ANU Research School of Engineering said in August. "Annual water requirements would be less than one per cent of annual extraction from the Murray River."




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 September, 2017

Climate Models Stink

Skeptics have been pointing out for years that Warmist climate models "run hot"  -- i.e. predict much more warming than ever happens -- but they were ignored.  Now that the gap has become unmistakeable and mainstream climate scientists admit it, big "attitude adjustments" are needed.  Do the models have any correspondence with reality at all?   

Climate alarmists and “settled science” extortionists have a rather incredulous response to a new study appearing in Nature Geoscience. The study takes a fresh look at the “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain endurable temperatures. According to the study, compiled by a consortium of scientists from all over the world, the doomsday clock remains, but it’s been extended by quite some time.

The Washington Post calls the finding “a potential whiplash moment” that “was published by a number of researchers who have been deeply involved in studying the concept, making it all the more unexpected.” According to the study, contrary to previous disquisitions, it is possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), or what most scientists concur is a critical —but largely out-of-reach — global warming threshold. “It had been widely assumed that this stringent target would prove unachievable,” the Post reports, “but the new study would appear to give us much more time to get our act together if we want to stay below it.”

The Post says that, based on new calculations, “We have more than 700 billion tons left to emit to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, with a two-thirds probability of success.” According to co-author Richard Millar, “That’s about 20 years at present-day emissions.” The hope is that this buys enough time to more robustly mitigate global warming’s effects. Predictably, however, the study is already being downplayed. But it’s important to understand why the researchers came to this conclusion. For us so-called climate skeptics, it’s not surprising in the least.

According to researcher Joeri Rogelj, “The most complex Earth system models that provided input to [the IPCC] tend to slightly overestimate historical warming, and at the same time underestimate compatible historical CO2 emissions. These two small discrepancies accumulate over time and lead to an [sic] slight underestimation of the remaining carbon budget.” Rogelj’s colleague Pierre Friedlingstein echoed this point: “The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower.” In other words, the models were too rambunctious.

The problem of overly ambitious global warming projections is well known. Climatologists like Dr. Roy Spencer and John Christy have found that climate models are grossly exaggerating future warming. What’s interesting is that some mainstream scientists are finally — perhaps because the facts leave them with no alternative — addressing this reality. How the rest of their peers are likely to respond is less encouraging. It’s also worth repeating that the true effects of global warming are still unknown and probably excessively dramatized. But at least this study tries to incorporate some authenticity.


Cut Green Taxes Now! Scientists Admit Overstating Global Warming

Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly Ł111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures.

But critics now say this should be reduced because it is based on outdated information. They point that out the taxes further push up the cost of living as companies and the public sector pass the costs on to consumers.

Nearly all of the world’s governments are signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels. Many commentators believed this was practically impossible.

 Green taxes on familiesż energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday (file photo)

 Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.
But now a leading group of climate researchers has said that projections used in previous studies were too pessimistic and the 1.5C target was achievable, provided strict cuts to carbon dioxide were made.

The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on climate policy, claimed there was no reason to change its targets for cutting carbon in the light of the new paper.

But critics said that, as these estimates formed the basis of UK energy policy, it was also time to rethink the green taxes on energy intended to address them.

John Constable, [GWPF Energy Editor and] chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which opposes subsidies to wind farms said: ‘This research has confirmed what a lot of people have known.

‘What is significant is establishment figures are now admitting it. [Policy-makers] should stop panicking and focus on cutting costs to consumers.’ The researchers, in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience, had said the world can emit around 240billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – around 20 years of current emissions – and still meet the 1.5C target.

Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London, admitted his predictions had been too pessimistic.

 Around 10 per cent of a familyżs energy bill ż roughly Ł111 a year ż is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly Ł111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)
‘When the facts change, I change my mind, as [economist John Maynard] Keynes said,’ Dr Grubb told The Times.

‘It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.’

Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, said: ‘What we really need to [ask] is how do we spend our money, how much should we spend on cutting CO2, compared to all the other things we should spend on [such as] the NHS. Are we spending too much on achieving too little?’

The Government has ordered a review of energy bills, headed by Oxford academic Professor Dieter Helm, although detailed recommendations of tax cuts do not form part of his brief.


Leftist Global Warming Mythology

By Bruce Walker

The left's response to the natural disasters in Florida was to raise again the bogeyman of man-made global warming.  The left blames every natural disaster or significant change in weather on man-made global warming.  So if the weather is unseasonably hot, man-made global warming is the culprit, but if the weather is unseasonably cold, the man-made global warming is to blame as well.  The "science" of the left simply plugs in man-made global warming to every natural disaster or significant change in the weather.

This is anti-science in its purest form.  Totalitarianism – and the left is utterly totalitarian – always claims to base its actions upon "science."  So the Nazis insisted and persuaded many scientists involved in genetics, psychology, biology, and so forth to agree with Nazi racial policies as "scientific," and almost everything that happened was accounted for by the Nazis as part of racial "science."  So the Soviets coerced all scientists to accept as an overarching "science" Marxism, and so geneticists and physicists were sent to the Gulag or worse if their scientific discoveries conflicted with Marxist "science."

The settled "science," which is to say anti-science, is screeched by the left despite the fact that more than 4,000 scientists, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from more than 100 nations signed the Heidelberg Appeal, which explicitly challenged politically correct science and warned against "irrational ideology" and "pseudoscientific arguments of false and nonrelevant data."

Even more interesting is the Oregon Petition from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which explicitly stated that there was "no convincing scientific evidence" of global warming and noted that rising carbon dioxide is beneficial to plants and animals.  This petition has been signed by more than 30,000 scientists in America.

The left assumes global warming when a truly scientific analysis of the data could mean a stable climate, a cooling climate (which is what the great scientist Sir Fred Hoyle believed was the case at the end of the last century), or global warming.  The left not only prostitutes science into insisting upon man-made global warming, but ignores any explanation for climate change, assuming that climate change is real, which conflicts with its politically correct theory of man-made global warming.

So the left ignores dramatic changes in global climate about which we have abundant evidence, scientific and documentary, based upon people living in these periods.  During the Roman Warm Period, the climate was 2? to 6? hotter than it is today.  The Dark Age Cold Period saw a significantly cooler climate than today.  The Medieval Warming Period, which lasted centuries, saw the climate 3? warmer than it is today, and the Little Ice Age, which ended shortly before the American Civil War, saw temperatures 2? lower than today.

None of these climatic changes in temperature can be explained by human activity, and all of them produced changes greater than what the Chicken Little leftists claim will produce the end of civilization.

The left also ignores explanations for any global warming that do not involve human activity.  Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research in Denmark, proposes a new theory for possible global warming and a new discipline, cosmoclimatology.  Svensmark shows how cosmic rays have affected the climate on Earth over thousands of years.  Perhaps even more persuasive, Svensmark notes that the climate changes of Mars track very closely the climate changes on Earth and that these changes fit closely into his theory that climate change is caused by cosmic rays and other forces of nature operating outside Earth.  This does not preclude global warming; rather, it finds that natural forces, cosmic forces, in this case, account for global warming and not human activity.

So why does the left love its silly theory of man-made global warming?  Why does the left violently resist scientific opinions to the contrary?  Because all the left really cares about is power, just like its close cousins, Marxism and Nazism.  Man-made global warming demands – or rather, the left demands on behalf of its pet theory – a concentration of power away from the people and to remote, insulated, arrogant political bosses.

Whatever happens in any area of life produces the same shrill cry for statist power by the left, no matter what the problem may be or how badly the left's "solution" to the problem may have failed in the past.  Power, power, power and power is all the left loves.


How Obama's EPA Nearly Bankrupted John Duarte's Farm

A controversial rule on water pollution allowed the agency to micromanage private land use

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has set out to transform the agency he leads to a greater extent than any of Trump's other cabinet appointees, pledging to end what he dubbed the agency's "anti-energy agenda" by loosening requirements on carbon emissions and eliminating land use restrictions.

In his first speech to EPA employees, Pruitt laid out his goal of returning the agency to its core focus of protecting the environment while following what he called "the letter of the law."

"I believe that we as an agency, and we as a nation, can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment," Pruitt told his staff.

Environmentalists vehemently opposed Pruitt's appointment, depicting him as a climate change denier determined to undermine the EPA's core mission of protecting the environment.

One of Pruitt's first targets is a controversial rule on water pollution put in place by the Obama administration that he deemed a "power grab" by environmental regulators.

To better understand why property rights advocates applauded the move, consider the case of fourth-generation farmer John Duarte, who has fought a protracted and costly legal battle with federal regulators over how to till his 450-acre farm in Tehama County, California.

In 2012, the Army Corps of Engineers, working in conjunction with the EPA, accused Duarte of damaging wetland features on his property. He was hit with $30 million in fines and restoration fees.

Duarte's troubles stemmed from a 2015 provision in the Clean Water Act known as the Waters of the United States rule that was meant to better protect large bodies of water by regulating use of the streams, ponds, and ditches that flow into them. The EPA has used this provision to micromanage private land use.

The agency accused Duarte of mismanaging the wetland areas located on his property, claiming that his four-inch plow furrows created small mountain ranges. They contend Duarte should have obtained a permit before tilling his own land.

"The average time to obtain a Clean Water Act permit is close to two years, and the average cost just to hire the consultants and do the studies to get permits approaches a quarter of a million dollars," says Anthony François, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation who represented Duarte in his case against the government. "Clearly if you had to undertake that kind of cost and time just to get the necessary permit to plow your fields every year you're not going to grow a lot of food."

In 2016, attorneys general from 31 states (including Pruitt) challenged the Obama administration's overreach on the Clean Water Act. The case is still active in federal court.

University of Virginia Law Professor Jason Scott Johnston, who is also an adjunct scholar at the libertarian CATO Institute, believes it's likely the Supreme Court would strike down the 2015 water regulation. He says that the Obama administration expanded the definition of wetlands beyond the parameters set by the Court in the 2007 Rapanos v. United States decision.

"The broad trend of environmental regulation during the Obama administration was to use the coercive threat or reality of regulation simply to try to shut down entire industries and entire types of economic activity," says Johnston. "They have promulgated a definition of wetlands which clearly contradicts what the Supreme Court said."

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the EPA to repeal the Waters of the United States rule, but getting the regulation off the books could take several years and be delayed by legal challenges from environmental groups.

Meanwhile, Duarte settled his case in August for $1.1 million to avoid paying a significantly larger fine. He hopes Pruitt's focus on regulatory rollback will restore farmers' property rights.

"We become peasants where these federal prosecutors can come in like the Sheriff of Nottingham, decide for themselves what they think a family can pay," Duarte says. "If the federal prosecutors can come on this land with this set of facts, there is no farm in America that is safe from this kind of prosecution."


The UN Climate Panel Cannot Be Trusted

In his Opening Statement on September 6 at the 46th Session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Montreal, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee asserted that “Science underpins the negotiating process and provides the evidence base for sound policy.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The IPCC is highly biased and simply ignores findings that do not conform with the climate alarm.

This is because, contrary to its original purpose of studying all climate change, the IPCC role is now:

to assess …the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced [bold added] climate change…
The problem is, you cannot determine the human effect unless you know the extent and cause of natural climate change. And, of course, if human-induced climate change was found to be trivial, there would be no reason for the IPCC to exist. The IPCC therefore always supports the climate scare, no matter what the science reveals.

The IPCC’s narrow mandate is one of the results of the definition of climate change given by the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention asserts:

“Climate Change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods.”

Since the IPCC is required to support the Framework Convention, the IPCC had to adopt the UNFCCC’s political definition of climate change. This results in policy-makers, not scientists, leading the process. Indeed, IPCC vice-chair Thelma Krug admitted as much when, according to the Canadian Press (Sep 6, 2017), she said that scientists are guided by policy-makers in 195 member states. Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor Richard Lindzen was not exaggerating when he said that the supposed scientific consensus was reached before the research had even begun.




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 September, 2017

Trump administration working toward renewed drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in more than 30 years, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling.

Congress has sole authority to determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within the refuge’s 19.6 million acres. But seismic studies represent a necessary first step, and Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation to permit them.

The effort represents a twist in a political fight that has raged for decades. The remote and vast habitat, which serves as the main calving ground for one of North America’s last large caribou herds and a stop for migrating birds from six continents, has served as a rallying cry for environmentalists and some of Alaska’s native tribes. But state politicians and many Republicans in Washington have pressed to extract the billions of barrels of oil lying beneath the refuge’s coastal plain.

Democrats have managed to block them through votes in the Senate and, in one instance in 1995, by a presidential veto.

In an Aug. 11 memo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting director James W. Kurth instructed the agency’s Alaska regional director to update a rule that allowed exploratory drilling between Oct. 1, 1984, and May 31, 1986, by striking those calendar constraints.

Doing so would eliminate an obstacle that was the subject of a court battle as recently as two years ago.

“When finalized, the new regulation will allow for applicants to [submit] requests for approval of new exploration plans,” Kurth wrote in the memo.

If the rule is finalized after a public comment period, companies would have to bid on conducting the seismic studies. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in a June 27 memo, obtained by Trustees for Alaska through a federal records request, that this work would cost about $3.6 million.

With oil prices averaging around $50 per barrel, potentially too low to justify a significant investment in drilling in the refuge, it is unclear how much interest companies would have. Some might consider proceeding with those studies to get a better sense of the area’s potential.

The behind-the-scenes push to open up the refuge — often referred to by its acronym, ANWR — comes as longtime drilling proponents occupy key positions at the Interior Department.

Its No. 2 official, David Bernhardt, represented Alaska in its unsuccessful 2014 suit to force then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to allow exploratory drilling there. Joseph Balash, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Interior assistant secretary for land and minerals management, asked federal officials to turn a portion of the refuge over to the state when he served as Alaska’s natural resources commissioner. The state’s plan was to offer the land for leasing.

During a stop in Anchorage on May 31, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he hoped to jump-start energy exploration on Alaska’s North Slope in part by updating resource assessments of the refuge.

“I’m a geologist. Science is a wonderful thing. It helps us understand what is going on deep below the surface of the Earth,” Zinke said at the time. “We need to use science to update our understanding of the [coastal plain] of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Congress considers important legislation to responsibly develop there one day.”

The Fish and Wildlife memo notes that the Interior Department asked it “to update the regulations concerning the geological and geophysical exploration” of that coastal area but does not identify who issued the directive.

An Interior official said in an email Friday that the department is “required by law — the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act — to allow for seismic surveys in wildlife refuges across Alaska.”

“Hundreds of seismic surveys have been conducted on Alaska’s north slope — many of them on ANWR’s borders,” the official added.

Both the Clinton and Obama administrations concluded that the department was legally barred from permitting seismic studies in the refuge. And environmentalists have consistently opposed such activity, which sends shock waves underground. They say it would disturb denning polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as musk oxen and other Arctic animals.

Environmental groups would be likely to challenge any decision to conduct seismic work in the refuge in federal court.


What's With the Paris Climate Accord?

Is Trump out or still in? That depends on what happens with ongoing negotiations for a "better" deal.

This weekend The Wall Street Journal published a “bombshell” report in which it alluded to President Donald Trump’s reneging on his previous decision to exit the Paris climate accord. The Journal’s initial headline, “Trump Administration Won’t Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal,” suggested that a major shift had occurred. The truth is that there is less “news” here than what’s implied — yet at the same time, it indicates that more skepticism was warranted when Trump made his initial announcement.

The Journal began its report: “The Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement to fight climate change ‘under the right conditions,’ offering to re-engage in the international deal three months after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out if it didn’t find more favorable terms. During a climate-change meeting Saturday of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union, in Montreal, U.S. officials broached revising U.S. climate-change goals, two participants said, signaling a compromise that would keep the U.S. at the table even if it meant weakening the international effort.”

None of this is inconsistent with the president’s initial proclamation. On June 1, Trump stated: “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord … but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair [emphasis added].”

In this sense, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters is correct in saying, “There has been no change in the U.S.‘s position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.” Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do in June. The Journal headline now reads less assertively, “Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”

Perhaps the lesson here is that conservatives should have been more skeptical from the get-go. As his statement proves, Trump hinted in June that the U.S. wasn’t necessarily walking away from the Paris climate accord. The bigger concern is whether any final decision will contradict Trump’s campaign pledge. In May 2016, he said, “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He should be reminded that any U.S. partnership with the UN on this matter would betray his constituency.

Of course, we don’t know what the terms or conditions of a refined deal would look like. But Trump also needs to understand that global accords, particularly environmental ones, are a dangerous game. His advisers need to be very direct and insistent on the fact that partner nations cannot be trusted to fulfill their end of the bargain. The Paris accord’s biggest advocates have their eyes set on the redistribution of wealth, which is what the accord would facilitate. Whatever his end game is, it’s imperative that Trump refuse any “deal” that harms business or uses any tax dollars to fund a statist scheme.

And, oh, by the way, the science isn’t settled. Oxford researchers have released some interesting findings on the so-called “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain temperatures. The Washington Post notes, “Any substantial revision to the carbon budget would have major implications, changing our ideas of how rapidly countries will need to ratchet down their greenhouse gas emissions in coming years and, thus, the very workings of global climate policymaking.” Well, how about that?


Bad Policies Make Hurricane Disasters Worse

Natural disasters, it’s often said, bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, the very same people who act as Good Samaritans during times of crisis often advocate government policies that unintentionally make such disasters worse. In the case of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the counterproductive policies include National Flood Insurance and laws against “price gouging.”

Most people intuitively grasp that lowering the cost of certain behaviors encourages more of it—a phenomenon called “moral hazard”—but they often fail to grasp the scope and power of such inducements. National Flood Insurance, which subsidizes flood insurance premiums, has had a profoundly undesirable effect: it has encouraged construction in flood-prone Houston, whose population has increased 23 percent since the massive flooding caused by tropical storm Allison in 2001. “Congress should get rid of [National Flood Insurance],” write Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell and Berry College economist Phillip Magness in an op-ed at “It encourages bad choices, which produce bad results.”

Laws against so-called price gouging are another well-meaning disaster policy with disastrous consequences. A price is a signal wrapped up in an incentive (as one economics textbook eloquently put it). Thus, when Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi announced that sellers who hiked prices of useful goods during Irma would face a fine of $1,000 per violation, she was disrupting the signals and incentives that would have communicated the relative importance and scarcity of those goods, encouraged their conservation, and helped bring forth additional supplies. In other words, she encouraged shortages. “Keeping prices low is pointless if there’s nothing left to buy,” write Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall and University of Tampa economist Michael Coon in an op-ed in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel. Such price controls, they conclude, “harm the very people they are intended to help.”


Forest Stewardship vs. Environmental Fanaticism

Trump addresses the growing problem of western forest fires via the promotion of responsible logging practices.

The West is on fire. While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have held much of the nation’s attention, folks living in the more sparsely populated western states have been enduring another natural disaster. This summer alone some 47,000 wildfires have destroyed eight million acres — that’s an area the size of Maryland. Not only have forests, homes and wildlife habitat been destroyed but air pollution levels have spiked in the West’s normally pristine mountain air. And the ugly truth is that over the past several years the frequency and size of these western forest fires have been increasing.

What has caused this problem? While ecofascists like to blame climate change, the real culprit is misguided government policy. During Bill Clinton’s time in office, new Forest Service policies were enacted to appease environmentalists. These policies sharply reduced logging and roadbuilding in national forests. It is this mismanagement practice by the Forest Service that can be tied to the increase in disease- and insect-infested forests, which have become literal tinderboxes ready and waiting to be ignited.

Not only have the Clinton-era policy changes proven destructive to America’s forests, they have been financially costly. Before Clinton, the Forest Service spent 16% of its annual budget fighting wildfires; in 2015, it was over 50%. Since 1990, more than 450 firefighters have lost their lives fighting wildfires, many of which could have been prevented had responsible logging been allowed.

The solution to poor logging practices is not to shut down logging but to promote responsible logging. Forests are valuable renewable resources that should be constructively managed, not left as tinder for the next devastating and massively polluting wildfire.

This is a bipartisan issue within local communities affected by these fires, precisely because the cause of the problem is undeniable and the solution is an obvious one. However, that hasn’t stopped out-of-state environmentalist groups from seeking to stop responsible national forest stewardship. In Montana, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan are suing to stop the state from thinning the Flathead National Forest. One would think that these environmentalists would embrace practical solutions for protecting the environment and decreasing air-pollution, but no. Once again an illogical emotional ideology trumps any rational solutions for these ecofascists.

Thankfully, Donald Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who is from Montana, is aggressively acting to correct the Forest Service’s mismanagement problem. Last week, Zinke issued a memo to park and land management officials instructing them to aggressively begin clearing out dead and dying trees on federal lands. The memo states that the aim is to “proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction managements to save lives, homes and wildlife habitat.” It will take time, but hopefully, through proper forest management the threats posed by these massive forest fires will significantly decrease, and the West’s forest will be healthier for it.


Prominent Australian conservative to vote against "clean" energy

Tony Abbott has warned he'll vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him. "He has let the government know his position. He won't vote for a clean energy target," a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.

In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.

"It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labor's climate change obsessions to go down this path," he writes.

Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the world's largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the world's highest power prices.   "But that's what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion."

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subsidies for renewable energy and encouraging coal-fired power.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to keep the company's NSW Hunter Valley power station Liddell open beyond its planned 2022 closure.




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 September, 2017

Newspaper criticized for climate skepticism

Paper criticized for including data from an El Nino year -- but Warmists almost universally did that recently.  I wonder will they be criticized by press regulators?  The "Mail" should haul the "Guardian" before the same regulators

Claims in the Mail on Sunday that global warming data had been exaggerated in order to secure the Paris climate change agreement have been criticised by the UK’s press regulator.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation censured the newspaper for publishing a story in early February that was flawed in key aspects. The news story suggested that data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s gold-standard sources of weather and climate research, had been treated in such a way as to suggest greater warming than had really occurred.

The research hinged on the "pause" in global warming that had been seized on by dismissers of climate change as evidence that the concerns of mainstream scientists had been overblown. The so-called pause or hiatus has long been a contentious issue in climate science. The outlier year of 1998 was exceptionally hot, owing to a strong El Nińo, and these record temperatures were not surpassed for several years.

This allowed sceptics to claim that global warming had stopped until 2013. However, as mainstream scientists pointed out, the years following 1998 still exhibited an upward temperature trajectory compared with the long-term average, so while the upward march of temperatures was slightly slower, and some years were cooler than others, talk of a "pause" that suggested an end to global warming was misleading.

The Mail on Sunday article alleged that the NOAA had taken data that was "unverified" and used it to suggest the pause had not happened.

Ipso ruled that the Mail on Sunday had "failed to take care over the accuracy of the article and had then failed to correct these significantly misleading statements". Further, a graph published with the article that purported to show large differences between NOAA’s published data and data on warming from other sources was found to be wrong, owing to the newspaper’s "failure to plot the lines correctly".

Some of these examples were deemed to constitute breaches of the editorial code to which newspapers sign up.

David Rose, the author of the original story, frequently writes on global warming, often reporting on sceptics’ views on climate science. He is a respected journalist and won the British Press Awards’ prestigious reporter of the year title for 2015. He writes frequently on issues such as police corruption and miscarriages of justice.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, pursued the Ipso claim against the newspaper. He said: "Fake news stories about climate change are a significant threat to the public interest in the UK, US and other countries. The expert community must continue to fight back against the deluge of propaganda from climate change deniers."

He said several other media outlets had repeated the false claims, and they had even been cited in a letter to NOAA from a leading committee chairman in the US Congress. He called the Ipso ruling "a significant victory".

A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said: "The subject of the rate of climate change is fiercely debated, with reputable scientists taking positions on both sides. The Mail on Sunday has published articles that challenge some widely held opinions. The complainant in this case is a professional spokesman for two academic institutions involved in the debate. He has complained to the press regulator on three previous occasions about our articles on climate change, but those complaints were rejected."

The spokesman added: "This newspaper is fully committed to the principle of independent press regulation and is a member of Ipso. We are disappointed with this finding, but we accept it and are publishing the adjudication with prominence in the newspaper and online."

Not all of the complaints made by Ward against Rose’s article were upheld, and some of those upheld reflected narrow technical points, for instance over the archiving of data.


Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests

Big climbdown

Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

An unexpected "revolution" in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

They also condemned the "overreaction" to the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.

According to the models used to draw up the agreement, the world ought now to be 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th-Century average, whereas the most recent observations suggest it is actually between 0.9 to 1 degree above.

The discrepancy means nations could continue emitting carbon dioxide at the current rate for another 20 years before the target was breached, instead of the three to five predicted by the previous model.

"When you are talking about a budget of 1.5 degrees, then a 0.3 degree difference is a big deal", said Professor Myles Allen, of Oxford University and one of the authors of the new study.

Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, it suggests that if polluting peaks and then declines to below current levels before 2030 and then continue to drop more sharply, there is a 66 per cent chance of global average temperatures staying below 1.5 degrees.

The goal was yesterday described as "very ambitious" but "physically possible".

Another reason the climate outlook is less bleak than previously thought is stabilising emissions, particularly in China.

SOURCE.  Journal abstract below.

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5?°C

Richard J. Millar et al.


The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5?°C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9?°C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200?GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6?°C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers, increasing to 240?GtC with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0?°C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5?°C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250?GtC and unlikely greater than 540?GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5?°C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.


Interior secretary proposes changes to 10 national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

The memorandum, which the White House has refused to release since Zinke submitted it late last month, does not specify exact reductions for the four protected areas Zinke would have Trump narrow — Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou — or the two marine national monuments — the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll — for which he raised the same prospect. The two Utah sites encompass a total of more than 3.2 million acres, part of the reason they have aroused intense emotions since their designation.

The secretary’s set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed. It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit "traditional uses" such as coal mining and grazing.

If enacted, the changes could test the legal boundaries of what powers a president holds under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Although Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions.

The memorandum, labeled "Final Report Summarizing Findings of the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act," shows Zinke concluded after a nearly four-month review that both Republican and Democratic presidents went too far in recent decades in limiting commercial activities in protected areas. The act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, gives the president wide latitude to protect public lands and waters that face an imminent threat.

"It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects," the report reads, adding that while grazing is rarely banned "outright," subsequent management decisions "can have the indirect result of hindering livestock-grazing uses."

Zinke said Trump should use his authority under the Antiquities Act to change each of the 10 sites’ proclamations to permit activities that are now restricted. These include "active timber management" in Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off New England.

In most of his recommendations, Zinke suggests Trump amend the existing proclamations "to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights."

The White House is reviewing the recommendations and has not reached a final decision on them. At several points, the memo bears the marker "Draft Deliberative — Not for Distribution."

In an e-mail Sunday, White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said she would not discuss in detail a review that is still underway: "The Trump Administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the President and relevant agencies."

The majority of the monuments listed in the report were established by either President Clinton or President Obama, but the two Pacific Ocean sites were created by President George W. Bush and later expanded by Obama.

"No other administration has gone this far," Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said of the Trump White House in an interview. "This law was intended to protect places from development, not promote damaging natural and cultural resources."


Solar Power Death Wish

Billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies haven’t made the U.S. solar industry competitive, and now two companies want to make it even less so. Suniva Inc., a bankrupt solar-panel maker, and German-owned SolarWorld Americas have petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose tariffs on foreign-made crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.

Solar cells in the U.S. sell for around 27 cents a watt. The petitioners want to add a new duty of 40 cents a watt. They also want a floor price for imported panels of 78 cents a watt versus the market price of 37 cents. In other words, they want the government to double the cost of the main component used in the U.S. solar industry. Solar electricity prices could rise by some 30% if the ITC says they’ve been injured by foreign competition—a decision is due by Sept. 22—and the Trump Administration goes along with the tariff request.

U.S. manufacturers won countervailing and antidumping duties against imports from China and Taiwan in 2012 and in 2015. But now they’re resorting to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 because they don’t need to show they are victims of dumping or foreign government subsidies. They only need to show that imports have harmed them.

The harm is real but that’s due to changes in the marketplace. The U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules. This involves making and installing racking or framing systems and incorporating innovations like trackers that orient toward the sun.

To turn sunshine into energy requires inverters that translate the energy captured on a solar panel into something that can be sent on the electrical grid. While there are fewer than 1,000 jobs in U.S. panel manufacturing, some 260,000 jobs rely on access to imported panels.


Australia's fraudulent Bureau of Meteorology

Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being "not fit for purpose" — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a "hardware fault".

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and "kill off" a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed "the need for a major revision of the dataset".

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: "When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified." He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and "raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record".

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that "some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it."

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: "Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references".

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a "thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes".

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.




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 September, 2017

More nonsense from the Ivory Tower

Is rising CO2 making food less nutritious? It may be.  Increasing the supply of one nutrient without increasing the supply of others would seem logically to dilute the proportion of those other nutrients in any plant.  But the idea that this is a problem is laughable. 

In our technological world that the Greenies hate, the problem is OVER nutrition, otherwise known as obesity.  Individual foods may be less nutritious but we have and eat lots of them.  There is no nutrition shortage.  Glut is the besetting problem in the supply of food basics and there is no end to that in sight

Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

"What struck me is that its application is wider," Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? "It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition," he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. "Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising," Loladze said. "We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history?[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply."

He published those findings just a few years ago, adding to the concerns of a small but increasingly worried group of researchers who are raising unsettling questions about the future of our food supply. Could carbon dioxide have an effect on human health we haven’t accounted for yet? The answer appears to be yes—and along the way, it has steered Loladze and other scientists, directly into some of the thorniest questions in their profession, including just how hard it is to do research in a field that doesn’t quite exist yet.


Trump Will Pull Out Of Paris Climate Agreement, White House Confirms

Donald Trump is still planning to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement unless the UN can offer ‘better terms,’ despite claims to the contrary, the White House has said.

Two members of a recent international meeting said that a White House representative had said the US would maintain the accord, The Wall Street Journal  reported earlier on Saturday.

But the White House says that’s nonsense – and that Trump is still planning his climate exit unless he gets the changes he wants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initial remarks about Trump reversing his decision to pull out of the agreement were made at an international meeting in Montreal.

That meeting had seen ministers from 30 countries, including Canada and Britain, discussing US climate-change goals with White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat.

Two people at the meeting said that they were told America would instead seek compromises within the existing framework rather than renegotiating it. ‘They are seriously considering the terms on which the US could re-engage,’ one of the officials at the meeting.  ‘They have also made clear that they have no intention to renegotiate or develop a parallel track to Paris.’

Those remarks were reiterated by Miguel Arias Canete, European commissioner for climate action and energy. He said: ‘The US has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement.’

That would contradict Trump’s promise in June that he would pull out unless it was either renegotiated or scrapped and started again.

‘The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,’ Trump claimed on June 1.


Climate skeptics may soon join a key science advisory panel at U.S. EPA

A number of people who reject the findings of mainstream climate science are being considered by the Trump administration for spots on EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a voluntary but influential panel that reviews science used in environmental regulations.

The selection of any of those researchers would be the beginning of a very different advisory board that would bear the hallmark of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, said Steve Milloy, an attorney and longtime EPA foe who worked on President Trump’s transition team for the agency.

Heartland Institute spokesman Jim Lakely said in an email: "We applaud any effort by Administrator Pruitt to bring qualified non-alarmist scientists onto the EPA’s advisory boards. There is a vigorous debate over the causes and consequences of climate change, and it’s vital that EPA acknowledge that fact and have a more balanced approach to the agency’s rule-making.

The deadline for public comment is set to expire Sept. 28. After that, EPA boss Pruitt will have final approval on the candidates. The board has 48 member slots, 15 of which expire at the end of the month. It’s not clear how many positions will be filled.



Arctic sea ice extent has likely just reached its low point of the melting season and is above levels from 2012 and 2007 at this same time of year.  Arctic sea ice generally shrinks every year during the spring and summer seasons until it reaches its minimum yearly extent around this time of year. Sea ice then typically regrows during the frigid fall and winter seasons when the sun is below the horizon in the Arctic. The apparent end to this year’s melting season in the Arctic is right around the mid-point of September.

While Arctic sea ice extent appeared to be headed for record lows earlier this year, the melting rate changed pace and actually slowed down in the summer months.  The low point just reached is clearly still below the normal value for the 1981-2000 time period, but it is actually a tad higher than the last couple of years (not shown) and safely above the record low seen during 2012 and also above levels seen ten years ago.

The Arctic sea ice extent has been generally below-normal since the middle 1990’s at which time the northern Atlantic Ocean switched sea surface temperature phases from cold-to-warm and it is likely to return to pre-mid 1990’s levels when the ocean cycle flips back to cold in coming years. 

Meteorologists track oceanic temperature cycles in the northern Atlantic Ocean with an index value known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).  The AMO flipped from negative-to-positive in the mid 1990’s signaling an important long-term sea surface temperature phase shift from cold-to-warm and it has stayed generally positive ever since. Typically, oceanic temperature cycles in the Atlantic Ocean have lasted for about 20 to 30 years.


AGL gets more from Greenie subsidies than it get from burning coal

No wonder it wants to shut down its coal generators -- thus leaving Australia with insufficient base-load power

Australians are on track to pay more than $500 million to AGL to fund its flagship solar generators, as the energy giant prepares to shut down its Liddell coal power station, a move that has prompted warnings of a power shortfall that could lead to blackouts and price hikes.

The company has already ­secured $230m in direct grants and is forecast to gain far more under the renewable energy ­target, deepening the political divide on energy policy as the federal government considers cutting ­future aid to make coal more competitive.

The scale of the subsidy is now a key question in the government’s debate on whether to ­embrace a clean energy target, as opponents of the idea challenge AGL and others to prove that wind and solar schemes can work without taxpayer handouts.

Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet ministers are yet to decide on whether to adopt a clean ­energy target but are unwilling to continue the heavy subsidy, ­putting a priority on more reliable power supplies, including coal and gas.

The two AGL solar farms in western NSW generate a combined 359,000 megawatt hours of electricity, just 4 per cent of the ­capacity of Liddell, but have ­secured more long-term investment than the coal power station under laws that continue the ­renewable subsidy until 2030.

Investors are warning the ­government against a halt to the taxpayer assistance for renewables, arguing this would lead to an investment freeze that would ­intensify the energy shortages in the decade ahead.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said the subsidy going to AGL from taxpayers and electricity consumers contrasted with claims that renewables would be more efficient than coal regardless of government assistance.

"AGL keeps telling everybody that renewables no longer need a subsidy — well, if that’s the case, why do we need a clean energy target?" Senator Canavan said.

The Australian understands the government is aiming to encourage more investment in reliable power with a "capacity pricing" structure that could favour coal and gas and meet Mr Turnbull’s stated aim of improving the ability to "dispatch" power at short ­notice.

Even so, AGL is seeking to shut Liddell in 2022, rejecting a ­government push to keep it open a further five years, and is planning to replace it with renewable power and "peaking" gas that can fire up when electricity supply is low.

AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman told The Australian the subsidies for the solar farms would shrink in the decade ahead as the value of renewable energy certificates declined.

Mr Redman also sent a clear warning that the government’s looming decision on a clean ­energy target would not change the company’s assessment that a new coal-fired power station was not viable.

"The economics are now somewhat overwhelming — the world of electricity generation is heading down the renewables path," Mr Redman said.

"Even without the impact of carbon-emissions policies, we would absolutely be heading down the path of building more renewables. Coal-fired power will not be built in that world."

The AGL solar projects at ­Nyngan and Broken Hill received $166.7m in direct grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and another $64.9m from the NSW government, as well as qualifying for credits under the renewable energy target.

The Australian estimates the Nyngan project receives more than $18m a year for its 233,000 megawatt hours given an $80 price for renewable energy ­certificates, while the Broken Hill project receives about $10m a year for its 126,000 megawatt hours.

While taxpayers funded the initial grants, households pay for the renewable certificates because the cost is passed on to them in their electricity bills.

TFS Green analyst Marco Stella wrote in RenewEconomy on September 4 that the spot price for these certificates rose above $85 in late August.

AGL stands to receive $589m from the original grants and consumer subsidies for the two solar projects over the period to 2030 if the price holds at $80 until 2020 and then falls to $60 for the ­subsequent decade, an outlook described as conservative by two sources familiar with the market. This falls to about $480m if the renewable certificates fall to $30 in the next decade. It drops to $375m in the unlikely event the certificates fall to zero from 2021.

AGL sold the two projects to its Powering Australian Renewables Fund last November, making no cash profit in the sale. It owns 20 per cent of the fund while 80 per cent is held by Queensland Investment Corporation for clients including the Future Fund.

Mr Redman said the two projects were built in response to government calls for early investors to demonstrate large-scale solar and when the cost of the technology was much higher than it is today.

He said "we’d build a wind farm in every backyard" if the spot price of certificates stayed at today’s levels, but added this was unrealistic and the values were likely to fall in the early 2020s as they had in the past.

The government is weighing up whether to embrace a "reliability energy target" or a "strategic reserve" to offer financial rewards to AGL and others to build gas power, given the industry belief that major new coal power stations will not be viable.

This will get a higher priority than new schemes to subsidise renewables.

However, the rewards to AGL and others for their existing solar or wind projects cannot be altered because the Senate is highly unlikely to allow a change to the renewable energy target rules that apply until 2020 and continue payments until 2030.

The government has decided it has nothing to gain from ­starting a fight over the RET that it cannot win, leading it to keep the rules as they were agreed by Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015.




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


18 September, 2017

Climate Scientists Are Not Noble, Stop Paying Them

Everyone assumes climate scientists are noble. Fighting to save the planet. What nonsense. Not even close

Me included. I (Dr. Duane Thresher) am a climate scientist too. As I have said I went into climate science so I could study what I wanted, get paid, and be left alone, and that is one of the better reasons to go into climate science.

Even the ones (see ahead for the others) who, like myself, honestly put in the years of courses and research necessary to be a real climate scientist are often twisted by it, made much less than noble. They put in a lot and give up a lot. And then nobody takes them seriously, not even other scientists.

Men climate scientists for instance. I'm tempted to name names and tell tales out of school here. But for now let's just say a lot of men climate scientists missed out on dating as graduate students and are determined to make up for it when they become senior scientists. And a lot of young women grad students are recruited by them into climate science these days. And as we learned from Hurricane Harvey, correlation is causation. Nah, I'm sure it's just because those men climate scientists think women are smarter than men so will be better scientists.

Climate scientists are academics. Academics living in ivory towers -- elites living a privileged life away from the harsh practicalities of the real world -- is a common expression because it is so true. They often have never had any other jobs except at universities, which take very good care of them (best health insurance I ever had). Academics live in their heads (and it's often not pretty in there!) not in the real world.

Climate scientists are so thrilled with having any power, they don't even think about the billions of poor who will suffer based merely on their opinion that carbon emissions should be drastically cut. Duh, who do they think is going to suffer the most if carbon emissions are cut? The poor. Yeah right, they are going to carbon tax the rich and give it to the poor to make up for their losses. Grow up. Robin Hood is a myth. That money will end up back in the pockets of the rich and the poor's quality of life will get worse. Real heroes those climate scientists.

And then there are the not qualified who become climate scientists. When the science bureaucrats (if you can't do real science be a science bureaucrat) decided global warming was the next big thing, there was a huge influx of money, which meant a huge influx of unqualified into climate science since there just weren't enough qualified and the money HAD to be used. Enter opportunists, carpetbaggers, the corrupt, the ignoble. Physicists and mathematicians who couldn't make it in their own fields, like James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt (who actually told me one reason he became a climate scientist was because he couldn't make it in his degree field of mathematics). People who just wanted instant success as fake heroes or showmen rather than doing years of hard slow obscure real science.

Given the save-the-planet nature of the field, the unqualified included herds of do-gooders, particularly women. (Note: Dr. Claudia Kubatzki agrees with this assessment.) They love committees. Protection by the herd. Power without sticking your neck out.

Science by committee. The IPCC for example. Yeah, that's going to work. Particularly when you have unqualified people on the committee to begin with. Scientific committees spend their time compromising to get -- God save us -- scientific consensus. 32 (ft/sec/sec) for gravitational acceleration is hard to remember, 100 would be better but all, except for the deplorable deniers, agree to compromise on 50. Now demand that be implemented in NASA's programs since it is by scientific consensus (and the committee was diverse). What did happen to the Mars Climate Orbiter? (Yes, I know, it was a mix-up of English and metric units but that could have been caused by the committee to force Americans to adopt the metric system. I like rocket units with pounds in it; so much more descriptive than newtons. And remember, I worked for NASA so I am a rocket scientist.)

This influx into climate science of unqualified also meant they threw out good scientific practices, like not pretending climate models can actually predict climate when they were just invented to study it by experimentation. That inconvenient truth was such a hassle for the fake heroes and showmen of climate science. Things really didn't start taking off until they got rid of that. And then when failing celebrities started to help, oh my!

What to do?

Stop paying climate scientists. The good ones are so into their science they will work for food, maybe less, maybe even pay to do it. French President Macron has invited the rest to move to France so they will be fine. He'll probably even provide free burqas for the women climate scientists. Oh, wait, the women won't be allowed to work.

(Anybody ever notice how the leaders destroying Europe don't have any of their biologically-own kids so no real reason to care about the future but they are always accusing Holocaust deniers, I mean climate change deniers, that if they don't believe in global warming they don't care about their kids?)

Then let climate scientists make some clear predictions for 5 years into the future, not 50 when they won't be around any more to take responsibility. When they are wrong they have to give back their taxpayer-provided salaries, with interest, and quit climate science.

Or go to prison, like the seismologists in Italy. There -- actually like seismologists everywhere -- they wrote their funding proposals stressing the (impossible) prediction aspect way too much. Then an unpredicted earthquake, as they all are (forever), hit with a major loss of life. It had to be somebody's fault. A cautionary tale for California seismologists. When San Francisco is leveled it's going to be your fault. Join the "Admit You Can't Predict" movement before you go to prison!

Start with defunding NASA GISS where this whole global warming nonsense started. It was started by James Hansen, formerly head of NASA GISS and considered the father of global warming. It was continued by Gavin Schmidt, current head of NASA GISS, anointed by Hansen, and leading climate change warrior scientist/spokesperson.

I know from working there for 7 years that NASA GISS has almost been defunded several times in its life anyway. It's a small group over a restaurant (Tom's Restaurant from the TV comedy Seinfeld!) in New York City, nowhere near any other major NASA facility. Just the dedicated data link to the nearest NASA facility, GSFC in Maryland, is a big expense. GISS is the Goddard Institute for SPACE Studies. If you don't need a rocket to get to it, it's not space.

Besides, NASA GISS is a monument to bad science that truly should be torn down. Take the money and buy a rocket.


John Stossel: A Climate Of Growing Skepticism

When it comes to hurricanes, it’s the alarmists who are wrong — on so many levels.

"How many once-in-a-lifetime storms will it take," demanded "The Daily Show" comic Trevor Noah, "until everyone admits man-made climate change is real?" His audience roared its approval.

When Hurricane Irma hit, so-called friends admonished me, "Look what your fossil fuels have done! Will you finally admit you are wrong?"

No. It’s the alarmists who are wrong — on so many levels.

First, two big storms don’t mean much. The global-warming activists must know that because when Donald Trump joked about a lack of warming on a snowy day, they lectured us about how "weather is not climate — one snowstorm is irrelevant to long-term climate."

But now that bad weather has come, they changed their tune. Time magazine reported confidently, "Climate change makes the hurricane season worse."

But Irma and Harvey came after a record 12 years without any Category 3-5 storms.

The government’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said neither its models "nor our analyses of trends in Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm counts over the past 120-plus years support the notion that greenhouse gas-induced warming leads to large increases in either tropical storm or overall hurricane numbers."

As Irma approached, The Washington Post ran an even dumber headline: "Irma and Harvey Should Kill Any Doubt That Climate Change Is Real."

Of course climate change is real! Climate changes — it always has and always will. For the past 300 years, since "the little ice age," the globe warmed about three degrees. The warming started well before man emitted much carbon.

So the real unanswered questions are: 1. Will climate change become a crisis? (We face immediate crises now: poverty, terrorism, a $20 trillion debt, rebuilding after the hurricanes.) 2. Is there anything we can do about it? (No. Not now; the science isn’t there yet.) 3. Did man’s burning fossil fuels increase the warming? (Probably. But we don’t know how much.)

Politicians (and ex-politicians like Al Gore) are eager to exploit our fears by calling for more spending and regulation in the name of fighting deadly but preventable climate change — as if feeble efforts like the Paris climate accord would have made the tiniest difference. They wouldn’t.

A video I made about this seems to have struck a chord. It got more than a million views last weekend.

Some people reacted with anger online: "the scientific community suggest that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet. Isn’t (it) at least a little reckless to put a finger in each ear and say ‘Nuh uh! LALALALALALALALALA!’ "

A calmer commenter wrote, "Don’t forget the hurricanes of the past. 1926 Miami, 1935 Keys, 1947 West Palm Beach, Donna 1961. People act like hurricanes like these have never happened."

Right. And he left out Galveston’s hurricane in 1900, which killed as many as 12,000 people.

One commenter added, "It’s called El Nino and La Nina. We will be entering El Nino again (and) so seeing storms actually form. It shifts back and forth every 7-10 years or so. Do schools not teach these things?"

Climate fluctuates, and humans don’t have too much to say about it. Maybe someday humans will be gone. The storms will continue. But at least there’ll be less hot air.


Delingpole: Climate Change Skepticism Now Virtually Illegal in Trudeau’s Canada

Did you know that in President Bieber’s Canada it is now virtually illegal to express doubts about the existence of ManBearPig?

No, I wouldn’t have believed it either, till I learned via Lorrie Goldstein about the extraordinary criminal action brought in Canada by a bunch of eco-fascistic litigants against three climate skeptical organisations.

    The complaint was filed by Ecojustice on behalf of six "prominent" Canadians, including former Ontario NDP leader and UN ambassador Stephen Lewis.

    It accused three groups, Friends of Science, the International Climate Science Coalition, and the Heartland Institute of making false and misleading claims about climate change, including that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

    When it launched its complaint in December, 2015, Ecojustice told the National Observer it would press the Commissioner of Competition to refer the matter to the Attorney-General of Canada for "criminal charges against the denier groups."

What’s really shocking is the reason the case was dropped by the Competition Bureau (an arm’s length agency funded by President Bieber to the tune of $50 million a year) after an investigation lasting 14 months.

No, the reason wasn’t because someone in Bieber’s administration suddenly realized that this would be an unconscionable abuse of state power to curtail freedom of speech and to adjudicate on scientific issues so contentious and moot as to be far beyond any government body’s area of competence.

Nope. It was simply that the Competition Bureau ran out of money.

    The federal government won’t say if it has any immediate plans to boost funds for Canada’s competition watchdog so that it can resume an investigation into climate change-doubting advertising.

    Last week, Canada’s Competition Bureau told National Observer it didn’t have enough resources to pursue a probe of websites and billboards that share false information about climate change unless new evidence is provided by members of the public that would help the bureau reboot its stalled investigation.

(Note, by the way, the aggrieved tone of the liberal newspaper reporting on this issue. In the New World Order which National Observer is clearly itching for President Bieber to impose on Canada, there should be limitless quantities of public money made available for the zealous prosecution of climate deniers, wherever they may be lurking.)

It is, as Goldstein says, like something out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It’s also a grotesque inversion of justice. As many of us in this parish are perfectly well aware, if anyone deserves prosecution for publishing criminally misleading material it’s the guys in the climate alarmism industry.

I’m not suggesting we should lock these guys up. Merely that if ever it came to trial before an honest judge and an open-minded jury, the skeptics would have a slam dunk case against the alarmists.

After all, the only bad thing climate skeptics have ever done is make a few dodgy scientists and a heap of rent-seeking businessmen sleep less easily in bed at night by questioning the quality of the data and the economics behind their Enron-style money-making scam.

But the Warmists, as I have argued before, have a charge sheet as long as your arm:

    The Green Blob’s tentacles extend everywhere: into our kids’ classrooms (where they are brainwashed with environmental propaganda); into our universities (where whole departments have now been hijacked by green junk science—because hey, that’s where the money is); into the mainstream media (most of which repeats, unquestioningly, the spurious claims of impending eco-disaster put out by environmental activists and publicity-hungry university departments); into business, which now wastes billions on environmental compliance and billions more on energy costs artificially inflated by the almost entirely unnecessary government-mandated drive for renewables); into government (where few politicians, even now, have the nous to appreciate that they have been sold a pup and who still continue to inflict more "sustainable" initiatives on their hapless electorates); into the economy, where jobs have been killed and growth blighted by measures designed by eco-fascists on a self-admitted mission to destroy Western industrial civilisation; into the environment, which has been ravaged by the very things we’re told are supposed to help save it—from bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco crucifixes to those forests in the US which have been chopped down to create wood-chip biofuels to be burned at Britain’s Drax power station to the rare-earth minerals mined in appalling conditions in China to make wind turbines; into the cost of living (inflated by green taxes, regulations and tariffs), where in some cases people have been driven into fuel poverty and an early death because governments like Obama’s have caused electricity prices "necessarily" to "skyrocket" by mandating renewables over cheaper, more reliable fossil fuel.


Finally, some commonsense Western fire policies

New DOI and DOA policy to cut overgrown, diseased, dead and burned trees is long overdue

Paul Driessen

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

As of September 12, amid this typically long, hot, dry summer out West, 62 major forest fires are burning in nine states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. The Interior Department and Ag Department’s Forest Service have already spent over $2 billion fighting them. That’s about what they spent in all of 2015, previously the most costly wildfire season ever, and this season has another month or more to go. The states themselves have spent hundreds of millions more battling these conflagrations.

Millions of acres of forest have disappeared in smoke and flames – 1.1 million in Montana alone. All told, acreage larger than New Jersey has burned already. However, even this hides the real tragedies.

The infernos exterminate wildlife habitats, roast eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, immolate wildlife that can’t run fast enough, leave surviving animals to starve for lack of food, and incinerate organic matter and nearly every living creature in the thin soils. They turn trout streams into fish boils, minus the veggies and seasonings. Future downpours and rapid snowmelts bring widespread soil erosion into streambeds. Many areas will not grow trees or recover their biodiversity for decades.

Most horrifically, the conflagrations threaten homes and entire communities. They kill fire fighters and families that cannot get away quickly enough, or get trapped by sudden walls of flames.

In 2012, two huge fires near Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado burned 610 homes, leaving little more than ashes, chimneys and memories. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated through smoke and ash that turned daytime into choking night skies. Four people died. A 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs, CO burned 14 young firefighters to death.

These are not "natural" fires of environmentalist lore, or "ordinary" fires like those that occur in state and privately owned and managed forests. Endless layers of laws, regulations, judicial decrees and guidelines for Interior and Forest Service lands have meant that most western forests have been managed like our 109 million acres of designated wilderness: they are hardly managed at all.

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn, than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.

Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.

The result is easy to predict. Thousands of thin trees grow on acreage that should support just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. Tens of billions of these scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees that the Forest Service says still stand in eleven western states. Vast forests are little more than big trees amid closely bunched matchsticks and underbrush, drying out in hot, dry western summers and droughts – waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires or arsonists to start super-heated conflagrations.

Flames in average fires along managed forest floors might reach several feet in height and temperatures of 1,472° F (800° C), says Wildfire Today. But under extreme conditions of high winds and western tinderboxes, temperatures can exceed 2,192° F (1200° C), flame heights can reach 165 feet (50 meters) or more, and fires can generate a critter-roasting 100,000 kilowatts per meter of fire front. Wood will burst into flame at 572° F. Aluminum melts at 1,220 degrees, silver at 1,762 and gold at 1,948° F!

Most of this heat goes upward, but super-high temperatures incinerate soil organisms and organic matter in thin western soils that afterward can support only stunted, spindly trees for decades.

These fires also emit prodigious quantities of carbon dioxide, fine particulates and other pollutants – including mercury, which is absorbed by tree roots from rocks and soils that contain this metal, and then lofted into the sky when the trees burn.

Rabid greens ignore these hard realities – and divert discussions back to their favorite ideological talking points. The problem isn’t too many trees, they insist. It’s global warming and climate change. That’s why western states are having droughts, long fire seasons, and high winds that send flames past fire breaks.

Global warming, global cooling and climate change have been part of the Earth and human experience from time immemorial. Natural climate fluctuations brought the multi-decade Anasazi drought, the Dust Bowl and other dry spells to our western states. To suggest that this summer’s heat and drought are somehow due to mankind’s fossil fuel use and related emissions is deliberately delusional nonsense.

Neither these activists nor anyone in Al Gore’s climate chaos consortium can demonstrate or calibrate a human connection to droughts or fires. Rants, rhetoric and CO2-driven computer models do not suffice. And even if manmade (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide does play a role amid the powerful natural forces that have always controlled climate and weather, reducing US fossil fuel use would have zero effect.

China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam alone are building 590 new coal-fired power plants right now, on top of the hundreds they have constructed over the past decade. Overall, more than 1,600 new coal generators are planned or under construction in 62 countries. People in developing countries are also driving far more vehicles and making great strides in improving their health and living standards. They will not stop.

Western conflagrations jump fire breaks because these ferocious fires are fueled by the unprecedented increase in combustibles that radical green policies have created. These monstrous fires generate their own high winds and even mini tornados that carry burning branches high into the air, to be deposited hundreds of feet away, where they ignite new fires. It has nothing to do with climate change.

Remove some of that fuel – and fires won get so big, hot, powerful and destructive. We should also do what a few environmentalist groups have called for: manage more areas around buildings and homes – clearing away brush that federal agencies and these same groups have long demanded be left in place.

Finally, we should be using more of the readily available modern technologies like FireIce from GelTech Solutions. They can suppress and extinguish fires, and protect homes, much better than water alone.

The last bogus eco-activist claim is that "fire isn’t destruction; it’s renewal. It creates stronger, more diverse ecosystems." That may be true in managed forests, timber stands in less tinder-dry states, and forests that have undergone repeated, non-devastating fires. For all the reason presented above, it is not true for government owned and mismanaged forests in our western states.

Over 50 million acres (equal to Minnesota) are at risk of catastrophic wildfires. Right now, we are spending billions of dollars we don’t have, should not have to spend fighting all these monstrous killer blazes, and should have available to improve forests and parks and fund other vital programs.

These forests could and should create jobs and generate revenues in states where far too many lands, timber, oil and minerals have been placed off limits – primarily by urban politicians, judges and radical activists who seem determined to drive people off these western lands, turn them into playgrounds for the wealthy, and roll back other Americans’ living standards and well-being. Cleaning out dead, diseased, burned, overgrown trees would bring countless benefits. It would make our forests healthy again.

Above all, the new Interior-Agriculture approach would demonstrate that Rural Lives Matter.

Via email

Dumping green folly will secure Australia's energy future, reboot economy

In the blink of an eye we are confronted by a national energy pricing and supply crisis. This is the cost of virtue signalling — that propensity for those on the political left, including moderates in the Liberal Party, to advocate policies aimed more at demonstrating their moral superiority than delivering practical results.

This nation’s most pressing economic challenge, it is also the most volatile political dilemma that threatens to derail Malcolm Turnbull’s career for a second time. (It cost him the Liberal leadership in 2009.) Climate and energy are set to define the next decade of ­national affairs just as they have plagued us since 2007.

To comprehend the politics we need a helicopter view; to examine first principles and the true aims of the policies. Far too much of the debate is predicated on gestures rather than results.

We are an energy-rich nation. Last year we exported 388 million tonnes of coal (valued at $35 billion) to supply affordable and ­reliable energy to countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and India. Our liquefied natural gas exports are doubling from 30 million tonnes a couple of years ago to almost 80 million tonnes (valued at $42bn) by 2019.

Australia also remains one of the largest exporters of uranium (nuclear energy is the ­silver bullet if we ever get serious about emissions) and, after a price and volume slump, trade will ­rebound to values of more than $1.2bn during the next few years.

While we happily export our energy advantage, we have deliberately sacrificed it at home. Households are paying some of the highest electricity prices in the world and manufacturing industries have been closing or downscaling because of cost pressures created in part by rapidly rising power prices. Energy bills are also creating commercial hardship for struggling retailers as well as hospitality and other sectors.

The largest single factor in the power crisis is the renewable ­energy target demanding 23 per cent of electricity be supplied by renewables, which are subsidised by consumers. When the renew­ables (mainly wind turbines) supply power they can do so at zero cost, thereby undercutting the viability of baseload generators and hastening their demise. The trouble is renewable ­energy can’t supply all our needs at any time and, crucially, is intermittent and unreliable. So we still need all of the baseload and peaking generation.

Under this formula we must ­either be caught short of supply or need to almost double our investment in energy so every megawatt of renewable energy is backed up by storage or thermal generation.

And just when we need more rapid-response gas generation to back up wind energy we have a gas supply/price issue courtesy of long-term export contracts and state restrictions on exploration and exploitation. What a mess.

What we don’t ever hear our major party politicians ask is why we are doing this to ourselves. We might also expect this would be a line of inquiry for media in fearless pursuit of their audiences’ interests. But no; incurious acceptance of the imperative for emissions ­reductions is universal in the public broadcasters and love media.

News Corp papers and Sky News are the only mainstream media likely to offer a plurality of views. Journalists who sail with this zeitgeist will justify their position by pointing to the political consensus on the emissions reductions targets set in Paris. But public and media debate should not be about accommodating convenient bipartisan compromise; it should be about reality and the public ­interest.

If the justification for our self-imposed energy crisis is saving the planet, then any reference to the facts will expose the futility. Australia’s carbon emissions make up about 1.4 per cent of global emissions and we are looking to reduce them by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Simultaneously, emissions are rising elsewhere by quantities that dwarf our total emissions, let alone our inconsequential reductions.

As this newspaper reported this week, China has 299 coal-fired power stations under construction and India 132. Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, The Philippines, South Africa and other nations also are expanding coal-fired generation so that an extra 621 plants are under way. Yet we disrupt our economy, surrender a natural economic advantage, shed jobs and reduce our standard of living to phase out a handful of plants.

On the first principle of whether our efforts do any environmental good — no matter the urgency or otherwise of climate action — the answer is our efforts are pointless. So we are then left with the diplomatic commitment to Paris that both major parties support.

Astonishingly, less than a day after Donald Trump won the US election promising to abandon Paris, Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia’s ratification. The Prime Minister thumbed his nose at the obvious opportunity to hold out, see if the US withdrew (as it has) and perhaps forestall our own commitment.

The accord is dramatically weakened without the world’s largest economy, especially given other powerhouses such as China and India will continue to increase their emissions. (Ironically, perhaps no country is making a greater contribution to emissions red­uct­ions than the US through its innovation in areas such as fracking and battery technology.)

The Paris Agreement is not binding, so we don’t need to meet our targets anyway. Yet the political-media class seems viscerally locked onto them.

Turnbull talks about the energy "trilemma" of affordability, reliability and emissions reductions. But even the Finkel review noted these objectives are at odds with each other.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel tried to prescribe "policies that simultaneously provide a high level of energy security and reliability, universal access to affordable ­energy services, and reduced emissions. This is easier said than done. There is a tension between these three objectives."

Neither Turnbull nor Finkel or Labor are willing to compromise on the third leg of the trilemma. Their starting point is emissions reductions; and they accept that reliability and affordability can be compromised to meet the target.

Finkel says: "The uncertain and changing direction of emissions reduction policy for the electricity sector has compromised the ­investment environment in the NEM." But his solution — and that of the Coalition and Labor so far — is to try to formulate a settled, preferably bipartisan, emissions reductions scheme.

So the aim is to provide investment certainty even if it locks in higher electricity prices. The obvious alternative of relegating emissions reduction aims in favour of cheap, reliable power is simply not considered, even though we know it would have no discernible ­impact on the global environment. (We can always run other carbon abatement and energy efficiency schemes if we feel the need.)

The only pragmatic argument against scrapping the emissions reduction imperative is that it, too, may fail to break the investment strike because potential investors will still fear a future carbon pricing scheme. The political temptation is to lock in expensive and debilitating long-term policy solely to deliver the certitude of bipartisanship. This is the ­antithesis of seeking bipartisanship in the national interest.

All the federal government has succeeded in doing so far is taking ownership of the energy mess from the states. The Coalition will not admit that the RET — which it has backed, along with Labor, out of political convenience — is the heart of the problem.

On present settings the government is doomed to fail at the next election and then we will see a Labor government lock in permanently higher energy costs through a carbon pricing scheme. Perhaps the only salvation for the Coalition — and the economy — would be to call time on this green folly in the interests of protecting consumers, boosting jobs and rebooting a competitive advantage.

It would be a risky gambit contested by the rent-seekers in the energy sector. But it would be a fight for the national interest. The question is whether Turnbull, who has always claimed to be as green as Labor, can find it within himself to make the case.


17 September, 2017

The world is facing a global sand crisis (!)

What next will Salon get bothered by?  Sand is just ground-up bits of rock and calcium carbonate so we can surely make more of it any time we run out.  But you will soon see what the moan is about as you read below.  They want sand use REGULATED.  Regulating things is what gives Leftists erections

When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we discuss in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, over-exploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict.

Skyrocketing demand, combined with unfettered mining to meet it, is creating the perfect recipe for shortages. Plentiful evidence strongly suggests that sand is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions. For example, in Vietnam domestic demand for sand exceeds the country’s total reserves. If this mismatch continues, the country may run out of construction sand by 2020, according to recent statements from the country’s Ministry of Construction.

This problem is rarely mentioned in scientific discussions and has not been systemically studied. Media attention drew us to this issue. While scientists are making a great effort to quantify how infrastructure systems such as roads and buildings affect the habitats that surround them, the impacts of extracting construction minerals such as sand and gravel to build those structures have been overlooked. Two years ago we created a working group designed to provide an integrated perspective on global sand use.

In our view, it is essential to understand what happens at the places where sand is mined, where it is used and many impacted points in between in order to craft workable policies. We are analyzing those questions through a systems integration approach that allows us to better understand socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances and time. Based on what we have already learned, we believe it is time to develop international conventions to regulate sand mining, use and trade.

Sand and gravel are now the most-extracted materials in the world, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass (measured by weight). Sand is a key ingredient for concrete, roads, glass and electronics. Massive amounts of sand are mined for land reclamation projects, shale gas extraction and beach renourishment programs. Recent floods in Houston, India, Nepal and Bangladesh will add to growing global demand for sand.

Sand traditionally has been a local product. However, regional shortages and sand mining bans in some countries are turning it into a globalized commodity. Its international trade value has skyrocketed, increasing almost sixfold in the last 25 years.

The negative consequences of overexploiting sand are felt in poorer regions where sand is mined. Extensive sand extraction physically alters rivers and coastal ecosystems, increases suspended sediments and causes erosion.

Research shows that sand mining operations are affecting numerous animal species, including fish, dolphins, crustaceans and crocodiles. For example, the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) — a critically endangered crocodile found in Asian river systems — is increasingly threatened by sand mining, which destroys or erodes sand banks where the animals bask.

Sand mining also has serious impacts on people’s livelihoods. Beaches and wetlands buffer coastal communities against surging seas. Increased erosion resulting from extensive mining makes these communities more vulnerable to floods and storm surges.

As long as national regulations are lightly enforced, harmful effects will continue to occur. We believe that the international community needs to develop a global strategy for sand governance, along with global and regional sand budgets. It is time to treat sand like a resource, on a par with clean air, biodiversity and other natural endowments that nations seek to manage for the future.


Hurricane Relief: Brought to You by Fossil Fuels

Powering helicopters, generators and utility vehicles, fossil fuels continue to save lives

In recent weeks, the nation has watched those in Texas and Florida experience major hurricanes, complete with horrific rains and devastating winds, damaging homes, vehicles and even taking lives. No one can deny the heroism of the first responders and regular Americans who have aided their neighbors in the midst of disaster. In addition, one industry has helped the rescue and recovery more than any other: the fossil fuel industry. Powering helicopters, generators and utility vehicles, fossil fuels continue to save the lives of those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

In south Texas, diesel (or jet fuel) helicopters rescued people from their rooftops. Commercial planes, utilizing jet engine fuel, transported refugees from Houston to Dallas for shelter and food. Diesel-powered firetrucks and ambulances rushed to the aid of people, as did the National Guard and the Air Force’s diesel and jet-engine powered planes. After the waters receded volunteers drove their gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles to render aid to those in need.

When the power lines were down and parts of Texas and Florida lacked electricity, back-up generators, powered by diesel, natural gas or LP fuel gave electricity to apartment residents, and patients in hospitals, many for whom a power outage could be deadly as patients on ventilators and dialysis require electricity. (The eight people who died at a Florida nursing home without air conditioning attest to this.)

As Texas and Florida rebuild their damaged cities, they continue to clear the road of debris using diesel-powered cranes and heavy equipment. They use gasoline-powered chainsaws to cut apart the fallen trees blocking the roads and diesel-powered trucks to haul it off. Utility companies use diesel-powered construction equipment to dig deep holes to plant new poles for power lines and stand in diesel-powered cranes to attach the wires.

Hungry evacuees ate bread and peanut butter farmed by diesel-powered farm equipment, slept on cotton blankets harvested by diesel-powered equipment and drank bottled water produced in factories that use fuel not only to run their machines but to create the plastic bottles.

In addition, cell phones, computers and technology equipment have helped to keep people connected, and provided advanced warning systems to help people evacuate or take shelter. And fossil fuels? The microchip, the defining element of all computers and cellphones, is made from silica, a mineral mined by diesel-powered mining equipment.

Fossil fuel divestment campaigns, which seek to destroy the energy industry, advocate for people, corporations and endowments to sell their stock in petroleum-based industries. They shout slogans like "People over Profit" and claim divestment as a moral obligation. Yet they ignore the reality of how fossil fuels, not divestment campaigns, put people over profit by saving lives. How we steward our resources to preserve human life stands as both the truly compassionate approach to putting people over profit and the greater moral obligation.

Some may say, "Great, but we are saving lives at the expense of the environment," as if we must choose between the environment and saving lives with fossil fuels. However, according to Forbes magazine, air pollution in the U.S. has declined 72% since 1970, in spite of a 47% total increase in energy use during the same span. That’s because our technological advances have improved fuel-efficiency and cleaner internal machinery, causing less petroleum waste by-products in the air.

While wind, solar-powered and electric equipment certainly have their place, their functionality is no match for the fossil fuel-powered equipment that has literally saved lives in recent weeks. No solar-powered chainsaws or helicopters saved the day. Technological advances, research and innovation should continue to take place, and we should always strive to create new products that help make our world a better place. But we should not forget the debt of gratitude that we owe to the petroleum industry for fueling our greatest needs in our time of disaster.


Calls To Imprison "Climate Change Deniers" Grow In The Wake Of Hurricane Irma

When retired Georgia Tech professor Judith Curry penned a blog post on her "Climate Etc." website suggesting that it was scientifically irresponsible to tie the intensity of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma directly to climate change, she probably didn't expect that she might trigger 1,000's of progressives to call for her immediate imprisonment.  Unfortunately, for both Curry and society at large, that is exactly what happened.

Here is part of Curry's post that potentially resulted in this latest 'mass-triggering' event:

It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled (e.g., aerosol effects on regional climate).

As the Washington Times notes, Curry's comments only served to further enrage Al Gore's climate change crusaders who promptly ramped up their calls to imprison anyone with the audacity to present any data and/or question, in any way, climate models which should be accepted as proven fact...even though they're subjective and highly sensitive any number of input variables.

That is the kind of talk that could get policymakers who heed her research hauled before the justice system, if some of those in the climate change movement have their way.

"Climate change denial should be a crime," declared the Sept. 1 headline in the Outline. Mark Hertsgaard argued in a Sept. 7 article in the Nation, titled "Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us," that "murder is murder" and "we should punish it as such."

The suggestion that those who run afoul of the climate change consensus, in particular government officials, should face charges comes with temperatures flaring over the link between hurricanes and greenhouse gas emissions.

"In the wake of Harvey, it’s time to treat science denial as gross negligence — and hold those who do the denying accountable," said the subhead in the Outline article, written by Brian Merchant.

Brad Johnson, executive director of Climate Hawks Vote, posted last week on Twitter a set of "climate disaster response rules," the third of which was to "put officials who reject science in jail."

And while we're not sure if imprisonment is the right punishment, it does seem a bit outrageous for a Georgia Tech climate scientist to challenge the opinions of both the Pope and Sir Richard Branson on climate change...who does she think she is?

Meanwhile, Pope Francis said the two Category 4 storms offer proof of catastrophic climate change, even though they are the first two major hurricanes to make landfall on the U.S. mainland in 12 years.

"You can see the effects of climate change with your own eyes, and scientists tell us clearly the way forward," said the pontiff, adding that leaders have a "moral responsibility" to take action.

"Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage," Mr. Branson said in a Friday statement. "The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late for this generation, let alone the generations to come."
Of course, while we would never question the opinions of the Pope and/or a Knight, we do find the following chart on U.S. hurricane strikes by decade to be somewhat perplexing.  Why, for example, were U.S. hurricane strikes above average for almost every decade between 1870 and 1950 before declining in the 1950s through 2000?  If hurricane frequency can suddenly be linked directly to climate change in 2017, shouldn't it have produced similarly alarming hurricanes in the 80's, 90's and 2000's?  If we're not mistaken, CO2 output has pretty much consistently risen since man first started building fires...


Ocean Cycles, Not Humans, May Be Behind Most Observed Climate Change

An eminent atmospheric scientist says that natural cycles may be largely responsible for climate changes seen in recent decades

In a new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Anastasios Tsonis, emeritus distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, describes new and cutting-edge research into natural climatic cycles, including the well known El Nino cycle and the less familiar North Atlantic Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

He shows how interactions between these ocean cycles have been shown to drive changes in the global climate on timescales of several decades.

Professor Tsonis says:

"We can show that at the start of the 20th century, the North Atlantic Oscillation pushed the global climate into a warming phase, and in 1940 it pushed it back into cooling mode. The famous "pause" in global warming at the start of the 21st century seems to have been instigated by the North Atlantic Oscillation too."

In fact, most of the changes in the global climate over the period of the instrumental record seem to have their origins in the North Atlantic.

Tsonis’ insights have profound implications for the way we view calls for climate alarm.

It may be that another shift in the North Atlantic could bring about another phase shift in the global climate, leading to renewed cooling or warming for several decades to come.

These climatic cycles are entirely natural, and can tell us nothing about the effect of carbon dioxide emissions. But they should inspire caution over the slowing trajectory of global warming we have seen in recent decades.

As Tsonis puts it:

"While humans may play a role in climate change, other natural forces may play important roles too."


As La Nina Looms, Warmists Skid Into Panic Mode… Global Warming Pause Set To Surpass Two Decades!

At this point last year global warming alarmists and global socialism politicians were as giddy and as optimistic as ever. Everything was falling into place as it looked as if nothing would prevent them from imposing their green regime. The Pope was on their side, global temperatures had been near record highs (thanks to an El Nino event), and Hillary Clinton would surely go on to become President of the USA.

With Clinton at the helm, the US would wholeheartedly commit to Paris and to strict decarbonization. Never did the green dream look so promising. But then came the mother of torpedoes, President Donald Trump.

And now there’s yet another torpedo about to slam into the already badly damaged warmunista ship: a rapidly approaching La Nina. In the wake of last year’s El Nino event, global temperatures had already been falling. A La Nina will only cause the globe to cool further. This is surprising because just months ago experts had predicted El Nino conditions to return.

The global warming alarmists are in sheer desperation and panic, as made evident by their hysterically shrill reactions to the recent hurricanes. The latest forecast shows a return to La Nina conditions (and a global cool-down).

This cooling will make itsself evident in satellite data with a lag of about 6 months. This means global temperature will fall even further next year, which means the warming pause will go beyond 20 years.

This oncoming La Nina development led meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue to comment on Twitter:

La Nińa means extreme winter weather -- colder global temperatures -- and all sorts of interesting things. Are you prepared for it?

Not only La Nina is serving to cool global surface temperatures, but so are the powerful hurricanes as well. Yesterday at the Weatherbell Daily Update, Joe Bastardi showed the effects of hurricanes Irma and Jose on sea surface temperature (SST).

Note the band of cool water through the Caribbean and a substantially cooled down Gulf of Mexico. Just a week ago reports abounded on how the waters there surface had been "bathwater warm". So quickly can weather change. True, there remains considerable amounts of heat at the ocean surfaces.

Frigid winter projected for Europe

The recent winter projection for Europe issued by Meteociel below shows Europe possiby being gripped by a frigid winter. If the prognosis holds, it could be one of the coldest in years:

Meteociel/CFS prognosis from 30 August 2017,  850 hPa temperature deviation from the mean (about 1500m) in Europe for the 2017/18 winter. For Europe very icy conditions are expected (from left to right: December, January, February).

Also the Arctic has shown recovery over the past years. This year’s Arctic sea ice for mid September is about a full 1 million sq. km. over the record low set 5 years ago.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)



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 September, 2017

Another predictive failure

If they can't predict a day ahead, how can they predict decades ahead?  The weather is just too complex -- and climate is just the sum of weather. It's the same stuff

Estimates for the damage Hurricane Irma would inflict on Florida kept mounting as it made its devastating sweep across the Caribbean. It was poised to be the costliest U.S. storm on record. Then something called the Bermuda High intervened and tripped it up.

“We got very lucky,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If Irma had passed 20 miles west of Marco Island instead of striking it on Sunday, “the damage would have been astronomical.” A track like that would have placed the powerful, eastern eye wall of Irma on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

By one estimate, the total cost dropped to about $50 billion Monday from $200 billion over the weekend. The state escaped the worst because Irma’s powerful eye shifted westward, away from the biggest population center of sprawling Miami-Dade County.

The credit goes to the Bermuda High, which acts like a sort of traffic cop for the tropical North Atlantic Ocean. The circular system hovering over Bermuda jostled Irma onto northern Cuba Saturday, where being over land sapped it of some power, and then around the tip of the Florida peninsula, cutting down on storm surge damage on both coasts of the state.

“The Bermuda High is finite and it has an edge, which was right over Key West,” Masters said. Irma caught the edge and turned north.

For 10 days, computer-forecast models had struggled with how the high was going to push Irma around and when it was going to stop, said Peter Sousounis, director of meteorology at AIR Worldwide. “I have never watched a forecast more carefully than Irma. I was very surprised not by how one model was going back and forth — but by how all the models were going back and forth.”

In the end, Irma landed on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane with 130-mile (209 kilometers) per hour winds, then as a Category 3 at Marco Island. It reached the Tampa Bay area as a Category 2. By contrast, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 plowed into the east side of Florida as a Category 5.

“With Irma, little wobbles made a huge difference,”said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia. With a tightly-wound storm like Andrew coming straight into the state, “a 30-mile wobble isn’t going to matter.”

Still, when it comes to damage, “Irma may bump Andrew,” Watson said. The company’s most recent estimate is for $49.5 billion in Irma costs for Florida; Andrew’s were an inflation-adjusted $47.8 billion.

The price tag for Hurricane Harvey, which struck southeastern Texas on Aug. 25, could end up between $65 billion to $75 billion, according to AIR Worldwide, a Verisk Analytics risk modeler based in Boston.

The top spots at the moment are held by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, at $160 billion, and 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, at $70.2 billion, according to a list compiled by the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information.

Those are modern storms. Simulations based on the paths and powers of some that rammed the U.S. 100 or more years ago show they were far more disastrous, or would be if they arrived today when the population is much more dense and there is far more, and far more expensive, property to destroy.


Melting of Himalayan glaciers is nothing new

There was even some melting during the Little Ice Age

Himalayan glaciers experienced significant mass loss during later phases of little ice age

Mayank Shekhar


To date, there is a gap in the data about the state and mass balance of glaciers in the climate-sensitive subtropical regions during the Little Ice Age (LIA). Here, based on an unprecedented tree-ring sampling coverage, we present the longest reconstructed mass balance record for the Western Himalayan glaciers, dating to 1615. Our results confirm that the later phase of LIA was substantially briefer and weaker in the Himalaya than in the Arctic and subarctic regions. Furthermore, analysis of the time-series of the mass-balance against other time-series shows clear evidence of the existence of (i) a significant glacial decay and a significantly weaker magnitude of glaciation during the latter half of the LIA; (ii) a weak regional mass balance dependence on either the El Nińo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) taken in isolation, but a considerable combined influence of both of them during the LIA; and (iii) in addition to anthropogenic climate change, the strong effect from the increased yearly concurrence of extremely high TSI with El Nińo over the past five decades, resulting in severe glacial mass loss. The generated mass balance time-series can serve as a source of reliable reconstructed data to the scientific community.

Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 10305

Fracking getting underway in England

North Yorkshire County Council has today agreed planning conditions with Third Energy which will enable the company to begin operations to frack for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.

The conditions relate to traffic management; to the prevention of mud on roads and to the financial commitment required of Third Energy, or any subsequent owner of the site, to deliver the restoration and aftercare of the development.

The county council gave planning consent subject to planning conditions to Third Energy to undertake hydraulic fracturing for shale gas on the Kirby Misperton site over a year ago.

This was a single decision on a single site in North Yorkshire which already has existing conventional drilling for gas on it. The decision does not have a bearing on future applications.

However, local councils must work within the national policy that indigenous oil and gas are key to energy security, while facilitating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. They must also consider the need for economic growth to provide jobs and sustainable communities.

North Yorkshire’s planning committee was satisfied that in this particular application, mitigation of the effects of the development with regard to safeguarding the natural environment, protected species and habitats, the amenity of local residents, the protection of ground and surface water quality and traffic management could be achieved through the discharge of the planning conditions.

These conditions have now been agreed and will be carefully monitored throughout the operation. Third Energy is today delivering to the county council the formal seven day notification of commencement of development.


'Mini' nuclear reactors could help solve Britain's energy crunch and cut a third off bills, ministers hope

Ministers are ready to approve the swift development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to help guard against electricity shortages, as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned.

The new technology is expected to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the ongoing Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Industry players including Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs).

A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of Ł60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants.

SMRs are a fraction of the size and cost of conventional plants and were earmarked for funding from the Ł250m pledged by the Government in 2015 to develop “innovative nuclear technologies”.  It is hoped a fleet of these small reactors could be cheaply produced to guarantee Britain’s energy supply, with further ambitions for the technology to be exported worldwide.

Whitehall sources confirmed that ­officials from the Department for Business were whittling down proposals from consortia keen to work with government to develop SMRs, with an ­announcement on the final contenders for funding expected soon.

The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled “UK SMR: A National Endeavour”, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.

The mini reactors are each expected to be able to generate between 200 megawatts and 450 megawatts of power, compared with the 3.2 gigawatts due from Hinkley, meaning more of them will be required to meet the UK’s energy needs.


Greens Defeated As Norwegian Voters Snub Anti-Oil Push

An election seen partly as a referendum on Norway’s future as an oil-producing country went solidly for the status quo.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the center-right Conservative Party and her main coalition partner, the Progress Party, won 89 seats in Norway’s 169-seat Parliament, defeating a group led by the Labor Party that was projected to win 80 seats.

Before the election, weakening of the Labor coalition was thought to have created an opportunity for the Green Party to gain influence. The Greens campaigned to halt oil and gas exploration and to phase out the Norwegian oil industry in 15 years. But the party only retained its single seat, winning an estimated 3.3% of the vote.

No Conservative-led Norwegian government has retained power in an election since 1985.

The Labor Party was projected to lose 6 of its 55 seats but to remain Norway’s largest single party.




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 September, 2017

This could be amusing

The skeptics will win hands down

One of Europe’s largest hedge funds is looking to move into the gambling industry in the UK, as it sets up a new venue where players can bet on the effects of climate change. The project is hoping to tempt climate scientists to put their money where their models are.

The new “climate prediction market” is the brainchild of Winton Capital, founded by David Harding, and is aimed at finding a market consensus on the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperature rises in the future.

The not-for-profit project, which is being funded out of Winton’s philanthropic budget, is hoping to tempt climate scientists to put their money where their models are, and to provide a clear benchmark of the academic consensus at a time of intense interest in man-made climate change.

News of the project comes as the UN General Assembly meeting in New York focuses on the theme of a sustainable planet. Climate change also continues to dominate the political agenda around the world, after President Donald Trump declared he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord and roll back regulations on the production of coal.

“With a prediction market, getting the information is the primary objective,” said Mark Roulston, a scientist at Winton who is overseeing the project. “There’s not necessarily a consensus on all the implications of climate change. The idea is to have a benchmark which could track any emerging consensus.”

Under the plan, scientists and experts from around the world will be able to trade contracts based on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and how far temperatures increase, going decades into the future. Winton will act as a market maker and subsidise trading, rather than taking a cut or skewing the odds in its favour.

Winton’s market, which will be based in the UK, will be one of only a few prediction markets and is believed to be the first dedicated to climate issues. Such markets are mostly barred in the US because of more restrictive gambling laws; one exception is at the University of Iowa, which has developed a political futures market run for research and teaching.

If the Winton market is successful, Mr Roulston envisions it being a source to show how experts believe world events — such as the US withdrawing from the climate accord — could impact climate change.

Robin Hanson, a professor of economics at George Mason University who helped pioneer the use of prediction markets, said there is little incentive for anyone to try to manipulate the market, because that will only make the potential profits bigger for those who predict CO2 concentration and temperature correctly.

“There are lots of betting markets, and there are lots of ways to predict climate, like through weather futures,” said Prof Hanson. “The difference here is you’re creating a market for the purpose of finding out about something, rather than just to make some money or have fun.”

On Winton’s market, bets will settle every year, using temperature data from the UK’s Hadley Centre, and the annual average of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide as measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitoring station on Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

The hedge fund will initially target professionals in the climate field to participate, though it will be open to anyone in the UK. It is being run internally at Winton, with employees able to place notional bets rather than using real money. Mr Roulston said they are hoping to launch it externally later this year to universities, and will open it to the public sometime next year.


When the lights go out in a hurricane, blame climate change policies, not climate change

With electric power going out in those parts of Florida and Texas where powerful hurricanes have made landfall, now would be a good time to assess the long-term viability of America's energy grid. If you are someone who has grown accustomed to reliable and affordable energy sources, and are now suddenly without power, try to imagine what that might be like on a regular basis.

Although global warming alarmists have predictably made every effort to link Hurricanes Harvey and Irma with higher greenhouse gas levels, the real threat to American energy comes not from global warming, but from misguided global warming policies.

That much is made evident in a highly detailed report the U.S. Department of Energy has just released on "electricity markets and reliability" that should be instructive to federal and state policymakers. One key finding that stands out is the impact government regulations, mandates and subsidies have on current and future energy needs. As variable renewable energy has gained traction within the energy grid, it has become more difficult and challenging to meet growing energy needs, according to the report.

That's because wind and solar energy sources cannot stand on their own two feet without government intervention. Unlike their fossil counterparts, renewable energy sources are intermittent, unreliable, and expensive. But they did gain political favor during the Obama administration as a way to mitigate the potential effects of man-made global warming. Since a growing number of scientists now identify natural influences, as opposed to human emissions, as the primary drivers of climate change, it's time to let solar and wind energy rise and fall on their own merits. The government subsidies and mandates that prop up renewable energy have contributed to the "premature retirement of baseload power plants," the study says. The lesson here is that what is politically fashionable and trendy does not always make sense economically or scientifically.

So, is there room for renewable energy to operate effectively in the absence of government intervention?

The Institute for Energy Research has released its own report titled "The Solar Value Cliff" that addresses this very question and concludes that at "low penetration levels" solar power can alleviate stress on the electricity grid. However, IER also finds that solar energy "contributes no additional capacity to the grid at a penetration level of 6 percent or beyond. Indeed, additional solar above the threshold is actively harmful to the ability of operators to maintain the capacity of the grid because it undermines the economics of those energy sources that must continue to provide the capacity to meet peak demand."

Put simply, solar could have a constructive, but limited role as part of a mixed approach to energy unfettered from government directives.

Ideally, it would be best not to politicize the human tragedies that flow out of natural disasters like Harvey and Irma. Contrary to what has been reported by some media outlets, the extreme weather conditions that have occurred recently are not out of proportion what has happened historically. In fact, in the past 140 years, major landfall hurricanes have actually declined even as CO2 has risen.

The population centers that are most vulnerable to severe weather are the ones that stand to lose the most if unworkable, inefficient energy displaces fossil fuels that have raised living standards across the globe. In fact, there's an argument to be made that the oil and gas industry has saved lives that would have otherwise perished in the recent hurricanes.

There will always be challenges to humanity in the form of extreme weather, but we'll be better positioned to handle natural disasters in the future if policymakers embrace technological innovation and responsible industrial development rather than unfounded global warming hysteria.


Neither God nor Gaia is punishing America

As America gets punished by one hurricane after another, that proud nation refuses to repent. That may be because natural disasters are not punishments from angry gods, and those who exploit them to further their agenda are callous opportunists.
Since time immemorial, prophets of doom and religious zealots have declared natural disasters to be punishment for humanity’s sins, or expressions of their anger. One would think modern humans would have grown out of such childish superstitions, but alas, it is not so. Worse, supposedly rational academics have taken over the fire-and-brimstone mantle from religious zealots.

When hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders all invented reasons why their god was punishing the city, ranging from orgies, pornography, homosexuality and indoctrinating children with perversion, to removing religious statuary from government property, to foreign policy issues involving Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. With delicious irony, one pastor, who said hurricanes were signs of God’s displeasure over gay marriage and abortions, himself fell victim to flooding last year.

This time around, one two-bit actor, Kirk Cameron, claimed that God uses hurricanes to kill innocent people to teach us humility, awe and repentance, but religious leaders have been far more restrained. One fire-breathing zealot who once blamed the Sandy Hook massacre on gay marriage and abortion, now says: “Finally, my prayer is that we as a nation would not politicise this crisis in any way.”

But while religious leaders have cooled down their heartless, opportunistic rhetoric, natural disasters remain useful as propaganda to indoctrinate people into accepting beliefs they otherwise would reject. Witness professor Kenneth Storey, a sociology professor at the University of Tampa, Florida, who thinks Hurricane Harvey should be blamed on Republicans who voted for Trump. He has been fired for his efforts to politicise the crisis.

Not all political opportunists have met the same fate, however. One of the most prominent is Michael E. Mann, a lead character in the ClimateGate scandal of 2009. (For a refresher on the case, which revealed that climate scientists operate with a political agenda, suppress the work of outsiders, hide and even destroy data, downplay their own uncertainties in public statements, and whitewash the resulting scandal, read this, this, this and this.)

Mann took to the Guardian to declare that “it’s a fact” that climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly. Besides the trivial observation that there has been a small amount of sea surface warming in the Mexican Gulf “over the past few decades”, and that sea levels have been rising slowly but steadily for as long as we’ve bothered to measure them, Mann bases his view on the weather patterns that caused Harvey to stall, making its rainfall as severe as it has been.

To underscore his objective – using natural disasters to scare people into accepting beliefs that they otherwise would reject – Mann and two colleagues penned an editorial entitled, “Irma and Harvey should kill any doubt that climate change is real.”

Mann is a climatologist, and gets mighty offended when mere meteorologists step onto his turf, so perhaps he should tread a little more lightly when he starts discussing short-term weather patterns. Meteorologist Joe Bastardi shredded Mann’s explanation of the weather systems at play, saying he not only gets it wrong, but that he describes exactly the opposite of what really happened.

Cliff Mass, an atmospheric sciences professor at the University of Washington – who unlike Bastardi is by no means a climate sceptic – gave a more measured take. He concludes that “human-induced global warming played an inconsequential role in this disaster”.

He notes that sea temperatures were, as Mann wrote, slightly above normal in the period leading up to Hurricane Harvey, but atmospheric temperatures were not above normal. This means that the air moisture content could not have been significantly higher than usual, contrary to Mann’s claim. Even if Mann were right, however, and there was 3.5% more moisture in the air than usual, Mass says this would have accounted for only 1” (25mm) in 30” (726mm) worth of the rain, which is “immaterial regarding impacts or anything else”.

Mass shows that while warmer weather is expected to produce more precipitation, the rainfall record for the coast around Houston shows no trend, or even a slightly downward trend, over 50 years. He concludes: “There is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.”

He adds that there is also no evidence of any trend in zonal winds over the Gulf of Mexico for the past 50 years which could have accounted for Harvey stalling over Houston, nor is there any trend in the strength of hurricane winds in the region. Model predictions, which he analysed in a published paper, show no significant changes in winds over the Gulf coast even by the end of the 21st century, let alone now.

A similar argument holds for Hurricane Irma. It actually developed over relatively cool waters in the Atlantic, according to climatologist Judith Curry, but was favoured by other weather conditions, such as weak wind shear. She accuses Mann and his colleagues of “hysterical hand waving … using undergraduate basic thermodynamics reasoning”. She adds: “There is nothing basic or simple about hurricanes.”

True, some records were set. At 51.88” (1,318mm) Harvey caused the most rainfall of any storm in US history. But not by much. Tropical storm Claudette dumped 42” (1,029mm) in just 24 hours in 1979, while Harvey took several days to set its record. Tropical storm Amelia dumped 48” (1,220mm) in 1978. Hurricane Easy caused 45” (1,143mm) in 1950. Statistically speaking there’s no trend here.

On the contrary, Harvey and Irma broke a 12-year hurricane drought in the continental US. They were only 15 days apart, which is unusual, but the shortest time on record between two major hurricanes is 23 hours, set in 1933. Harvey and Irma were both powerful hurricanes, but they’re not record-breaking in terms of either wind speeds or barometric pressure.

Dr Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane expert in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, ranked the 24 worst US hurricanes on record. By pressure at landfall, Irma ranks joint 7th, behind hurricanes in 1935, 1969, 2005, 1992, 1886, 1919, and level with one in 1928. Harvey ranks joint 18th. By wind speed at landfall, Irma and Harvey both rank joint 14th, level with hurricanes in 1898, 1915, 1916, 1948 and 1954 and behind hurricanes in 1935, 1969, 1992, 1856, 1886, 1919, 1932, 1926, 1928, 1960, 1961, 1900 and 1989.

If all those dates don’t look like they’re clustered in the age of alarming global warming – the last few decades – that’s because they aren’t:

While slightly warmer temperatures may have made a marginal difference to Harvey and Irma, there is nothing in the data to suggest that climate change made either hurricane particularly bad, or that climate change is causing more frequent, or stronger, hurricanes.

A chart by meteorologist Ryan Maue which documents accumulated tropical cyclone energy since 1972 both in the northern hemisphere and globally shows that cyclones (which are called hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons in the Pacific) are not increasing in intensity:

If anything, global cyclone intensity peaked in the 1990s, and has been on the wane ever since. That is not the trend one would expect if the climate change theory were true. (Useful interactive charts with various indicators for each oceanic basin, including accumulated cyclone energy, can be found on the website of the Tropical Meteorological Project of Colorado State University.)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has this to say about global warming and hurricanes: “It is premature to conclude that human activities – and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming – have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modelled.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also addresses claims that tropical storm or hurricane numbers have been rising in the Atlantic Basin. It is worth quoting that section in full, since the caveats to its opening sentence entirely negate it:

“Existing records of past Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane numbers (1878 to present) in fact do show a pronounced upward trend, which is also correlated with rising SSTs (Vecchi and Knutson 2008). However, the density of reporting ship traffic over the Atlantic was relatively sparse during the early decades of this record, such that if storms from the modern era (post 1965) had hypothetically occurred during those earlier decades, a substantial number would likely not have been directly observed by the ship-based ‘observing network of opportunity’. We find that, after adjusting for such an estimated number of missing storms, there is a small nominally positive upward trend in tropical storm occurrence from 1878-2006. But statistical tests reveal that this trend is so small, relative to the variability in the series, that it is not significantly distinguishable from zero [their emphasis]. In addition, Landsea et al (2010) note that the rising trend in Atlantic tropical storm counts is almost entirely due to increases in short-duration (<2 alone.="" as="" been="" br="" chance="" day="" earlier="" encounters="" for="" had="" have="" in="" less="" likely="" of="" opportunity="" overlooked="" particularly="" parts="" record="" ship="" short-lived="" storms="" such="" the="" they="" to="" traffic.="" were="" with="" would="">
“If we instead consider Atlantic basin hurricanes, rather than all Atlantic tropical storms, the result is similar: the reported numbers of hurricanes were sufficiently high during the 1860s-1880s that again there is no significant positive trend in numbers beginning from that era. This is without any adjustment for ‘missing hurricanes’.

“The evidence for an upward trend is even weaker if we look at U.S. landfalling hurricanes, which even show a slight negative trend beginning from 1900 or from the late 1800s.”

In short, Michael Mann and other activists who attribute anything about the recent hurricanes to climate change are talking politics, not science. They’re trying to put the fear of Gaia in you, to get you to fall in line behind their doctrine of humanity’s sin and their prescription for your redemption.

They’re behaving just as zealots have done throughout the ages. To take major disasters which killed people and ruined lives to score dishonest propaganda points says all you need to know about Mann and company’s true feelings towards both humanity and science. They hold both in contempt.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

The Time is Right for the EPA to Cut Back the Renewable Fuel Mandate

The deadline closed last week for interested parties to file comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which would require 19.24 billion total gallons of biofuel to be blended into transportation fuels in 2018 and 2019. EPA’s proposed standards fall short of statutorily required levels by 6.76 billion gallons, and if finalized would represent a 40 million gallon decrease from the standards that were finalized in December for 2017.

This biofuel mandate is bad news for the environment and for American consumers: in the past decade evidence has shown that mandated ethanol production could be creating more carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline and polluting waterbodies via nitrogen fertilizer runoff, all while benefitting a narrow group of special interests at the expense of consumers.

What is the Renewable Fuel Standard?

The RFS program requires refiners to blend specific amounts of renewable fuels into transportation fuel, such as gasoline and diesel. The RFS program was created in 2005 to reduce both American dependence on foreign oil and domestic gasoline consumption. While the stated goals of the RFS are to reduce crude oil imports and increase the use of domestic renewable fuels, an implicit purpose of the RFS is to benefit the environment by moving away from gasoline and diesel, fossil fuels that result in substantial carbon emissions.

Environmental Damage

Since Congress first authorized the RFS program in 2005, academic research has indicated that the production of ethanol and biodiesel may significantly increase emissions, specifically of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and criteria pollutants such as particulate matter. This prospect was recently recognized by EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, which last year released a report recommending that EPA satisfy its statutory obligations by analyzing and addressing the program’s negative environmental impacts.

While estimates vary, recent research indicates that the environmental benefit of the RFS is extremely modest at best and, at worst, could result in a significant increase in CO2 emissions over gasoline. Overall, the post-2007 literature largely reinforces that ethanol production increases emissions and damages wetlands.

The two main sources of this environmental harm are changes in land use and increased fertilizer use, which lead to the release of a significant amount of soil organic carbon and cause water pollution, damage ecosystems, harm biodiversity, and contribute to the Gulf of Mexico’s “Dead Zone.”

Regulatory Capture

Unfortunately the environmental impacts are not the end of the story for consumers, who ultimately bear the burden of the RFS program – via higher prices not only for fuel, but also for food and other goods that rely on inputs like corn and soy. While these rules are a bad deal for American consumers, they are highly profitable for the domestic soybean and corn growers and refiners, which enjoy a government mandate that consumers use their products.

Given the availability of new information on the impacts of the program, Congress and EPA should reevaluate whether the latest proposed Renewable Fuel Standard is accomplishing what Congress intended: a greener fuel future that benefits consumers and the environment alike.


Australia: ‘Marketing con’ fears as Elon Musk’s SA battery costs remain secret

A contract between US tech billionaire Elon Musk and the South Australian government for the world’s largest lithium-ion battery hides the cost and key details, fuelling claims the deal is a “marketing con”.

The contract says the grid-­connected battery facility is to be commissioned and operational by December 1.

“The facility will provide ser­vices to maintain power system security, integrity and stability for the South Australian electricity network, prevent certain load shedding events, provide supply during critical peak periods and participate in ancillary services and wholesale electricity markets,” the contract says.

The contract value is “not disclosed” and the contract is “not disclosed in full as it contains confidential business information”.

Mr Musk’s company Tesla won a public tender in July from about 90 other bidders. It will build a 100-megawatt battery to store energy from French renewable company Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, 230km north of Adelaide.

Mr Musk won the contract after promising to build the giant battery in 100 days or it would be free. Although the contract start date is listed as July 6, the “100 days or it’s free” pledge starts only once a grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

The opposition said it was outrageous the state government could disclose what it paid Origin for gas, Caltex for fuel and Qantas for air travel, but could not say how much it was paying a foreign billionaire for a battery.

“With every passing day Labor’s secret deal sounds more like a marketing con than a genuine plan to deal with South Australia’s electricity problems,” Liberal deputy leader Vickie Chapman said. “Jay Weatherill needs to be honest with the people of South Australia about how much public money he is handing over to a foreign billionaire.

“The last time the government was being this secretive about a contract it was the Gillman land deal. That ended up being investigated by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.”

It is understood specific financial and technical details of the contract have been kept commercial-in-confidence at the request of Neoen and Tesla. The cost is estimated at about $50 million.

Tesla will not comment, but will make a “milestone” announcement at the site on September 29.

Sources said Neoen, Tesla and the government were negotiating with the Australian Energy Market Operator and private transmission company ElectraNet for approval of the connection agreement as soon as possible.

Construction has started at the site and the batteries are being shipped to South Australia.

A government spokesman said the project would stabilise the wind-reliant grid and add competition to reduce prices.

“Instead of criticising aspects of the plan that AEMO says will improve grid security, (Opposition Leader) Steven Marshall should announce his own energy policies, rather than keep them ­secret,” the spokesman said.

On Tuesday, a fleet of generators that arrived in South Australia from Europe at the weekend were awaiting installation at two sites as part of the Weatherill government’s plan to prevent blackouts this summer ahead of the March state election.

The state government further delayed its Energy Security Target to January 1, 2020, after criticism from companies including Tesla. The target requires retailers to source 36 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from gas gener­ators and other synchronous power 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


13 September, 2017

Ecofascists below fantasise about changing the law to secure their political aims: locking up their political enemies

They are hanging their hopes on attribution studies but such studies involve modelling.  And when did any Greenie model get anything right?  Still, it would be great to get Warmism into court.  It would not survive judicial scrutiny for a moment.  They'd actually be lucky to get anybody to testify for them -- for fear of getting a face-egging

For decades, proving the link between human greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on extreme weather events was thought to be near impossible. Now, scientific advancements in extreme weather event attribution are turning this assumption on its head.

At the same time, courts around the world are increasingly being asked to consider questions of liability arising from a relationship between the loss and damage caused by an extreme weather event and climate change.

From a legal view, the information that attribution studies provide about the increased characteristics of extreme weather events – such as heatwaves, droughts or storms – is crucial. Having the ability to foresee damage is a key requirement in establishing a duty of care in many legal systems.

This breakthrough will galvanise future climate change litigation. Cases are likely to involve local government agencies, professionals or companies that own or manage public and private infrastructure and have a duty of care to manage climate-related risks.

And this fusion of science and the law could spur action from governments and businesses to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, helping to limit the extent of climate change in future.

Rapidly evolving scientific field

The science of determining the extent to which human-caused climate change has affected the characteristics of an extreme weather event is known as “event attribution”.

Scientists use a methodology to compare observations and records from the “real world” with the “counterfactual world” – a modelled simulation with human-caused forcings, such as  greenhouse gases and aerosols, removed.

Since the first attribution study on the 2003 European heatwave, scientists have published more than 140 studies looking at weather events around the world.

The strength of attribution science is based on three “pillars”: the quality of observed records; the ability of models to simulate climate events; and the understanding of physical processes that drive climate events and how these are being affected by climate change.

To date, confidence in studies of extreme heat and cold episodes has been the strongest – though scientists are increasingly able to differentiate between natural and human-caused influences on rainfall extremes and storms as well.

Significant uncertainties do remain, however, and in an inherently chaotic weather system it is technically impossible to state that a specific extreme event would “never” have occurred without human influence. Therefore, scientists reject simplistic statements such as “this event was caused by climate change” and instead express findings in terms of changing risk.

For example, a recent study in Australia found that “in the past, a summer as hot as 2016–17 was a roughly 1-in-500-year event”. It continued: “Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1-in-50 years – a tenfold increase in frequency. In the future, a summer as hot as this past summer in New South Wales is likely to happen roughly once every five years”.

Implications for the law 

The fact that the findings of event attribution studies are expressed probabilistically does not diminish the usefulness of this evidence for the law or liability. The law has shown flexibility in assessing harm resulting from “negligence” (a type of legal wrong) where harm can only be proven using probabilistic methods.

For example, courts in the UK have accepted causation for civil cases relating to occupational exposure to toxic chemicals when the science has shown the risk of an event occurring has been increased by a 2:1 chance. This is known as the “doubling of the risk” test. Similar tests have been adopted as part of litigation in the US.

Attribution science is not only beginning to link emissions from human activities to specific physical events happening today, it is also producing clear warnings and evidence about the risks of extreme climate events in the future.

What does this mean for governments and business?
With these scientific breakthroughs, governments and businesses may find that the bar is raised with respect to the expectations of the public and the law.

Some nation states have legal duties to protect the rights of citizens. As our understanding of the future risk from climate change becomes more certain, governments may have corresponding legal duties to adapt physical infrastructure and disaster management plans to protect people and the environment.

Specifically, government or private bodies that own and manage critical public infrastructure – such as ports, roads, airports or even public housing – should be aware of, and adapt to, the expected exposures projected by the best available event attribution science. This is necessary to continue to achieve necessary protective and reliability standards – and maintain related economic stability. Infrastructure may need to be re-designed to ensure it can withstand future climate-related risks, such as heatwaves and floods.

In the US, claims against governments for failing to adapt to climate change could be brought under existing statutory obligations, however, the process is complex. Just as litigation arose after Hurricane Katrina, questions will be asked in the wake of Hurricane Harvey regarding appropriate planning, management and responses to flood risk in Houston.

Interestingly, the UK Climate Change Act allows the Secretary of State to request adaptation plans from public authorities that show their preparation and planning for the impacts of climate change.

The same liability risk applies to companies, too. A business that designs, constructs or manages public assets also faces future climate-related risk. If architects, engineers or builders use outdated building standards, or if codes are not updated to take into account exposures projected by advances in climate science, these companies and professionals may expose themselves to negligence claims. As has been seen time and again in the US in all manner of litigation, mere compliance with a statute or procurement rule or requirement does not necessarily satisfy professional duty obligations.

More frequent and severe weather events also physically threaten private assets and business revenue and related tax revenues, whether that includes a loss of productivity due to periods of closure, or higher energy costs. Businesses, just like governments, must assess and manage foreseeable climate-related risks. 

We expect that attribution science will provide crucial evidence that will help courts determine liability for climate change related harm. But that liability may emerge first from traditional common law negligence causes of action, applied to professionals and parties with unique knowledge and/or duties, rather than from regulatory compliance actions.

Governments and businesses can no longer ignore the risk of extreme events or write them off as “Acts of God”. Instead, quantifying the impact that humans have on climate events could help us mitigate climate risk and adapt for a stable future.


The Myth That Climate Change Created Harvey, Irma

Flooding in homes and businesses across Houston was still on the rise when Politico ran a provocative article, titled “Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like.”

Politico was not alone, as another news outlet called the one-two punch of Harvey and Irma the potential “new normal.” Brad Johnson, executive director of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote, says Harvey and Irma are reason to finally jail officials who “reject science.”

Rather than focus on the victims and offer solutions for speedy recovery, pundits and politicians in the wake of Harvey focused on saying, “I told you so.”

Consider this data from a 2012 article in the Journal of Climate, authored by climatologists Roger Pielke Jr. and Jessica Weinkle. Pielke tweeted a graph from the paper that shows no trends in global tropical cyclone landfalls over the past 46 years.

Statistician and Danish author Bjorn Lomborg also tweeted a graph showing major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. trending downward for well over a century.

Before anyone starts claiming that Pielke and Lomborg’s charts rely on denier data, mainstream science published similar findings.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in its most recent scientific assessment that “[n]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes … have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin,” and that there are “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency.”

Further, “confidence in large-scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones [such as ‘Superstorm’ Sandy] since 1900 is low.”

Other media outlets tying Harvey to climate change took a more measured approach.

For instance, Vox wrote that man-made global warming did not actually cause Harvey, but simply exacerbated the natural disaster by creating heavier rainfalls.

But this claim is discredited by University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass, who after examining precipitation levels in the Gulf found that “[t]here is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.”

Mass went on to explicitly refute those who attribute Hurricane Harvey to climate change:

The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers.

Politicians seeking to exploit Harvey and Irma as reasons to act on climate change would only make a bad situation worse. Climate policies and regulations designed to prevent natural disasters and slow the earth’s warming simply will not do so.

Such policies aim to limit access to affordable, reliable conventional energy sources that power 80 percent of the country. Restricting their use through regulations or taxes will drive energy prices through the roof and make unemployment lines longer.

Further, these policies will destroy economic wealth, meaning fewer resources would be available to strengthen infrastructure to contain the future effects of natural disasters and to afterward.

Instead of blaming man-made greenhouse gas emissions, climate catastrophists should see natural disasters for what they really are: natural.

If policymakers want to take a page out of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste” playbook, they should worry less about costly nonsolutions to climate change and focus on natural disaster response, resilience, and preparedness.


Japan To Build 40 New Coal Power Plants

Japan may not achieve its carbon emissions target if an ambitious plan to build more coal-fired power plants moves ahead, the environment minister said, underlining Tokyo’s struggle to meet globally agreed goals to halt climate change.

Even as it champions the Paris climate agreement, Japan — the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter — continues its massive reliance on coal and natural gas, putting it out of step with the rest of the Group of Seven bloc and even South Korea.

The industry ministry sees coal as an important part of the country’s energy mix after the closure of nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns….

“If all those plants are built, it will become a major obstacle for Japan’s 2030 target to cut emissions,” said Yamamoto.

Under the Paris climate deal, Japan pledged to trim its carbon emissions by 26 percent in 2030 from 2013 levels.

The ministry estimates that Japan’s emissions could exceed its 2030 target by 70 million tons if all the coal power plants are built.


Correlation of Regional Warming with Global Emissions

Jamal Munshi, Sonoma State University


A study of regional temperature reconstructions of the instrumental record 1850-2016 for land and ocean in the two hemispheres is presented. The rate of warming over land in the Northern Hemisphere appears to show some evidence of correlation with global emissions in five of the twelve calendar months but the statistical significance of the correlation could not be verified with station data from the region. No correlation with emissions could be found in regional temperature reconstructions for any of the other five global regions studied. These results taken together do not support the claim that the observed warming in surface temperatures worldwide since the Industrial Revolution is driven by fossil fuel emissions or that the rate of warming can be attenuated by reducing fossil fuel emissions.


Miss America goes Green

Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund, was named Miss America 2018 Sunday night in Atlantic City following a night of political questions ranging from the Trump administration's alleged collusion with Russia to Confederate monuments.

The event got political after the Miss America candidates were asked multiple questions about the current political climate and President Trump during the question-and-answer session.

During one of the onstage interviews, Mund said Trump was wrong to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord aimed at combating climate change.

“I do believe it's a bad decision,' she said. “Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table and that's something that we really need to keep in mind.”

“There is evidence that climate change is existing. So whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table, and I think it's just a bad decision on behalf of the United States,” she added.




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 September, 2017

Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us

Or so says Mark Hertsgaard, a veteran promoter of the Big Lie of global warming. He never learns.  Below is some previous wisdom from him:

Steve Goddard has a lot of news clippings showing that we have had worse wind disasters in the past

The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking —but also infuriating. How many times must we see this disaster movie—titled Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with many lesser-known foreign releases— before we intervene and change the ending? And how long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?

The tragedy of Harvey starts with the suffering of innocents like Jordyn Grace, the 3-year-old who survived the flood by clinging to the body of her drowned mother, who had prayed with her last breaths. At least 60 people died in Texas because of the storm, over 1 million people were displaced, and who knows how many survived but lost everything? Multiply the death and destruction in Texas a hundredfold to comprehend the scale of devastation in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where—although the news coverage has been a fraction of Harvey’s—a staggering 16 million children “are in urgent need of life-saving support” after “torrential monsoon rains and catastrophic flooding,” UNICEF reports.

What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented. In 2008, John Podesta, soon to be Obama’s transition director, organized a war game to test the responses to projected climate disruptions. Eerily enough, the scenario chosen—and vetted as scientifically accurate by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—envisioned a Category 4 hurricane striking Houston and extreme monsoons flooding India. This is not to say that global warming “caused” Harvey—a scientifically illiterate framing of the issue—but it did make the rains bigger, more intense, and more destructive. Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water—“enough to cover all of Manhattan a mile deep,” noted Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press—and as much as 30 percent of it can be attributed to global warming, according to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.


China mulls going electric with aim to ban petrol and diesel cars

Because they are an authoritarian government, China may be able to make this stick.  It will however be a huge hit to the economy due to all the time that people will have to waste while recharging.  Smart scheduling will get around some of it but not all

The Chinese government has signalled it will join the line of nations queuing up to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in the coming decades.

A senior official has told the Chinese car sector that the industry department in Beijing has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy ­vehicles”, according to a report from the state news agency Xinhua.

The comments by deputy industry minister Xin Guobin are viewed as a major boost to development of electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure. China is now the world’s largest car market with 25.53m cars and light vehicles sold in the country last year, according to industry analysts JATO.

Sales were up 14.6pc on the previous year and far outstripped the next biggest market, the US, which saw anaemic growth of 0.4pc to 17.55m last year.

Motorists in China are also already the biggest buyers of cars powered by electric and hybrid systems – which use a combination of batteries and ­internal combustion engines.

Since 2015, 336,000 of these vehicles have been sold in the country, representing 40pc of global sales. In the first seven months of this year, 204,000 electric vehicles were sold in China and Ford has predicted that ­demand for electric vehicles in the country will reach 6m a year by 2025.

Mr Xin spoke at a car industry event over the weekend in the eastern city of Tianjin, a key hub for the country’s fast-expanding automotive industry.

A ban could potentially come into force before similar plans announced recently by the UK and France, who have said they will halt the sale of new cars with petrol and diesel engines from 2040.

When the British government ­revealed its policy two months ago ministers came in for heavy criticism from the car industry. Officials eventually conceding that “hybrids” would not be covered by the ban.

The Beijing government is desperate to grab a lead in the global race to ­develop electric cars, both to clean up its heavily congested, smog-bound cities and to secure a leading place in the car industry of the future.

Volvo, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Geely, created a splash in July when it said in July that from 2019 all new cars in its range would come with an electric option, a move which was aped by Jaguar Land Rover – which has a factory in China – last week with a target date of 2020.


Environmentalists File New Challenges to Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes

An environmental group challenging the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall and prototype projects in San Diego expanded its lawsuit challenging the Homeland Security Department’s authority to waive environmental laws in order to move forward with the project.

The new filing in U.S. District Court argues that then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly did not have the constitutional or other legal authority to waive dozens of environmental laws to "rush construction of the border wall and prototypes."

"The waiver highlights the Trump administration’s dangerous disregard for our environment and the rule of law," Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit, said in a statement. "Trump is willing to throw environmental protections out the window and fulfill his divisive and destructive campaign promise."

"What’s to stop him from using this lawless approach to wreck wildlife refuges and beautiful public lands all along the border?" he added.

A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the expanded lawsuit.

In early August, DHS announced that it would waive environmental and other regulations to try to "ensure expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego, where the agency is planning to build its prototypes for the border wall.

DHS justified the move by arguing location remains one of the busiest for illegal crossings in the country, an area of "high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional barriers and roads."

In fiscal year 2016 alone, DHS said in a release, the CBP "apprehended more than 31,000 illegal aliens and seized 9,167 pounds of marijuana and 1,317 pounds of cocaine in the San Diego sector."

The waiver focuses on a specific 15-mile stretch of land east of the Pacific Ocean and south of San Diego where DHS plans to embark on "infrastructure projects," including the building of four to eight 30-foot high prototypes of the 2,000-mile border wall Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

Last week, the CBP announced the selection of four companies that will build prototypes of the reinforced concrete version of the wall. An announcement of several other companies selected to build prototypes using other materials that could provide "see-through" capability is expected soon. Construction on the prototypes is set to begin as early as later this month.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the waiver allows the Trump administration to bypass required environmental impact analyses of the building, as well as public input.

"The coastal area of southern San Diego is surrounded by communities and contains critical habitat for several endangered species," the center said in a release.

In addition to the prototype building, the center said the waiver allows a separate border-wall replacement project stretching 14-miles south of San Diego, a region containing wetlands, streams and other habitat critical for numerous endangered species including the Quino Checkerspot butterly and coastal California gnatcatcher bird.

A study by the center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species who would be jeopardized by proposed wall construction along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

The center specifically took issue with the legal basis DHS relied on in issuing the waiver.

The department used the 2005 Real ID Act, which amended the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to give the Homeland Security secretary the power to waive federal, state and local laws, to expedite construction of the double and triple-layer border fencing in San Diego.

The waiver authority was later interpreted to apply to border-wall construction under the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which requires DHS to build 700 miles of border barriers.

However, the center argues DHS met this mandate several years ago using the Real ID law five times to meet more than 35 laws involving 625 miles of border wall and barrier construction.

"The Real ID authority no longer applies," Segee said. "Homeland Security doesn’t have perpetual power to toss conservation laws for any border project it wants until the end of time. Trump’s border wall must comply with the laws that protect the environment and communities in borderlands."

The center additionally argued that the waiver violates constitutional requirements, including the separation of powers doctrine and the Endangered Species Act.


The Greenie Hurricane Hustle

Facts about Harvey trump attempts to use it to advance manmade climate cataclysm agendas

Paul Driessen

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” English essayist Samuel Johnson observed 240 years ago, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” That’s certainly true in the climate change arena.

After ending US participation in the Paris climate treaty and abolishing many government restrictions on fossil fuel use, the Trump Administration began preparing red team-blue team examinations of the science behind claims of “dangerous manmade climate change.” Asian, African and even European countries are building still more coal and gas-fired power plants. A recent poll found that only 28% of Americans think climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well.”

All this is certainly concentrating the minds of climate alarmists, who are also taking former Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel’s cynical advice to “never let a crisis go to waste.” The new climate hustle is on.

The record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes striking the United States had to end at some point, and Hurricane Harvey definitely underscored our recent good fortune. Alarmists wasted no time in asserting that Harvey was due to or worsened by mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. As Irma beefs up and brings more widespread devastation, it too will likely achieve iconic climate chaos status.

Fossil-fuel-driven global warming made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden, thereby feeding Harvey’s strength and moisture content, said one climate and weather “expert.” A century ago a storm along the same path would have been less intense and brought less rain, claimed another.

Harvey stalled over Houston because manmade climate change caused “a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system,” which led to “very weak prevailing winds” that failed to steer the storm back into the Gulf of Mexico, a third putative expert asserted. An Antifa climate activist ranted that Harvey was due to “this administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness.” Another railed about climate murder.

Any journey back to climate and weather reality should begin by noting that doctrines of manmade climate cataclysm asserted that the record 12-year interlude between major US hurricanes should never have happened. The overall reduction in major hurricanes in recent decades shouldn’t have either.

Weather historian Roger Pielke, Jr. says 14 Category 4-5 hurricanes made landfall along US coasts, during the 44-year period between 1926 and 1969. In the ensuing 47 years, 1970 to 2017, just four struck the US mainland, including Harvey. Some, like the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys, were incredibly powerful. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division counts 10 Category 4-5 monsters between 1920 and 1969 (50 years), but only four since then. Either way, it’s a huge reduction.

Harvey lost its Cat 4 status shortly after making landfall, so winds declined as a major factor after they destroyed Rockport. What devastated Houston was the vast quantity of rain: some 19 trillion gallons of water in the Houston/South Texas area alone. By comparison, Chesapeake Bay holds 18 trillion gallons.

Worse, all this rain came in just a few days. Harris County (Greater Houston) alone got 1 trillion gallons. The Mont Belvieu area got 51.9 inches of rain – the highest rainfall total in any storm in US history. The 16 inches of rain August 27 at George Bush Airport is the single wettest day in Houston history.
However, previous storms were not far behind. Hurricane Easy deluged Florida with 45.2 inches in 1950; Tropical Cyclone Amelia dumped 48 inches on Texas in 1978; and Tropical Storm Claudette inundated Texas with 54 inches in 1979. In fact, Claudette emptied 43 inches in just 24 hours on the little town of Alvin, Texas; that one-day record still stands. Buffalo Bayou topped out at 62.7 feet this time – but it reached 54.4 feet in 1935. All the Texas storms were along its Gulf Coast.

All you need is the right (ie, wrong) confluence of events. As climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer explains, when a strong tropical cyclone has access to abundant moisture evaporating from a large body of warm water like the Gulf of Mexico – and that situation combines with little inland movement by the cyclone – you get record rain. So why did Hurricane Harvey settle in for a long haul over Houston?

There was no “expanded subtropical high pressure zone,” WeatherBELL Analytics chief forecaster Joe Bastardi points out. What happened with Harvey was the “exact opposite.” What trapped Harvey was a predicted MJO phase 2 – a major cool trough associated with the eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds and pressure that traverses the planet every 30 to 60 days or so. “Normally,” there would be no major trough that far south to stop a storm, Bastardi notes. But this time there was.

So instead of moving inland (which it did later), Harvey stalled. Its circular winds remained stuck in the trough (or what Weather Channel founder John Coleman calls a “void”) until surface pressures around it changed, and the storm was able to move to the northeast. It was “an unusual pattern,” an unusual confluence of events, says Coleman, but it was “not unprecedented.” Amelia and Claudette demonstrated that. Name just one hurricane that was ever “steered back” into the Gulf of Mexico, Bastardi challenged.

If the exact same tropical storm had simply moved inland at 13-15 mph, while generating the same total amount of rain, the downpours would have been spread over a much wider area, perhaps many states, with no flooding disaster, Dr. Spencer points out. But Harvey did not move inland for days.

In fact, “hurricanes that enter Texas often stall or meander, and are very wet. That’s why half of the top ten wettest US tropical rainfall events have been in Texas,” adds consulting meteorologist Joe D’Aleo. It has nothing to do with human-caused climate change.

“Hurricanes are nature’s way of taking heat out of the tropics and re-distributing it to the temperate regions,” when summers are hot and waters are warm, as the planet rotates, notes Bastardi. They require a unique combination of circumstances, with sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures being just one, adds Spencer. “The Gulf of Mexico is warm enough every summer to produce a major hurricane.

“But you also usually need a pre-existing cyclonic circulation or wave, which almost always can be traced back to the coast of Africa.” Why some systems intensify and others don’t is still not well understood.

Multi-decadal sea surface temperature (SST) oscillations in the Atlantic occur on a cyclical basis, as does the total energy accumulated each year by tropical storms and hurricanes. However, their origins and mechanisms are likewise still unknown, Dr. Michel de Rougemont notes.

It is impossible right now to separate all these natural factors from alleged manmade influences. Or to look at hurricane history and August SST anomalies over the years – and discern patterns that can be attributed to human-caused (or even natural) global warming. Those claiming an ability to do so must prove their claims, produce their data and algorithms, defend their thesis before red team experts, and not be allowed to assert “proprietary” data or point to secretive black box computer model simulations.

Houston flooded not just because of the sheer volume of water. The city is built on impermeable clays and former swamp lands that have subsided in many places over the decades from the steadily increasing weight of buildings, homes, other structures, and concrete and asphalt roads and runways. It is close to sea level, with little topographic relief, insufficient drainage, and reservoirs that can handle most big rains but not those that Harvey brought. Deluges thus have few places to go, except upward, over dams and into homes. It’s no wonder the area has experienced floods throughout its history.

To use this tragedy to advance anti-fossil fuel agendas is disgraceful. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, they are the bedrock of our civilization, jobs, living standards, well-being and life spans. To drive up their costs, or replace them now with expensive, unreliable “renewable” energy would be disastrous.

Fossil fuels allow us to track storms, warn people and get them out of harm’s way. They bring rescue boats, helicopters, high-rider vehicles, water, food, clothing and new building materials to stricken communities. They could do the same for Bangladesh and other countries that face natural disasters – and have been bereft of electricity and decent living standards for too many generations.

Via email

Australian Left hedges on coal-fired power station

Bill Shorten says Labor won't rule out supporting extending the life of a NSW coal-fired power station, despite comparing it to a 50-year-old car.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will meet with executives from AGL - owner of the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley - in Canberra on Monday to discuss keeping the plant open beyond its scheduled 2022 shutdown.

A new report says eastern states risk blackouts if 1000 megawatts can't be found to fill the gap in electricity demand as old coal-fired power is shut down.

Labor says the government needs to think beyond a plan for Liddell and quickly adopt a clean energy target, as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, to give investors long-term certainty.

"With the Liddell power station, it's 50 years old. What car do (people) drive that is 50 years old?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

"If something can be done, which is commercial, Labor is not going to immediately rule that out.

"But ... I hope (Mr Turnbull's) got a little bit more than just that plan."

Mr Turnbull said keeping Liddell open for up to five years was an obvious solution, but not the only one.

"That's one option, there will no doubt be others," he told reporters in Samoa, where he was attending the Pacific Islands Forum.

NSW power station operator Delta Electricity had indicated interest in Liddell, and the prime minister imagined other energy companies would also examine it.

Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler said he did not accept the premise there would be a shortfall in electricity generation.

"We don't have a problem with old plants closing, the problem is that we don't have a plan to replace them and I know that if we put a clean energy target in place ... we would see substantial investment flow," he said.

The Australian Greens oppose lengthening Liddell's life, and are instead calling for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations.

The Greens say supply issues can be addressed by boosting dispatchable renewable power, improving storage such as batteries and better managing demand.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said it was important to keep Liddell and other coal-fired power stations open.

"(Mr Shorten) needs to be straight with particularly the many, many Labor Party supporters who have relied on the Labor Party up there in the Hunter Valley for their jobs and they're walking away from them," he told reporters in Sydney.

"They've put up the white flag on coal-fired power in the Hunter Valley and they're selling them out."




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


11 September, 2017

Animation reveals the global sea level 'fingerprints' that show how climate change is affecting Earth

The report below repeatedly links sea level variations to global warming but offers no proof of that.  It's all just assertion.  Natural factors can and do affect sea levels -- such as isostatic uplift, El Nino etc.

And we do well to note Morner's demonstration that most of the sea level changes are the product of "adjustments". 

And even after the adjustments (upwards) we are still talking about a stunningly trivial 7 hundredths of one inch in sea level rise per year.  That is obviously a statistical artifact.  The available measurements are not nearly that precise.  There are those pesky things called waves which make all sea level measurements very rough

NASA researchers have reported the first detection of sea level 'fingerprints' that show changes in sea level variability around the world.

They result from changes in water storage on Earth's continents and in the mass of ice sheets. .

The ocean observations, called sea level 'fingerprints,' allow researchers to determine how much the sea level will rise at any point on the global ocean due to glacier melt.

As ice sheets and glaciers undergo climate-related melting, they change the Earth's gravity field, leading to sea level changes that are not uniform around the planet.

For example, when a glacier melts and loses ice mass, its gravitational attraction is reduced.

As such, ocean waters nearby move away, causing sea level to rise faster far away from the glacier.

This resulting pattern in sea level change is known as a sea level fingerprint - and certain areas, particularly in Earth's middle and low latitudes, are hit even harder, and Greenland and Antarctica contribute differently to the process.

For example, sea level rise in California and Florida caused by the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is up to 52 per cent greater than its average effect on the rest of the world.

To calculate these sea level fingerprints associated with melting ice sheets, glaciers and changes in land water storage, the team used gravity data data collected by the twin satellites of the US/German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) between April 2002 and October 2014.

During that 12-year period, the loss of mass from land ice and from changes in land water storage increased global average sea level by approximately 0.07 inches (1.8 millimeters) per year.

43 per cent of the increased water mass came from Greenland, 16 per cent from Antarctica and 30 per cent from mountain glaciers.

The researchers verified their calculations using reading of ocean-bottom pressure from stations in the tropics.

'Scientists have a solid understanding of the physics of sea level fingerprints, but we’ve never had a direct detection of the phenomenon until now,' said co-author of the study Dr Isabella Velicogna, UCI professor of Earth system science and JPL research scientist.

'It was very exciting to observe the sea level fingerprints in the tropics, far from the glaciers and ice sheets,' said lead author Chia-Wei Hsu, a graduate student researcher at UCI.

The findings are published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The research project was supported by UCI and NASA’s Earth Science Division.


The 2017 hurricanes

The Left seem determined to paint the current hurricane season as evidence of global warming, despite there being no evidence for that.  So a small memoir from one of my older readers might help restore perspective:

"I currently live just south of Atlanta GA. I grew up in Crosby in the news because of a chemical plant fire, the results of hurricane damage. My farm home was about 3 miles from that chemical plant.

We are now in the forecast path of hurricane Irma.  I worked on an off shore drilling rig in 1961 when hurricane Carla hit the Texas coast just south of where I lived. We prepped everything and left the rig to fend for itself. It washed off of location and sank. I never went back........ Texas A&M became my new home.

Hurricane Carla ranks as the most intense U.S. tropical cyclone landfall on the Hurricane Severity Index. The third named storm and first Category 5 hurricane of the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season, Carla developed from an area of squally weather in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on September 3

Starting as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea on Sept. 3, 1961, Carla steadily gained momentum until it was labeled a major hurricane four days later. After a few days, it became a Category 5, only to be downgraded to a Category 4 by Sept. 11, when it made landfall on Matagorda Island, a 38-mile (61-kilometer) barrier island on the Texas Gulf coast, according to the National Weather Service.

It weakened to a tropical storm after its eye hit Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca in Texas. The hurricane also impacted parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma and Illinois.

In Texas, the highest winds were about 115 mph but sustained winds in some parts hit 170 mph.

The hurricane spawned 18 tornadoes, including 10 in Louisiana and eight in Texas. Between Carla and the subsequent tornadoes, the NWS said 46 people were killed and more than 450 were injured.
Total damage was estimated at $2.36 billion with Texas suffering more than $400 million in damage. In Texas, 1,915 homes were destroyed.

My Dad and I crawled into the attic around midnight and nailed in more roof braces as the roof was starting to lift off. The house survived with no damage but the next morning we were in the middle of a county size lake about 20 inches deep.  Our pecan trees were badly damaged but no damage to our farm buildings or any of the animals.

Others were not so fortunate. There were stories of people being cut off by the storm surge when they thought that it would be exciting to watch the surf. They got the excitement of riding out the storm on a shed roof that they managed to reach as it floated away.

Now we see Climate People using these 2017 storms as proof of Climate Change.  They refuse to compare past years when equally violent storms landed on our shores. Most of the famous ship wrecks, especially the famous treasure ships, went down in hurricanes."

Prince Charles ‘Wrong’ On Climate Link To Syria War

Scientists have accused the Prince of Wales of exaggerating the link between climate change and the civil war in Syria.

A new study found no evidence for the widely publicised theory that climate change was a factor in causing the war, in which more than 300,000 people have died and 11 million have been forced to leave their homes.

The researchers said making “overblown claims”ť based on poor evidence fuelled scepticism about the need for action on climate change, undermining the cause the prince was advancing.

The prince made the claim in November 2015 before the Paris climate change summit at which 194 countries agreed a global deal to cut emissions. Speaking of the threat from climate change, he said: “There’s very good evidence that one of the major reasons for this terror in Syria was a drought that lasted for five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land.”

A study by King’s College London and the University of Sussex has debunked the prince’s claim, which was also made by Barack Obama when he was US president.

The researchers found that although northeastern Syria did experience a severe drought from 2007 to 2010, before the civil war started, the drought was not necessarily caused by human influences on global climate.

The scale of migration away from northeastern Syria was “on nothing like the scale which has been claimed”ť, the study says. Only 40,000 to 60,000 families moved, not the 1.5 million people often quoted by proponents of the climate change link.

The study said that migration was “probably more caused by economic liberalisation than by drought.”

The study, published in the journal Political Geography, concludes: “Given the urgency of the climate change challenge and the contestation around it, plus the media’s preference for striking, overblown stories . . . it is incumbent on analysts not to exaggerate climate-conflict linkages, or to champion false but headline-friendly statistics.”

Jan Selby, lead author and director of the Centre for Conflict and Security Research at the University of Sussex, said:”It is extraordinary this claim has become so widely accepted when the evidence for it is so thin.

Climate change is a very real challenge, and will undoubtedly have significant conflict and security consequences, but there is no good evidence this is what was going on in this case. It is vital experts and policymakers resist the temptation to make exaggerated claims about climate change. Overblown claims only risk fuelling climate scepticism.”

The journal article:

Climate change and the Syrian civil war revisited


For proponents of the view that anthropogenic climate change will become a ‘threat multiplier’ for instability in the decades ahead, the Syrian civil war has become a recurring reference point, providing apparently compelling evidence that such conflict effects are already with us. According to this view, human-induced climatic change was a contributory factor in the extreme drought experienced within Syria prior to its
civil war; this drought in turn led to large-scale migration; and this migration in turn exacerbated the socio-economic stresses that underpinned Syria’s descent into war. This article provides a systematic interrogation of these claims, and finds little merit to them. Amongst other things it shows that there is no clear and reliable evidence that anthropogenic climate change was a factor in Syria’s pre-civil war drought; that this drought did not cause anywhere near the scale of migration that is often alleged; and that there exists no solid evidence that drought migration pressures in Syria contributed to civil war onset. The Syria case, the article finds, does not support ‘threat multiplier’ views of the impacts of climate change; to the contrary, we conclude, policymakers, commentators and scholars alike should exercise far greater caution when drawing such linkages or when securitising climate change.


James Lovelock On ‘Wicked’ Renewables And Why He Changed His Mind On Climate Change

Environmentalism has gone too far; renewable energy is a disaster; scares about pesticides and chemicals are horribly overdone; no, the planet is not going to end any time soon; and, by the way, the answer is nuclear…

This isn’t me speaking, but the views of an environmentalist so learned, distinguished and influential you could call him the Godfather of Green. His name is James Lovelock, the maverick independent scientist perhaps best known for positing the theory that our planet is an interconnected, self-regulating organism called Gaia.

Not ‘Sir’ James Lovelock, I was mildly surprised to discover when I met him at his Dorset home, perched idyllically just behind Chesil Beach. ‘But I am a CH,’ he says, meaning Companion of Honour. ‘There are only 65 of them,’ chips in Lovelock’s American wife Sandy. ‘Yes, but I have to share the honour with Shirley Williams, which dilutes it somewhat — you know, comprehensive education,’ says Lovelock. ‘You’re not supposed to say that!’chides Sandy, clearly amused.

The Lovelocks are delightful company. Our lively conversation ranges from Brexit (they’re both very pro) to the joys of having a hornets’ nest in your house (they kill all the wasps in your garden so you can enjoy picnics undisturbed); they’ve witnessed an awful lot of history (‘I was stationed briefly at a B-17 base in the Midlands. The death toll was hideous, almost as bad as Passchendaele. One day I remember 21 planes  — each with a crew of ten — took off and only three came back. It was devastating’); and they fizz with irreverent good humour. We’d never met before, but they felt like
old friends.

Really old friends. Lovelock is 98, though you’d never guess it to look at him. His movements are light, agile and brisk; his marbles more than still there. One secret is his three-mile daily walk with Sandy; another is that though he used to smoke, he has never been a big eater or drinker. Mainly, though, he puts it down to a lifetime spent doing whatever has taken his fancy: ‘Live life as an independent! Never have a boss.’

Lovelock came up with his Gaia hypothesis more than half a century ago, in the course of a conversation with fellow scientists including Carl Sagan at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he was employed to work out ways of testing whether there was life on Mars.

This got him thinking about the mystery of life on our own planet: our peculiar atmosphere, largely comprising nitrogen and oxygen (unlike Mars and Venus, where it’s mostly CO2), and the extraordinary way that for the past 3.5 billion years, Earth has remained within a narrow temperature band capable of supporting life, even though the sun has grown 30 per cent hotter and ought to have fried us by now. Could it be, he wondered, that the entire planet is an incredibly complex, self-regulating system designed for supporting life?

The name Gaia came later, provided by his friend, the novelist William Golding, after the ancient Greek name for Earth. This didn’t help its reputation with scientists, many of whom dismissed it as a neo-pagan religion. But from the early 1970s  onwards it struck a chord with the green movement, which used it to support its belief that the planet’s delicate balance was on the verge of being destroyed forever by an unwelcome interloper: man.

In 2006, Lovelock burnished his green credentials with The Revenge of Gaia, in which he argued that, thanks to global warming, man was all but doomed. By the end of the 21st century ‘billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable,’ he told an interviewer. Climate change was so serious a threat, he told the Guardian in 2010, that democracy might have to be ‘put on hold’.

Within two years he’d had a remarkable change of heart. ‘All right, I made a mistake,’ he told the cable channel MSNBC. He still believed —and continues to believe — that manmade carbon dioxide is a problem that needs addressing. But we’ve plenty of time to do something about it before any dangerous effects are felt, and in any case, the cures being advanced by green zealots are often worse than the disease itself.

One of his main bugbears is biomass, such as the woodchips from old oak forests in the US, which are shipped across the Atlantic to be burned for electricity at the Drax power station: ‘This is one of the most monstrous examples of green absurdity that I know of. It’s wicked!’

Nor is he a fan of wind energy, which he considers environmentally damaging, inefficient, expensive and a scam. ‘There’s so much money in renewable energy. I’m sure there’s a giant corruption going on.’

He’s modestly pro shale gas — only as a transition fuel to wean the world off coal — but his real enthusiasm is for nuclear, ‘so cheap, so safe’, whose dangers, he believes, have been grotesquely oversold by greens for reasons which have more to do with quasi-religious ideology than with science.

‘The way to look at radiation is that it’s about what they call the linear no-threshold. Namely, what the greens say is that there’s no amount of radiation that won’t give you cancer, no matter how small it is. Well, this is as stupid as saying, “Never go out of your home because if you do you’ve a chance of being killed by something or other.”’


Coldest night in 45 years for parts of Australia

Global cooling! If Greenies can see hurricanes as evidence of warming, it's actually a lesser stretch to see cold weather in Australia as evidence of global cooling

IF you thought winter was over, you might want to think again because spring isn’t quite ready to officially take over just yet.

Temperatures across NSW plummeted yesterday with residents in the inland town of Goulburn shivering through the coldest September night in 45 years, with a chilly -5C recorded.

The good news is the cold snap isn’t hanging around for too much longer.

Sky News weather meteorologist Tristan Meyer told the cold snap was the result of a high pressure system.

“This high pressure system will also lead to predominantly sunny skies and a warm day over the southeast,” he said.

The cool overnight temperatures was a significant drop for Goulburn with the average minimum for this time of year being 4.6C.

There’s also good news for Tasmanians though who were bombarded with snow last week.

It looks like the icy conditions have eased off and are being replaced with more springlike temperatures.

However there are still some strong wind warnings in place for the South West Coast and Central West Coast of Tasmania for the beginning of the week.

Temperatures dropped to -6C in parts of the state during the cold snap but the freezing weather eventually subsided with Hobart reaching a maximum on 15C today.

While southeastern Australia is shivering, it’s a different case entirely for the northern part of Australia.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a fire weather warning for Darwin and Adelaide River as that high pressure system slowly moves eastwards causing hot and dry winds to sweep across parts of the Northern Territory.




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 September, 2017

Hurricane Irma and the Dubious Climate Change Link

This weekend, Floridians will be bracing for another tropical impact just weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 storm. This week, Hurricane Irma solidified itself as the strongest hurricane to develop in the Atlantic (important note: this excludes the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean). At one point, the storm exhibited 185 m.p.h. sustained winds — easily Category 5 strength — and provided stunning satellite imagery of a structure more reminiscent of a Pacific super typhoon (ironically, the typically busy Pacific is currently without a single named storm). As of this writing, south Florida appears to be the virtually certain landfall destination, but several states over the South will feel its effects.

To be clear, this is a dangerous weather pattern right now, and it demands the appropriate media coverage and preparation. Which is to say: If you're in the path, leave. Sadly, though, this also means more climate hyperbole and sensationalism. Those under the impression that this late summer's hurricane frenzy is unimaginable should think again. One reason it may seem so is because the U.S. has become accustomed to a fairly remarkable lull in strong landfalling hurricanes. Moreover, it's September — the peak of the hurricane season. If strong hurricanes are going to develop in rapid succession, this is naturally when you would most expect to see them.

Let's juxtapose the current time period with the mid 1900s. Patriot Post contributor and meteorologist Joe Bastardi — who, by the way, worries that Irma hasn't yet achieved its maximum intensity — addressed the question in a May column, "Is This Really the Worst Time Ever?" In the 1930s, eight major hurricanes (major is defined as Category 3 or higher) hit the U.S. From the 1940s up until 1960, a whopping 19 additional major storms made landfall over the U.S. Tally it all up, and over the span of just 28 years, 27 major hurricanes struck the U.S. Some of those storms went on to make multiple landfalls as a major hurricane. For example, Donna, in 1960, hit the U.S. three times as a Category 3 or higher. Florida was the predominant target in the '40s. Consider how a repeat of the 1930s-1950s would be interpreted today.

We already have a clue: Irma — because of its strength — is being blamed on climate change. For example, Bloomberg, under the headline "Hurricane Irma Made Worse by Climate Change, Scientists Say," claims: "Climate change didn't cause Hurricane Irma, the most powerful storm to form in the open Atlantic Ocean, but did make it much stronger, scientists in Germany and the U.K. said." And climate blowhard Bill "The Science Lie" Nye added, "It's the strength that is almost certainly associated with global warming."

Perhaps then he'd like to explain why the U.S. went 12 years between major hurricane strikes? Was that also the result of climate change, or is it more accurately described as a cyclical outcome? As the Cato Institute's Ross McKitrick writes in the Washington Examiner, the climate-link rhetoric unscrupulously allows scientists to have their cake and eat it too. "The climate alarmists offer a vague prediction: Hurricanes may or may not happen in any particular year, but when they do, they will be more intense than they would have been if GHG [greenhouse gas] levels were lower," McKitrick notes. "This is a convenient prediction to make because we can never test it. It requires observing the behaviour of imaginary storms in an unobservable world. Good luck collecting the data."

Importantly, McKitrick adds, "Science needs to be concerned not only with conspicuous things that happened, but with things that conspicuously didn't happen. Like the famous dog in the Sherlock Holmes story, the bark that doesn't happen can be the most important of all." In the days ahead, there will be heart-wrenching stories as Irma traverses the lower East Coast. But keep in mind, "You're also talking about 2 of the most flood-prone cities in the U.S. — Miami & Charleston," observes meteorologist Eric Fisher. "Both flood during full moons let alone storms." Hurricanes, like any other weather event, require context.

Climate records show not just similarly major hurricanes but an onslaught of them. The world is also much different today: bigger buildings and populations, as well as better technology and communication. And for the most part that's a good thing. As Danish statistician and author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg writes, "Because we're much richer and better protected, death rates from hurricanes in the US have declined dramatically. Even the 1800+ terrible deaths from Katrina in 2005 constitute more of an average hurricane risk in the early part of last century."

Unfortunately, these tools also give climate extortionists the perfect storm to spread climate rhetoric that erroneously links man-made emissions to tropical systems. Even most scientific establishments that adhere to man-made global warmism are hesitant to make that leap. Keep this in mind as you pray for and aid our beleaguered fellow Americans over the coming days.


Nuclear Plants Power Texans During Deluge – Wind Turbines Automatically Shut Down During Hurricane Harvey

Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration, Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.


Ivory Coast cocoa output hits record 2 mln tonnes

Remember when global warming was going to wipe out the cocoa crop and cause a shortage of chocolate?

Ivory Coast has brought in a record cocoa crop of 2 million tonnes of beans with three weeks still left in the 2016/17 season, the top producer’s President Alassane Ouattara said on Wednesday.

The figure is higher than Reuters’ most recent exporter estimate, which placed this season’s port arrivals at 1,966,000 tonnes by Sept. 3, up nearly 35 percent compared to the same period of the previous crop.

“From 2012 to 2016 we have averaged economic growth of 9 percent thanks to our agricultural sector,” Ouattara said in a speech to an international agriculture conference in the commercial capital, Abidjan.

He also said production in neighbouring Ghana, the world’s number two grower, had reached 1 million tonnes this season, on par with its 2010/11 record crop.

World cocoa prices have plunged this year as bumper crops in most major producer countries created a supply glut. The International Cocoa Organization forecasts a global surplus of 371,000 tonnes this season.

Ivory Coast and Ghana have held joint meetings aimed at harmonising cocoa production and marketing in an attempt to boost their influence over the New York and London markets.


EPA Workforce Approaching Lowest Levels Since Reagan

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon employ the lowest number of workers since the Ronald Reagan administration.

Hundreds of employees have accepted buyouts and taken early retirement since President Donald Trump's inauguration, according to an EPA official.

Congress put a cap on the number of people the EPA can employ at 15,000 in the 2017 omnibus bill. By the end of September, the EPA will employ 14,459 people, with dozens still considering buyout offers.

Last month, 374 employees took buyouts. An additional 33 employees are retiring at the end of September, and 45 others are considering early retirement offers.

If half of those individuals also choose to leave the agency, EPA employment levels would fall below 14,440. The last time EPA was at an actual employment level of 14,440 was in 1988, when Ronald Reagan was president. The number of employees at EPA fell even lower in 1989, before peaking at 18,110 in 1999.

Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, said the agency is dedicated to shrinking the size of government. The Trump administration's goal is to cut the EPA workforce by 25 percent.

"We're giving long-serving, hard-working employees the opportunity to retire early," Pruitt said. "We're proud to report that we're reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars, and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment and American jobs."

The agency could shrink even more, as 20.17 percent of the EPA's employees are eligible to retire right now, according to the EPA's Resources Management Office.

Another 25 percent can retire in the next five years with full benefits, according to the EPA official.

The EPA has two buyout programs, VSIP and VERA, which give employees cash payments to incentivize early retirement. Maximum payments are typically $25,000 for employees who are over 50 and have worked at the agency for at least 20 years. The average EPA employee makes $113,820.

Several employees who have claimed they are retiring in protest of the new Republican administration, have been eligible for early retirement.

In one case, Elizabeth Southerland, the former director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA's Office of Water, said she was quitting on principle over President Trump's budget request to reduce the agency's spending to $5.7 billion.

Southerland, who earned a $250,000 salary with a $64,000 bonus, was eligible for early retirement, and made her protest two months after the budget was released.

The NTK Network obtained an email from Southerland where she said she was retiring because of family issues, not because of Trump, Pruitt, or the budget proposal.


Coal revival in Australia

Federal government frantic to keep its remaining coal generators going

Support is hardening in the federal Coalition for coal-fired power to have a medium-term role in Australia's electricity market, with some MPs suggesting a "base-load investment scheme" to upgrade and extend the life of coal plants and operate alongside a future Clean Energy Target.

But the Liddell power station at the centre of the political fight over energy is operating at below half its rated capacity, and would present "mammoth problems" for any company seeking to extend its life, according to a former senior Macquarie Generation engineer.

The retired senior engineer, who worked at the neighbouring coal-fired Bayswater plant and had frequent discussions with his counterparts at Liddell, said Liddell was known "to have massive problems".

"It's just never been a good plant," the man, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. "It's never been reliable."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is due to meet AGL chief executive Andy Vesey on Monday to discuss the company's plans to close its Liddell power plant in 2022. The Australian Market Energy Operator said earlier this week Victoria and South Australia could face electricity supply shortfalls as early as this summer, while NSW could endure a similar squeeze after Liddell shuts.

The federal government has not ruled out taking a partial stake in the Liddell plant as a last resort to maintain the plant, but believes it is likely a private sector buyer, such as Delta Electricity, will be found to keep it operating.

Fairfax Media spoke to six Coalition MPs who identify as conservatives or who are from The Nationals on Thursday, and all confirmed that a "grand bargain" was needed to ensure the medium-term future of coal plants for Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to secure support for a Clean Energy Target.

"It's obvious what needs to happen. We need to find a solution. We all want a solution. We will likely do some clean energy but also upgrade base-load [coal] infrastructure," one said.

Mr Frydenberg may also face a push to water down the Clean Energy Target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

He would not comment on whether he had had discussions about a "base-load investment scheme" when contacted by Fairfax Media, but said the AEMO report "has reset the debate about energy policy".

The engineer familiar with Liddell said the plant routinely had at least one of its four units out of operation, and that half of the rated 2000-megawatt capacity was suddenly unavailable on February 10 – the first day of a record NSW heatwave – due to leaks in boiler tubes. That poor performance was despite its turbines being replaced about a decade ago.

On three occasions, the plant's equipment had oil supply failures that led to turbines grinding to a halt in about 10 minutes, compared with 40 minutes under normal conditions; "basically wrecking" the machinery.

Dylan McConnell, a researcher at Melbourne University's Climate & Energy College, said Liddell operated at just 39.6 per cent capacity in August.

That level was about half the capacity utilised of Victoria's aging Hazelwood power plant in the final year before its closure in March.




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 September, 2017

UN chief says natural disasters have quadrupled since 1970

He quotes no facts and figues or research evidence of any kind so let me mention just one statistic that upsets his applecart.  The Bhola Cyclone in 1970 killed 500,000 people in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He picked a bad year to start his big lie

UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the number of natural disasters has nearly quadrupled since 1970 and the United States has experienced the most disasters since 1995 followed by China and India.

The UN chief told reporters Tuesday that in recent days the world has seen the “dramatic aggravation” of climate change with “unprecedented events” caused by flooding from Texas to Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sierra Leone.

He said that last year 24.2 million people were displaced by sudden disasters — “three times as many as by conflict and violence.”

Guterres said before the current floods, preliminary reports said 2,087 people died this year from natural disasters. He said scientists say “extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world.”


Sea Level Manipulation



Sea level changes is a key issue in the global warming scenario. It has been widely claimed that sea is rising as a function of the late 20th’s warming pulse. Global tide gauge data sets may vary between +1.7 mm/yr to +0.25 mm/yr depending upon the choice of stations. At numerous individual sites, available tide gauges show variability around a stable zero level. Coastal morphology is a sharp tool in defining ongoing changes in sea level. A general stability has been defined in sites like the Maldives, Goa, Bangladesh and Fiji. In contrast to all those observations, satellite altimetry claim there is a global mean rise in sea level of about 3.0 mm/yr. In this paper, it is claimed that the satellite altimetry values have been “manipulated”. In this situation, it is recommended that we return to the observational facts, which provides global sea level records varying between ±0.0 and +1.0 mm/yr; i.e. values that pose no problems in coastal protection.


The Mail recently had a benchmark article where Dr John Bates was allowed to present a remarkable documentation of the manipulation of NOAA’s temperature measurements in order to provide the impression that global temperature is keeping on rising over the last decades [1]. This manipulated record was forced to appear in time for the COP21 decision in Paris 2015. The true temperature record provide an 18 year long temperature pause, despite the fact that global atmospheric CO2 content has kept on rising [2]. This sheds serious doubts on the core notion of the COP21 decision claiming the CO2 is the cause of recent global warming.

In a follow-up article [3], David Ross posed the core question: How can we trust them? The present paper will reveal another case of “manipulation”. It refers to the core issue in horror scenarios claiming that sea level is in a very rapidly rising mode, and that low-lying coasts and islands will soon be flooded [4].


In the period 2000-2005, I led an international sea level project in the Maldives. By observational facts collected along the shores of a large number of islands, we were able to demonstrate that, indeed, there is no flooding going on, rather the sea level has remained stable over the last 40 years [5-8]. Therefore, in 2007, I wrote a booklet entitled “The Greatest Lie Ever Told” [9]. The same absence of any present sea level rise has now been documented also in Bangladesh, Goa in southern India, Qatar, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Fiji, French Guiana and Venice. In all those places (and their surroundings) sea level has remained virtually stable over the last 40-50 years [10-13]. In Northwestern Europe with a very long history of recording local uplift and subsidence, we have quite consistent records of a mean rate of sea level rose over the last 125 years of 1.0 ±0.1 mm/yr [11-12, 14].

A summary providing a congruent picture of observed sea level changes over the globe is given in [15- 16]. It implies that global sea level changes vary between 0.0 mm/yr to +1.0 ±0.1 mm/yr, which is far less that what is proposed by satellite altimetry (below). Furthermore, such rates pose no problems in coastal management.

International Journal of Engineering Science Invention. Vol 6 Issue 8 August 2017  PP. 48-51

Morner goes on to show that the rise in the satellite data is all "adjustments".

A Review of the Regional Green Gas Initiative

The nearly decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was always meant to be a model for a national program to reduce power plant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicitly cited it in this fashion in its now-stayed Clean Power Plan. Although the RGGI is often called a “cap and trade” program, its effect is the same as a direct tax or fee on emissions because RGGI allowance costs are passed on from electric generators to distribution companies to consumers. More recently, an influential group of former cabinet officials, known as the “Climate Leadership Council,” has recommended a direct tax on CO2 emissions (Shultz and Summers 2017).

Positive RGGI program reviews have been from RGGI, Inc. (the program administrator) and the Acadia Center, which advocates for reduced emissions (see Stutt, Shattuck, and Kumar 2015). In this article, I investigate whether reported reductions in CO2 emissions from electric power plants, along with associated gains in health benefits and other claims, were actually achieved by the RGGI program. Based on my findings, any form of carbon tax is not the policy to accomplish emission reductions. The key results are:

There were no added emissions reductions or associated health benefits from the RGGI program.

Spending of RGGI revenue on energy efficiency, wind, solar power, and low-income fuel assistance had minimal impact.

RGGI allowance costs added to already high regional electric bills. The combined pricing impact resulted in a 13 percent drop in goods production and a 35 percent drop in the production of energy intensive goods.

Comparison states increased goods production by 15 percent and only lost 4 percent of energy intensive manufacturing. Power imports from other states increased from 8 percent to 17 percent.

The regional program shifted jobs to other states. A national carbon tax would shift jobs to other countries.

A better policy to reduce CO2 emissions is to encourage innovation rather than rely on taxes and regulation. The United States has already reduced emissions 12 percent from 2005 to 2015, more than any other developed country with a large economy, mainly through innovations in natural gas drilling techniques. There are many other opportunities to invest in innovation, for example, improved solar photovoltaic cells, more efficient batteries, small modular nuclear reactors, and nascent technologies that use fossil fuels without emitting CO2.


Integrating the supposed "social cost of carbon" into wholesale power markets

The Brattle Group released a report on Friday solicited by the New York Independent System Operator and the state's Department of Public Service that examines the impact of integrating carbon pricing into the organized power markets.

Commissioned in 2016, the study outlines market design options that would integrate the social cost of carbon into wholesale power markets, and explores how carbon pricing can align market structures with state policies.

NYISO CEO Bradley Jones told a House subcommittee last month that the grid operator planned to integrate a price on carbon into its market dispatch within three years after it published this Brattle Group report.
Dive Insight:

The study comes after a technical conference held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to see how state incentives, such as nuclear subsidies and renewable energy portfolio standards, affect the organized market structure. Leaders of the seven organized wholesale power markets in the U.S. told the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy Subcommittee that the market transition to a cleaner power mix did not threaten grid reliability.

While testifying to the reliability of the grid, PJM Interconnect, and NYISO told the subcommittee they are drafting carbon pricing proposals that would incorporate state environmental goals into wholesale power markets.

PJM is reviewing its carbon pricing proposals, and NYISO just published the results of their years-long study on Friday. The idea of integrating carbon pricing into the organized market is not new. Amid anxiety over state policies and decarbonization at FERC's technical conference in May, a consensus emerged over carbon pricing. Stakeholders, including generators, academics and consultants, agreed there was a need to price carbon in wholesale power markets.

New York, in particular, crafted ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals within the past five years. For instance, the state's Clean Energy Standard established a goal to hit 50% renewable energy by 2030, and guarantee nuclear subsidies for three of its struggling facilities. The state's Reforming the Energy Vision is another wide-ranging initiative that would revamp the utility business model to align earnings with social goals.

To meet those targets, the grid operator wants to examine implementing carbon pricing in its wholesale power markets.

"The NYISO and DPS agree that, in order to be successful, any carbon pricing proposal must contribute to achieving New York State’s public policies, while providing the greatest benefit at the least cost to consumers while also providing appropriate price signals to incentivize investment and maintain grid reliability," the operator wrote in a press release.


Hidden consequences of intermittent electricity production


The hidden consequences of a massive use of intermittent renewable energy systems for electricity production are highlighted, using existing electricity production data from Germany from the last 5 years, where presently a system is in operation with an installed capacity of about 50 GW in wind turbines (sum of onshore and offshore wind) and 40GW in photovoltaic panels.[1] This fleet of intermittent renewable systems produces more than half of the yearly renewable electrical energy of Germany, the rest being produced by hydro, so-called ‘biomass’ and a very small fraction of geothermal sources.

The high variability of both sun and wind leads to periods of massive overproduction as well as renewable power shortages. To compensate this, ideally, both storage and backup power should be able to deliver at any moment nearly the full load of the grid. However, storage at the scale required for a hypothesized 100% renewable system is not feasible with current technologies. Battery storage is totally insufficient and will need a substantial technological breakthrough.  

Power-to-gas(methane)-to-power has a low overall efficiency (~15%) due to the various transformations involved and thus wastes essentially most of the carbon-free excess power.

Hydropower systems require huge volumes of water with a height difference of a few 100 meters, and options for such storage locations are nearly exhausted throughout Europe. Trying to reduce storage using cogeneration of power and heat plants has the drawback that such systems often produce heat when only power is needed or power when only heat is needed. It is clear that there is an urgent need for a critical assessment of the practical feasibility of a 100% renewable power system with due consideration of the required backup/storage system.

If the outcome of these studies is that the required huge storage systems are unfeasible and that at the same time fossil and nuclear options are rejected, the only solution is to adapt the activity of the society to the availability of electricity and to restrict power availability to part of the population/activities during periods of darkness or absence of wind. If badly planned, we risk entering a new era where daily life could depend again on the variability of the weather, as it was centuries ago.




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 September, 2017

Amusing:  Warmists outdo 20th century dictators

When 20th century dictators -- Communist or otherwise -- wanted to boost their legitimacy, they would hold an election and announce that somewhere between 97 and 99% of the population had voted for them. Such a consensus was routinely denounced as phony in real democracies.

But Warmists can out-phony that. Naomi Oreskes in her unreplicable study announced that 100% of climate scientists supported global warming.  Her study was however very slapdash and open to critisism so the Hayhoe and others have recently got together to repeat the exercize in a more opaque way.  We find an article titled: "Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed".  Isn't that fabulous?  Informed dissent is completely eradicated.

I have of course no intention of reading the claims.  With lightweight old stagers like Dana Nuccitelli, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky involved, I know that I can expect mere propaganda in lieu of real scholarship. I have no doubt that the debunking will readily be debunked.  Knowing how Warmists treat modelling results as gospel, if something a skeptic said diverged from some model results, I am sure that that alone would invalidate a claim to a Warmist.

But the whole enterprise is wrong-headed.  The origin of the 97% claim lies in John Cook's famous paper.  Cook merely collected up all the papers he could find  that bore on global warming and classified them (very arbitrarily) as for or against global warming. What he found was that only one third of the papers took any stance at all on global warming. Only one-third expressed an opinion on global warming.  And it was 97% of that one third who became the great comforter for Warmists.  In typical Green/Left slipperiness, the result of the survey is routinely quoted as "97% of climate scientists agree" -- when the actual finding was that only one third of climate scientists agreed.

So the present study seems to be of 3% of one third, which surely tells us little.  Even more to the point, most of the papers were not specifically designed to prove or disprove global warming.  They just expressed an opinion on it.  So showing that they did not disprove global warming is no surprise and is completely trivial  -- JR

The DOE report

"Secretary Rick Perry directed his staff to develop a report including an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the electric grid and an overview of the evolution of electricity markets. The study contains a comprehensive analysis and series of recommendations from the Department of Energy staff meant to inform and guide policy makers, regulators, and the general public."

Physicist John Droz comments on the final product below.  He finds the report to be intellectually and scientifically incompetent:

I initially had the understanding that the Staff Report to the DOE Secretary was a first draft. My impression was that public comments were being solicited so that this draft Report could be refined and improved before becoming official. To assist in that sensible process I was going to carefully read through the entire Report, and write out comments to specific items in it.

However, I was told by one of the authors, that there are no plans to make changes to this Report! Public comments would simply be collected and noted. Considering the enormity of this Report’s significance, I find that plan-of-action hard to understand.

In any case, there is now little point in enumerating the details of every error and oversight of the Report. Instead, I’ve perused the Report, and submit the following ten Big Picture observations:

1) A Grid not thoroughly rooted in Science will be inherently unreliable. Science exists to give us answers to our technical questions and problems. Energy matters are technical problems. As such it’s puzzling how a 150+ page technical Report on energy sources does not mention the word “Science” a single time. For a more thorough explanation of this profoundly important issue, see my Preliminary Comments to the authors of this Report. [Note that a true “Scientific” assessment would include technical, economic and environmental considerations… Note also that just because a source is “renewable” does not mean that it gets a free pass from Scientific scrutiny.]

2) Even though this Report is about Reliability, the term “Reliability” doesn’t seem to be defined in the Report. It’s an error to simply assume that we all have the same understanding of what this fundamental term is. In the industry the NERC definition of Reliability is commonly accepted. However this defines reliability from a systemic (Grid) — not source — perspective.

3) There are two significantly different reliability issues involved: systemic reliability and source reliability. It does not appear that this Report clearly segregated these.

4) A critically important question (not apparently directly addressed by this Report) is: “Will we have a more reliable Grid if — a) it only uses reliable energy sources, or b) we allow unreliable energy sources to be added?”

Re “b”: of course we have the engineering skill to compensate for this permeating unreliability — but does it make sense (economically and reliability-wise) to do so?

5) Electrical reliability is inextricably connected with economics. This Report could have done a better job at making that connection clearer.

a) For example: electric power system reliability not only directly affects US economic success, but also the health, success and security of its citizens.

b) For example: is a reliable energy source costing 5˘/KWH equally desirable as a reliable energy source costing 20˘/KWH?

6) More is not necessarily better. Having choices is good — but that assumes that there are net benefits for each option. That is unproven regarding “alternative energy” Grid sources. Diversity for the sake of diversity is counter-productive. For example, would a husband and wife be better off owning and operating two vehicles, or 5 vehicles, or 10 vehicles? Which situation would be more reliable?

This Report should have directly attacked the “All of the Above” energy policy being promoted by special interests, as it is devoid of Science and common sense (and is contrary to reliability).

The Report should have endorsed an “All of the Sensible” energy policy (and then have defined what “sensible” means). See this for a brief explanation of this exceptionally important matter.

7) Simply renaming unreliable energy sources as VRE (Variable Renewable Energy) misses the entire point. The issue is not the name, but the treatment. It’s good that wind and solar are identified as “intermittent.” However to simply rename them as VRE does not do justice to the situation. The key point is that no VRE can be directly compared to a conventional energy source!

A simple solution is to define VRES (Variable Renewable Energy System) which includes one variable source (e.g. wind) paired with gas. In other words VRES1 would be wind+gas (NGCT). VRES2 would be solar+gas (NGCT), etc. Each VRES could then be meaningfully compared, one-to-one, to conventional energy sources (NGCC, nuclear, hydro, coal, etc.).

8) The Grid Safety Reserve has been substantially abused by intermittent energy sources, and this is a major (undocumented) reliability threat to the Grid. Wind and solar have been accommodated by the Grid, as they have freely availed themselves of the Grid Safety Reserve. What’s worse is that wind and solar have not been penalized for this purposeful reduction of the Grid Safety Reserve — which (in effect) is a reduction of Grid reliability.

This uncompensated pilfering can be tolerated when wind and solar are very low amounts, but if their percentages increase this situation will become seriously problematic. One solution is to charge for this absconding, and to assign an auxiliary gas source to every wind and solar project.

9) In some regions the bidding rules are rigged to favor unreliables. The net effect of allowing unreliables to game the system, is that Grid reliability is undermined. In some regions wholesale electricity pricing is determined by what some call a “Dutch Auction.” There are several questionable aspects of this methodology, and all of them undermine reliability. For example:

a) All selected sources are paid the price of the highest accepted bid — not what the source actually bid. This is claimed to result in “lower costs” to ratepayers, but the contrived justification is highly suspect.

b) Compared to the other sources, unreliables receive substantial compensation otherwise (e.g. wind energy gets the PTC). This skews the bidding process.

c) Unreliables pay no penalty for not fulfilling their bid — while conventional sources get steep fines (to rightly compensate ratepayers for the cost of having to pay premium spot prices to fulfill the unmet commitment).

d) When unreliables do not fulfill their contractual bids, the Grid still has to pay a premium spot prices to meet demand. However, these costs are never directly attributed to the unreliables that are responsible for them — but they should be.

10) The Policy Recommendations seem to have merit. However, in addition to addressing the nine points made above, the following should be added:

a) EIA should stop the process of showing unreliable energy sources on the same charts and graphs as conventional energy sources. Having fine print that explains the disparity is not acceptable.

b) All DOE affiliated organizations (Berkeley Labs, NREL, etc) should be directed to be focused on Science, not promoting political-science agendas. If that is too high a bar for them to achieve, those rogue facilities should be defunded.

c) A comprehensive and objective economic analysis of all energy sources should be undertaken. The comprehensive part would include social costs and benefits. When that is matched with a comparable study about the “Social Cost of CO2” we’d have a science-based foundation for making energy decisions.

d) Although the Report uses the term “Capacity” a lot, there appears to be no discussion of the most important version: “Capacity Value.” This is a serious omission. See this and this for sample discussions.

e) Alternative energy sources should be encouraged. However, no alternative energy source should be allowed on the Grid without a genuine scientific assessment concluding that it is a NET Societal Benefit.

f) Consistent with “d,” the Policy Recommendation of “improving VRE integration” is premature. This Report does not make that clear. Hundreds of studies done by independent experts have alerted us to numerous serious downsides of some VREs — including undermining our national security. Once these studies are understood, why is “improving VRE integration” a good thing?

Via email

New York's climate goal — staggering costs, no benefits

Jonathan A. Lesser


In 2016, the New York Public Service Commission enacted the Clean Energy Standard (CES), under which 50% of all electricity sold by the state’s utilities must come from renewable generating resources by 2030, and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) must be reduced by 40%. The CES also incorporates New York’s previous emissions reduction mandate, which requires that the state’s GHG emissions be reduced 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (the “80 by 50” mandate).


Given existing technology, the CES’s 80 by 50 mandate is unrealistic, unobtainable, and unaffordable. Attempting to meet the mandate could easily cost New York consumers and businesses more than $1 trillion by 2050.

The CES mandate will require electrifying most of New York’s transportation, commercial, and industrial sectors. (In 2014, for example, fossil-fuel energy used for transportation was twice as large as all end-use electricity consumption combined.) Even with enormous gains in energy efficiency, the mandate would require installing at least 100,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation, or 150,000 MW of onshore wind generation, or 300,000 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity by 2050. By comparison, in 2015, about 11,300 MW of new solar PV capacity was installed in the entire U.S. Moreover, meeting the CES mandate likely would require installing at least 200,000 MW of battery storage to compensate for wind and solar’s inherent intermittency.

Meeting the CES interim goals—building 2,400 MW of offshore wind capacity and 7,300 MW of solar PV capacity by 2030—could result in New Yorkers paying more than $18 billion in above-market costs for their electricity between now and then. By 2050, the above-market costs associated with meeting those interim goals could increase to $93 billion. It will also require building at least 1,000 miles of new high-voltage transmission facilities to move electricity from upstate wind and solar projects to downstate consumers. No state agency has estimated the environmental and economic costs of this new infrastructure.

The New York Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority claim that renewable energy and the CES will provide billions of dollars of benefits associated with CO2 reductions. Not so. Regardless of one’s views on the accuracy of climate models and social-cost-of-carbon estimates, the CES will have no measurable impact on world climate. Therefore, the value of the proposed CO2 reductions will be effectively zero.


The Inconvenient Truth About Al Gore And The Climate 'Experts'

Former Vice President Al Gore stars in his second documentary, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power."  "Sooner or later," Gore tweeted, "climate deniers in the GOP will have to confront their willful blindness to the climate crisis." But skeptics of climate alarmism have their eyes wide open and don't like what they see.

Donald Trump won the popular vote among people 45 years and older. Many in these ranks have followed grass roots environmentalism since it began, following publication of Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring," in 1962. Over time they've learned that celebrated environmental experts make false and wildly exaggerated predictions. A prime example is Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, a longtime environmental icon and author of the 1968 book "The Population Bomb."

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," Ehrlich confidently predicted in a 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years."

He assured readers of The Progressive in 1970 that between 1980 and 1989, 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the "Great Die-Off." In a 1969 essay titled "Eco-Catastrophe!" Ehrlich said "most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born."

Undeterred, the celebrity doomsayer and his cohorts now offer a new theory, claiming in a July 2017 issue of "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" that human civilization stands in peril from an ongoing mass extinction on Earth: "Dwindling population sizes and range shrinkages (of vertebrates) amount to a massive anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization. This 'biological annihilation' underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth's ongoing sixth mass extinction event." And so on.

Ehrlich has cried "The sky is falling!" so many times that anyone with common sense and a memory rightfully dismisses his apocalyptic rhetoric.

If the environmental movement's so-called experts had been correct, nearly all animal species would be extinct today, as S. Dillon Ripley, longtime head of the Smithsonian Institution, predicted. As Nigel Calder and Kenneth Watt had it, the Earth would likely be in another ice age today. According to geochemist Harrison Brown, copper, lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver would now be gone. Likewise, Watt and U.S. government analysts predicted that U.S. oil and natural gas reserves would be depleted by now. Instead, we're drowning in the stuff.

Hearing these spectacularly wrong predictions for decades, a large segment of the population has lost confidence in environmental research, regardless of its potential merits. Climate and natural resource scientists have only themselves to blame.

The failure to enforce rigorous scientific standards and publicly denounce alarmists and charlatans has left many Americans feeling hoodwinked, disregarding all environmental research, which is a shame.

But truth and accuracy don't seem to matter to many environmentalists.

The late Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989, "we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Rather than pursuing scientific truth, the goal is to win political battles. In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said, "We've got to ... try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong ... we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." And ride the issue they have.

Environmental "grievance hustlers" have used deception, lies, hype and hysteria, often covered with the gauze of taxpayer-funded research, to score political victories that expand Big Government.

Here's the real inconvenient truth. If Al Gore wants the people he denounces as "climate deniers" to take him seriously, his next documentary should target the intellectual dishonesty of many of his pals in the environmental movement. Don't hold your breath.


The Scottish Government has unveiled a green focused legislative programme for 2017/18

Their health service is in virtual meltdown from staff shortages yet they have money for all these Green follies

The Scottish government has today unveiled its legislative plans for the next year, featuring a major low carbon economy focus on electric vehicles, renewable energy, recycling schemes and green investment.

Among 16 proposed new pieces of legislation outlined today are plans to phase-out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 - eight years earlier than the 2040 ban announced by the UK government earlier this year - and to fast-track the development of a Scotland-wide electric car charging network.

The Programme for Scotland 2017/18 sets out further proposals to tackle air pollution by creating one new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in an unnamed Scottish city by the end of the parliamentary year, increasing to a total of four LEZs across Scotland's biggest cities by 2020.

Next year will also see Scottish outline new greenhouse gas reduction targets in its long-awaited Climate Change Bill, which will include the creation of a Just Transition Commission to advise Scottish ministers on adjusting its economy away from oil and gas to renewable technologies.

Further legislation will establish an Innovation Fund to invest Ł60m in battery storage, sustainable heating systems and other green technologies, as well as a commitment to provide 'early stage support' for a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in St Fergus.

The devolved administration also confirmed plans to introduce a deposit scheme to recycle cans and bottles, extend broadband coverage to all homes and businesses by 2021, invest in skills and manufacturing and to double annual investment in walking and cycling.

Meanwhile a new National Investment Bank will provide financial support for innovative industries, news that comes just weeks after the UK government sold the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank to Australian bank Macquarie.

Announcing the legislative programme today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was vital for Scotland to build a modern and dynamic low carbon economy in the face of "unprecedented global challenge and change".

"We face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change; an ageing population; the impact of continued austerity and deep seated challenges of poverty and inequality; and an apparent rise in the forces of intolerance and protectionism," she said in a statement. "These challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it."

"To succeed, Scotland must lead change, not trail in its wake," she continued. "We must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high tech and low carbon innovations that will shape the future, not just a consumer of them. To encourage others to see Scotland as the place to research, design and manufacture their innovations - for us to become a laboratory for the rest of the world in the digital and low carbon technologies we want to champion - we must also become early adopters of them. We must be bold in our ambitions."

Campaigners hailed the programme as a "victory" for the green economy.

"The First Minister has set out an ambitious, progressive and green Programme for government, which puts Scotland's low carbon economy in the driving seat," Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland said in a statement. "The benefits of today's announcement will continue to be felt across Scotland for generations to come, as we build on the huge successes of renewable electricity, to create new jobs in clean transport and deliver a thriving economy."

Others seized the opportunity to urge Westminster to up the ante. "The Scottish government has set a significantly more ambitious target to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans than the one recently set by the UK government in Westminster," Greenpeace clean air campaigner Anna Jones said. "This is what real leadership looks like [...] Today's announcement shows Nicola Sturgeon's vision for global environmental leadership. The ball is now in Theresa May's court."




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 September, 2017

Climate Change Is Driving These Cute Mountain Critters Out of Their Homes

More dubious climate "science".  Let me dissect it.  If global warming is affecting animal populations in the Lake Tahoe region, the temperatures in the Lake Tahoe region should also be warming.  But are they?  The propagandists below are on top of that.  They point out that mean summer temperatures have risen at the Tahoe City weather station over the last 100 years. 

But the mean temperature includes cooler periods of the day and night so doesn't tell us much about events distressful to the pikas. What you need is an account of MAXIMUM temperatures.

And the graph below is of MAXIMUM summer temperatures at Lake Tahoe.  And we see that maximum temperatures in the Tahoe area were markedly higher in the 1920s and 1930s.  Tahoe summers as a whole have been COOLING long term. Temperatures at Tahoe have in fact become LESS distressful to pikas over the long term.

You'll never get the whole story about anything from the Green/Left.  They can't afford it.  Reality just does not sing their song

The chirps of the American pika have gone silent in a core portion of their habitat in California.

New research finds that the pika (Ochotona princeps) disappeared from a 64 square-mile (165 square kilometers) section of the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe between the 1950s and the early 1990s. Pikas are tiny mammals, related to rabbits, that live on mountain slopes. They're known for making hay while the sun shines, harvesting grass all summer to dry and store for winter sustenance (they don't hibernate). They're also known for their distinctive, high-pitched alarm cries, which frequently greet hikers and backpackers picking their way along rock fields in pika habitat.

But pikas are struggling in the face of climate change, as highlighted by the new study, published online today (Aug. 30) in the journal PLOS ONE.

Pikas are adapted for cold weather — they even have fur on the bottoms of their feet, said study leader Joseph Stewart, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. They must climb to higher elevations when it gets warm to avoid overheating. They also rely on winter snows to blanket and insulate their dens, lest they freeze to death. Global warming has buffeted pikas from both sides by boosting summer temperatures and shrinking winter snowpack, Stewart told Live Science.

Stewart started doing pika surveys around northern Lake Tahoe in 2011 after conservation groups petitioned to list the small mammals as endangered under both California and federal law. He and his colleagues focused on 14 sites in a triangular-shaped area bounded by north Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River and Highway 267, a region they called the "Pluto triangle" because it encompasses the 8,617-foot-tall (2,626 meters) Mount Pluto. They visited the triangle sites multiple times between 2011 and 2016, searching for pikas, pika fecal pellets and hay piles and listening for pika calls. They also compiled survey information from 24 areas nearby but outside the triangle.

Using radiocarbon dating, which measures isotopes of carbon to determine organic matter's age, the researchers were able to determine that the pika droppings from the Pluto triangle dated back from before 1955 all the way to 1991. In other words, while pikas vanished from some areas before 1955, the total disappearance of the species from this region was more recent.

"All signs point to climate change" as the cause, Stewart said.

Temperatures measured at the nearby Tahoe City weather station reveal an upward march of temperatures in the area, with an average increase of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.9 degrees Celsius) between 1910 and 2015, the researchers reported. Winter snowpack in the area has also declined, they found: Before 1955, there was not a single year on record with less than 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) of snowpack. After 1955, 34 percent of years had snowpacks lower than that level.

Pikas still persist in the Sierra Nevadas outside the Pluto triangle, but their future is precarious. Today, the animals have about 469 square miles (1,214 square km) of land with suitable climate in the greater Lake Tahoe area where mean summer temperatures stay below 57.5 degrees F (14.2 degrees C), the level above which pika survival becomes precarious, Stewart said.

By modeling projected temperatures, Stewart and his colleagues found that suitable habitats in the right temperature range will decline 77 percent from its current area by 2030, and by 97 percent by 2050. That would leave a mere 13 square miles (33 square km) of land with suitable climate where pikas could survive year-round near Lake Tahoe.

The pika's story, though, is one of variability, said Johanna Varner, a biologist and pika expert at Colorado Mesa University, who was not involved in the study. In some regions, particularly in the more isolated mountains of southern Utah, climate change has hit pikas hard. In other areas, like the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, pikas manage to live quite happily at practically sea level, thanks to short winters and cool under-rock refuges, Varner told Live Science. Some subpopulations seem to be able to adapt behaviorally, perhaps by reducing their foraging time during the hottest parts of the day.

"In some places, they seem to be doing OK," she said. But in others, the pikas don't have much resilience because less time spent foraging in the summer means starvation in the winter, she added: "There are some places that the outlook doesn't look very good, particularly in these really isolated low-elevation places where the pikas just don't have a lot of refuge to get away from warm summer temperatures."

The Pluto triangle is relatively low elevation, Varner said, so though it's a large area, it's also not entirely surprising that pikas living there might struggle with warming temperatures.


Donald Trump doesn't think much of climate change, in 20 quotes

1. "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
2. "It's freezing and snowing in New York -- we need global warming!"

3. "It's freezing outside, where the hell is 'global warming'??"
4. "I wonder if the Rutgers coach who had the audacity to yell at the player is a proponent of global warming?"
5. "We should be focused on magnificently clean and healthy air and not distracted by the expensive hoax that is global warming!"
6. "Wow, it's snowing in Isreal and on the pyramids in Egypt. Are we still wasting billions on the global warming con? MAKE U.S. COMPETITIVE!"
7. "Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee - I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!"

8. "Give me clean, beautiful and healthy air - not the same old climate change (global warming) bullshit! I am tired of hearing this nonsense."
9. Obama said in his SOTU that 'global warming is a fact.' Sure, about as factual as 'if you like your healthcare, you can keep it.'"
10. "When will our country stop wasting money on global warming and so many other truly "STUPID" things and begin to focus on lower taxes?"
11. "It's late in July and it is really cold outside in New York. Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING??? We need some fast! It's now CLIMATE CHANGE"
12. "Just out - the POLAR ICE CAPS are at an all time high, the POLAR BEAR population has never been stronger. Where the hell is global warming?"

13. "It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!"
14. "Wow, 25 degrees below zero, record cold and snow spell. Global warming anyone?"
15. "Record low temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING?"
16. "I believe in clean air. Immaculate air. But I don't believe in climate change."
17. "I'm not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it's going to start to cool at some point. And you know, in the early, in the 1920s, people talked about global cooling...They thought the Earth was cooling. Now, it's global warming...But the problem we have, and if you look at our energy costs, and all of the things that we're doing to solve a problem that I don't think in any major fashion exists."

18. "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I'd be—received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less. They have very—you know, their standards are nothing. But they—in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business."
19. "I'm not supposed to be using hair spray. But think of it. So Obama's always talking about the global warming, that global warming is our biggest and most dangerous problem, OK?"
20. "I did not. I did not. I do not say that." (see #1)


Denmark faces first ‘summer-less’ July in 38 years

Let’s face it, this has hardly felt like summer. Now we’ve got the numbers to prove it.

According to the Danish Meteorology Institute (DMI), July is likely to end without a single ‘summer day’, which is defined as any day in which temperatures top 25C (77F) at least somewhere in Denmark.

If the next five days come and go without hitting 25C as predicted, it will mark the first time that Danes will have suffered through a summer-less July in nearly four decades.

“There are only three years in our records in which July contains a big fat zero when it comes to summer days and temps above 25C. That’s 1962, 1974 and 1979,” climatologist John Cappelen said on the DMI website.

DMI’s database goes back to 1874.

The warmest day thus far this month was July 19th, when an almost-yet-not-quite-there 24.6C was recorded. There were only two days in all of June that qualified as a summer day, while May had five.

But meteorologist Klaus Larsen said that all hope is not yet lost.

“The prognoses for the last day of the month - Monday the 31st – are hopping back and forth over the magic point. Until then there are no real signs that we will get over 25C so no matter what we are looking at a meteorological photo finish,” he said.



Al Gore Outsold On Kindle By An E-Book Debunking ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

Former Vice President Al Gore’s new book is lagging in sales, and, in fact, is being outsold on Amazon Kindle by an e-book debunking many of the claims made in “An Inconvenient Sequel.”

Climatologist Roy Spencer authored an e-book “An Inconvenient Deception” to critique the “bad science, bad policy and some outright falsehoods” in Gore’s latest movie and book, which were released in August. Now, it’s ranked higher in Amazon’s Kindle store.

“There are three big weaknesses in Gore’s new movie: science, economics and energy policy,” Spencer, a noted skeptic of catastrophic global warming, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Gore released the sequel to his widely popular 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth” in August, embarking on a media tour to promote the book and film. But so far, ticket sales have lagged, and even left-wing reviewers have harshly criticized the film.

The e-book published to accompany Gore’s film is ranked #51,031 for purchases in the Kindle Store, according to Spencer’s book is ranked #1,201 for Kindle Store purchases.

On the media circuit, Gore repeatedly said “every night on the network news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations.” His movie points to extreme weather events as evidence of man-made global warming, including the drought in Syria.

“It’s wrong because everything Gore shows in the new movie happens naturally,” said Spencer, who’s been studying Earth’s climate for decades.

Spencer even appeared before Congress for the first time in 1990 before a committee chaired by Gore. He currently compiles satellite-derived global temperature data with Dr. John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Gore also points to regular flooding in Miami as evidence that human activities are currently driving more destructive natural disasters. One scene in the film shows Gore and Miami Mayor Philip Levine wading through flooded streets, which is tied to melting glaciers.

“It’s kind of hard to pump the ocean,” Gore says in the film.

“Sea level has been rising steadily at about 1 inch per decade for over 150 years, long before CO2 emissions could be blamed,” Spencer said, noting one of Gore’s most egregious deceptions in the film.

“In Miami Beach, the rise is double because the building were built of reclaimed swamp, which is now sinking,” Spencer said. “Video of glaciers calving and Greenland melting is another example, it happens every year, just as it has for thousands of years, and 2017 was a huge snow accumulation year with little melting.”

Probably one of the most notorious scenes in “An Inconvenient Sequel” depicts the 9/11 memorial site flooded during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

In his 2006 film, Gore predicted the 9/11 memorial site would flood due to glacial melt, which he said would raise sea levels 20 feet. Gore used the one-time flooding event as proof that his global warming predictions came to pass.

“The movie mentions one prediction he thinks he got right, the flooding of the 9/11 memorial,” Spencer said. “But that was due to storm surge, not sea level rise. So in the new move he lied about the storm surge explanation being mentioned in the first movie.”

Gore also claims in the movie that corn and wheat yields in China have been declining because of rising global average temperature.

“Agricultural yields around the world have continued to increase, with no sign of negative effects from global warming,” Spencer said. “His claim that corn and wheat yields in China have decreased in recent decades is, quite simply, false.”


Australia: Bill shock looms unless more coal-fired generators come online

Australians are at risk from a dangerous shortfall in baseload power that could drive up household electricity bills, according to a new report to the Turnbull government that comes as more voters turn away from paying higher prices for renewable energy.

The government has been warned of a looming gap in the national electricity supply as coal-fired power stations shut down, highlighting the need for urgent decisions to build new generators that operate around the clock.

The findings, delivered to Malcolm Turnbull and key ministers yesterday, come as consumers ring the alarm on the hit to their budgets from the upheaval in the energy market, with 49 per cent declaring they will not pay a cent more for renewable power.

A special Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, ­reveals an increase in the number of voters who refuse to pay a premium for renewable energy, with the number rising from 45 per cent in February. Although 25 per cent of voters say they are willing to pay an ­additional $100 a year for renewable energy, this has ­fallen from 28 per cent in a similar survey last October.

The government is shifting its focus to the reliability of new ­energy generators, as well as the push for a clean energy target, amid a fundamental Coalition divide over whether to offer more incentives to wind and solar farms. The new advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator to Energy Minister Josh ­Frydenberg emphasises the need to fix the shortage of baseload power by using coal or gas generators alongside more renewable generators.

The Australian was told the ­report warns of a shortfall that will worsen over the next decade as old coal-fired power stations are closed and the east coast grid loses huge amounts of “dispatch­able” electricity that has been supplied for decades regardless of weather conditions or the time of day.

The government is determined to fix the “dispatchability” issue as well as the “clean energy” demands that come with its stated commitment to meet internat­ional targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Driving the agenda is advice to government on the planned closure of the Liddell power station in NSW in 2022 and Vales Point in NSW in 2028. Those closures would take 3200 megawatt hours out of the east coast grid, double the capacity lost when Victoria’s Hazelwood power station shut down in April.

You can download the graphic here

The advice to the government from several reports, including modelling prepared for the ­energy review by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, shows the next wave of dispatchable power can come from coal as well as a combination of sources including renewables.

Some of the findings counter a push from Coalition MPs for a mammoth investment in a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, using more efficient “ultra supercritical” technology being rolled out in Asia.

A new coal-power station would take seven to eight years to build and could face fierce competition from wind and solar by the time it starts generating, given the steady fall in the cost of ­producing renewable energy. The ­expansion of an existing coal-fired power station is seen as a more ­viable option to add baseload power as quickly as possible.

Liberal National Party MP David Littleproud is calling for the expansion of the Kogan Creek power station in his Queensland electorate of Maranoa, a supercritical generator that is linked to a nearby coal mine and could be ramped up from its existing ­capacity of 700 megawatt hours.

The government is also alive to the potential of new solar farms, given advice that a new facility with a capacity of 800 megawatt hours could be rolled out in less than a year. The latest solar photovoltaic panels can produce 50 per cent more electricity at the same cost as earlier technology, while being combined with battery storage to guarantee reliability.

The government believes the Snowy Hydro scheme expansion can increase its capacity by 50 per cent to 3500 megawatt hours or more, turning a huge amount of solar or other renewable power into baseload electricity to be switched on as needed. While this could take up to six years, the project would add capacity quicker than a new coal-power station.

The Coalition partyroom meets today with MPs at odds over whether to endorse a clean energy target and whether to set a target that could include coal. Backbenchers said yesterday they were reluctant to start a debate on the issue until Mr Frydenberg had considered the AEMO report.

Mr Frydenberg said the report would show that there would have to be “sufficient dispatchability” in the network and that coal was a way to achieve this. “The cheapest form of existing power generation comes from existing coal,” he told Sky News. “It’s also a stable, reliable form of dispatchable power. So if we can keep our coal-fired power stations going for longer then that can provide a good outcome for Australian consumers. We recognise that we need coal in our system and we will ensure that that continues to be the case.”




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 September, 2017

The Arctic is now expected to be ice-free by 2040

The false prophets keep coming. Ten years ago, it was supposed to be ice-free by 2012

The last piece of summer sea-ice in the Arctic is expected to melt away in just 23 years, three decades earlier than previously expected.

Scientists now believe that the summer of 2040 will see the end of the frozen north pole after a rapid shrinking of the ice coverage in recent years, according to a report from the Arctic Council.

The scientific policy group of the eight countries with territory in the Arctic Circle says that over the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half while its volume has fallen by three-quarters. This change has profound implications, beyond those countries that have a direct stake in the region.

But even in the summer, the Arctic ocean can be stormy and unpredictable and may become more so as the planet warms. It is certainly not the easy option, despite the shorter journey.

So while there may be a limited benefit to the end of summer ice, it is far outweighed by the risks.

The world’s winds are driven partly by the temperature difference between the north and south poles and the tropics. With the Arctic heating faster than the tropics, this difference will decrease and wind speeds will slow, possibly disrupting the northern jet stream and leading to more extreme weather.

Ocean currents could slow down too. At the moment, the cooling of surface water moving north causes it to sink for the return journey south, helping to drive the gulf stream. If this process is disrupted, it could impact everything from the Indian monsoon to the pattern of El Nińo in the Pacific ocean.

Even if all the countries that signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement stick to their pledges (which is seen as unlikely) the amount of carbon dioxide expected to be in the atmosphere over the coming decades is likely to be enough to wipe out the Arctic summer ice for good.


Ignorant woman attacks NASA appointment

There is no denying that our weather is getting more severe, that the oceans are rising, the Arctic ice is melting and hurricanes are wreaking ever-more havoc each time one pummels another part of the country.

Harvey has officially brought the most destructive rainfall in our nation’s history — more than 51 inches in some areas of Houston. As many as 42,399 humans are in shelters. Sure they can rebuild, but we’ve seen the horror first hand before. Rebuilding takes decades and sometimes it never happens, despite the fancy talk.

Yet in the face of all this, you, Mr. President, have chosen to nominate a climate change-denying partisan politician, Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine, to head NASA. How can you even think of such a man to head the most important nonpartisan science, space and aeronautical research and development agency in the country? No, make that the world.

As this planet heats up, we have to look to space. That won’t be done if the man heading NASA denies the science and looks down on the truth of what’s happening in our atmosphere. Scientists are in agreement that while climate change might not have caused Harvey, Katrina, Sandy, and other natural disasters, warmer air does hold more moisture and thus has a much greater capacity to make weather events much worse. Harvey, for example, is now being called an unprecedented natural disaster.

How then can you even think about nominating Bridenstine? Being a former Navy pilot doesn’t make him an astronaut anymore than having once served as director of Tulsa’s Air and Space Museum makes him an expert on space, no matter how many papers he’s written.

This is a guy who demanded that President Obama apologize for funding climate change research! He doesn’t believe in climatic research yet he wants to head the agency that sent humans to the moon and will one day send us to Mars due to advances in technological and atmospheric research?

This is a guy who has repeatedly said there is no credible evidence — in the face of credible evidence — that greenhouse gasses contribute to climate change and so opposes regulating emissions.

This is a guy that Florida senators on both sides of the aisle oppose. Sen. Marco Rubio (of Florida, where NASA is located) even told Politico, “I just think it could be devastating for the space program.”

Mr. Trump, when you met with clergy the other day, you declared today a day of prayer for the victims of Harvey. And that’s good — we need more God and less greed.

But God won’t save this planet that we’re so busy wrecking without our help. Remember that thing about how God helps those who help themselves?


New Study Identifies Natural Driving Forces Of Climate Change


The identification of causal effects is a fundamental problem in climate change research. Here, a new perspective on climate change causality is presented using the central England temperature (CET) dataset, the longest instrumental temperature record, and a combination of slow feature analysis and wavelet analysis. The driving forces of climate change were investigated and the results showed two independent degrees of freedom —a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which seem to be connected to the El Nińo–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively. Moreover, these driving forces were modulated in amplitude by signals with millennial timescales.


How a biofuel dream turned into a nightmare

In the decade after its 2007 founding, Joule Unlimited made a lot of amazing claims about the future of fuel and raised a lot of money to try to back up those claims.

Joule was designing a system that would produce diesel fuel or gasoline using nothing more than the sun, carbon dioxide, water, and a genetically modified bacterium. It would be available for about $1.20 a gallon — without government subsidies. The Bedford company was set to begin construction of a 1,000-acre production plant in New Mexico this year. Joule’s tagline said that it was “solving the energy crisis with affordable, renewable clean fuel,” and the company managed to attract $200 million in financing from investors, including Cambridge-based Flagship Pioneering and the German carmaker Audi, which was eager to test Joule’s sustainable fuel.

Last month, though, the company auctioned off its New Mexico facility. Nearly all of the company’s 120 employees were laid off — the most recent round of job cuts happened in the spring — after Joule was unable to raise more money. Its investors are now looking for a buyer interested in the company’s patents.

When it comes to producing “biofuels” from natural substances that can compete on price with fuel extracted from the ground, “There’s probably no approach that’s new under the sun that somebody hasn’t attempted,” says Robert Rapier, an analyst who runs the website R-Squared Energy. “Billions and billions of dollars have been put in” by big oil companies and startups, without producing anything that you can actually put in your gas tank, he said.

Joule got its start in the offices of venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, as a concept: What if you could take a kind of bacteria that is sometimes called blue-green algae, tweak a few genes, and get it to excrete fuel? “It was a major, major scientific endeavor,” Flagship founder Noubar Afeyan says, and one that involved academic collaborators such as George Church of Harvard and Jim Collins of Boston University, both cofounders of Joule. Because the bacterium that Joule was working with rely on photosynthesis to survive, a research paper published by the company’s founders in 2011 was headlined, “A New Dawn for Industrial Photosynthesis.”

Joule’s prized patent, #9,034,629, was issued in 2015 — just as the company was starting to fall apart. It covered the genetically modified bacterium Joule had developed, and a process for using it to feed off of carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water (including brackish or sea water) and produce fuel. The CO2 used by Joule’s process, incidentally, could be piped in from a factory that would otherwise release it into the atmosphere — a big environmental benefit.

But many observers, including Rapier, questioned Joule’s claims. “They were saying that they would produce 20,000 gallons of fuel using an acre of land,” he says. But he doubted those numbers, simply based on the amount of solar energy — one of the required ingredients for the Joule process — that falls on the surface of the earth. “Many people were very skeptical that they could pull off what they were trying to pull off,” Rapier says.

The company was trying to prove that what worked in the lab would also work at a larger scale, at first using a one-tenth of an acre system in New Mexico. And it was making ethanol first, rather than diesel fuel or gasoline, because that was an easier initial step. (Ethanol is blended into other fuels, rather than used on its own.)

The challenge of the work, Afeyan says, is that “you’re competing with a commodity. On one hand, you have a hundred billion gallons of something” like crude oil, and the production efficiencies that have accrued to that industry over a century, and “on the other hand, you’ve got a couple gallons” of a biofuel made in a custom-built, one-of-a-kind facility. “You have to show not just feasibility,” Afeyan adds, “but economic viability. It proved quite challenging.”

Making it even more challenging were oil prices — they plummeted in 2014, from $112 a barrel to about $60 a barrel by the end of the year. Prices continued to drop in 2015. That was also the year that it was revealed that Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, had created software to enable its cars to cheat on emissions tests. That scandal, coupled with less financial pressure to look for alternatives to oil, might have scared off the bigger oil companies and utilities that Joule hoped would supply its next round of funding.

Joule attained a bit of momentary fame during the 2016 election cycle. John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, had served on the board of Joule from 2010 to 2014. During that time, the company accepted funding from Rusnano, a venture capital firm owned by the Russian government. Media reports questioned whether Podesta’s links to Russia had led to that investment from Rusnano, and whether Podesta had properly disclosed the stock he held in Joule when he joined the Obama administration in 2014, as an adviser to the president.

Afeyan says the Podesta controversy “was a completely irrelevant factor” in Joule’s ultimate fate, and that Podesta “was not a factor in Rusnano’s investment in Joule whatsoever.”

On Aug. 15, you could bid online to buy the equipment that Joule once hoped would coax bacteria into producing fuel in Hobbs, N.M., just a few miles from the Texas border. Back in April, laid off Joule employees sipped margaritas and shared nachos at the Border Café in Cambridge. One of them, John Longan, said that he “always felt surrounded by super-talented people who were experts in their field, and passionate about what we were doing. They wanted Joule to succeed, really wanted to have a positive impact.”

John Beneman, an expert on algae-based biofuels, notes that Joule isn’t an anomaly. “There are other companies out there that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars and come up with the same results — either they are walking dead, or ghosts, or resting in peace,” says Beneman, who is also chief executive of the consulting firm MicroBio Engineering in California.

Does Beneman believe it’s just impossible to use a genetically engineered organism to make an affordable, more sustainable kind of fuel, rather than extracting it from the earth? “I’m not saying it’s impossible, just that it requires long-term work,” he says. “There are a lot of technologies [that] take years or decades to develop, and get to the payoff.”

Ten years and $200 million later, we’re still not there.


'Illegally dumped rubbish': Council removes share bikes blocking Melbourne footpaths

oBikes have been described by Melburnians as clutter, litter, a nuisance and even "visual pollution".

Now the City of Melbourne has officially declared them as such, removing bikes it considers illegally dumped  less than three months after the bike sharing service began swamping the city's streets.

Several pictures emerged on Friday of the infamous yellow bikes wrapped in City of Melbourne tape declaring them "illegally dumped rubbish under investigation".

A City of Melbourne spokeswoman confirmed the council had begun removing some hazardous bikes blocking footpaths.

"We have made it clear to oBike that we need to protect the amenity and safety of the city while balancing the ongoing need to encourage cycling," she said.

"As part of these discussions we have informed oBikes that too much clutter can cause a hazard and that in these instances we will remove the hazard to maintain public access and amenity."

The Singaporean bike share company has been blasted by many Melburnians who describe the bikes as clutter and a tripping hazard. Concerns have also been raised about oBike crowding bike parking.

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle last month told small business operators he was at "the end of his tether", according to a CBD News report.

"We entered these discussions with them in good faith," Cr Doyle said. "They've made promises, including the provision of data and that has not been forthcoming."

"As recently as yesterday, there was real, I would say, anger amongst councillors that they haven't tried to do the right thing."

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Cr Doyle described them as "clutter that must be fixed" and signalled he would ban the dockless share bikes if the problem could not be fixed.

Pictures of the bikes dumped in the Yarra River, in trees, next to tram lines and – as spotted on Friday – on a barge in the middle of Albert Park Lake, have become popular internet fodder.

Councils in Amsterdam and London have banned oBikes in recent weeks, claiming they are a public nuisance.

Wandsworth Council last month confiscated more than 130 bikes and told the company it needed a "drastic re-think" after a flood of complaints, the Evening Standard reported.

Amsterdam city council has also temporarily banned the bikes.

oBike launched in Melbourne in June and trumpeted itself as a high-tech rival to the city's RACV blue bikes thanks to their dockless feature which means they can be parked anywhere.

oBike Australia head of marketing Chethan Rangaswamy acknowledged the company had struggled with "civic awareness" about bike sharing.

"We are actively liaising with local councils to have a sustainable solution to current problems," he said.

oBike says it has an operational team which collects dumped and misplaced bikes.




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


4 September, 2017

Ship of Fools IV: Another Green Arctic Expedition Scuppered by Ice

A sailing expedition to the North Pole to raise awareness of global warming has been forced to turn back, 590 nautical miles short of its destination, after the yachts found their passage blocked by large quantities of an unexpected frozen white substance. According to Arctic Mission’s website:

"A meeting of the four skippers was held led by Erik de Jong, with Pen Hadow present, and it was agreed further northward progress would increase considerably the risks to the expedition, with very limited scientific reward. The decision to head south, back to an area of less concentrated sea ice in the vicinity of 79 degrees 30 minutes North, was made at 18.30 (Alaskan time)."

Concentrated sea ice? In the Arctic Circle? Whoever would have imagined?

As usual, on these occasions, the expedition leaders are covering their embarrassment by billing their failure as a great success.

"Arctic Mission has undertaken an extensive oceanographic, wildlife and ecosystem research programme during the voyage, led by Tim Gordon of the University of Exeter (UK). This has included work on acoustic ecology, copepod distributions and physiology, microplastic pollution surveying, inorganic carbon chemistry, seabird range expansion and microbial DNA sequencing. Scientific findings will be released following comprehensive data analysis and formal publication in peer-reviewed journals in 2018/19.

It is believed Arctic Mission has sailed further north from the coastlines surrounding the Arctic Ocean than any vessel in history without icebreaker support."

Well maybe. But that wasn’t the original point of the expedition when it was announced in the Sunday Times earlier this summer:

"It is a polar record Pen Hadow wishes were impossible to achieve. The explorer, who was the first person to walk solo across the pack ice from Canada to the North Pole in 2003, will now try to highlight climate change by becoming the first to sail there in a yacht."

Hadow, 55, said it would be a bittersweet achievement to achieve the feat because it would mean that the polar ice cap had shrunk to record lows. “I’m very conflicted,” he said. “If we do reach the North Pole by sail, I think the image would be iconic for the rest of the century and a call to action,” he said. “If 50ft yachts can do this, imagine what commercial shipping can do.”

This is not the first time Hadow has been denied the “bittersweet achievement” of pinning Arctic melt on “climate change.” In 2009 – with encouragement from the Prince of Wales – Hadow led the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition which had to be cancelled less than half way into its 800 mile trek because the equipment broke in the freezing temperatures.

His latest failure comes a year after yet another sailing expedition – this one called The Polar Ocean Challenge, led by veteran explorer David Hempleman-Adams – was also frustrated by unexpectedly large quantities of ice. That was Ship of Fools II.

Ship of Fools I was, of course, the glorious December 2013 expedition to Antarctica – led by an Australian alarmist called Chris Turney, one of the correspondents in the Climategate scandal  – which had to be called off after becoming stuck in ice which Turney insisted could not have been predicted.

Then earlier this summer, we learned of Ship of Fools III – a Canadian research expedition which had to be cancelled because, you guessed it, of “unprecedented” summer sea ice.

Why are these hapless fools such suckers for punishment? Short answer: because that’s where the money is.

The Arctic is a mightily beautiful place to visit – as I once saw myself on a 300-mile trip on a skidoo round Svalbard – but it has been pretty well explored. So the only way these days you’re going to get sponsors to stump up for your icebergs ‘n’ polar bears jolly is if you can persuade them it’s all about “raising awareness” and “saving the planet.”

Rapacious corporations love to soften their image by having it associated with cuddly, caring green projects – especially if it accords with their business model. Insurance companies like Catlin – which sponsored Hadow’s previous expedition – for example have a strong vested interest in bigging up the climate threat because then they can persuade more clients to insure against the weather disasters which, supposedly, will become more likely as the planet heats up due to man’s selfishness, greed and refusal to amend his lifestyle…

The other problem, of course, is misreporting in the mainstream media which for years has been quoting “experts” assuring us of the Arctic ice’s imminent disappearance.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Arctic ice is stubbornly refusing to follow the alarmists’ doomsday narrative.

In Greenland, for example, the ice sheet since last September has grown at close to record rates.

As Tony Heller notes – using the latest data from National Snow and Ice Data Center – it looks as though there are never going to be any of those “ice free summers” the alarmists promised us.

This is both good news and bad news.

It’s bad news for the mainstream media and especially for Environment Correspondents. Their opportunities for writing stories about the dread plight of the Arctic – and embarking on fun freebies to experience it at first hand – are likely to diminish with each passing year. Soon, it’s quite possible, green hacktivists will have forgotten what it’s like to see the Aurora Borealis from the deck of a Munich Re sponsored research vessel or to hear kittiwakes mewling over the bluey-white ice floes at midnight when it’s still as bright as day or the ratta-tat-tat on their keyboards as they bash out yet another thousand words on the vanishing polar bear. They might not even have jobs which enable them to make the most of their 2.2 in Whale-Watching, Bunny-Hugging and Misanthropy from the University of Easy Access: they might have to get one more suited to their talents, like picking up empty bottles for Greenpeace at pop festivals.

It’s good news for us, though. Me especially. I don’t even have to go looking for stories, like journalists used to have to do in the old days. They just sail right past my nose like this latest dumb-assed Arctic failure expedition just did. I open us all a big bag of popcorn and write it up for Breitbart for our amusement and delectation. And it’s not even as though I’m going to get any competition. About the only people covering this stuff are skeptical bloggers. Most of the mainstream media are looking away, pretending it’s not happening, because it just doesn’t suit their alarmist narrative.


No, Michael Mann, Global Warming Didn't Cause Hurricane Harvey's Devastation

Global Warming: When a controversial climatologist claims Hurricane Harvey's brutal downpour that devastated Houston is a result of global warming, it warrants examining the claim. We have, and it appears baseless. But that won't stop climate-change extremists from making that claim again in the future.

First, a little background.

Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann has gained dubious renown for something no scientist desires: fiddling with data, and getting caught. In this case, it was temperature data. Mann's famous "hockey stick" rendition of temperature and climate changes makes it appear as if temperatures began rising sharply in the 19th century as carbon dioxide from the Industrial Revolution began to build up, and then soared uncontrollably in recent years to near-record highs for the last millennium.

Mann used proxy data for much of his chart, which, because of its distinctive shape, was soon called the hockey stick. It became the symbol of "science" proving that global warming was now disastrously heating our planet. And it was the centerpiece of the United Nations' efforts to propagandize on behalf of making the developed world poorer to temper the effects of global warming. The U.N.'s proposals would require a massive decline in the West's standard of living, and hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes.

The only problem is, according to critics, Mann's data were manipulated in such a way as to make them incorrect. Ironically, Mann published his hockey-stick paper in 1998, after which satellite temperature data — the most complete and accurate weather data we have — show virtually no statistically significant change in global temperatures.

Worse still, Canadian statisticians Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick discovered that Mann's statistical manipulations of the raw data were mathematically questionable at best and dishonest at worst. When the two force-fed Mann's own statistical formulas with random data, they generated ... a hockey stick. So, in essence, the climate books were cooked to make global warming seem extreme, no matter what data were used.

"Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster child of the global-warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics," science writer Richard Muller noted in the 2004 issue of the MIT Review, on the controversy. "How could it happen?"

It could happen because the giant global-warming industry — made up of government bureaucrats, professors, scientists, researchers and think-tank fellows, and allied as it is to the U.N.'s socialist agenda — depends on government grants and aid to "prove" global warming is a threat. This year, according to a Daily Caller Foundation estimate, the U.S. federal government alone will spend some $27 billion on climate change, much of it on research.

Any scientist whose work doesn't slavishly follow the strict theology of the climate-change religion has little chance of getting his or her research funded by the U.S. government, whose bureaucracy has every reason to want to see global warming as a threat.

And now, Mann is at it again.

Writing in the leftist British newspaper The Guardian, under the alarming headline "It's a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly," Mann had this to say: "Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage and a larger storm surge."

Interesting observation, but not a "fact" at all, as he suggests, but rather a hotly disputed opinion. Moreover, it's cherry-picking of the worst sort: Wait for a disaster to happen, and then say, in effect, "Global warming. I told you so."

"This is an example of what will be a relentless tirade of statements. Say nothing, make no forecast you can actually be held accountable for, then come out after and grab headlines with stuff like this," wrote Joe Bastardi, the chief forecaster of Weather Bell Analytics, a weather consultancy and forecasting firm.

Yet, ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2004, climate-change advocates have warned that hurricanes and storms would be far worse as a result of global warming. It was inevitable, we were told.

But the fact is, since 2010, the number of severe, category 4 hurricanes has declined sharply. Moreover, those who follow hurricanes and tropical storms for a living suggest global warming isn't the cause.

CNN Newsroom host John Berman asked former National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read point-blank whether climate change had affected the intensity of Hurricane Harvey.

Read said he "probably wouldn't attribute (global warming to) what we're looking at here. This is not an uncommon occurrence to see storms grow and intensify rapidly in the western Gulf of Mexico. That is, as long as we've been tracking them, that has occurred."

In short, it's part of a long-term weather pattern — not climate change. And a look at the number of hurricanes by decade shows conclusively that the number and severity of hurricanes have mostly declined in recent decades, not risen.

"There is no reason to be debating Harvey and climate change in the context of an unfolding disaster, other than political opportunism and attention-seeking," said climate scientist and University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke. "It's not a good look for scientists or journalists who are promoting this issue."

Pielke destroys the notion that global warming has made hurricanes or tropical storms worse by noting that from 1926 to 1969, a period of 44 years, there were 14 category 4 hurricanes that made landfall. From 1970 to 2017, or 47 years, there have been just four. If anything, if you were a global warming advocate and being honest, you'd have to say that higher temperatures have caused the number of severe hurricanes hitting the U.S. to decline by 70%.

All of the news shows, newspapers, news websites and magazines will be peddling the same shamanistic nonsense: Global warming is to blame for everything nasty in the natural world, but especially for the brutal hurricanes that occasionally rip into our coast. But the facts show it just ain't true.


Revisiting wind turbine impacts

Erroneous recent calculation highlights need to assess renewable energy sustainability claims

Paul Driessen

It’s amazing, though hardly surprising, how quickly some used Hurricane Harvey’s devastation to claim that fossil fuel emissions are driving catastrophic climate change and weather. Their proffered solution, of course, is to replace those fuels with “clean, sustainable, renewable” energy.

I’ve criticized this supposed solution many times, on multiple grounds. Unfortunately, a hasty numerical calculation for a recent column was way off base, and readers properly chastised me for the error. I just blew it, using megawatts instead of megawatt-hours to derive the number of wind turbines … and amount of land … it would take to replace the world’s 2016 electricity entirely with wind energy.

My conclusion that it would require 830 million turbines and twice the land area of North America was thus off by embarrassing amounts. However, my reviewers offered many “correct” numbers.

Their turbine totals ranged from 2 million to 4, 10 and 12 million; their acreage figures from 0.5 to 40, 60 and even 247 per turbine. Total acreage for all the turbines ranged from the size of France or Texas – to half of North America. Energy scholar Cork Hayden graciously provided analytical aid.

Bottom line: Assumptions are key – about turbine size; number, location and extent of good wind sites; ability to actually erect turbines on those sites; wind turbine capacity factor, in average hours per day of electricity generation; duration and quality of wind power per year, especially as turbines proliferate into increasingly poor wind areas; and power generation needed to charge huge battery arrays to ensure reliable electricity during multiple windless days (2, 7, 14 or more) when turbines provide no power.

Another variable, of course, is the amount of electricity that is to be replaced by wind. In 2016, the world used 25 billion megawatt-hours (MWh) of electrical energy, generated by fossil fuel, hydroelectric and nuclear power stations, with minor contributions from wood (biomass) and trivial amounts of wind and solar. Year-round average power generation was 2.85 million megawatts (MW) or 2.85 terawatts (TW) – compared to zero generation in 1881.

Electricity makes our industries, jobs, travel, communication, living standards, health and safety possible, and demand will certainly grow as more nations electrify, and more vehicles are battery-powered.

Here are my fundamental assumptions: Wind turbines replace 100% of today’s 2.85 TW global electricity generation, by some future date – as many activists and politicians insist we must (and can) do. Turbines are all 1.8-MW nameplate power. Average turbine capacity factor gradually falls from 33% to 16.5% as the best wind sites are utilized, and much poorer sites must be developed.

(In the USA many of the best wind sites are off the Washington-to-California and Maine-to-Georgia coastlines, and in the Great Lakes, where water depths and powerful local opposition would make it impossible to install many turbines. Onshore turbine size is limited by the size of blades that can be hauled by trucks on winding roads. The same situation would likely apply around most of the globe.)

Further assumptions: One-third of turbine output powers society; two-thirds charge batteries that provide power for 48 of every 72 hours that wind is not blowing. And winds always cooperate with that scheme – always arriving just in the nick of time, as batteries are depleted, and never disappearing for more than two days, even during sweltering summers or frigid winters when demand soars but winds disappear.

Of course, most of these assumptions exist only in the realm of fairies, pixie dust, green energy utopia and easy number crunching. They are meant to initiate important analyses and debates that climate alarmists, renewable energy proponents, legislators and policy makers have never conducted.

Using these assumptions, generating 25 billion megawatt-hours would require 1.6 million 1.8-MW turbines functioning at full 1.8-MW capacity in strong winds, all day, every day, with no worries about storage. If they operate only eight hours a day (33% engineered capacity), we just use electricity when it’s available, instead of when we need it. But that’s terribly inconvenient and disruptive.

So we employ the Dr. Hayden system, instead. We erect 4.8 million turbines that operate steadily for eight hours, sending one-third of their electricity to the grid and two-thirds to batteries. That would yield 8 hours of direct power while the wind is blowing (33% capacity factor) – and let us draw power from the batteries for the next 16 hours, until the wind regularly picks up again. “I love magic,” he says.

That clearly won’t work. We really need at least 48 hours of storage – and thus three times as many turbines, under a similar arrangement, but providing more flexibility, to recognize unpredictable wind patterns and the likelihood of two windless days in a row. We’re up to 14.4 million 1.8-MW turbines.

Want a bigger safety net? To assure against seven windless days? 50 million turbines should do it.

But then we’re really into the mediocre wind sites. Capacity plummets to 16.5% or so. Perhaps 100 million turbines will do the trick. Pray that lulls last no more than a week. Or send the army to those intransigent, unpatriotic coastal communities, and forcibly install turbines in their super windy areas.

That would also ensure that electricity generation is close to our big urban centers – hence shorter transmission lines, and less cement, steel, copper, et cetera to build the power lines. It’s a win-win situation, except for those who have to look at or live next to turbines and transmission lines, of course.

How much land are we talking about, to generate 25 billion megawatt-hours of global annual electricity? Assuming top quality wind sites, at 5 kilowatts per acre (average output per land area for any turbine at the windiest locations), onshore turbines operating 24/7/365 would require some 570 million acres.

That’s 25% of the United States – or 30% of the Lower 48 US states. It’s almost all the land in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona combined!

Change the assumptions – change the numbers. To store electricity for windless days, total power generation (and thus turbine numbers and land acreage) begins to skyrocket. For 48 hours of backup, triple the power generation; that’s the entire Lower 48. For a full week of backup, add in Canada.

Let’s not forget the transmission lines and batteries. They also need land (and raw materials).

How many batteries? Storing 1 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity – to provide power for 48 windless hours for a US city of 700,000 people – would require 480,000 of Tesla’s new 100-kWh lithium-ion battery packs. Backing up 2.85 TW for just two windless days would require 1.4 trillion Tesla units! And this assumes the batteries are charged and discharged with 100% efficiency.

Just imagine the land, raw materials, mining, manufacturing and energy that would be needed to make all those batteries (and replace them every few years). As energy and technology analyst Mark Mills has noted, all the world’s existing lithium battery factories combined manufacture only a tiny fraction of that.

I’m sure the world’s battery makers would be more than happy to take our hard-earned taxpayer and consumer cash to build more factories and make all those batteries – to save us from dangerous climate change that is no longer governed by the sun and other powerful natural forces.

Let’s get real. It’s time to stop playing with pixie dust and renewable energy utopia schemes. Time to open our schools and legislatures to actual thinking about energy, sustainability, climate change and what makes our jobs, health and living standards possible. Time for full-bore studies and legislative hearings on all these issues – in the USA, UK, EU and everywhere else.

Sustainability and renewable energy claims are too grounded in ideology, magic and politics. Wind and solar energy forecasts ignore the need to find and mine vast new metal and mineral deposits – and open US lands that are now off limits, unless we want to import all our wind turbines, solar panels and batteries. They assume land use impacts don’t really exist if they are in other people’s backyards.

Worse, too often anyone trying to raise these inconvenient truths is shouted down, silenced, ignored. That has to stop. The stakes are too high for ideology and pixie dust to drive fundamental public policies.

Via email

Wind retreat in Germany

While Germany likes to fancy itself as being among the "global leaders" in tackling climate change by expanding green energies, the country has in fact taken very little action recently to back up the appearances.

If anything, Germany is more in the green energy retreat mode. There are good reasons for this.

German flagship business daily "Handelsblatt" reported here yesterday how Germany's wind energy market is now "threatening to implode" and as a result "thousands of jobs are at risk".

Jos‚ Luis Blanco, CEO of German wind energy giant Nordex, blames the market chaos on "policymakers changing the rules". Subsidies have been getting cut back substantially.

The problem, Blanco says, is that worldwide green energy subsidies are being capped and wind parks as a result are no longer looking profitable to investors. The Handelsblatt writes that "things have never been this bad".

50% drop in new German wind parks

The online Hasepost here reports that while in 2016 some 4600 megawatts of new German wind power capacity were installed onshore, the figure will fall almost 50% to 2450 megawatts of new power by 2019. The fall could even be greater.

Blanco told Handelsblatt:

"In the next two years we will see a substantial collapse in the installation of new wind parks in Germany  - we will have to react to this." [.]

Comeback coal

Yesterday at the East German Energy Forum in Leipzig, both the centrist CDU and the SPD socialists were in agreement: brown coal (lignite) must remain a part of Germany's energy mix, the online Lausitzer Rundschau writes. Speaking before 400 industry representatives, Brandenburg's Minister President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) complained that green energies are foremost "unreliable energy sources".

Saxony Anhalt Minister President Reiner Haseloff (CDU) called for more realism, saying that "brown coal belonged to east Germany until 2050?.


CIA Veteran Sees Russian Connection to 2 Groups Opposing Fracking, Pipelines

Some environmental activists who pressure politicians to halt production of natural gas are acting as “agents of influence” on behalf of the Kremlin and Russian energy interests, according to a retired CIA officer’s analysis of the money trail.

As they lead the charge against two natural gas pipelines, activists allied with a statewide group called Virginia Organizing advance Russia’s geopolitical ambitions at the expense of U.S. energy independence, 29-year CIA veteran Kenneth L. Stiles told The Daily Signal.

Two of these local environmental groups “are, without a doubt, agents of influence to Moscow through [a] networking system of shell companies and foundations,” Stiles said.

Russia’s incentive in what some see as actual collusion with well-funded, liberal environmental groups in the United States isn’t difficult to understand, Stiles argues, since American natural gas development affects the profitability of Gazprom, a large Russian oil and gas company.

With the public comment period open for one of the Virginia pipeline projects, Mountain Valley, local activists’ relationship with Virginia Organizing Inc. and the covert support the larger group receives from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government deserve greater scrutiny, Stiles said.

“People must understand that this is not just a local issue,” he said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “Geopolitically, this is Putin’s Moscow attempting to thwart America’s efforts to gain energy independence and dominance and to help our allies get from underneath Putin’s energy boot.”

Stiles singles out Preserve Montgomery County and Friends of Nelson County, two groups affiliated with Charlottesville-based Virginia Organizing, through which all donations to either flow.

Virginia Organizing describes itself as a “nonpartisan, statewide grassroots organization dedicated to challenging injustice by empowering people in local communities to address issues that affect the quality of their lives.”

Preserve Montgomery County, based in Blacksburg, Virginia, was formed “to unite citizens” in opposition to “the intrusion” of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to the organization’s website, and to “work in cooperation with other regional groups to fight the pipelines and their assault on the environment.”

Under the heading “No Fracked Gas Pipelines,” a section of the website addresses environmental concerns about the process of hydraulic fracturing, widely known as fracking, to reach oil and natural gas.

Preserve Montgomery County calls on local residents to become “intervenors” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Nellysford-based Friends of Nelson County, meanwhile, targets the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Stiles, 58, who joined Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2011 after leaving the CIA, said he sees an unsavory connection between anti-pipeline campaigns in his home state and top Russian officials.

He said the Kremlin has a vested interest in undermining a “natural gas revolution” in America that also could free Europe from its reliance on Russian energy.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, congressional investigators with the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology uncovered evidence that Russia is conducting what they call a “propaganda war against fossil fuels” by covertly funding U.S. environmental groups.

This covert funding, the investigators argue, is part of an elaborate scheme to turn American public opinion and public policy against fracking techniques that make it possible to extract natural gas.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the House committee’s chairman, and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, chairman of its energy subcommittee, sent a letter June 29 to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him to “conduct a full and complete investigation” into the money trail connecting Putin’s government with U.S. environmental activists accused of spreading “disinformation” about fracking and natural gas.

Russia and its partners in Bermuda, identified in the letter, could be in violation of federal statutes “pertaining to agents of foreign governments or those lobbying on behalf of domestic and foreign interests,” Smith and Weber wrote to Mnuchin.

The Russians “executed a political agenda with little or no paper trail,” the letter explains, by using a Bermuda-based shell company, Klein Ltd., “to funnel tens of millions of dollars” to a San Francisco-based nonprofit called the Sea Change Foundation that focuses on climate change.

The Sea Change Foundation then moves the money in the form of grants to other nonprofit environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

The letter from the House committee cites a July 2014 report from the Republican staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that unpacks the Sea Change Foundation’s donations to other groups.

Republicans regained control of the Senate three months later, and with Donald Trump’s election as president, House Republicans now see a way to get traction on the issue.

“I have asked Secretary Mnuchin to track a pattern of international money flowing into the U.S., and the Treasury Department is well positioned to gather facts and review findings through the lens of U.S. laws,” Smith said in an email to The Daily Signal. “We cannot allow foreign interests to deliberately manipulate our energy industry, and the American people deserve to know the truth about the foreign money.”

More HERE 



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 September, 2017

Sales of powerful vacuum cleaners banned in EU

This is total nonsense, a re-run of the dishwasher fiasco. "Ecological" dishwashers just did not clean well so it became common to wash every load twice -- thus INCREASING electricity use. 

It will be the same here.  When I switched from a 1,000 watt cleaner to a 2,000 watt one, everything was easier and quicker.  I now don't have to go over and over pesky patches.  The "savings" on electricity under the new rules will be entirely delusory.  The weaker cleaners will have to be used for quite a bit longer, thus using more electricity -- not to mention the cleaning time they waste. 

A lot of cleaning is done commercially these days, so how about factoring in the cost of cleaning time?  That would make the stronger machine definitely more economical

Sales of vacuum cleaners producing more noise and heat than suction are restricted under EU rules from today.

Vacuum cleaners using more than 900 watts and emitting more than 80 decibels will be banned when stocks run out.

Some anti-EU campaigners say homes won't be properly cleaned if people have to buy lower wattage machines.

But energy experts say the best low-power appliances clean just as well as high-wattage machines.

They say some manufacturers deliberately increased the amount of electricity their appliances use because shoppers equate high-wattage with high performance.

'Widespread misconception'

The European Environment Bureau (EEB) said: "Power doesn't always equal performance, though the misconception has become widespread.

"Some efficient models maintained high standards of dust pick-up while using significantly less energy - due to design innovation."

Vacuum cleaner salesman Howard Johnson, who works in Coventry, told BBC News: "People want a more powerful vacuum cleaner but they can't see that more power doesn't mean more suction.

"The lower power machines are perfectly adequate, and better for the planet".

The EU's own website says: "With more efficient vacuum cleaners, Europe as a whole can save up to 20 TWh of electricity per year by 2020.

"This is equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium.

"It also means over 6 million tonnes of CO2 will not be emitted - about the annual emissions of eight medium-sized power plants."

And the UK Climate Change Committee says that since 2008 electricity demand is down 17% (despite all our gadgets) and gas demand is 23% lower, thanks to tougher standards on energy efficiency in homes and appliances.

This, it says, has helped keep bills down.


Global warming – oops,…I mean climate change – is The Greatest Scam on Earth

It is a giant lie – perpetrated by some of the world’s biggest frauds

Being Leftist means never having to say you’re sorry. The climate change liars have been caught lying and falsifying and manipulating data too many times to count. They have been so wrong so often on so many things.

And yet The Establishment continues to take them gravely seriously. It’s a joke. A huge, unfunny, accidental attempt at humor.

One of the climate change Left’s biggest bete noires – is the biggest oil company on the planet, ExxonMobil. Exxon is currently suffering a years-long, multi-pronged Leftist attack. The climate freaks keep coming up empty – but they simply retrench and return to lie another day.

The Leftists are working an inside-out-outside-in approach. They have Leftist elected officials bringing governments to bear – while coordinating with outside Leftist groups, and the Leftist foundation funders. How do we know this?

NY’s Government Assault on Exxon: Coordinated in Advance with Leftist Groups: “(O)n Exxon, (New York Democrat Attorney General Eric) Schneiderman ain’t the lead attack dog – the Rockefeller Foundation is: ‘The Rockefeller Family Foundation (which has an endowment of about $130 million) has long targeted the oil industry and honed in on ExxonMobil last January….’

“The (Rockefeller January meeting’s) agenda was to ‘establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm’ and to ‘delegitimize’ Exxon as a political actor….Participants at the meeting included activist groups like Greenpeace and Public Citizen, and trial lawyers who have won judgments against the industry before….

“The ultimate goal would include ‘getting discovery’ from ExxonMobil through legal action brought by public officials, thus ‘creating scandal’ around the country.”

The latest salvo against Exxon – was happily water-carried by the utterly ridiculous New York Times.

What Exxon Mobil Didn’t Say About Climate Change

In which co-screed-ers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes try the Left’s (at least) fifth new attempt to say that Exxon knew about actual cataclysmic climate change (there isn’t any), that they failed to disclose what they knew (which is hard to do with nothing) – and that all of the above represents a criminal act of some sort or other.

This is a stretch so far – as to leave Gumby, Plastic Man and Reed Richards all gaping in awe.

Our co-auteurs – quickly give away their game: “Part of the impetus for these suspicions was reporting by Inside Climate News and The Los Angeles Times in 2015 that concluded Exxon Mobil had long known about the risks of climate change but denied them in public.”

The Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News, you say? Bizarrely, our co-creators – admit to their tightly-closed-circle Leftist scam:

“Today, we are publishing the results of our peer-reviewed analysis in the journal Environmental Research Letters. To our knowledge, this is the first academic, empirical analysis of Exxon Mobil’s 40-year history of climate change communications. (Our research was funded by Harvard University Faculty Development Funds and by the Rockefeller Family Fund, which also helped finance the reporting by Inside Climate News and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which published its examination of Exxon Mobil with The Los Angeles Times.)”

Get that? The Leftist Rockefeller Foundation paid for a bunch of Leftist hackery that they attempted to dress up as “news.”

The Leftist Rockefeller Foundation then takes that bunch of Leftist hack news – for which they paid. And pretend it serves as an impetus for a hack study – for which they paid – of the Leftist paid-for hack news – for which they paid.

In case you think we’re joking – here’s the study:

Assessing ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Communications (1977–2014): “We examine whether these (ExxonMobil) communications sent consistent messages about the state of climate science and its implications—specifically, we compare their positions on climate change as real, human-caused, serious, and solvable. In all four cases, we find that as documents become more publicly accessible, they increasingly communicate doubt.

Almost forty years – and these clowns come up with four cases. On which they have no definitive proof – only “doubt.”

And “doubt” about climate change – is quite understandable. For a whole host of reasons. The lies. The data manipulation. The prolonged, pronounced wrongness.

And there’s this. Back in the 1970s – when these clowns started their peek into Exxon – the avalanche of “news” headlines…was of the looming, impending Ice Age. Here’s seventy-one such stories – just for starters.

That Ice Age – never materialized. Just as the cataclysmic warming of which the likes of these two have more recently shrieked – hasn’t materialized. Yet the shrieking continues unabated.

This Leftist-funded “study” – allegedly predicated by their Leftist-funded fake news – is just the latest in a long line of climate lies foisted upon us by a Socialist-Communist Left that doesn’t like free markets, or companies that excel therein.

Here’s my global climate prediction: This newest, perhaps-lamest attempt at smearing ExxonMobil – will go absolutely nowhere. Just like all the others.


Yet another renewable energy boondoggle

Croplands, habitats, taxes, family budgets, safety sacrificed to enrich politically connected few? 

Paul Driessen

Wilkinson Solar has filed papers requesting permits for a 74-megawatt solar electricity facility about 35 miles east of Greenville, NC. If approved, 288,120 solar panels would blanket 600 acres (0.94 square miles) of now scenic, serene farmland next door to the Terra Ceia Christian School near Morehead City.

The company wants to catch the solar wave, and make a lot of money under “net metering” policies that require payment for electricity added to the grid, whenever it is generated and regardless of whether the electricity is needed at the time. Electricity generated from these new panels would not be sold in the local area; it would be exported to Virginia, Raleigh-Durham and other locations.

Solar power installations doubled in 2016 over 2015, media outlets reported in February. There are now 1.3 million solar installations across the United States, with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts. That’s enough capacity to power 6,560,000 US households, they say. Of course, there are caveats.

There was intense effort to install as much new photovoltaic as possible in 2016 – driven by a fear that federal tax credits would not be renewed. Solar actually rose from 0.96% of US generation in 2015 only to 1.37% in 2016. 65% of electricity generation is still fossil fuels, 20% is nuclear, 6.5% hydroelectric, 2.0% biomass and geothermal, and 5.6% wind (which is as unreliable as solar).

The reliability factor is critical. The capacity to power 6,560,000 households does not equal actual power generation. It is what panels can generate if the sun shines at high enough intensity 24/7/365. It can be a lot of the time in areas that are bright, dry and sunny most of the year – to very little in other regions.

Those and related issues must guide decisions on whether the Wilkinson facility makes energy, engineering, economic and environmental sense for this North Carolina community, the Tar Heel State – or other locales facing similar decisions. Solar may be advantageous for politicians, corporations, renewable energy activists and their allies. But that should not override other considerations.

A 600-MW capacity coal, gas or nuclear plant operates 90-95% of the time. Its actual output will thus be 540 to 570 megawatts – from 300 acres (or less): 1.8 to 1.9 MW per acre, reliably and affordably.

Wilkinson would theoretically generate 74 MW from twice as much land. That’s 0.12 MW per acre – or 8.1 acres per MW. However, North Carolina averages only 213 sunny days per year, and perhaps 9 hours of good, electricity-generating sun per day.

Instead of 90-95% efficiency, Wilkinson would bring only 20% efficiency. The 288,120 panels would produce electricity only about 20% of the year. That is unpredictable, unreliable, less affordable energy.

The real output would be around 0.03 MW per acre or 33 acres per MW! Wilkinson’s claimed ability to generate enough electricity for 12,500 households shrinks to 2,750 homes, when the sun shines.

Wilkinson and farmers turned occasional power producers would still reap large sums of cash, via net metering and feed-in tariff policies. But crop and wildlife habitat lands would be converted to massive solar arrays, while neighbors would get a blighted landscape and no monetary or other benefits.

As Solar Mania and Solar Sprawl spread, electricity consumers would see their rates climb: from the 9 cents per kilowatt-hour average they now pay in North Carolina and Virginia, ever closer to the 16 to 18 cents per kWh that residents pay in “green energy” states like Connecticut, New York and California. Families, hospitals, schools, businesses, farms and factories would face increasingly tougher times paying their electric bills. Poor and minority families would be hit hardest.

Then there’s the survivability issue. Since 1879, North Carolina has been hit by twelve Category 3 hurricanes, one Category 4 (Hazel in 1954) and multiple tropical storms. Imagine the shards of flying glass that would be torn from solar panels and sent flying in all directions when the next ’cane inevitably hits. What that would do to people, animals and property is not pretty to contemplate. Torrential rains brought by these storms would send flood waters roaring through the installation, wreaking further havoc.

Solar proponents always tout energy, employment and climate stabilization benefits – which don’t exist.

Every megawatt of solar power must be backed up by coal or natural gas generators. Otherwise we have electricity when it happens to be available, instead of when we need it. Otherwise our offices, hospitals, assembly lines, televisions and internet go on and off constantly. No one can work or live that way.

The backup power plants must be running on standby (spinning reserve) all the time – then must ramp up to full power every time the sun stops shining. That slashes their efficiency, and sends their fuel costs and emissions skyrocketing. Any supposed energy, sustainability and climate benefits disappear.

Moreover, it is highly unlikely that any solar array can ever generate enough electricity over its entire life span to equal the energy that went into making, installing and servicing the panels. Mining the raw materials, turning them into metals and other panel components, hauling and installing the panels – all require enormous amounts of motor fuels, coking coal and electricity. The balance sheet is in the red.

Add in what it takes to build, fuel and operate the backup power plants, and solar is bankrupt.

Solar power does create jobs. In fact, U.S. Department of Energy data reveal that producing the same amount of electricity requires one coal worker or two natural gas workers – but 12 wind industry employees or 79 solar workers. That is hardly the ticket to a productive economy.

Even worse, Spanish and other studies have found that, for every renewable energy job created, two to four jobs are lost in other sectors that are forced to pay more and more for less reliable electricity.

Price and reliability are crucial in our digital age, with electricity the key to modern living standards, health, safety, and almost everything we make, eat and do. Solar electricity makes prices rise and reliability decline; its repeated electrical surges and slumps damage grid stability.

Some say using fossil fuels – which provide 82% of the energy that makes modern civilization possible – causes dangerous manmade climate change. But Hurricane Harvey just ended the nearly 12-year record absence of a Category 3-5 hurricane striking the United States. Average planetary temperatures are back to the same level we’ve seen for almost 20 years, following the end of the 2015-16 El Nińo.

Those and other inconvenient realities completely contradict decades of alarmist climate predictions. And as just noted, overall fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions increase as solar power proliferates.

All this underscores why we must build more pipelines from areas that have become major natural gas production regions, thanks to hydraulic fracturing. Whether a gas-fired power plant serves as a primary electricity generator, or as backup for wind and solar, new pipelines are essential. They determine whether families, hospitals and businesses have affordable electricity when they need it.

Unfortunately, an array of governors, mayors, legislators, regulators and activist pressure groups are blocking pipeline projects from the Dakotas to New York and beyond, even as they promote more wind and solar. Pipelines and electricity are the backbone of our economy, civilization, jobs and living standards. Cut or paralyze that backbone, and our society will cease to function.

Hearing officials must give local residents and energy experts opportunities to explain these issues and voice their concerns about energy, land use, job, economic, environmental, hurricane and other impacts from solar installations like Wilkinson. Anything less is a dereliction of duty that benefits a few players – at the expense of everyone else. That must no longer happen.

Via remail

Never let a crisis go to waste

By Printus LeBlanc

President Obama’s first Chief of Staff in the White House, now Mayor of the war zone Chicago, famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” People are still being rescued from homes in Houston, and the storm is continuing to do damage to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, but the mainstream media and the Church of Manmade Climate Change cannot help themselves.

When climate events like major snow storms that cancel climate change meetings or ice flows stall climate change research ships, they call it weather. When a hurricane hits Houston, they want to call it man-made climate change. You cannot have it both ways.

For anyone that has ever lived within 100 miles of a coast, they know hurricanes are a normal occurrence in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. The “experts” might not know this, but there is actually a season for hurricanes that runs between June and late November, with the most intense storms happening in August and September.

The notion that Harvey was caused by man-made climate change is laughable at best, and fraudulent science at worst. What evidence is there to prove what the networks are reporting? Keep in mind, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) only has measurable data for hurricanes beginning in 1851. The amount of data needed to claim hurricanes are getting stronger is immense and the amount of data scientists have is infinitesimally small.

However, there is data on the strength of hurricanes for the last 170 years. There is a direct correlation between the barometric pressure in the eye of a storm and the wind speed. The lower the pressure, the tighter the eye, and the higher the wind speeds.

The lowest pressure on record for an Atlantic hurricane belonged to Wilma, a storm in 2005 with a barometric pressure of 882 millibars. The tenth storm on the list had a pressure of 910 millibars. Hurricane Harvey doesn’t even come close, with a barometric pressure of 938 millibars.

What about wind strength? Hurricane strength is also measured by wind strength. Surely man-made climate change caused Hurricane Harvey to have the strongest wind speed on record. Once again, the church of man-made climate change would be wrong.

In 1980, Hurricane Allen recorded the highest sustained wind speed ever in the Atlantic Ocean at 190 mph. The second highest wind speed ever recorded was the 1935 “Labor Day” hurricane at 185 mph. Once again, as strong and intense as Hurricane Harvey was, it had a maximum sustained wind speed of 130 mph, nowhere near the top 50.

Let’s try another method. How about inches of rain per hour? If man-made climate change caused Hurricane Harvey to be stronger than normal, then the rainfall per hour would be astronomical.

Harvey had around 3.5 inches of rain per hour at its maximum. Do not disregard the number, that is a tremendous amount of rainfall, but it is nowhere near the upper echelon of inches of rain per hour. An unnamed Florida hurricane dropped 6 inches per hour in 1947, while Tropical Storm Rosa was at 5 inches per hour in 1994. Once again, Hurricane Harvey is not abnormal for the data that is available.

Hurricane Harvey was not the result of man-made climate change. A high-pressure system over the southwestern U.S. prevented the storm from doing what hurricanes do, move and drop rain. The high-pressure system stalled the “dirty” side of the storm over Houston. So, as Houston is getting hit by the dirty side of the storm, the “clean” side is recharging over the Gulf of Mexico while the high-pressure system is stopping the storm from moving, keeping Houston on the “dirty” side of the storm for days. By the way, high-pressure systems in the desert southwest of the U.S. is kind of normal during the summer.

Because the storm was partially situated over the Gulf of Mexico while it was stalled, it created an extended tidal surge. Tidal surges are another normal byproduct of hurricanes. However, the tidal surge did not allow the Houston rainwater drainage system to properly work, because the rain water was draining into the space the tidal surge was occupying. It is kind of hard for Houston rain water to drain into the Gulf of Mexico, while Harvey is trying to push the Gulf of Mexico into Houston.

People are still in danger and the mainstream media believes it is its duty to push a narrative given to them by their progressive masters. If the mainstream media can see clear to stop pushing the Church of Manmade Climate Change and learn how to use google, they would see the truth, and perhaps gain a small amount of respect back from the citizens that distrust them so much.


Renewable Fuels Are Toxic DC Swamp Water

While President Trump promised to “drain the swamp,” he also voiced his commitment to the biofuels industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). These promises are in direct conflict. No federal program epitomizes the metaphorical swamp water of Washington better than the RFS.

This week, public comments are due on Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed RFS targets for 2018. The proposal is a mixed bag. As it stands, the administration needs to do more on RFS to maintain its credibility as a Washington change agent. There’s no having your cake and eating it too when it comes to fighting the DC establishment and appeasing the biofuels lobby.

RFS is a case-study in bad public policy. It hits most all of the broad systemic problems of big government routinely raised by free-market advocates.

Congress created RFS in 2005 and expanded it in 2007. Seeking to curb America’s reliance on foreign oil, Congress mandated increasing volumes of biofuels, primarily corn-based ethanol, be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Congress set into statute raw gallon figures for these fuels and delegated authority to EPA to establish annual compliance rules. Essentially, RFS is nothing more the Soviet-style central planning of the fuel market—which is why it was destined to wreak havoc.

The first problem with RFS relates to the knowledge problem of central planning. Warnings of central planning’s follies date back to Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, published in 1759, and were put on full display during the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. But that didn’t stop Congress from blundering into RFS a decade ago.

As explained by F.A. Hayek in his essay The Use of Knowledge in Society, “The economic problem of society… is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.” Central planning through programs like RFS doesn’t work because no single person or cadre could possibly possess all the information required to create an outcome more efficient than one reached by countless voluntary exchanges in the market.

RFS, in its current 2007 form, was instituted without knowledge of the Great Recession or the domestic oil and gas boom of the last decade. Thus, RFS mandates are based on rising fuel consumption and dependence on oil imports. Neither are today’s case. Fuel consumption has been flat since 2007 while crude oil production has spiked to record levels, making the US the world’s dominant energy producer.

This doesn’t just mean RFS is useless; it’s also creating economic distortions. Since RFS creates a guaranteed market for corn through ethanol mandates, corn prices have increased. This increases the cost of food across the market. More expensive corn raises the price of corn-based products, including livestock feed, and incentivizes farmers to divert more acres to corn production, reducing supply of other crops and therefore increasing those prices too.

Further, today’s economic conditions make the mandated volumes of ethanol harmful to the overall fuel supply. Most cars and fuel infrastructure can be damaged by ethanol blends beyond 10 percent. With overall fuel demand not increasing at the rate anticipated, the mandated amount of ethanol has crossed this threshold. This forced EPA to repeatedly lower annual ethanol standards below those required under law, doing so from 2014 through 2016.

RFS creates another conundrum by establishing a concentrated benefit and dispersed costs scenario. This is where RFS gets particularly swampy. Despite the glaring problems, RFS is vehemently defended by a collection of biofuels and agricultural lobbyists and Midwestern politicians. Who wouldn’t want a government mandate forcing consumers to buy your stuff? While the program is estimated to impose billions in economic distortions, that cost is spread out—nickel-and-dimed away from Americans with each trip to the pump and grocery store.

The special interests making those billions can afford more real estate on K Street than the average family paying more for gas and food. That’s how the DC swamp keeps boondoggles like the RFS in place, much to the amazement of disgruntled Americans—particularly those who voted for Trump.

While the EPA’s proposed 2018 RFS targets reduce the overall level of biofuels required, the ethanol mandate remains flat from 2017 and in-line with the misguided targets set in 2007. Industry experts insist this will exceed the recommended amount of ethanol in the fuel supply.

This is disappointing news out of the Trump administration. The president may have promised to support the ethanol industry, but his entire campaign rested on a bigger promise to end this kind of insanity in Washington. The White House would be wise to lean on EPA to utilize more of its RFS waiver authority and demand Congress kill this program for good.

Trump is going to break a campaign promise this fall. He just has to decide whether it’ll be his promise to biofuel lobbyists or the other 99 percent of Americans who supported his campaign.




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 September, 2017

Volcanic eruptions triggered global warming 56m years ago, study reveals

This is nuts.  In actual history, as distinct from these "reconstructions", big volcanic eruptions are always associated with cooling -- due to their shading effect.  This is a case of theory defying reality

A dramatic period of global warming 56 million years ago that saw temperatures climb by up to five degrees and triggered extinctions of marine organisms was down to volcanic eruptions, researchers have revealed, in a study they say offers insights into the scale and possible impact of global warming today.

One of the most rapid periods of warming in Earth's history, the Palaeocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), occurred as Greenland pulled away from Europe.

However, details of the quantities of carbon dioxide behind the warming and where it came from had remained unclear.

Now scientists say they have solved the puzzle, revealing that the main driver of the event was a gradual release of carbon dioxide through volcanic eruptions - findings, they say, that overturn a long-held view that the PETM mirrors the rapid rise in carbon emissions seen today.

"[The PETM] was always regarded as the best natural analogue for current anthropogenic carbon emissions - but we have found that not even that event is a actually good analogue," said Marcus Gutjahr, first author of the study from the Geomar-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany. "We are actually currently marching in unknown territory."

Writing in the journal Nature, Gutjahr and colleagues from the UK and US reveal how they unpicked the conundrum by combining computer simulations with an analysis of fossil shells from microscopic single-cell organisms found within a sediment core from the north-east Atlantic Ocean.

The team focused on the ratios of different forms - or isotopes - of oxygen, carbon and boron within the shells, the latter of which offers tell-tale clues about the ocean's acidity, a measure affected by levels of carbon dioxide that dissolved from the atmosphere into the ocean. "These shells recorded the chemistry of the ocean in which [they] grew," said Gutjahr.

The carbon dioxide, he notes, could either have been pumped directly into the atmosphere through volcanic events or have formed from other carbon sources, such as underwater methane deposits or organic-rich sediments.

However, carbon dioxide from the different sources would have a very different impact on carbon isotope ratios. What's more, while volcanic eruptions gradually release carbon dioxide over time, gases from methane deposits or sediments are released rapidly.

Drawing these factors together with the level and duration of the increased ocean acidity, the team found that the carbon dioxide was probably released through volcanic eruptions, with such events accounting for up to 90% of the emissions.

But, says Gutjahr, the study does not rule out the possibility of some very short, sudden releases of methane and other carbon sources.

"The key things is the acidification took 20,000 years and if we had introduced enough methane over 20,000 years to keep the pH so low, then the carbon signature would be [very different to what we see]," he said.

The team were also able to calculate that overall between 10,200-12,200 petagrams of carbon were released into the atmosphere during the PETM - more carbon than is in the world's total fossil fuel reserves - with rates of up to 0.58 petagrams of carbon released each year over 50,000 years. About 10 petagrams of carbon are currently released every year from fossil fuel emissions.

Daniela Schmidt, a professor of palaeobiology at the University of Bristol who was not involved in the study, said the study held a warning for the planet today.

"We know something which was smaller than what we are currently doing had profound biological implications," she said. "We always assume that if something happens quicker and we have less time to adapt, the impact will be larger."

Mark Maslin, professor of geography at University College London, said the case for volcanic eruptions being behind the PETM was compelling, adding that the research suggests underwater sources of carbon, like methane deposits, might be more stable than previously thought and play a smaller role in climate change.

But, he added, there are plenty of causes for concern, not least the rapid rate of carbon emissions today, and Earth's current sensitivity to such changes, means the planet will not be able to adjust in the same way it did in the past. What's more, he said, the potential loss of other carbon-rich deposits remains a serious issue.

"We should still be worried about methane stored in the permafrost in the high Arctic," he said.


Warmists now doing "intricate calculations" to find out if a storm is due to climate change

Skeptical climatologist Roy Spencer says: "Wow. Intricate Calculations! Now THAT'S impressive. Wish I could do those."

Levity aside, the author writes a generally cautious article but appears to have been star struck by attribution analysis, which is just another form of modelling

By the time the rain stops, Harvey will have dumped about 1 million gallons of water for every man, woman and child in southeastern Texas -- a soggy, record-breaking glimpse of the wet and wild future global warming could bring, scientists say.

While scientists are quick to say climate change didn't cause Harvey and that they haven't determined yet whether the storm was made worse by global warming, they do note that warmer air and water mean wetter and possibly more intense hurricanes in the future.

"This is the kind of thing we are going to get more of," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. "This storm should serve as warning."

There's a scientifically accepted method for determining if some wild weather event has the fingerprints of man-made climate change, and it involves intricate calculations. Those could take weeks or months to complete, and then even longer to pass peer review.

In general, though, climate scientists agree that future storms will dump much more rain than the same size storms did in the past.

That's because warmer air holds more water. With every degree Fahrenheit, the atmosphere can hold and then dump an additional 4 percent of water, several scientists say.

Global warming also means warmer seas, and warm water is what fuels hurricanes.

When Harvey moved toward Texas, water in the Gulf of Mexico was nearly 2 degrees warmer than normal, said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters. Hurricanes need at least 79 degrees F as fuel, and water at least that warm ran more than 300 feet deep in the Gulf, according to University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

"What I think we can say is that the fact that we do have climate change, our atmosphere is warmer, it contains more moisture, it means that when we do have a hurricane, a tropical cyclone like this, then when an event does occur, then you know climate change does very likely increase the associated rainfall. But climate change per se does not cause tropical cyclones," said Clare Nullis Kapp of the World Meteorological Organization.

Several studies show that the top 1 percent of the strongest downpours are already happening much more frequently. Also, calculations done Monday by MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel show that the drenching received by Rockport, Texas, used to be maybe a once-in-1,800-years event for that city, but with warmer air holding more water and changes in storm steering currents since 2010, it is now a once-every-300-years event.

Research published last year in the journal Nature Climate Change projected that extreme downpours will happen nearly three times as often in the United States by the end of this century. Its high-resolution computer modeling found extreme rainfall will be five times more frequent in the Gulf Coast and six times more in parts of the Mississippi Delta by 2100.

"It's much more likely that you'll get hit by very strong thunderstorms, very strong downpours in the future climate," study co-author Andreas Prein, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told The Associated Press when the study came out. "What this means in the future is you might have a much higher potential for flash floods. This can have really big impacts."

There's a lot of debate among climate scientists over what role, if any, global warming may have played in causing Harvey to stall over Texas, which has been a huge factor in the catastrophic flooding. If the hurricane had moved on like a normal storm, it wouldn't have dumped as much rain in any one spot.

Harvey stalled because it is sandwiched between two high-pressure fronts that push it in opposite directions, and those fronts are stuck.

Oppenheimer and some others theorize that there's a connection between melting sea ice in the Arctic and changes in the jet stream and the weather patterns that make these "blocking fronts" more common. Others, like Masters, contend it's too early to say.

University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass said climate change is simply not powerful enough to create off-the-chart events like Harvey's rainfall.

"You really can't pin global warming on something this extreme. It has to be natural variability," Mass said. "It may juice it up slightly but not create this phenomenal anomaly."

"We're breaking one record after another with this thing," Mass said.


This `Endangered Species' Story Was Government-Sponsored Fake News

Leave it to the federal government to make a costly mistake, obscure it for decades at taxpayer expense, and then try to claim it was a success.

In 2016, Johnston's frankenia-a wiry, blue-green, roughly 1 to 2-foot-tall shrub with tiny oblong leaves-was taken off the endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species database reports the happy plant was "delisted" because it had recovered.

It seems strange that such good news did not get much attention, and that the Fish and Wildlife Service only put out a press release in the southwestern U.S.

The reason it was not more publicized is probably because the whole thing is a farce. The species did not recover-it never was endangered in the first place.

When the Fish and Wildlife Service added this plant to the endangered species list in 1984, the agency reported it could only find about 1,000 of them in a few southern Texas counties, and that there was concern about "grazing pressure" on the hapless plant.

But surveys conducted after 1984 found a wealth of Johnston's frankenia-over 4 million by one account and over 9 million by another-enough that biologists probably quit trying to guess.

The Fish and Wildlife Service hailed the "recovery" of the plant, saying, "The threats to this species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species has recovered . "

That sounds a lot like a doctor claiming his patient is cured after realizing a terminal diagnosis was totally wrong.

When the Fish and Wildlife Service removes a species from the list, it is to attribute the action to either recovery, data error, or extinction. It's clear Johnston's frankenia was never "recovered" because it was never in desperate condition at all.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's annual expenditure reports indicate that $670,000 were spent on Johnston's frankenia between 1998 and 2014 alone. This includes nearly $250,000 shelled out by Customs and Border Protection in 2008 in order to avoid adversely affecting the plant.

Even more troubling than the expenditures is the fact that the government knew the plant was just fine when it made them. I know this because I petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the species from the list as a mistake in 1997, citing data familiar to the service.

A half-decade later in 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally announced a proposal to delist the species, stating that it was "not able to act on this petition upon receipt due to the low priority assigned to this activity . "

The effort to deregulate the plant somehow ground to a halt until the Fish and Wildlife Service announced in 2011 that it was reopening the public comment period on the proposal to take this species off the list.

By January of 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally removed the plant from the endangered list.

It took the agency decades to correct this mistake, and when it finally did, it was dishonest.

Because the Fish and Wildlife Service calls the plant "recovered," it is required to monitor the species after taking it off the list. This requirement was intended to make sure species that actually belonged on the endangered list don't slip back into an imperiled state.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has a 28-page monitoring plan that explains how the agency will keep a vigilant watch over the frankenia. It will spend $100,000 over nine years to conduct remote sensing at 20 sites and on-site assessments at nine sites.

And, as explained in the Federal Register, the Fish and Wildlife Service will make sure that threats, including "substantial human persecution," are not visited upon the plant.

Of course, this is all an absurd waste. These measures do nothing but paper over the agency's decadeslong mistake.

But after promulgating dozens of pages in the Federal Register costing perhaps $500 a pop, producing a 55-page recovery plan, and imposing hundreds of thousands of dollars on agencies that have other important things to do, what's another nine years of monitoring to hide embarrassing facts from the public?

The Fish and Wildlife Service's press release regarding removal of the plant from the endangered species list states, "The goal of the service is to make implementation of the Endangered Species Act less complex, less contentious and more effective."

Nice idea-but how does the service now expect to have any credibility with landowners whose role in species conservation is crucial?

Smart public policies cannot be made when the government is producing patently fake information. The secretary of the interior should correct the record for Johnston's frankenia.


Resilience, not devastation, is the real story of the Texas floods

Houston's response to Hurricane Harvey is a lesson for the world
The numbers are awesome. In a matter of hours, Hurricane Harvey dumped nine trillion gallons of rainfall on Houston and southeast Texas: at one stage, 24 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Like all American cities, Houston is prepared for hurricanes and floods - but Harvey was of a different magnitude. `We have not seen an event like this,' the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, William `Brock' Long declared. It led rapidly to unprecedented flooding in one of the world's richest cities.

The photos from Houston have been heartbreaking. Pensioners have been pictured sitting half-submerged in retirement homes, awaiting rescue. Some 30,000 may be forced into shelters, and officials are braced for almost half a million requiring federal assistance. We have seen parents walking knee-deep in water with their children in their arms, and belongings balanced in bags on their heads. Families wait on the rooftops of their homes, stranded by the flood.

Amid all this, another picture emerges: of the resilience of the city and its people, of the calm effectiveness of the emergency services and the orderliness of communities responding to an extreme set of circum-stances. The volunteers who took their boats to rescue those who had been stranded. There are people like Arthur Buchanan, who runs the C&D hardware store on 11th Street, who cycled to work through the floods. `We only close five days out of the year,' he told reporters, who were amazed to find his shop open, `and this ain't one of them.' That's Texans for you.

As early as 1937, local officials declared Houston to be a city `at the mercy of the relentless water'. Storms have battered the city several times over recent years: Hurricane Allison in 2001 and Rita in 2005 each had a significant death toll. Yet its population keeps growing, and the risk of hurricanes are factored into everyday life. As the storm approached, locals were telling journalists that they had filled the bath with water, had prepared plenty of food and were ready to stay put for a few days and sit the storm out.

Americans are less afraid of the weather than they used to be, and with reason. The pictures of Houston's motorways turned into rivers look shocking, until you realise that this is their function. Houston has 2,500 miles of managed waterways, a network of drainage channels and sewers. They fill up when a hurricane strikes, but the idea is that the roads provide overrun and act as massive drains - saving neighbourhoods that might otherwise be underwater. More roads could, and should, have been upgraded in this way. Houston's first `chief resilience officer' said earlier this year that he needed about $3 billion to upgrade, but the city's overall defences saved countless lives.

This is the story of human development: when a nation grows more prosperous, it is less at the mercy of the elements. When Superstorm Sandy struck New York five years ago, it took 74 lives - but if a similar storm had struck cities in the third world, the death toll could have run into the thousands. An MIT study of natural disasters between 1980 and 2002 found that America suffered an average of 17 deaths per windstorm, compared to almost 2,000 in Bangladesh. The average flood cost six lives in the US, but a couple of hundred in East Asia. It isn't that the storms are more severe or more frequent - just that America has the money to cope better.

Outsmarting the weather is part of the basic story of human progress. Indur Goklany, a science analyst at the US Department of the Interior, once looked at all deaths from 8,500 droughts, wildfires, storms and floods over the last century. He found that in the 1920s there were nearly half a million deaths annually from extreme weather events. Although since 1900 the world's population has more than tripled, global deaths from extreme weather have fallen by 93 per cent. (The number of deaths from flooding has fallen by 99 per cent.)



Renewable energy, along with unicorn flop sweat, Al Gore's organic gasses, and moonbeams always get the ink for the "future of energy." And don't forget how Tom Friedman and others like to remind us that China is going to overtake the U.S. as a "clean energy leader" because Trump dumped the Paris Climate Accord (thereby causing Hurricane Harvey in the process).

Turns out if you look close you find out two things. First, in 1990, 88 percent of the world's energy came from fossil fuels. After more than 25 years and over a trillion dollars in subsidies for "renewable" energy, in 2015 the world's share of energy from fossil fuels was . . . 86 percent. (See figure immediately below.) At this rate, it will take 150 years to get fossil fuel energy down to 75 percent of the world's total energy supply. I'm sure just $200 trillion in subsidies will do the trick.

Second, where is most of new energy supply for the developing world (including China) coming from? Here are two recent headlines-first from the Wall Street Journal today:

Big Name in Coal's Resurgence: China

China's reemergence as a coal importer has boosted the fortunes of U.S. producers who are now shipping more coal abroad than any time in the last two years. . .

Industry leaders say that good fortune has been backed up by a change of sentiment led by Mr. Trump. Business would have been worse and future prospects would be lower under a Democratic administration that used new rules to move consumers further away from coal, they said.

And now from India:

Coal to Remain India's Main Energy Source in Coming Decades: Gov't Think Tank

Coal, which powers around three-quarters of India's electricity, will continue to be the foremost energy source over the coming decades, government think-tank Niti Aayog said in its Three-Year Action Agenda released Thursday.

It is important that India increases its domestic coal production to provide energy security and reduce its dependence on imports, it said.

By 2019, the government will explore 25% of the untapped 5,100 sq km coal bearing area to ensure availability of more coal mining blocks, it said.

There will also be efforts to convert 25% of the 139.15 billion mt of coal reserves that were in the `indicated' category as of March 31, 2016 into the `proved' category by offering top exploration companies attractive contract provisions, the report said.

So much winning.




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)

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