Tuesday, September 26, 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.

SOURCE





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.

SOURCE


   
 

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 £23 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.

SOURCE



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 day...at 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."

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) 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

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Monday, September 25, 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 Niño Modoki and possible mechanisms

Abstract

This paper uses the sunspot number (SSN) index and the El Niño modoki index (EMI) to examine the possible modulation of El Niño 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 Niño Modoki events was investigated using composite analysis.

There was a clear evolution of El Niño 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 Niño 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.”

SOURCE




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 Niño 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.

SOURCE






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.”

SOURCE




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.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) 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

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Sunday, September 24, 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.

SOURCE




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.

SOURCE




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.

SOURCE




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,” 350.org 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 [jisao.washington.edu/pdo/]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."

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Friday, September 22, 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.

SOURCE




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 £111 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 families¿ 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 family¿s energy bill ¿ roughly £111 a year ¿ is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 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.

SOURCE



     
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.

SOURCE





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."

SOURCE




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.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) 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

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Thursday, September 21, 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.

SOURCE




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?

SOURCE




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 CNBC.com. “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.”

SOURCE





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.

SOURCE





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.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) 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

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