Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Japanese Scientists: IPCC Models Sloppy And Lopsided, Major Factors “Not Adequately Represented”

Another paper titled The Solar Wind and Climate: Evaluating the Influence of the Solar Wind on Temperature and Teleconnection Patterns Using Correlation Maps lends great support to the claim that solar activity plays a major role in driving the Earth’s climate, and that CO2’s impact is being grossly overstated.

The paper, authored by a team of researchers led by Japanese physical chemist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, photo right, examined the influence of changes in solar activity (solar wind in particular) on surface temperatures and major oceanic oscillations such as the Arctic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which have great impacts on regional and global climate.

The researchers feel that the major drivers of the Earth’s climate are more related to the sun and the oceans, and CO2’s role has been exaggerated.

Sun and oceans play great role

The paper cites, for example, Levitus et al., which found multidecadal temperature oscillations with magnitudes as large as 4°C for the Barents Sea at depths of 100–150m and that the timing of the oscillation coincided with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a major factor in the Atlantic Ocean.

IPCC models shoddy, major factors “not adequately represented”

The team of scientists found a clear influence of the solar wind on climate, and thus solar activity “should be considered much more than conventionally believed”.

The authors state, “once its mechanism becomes clearer and incorporated into climate models, it will greatly contribute to policy development.”

“The effectiveness of climate models is greatly reduced when the influence of the sun (and moon) is not adequately represented,” they state in the paper’s conclusion.

Dr. Kimimori Itoh has been a harsh critic of the mainstream, narrow scientific view that trace gas CO2 acts as the main driver behind global climate. He once called it “the worst scientific scandal in history” and that “when people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”

SOURCE 





Rejecting carbon colonialism

African Development Bank breaks with anti-fossil fuel banks to fund coal power, prosperity

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

We recently explained how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) use manmade climate change alarmism to justify lending policies that reject funding for fossil fuel electricity generation, promote expensive and unreliable renewable sources, and thereby help keep impoverished nations poor.

Now, in a daring show of humanity and common sense, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has broken ranks with the World Bank and its like-minded carbon colonialist brethren. The AfDB has announced that it will once again finance coal and natural gas power generation projects. As AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina puts it, “Africa must develop its energy sector with what it has.”

In a formal statement, Adesina noted: “The key challenge for Africa is the generation of power. The continent has the lowest electrification rate in the world. Power consumption per capita in Africa is estimated at 613 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Power is the overriding African priority.

“The investment is expensive, yes, but the long-term returns will be much greater. To fast track universal access to electricity, the Bank is investing US$12 billion in the power sector and seeks to mobilize $45-$50 billion from other partners.”

Put in understandable everyday terms, those numbers mean the electricity that makes modern lives, jobs, productivity, living standards, health, communication, computers, entertainment and life spans possible is available to Africans a paltry 4.7% per capita of what Americans rely on. Just imagine having electricity available only 1 hour a day … 8 hours a week … 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch when you have power. And at three times what Americans pay.

Try running your life that way – or with wind and solar systems that are just as sporadic and unreliable – and might increase your per capita electricity to 10 or 15% of US levels.

Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other sub-Sahara African countries have vast coal deposits. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom estimates that South Africa’s 53 billion tons of coal reserves could meet its needs for 200 years! Many also have enormous natural gas resources.

Those fossil fuels must not be ignored and “kept in the ground,” to appease eco-imperialists.

The AfDB is being encouraged by the Trump Administration, which may partly account for the new policy. The Trump USAID is now running the Power Africa 2.0 program, a vital upgrade of the Obama era program that promoted renewable energy and strongly discouraged the use of affordable fossil fuels.

USAID says Power Africa 2.0 is “one of the largest public-private partnerships in development history, with more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 150 public- and private-sector partners.”

The Obama program managed to facilitate financing for just 7,300 MW of electrical generating capacity (15% of what Germany generated with coal in 2016) – and most of that was from expensive, unreliable wind and solar units. Even Bloomberg said President Obama’s “signature initiative for Africa” fell “well short” of its goals, producing less than 5% of the new electricity it promised; and virtually all that power was intermittent, expensive wind and solar – leaving hundreds of millions of Africans “in the dark.”

The only fossil fuel theoretically allowed under the Obama Power Africa con was natural gas. And even then his Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a 130-MW power plant in Ghana that would burn clean natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted.

USAID Administrator Mark Green says the new Power Africa goal is 20,000 MW by 2020, using “affordable, reliable energy,” meaning coal in many cases. More broadly the Trump Administration has spearheaded creating a “global fossil fuel alliance.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry often refers to this as “new energy realism” in global power development, noting that fossil fuels are absolutely essential for developing countries, especially in those where many people still have no electricity. How refreshing.

Even in South Africa, the most electrified and advanced nation in sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient electricity means too frequent brownouts that hamper factory and mining output, and keep hospitals and schools far below optimal levels. Its maternal mortality rates are some 35 times higher than in the US, tuberculosis rates 230 times higher, and thousands still die every year from lung and intestinal diseases.

But World Bank carbon colonialists still rebuffed South Africa when it applied for a loan to finish its coal-fired Medupi power plant, despite its advanced clean coal and pollution control technologies. Claiming the project violated climate change and sustainability goals, the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club and other agitator groups pressured the bank to deny funding. The Obama Administration ultimately voted “present” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations.

Excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan nations “enjoy” a minuscule 181 kWh annual per capita electricity consumption – 1.4% of the average American’s! In fact, Africa is home to 16% of the world’s population – and 53% the world’s people without electricity. It’s no wonder Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries are taking charge of their own destinies and building dozens of coal-fired power plants.

As Professor Rosemary Falcon points out, clean coal is not just feasible; it is also about the cheapest way to generate electricity on a continent where twice as many people as live in the United States are without power. Her “sustainable coal research group” developed a process that separates poor-quality coal from better fuel, crushes it and removes components that don’t burn well. Burning it in advanced power plants generates more electricity with “less ash, less fumes, more heat and a longer burn.” That’s clean coal.

Every country could do this, if they had the “political will” to do so, says Nigerian Sam Bada, a member of Falcon’s team. “I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity. Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”

All this helps explain why the AfDB is doing what all MDBs should do. It has committed $12 billion to a “New Deal on Energy for Africa” program. As Mr. Adesina says, “Africa has a lot of energy potential, but potential doesn’t create anything. We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent.’ We need to … accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa.”

It helps explain why Africa, China, India, Indonesia and others refuse to reject coal and gas – and rely on “green” energy technologies that don’t exist … except in classrooms, computer models, IPCC reports, Al Gore lectures, and renewable energy company promotional literature.

Claims that 97% of scientists agree that we face a manmade climate change “tipping point” are right only if they are talking about the bureaucrats, activists and climatologists who take taxpayer and foundation money and blame humans for supposed climate chaos. Beyond their narrow confines, rational scientific discussions rage over global warming and cooling, floods, droughts, extreme weather, carbon dioxide enrichment and a host of related issues: here, here, here, here, here and here, to cite just a few places.

And how can anyone compare alleged climate problems with very real, immediate, lethal Third World problems caused and perpetuated by being forced to continue relying on wood, charcoal and dung – the fuels of poverty, misery, disease and early death? People in these countries are not expendable laboratory animals, on which to test renewable energy schemes. They must no longer be treated that way.

Many countries signed the Paris treaty because they were promised countless billions in “mitigation, adaptation and compensation” payments. The Green Climate Fund is now all but defunct. Its director has resigned, and virtually no one is contributing to it. That should be another loud global wake-up call.

Developing countries increasingly realize they are largely on their own. Other nations should follow their lead, and end this tragic fascination with green energy pixie dust. The world still needs oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power – the fuels of modern living standards, prosperity, health and life!

Via email





Meaning Nothing – Ireland To Entirely Divest From Fossil Fuels

By Tim Worstall

Ireland has proudly announced that it is the first country to entirely – no, totally – divest from fossil fuels. This means rather less than nothing, as it doesn’t actually mean that Ireland won’t be using any fossil fuels. It just means that the State itself, the funds it controls, won’t be buying shares in fossil fuel companies. Not buying Shell or BP stock is not a great blow against climate change:

"Ireland is set to become the first country to stop public investments in fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill was passed by the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann, on Thursday.

The bill is expected to pass relatively quickly through the Seanad (senate), and will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to end any investments in non-renewable energy in five years.

Environment activists have welcomed the news"

It’s feel good trivia rather than anything important.

The text of the bill calls for the complete divestment of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of fossil fuel companies within five years from the commencement of the bill’s approval. The aim, as expressed in the bill, is “to precipitate a timely decarbonisation process in line with Ireland’s climate change commitments under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.”

Not buying shares and not using fossil fuels are two rather different things. Owning or not owning Exxon stock makes no difference whatsoever to which fuel people top up with at the petrol station now, does it?

Ireland has lagged behind other European countries in cutting emissions and Irish households emit 60 per cent more carbon than the average EU home, in part because of the use of peat and coal for heating, according to a government study.

“We have had a very carbon-based economy and society for a number of years, so this is a huge change for us, but it has to happen,” said Thomas Pringle, the independent parliamentarian who sponsored the legislation.

“The bill sends a very clear message . . . that the Irish government sees the transition away from fossil fuels as very important,” he added."

The difference this will make to the use of peat and coal is precisely nothing, isn’t it? Unlike, say, that digging up of County Down* going on to put natural gas pipelines in. You know, investing in fossil fuels so as to reduce carbon emissions?

The full bill is here. Signifies nothing, just wind.

*Yes, I know, different country-- In Northern Ireland

SOURCE 





Disposal Of Wind Turbines Proving To Be A Major Environmental Concern

Thousands of aging wind turbines will eventually need to be decommissioned, but the disposal of this “green” technology could prove to be a dirty job for environmental regulators.

Besides a host of problems that occur during a wind turbine’s lifetime — such as intermittent power production and the killing of thousands of large, rare birds — Germany is now dealing with a another pressing issue:  What is to be done with a wind turbine once it’s reached the end of its life cycle? There are over 28,000 onshore wind turbines in Germany. More than one-third of these aging turbines will need to be decommissioned by 2023.

Many in the general public consider wind energy technology to be a completely operable without environmental degradation. However, this is not the case.

The high-tech blades used in wind turbines contain exotic compounds that are laborious to recycle. These rotor blades use carbon fibers and glass, and give off toxic gases and dust — which means burning them is not an option. Additionally, the concrete bases used to uphold wind turbines can go as far as 30 meters deep into the ground, making them very difficult to fully remove.

“The operators of wind farms in Germany [are] beginning to have to ask themselves, ‘What do we do with the assets that come up to the lifetime?'” said Giles Dickson, a wind energy lobbyist in Europe. The problem isn’t just on the horizon, but something that has already been plaguing German regulators for years. The country was forced to deal with 54,000 tons of waste from rotor blades in 2014. (RELATED: Here’s How Renewable Energy Actually Hurts The Environment)

“It will probably be a challenge for technology. It will really be an issue over the next years and decades probably to get old turbines off the field, so I expect industry will find technologies to cope with it,” said Dr. Jan Tessmer, an energy expert, during an interview with Deutsche Welle.

SOURCE 





Australia: Victoria’s Western Front Erupts: Locals Launch All-Out Attack On Hawkesdale Wind Farm Plans

A community meeting at Hawkesdale on Wednesday concerning wind farm growth in the south-west, left local MPs, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) representatives and the national windfarm commissioner in no doubt as to the position of the majority of locals.

The meeting, organised by community members, invited DEWLP members and windfarm commissioner, Andrew Dyer, to town to address community concerns about the planning and application processes for proposed windfarms in the region. The vocal room of around 100 people projected their questions to the panel, which included Mr Dyer, DELWP Executive Director statutory planning services, Jane Homewood and senior planner, Tim Doolan.

“You’ve heard these people today, everything is negative, you should get that from the feel of the meeting,” one attendee said, followed by a large round of applause, showing the panel the united belief of those in the room.

“Nobody wants you here … Go away.”

People travelled from around the region to express concerns and ensure the health, agriculture and social impacts of wind towers was clearly understood.

Mr Doolan began the evening with a presentation on the planning process for windfarm approval.

He explained that windfarm applications had to meet a number of requirements, including a noise assessment, landscape and visual impact assessment, safety, environmental impacts, traffic and road infrastructure impacts, electromagnetic interference and shutter flicker.

“These are all the different types of technical reports that need to be provided for any application for a windfarm” Mr Doolan said.

The senior planner said there were three stages of the windfarm approval process; the application stage, post-approval and amendment.

He said all wind turbines needed to comply with a noise limit of 40-decibels and could not be erected less than 1 km of any dwelling.

Turbines within this range needed consent. If consent was not given, the application was prohibited.

Local residents were advised that the town boundary is not a consideration during planning stages, but that the nearest turbine, which in Hawkesdale will sit around 1 km from the nearest dwelling, was enough to meet Victorian requirements.

Mr Dyer quashed any thought, risen by Penshurst District Pharma and windfarm opponent, Annie Gardner, That There Was a Bill in Parliament’s Upper House to Remove Noise Nuisance under the Victorian Public Health and Well-Being Act.

“The act is an act of Parliament, I don’t think councils had thought about how to make a complaint under the health and well-being act,” Mr Dyer said.

“The act is still there, you can make a complaint this afternoon under the act and Council needs a procedure in place to receive an address that complaint properly.”

Ms Gardner said that she had experienced a number of health issues as a result of the Macarthur windfarm which neighbours her property, and asked the Commissioner to consider low-frequency noise and infrasound when having an acoustician measure turbine noise.

“In the guidelines there is nothing about low-frequency noise or infrasound and this is what is affecting most of us in the sense we are sensitised when we go away from home,” Ms Gardner said. “When we go into a café with air-conditioning or supermarket, our symptoms come back because the issue is cumulative. The low-frequency noise is what we feel in our chest and in our hearts.”

When questioned why the compulsory distance of turbines from dwellings has changed from 2 km to 1 km when the Andrew’s Labor government was elected in 2014, no panel member could provide a satisfactory answer.

“I don’t know why it was changed from 2 to 1 km, but there is a noise decibel level that is based on the New Zealand standard and I’m hearing that it is totally inadequate for you, so we will take that on notice,” Ms Homewood said.

One Cape Bridgewater resident, who lives within 640 m of wind turbines told the Commissioner she was “living a life of misery” as her house was now worthless, to which the Commissioner advised her to move out.

The Cape Bridgewater windfarm was erected before any minimal distance between dwellings was enforced in 2011.

Hawkesdale resident, Liana Blake, told the room the proposed Hawkesdale windfarm would allow for wind towers to be built within 2 km of her house, the closest at 1.1 km.

“That’s our home, that’s where we decided to live and build our business,” she said.

“What are we going to do? Do we just move out because the noise is too much for us?

“You’ve wrecked our lives … these windfarms are wrecking people’s lives.”

Residents also raise concerned about the future growth of the Hawkesdale community, believing windfarms would deter people from moving to the area, “unfortunately, the panels look for evidence and that is difficult if you’ve got a new windfarm,” Ms Homewood told the room.

“It is a requirement of the panel to consider the social and economic impact of the windfarm, when they are considering whether or not the windfarm will go ahead.”

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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Monday, July 16, 2018



Climate researchers are airy-fairy types while the public are more down to earth

This is rather delicious. As a retired academic I can decode academic bafflegab and my heading above is good summary of the findings below.  I think I could have predicted that finding. That Greenie academics focus on theories while ignoring reality does in fact encapsulate all of Warmism as far as I can see


Personality type differences between Ph.D. climate researchers and the general public: implications for effective communication

C. Susan Weiler et al.

Abstract

Effectively communicating the complexity of climate change to the public is an important goal for the climate change research community, particularly for those of us who receive public funds. The challenge of communicating the science of climate change will be reduced if climate change researchers consider the links between personality types, communication tendencies and learning preferences. Jungian personality type is one of many factors related to an individual’s preferred style of taking in and processing information, i.e., preferred communication style. In this paper, we demonstrate that the Jungian personality type profile of interdisciplinary, early career climate researchers is significantly different from that of the general population in the United States. In particular, Ph.D. climate researchers tend towards Intuition and focus on theories and the “big picture”, while the U.S. general population tends towards Sensing and focuses on concrete examples and experience. There are other differences as well in the way the general public as a group prefers to take in information, make decisions, and deal with the outer world, compared with the average interdisciplinary climate scientist. These differences have important implications for communication between these two groups. We suggest that climate researchers will be more effective in conveying their messages if they are aware of their own personality type and potential differences in preferred learning and communication styles between themselves and the general public (and other specific audiences), and use this knowledge to more effectively target their audience.

SOURCE 





 Record late Snowpack Signals a Lost Summer for Greenland’s Shorebirds

Sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones failed to breed this year along the Arctic island’s east coast due to record snow cover.  And Greenland is one of the iconic places for Warmists.  They are always proclaiming its imminent melting.  It seems the shorebirds missed the message

Millions of shorebirds descend on the Arctic each year to mate and raise chicks during the tundra’s brief burst of summer. But that burst, which usually begins in mid-June, never arrived this year for eastern Greenland’s shorebirds, a set of ground-nesting species. Instead, a record late snowpack—lingering into July—sealed the birds off from food and nesting sites. Without these key resources avian migrants to the region will not reproduce in 2018, experts say. Breeding failures like this may grow more common because some climate change models predict increased springtime snow in the shorebirds’ nesting habitat.

Snowmelt usually allows shorebirds to begin nesting on eastern Greenland’s treeless tundra during the first half of June, says Jeroen Reneerkens, an avian ecologist at the University of Groningen who has studied these birds since 2003. However, when he arrived this year at Zackenberg Station on June 14 to survey sanderlings, a species of Arctic-breeding shorebird, he found they had nowhere to construct their nests. “The tundra was 100 percent covered in snow, and it was a very deep layer,” he says, estimating an average depth of about one meter. “It was a big shock to see the place like that,” he adds.

Most years, mid-June is also a time of song in eastern Greenland—shorebirds croon to attract mates and defend breeding territory. But this year the tundra was “truly silent,” Reneerkens says. “That was very unusual.” The few shorebirds he did encounter, including sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and red knots, wandered the snow-free patches outside the station’s buildings in search of food. “They were just starving,” he says. “I realized these birds were not getting ready to breed at all. They’re just in survival mode.”

Reneerkens’s research team weighed the sanderlings and found they were 20 percent lighter than normal for this time of year. In such condition the birds can neither reproduce nor escape to better feeding grounds. “They got trapped at Zackenberg,” he says. “They couldn’t just fly south without the [fat] reserves to do so.” His group discovered three carcasses of sanderlings that had apparently starved. Researchers elsewhere along Greenland’s east coast also report extensive snow cover and hungry birds. The region’s tundra was still 80 percent covered in snow as of July 10, according to observations provided by a staff member at Zackenberg.

Although shorebird breeding success fluctuates by 20 percent or more from one year to the next, a nonbreeding summer appears to be unprecedented. “This year broke all records,” Reneerkens says. “I know my literature about Arctic shorebirds very well and I have never come across something like this.” He is uncertain how this “disastrous” incident will affect the overall populations of these shorebird species. But “given the scale that this happening [on],” he says, “I do expect that this will have large consequences.” He estimates the record-late snowmelt impacted half of the global breeding area for sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones.

Nathan Senner, an ornithologist at University of Montana–Missoula not affiliated with Reneerkens’s research, agrees this summer’s reproductive crash in Greenland is exceptional: “A nonbreeding year is pretty extreme.” Senner says the case is reminiscent of 1992, when shorebirds suffered poor reproductive success after Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted the prior year. The tropical volcano belched atmosphere-cooling particles over the planet—including the far north, causing cold summer temperatures in the Arctic. Nevertheless, a study of the eruption showed some birds did successfully reproduce that year.

Researchers elsewhere in the Arctic are also reporting unusually late snowmelt this year, with repercussions for shorebirds. Richard Lanctot, a researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, believes record late snowmelt inhibited nesting near Utqiavik (formerly Barrow) on the northern coast of Alaska. His group’s nest count this summer so far is among the lowest since they began monitoring in 2003. Shiloh Schulte, an avian ecologist who works in northeastern Alaska for the conservation nonprofit Manomet, says snowmelt was more than two weeks later than normal in his region. He noticed flocks of long-billed dowitchers and American golden plovers gathering to migrate south without breeding. “Everything needs to be timed perfectly for these birds to be successful,” Schulte says of the short Arctic summer. On Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, shorebirds nested at less than half their typical densities due the late snowmelt, according to research scientist Paul Smith of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Even with similar trends throughout the North American Arctic, nowhere has been hit harder than eastern Greenland.

The region’s reproductive failure this summer exacerbates a global nosedive in migratory shorebird numbers. North American populations have halved since the 1970s. Climate change and hunting have contributed to this decline, Senner says. But he emphasizes the single biggest threat to shorebirds is the destruction of “stopover” habitat—areas where the birds rest and refuel while migrating between their Arctic breeding grounds and their southern wintering habitats. One study found that in the past 50 years, 65 percent of tidal flats have been lost to development around the Yellow Sea in east Asia, which had previously served as key stopover point. Climatic challenges like late snowmelt in their breeding grounds only compound the birds’ plight.

Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic”—which is probably bad news for birds.

SOURCE 





Incoming EPA chief: ‘This is the right job for me.’

In some ways, Andrew Wheeler — former Environmental Protection Agency career staffer, Republican Senate aide, energy lobbyist — could hardly be more different from the man he is replacing as head of the EPA.

Where Scott Pruitt was a career politician who enjoyed the limelight, Wheeler has worked behind the scenes on energy and environmental law. Pruitt filled his time at the agency by traveling the country, speaking to groups of industry executives and praising President Trump. As the EPA’s deputy administrator, Wheeler has spent much of his short tenure meeting with career staffers and delving into the policy weeds at the agency’s headquarters.

But this much is clear: Wheeler intends to pursue many of the regulatory rollbacks Pruitt put in motion and to carry out Trump’s promises of a more efficient, less powerful EPA. A day after the president asked for Pruitt’s resignation amid a flurry of ethics scandals, the EPA’s acting administrator spoke with The Washington Post about what comes next. The interview has been edited for length and clarity:

Washington Post: How do you feel arriving as administrator under these circumstances? And what’s the message you’re giving to employees who have been through a tumultuous time?

Andrew Wheeler: I sent out an all-hands statement to all the employees yesterday evening. One, thanking the administrator for his service, and then telling everybody that it’s work as usual — we’re all working together — and that I share the core mission of the agency, which is to protect public health and the environment.

WP: Can you expand a little on that and what you’re going to do in terms of continuing the policies that Scott Pruitt put in motion? As you can imagine, Democrats and environmentalists are making the argument that you’re an even more skilled deregulator.

Wheeler: A more skilled deregulator?

WP: Do you reject that notion?

Wheeler: I don’t get that notion. I’ll have to think about that. I’ve actually seen a lot of things about me in print the last day or two. But I would say that the agenda for the agency was set out by President Trump. And Administrator Pruitt has been working to implement that. I will try to work to implement the president’s agenda as well. I don’t think the overall agenda is going to change that much, because we’re implementing what the president has laid out for the agency. He made several campaign promises that we are working to fulfill here. But there will probably be a little bit of difference in the way Administrator Pruitt and I will talk about some issues. There have already been some differences in how I’ve talked to EPA employees since I’ve been here.

You know, I had the benefit of having the longest confirmation process for a deputy administrator in EPA history. So I had some time to think about what I wanted to do as the deputy. I took a hard look at the major criticisms that the agency has received over the last 20 some years. What can be changed? What can be fixed? What can be put in a different direction? And how does all that fit under cooperative federalism, return to rule of law and getting back to basics of the agency?

Since I’ve been here, I’ve been going around talking to groups of career employees. I’ve been to three of our regions, and I’ve been to our Research Triangle Park lab in North Carolina. I’ve talked about what I want to try to accomplish on behalf of the administration, on behalf of the president. I really think we need to provide more certainty to the American public. And I look at certainty in three different areas. The first is certainty on permits. The second is certainty on enforcement actions. And the third — the one that’s most important to me — is certainty on risk communication.

WP: As you know well, one of the criticisms of Mr. Pruitt was a lack of transparency in who he was meeting with and what he was doing with his time at the agency. Do you plan to put in place mechanisms to be more transparent, in letting the public be aware of the work that’s being done?

Wheeler: I’m not going to criticize my predecessor in any way. But I will answer by saying this: I cut my teeth as a career employee here at the EPA in the early ’90s working on the Community Right-to-Know Act. And I believe that my time on the Hill and in the legislation I worked on — how I addressed all statutes, how I addressed all laws — was that the more information we make available to the American public, the more transparency we have, the better our decisions will be. The more open we are, the better it is for everyone.

That’s how I cut my teeth on environmental law. And that’s been part of my core beliefs in the agency and how I look at environmental issues. The more transparent we are, the better understood our decisions will be.

WP: On climate change, that’s been a key issue. As staff director, one of the things you did working with [Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M.] Inhofe was, while he talked a lot about questioning climate science, you expanded what he talked about to really include things like the economic costs of these regulations. Can you talk a little about how you see your approach to climate, as well as science, including the changes we’ve seen to the Scientific Advisory Board?

Wheeler: Sure. There are a couple questions embedded in that. You’re right, when I went over to the Senate, I personally focused more on the cost side on the climate debate — the cost-benefit and the different aspects of the legislation.

I did do my undergraduate work in biology. I do not consider myself to be a scientist, and I’ve always deferred to career scientists on issues of science. I’ve done that in the two and a half months I’ve been here, and I’ll continue to do that. On the Science Advisory Board, I think it’s important to be very transparent, and I think it’s important to make sure people who serve on the science advisory boards don’t have conflicts of interest.

While I was not here last year when the Science Advisory Board was reconfigured . . . I understand the desire to make sure that the people serving on the board weren’t also benefiting from science grants from the agency. I do think that’s important to make sure that there are not conflicts of interest. Hopefully, you saw my recusal statement where I did not seek any waivers, and I don’t plan to seek any waivers. I think it’s important to make sure that we address conflicts of interest very openly and upfront.

WP: Can you summarize where you stand on climate change and, more importantly, EPA’s role in dealing with that problem?

Wheeler: I do believe climate change is real. I do believe that people have an impact on the climate. What’s the most important — and I’m glad you asked it that way — is the second half of your question is, what is EPA’s role there?

I think our role is to follow the statutes that are provided to us by Congress. And I think that the statutory directives are very small. My criticism of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was that it was outside the four corners of the Clean Air Act. And I think the fact that the Supreme Court took the unprecedented move of issuing a stay showed the fact that the law probably would not have held up in court. So I think as we move forward on a potential replacement for the Clean Power Plan, you’re going to see us taking a hard look at what the act says and the authorities the act gives us, and we’ll put something forward that follows the law.

I know that there’s a number of senators that would like us to go much further, but of course environmental organizations would love us to go much further. But you’re not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along. We’re going to follow the law that Congress has given us.

WP: To follow up on that, do you hold that, for example, the “endangerment finding” [that created the basis for regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant] is settled law? Or would you say that there’s also an open question about whether that is a proper interpretation of the Clean Air Act?

Wheeler: On the endangerment finding, I was very critical of the method that the agency used to come up with the endangerment finding, that they did not do independent analysis, that they relied upon the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]. And that was litigated; it was taken to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the Circuit Court upheld the EPA position. So I consider that to be settled law. There would have to be a major, compelling reason to try to ever reopen that. I don’t think that’s an open question at this point.

WP: Before coming to the EPA in recent years, you worked as a lobbyist for some of the industries that you’ll now be responsible for regulating. How will you approach regulating those industries, many of which are heavily invested in what comes out of EPA?

Wheeler: You’re right, I did work for a number of different industries, a number of different companies. I did not lobby the EPA for at least the last two years. In fact, our communications team today has tried to press me to remember how long ago it was that I actually lobbied the EPA, and I can’t remember. It’s been at least three or four years, maybe longer. The only EPA issue that I’ve actually lobbied on the last couple of years was the Energy Star program, and that was on behalf of a client who was fighting to keep the integrity of the EPA program intact. It was to defeat a Senate Republican amendment that wanted to do away with third-party certification.

So, I mean, anybody could take a look at any one of my clients and say, “Well, you might be biased this way or you might be biased that way.” I’ve spent a career working on multiple issue areas and multiple sides of different issues. Having started my career at EPA, having worked on the Hill for two different members who didn’t agree on every issue, and then working in the private practice, where I’ve worked on behalf of different clients — I don’t think I’m biased.

I certainly have no fiduciary arrangements with any of my former clients or my former law firm. I don’t benefit financially from anything like that. And I think there’s been enough distance on the EPA issues that I’ve worked on in the past where I don’t believe I have bias in any particular way on any of these issues. But I think the experience that I’ve had working as a consultant, working on the Hill, working as a career employee of the agency, has really prepared me well for this job at this point in my life.

WP: For someone who is so often described as low-profile, this doesn’t seem the type of job that you can really avoid the spotlight. How do you feel about that part of it?

Wheeler: I really did not seek this job out, to be acting administrator. I was very content being the deputy. So I’m going to have to deal with that. But I have been in D.C. now for over 25 years. I realize that I’m walking into a job that’s going to be a lot more high-profile than I would have wanted. But I really do think [that] my background, at this point in time, that this is the right job for me.

SOURCE 





The Trump Administration’s Likely Unwillingness to challenge the "consensus"

Alan Carlin

It has become evident that the Pruitt EPA did not want to challenge the scientific climate “consensus,” either because they did not think that they could win the ensuing battle or because they wanted to avoid angering voters who accept the scientific “consensus” on climate. As pointed out repeatedly in my climate book and this blog, it is evident that the “consensus” is wrong in terms of satisfying the scientific method, that the eminent scientific and government organizations that have supported it are wrong, that the mainstream press is usually wrong on this issue, and that the main losers are those that are forced to pay the resulting higher bills and taxes and reduced reliability, all for negative net benefits.

Getting the world to admit this monumental failure of the scientific establishment, the governmental supporters, and the mainstream media is more difficult. The likely result is that more countryside will be covered with expensive, unreliable “renewable” energy farms as a result of continuing Federal and state subsidies, and then abandoned when the subsidies run out and maintenance costs increase with time.

The issue is now coming to a head in an obscure but important proposed revision of an Obama Administration proposed regulation. The EPA has sent the Office of Management and Budget a replacement for the Obama EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP). It is reported that the replacement requires “inside the fence” reductions of CO2 emissions from power plants. This provides support for the ideology that supports reducing CO2 emissions. It will not require as much of a reduction, I assume, but it will indirectly support the ideology, wrong though it is.

So if this is the case, it shows that even the independent-thinking Trump Administration will not challenge the “consensus.” Then who will? Apparently no one but a few climate skeptics. So the climate “consensus” will live on to create more disasters another day. Only if the climate actually cools enough so that the weather agencies cannot hide the truth will the truth come out in such a way that the climate-industrial complex (CIC) may finally be discredited and the public subsidies (either through taxes or higher energy bills) will end. When the subsidies end, of course, the CIC will finally collapse.

But the Trump Administration is apparently currently willing to lead the way towards publicly discrediting the “consensus” even though many members of the Administration appear to be climate skeptics. It rather appears to want to reduce the cost of the climate scam while they are in power, with little concern for what is likely to happen after they are gone and the EPA greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding is still on the books, ready to be used by climate activists to force the country to do their bidding.

This suggests one of the underlying problems created by government intervention into what should be the free market. Once enough public resources are diverted to private gains, it becomes very difficult to fix the resulting mess. And that is what we have.

SOURCE 




Cold snap sends temperatures plummeting across Australia's east coast – and it's not over yet

Far be it from me to challenge evidence of global cooling but I think it is only fair to note that they are talking below about the Southern half of Australia.  In Brisbane we have had some very chilly nights by our standards but I have yet to experience an afternoon when I have not sat around in just undershorts and a singlet -- with the front door wide open. Brisbane's famous warm afternoons have not deserted us yet --- even in the depth of winter.  Which all helps to show the folly of thinking that temperature aggregates tell you much about anything

The east coast of Australia is suffering through an icy weekend with the frosty temperatures expected to last into the middle of the week.

The lowest temperature recorded in Sydney was at Penrith, which dropped to below zero degrees, recording -0.9C at 5am on Sunday morning and not reaching above 1C until after 8am.

Other areas of Sydney to record low temperatures were 4.5C at Sydney Airport and 5.1C at Sydney's Observatory Hill.

A strong westerly wind of 24km/h overnight played a role in causing the icy temperatures across the state.

Inland New South Wales is also suffering through the cold with Wagga Wagga recording morning temperatures of -0.3C.

A number of other regions in New South Wales recorded below zero temperatures including Richmond, 63.4km from Sydney, which had overnight temperatures of -3.8C.

While Camden, 65km south west of Sydney, recorded overnight lows of -4.3C, the lowest overnight temperatures for the area since June 2010.

Bathurst, located 200km from Sydney, recorded freezing temperatures of -8.1C and did not break the minus temperatures until 10.20am when it recorded 0.4C.

The lowest forecast temperatures for all of New South Wales for all of Sunday is at Thredbo, expected to reach a daily maximum of only 1C.

And according to Bureau of Meteorology Senior Forecaster Jake Phillips the east coast's glacial conditions have yet to reach their trough.

'Just about the whole state is cooler than average for this time of year. In some parts of the state it can be five or six degrees below average,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Places like Penrith and Richmond the next couple of mornings are going to be down to the zero mark – maybe even below zero.

'And it’s going to get even colder, with a lot of places set to be six or even eight degrees below average for their minimum temperatures over the weekend.'

Melbourne temperatures weren't quite as low as Sydney but that doesn't mean Melburnians weren't suffering through the cold snap.  Residents woke to temperatures as low as 7C on Saturday morning with a daily high of 9.3C.

Elsewhere in eastern Australia, the notoriously frosty city of Ballarat in central Victoria had its coldest July day in 24 years this week recording a maximum of 5C on Wednesday, one degree below the July average.

In the nearby city Bendigo, temperatures were also at a record low, freezing through its coldest July day since 1996 with a maximum recording of just 0C.

The cold weather pushed well up into Queensland with the outback town of Blackall dropping to 1.2C while Lochington, near Emerald, was just 0.5C at 7.11am.

Brisbane experienced temperatures of 5 degrees on Sunday morning, even Rockhampton, up on the state's central coast, dropped to a low of 6.5C just before 7am.

Forecasters are expecting conditions to remain below average until Tuesday or Wednesday.

'We're definitely not through the cold snap as yet, you couldn't say that,' Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonti Hall told AAP.

However the coldest temperatures along eastern Australia was clearly Canberra which recorded temperatures as low as -4.8C on Sunday morning.

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, July 15, 2018




Global Cooling: Global Temps Have Dropped By 0.65 C Since 2016

The failure of the atmosphere to warm in accordance with alarmist predictions is making it harder and harder to come up with a bona fide story that can scare you.
In a post a few days ago, I noted that “the whole climate issue seems to have mostly disappeared from the news lately.”  Commenter niceguyeddie responded by giving me a link to the Washington Post (eddie called it “the ‘other’ Pravda”), and an article of July 5 by a guy named Jason Samenow headlined “Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week.”

 In the intervening week since this article, a few people on the internet have been busy making mincemeat of Samenow’s rather pitiful effort.  For MC readers who don’t go out searching the internet regularly for real information on climate to combat the propaganda from the various Pravdas out there, I thought I would do the public service of presenting some of this real information here.

First, some basic background is needed to develop appropriate bullshit radar on this subject.  If you follow climate or weather information even a little, you will already know that on any given day, somewhere in the world, some weather station, or more likely multiple stations, is recording an “all time high” temperature for the particular day in question, while some other weather station, or maybe multiple stations, is recording an “all time low.”  It follows that the fact that multiple “all time high” records were set during the course of a week tells you nothing about climate change.  There could have been even more all time lows, and the overall average could have gone down, no matter how many “all time highs” were recorded.

Any reader of any intelligence whatsoever will immediately be asking, don’t just tell me about “all time highs,” but tell me what is the overall picture?  How many all time lows were there?  What is happening with the “average” temperature?  You will not be surprised to learn that Samenow does not provide the answers to those questions.  In other words, his article is not intended to provide useful information to the intelligent reader, but rather to propagandize those lacking in either basic background information or critical thinking ability or both.

There is an obvious source for the answer to the last question as to what is happening with the “average,” and that is the easily-available UAH global lower troposphere record, derived from satellite sensors.  That record exists from 1979 to present.  Here is the latest chart from UAH going through the end of June 2018:



So with that simple first step, we know that the “average” world temperature for June 2018 was +0.21 deg C above the 1981 – 2010 mean.  That represented a decline of about 0.65 deg C from the all time high of this 39-year record, which was reached in early 2016.  The 0.65 deg C decline represented more than 75% of the amount by which the average temperature had exceeded the 1981 – 2010 mean at the highest point.  Suddenly the fact that some large number of “all time highs” was being set at the end of June does not seem very significant.

But it’s still fun to look at what Samenow claims for his “all time highs,” to see how real they are, or whether we are dealing with more of the usual “fake news.”  This gets pretty bad. […]

As you can see, the failure of the atmosphere to warm in accordance with alarmist predictions is making it harder and harder to come up with a bona fide story that can scare you.  They are reduced to cherry-picking some unrepresentative data points and leaving out all of the relevant context.  It’s no wonder the reporting on this is becoming increasingly scarce.

For you, the moral of the story is, if you want some real information as to whether the world is warming or cooling, and by how much, skip the propaganda at the various Pravdas, and go for the UAH lower troposphere satellite record.  It is available in the form at the top of this post, at drroyspencer.com, updated monthly.

SOURCE 




Christopher Booker: Groupthink On Climate Change Ignores Inconvenient Facts

Since we’ve now been living with the global warming story for 30 years, it might seem hard to believe that science could now come up with anything that would enable us to see that story in a wholly new light. But that is what I am suggesting in a new paper, just published in the UK by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, thanks to a book called Groupthink, written more than 40 years ago by a professor of psychology at Yale, Irving Janis.

What Janis did was to define scientifically just how what he called groupthink operates, according to three basic rules. And what my paper tries to show is the astonishing degree to which they explain so much that many have long found puzzling about the global warming story.

Janis’s first rule is that a group of people come to share a particular way of looking at the world which may seem hugely important to them but which turns out not to have been based on looking properly at all the evidence. It is therefore just a shared, untested belief.

Rule two is that, because they have shut their minds to any evidence which might contradict their belief, they like to insist that it is supported by a “consensus”. The one thing those caught up in groupthink cannot tolerate is that anyone should question it.

This leads on to the third rule, which is that they cannot properly debate the matter with those who disagree with their belief. Anyone holding a contrary view must simply be ignored, ridiculed and dismissed as not worth listening to.

What my paper does is look again at the entire global warming story in the light of Janis’s rules, and to show how consistently they explain so much of the way it has unfolded all the way through.

The alarm over man-made climate change was first exploded on the world in 1988 by a tiny group of scientists who had become convinced that, because both CO2 levels and global temperatures were rising, one must be the cause of the other. Unless something very drastic was done, they urged, the planet was heading for catastrophe.

In November that year two of these fervent believers in what they called “human-induced climate change” were authorised to set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. This would report to the world’s politicians on the basis of computer models programmed, according to their theory, to predict just how fast the world was likely to heat up over the next 100 years.

With startling speed, their theory was soon proclaimed as being supported by a scientific “consensus”, backed by governments, all the main scientific journals and institutions, environmental pressure groups and the media.

In fact right from the start, many scientists, like the eminent physicist Richard Lindzen of MIT, were highly sceptical, both of the theory itself and of those computer models. These, as Lindzen wrote, were so narrowly focused on CO2 that they were far too simplistic to allow for all the other natural factors which shape the earth’s climate.

But such dissenters were ignored. And for nearly 20 years the “consensus” rolled on, ever more extreme in its apocalyptic claims, with each new IPCC report scarier than the last. By 2006 Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was outdoing them all.

Anyone daring to question the “consensus” was now being vilified as just an “anti-science denier”, no better than those crazies who deny the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.

Just then, however, the story was beginning to change. It was noted that, since the abnormally hot year of 1998, caused by a record El Nino, global temperatures had not risen at all. Those computer models had not predicted this.

Even more significant, thanks to the internet, expert science blogs were now appearing, able to show that not a single one of the claims from the “consensus” – vanishing Arctic ice, disappearing polar bears, unprecedented hurricanes, floods, droughts etc – was supported by the factual evidence.

By 2009, the “consensus” was facing considerable embarrassment, with the highly damaging Climategate emails between the little group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC, followed by the collapse in disarray of the great Copenhagen climate conference.

Then there was the spate of scandals surrounding the IPCC itself, when it was revealed some of the scariest predictions of its latest report had not been based on proper science at all, but only on more hysterical claims by climate activists.

Finally, in Paris in 2015, came what I describe as the crux of the whole story. This was yet another great global conference to decide what the world must do to avert catastrophe.

Every nation had been asked in advance to submit its energy plans for the years up to 2030. The West, led by President Obama and the EU, dutifully pledged that it would be cutting its “carbon emissions” by up to 40 per cent.

But from the rest of the world a totally different story emerged. China, by now the world’s largest CO2 emitter, was planning to build so many new coal-fired power stations that by 2030 its emissions would have doubled. India, the third largest emitter, was planning to triple them. Altogether global emissions by 2030 were set to rise by a staggering 46 per cent.

The rest of the world was just giving two fingers to the “consensus”, and planning to carry on regardless, But not one Western leader mentioned this until 2017, when President Trump gave it as his reason for pulling the US out of that meaningless “Paris Accord”.

SOURCE 





CO2 Emissions Hit 67-Year Low In Trump's America, As Rest-Of-World Rises

We suspect you won't hear too much about this from the liberal mainstream media, or the environmental movement, or even Al Gore - but, according to the  latest energy report from The Energy Information Administration (EIA), under President Trump, per-capita carbon dioxide emissions are now the lowest they’ve been in nearly seven decades.

Even more interesting is the fact that US carbon emissions dropped while emissions from energy consumption for the rest of the world increased by 1.6%, after little or no growth for the three years from 2014 to 2016.

The U.S. emitted 15.6 metric tons of CO2 per person in 1950. After rising for decades, it’s declined in recent years to 15.8 metric tons per person in 2017, the lowest measured levels in 67 years.

And as The Daily Caller reports, in the last year, U.S. emissions fell more than 0.5% while European emissions rose 2.5% (and Chinese emissions rose 1.6% along with Hong Kong's 7.0% surge), according to BP world energy data - an ironic turn of events given Europe’s shaming of Trump for leaving the Paris climate accord

SOURCE 





DC Council Dems Likely To Pass Most Stringent And Costly Green Energy Bill In US

Residents living within the nation’s capital should expect to see their living costs rise if D.C. Council members pass what appears to be the most aggressive climate change bill to date.

Democrat council member Mary Cheh is pushing comprehensive legislation that calls for a litany of environmental proposals.

Most notably, her bill mandates that Washington, D.C., derive 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032, a requirement more ambitious than a new law in Hawaii — the only U.S. state to pass a 100-percent mandate.

Cheh’s bill would also fund more energy efficiency updates by slapping ratepayers with higher utility bills.

Additionally, the legislation calls for tying the vehicle excise tax to fuel efficiency as a means to encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

While many bills never see the light of day, this proposal is different: It touts support from a majority of the D.C. Council. Out of the 13 members who sit on the D.C. Council, seven have already backed Cheh’s bill.

“Through this bill, D.C. can lead the nation on climate protection legislation that can benefit D.C. families and businesses,” stated Mark Rodeffer, D.C. Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club, according to WAMU.

The Sierra Club has worked extensively to push renewable energy mandates in other state capitals.

Other environmentalists, however, were disappointed with the bill because it did not also include a fee on carbon emissions.

“Disappointed and surprised,” stated Camila Thorndike, a leader of the carbon tax campaign for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

“There’s been no analysis done on this package,” Thorndike said. “That was one of our points of frustration, is that we’ve provided so much modeling, and consideration of what the economic impacts, what the emission impacts, what the equity impacts were going to be of what we were putting forward.”

If passed, Washington, D.C., would have a more stringent renewable energy mandate than anywhere else in the U.S.

Hawaii became the first in the country to pass a renewable mandate in June. However, its bill was more lax, with a 100% renewable energy target by 2045 — 13 years later than the D.C. proposal.

Other states might soon be following Hawaii’s example — California is also likely to pass a 100-percent mandate, and other Democrat-controlled state capitals are considering their own targets.

SOURCE 




The Nuclear alternative is the greenest

Globally, nuclear power, in case you were wondering, generates just over 2,000 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, about 8 times more than solar and more than double wind power.

Now let’s run some basic numbers and compare the ecological impact of renewables with that of nuclear power.

First let’s deal with the inevitable cry from people who are anti-nuclear without ever having thought much about it: “Nuclear isn’t clean, think about the mining and the waste!!!”.

Mines? Nuclear power is miserly on mines. The amount of mining required for hydro, solar or wind is many times greater. The recent ACOLA report made this point, let me repeat the relevant graph from a previous article.



As you can see, nuclear requires minimal mining.

So why do so many people seem to think mining is some kind of nuclear achilles heel? That’s an interesting question. I’ll try to answer it later. But the graph massively underestimates the mining required for renewables on two fronts; it ignores mining for batteries and it ignores mining for all the extra transmission lines needed by wind and solar. I’ve dealt with the relative ease of nuclear waste handling many times in the past … most recently here.

But mining is a minor issue compared to the massive habitat destruction associated with renewables.

Hydro-electricity, as we’ve seen produces roughly 4,000 terawatt hours per year globally from reservoirs covering 343,000 square kilometres, so, using global averages, you need to flood about 82 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Let’s compare that with the land used by nuclear power. The power station itself uses very little land, but what about the mines?

The Ranger Uranium mine is about 16 square kilometres of open cut mine (including the tailings dam) producing enough uranium on average each year during the past decade to generate 148 terawatt hours of electricity per year. To get that using hydro electricity, you’d need to flood, on average, about (148×82) 12,136 square kilometres.

And what about generating 148 terawatt hours with wood? Vaclav Smil is an expert’s expert on energy. He estimates that using wood to power a 1 gigawatt electric power plant with a 70 percent capacity factor requires about 3,300 square kilometres of fast growing tree plantations. That works out at about 538 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Which means that matching the output of the 16 square kilometre Ranger mine, you’d need to be harvesting 79,647 square kilometres of tree plantations; and considerably more if you were harvesting non-plantation forests.

How much uranium do you need to power a 1 gigawatt reactor for a year? With current reactors, about 200 tonnes. With those of the future? About 2 tonnes.

We can summarise the relative land use impacts of nuclear and renewables in one simple image. When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors failed in 2011 the Japanese effectively lost 4.7 gigawatts of power from their grid. Should the Japanese rebuild with new reactors on or near the site? New reactors of the same power but modern reliability could deliver about 37 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. So how much land would renewables need to generate 37 terawatt-hours annually?

The following figure tells the story. If you wanted to use solar, then you’d need to level most of the 20 km “evacuation” zone to install panels. I’ve seriously underestimated the land required by assuming Japan had Australian levels of sunshine!

If you used hydro power, you’d be flooding a semicircle with a radius of 44 kms.

And what if you did what Germany and the UK are doing, and just started burning forests? Then the semicircle would have a radius of 114 kms.

Here’s a summary map. You can imagine the size of the biggest possible uranium mine (open cut) required to supply uranium to a plant like this. It’s about a square with sides of 2km.



Remember when the environment movement was about protecting forests and rivers? Remember when they cared about maximising habitat for wildlife? Not anymore.

The obvious alternative to hydro and biomass electricity is nuclear, but globally and locally the Green movement is either anti-science or counts far too many in that group among its voting base. Either way it bases its rejection of nuclear power on science formulated in the DNA dark ages; meaning well before the most basic of information on radiation, DNA and cancer was understood.

At the dawn of the anti-nuclear movement, nobody knew anything about the daily churn of normal DNA damage and repair; they didn’t even know that repair of DNA damage was possible; let alone an essential part of staying alive.

The best scientists back in the 1950s and 60s thought DNA damage was an incredibly rare chance event which was permanent and cumulative. But those who study such things now know that both damage and repair are ongoing during every second of your life; due to the entirely normal processes of energy metabolism, simply staying alive.

Let’s suppose you wanted to raise background radiation levels to the kinds of levels that would cause the level of serious DNA damage caused by normal energy metabolism. What do I mean by serious? Breaks across both strands of DNA. Those kinds of breaks are tough to fix and may go on to cause cancer. You get about 50 of these in every cell every day.

How much would you need to increase background radiation to cause this level of double strand breaks? About 219,000 times.

When Japanese Prime Minister Nato Kan ordered the evacuation of Fukushima, he was acting contrary to the best expert opinion, based on 30 years of science, as specified in the IAEA guidelines.

The result of Nato Kan’s fear, ignorance and defiance of the best available science, was cruel and deadly. Sick, frail and elderly people died after being shunted onto busses in the middle of the night in a crazy and totally unnecessary panic spawned by decades of anti-nuclear propaganda; some younger people committed suicide. One radiation expert called the Japanese handling of the Fukushima accident “stark staring mad”; which it was. And continues to be.

No radiotherapist, geneticist, oncologist or DNA biologist trained in the past 40 years believes the assumptions that were used back in 1959 by Linus Pauling to predict cancer and birth defects from weapons test radioactive fallout… except the anti-nuclear movement which those predictions spawned.

Look at any textbook on DNA or cell biology and you’ll find a chapter or two or three on DNA repair. There are whole textbooks on DNA repair. The IAEA guidelines didn’t spring out of the imagination of the nuclear industry, but from bog-standard science. But it’s only bog-standard science if you are paying attention and not stuck in the oral tradition of Green policy which involves passing down mantras about radiation that go back to the 1950s.

Environmentalist George Monbiot called the movement out for its misleading claims about radiation back in 2011, during the Fukushima meltdowns. He began what was a devastating critique of Helen Caldicott as follows:

"Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong."

When he questioned Helen Caldicott over her many failed disaster predictions, she retreated to a grand conspiracy theory about a cover up by the United Nations.

In conclusion

Starting some time before Monbiot’s devastating critique, many environmental scientists had already rejected the fear-mongering and were shifting toward nuclear as simply the cleanest, greenest, safest energy on the planet, including some of the world’s leading climate scientists. Many, like me, had gone back to the basic science and found, like Monbiot, that the anti-nuclear position was built on, at best, misinformation and obsolete science.

What do you say of people that simply refuse to read any kind of information which may challenge their radiation slogans? Technically it isn’t lying if you believe it, but deliberate ignorance is arguably worse; particularly when it threatens so many horrid consequences.

The Green movement has been incredibly effective in using misinformation to make people frightened of nuclear power. Which has been an absolute godsend for those who love building dams, pelletising forests, fracking gas and, yes, even digging coal.

The climate needs fixing and wildlife habitat needs protecting. The latter has been shrinking for decades as wildlife is replaced by more and more animals for those who eat them. The global environment movement doesn’t get that either.

The consequences of basing policy on slogans and populist ignorance rather than evidence are dire for the planet. It’s time for the global Green movement to move to rational evidenced-based policies. Many luddite supporters may abandon it in the short term, but it has to lead and transform it’s support base rather than pander to dangerous ignorant populist bullshit.

We desperately need a strong global evidence-based environmental movement, given that both politics-as-usual and the Trump/Brexit alternative are both just minor variations on poll-based populism.

More HERE

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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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Friday, July 13, 2018



We Could Have a Serious Air Conditioning Problem By Mid-Century (?)

This all depends on the passionate Greenie belief that PM2 air pollution kills you.  But, despite many attempts to prove that over the years, the evidence is elusive. Most studies of it were poorly controlled and in the better ones only the tiniest effects are ever found -- too tiny to be the basis for any generalizations.  I have been pointing that out for years as I have looked at the various studies in the area.  My most recent critique is here

One day, in the not-so-far future, the Earth will be hotter. It already gets really freaking hot, but this is just the beginning. With heat becoming ever more unbearable, there’s one thing that’s certain: Air conditioners will save us all.

Right? Well, not quite.

A new study published recently in PLOS Medicine reminds us that lives will be lost elsewhere as long as air conditioners draw their energy from oil, gas, or coal. Why? Blame air pollution—our addiction to dirty fuels throws particulate matter and ozone into the air. Electricity production is already the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and as our ACs eat up more of it, we get more emissions.

The authors believe their study is the first to estimate how many people may die from an increased dependence on AC as temperatures rise. The conclusion? The increased air pollution could lead to an average of 654 more deaths annually in the U.S. from particulate matter, and 315 additional deaths from ozone by midcentury. Per the study, this could amount to a $9 billion annual drain on the economy.

These are just estimates based on models, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty in them. The analysis is, however, a cautionary exploration of how our dependence on oil, gas, and coal will become more deadly as we rev up our energy demand to cool entire buildings to avoid heat stress.

“Air conditioning saves lives from heat waves,” said Jonathan Patz, a co-author on the study who directs the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute, to Earther. “But if the electricity to run air conditioners requires coal-fired power plants, then we have a problem.”

The researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at how climate change itself would affect air pollution and, in turn, human health before turning their attention toward how air conditioning will make this even worse. The model fast-forwards to “the most realistic scenario” for our energy system, as Patz put it, in the year 2069. Here, our buildings haven’t changed much (in terms of structure and energy efficiency), and our electricity system has transitioned to more natural gas use and the retirement of some nuclear power plants. The team worked carefully to produce a future that seems most realistic given current energy and building trends.

However, the researchers were only able to use temperature data from a single month—July—and based a three-month summer on that.

The findings aren’t intended to scare people away from enjoying their summer days or to shame them from using their air conditioners. They’re really to highlight that these potential impacts are one possibility. A shift toward renewables and better-insulated buildings would make energy production 1) cleaner and 2) more efficient. Luckily, solar and renewables are winning around the world even if the federal government attempts to thwart their success. “Getting to clean energy can happen quite quickly,” Patz said.

Summers are growing warmer, and we’ll need cooler air—especially for our young students to focus during school hours, and for the sick and elderly.  But using air conditioners shouldn’t be a careless act, not when some people are dying from the air pollution they create—and especially when these people are more likely to be low-income or of color.

That can change. Keep that in mind next time you crank your central cooling system to high.

SOURCE 





New Research Finds Sea Level Rise Claims “Definitely Conjecture”…”Highly Erroneous”…Coastlines Stable Or Growing!

Accelerating sea level rise due to global warming is supposed to eat away at the shorelines across the globe. However a recent paper published in the journal Nature here authored by a team scientists led by Arjen Luijendijk found that some 75% of the world’s sandy shorelines are stable or growing!

An analysis of satellite-derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, but 28% are accreting and 48% are stable.

Also erosion rates exceed 5 m/yr along 4% of the sandy shoreline and are greater than 10 m/yr for 2% of the global sandy shoreline.

According to the paper, the application of an automated shoreline detection method to the sandy shorelines resulted in a global dataset of shoreline change rates for the 33 year period 1984–2016.

The scientists also found that Australia and Africa are the only continents for which net erosion (−0.20 m/yr and −0.07 m/yr respectively) is found, with all other continents showing net accretion.

What’s surprising is that another researcher has determined that melting ice caps from global warming induced ice melt does not contribute to sea level rise, and that sea level rise is mostly caused by the Earth’s shape.

In a scientific paper published by the journal Geoscience Frontiers, Aftab Alam Khan at the Department of Geology, University of Dhaka in Bangladesh found: “thermal expansion only explains part (about 0.4 mm/yr) of the 1.8 mm/yr observed sea level rise of the past few decades.” and that the claim and prediction of 3 mm/yr rise of sea-level due to global warming and polar ice-melt “is definitely a conjecture”

He added that the prediction of 4–6.6 ft sea level rise in the next 91 years between 2009 and 2100 is “highly erroneous”!

Khan then concludes that though global warming, both polar and terrestrial ice melts, and climate change might be a reality, all these phenomena are not related to sea level rise and fall.

Ice melt would not contribute to sea level rise

According to Khan, “Geophysical shape of the earth is the fundamental component of the global sea level distribution. Global warming and ice-melt, although a reality, would not contribute to sea-level rise.”

If Kahn’s assertion turns out to be correct, then IPCC scientists will have some major scientific revamping to do

SOURCE 





Eliminating Plastic Straws Is About The Stupidest Thing Starbucks Can Do For The Planet

This week, Starbucks, not to be outdone in the eco-woke competition, announced it will ban all plastic straws in their stores to combat ocean pollution.

According to news reports, Starbucks will transition from customary plastic straws to paper or compostable straws and change beverage lids from the traditional flat, plastic lids to lids with a raised lip.

One news article called these new lids an “adult sippy cup,” which seems fitting for an increasingly infantilized American public.

These corporate gestures are popular nowadays as we see companies increasingly eager to please their critics and social media-savvy activists.

There’s the cereal company that, in trying to satisfy the anti-GMO activists (who don’t buy “big” brands anyway), removed GMOs from one brand of cereal but left GMOs in the rest of its product line.

The company was shocked when the activists weren’t satisfied and left flat-footed when activists asked the obvious question: “If you can take GMOs out of one brand of cereal, why not all of them?”

Or, like the soup company that, in trying to placate the anti-sodium activists, reduced sodium in every single can of its much-loved soups despite already offering a low-sodium line, only to reverse course when sales tanked because consumers preferred the old, tastier formulations.

Or, like the large discount store that, in trying to secure the support of Obama-era nutrition scolds, initiated a new in-store labeling regime featuring a small green man, which was placed only on items the store and activists deemed “healthy.”

Corporate executives were shocked when activists weren’t satisfied with just the label and seemed befuddled when activists demanded stores go further by simply ridding store shelves of items that didn’t earn the “green man” label.

The big box store declined to stop stocking ice cream, cheese, salty crackers and chips, whole milk, hummus, candy, and many other items their customers enjoy.

And of course, there’s the fast food restaurant that, while trying to satisfy the childhood obesity activists, decided to take the toys out of happy meals and only provide kids with ten French fries, leading parents to simply buy extra fries or scrap the happy meal altogether in favor of regular menu items that contained more calories.

The reason these corporate gestures are so popular is that these problems—fears of GMOs, unhealthy eating habits in adults and children, easy access to processed and fast food, food labeling and corporate transparency, and, yes, ocean pollution—are complex issues.

Gestures resolve only one thing: the corporation’s public relations problem of how to look sufficiently concerned. Yet these gestures do nothing to actually solve the problem itself.

Marine pollution is indeed a complex issue, but it is solvable. According to the United Nations’ Environment Programme’s (UNEP) report on marine pollution, the solution lies with the improvement of waste collection and management, which the report states “presents the most urgent short-term solution to reducing plastic inputs (into oceans and waterways), especially in developing economies.”

Those developing economies are precisely where these efforts should focus because the rivers within developing nations are where the vast majority of the pollution originates.

According to an exhaustive study of waterway pollution published last November in Environmental Science and Technology, just 10 rivers—all in Asia and Africa—carry 93 percent of the trash that ends up in the ocean.

The UN Report acknowledges waste management is a worthwhile area on which to focus, reporting:

There are very significant regional differences in the extent to which wastewater is collected and in the degree of subsequent treatment. In some European countries nearly 100% of municipal wastewater is collected and subject to some form of tertiary treatment.

In contrast, it is estimated that approximately 90% of all wastewater generated in developing countries is discharged without primary treatment (Corcoran et al. 2010).

Primary wastewater treatment is usually designed to remove relatively large solids and would not be expected to capture microplastics. Secondary treatment is designed to remove dissolved and suspended biological matter.

Perhaps then, instead of American companies gesturing their concern by banning straws in American coffee houses, they might focus their energy and money (money Starbucks is currently using to transition each store’s straw and lid stocks), to real solutions—like helping to better develop and modernize wastewater treatment in Asia and Africa.

SOURCE 





President Trump Has Rendered The Green Climate Fund Nearly Useless

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has continued to falter since President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal of the Paris Agreement — and taking with it billions in pledged dollars.

The United Nations launched the GCF in 2010 to promote environmentally friendly initiatives in developing countries.

Based in Songdo, South Korea, the GCF employs 250 people and has committed nearly $4 billion in international projects that aim to help third-world countries mitigate the effects of climate change.

Former President Barack Obama was a major supporter of the GCF and had pledged the U.S. would donate $3 billion over the course of several years. His administration had given $1 billion before the end of his second term.

The GCF, however, never attracted the same level of support from the succeeding administration.

Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise when he withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and has not given another dollar since. Trump’s moves mean the GCF is $2 billion short of what it expected its slush fund to be.

“Now with the United States pulling from this Paris agreement, I’m concerned now how to mobilize the necessary financial support for many developing countries who do not have the capacity to address this climate change issues,” former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated to CNBC on Tuesday. “They do not have any responsibilities historically speaking. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that the international community uses its political will to work on this matter.”

Unfortunately for the GCF, it has lost money elsewhere.  Instead of doling out cash, the United Kingdom provided promissory notes — pledges to pay when money is needed — to the group.

This arrangement proved devastating after anxiety over Brexit greatly reduced the value of the Euro and the British pound. The devaluation of both currencies has resulted in the GCF losing another $1 billion.

The lack of cash has made green-lighting new, expensive projects nearly impossible.

Howard Bamsey abruptly resigned his position as GCF’s executive director following a June 4 meeting where no new projects were approved. Bamsey, an Australian diplomat, left after less than two years on the job.

“I have been considering the best timing for my departures from the secretariat,” he explained in a letter. “Pressing personal issues meant I would simply not be able to stay until the end of next year which is when replenishment is likely to conclude.”

The collapse of negotiations will ultimately mean 11 different projects, costing nearly $1 billion, will simply have to wait. Projects such as water management in Guatemala, solar panels in Tonga and climate initiatives in 17 countries will have to wait at least three months before moving forward.

Beyond a lack of cash, a lack of experience from board members has also been cited as a major contributor to the GCF’s failure.

“Many of these people did not know how to navigate the minefield and the dynamics of the board, so there were a lot of little things that triggered people — and then those things spiraled into an hour-long argument that could’ve been very easily avoided,” Brandon Wu, a director of policy and campaigns at Action Aid USA, said in a statement to Devex, a global development publication.

SOURCE 





Australian PM weighs coal fix for energy wars

Germany is building coal-fired generators so why not Australia?

A proposal for the federal government to financially guarantee the construction and operation of new dispatchable power generation, which could include clean coal-fired plants, is expected to be taken to cabinet with the backing of the Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday confirmed he would seriously consider the key recommendation of a report by the competition watchdog to underwrite and potentially subsidise new “firm” and cheap power generation for industrial and commercial users.

Signalling a possible end to the energy wars within the Coalition partyroom, the recommendation was immediately endorsed by ­Nationals MPs, who have interpreted it as a green light for government to intervene in supporting the future of coal generation.

Tony Abbott, one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s national energy guarantee, also backed the recom­mendation, saying it was a “vindication” of calls for more baseload power in the national electricity market.

Senior government sources said Mr Turnbull was personally “very supportive” of the idea and it could be considered by cabinet before the end of the year. A formal position from the government is not expected until after a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments next month, which will seek to ratify agreement for the national energy guarantee.

The recommendation was among 59 handed down in a 400-page report yesterday by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which said nothing less than a radical shake-up of the national energy market would bring down prices for households and businesses.

Local energy stocks were hit by the call for pricing reform, falling 1.04 per cent as a sector. It slashed almost $1.6 billion from the market valuations of the two biggest listed power players, AGL Energy and Origin Energy.

Among key recommendations, the ACCC said elevated prices had been driven by “high and entrenched levels of concentration in the market’’ and singled out Queensland for a major overhaul. The watchdog said the state’s power generators should be split into three entities, leaving open the possibility of a sale.

State and territory governments did not escape the blowtorch, with inflated networks costs caused by unrealistic, government-imposed reliability standards identified as still being the chief culprit in rising power prices.

The report recommended writing down the asset value of the network companies to limit the rate of return on investment which dictated the annual cost recovery the companies sought, or offer rebates on network charges of up to $100 a year to customers.

The report, led by ACCC chairman Rod Sims, is being examined closely by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who yesterday said he would not rule out any of the recommendations, having privately signalled to colleagues last month that there would be a deal for new coal or gas in addition to the NEG.

A source within government told The Australian the recommendation to underwrite new generation was almost certain to be adopted.

Mr Turnbull yesterday signalled the government’s intent in a speech in Brisbane.

“We’ll look further at this proposal over the coming months … but this recommendation has the distinct advantage of being thoroughly technology-agnostic and, well-designed, should serve our goal of cheaper and reliable energy.”

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan said the report had vindicated the Nationals’ position on pushing back on the NEG and arguing for high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power.

“Many of my colleagues had raised genuine and heartfelt concerns over the current adequacy of investment in power generation. Those concerns have been vindicated,” Senator Canavan said. “The ACCC has now recommended the government underwrite baseload power investments. If people didn’t want to listen to the Nationals, then they should definitely listen to Rod Sims.”

Nationals leader Michael McCormack also welcomed the ACCC report, signalling it could end the internal dispute over the NEG and allow the Coalition parties to reach a consensus.

The ACCC said there was a case for government support in the financing of new large-scale generation projects that required considerable up-front investment and carried significant risk. “Where private-sector banks are unwilling to finance projects due to uncertainty about the future of an industrial or manufacturing business, the ACCC considers there is a role for the Australian government in providing support for such projects in appropriate circumstances,” the report said.

“This can be achieved at little cost to government. Specifically, the ACCC proposes the government introduce a program under which it will guarantee offtake from a new generation asset (or group of assets) in the later years of the project (say years six-10 or six-15) at a low fixed price sufficient to enable the project to meet financing requirements.”

As the fallback customer, it has not been determined whether the government would actually buy the power to on-sell to another customer or simply bankroll the operation until it found new commercial customers.

But if the spot price were to fall as low as $45 per megawatt hour, as a senior government source said, the “government would have done its job”.

The ACCC report said the recommendation, which would apply only to new market entrants and require they have at least three commercial customers, would involve “little cost”, as energy prices would have to fall significantly for the government to be disadvantaged.

In recommendations on the behaviour of the energy giants and the lack of competition, the report called for a prohibition on acquisitions to limit the market share of any one generator to 20 per cent in any NEM region.

EnergyAustralia, a major wholesale and retail power company, said “artificial limits on ownership of generation capacity seem unnecessary when the ACCC already has the authority to review proposed mergers and acquisitions for impacts on competition”.

SOURCE

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