Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's methane wot done it!

Warmists have been riding the wrong horse. A new paleoclimate study shows that it is methane, not CO2 that affects warming. CO2 levels are tied to ocean circulation.

A small caution: The report below is based on a press release. There seems to be no peer-reviewed paper as yet

By examining 800,000-year-old polar ice, scientists increasingly are learning how the climate has changed since the last ice melt and that carbon dioxide has become more abundant in the Earth's atmosphere.

For two decades, French scientist Jérôme Chappellaz has been examining ice cores collected from deep inside the polar ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica. His studies on the interconnecting air spaces of old snow -- or firn air -- in the ice cores show that the roughly 40 percent increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the Earth's last deglaciation can be attributed in large part to changes in the circulation and biological activity of the oceanic waters surrounding Antarctica.

Chappellaz presented his findings today in Knoxville, Tenn. during the Goldschmidt Conference, an international gathering of several thousand geochemists who converge annually to share their research on Earth, energy and the environment. The event, hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is taking place June 13-18.

By measuring the carbon isotopes in the firn air, scientists can pinpoint the source of atmospheric carbon during the millennia. Because living organisms at the surface of the oceans tend to take up the lighter of the carbon isotopes, 13C, and this isotope is then released when the organisms decay, scientists know the higher concentration of 13C is originating from the oceans.

Normally, the organisms die, sink to the ocean depths, and decompose, releasing carbon that remains stored in the cold, deep waters for centuries. But a growing concentration of the isotope 13C in the air during the last deglaciation indicates that this "old" carbon from decomposition was released from the southern polar waters, where the Antarctic Circumpolar Current transports more water than any other current in the world. Here, oceanic circulation is increasing in intensity and the deep water is releasing carbon dioxide at the surface.

For two decades, Chappellaz has examined polar ice cores to decipher how the primary greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- have changed in concentrations and ratios since ancient times and what has caused those changes. He notably showed for the first time the tight link existing between atmospheric methane and global climate at glacial-interglacial time scales.



There is an earlier Chappellaz paper here which simply reports cyclic fluctuations in methane levels. As far as one can gather, the latest work goes further and looks for a relationship between methane levels and temperature.

Antarctic glacier melt maybe 'not due to climate change'

British and international boffins, having probed an Antarctic glacier which is thought to be a major cause of rising sea levels worldwide, report that increased polar ice melting may not be driven by climate change.

The massive ice river in question is the Pine Island Glacier, aka PIG to those in the field.

“Estimates of Antarctica’s recent contributions to sea level rise have changed from near-zero to significant and increasing," says Stan Jacobs of Columbia uni in the States. "Increased melting of continental ice also appears to be the primary cause of persistent ocean freshening and other impacts."

The PIG has flowed more and more rapidly into the Amundsen Sea since scientists have begun monitoring it, adding fresh water to the world's oceans. Like certain other regions the glacier is bucking the overall south-polar trend which has actually seen hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of new sea ice accumulate around Antarctica in recent decades.

Many scientists have theorised that the PIG's accelerating flow is due to global warming. However, recent research - including surveys beneath the bottom of the floating, projecting ice sheet by Blighty's Autosub robot probe - indicate that this may not be the case. (The Autosub, famously, was powered by some 5,000 ordinary alkaline D-cell batteries on each trip beneath the ice, getting through some four tonnes of them during the research.)

It appears from the Autosub's under-ice surveys that the PIG's ice flow formerly ground its way out to sea across the top of a previously unknown rocky underwater ridge, which tended to hold it back. Many years ago, however, before the area was surveyed in much detail, the glacier's floating outflow sheet separated from the ridge top which it had been grinding away at for millennia and so picked up speed. This also allowed relatively warm sea water to get up under the sheet and so increase melting and ease of movement.

“The discovery of the ridge has raised new questions about whether the current loss of ice from Pine Island Glacier is caused by recent climate change or is a continuation of a longer-term process that began when the glacier disconnected from the ridge," says Dr Adrian Jenkins of the British Antarctic Survey.

Jenkins, Jacobs and their colleagues write: "Once the grounding line began its downslope migration from the ridge crest prior to the 1970’s, a period of rapid change was inevitable, and since that time oceanic variability may have had relatively little influence on the rate of retreat".

Or in other words the glacier would have shown the same acceleration and thinning it has shown since the 1990s with or without climate change, perhaps accounting for its very rapid melting and the local contrast with the general picture of increased Antarctic sea ice.

The scientists' research is published by Nature Geoscience


Prof. Jon Krosnick: Another crooked (and stupid) Warmist

'When you don't like the poll numbers, make up your own poll'

Stanford University's Jon Krosnick (Krosnick@Stanford.edu) has either been distorting climate polling to suit his ideological position for years or he is an utterly incompetent pollster. The solid bet is on the former.

Professor Krosnick's polling results are so woeful that both Pew Research Center Survey and Gallup polling recently took the time to harshly reprimand him for his shoddy work.

See: Warming propagandist Prof. Krosnick exposed: Pew research 'says that Krosnick's survey is marred by faulty methodology. ...used words that encourged a positive response'

Polling propaganda Prof. Krosnick slapped down by Gallup Polling! Recent polling 'shows demonstrable drops in Americans' acknowledgment of and concern about global warming')

Krosnick has been skewing polling results on global warming for years and has been getting caught every time.

See: Flashback 2008: Krosnick's long history of climate propaganda: 'Krosnick invents a consensus position: climate change is occurring. But this is a meaningless assertion, devoid of any scientific value the public can expect psychologists to be engaged in brainwashing them into accepting political propaganda' -- 'Krosnick conducted a poll amongst the public, to see if their beliefs match those of the scientists, but neglected to poll scientists to establish their views'

The latest Krosnick academic embarrassment started with his June 8, 2010 oped in the New York Times. (See: Huh? Stanford U. Prof. Krosnick: 'Huge majorities of Americans still believe earth has been gradually warming as result of humans & want gov't regs to stop it')

Krosnick's apparent eagerness to skew, propagandize and present intellectually dishonest and shallow polling analysis, simply stuns anyone with even a rudimentary familiarity with recent global warming polls.

The Financial Post's Lawrence Solomon reveals some of Krosnick's tactics in a June 21, 2010 article. According to the Financial Post, Krosnick did not release his full report for public scrutiny nor did he show the public the context for his questions.

The Financial Post reports that Krosnick lumped the phrase “global warming” in with “the environment.” Here is the question Krosnick asked: “What do you think will be the most serious problem facing the world in the future if nothing is done to stop it?” According to the paper, when put this way, 25% of the public responded with “Global warming/the environment.” But Krosnick doesn't tell us how many of that 25% choose global warming versus the myriad of other environmental issues.

What is most shocking about this point is that for two years running, all major polling has consistently revealed that not only is global warming/climate change the issue of least concern, but it is the lowest concern among all ENVIRONMENTAL issues! ....

For Krosnick to try to pull this low-brow tactic of combining climate and environment as though the public treats them identical, reveals that he is either ignorant of wealth of recent polls or he is deliberately trying to con the public and his own Stanford University.

The Financial Post further explains some of the sleazy polling tactics Krosnick regularly employs:

“Krosnick gets different results than other pollsters do by asking questions that some might consider bizarre. For example, when people told him that they didn't believe global warming was happening, he asked them to pretend they did by asking them,

“Assuming that global warming is happening, do you think a rise in the world's temperature would be caused mostly by things people do, mostly by natural causes, or about equally by things people do and by natural causes? He then lumped the pretend response from people who don't believe in global warming with a similar question asked of people who weren't pretending about their belief in global warming. ...

Poor Professor Krosnick. One headline last week said it all: Krosnick's Polling Con Job: 'When you don't like the poll numbers, make up your own poll'

The poor professor has not only been caught apparently manipulating data, but his methods have now been exposed for the entire world to see. Krosnick's academic integrity has now been elevated to the level of the “used car salesman” tactics of the UN IPCC and the Climategate professors.

More HERE (See the original for links)

IPCC Disinformation

The slide above comes from the presentation of Hans von Storch to the InterAcademy Review of the IPCC, presented earlier this week in Montreal. The slide references the misrepresentation of the issue of disasters and climate change by the IPCC. von Storch is very clear in his views: "IPCC authors have decided to violate the mission of the IPCC, by presenting disinformation".

Not only did the IPCC misrepresent the science of disasters and climate change, but went so far as to issue a highly misleading press release to try to spin the issue and put an unprepared IPCC WG2 chair on the BBC to try to defend the undefensible. I was promised a response from the IPCC to my concerns, a response that has never been provided.

A former head of the IPCC, Robert Watson, says the following in the context of the 2035 glacier issue, but could be equally applied to the disaster issue: "To me the fundamental problem was that when the error was found it was handled in a totally and utterly atrocious manner".

The IAC Review of the IPCC is fully aware of this issue, and it will be interesting to see what their report says on the topic. Meantime, the IPCC is continuing its preparations for its next assessment in business-as-usual fashion.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Germany: Solar power is unaffordable

Solar energy is getting more and more popular - and therefore unaffordable. Because the subsidies are guaranteed for years, the costs have risen to high double-digit billions. Even the industry recognizes that it cannot go on like this.

German Government support for solar power is leading to significant price increases for large electricity users in industry and for private users. Consumer organisations estimate that electricity prices are likely to rise by ten percent next year alone due to subsidies for green electricity. Industrial electricity prices in Germany are already high; through the promotion of green electricity they will reach peak prices in Europe

The ultimate cost drivers are mainly photovoltaic systems. Year after year their numbers are climbing much faster than predicted. Compared to previous estimates, the increase in capacity has risen tenfold this year. For each system, the Renewable Energy Act guarantees a feed-in tariff for 20 years, which is currently six times higher than the price of conventionally generated electricity. The additional costs are passed on to all electricity consumers. While prices for photovoltaic systems have fallen sharply in recent years, state subsidies have been only reduced moderately. As a result, the facilities have become very lucrative for operators. According to calculations by the Rhine-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research, the net cost to the taxpayer of all photovoltaic systems installed between 2000 and 2010 adds up to € 85.4 billion.

The promotion of renewable energy threatens to get out of control, warns Martin Kneer, chief executive of the Metal Trade Association. Excluded from the levy are only a few hundred companies, including extremely energy-intensive facilities, such as aluminium smelters.

A recent open letter by Johannes Lackmann has alarmed the photovoltaic industry. Lackmann is no enemy of renewable energies. On the contrary: He is firmly rooted in the green energy industry and was for many years president of the Association of Renewable Energies. Lackmann warns that companies in effect are placing themselves on par with outdated industries, which make up the lack of competitiveness by being subsidized. The Renewable Energies Act, which promotes green power, should not be used as a pillow. In his view, the photovoltaic industry threatens to overdo things – at the expense of electricity consumers.

Lackmann describes the consequences of a development that is heading for new highs this year. Because the promotion of green energy is so lucrative, more solar panel systems are now mounted on German rooftops than ever thought possible: The trade magazine "Photon" calculates that solar cells with a capacity of 8,800 Megawatts (MW) are added in 2010: the Rhine-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research (RWI) believes a figure of up to 9000 MW for more realistic. Compared to 2006, the newly installed capacity has increased by a factor of eleven. Even in 2007 it was assumed that a maximum 700 MW will have been added by 2010.

The completely unrestrained run on photovoltaic systems has immense consequences for all electricity consumers. For each installed system the Renewable Energy Act guarantees a fixed feed-in tariffs for 20 years, which exceed the market price of conventional electricity many times over. Facilities which go on line this year receive on average 31 cents per kilowatt-hour. This price is guaranteed by law until 2030. For comparison: at the power exchange EEX one kilowatt hour of conventionally generated electricity can be bought for around five cents. The difference is financed by all electricity consumers. Only for some energy-intensive industries there are exceptions.

According to calculations by the RWI, the net cost for all photovoltaic systems built between 2000 and 2010 over the respective 20-year funding period add up to €85.4 billion in real terms. This value corresponds to more than one quarter of Germany’s federal budget. Regardless, the contribution of solar power to total electricity consumption in Germany is very low despite the large sums of funding. It is around one percent.

According to calculations by the Consumer Federation (VZBV) the newly added photovoltaic systems in 2010 alone will cost German consumers €26 billion for the production life of 20 years. According to VZBV this will cause an increase in the price of electricity by ten percent in 2011. The energy suppliers have already announced price increases. The energy supplier RWE announced on Friday it would raise prices by 7.3 percent from August due to higher costs for green electricity.

The reason for this massive build up is obvious: while costs for the solar panels have fallen sharply in recent years, the feed-in tariffs have declined only slightly. The module manufacturers can still get quite high prices, which bring them high profits. At the same time, the feed-in tariffs guarantee plant operators a good business.

Negotiations about cuts in solar feed-in tariffs have been going on for months. The solar industry is vehemently resisting any downgrading - and is using political support by individual states. The lobby wants to prevent cuts planned by the Federal government by means of the Parliament’s lower chamber. The Conciliation Committee of the Bundesrat and Bundestag has set up a working group which is expected to come up with a compromise by 5 July. The final word, however, lies with the Bundestag.

From the perspective of Johannes Lackmann, the industry’s resistance to cuts is doing it no favours. He considers the proposal by the Federal government to cut the subsidies as overdue. Lackmann wants an automatic mechanism by which the feed-in tariffs are adjusted every six months without a long debate. From the perspective of the RWI, however, the Renewable Energy Act should be completely abolished. It does not even create incentives for investment in research and development: "Leading German solar companies spend less than two percent of sales on research and development. This puts them below the figure of Siemens," says Manuel Frondel, Head of Environment and Resources at the RWI. He thinks that targeted technology promotion is more useful than subsidizing the solar industry.


Japan Delays Emissions Trading Laws

Japan is the latest developed nation to see emissions trading plans delayed but has vowed to see legislation passed in time for the UN climate conference in Mexico at the end of the year.

The government has conceded it would not get climate legislation passed on schedule through the upper house in the current session of parliament ending this week. A mandatory emissions trading scheme is an important plank in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s climate change policy which has ambitious targets to cut greenhouse emissions by 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The United States and Australia have also seen government-supported cap and trade schemes run into trouble in the upper houses of their federal legislatures. Australia has put off its scheme until at least 2013 while the Obama administration is trying to rescue chances for the passing of a climate and energy bill in the US Senate this year amid fading hopes.

Reuters reports Japan’s environment minister Sakihito Ozawa telling a news conference the government’s aim now is to have the wide-ranging climate bill enacted by late November. But an upper house election in July threatens to reduce the government’s numbers leaving no guarantee it will be able to pass the controversial bill as it stands afterward.



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