Thursday, May 05, 2011

I predicted it! Even jokes come true where Warmists are concerned

Prominent Donk says Osama's death should encourage Warmists. I said on 2nd that the death of bin Laden would "prove" global warming somehow

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson hopes that Osama bin Laden's death will spur President Barack Obama to promote climate change legislation.

“My hope is that from this success in the foreign policy arena two days ago, that he will be emboldened to take once again to the Congress legislation — not just to increase a renewable energy standard — but climate change legislation that this country and the world need,” Richardson said Tuesday at a Climate Leadership Gala hosted by the Earth Day Network in Washington.

Climate change legislation, particularly anything labeled as toxic as “cap and trade,” is seen as non-starter while Republicans hold the House and many Senate Democrats are wary of the issue. But Richardson warned climate bill backers against standing on the sidelines.

“We can sit back and say, ‘Well we’ll wait until the next election, wait until the political climate is better.’ You know if we do that, we’re doomed — if we don’t take action right away,” he said.

The former energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration called for a comprehensive nationwide greenhouse gas reduction program in addition to a national renewable energy standard.

Richardson suggested Obama offer Congress two options: an economy-wide cap-and-trade program with stringent timetables over several decades and a carbon tax. And if Congress fails to do either of those, EPA must plow ahead with climate change regulations, he said. “I’m still one of those who supports cap and trade, but it’s good I believe to offer choices,” he said.


Why tell the truth when lies suit so much better?

The blah below has been reported umpteen times in papers around the world lately. It is of course nothing more than another model-based projection. See the facts in the following post

Arctic Assessment bombshell: “Global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9–1.6 meter by 2100″

A major new multi-country scientific assessment of the Arctic has concluded that on our current greenhouse gas emissions path, we face 3 to 5 feet of sea level rise — far greater than the 2007 IPCC warned of. This is fully consistent with several recent studies (see “Sea levels may rise 3 times faster than IPCC estimated, could hit 6 feet by 2100“).

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme — formed in 1991 to advise the eight Arctic countries on threats to the Arctic from pollution — has released the Executive Summary of their Snow, Water, Ice and Permaforst in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment on their website [big PDF here]. SWIPA “brings together the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic cryosphere.”

The report notes that, “The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean and in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past ten years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns.” I’ll have more to say shortly on the effort by the anti-science crowd to mislead on this key point.


The sea-level reality

The image above shows actual sea level rise in blue measured by Envisat, versus the claimed rate of the "experts" (shown in green, appropriately enough)


Note: The actual rise translates to about a sixteenth of an inch per year. Panic!

New Report: Shale Gas Shock Challenges Climate and Energy Policies

The Global Warming Policy Foundation today publishes a detailed report about the shale gas revolution and its likely implications for UK and international climate policy.

The report The Shale Gas Shock, written by Matt Ridley and with a foreword by Professor Freeman Dyson, finds that shale gas:

* is not only abundant but relatively cheap and therefore promises to take market share from nuclear, coal and renewable energy and to replace oil in some transport and industrial uses, over coming decades.

* will help to keep the price of nitrogen fertiliser low and hence keep food prices down, other things being equal.

* is unlikely to be a major source of pollution or methane emissions, but in contrast promises to reduce pollution and accelerate the decarbonisation of the world economy.

Matt Ridley, the author of the GWPF report, said:

"Abundant and relatively cheap shale gas promises to lower the cost of gas relative to oil, coal and renewables. It indefinitely postpones the exhaustion of fossil fuels and makes reducing emissions of carbon dioxide possible without raising energy prices."

Freeman Dyson, in his foreword to the GWPF report, said:

"Shale gas is not a perfect solution to our economic and environmental problems, but it is here when it is needed, and it makes an enormous difference to the human condition.”

“Matt Ridley gives us a fair and even-handed account of the environmental costs and benefits of shale gas. The lessons to be learned are clear. The environmental costs of shale gas are much smaller than the environmental costs of coal.”

The full report is available here

George is lost -- for reasonable answers to Green "problems"

George Monbiot seems to be throwing in the towel. His newly discovered liking for nukes is being undermined by huge new discoveries of fossil fuels (principally shale gas)

Toon from "Private Eye"

You think you're discussing technologies, and you quickly discover that you're discussing belief systems. The battle among environmentalists over how or whether our future energy is supplied is a cipher for something much bigger: who we are, who we want to be, how we want society to evolve. Beside these concerns, technical matters – parts per million, costs per megawatt hour, cancers per sievert – carry little weight. We choose our technology – or absence of technology – according to a set of deep beliefs: beliefs that in some cases remain unexamined.

The case against abandoning nuclear power, for example, is a simple one: it will be replaced either by fossil fuels or by renewables that would otherwise have replaced fossil fuels. In either circumstance, greenhouse gases, other forms of destruction and human deaths and injuries all rise.

The case against reducing electricity supplies is just as clear. For example, the Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology urges a 55% cut in overall energy demand by 2030 – a goal I strongly support. It also envisages a near-doubling of electricity production. The reason is that the most viable means of decarbonising both transport and heating is to replace the fuels they use with low-carbon electricity. Cut the electricity supply and we're stuck with oil and gas. If we close down nuclear plants, we must accept an even greater expansion of renewables than currently proposed. Given the tremendous public resistance to even a modest increase in windfarms and new power lines, that's going to be tough.

What the nuclear question does is to concentrate the mind about the electricity question. Decarbonising the economy involves an increase in infrastructure. Infrastructure is ugly, destructive and controlled by remote governments and corporations. These questions are so divisive because the same world-view tells us that we must reduce emissions, defend our landscapes and resist both the state and big business. The four objectives are at odds.

But even if we can accept an expansion of infrastructure, the technocentric, carbon-counting vision I've favoured runs into trouble. The problem is that it seeks to accommodate a system that cannot be accommodated: a system that demands perpetual economic growth. We could, as Zero Carbon Britain envisages, become carbon-free by 2030. Growth then ensures that we have to address the problem all over again by 2050, 2070 and thereon after.

Accommodation makes sense only if the economy is reaching a steady state. But the clearer the vision becomes, the further away it seems. A steady state economy will be politically possible only if we can be persuaded to stop grabbing. This in turn will be feasible only if we feel more secure. But the global race to the bottom and its destruction of pensions, welfare, public services and stable employment make people less secure, encouraging us to grasp as much for ourselves as we can.

If this vision looks implausible, consider the alternatives. In the latest edition of his excellent magazine The Land, Simon Fairlie responds furiously to my suggestion that we should take industry into account when choosing our energy sources. His article exposes a remarkable but seldom noticed problem: that most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures. I'm not talking about the pointless rubbish in the FT's How To Spend It supplement. I'm talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles (except the hand-loomed tweed Fairlie suggests we wear), ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.

Are people like Fairlie really proposing that we do without them altogether? If not, what energy sources do they suggest we use? Charcoal would once again throw industry into direct competition with agriculture, spreading starvation and ensuring that manufactured products became the preserve of the very rich. (Remember, as EA Wrigley points out, that half the land surface of Britain could produce enough charcoal to make 1.25m tonnes of bar iron – a fraction of current demand – and nothing else.) An honest environmentalism needs to explain which products should continue to be manufactured and which should not, and what the energy sources for these manufactures should be.

There's a still bigger problem here: even if we make provision for some manufacturing but, like Fairlie, envisage a massive downsizing and a return to a land-based economy, how do we take people with us? Where is the public appetite for this transition?

A third group tries to avoid such conflicts by predicting that the problem will be solved by collapse: doom is our salvation. Economic collapse, these people argue, is imminent and expiatory. I believe this is wrong on both counts.

Last week something astonishing happened: Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, revealed that peak oil has already happened. "We think that the crude oil production has already peaked, in 2006." If this is true, we should be extremely angry with the IEA. In 2005 its executive director mocked those who predicted peak oil as "doomsayers". Until 2008 (two years after the IEA now says it happened) the agency continued to dismiss the possibility that peak oil would occur.

But this also raises an awkward question for us greens: why hasn't the global economy collapsed as we predicted? Yes, it wobbled, though largely for other reasons. Now global growth is back with a vengeance: it reached 4.6% last year, and the IMF predicts roughly the same for 2011 and 2012. The reason, as Birol went on to explain, is that natural gas liquids and tar sands are already filling the gap. Not only does the economy appear to be more resistant to resource shocks than we assumed, but the result of those shocks is an increase, not a decline, in environmental destruction.

The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit them) and methane clathrates. The same probably applies to almost all minerals: we will find them, but exploiting them will mean trashing an ever greater proportion of the world's surface. We have enough non-renewable resources of all kinds to complete our wreckage of renewable resources: forests, soil, fish, freshwater, benign weather. Collapse will come one day, but not before we have pulled everything down with us.

And even if there were an immediate economic cataclysm, it's not clear that the result would be a decline in our capacity for destruction. In east Africa, for example, I've seen how, when supplies of paraffin or kerosene are disrupted, people don't give up cooking; they cut down more trees. History shows us that wherever large-scale collapse has occurred, psychopaths take over. This is hardly conducive to the rational use of natural assets.

All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess. None of our chosen solutions break the atomising, planet-wrecking project. I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront. But even that could be a tall order.


Australia: Solar panel silliness slowly fading away

THE Federal Government is set to cut $1000 off the solar panel subsidy to cool an overheating market which has started to push up electricity prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the subsidy would be reduced to around $3700. "We will be announcing today a reduction in the level of Federal Government support for the installation of solar panels on people's roofs," he told ABC Radio. "However, the cut we are making still means that a subsidy of around $3700 will be available."

Mr Combet said there had been such strong demand for the solar panels that it had resulted in higher electricity prices. "The Government is very keen to take pressure off prices," he said.

The problem stems from feed-in tariffs, particularly in NSW where the former Labor government introduced a very high rate to encourage solar panel take-up, the minister said. Under feed-in tariffs people who install solar panels are paid for electricity they feed back into the electricity grid.

Mr Combet said the tariffs paid by states and territories supplemented the Federal Government subsidy to install panels and the NSW tariff had been a key driver of demand. "There just needs to be some heat taken out of that market while we still provide encouragement for people to use renewable energy in this way," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

John A said...

Climate accomodation. I suspect Mr. Monbiot is not using the word the way I do. All Gory is an accomodationist of the Green stripe, everyone who does not have his level of income should go back to burning their dung at home for heat and light.

Climate, or more generally weather, will change: accomodation to me means something along the lines [formerly?] proposed by {alas an AGW believer) Prof. Lomborg, most of which (e.g., build more nuclear power plants and distribution lines) work whether temps go up - or down.