Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Germany's alternative to nuclear power

And it's only One And Half Years Old!

Story HERE

A most interesting new paper

It does two things that most Warmists avoid or deny: Admit that there has been no global temperature rise in the 21st century and that natural factors play a big role in global temperature variations -- as big a role as their theorized CO2 effect. Excerpt only below. Key point: They say that aerosols from coal burning have cancelled out the CO2 effect. Yet the data show NO rise in global aerosols

A new paper has been published in PNAS entitled “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008.”


Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consis- tent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.

The key argument in their paper is that an increase in coal burning (primarily in China) has increased atmospheric sulfate concentration with a resulting global cooling effect.

Aerosol forcing

Sulfate from coal burning is but one source of atmospheric aerosol. AGW Observer provides a recent list of papers on aerosol forcing observations. See especially the Remer et al. paper, Fig 5, which shows no trend in global aerosol optical depth during the period 2000-2006. A plot for East Asia also shows no trend regional aerosol optical depth.

I also checked to see what CMIP5 is using for aerosol forcing, see here, but there doesn’t seem to be any simple way to visualize whatever is being used. I found a paper by Jones et al., see Fig. 10, that appears to be the CMIP5 aerosol forcing. Looking at the black curves (historical, to 2005), it is seen that sulfur dioxide emissions peaked during 1960-1980, and then have steadily decreased (a tiny uptick after 2005 is seen in some of the future scenarios). Fossil fuel black carbon has shown a stead increase since 1950, as has fossil fuel organic carbon. I don’t seen any signal in the total aerosol emissions that resembles the coal emissions with a flat trajectory since 1985 and an uptick after 2004 (although the historical data ends in 2005).

Judith Curry comments: Their argument is totally unconvincing to me. However, the link between flat/cooling global temperature and increased coal burning in China is certainly an interesting argument from a political perspective. The scientific motivation for this article seems to be that that scientists understand the evolution of global temperature forcing and that the answer is forced variability (not natural internal variability), and this explanation of the recent lack of warming supports a similar argument for the cooling between 1940 and 1970. The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyways.

And finally, with the civil heretic discussion fresh in my mind, I checked the personal web pages of each of the co-authors: Robert K. Kaufmann, Heikki Kauppi, Michael L. Mann (not Michael E. Mann, of hockeystick fame), and James H. Stock. These authors (individually and collectively) apparently know a heck of a lot less about atmospheric aerosols (i.e. pretty much nothing) than Freeman Dyson knows about climate change. The authors don’t seem to know much about attribution, either.


Scottish government signals end to nuclear power opposition

Energy minister says SNP is 'perfectly open' to extending the life of existing nuclear power stations

The Scottish government has shifted away from its hardline opposition to nuclear power after the energy minister said there was a "rational case" for extending the life of Scotland's two nuclear plants.

Fergus Ewing, the energy minister, told MSPs on Thursday that the Scottish National party (SNP) government was "perfectly open" to the continued use of Hunterston and Torness power stations, to ensure there was security of supply.

The Conservative opposition and environmental campaigners said this was a marked change in the government's stance, as the SNP has been opposed to the entire principle of nuclear power, a policy long regarded as a strict article of faith for its activists and many backbenchers.

Environment campaigners were stunned by Ewing's statement, claiming it undermined his statements last month that nuclear energy had no future after the Fukushima disaster and after Germany's announcement it was to phase out nuclear power.

They added that Alex Salmond had led the SNP to a landslide victory in the Scottish elections in May partly on a promise that 100% of Scotland's domestic electricity needs would be met by renewable energy by 2020.

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland, said the minister's statement was "deeply disturbing and utterly disappointing."

He added: "Fergus Ewing's statement to the Scottish parliament that the SNP is now 'perfectly open' to extending the life of Scotland's nuclear power stations can only be interpreted as a significant policy shift. The SNP has always been viewed as anti-nuclear and I'm sure many SNP voters will feel quite misled when they learn that this is not the case anymore."

In a joint letter they only recently sent to Ewing, FoE Scotland, WWF Scotland and Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland urged the minister to oppose plans to extend the life of two reactors at Hunterston B until 2021 or 2026 which are now being drawn up by its operator EDF.

They said that Hunterston B, on the coast of Ayrshire, will be 40 years old when its current licence runs out in 2016. It was already the focus of safety concerns, and the campaigners urged Ewing to commission an independent review of the risks of continuing to operate its reactors.

Scotland's newest nuclear power station at Torness near Edinburgh, which had to be shut down this week because of sudden influx of jellyfish around its water intake pipe, is due to operate until 2023.

Ewing's statement implied the SNP would also accept extending Torness's life further until the late 2020s or beyond, making the SNP's opposition to new nuclear power stations largely meaningless.

Jackson Carlaw, the Conservative climate change spokesman, said: "This is an unexpected yet welcome U-turn from the SNP government. Coming after years of uncompromising anti-nuclear rhetoric, I suspect it is one they will not wish to be reminded of too often.

"For so long the SNP has repeatedly set its face against any on-going role for nuclear to secure both a low carbon solution and a continuity of energy supply throughout this decade, voting against a Scottish Conservative amendment to achieve just that only a few weeks ago."

Ewing, speaking in a Holyrood debate on his government's new "route map" for achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2020, said his government was still opposed to building any new power stations.

The minister, appointed to the energy post after Salmond's landslide victory in the May Scottish elections, said: "Turning to the question about the extension of the life of nuclear power stations, that is something which we accept should be considered rationally.

"We are perfectly open to an extension of the life of the existing nuclear power stations provided that case is justified on economic and environmental grounds and therefore we recognise that that case exists and it exists because of the need to secure security of supply. "That is something that we have always recognised whilst we are opposed clearly to building new nuclear power stations."

A Scottish government spokesman denied there had been any change in policy. He said the SNP government had always accepted that the life of Hunterston and Torness could be extended, and had said so when the plans for Hunterston were outlined in 2007.

He added that the devolved parliament at Holyrood had no power to prevent the licence of an existing nuclear station from being extended, as that authority rested with the UK government. It could only block new nuclear plants through the planning process.


Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity

During the past 6-years since Hurricane Katrina, global tropical cyclone frequency and energy have decreased dramatically, and are currently at near-historical record lows. According to a new peer-reviewed research paper accepted to be published, only 69 tropical storms were observed globally during 2010, the fewest in almost 40-years of reliable records.

Furthermore, when each storm's intensity and duration were taken into account, the total global tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) was found to have fallen by half to the lowest level since 1977.

In his new paper, "Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity", Dr. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist from Florida State University, examined the last 40-years of global hurricane records and found strikingly large variability in both tropical cyclone frequency and energy from year-to-year. Since 2007, global tropical cyclone activity has decreased dramatically and has continued at near-historical low levels. Indeed, only 64 tropical cyclones were observed globally in the 12-months from June 2010 - May 2011, nearly 23-storms below average obliterating the previous record low set in 1977.

On average, the North Atlantic including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea accounts for about 1/8 of total global tropical cyclone energy and frequency. However in 2010, the Atlantic saw 19 tropical storms, of which 12 became hurricanes as expected (and forecasted) due to the intense La Nina event and continued positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The Atlantic Ocean's accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) corresponded to about 1/3 of the global calendar year output while the Western North Pacific typhoon season experienced a record few number. Seasonal forecasters of Atlantic hurricanes expect a similar but somewhat tempered outcome for the 2011 season, which has yet to get underway.

While the North Atlantic continued a 16-year period of above-normal activity in 2010, the North Pacific including the warm tropical waters from China to Mexico experienced the quietest tropical cyclone season in at least 40-years of historical records. Similarly, the most recent Southern Hemisphere cyclone season, except for the disastrous impacts of Yasi, was also notably below average. All told through June 27, 2011, overall global accumulated cyclone energy and frequency has settled into a period of record inactivity.


Proof that the British Government is tilting at windmills

The policy on which our national energy strategy is now centred is a ludicrously expensive, self-defeating joke, says Christopher Booker.

In the week when it was reported that 20 per cent of the EU's fast-soaring, trillion-euro budget may soon be spent on "fighting climate change", it was timely that Britain's energy companies should have met with the Department of Energy and Climate Change to raise one of the best-hidden secrets of our Government's obsession with wind power.

Centrica and other energy companies last week told DECC that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for all those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce even less power than usual.

We will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional £10 billion on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on "spinning reserve", 24 hours a day, just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines. This is that their power continually fluctuates anywhere between full capacity to zero (where it often stood last winter, when national electricity demand was at a peak). So unless back-up power is instantly available to match any shortfall, the lights will go out.

Two things make this even more absurd. One, as the energy companies pointed out to DECC, is that it will be amazingly costly and wildly uneconomical, since the dedicated power plants will often have to run at a low rate of efficiency, burning gas but not producing electricity. This will add billions more to our fuel bills for no practical purpose. The other absurdity, as recent detailed studies have confirmed, is that gas-fired power stations running on "spinning reserve" chuck out much more CO2 than when they are running at full efficiency – thus negating any savings in CO2 emissions supposedly achieved by the windmills themselves.

Is there no longer anyone around at DECC who is familiar with these very basic practical points? The policy on which our national energy strategy is now centred is a ludicrously expensive, self-defeating joke, which will achieve no benefits whatever – even if you are among the diminishing number of people who still believe that man-made CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change.

Unfortunately, among those still in the grip of these fantasies are David Cameron, Chris Huhne and the EU, who between them are now responsible for Britain's energy policy. I'm afraid we are in the hands of very dangerous children, upon whose deranged wishful thinking a large part of our country's future depends.


'Petty thief' lifts LNP climate stance

The headline above and the text below are a classical example of the Green/Left playing the man and not the ball -- what logicians call an "ad hominem" fallacy.

President Klaus obviously did NOT steal ANYTHING under the glare of the TV lights. He assumed the pen was swag -- as pens are in fact the most common form of swag. I have some myself. The other vague accusations are equally poorly founded

Note that not one word of anything that Klaus has ever said was quoted. The article is pure schoolboy sniggering

Background: The LNP is the main conservative party in my home State of Queensland. Campbell Newman is its leader

AN EASTERN European President accused of having sticky fingers, being a serial adulterer and having had links to secret police is now the Liberal National Party's latest weapon against climate change scientists.

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus will address an audience in Brisbane next month about the scientific flaws behind global warming.

Queensland LNP Senator Ron Boswell will introduce the colourful President at the $160-plate lunch hosted by conservative think-tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.Queensland LNP leader Campbell Newman said he would not attend the event, but Treasurer Andrew Fraser pounced on the revelations, labelling the LNP as "environmental Neanderthals".

Brochures obtained by The Sunday Mail show pictures of a smiling Senator Boswell, who has questioned man-made climate change, and a stern-looking President Klaus.

Hailed as "the world's leading critic of global warming ideology", President Klaus became an internet sensation earlier this year when he was spotted pocketing a jewel-encrusted pen during a press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Footage went viral when Czech TV broadcast the video of their leader, who was clearly taken with the pen. The station put red circles and arrows highlighting the pen as it was taken from the case and shuffled to both hands behind his back until it reached his pocket. It was posted online with a "crime scene" soundtrack, media reports said.

Overseas newspapers have revealed his affairs with younger women and his alleged former job with the secret police.

President Klaus's visit will come just weeks after UK climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton likened Australian economist Ross Garnaut to Hitler for his views on implementing measures to tackle climate change. He later apologised.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet refused to attack the Czech Republic President but he took a swipe at Coalition MPs who refused to accept the science.

Mr Fraser said Mr Newman only believed in climate change when he was in Brisbane. "As soon as he steps west of the Great Dividing Range, the man channels (LNP Senator) Barnaby Joyce and becomes a sceptic," he said. "People are entitled to their views on climate change but it's hard to cop when the LNP has more than one."

Mr Newman said he welcomed all debate about climate change.



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