Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ho Hum! The ocean "acidification" scare again

The Warmist claim below -- from an alleged "Science" magazine -- that CO2 Pollution could erase Coral Reefs ignores the Warmists' own theory that CO2 causes warming! A warmer ocean would hold LESS CO2 and there would therefore be LESS "acidification"! Basic physics indeed. You can demonstrate it in a school science lab using nothing more than two cans of Coke, one warm and one cold.

It's hard to get more more dishonest or impervious to facts than these ocean acidifiers but for what it is worth, there are some additional facts on their nonsense following the excerpt below

Coral reefs, nature’s most lively architecture, could come tumbling down and it could take millions of years for them to return, if carbon dioxide emissions aren’t cut quickly, scientists warned today.

The world’s oceans have absorbed 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by humans in the industrial age, but that buffering is changing the chemistry of the oceans. Already, the acidity of ocean waters, which are generally basic, has shifted about 0.1 on the pH scale, or 10 percent, since pre-industrial times, and could get far more acidic by mid-century.

In a editorial in the journal Science, the researchers also noted that unlike CO2′s climate impacts, which vary between models to some extent, ocean acidification is based on basic chemistry and is nearly sure to occur if we continue burning fossil fuels, with disastrous consequences for some marine life.

"What we’re doing in the next decade could mean that for the next two million years, there are no coral reefs in the ocean," said Ken Caldeira, a Stanford professor, and recent Wired profilee.

While most of the attention on the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions has focused on its ability to act as a greenhouse gas, that warms the earth’s climate, the changes CO2 emissions will bring to the world’s oceans are receiving increasing attention. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more of it that dissolves into surface ocean water. That small chemistry change could cause huge changes in marine biology.

Marine organisms, like coral, that build skeletons out of calcium could find themselves unable to do so. If current emissions trends continue over the next decade, the world’s marine creatures will be dealing with what’s essentially an alien ocean. The last time ocean conditions like those predicted for mid-century existed was long before humans walked the earth.


Coral reef history

Corals evolved during the Cambrian Era, when CO2 levels were eight to twenty times higher than today. The great coral reefs of the Permian era formed when CO2 was as high as 3,000 ppm CO2.

Obviously corals like high levels of CO2.


Species extinction exaggerated

Notes that: "The tropics are home to the greatest biodiversity on earth". What does that say about the effects of warming? Note that the only surviving large lizards (the Komodo dragon) are found in the tropics -- in Indonesia

A new paper finds computer models of extinction risk failed to consider that tropical species can adapt to climate change and that the models have therefore exaggerated extinction risks.

Alarmists, such as James Hansen, have claimed that 21-52% of species could be extinct due to global warming, but this new paper suggests computer models have exaggerated risks of extinction by not considering species adaptation.

In the face of a changing climate many species must adapt or perish. Ecologists studying evolutionary responses to climate change forecast that cold-blooded tropical species are not as vulnerable to extinction as previously thought. The study, published in the British Ecological Society's Functional Ecology, considers how fast species can evolve and adapt to compensate for a rise in temperature.

The research, carried out at the University of Zurich, was led by Dr Richard Walters, now at Reading University, alongside David Berger now at Uppsala University and Wolf Blanckenhorn, Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Zurich.

"Forecasting the fate of any species is difficult, but it is essential for conserving biodiversity and managing natural resources," said lead author Dr Walters.

"It is believed that climate change poses a greater risk to tropical cold-blooded organisms (ectotherms), than temperate or polar species. However, as potential adaptation to climate change has not been considered in previous extinction models we tested this theory with a model forecasting evolutionary responses."

Ectotherms, such as lizards and insects, have evolved a specialist physiology to flourish in a stable tropical environment. Unlike species which live in varied habitats tropical species operate within a narrow range of temperatures, leading to increased dangers if those temperatures change.

"When its environment changes an organism can respond by moving away, adapting its physiology over time or, over generations, evolving," said Walters. "The first two responses are easy to identify, but a species' ability to adapt quick enough to respond to climate change is an important and unresolved question for ecologists."

The team explored the idea that there are also evolutionary advantages for species adapted to warmer environments. The 'hotter is better' theory suggests that species which live in high temperatures will have higher fitness, resulting from a shorter generation time. This may allow them to evolve relatively quicker than species in temperate environments.

The team sought to directly compare the increased risk of extinction associated with lower genetic variance, owing to temperature specialisation, with the lowered risk of extinction associated with a shorter generation time.

"Our model shows that the evolutionary advantage of a shorter generation time should compensate species which are adapted to narrow temperature ranges," said Walters. "We forecast that the relative risk of extinction is likely to be lower for tropical species than temperate ones."

"The tropics are home to the greatest biodiversity on earth, so it imperative that the risk of extinction caused by climate change is understood," concluded Walters. "While many questions remain, our theoretical predictions suggest tropical species may not be as vulnerable to climate warming as previously thought."


Climate corruption in Britain

A former Tory Minister set to provide the Government with crucial advice on climate change is at the centre of a new conflict-of-interest row after it was revealed he is chairman of a consortium bidding to build one of the world’s biggest offshore windfarms.

John Selwyn Gummer, who was Environment Secretary under John Major and Agriculture Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s Government, is the newly designated chairman of the powerful Committee on Climate Change (CCC). It was set up to provide David Cameron with independent advice on energy policy and climate change.

But a Mail on Sunday investigation has learned the former MP – who became Lord Deben in 2010 – is also chairman of Forewind, a consortium trying to build thousands of turbines in the North Sea’s Dogger Bank.

The revelation follows the news that Tory MP Tim Yeo earns almost £140,000 a year from directorships with ‘green’ energy companies. He holds the posts despite chairing the influential Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, which is supposed to take a neutral view of renewable energy policy. Lord Deben was named by Mr Cameron last month as his preferred candidate to be the new CCC chairman. The body recommends targets for reducing carbon- dioxide emissions and subsidies for the ‘renewable’ energy industry.

Lord Deben already chairs Sancroft, a lobbying and consultancy firm based in Queen Anne’s Gate, Westminster. One of its specialities is advising businesses on how to make money from policies enacted to combat global warming.

Its website states: ‘Climate change will be the most disruptive influence on business. The risks it poses are immense; the potential rewards are considerable ... We show our clients how to ... make the most of quickly evolving market opportunities.’

Last night, Lord Deben insisted there was no conflict of interest. His spokeswoman said: ‘The appointment will be the subject of a parliamentary pre-appointment scrutiny hearing in September.

‘Lord Deben has provided the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Cabinet Office with a full list of his interests. If appointed, Lord Deben will put in place arrangements to avoid a conflict of interest.’ Asked whether that meant he would resign from his directorships, she said she could not comment.

The logo of the CCC states that its purpose is to act as ‘independent advisers to the UK Government on tackling and preparing for climate change’. This much-vaunted independence is the main reason its recommendations are so influential in Whitehall.

Welcoming Lord Deben’s nomination, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: ‘The CCC plays a critical role in advising the Government on the direction and progress of its energy and climate-change policies.’

The CCC has championed subsidies for wind and other renewable energy sources, stating that it should be possible for renewables to account for 45 per cent of power generation by 2030, compared with three per cent now.

Subsidies and ‘green’ levies mean domestic consumers pay on average about £100 extra a year for their energy, a figure set to increase as Britain seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Forewind is a consortium comprising the German renewable energy firm RWE, Norwegian company Statkraft, the multinational Statoil and UK-based energy firm SSE. If its Dogger Bank plans come to fruition, the wind turbine array there will cost billions of pounds.

The Mail on Sunday has established that the independence of at least three of the CCC’s six other members is also open to question.

Professor Samuel Fankhauser, an academic at the London School of Economics branch of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, is a director of Vivid Economics, a consultancy firm offering commercial advice on the effects of climate policies.

A spokesman for Prof Fankhauser refused to disclose how much he is paid by Vivid, adding that his role was ‘entirely in line with Government rules’ and there were ‘good safeguards in place to manage any possible conflicts of interest that may arise during the work of the CCC’.

The Grantham Institute is funded by Jeremy Grantham, a British-born American billionaire who runs the £100 billion hedge fund GMO. He also funds green groups such as WWF, and has strongly supported measures also advocated by the CCC, such as carbon trading.

A CCC spokeswoman said that any possible conflicts of interest would be considered by the DECC. A Department spokesman added: ‘Lord Deben has made a full declaration of his interests to the DECC and the Cabinet Office. The appointment is now subject to scrutiny by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.’

The committee’s chairman, Mr Yeo, holds paid directorships with AFC Energy, which makes fuel cells, the biofuels company TMO Renewables, and ITI Energy, which converts waste into biofuel. Asked whether he was the best person to judge whether Lord Deben had inappropriate conflicts of interest, he said only that the appointment would be ‘considered’ by his committee. As to his own interests, he said: ‘They were all disclosed when I was elected chairman.’

However, senior Conservative MP David Davis said last night: ‘Any public body set up to provide independent policy advice should be absolutely clear of any possible commercial interest in that policy. Ed Davey should look at the composition of the committee again and, if not, he should cease to claim it is independent.’


Big drop in U.S. CO2 emissions, thanks to gas from fracking

But Greenies hate fracking. There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Carbon emissions in the U.S. have hit a 20-year low due to a supposedly environmentally unfriendly drilling technique that has created an abundance of cheap natural gas. The free market, it seems, does it better than the EPA.

Environmentalists find themselves between shale rock and a hard place after a little noticed technical report documented how the natural gas boom caused by the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has actually helped the environment in a major way while also creating jobs and economic growth.

In the report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said that energy-related U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. EIA estimates that full-year emissions will be the lowest since at least 1995.

The untold story is that this has been achieved by the free market and private-sector technology, not government mandates.

Fracking is a process involving the high-pressure injection of fluids, mainly water with a few chemical additives, to fracture the porous shale rock found in huge formations in the Northeast and Rocky Mountain West. This allows the release and extraction of the oil and gas trapped inside the rock.

Environmentalists contend, without evidence, that these chemical additives will and have contaminated groundwater supplies. The mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast. Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet deep. Drinking water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep. There's a lot of solid rock between them.

Conservation efforts, the laggard economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline. But the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said. This due to the huge new supplies opened up on state and private lands by fracking.

Shale gas drilling in places like Northeast's Marcellus Shale and Eagle Ford Shale in Texas has driven the wholesale price of natural gas from $7 or $8 per unit to $3 in four years, making it cheaper to burn than coal for a given amount of energy produced.

Coal this year will account for about 37% of the nation's electricity, natural gas 30% and nuclear about 19%. Meanwhile, the much-touted wind supplied less than 3% of the nation's electricity in 2011, according to EIA data, and solar power far less.


Apocalypse not

Sometimes the news is that something was not newsworthy. The United Nation's Rio+20 conference -- 50,000 participants from 188 nations -- occurred in June, without consequences. A generation has passed since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which begat other conferences and protocols (e.g., Kyoto). And, by now, apocalypse fatigue -- boredom from being repeatedly told the end is nigh.

This began two generations ago, in 1972, when we were warned (by computer models developed at MIT) that we were doomed. We were supposed to be pretty much extinct by now, or at least miserable. We are neither. So, what when wrong?

That year begat "The Limits to Growth," a book from the Club of Rome, which called itself "a project on the predicament of mankind." It sold 12 million copies, staggered The New York Times ("one of the most important documents of our age") and argued that economic growth was doomed by intractable scarcities. Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish academic and "skeptical environmentalist," writing in Foreign Affairs, says it "helped send the world down a path of worrying obsessively about misguided remedies for minor problems while ignoring much greater concerns," such as poverty, which only economic growth can ameliorate.

MIT's models foresaw the collapse of civilization because of "nonrenewable resource depletion" and population growth. "In an age more innocent of and reverential toward computers," Lomborg writes, "the reams of cool printouts gave the book's argument an air of scientific authority and inevitability" that "seemed to banish any possibility of disagreement." Then -- as now, regarding climate change -- respect for science was said to require reverential suspension of skepticism about scientific hypotheses. Time magazine's story about "The Limits to Growth" exemplified the media's frisson of hysteria:

"The furnaces of Pittsburgh are cold; the assembly lines of Detroit are still. In Los Angeles, a few gaunt survivors of a plague desperately till freeway center strips . . . Fantastic? No, only grim inevitability if society continues its present dedication to growth and 'progress.'"

The modelers examined 19 commodities and said 12 would be gone long before now -- aluminum, copper, gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten and zinc. Lomborg says:

"Technological innovations have replaced mercury in batteries, dental fillings and thermometers, mercury consumption is down 98 percent and its price was down 90 percent by 2000. Since 1970, when gold reserves were estimated at 10,980 tons, 81,410 tons have been mined and estimated reserves are 51,000 tons. Since 1970, when known reserves of copper were 280 million tons, about 400 million tons have been produced globally and reserves are estimated at almost 700 million tons. Aluminum consumption has increased 16-fold since 1950, the world has consumed four times the 1950 known reserves, and known reserves could sustain current consumption for 177 years. Potential U.S. gas resources have doubled in the last six years. And so on."

The modelers missed something -- human ingenuity in discovering, extracting and innovating. Which did not just appear after 1972.

Aluminum, Lomborg writes, is one of earth's most common metals. But until the 1886 invention of the Hall-Heroult process, it was so difficult and expensive to extract that "Napoleon III had bars of aluminum exhibited alongside the French crown jewels, and he gave his honored guests aluminum forks and spoons while lesser visitors had to make do with gold utensils."

Forty years after "The Limits to Growth" imparted momentum to environmentalism, that impulse now is often reduced to children indoctrinated to "reduce, reuse, and recycle." Lomborg calls recycling "a feel-good gesture that provides little environmental benefit at a significant cost." He says "we pay tribute to the pagan god of token environmentalism by spending countless hours sorting, storing and collecting used paper, which, when combined with government subsidies, yields slightly lower-quality paper in order to secure a resource" -- forests -- "that was never threatened in the first place."

In 1980, economist Julian Simon made a wager in the form of a complex futures contract. He bet Paul Ehrlich (whose 1968 book "The Population Bomb" predicted "hundreds of millions of people" would starve to death in the 1970s as population growth swamped agricultural production) that by 1990 the price of any five commodities Ehrlich and his advisers picked would be lower than in 1980. Ehrlich's group picked five metals. All were cheaper in 1990.

The bet cost Ehrlich $576.07. But that year he was awarded a $345,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant and half of the $240,000 Crafoord Prize for ecological virtue. One of Ehrlich's advisers, John Holdren, is Barack Obama's science adviser.



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