Sunday, January 27, 2013
Sophisticated Norwegian study scales back the scare
After taking the 21st century into account -- and effectively admitting that past model projections were radically wrong. But if they were all wrong, how can we have any confidence in any such predictions?
Policymakers are attempting to contain global warming at less than 2°C. New estimates from a Norwegian project on climate calculations indicate this target may be more attainable than many experts have feared.
Internationally renowned climate researcher Caroline Leck of Stockholm University has evaluated the Norwegian project and is enthusiastic.
“These results are truly sensational,” says Dr Leck. “If confirmed by other studies, this could have far-reaching impacts on efforts to achieve the political targets for climate.”
Temperature rise is levelling off
After Earth’s mean surface temperature climbed sharply through the 1990s, the increase has levelled off nearly completely at its 2000 level. Ocean warming also appears to have stabilised somewhat, despite the fact that CO2 emissions and other anthropogenic factors thought to contribute to global warming are still on the rise.
It is the focus on this post-2000 trend that sets the Norwegian researchers’ calculations on global warming apart.
Sensitive to greenhouse gases
Climate sensitivity is a measure of how much the global mean temperature is expected to rise if we continue increasing our emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human activity. A simple way to measure climate sensitivity is to calculate how much the mean air temperature will rise if we were to double the level of overall CO2 emissions compared to the world’s pre-industrialised level around the year 1750.
If we continue to emit greenhouse gases at our current rate, we risk doubling that atmospheric CO2 level in roughly 2050.
A number of factors affect the formation of climate development. The complexity of the climate system is further compounded by a phenomenon known as feedback mechanisms, i.e. how factors such as clouds, evaporation, snow and ice mutually affect one another.
Uncertainties about the overall results of feedback mechanisms make it very difficult to predict just how much of the rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature is due to manmade emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the climate sensitivity to doubled atmospheric CO2 levels is probably between 2°C and 4.5°C, with the most probable being 3°C of warming.
In the Norwegian project, however, researchers have arrived at an estimate of 1.9°C as the most likely level of warming.
Manmade climate forcing
“In our project we have worked on finding out the overall effect of all known feedback mechanisms,” says project manager Terje Berntsen, who is a professor at the University of Oslo’s Department of Geosciences and a senior research fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO). The project has received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme on Climate Change and its Impacts in Norway (NORKLIMA).
“We used a method that enables us to view the entire earth as one giant ‘laboratory’ where humankind has been conducting a collective experiment through our emissions of greenhouse gases and particulates, deforestation, and other activities that affect climate.”
For their analysis, Professor Berntsen and his colleagues entered all the factors contributing to human-induced climate forcings since 1750 into their model. In addition, they entered fluctuations in climate caused by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity. They also entered measurements of temperatures taken in the air, on ground, and in the oceans.
The researchers used a single climate model that repeated calculations millions of times in order to form a basis for statistical analysis. Highly advanced calculations based on Bayesian statistics were carried out by statisticians at the Norwegian Computing Center.
2000 figures make the difference
When the researchers at CICERO and the Norwegian Computing Center applied their model and statistics to analyse temperature readings from the air and ocean for the period ending in 2000, they found that climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration will most likely be 3.7°C, which is somewhat higher than the IPCC prognosis.
But the researchers were surprised when they entered temperatures and other data from the decade 2000-2010 into the model; climate sensitivity was greatly reduced to a “mere” 1.9°C.
Professor Berntsen says this temperature increase will first be upon us only after we reach the doubled level of CO2 concentration (compared to 1750) and maintain that level for an extended time, because the oceans delay the effect by several decades.
Lovelock realizes that Greenies are ENEMIES of the environment
James Lovelock has written a letter of objection regarding a windfarm development in Devon (see link below for the whole thing). This bit strikes me as important.
"I am an environmentalist and founder member ofthe Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation."
As Phillip Bratby puts it, there are strong shades of Patrick Moore's regrets over the monster he created in Greenpeace. One might add that another parallel would be Mark Lynas's regrets over his anti-GMO activism.
I've said it before, but the damage done by environmentalists to the environment is beyond estimation.
Greece Shows Us How Poverty Degrades the Environment
By Iain Murray
Environmentalists' hearts surely rose when they read recently Greek air pollution levels had decreased by 40 percent from 2008 levels thanks to the ongoing recession there. Fewer people were using their cars or trucks, and, as a result, levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the air had plummeted.
But those gains have been reduced and then some. In fact, Greece recently has seen a massive increase in smog, which reminds us it is poverty that truly drives environmental damage.
Smog has been a particular problem this year in major cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki. But high smog levels have been reported all over Greece -- including the Peloponnese and Attica. Yet this isn't the sort of smog we worry about in American cities. It's an older, cruder, almost forgotten form here, reminiscent of the days of London's pea-soupers. The Greek smog is a result of the increased burning of wood as household fuel, and it has massively increased levels of pollutants. The average level of particulate matter in London fell from around 160 micrograms per cubic meter to less than 20 between 1961 and 1998, so successful was the industrialized west at cleaning up its act. The current levels in Greece are reaching 300 micrograms per cubic meter.
There will be substantial health effects from this increase in pollution back to dangerous levels. A London "black fog" in 1952 killed 4,000 people. Current Greek smog levels are fast approaching that level of danger. Moreover, the effects of such a lasting smog would be borne more by the poorest. As Greek commentator Nikos Konstandaras describes the smog:
"This new plague appears to be democratic, spreading out all over Athens's coastal basin, over the center and suburbs, over rich and poor, over young and old, natives and immigrants... But the veneer of universality is thin -- again it is the poor who suffer most: They live on lower floors, where the toxins congregate, they are forced to burn whatever they find, huddling around open fires and buckets of embers. They will not be able to send vulnerable family members to the countryside."
Not only is the smog destructive of the atmosphere, it is destructive of forests. Greeks have been forced by the high prices of home heating oil -- of which a large proportion is government-imposed taxes -- to use wood for fuel, and much of that wood is gathered illegally. The Greek environment ministry estimates more than 13,000 tons of wood was harvested illegally in 2012.
What we are seeing is Greece retreating back up the slope of what is known as the Environmental Kuznets curve. This model theorizes that, as a civilization starts to use natural resources, it increases its impact on the environment until it reaches a stage where it becomes more efficient to reduce its impact, This is why the richest societies generally also are the cleanest. Wealthier is healthier for the environment. That's exactly what we saw in the decreases in smog levels in the west over the last century.
Greece is regressing. As it becomes poorer, its environment suffers more. The Greek financial crisis has been a disaster in many more ways than first thought. Two particular factors have combined here. The massive overspending by the Greek state could not be corrected by devaluation as Greece is part of the Eurozone. This has led to a massive wealth contraction within Greece, which has meant people do not have as much to spend on fuel. Secondly, the Greek government, as part of its austerity program, has relied heavily on raising taxes on energy -- home heating fuel and electricity especially. The result has been the increased reliance on wood and the looming environmental disaster.
If you ever needed an illustration of why affordable energy is important for the environment, Greece provides it. Poverty, on the other hand, is one of the worst enemies the environment can have.
I don't want to buy any windmills and I don't want to buy any solar panels. Most especially though - I don't want to pay for other people to buy them either. But my government is taking my money and giving it to them. I don't like that. I don't like it one bit. If hippie greenies are foolhardy enough to pay more for their heat and electricity because it's "green," they're free to do that. It would be none of my business as long as I didn't have to pay for their silliness.
I don't want to buy an electric car either - and I don't want to pay for other people to buy them. But again, my government is taking my money and giving it to people who manufacture those cars - and more of my money to still other people who buy them. I don't like that. It annoys me greatly.
There are lots of reasons why windmills don't cut it as a power source, but the biggest is this: calm days. Sometimes the wind doesn't blow. Sometimes it doesn't blow for several days running. Ergo, no electricity. Whatever activities require it are not possible until the wind blows again whenever that may be. Sailboats have the same trouble; that's why they're only used for recreation now.
Here's why solar panels don't cut it: the sun doesn't shine at night and days are often cloudy. What do we do on calm, cloudy days? We have to use the good old coal, oil, or natural gas generators. We have to keep that whole infrastructure in place and maintained on calm, cloudy days. Hippie greenies haven't solved those problems and probably never will, but that doesn't stop them from voting for "green" politicians who siphon money from my pocket to pay for their ridiculous notions.
There's yet another major problem with windmills: When the wind blows hard for a day or two, the power generated - which the electricity utility is forced by government to buy at above-market rates no less - could burn up the whole grid causing extensive, long-term blackouts! Because of this, Maine utility companies have to spend $1.4 billion to beef up transmissions lines against those windmill surges driving up their transmission rates by 19.6% as of July 1, 2012. Transmission costs are about half my total monthly electric bill here in western Maine. In spite of enormous, long-term government subsidies - money from me and you, that is - windmills remain the most expensive way to generate electricity by far, and there's nothing on the horizon to indicate that will ever change.
I have a generator to use when the grid shuts down, but I don't want to generate my own power because it's cheaper and more reliable to buy it from Central Maine Power (CMP). However, even when I send checks to CMP each month, much of that money goes to greenies and their windmills. That's because CMP is forced by government to buy excess power from their windmills whether it's needed or not and at inflated price as well! That means self-righteous hippie greenies can buy power at market rates when the wind doesn't blow - and sell it at above-market rates when it does. This infuriates me.
I don't want ethanol in my gasoline either, but I cannot buy gasoline that doesn't contain it. Hippie greenies have forced that on me too. Worse, government is making me pay for ethanol even though it costs more than gasoline - and I get less energy from it. I have to pay for its subsidies in my taxes and I have to pay for it again when I pump it into my gas tank. I know government does dumb things, but I especially hate it when it forces me to cooperate in its stupidity. We've known since at least 2005 that it takes at least 29% more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than you get from it when you burn it. Worse still, it damages small engines like my chainsaws, lawnmowers, four-wheelers, generators, and every other small gasoline engine most of us have. Can we please, please stop this ethanol craziness? Please?
Maine's Governor LePage is negotiating with Quebec Hydro to buy cheaper, more reliable electricity, but his biggest opponents are the hippie greenies who want to keep their windmill gravy train rolling here. Since the November election, they're back in control of Maine's legislature and likely to thwart LePage's efforts. Greenies love President Obama because he wasted somewhere between $80 billion and $90 billion of taxpayer money on "Green Energy" development, while doing his best to shut down cheaper, more reliable, more dependable sources of energy from fossil fuels.
Looks like I'll be forced to subsidize all this greenie government foolishness for the next several years at least. Sometimes I wish I were as stupid as they are, because then it wouldn't all piss me off so much.
Desperately Trying to Derail Canadian Oil Sands
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved his state’s portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, explaining that its revised route avoids areas that critics had earlier claimed were environmentally sensitive.
The Alberta-to-Texas pipeline would create more than 5,500 Nebraska jobs during its construction period and support 1,000 permanent jobs through 2030. During the project’s lifetime, KXL would generate $950 million in labor income, $130 million in property, sales and other state and local taxes, and $679 million for the state’s gross domestic product, by bringing Canadian oil sands petroleum to Texas refineries.
President Obama’s second term agenda, continued viability of Medicare and Social Security programs, and America’s economy and environment need the pipeline and oil even more than Nebraska does.
The pipeline and Alberta petroleum could mean $45 billion per year by 2035 in increased goods and services, up to 465,000 more jobs in the 2,000 American companies that already support oil sands operations or utilize the hydrocarbons in motor fuel and petrochemical manufacturing – and billions in annual state and federal tax revenues. While all fifty states would realize employment and economic gains, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, New York, Montana and Michigan would benefit most (in that order) from this job and economic activity, the Canadian Energy Research Institute calculates.
Canada has an estimated 169 billion barrels of oil sands fuel that can be recovered economically with today’s technology – 20% by mining and 80% via in situ drilling and steam injection. Much of this oil is destined for the United States via the KXL pipeline, to replace similar heavy crude that we now import from Mexico and Venezuela, and oil from other nations that have much lower environmental standards and far worse human rights records than Canada, including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia, Iraq and Algeria.
During a recent tour of the mining and in situ operations, I smelled no hydrocarbons, learned that fresh water use is declining and water recycling has risen to 80-95 percent, and hiked through former mine sites that have been restored to beautiful lakes, creeks, forests … and grasslands where wild buffalo roam. Most oil sands will not be mined, however – but produced by drilling wells hundreds of feet deep, injecting steam to melt the bitumen, and collecting it in other pipes several feet below the steam pipes. Multiple wells are drilled from each widely separated site, and each is also reclaimed when the oil is recovered.
Oil sands production contributes only 0.14% of global greenhouse gases, Environment Canada notes, and would add only 0.00001 degrees C per year to global warming. Production-to-automotive-use CO2/GHG emissions for oil sands crude are on par with crude from Nigeria, America’s third biggest supplier.
All this has prompted oil sands and pipeline opponents to generate press releases and new “scientific reports,” in a desperate attempt to derail KXL permits, by raising scary sounding ecological issues.
* Assorted “experts” persist in trying to blame global warming and climate change for forest fires, droughts, floods, heat waves and even Hurricane Sandy – and say oil sands will somehow worsen these problems. But our planet hasn’t warmed in 16 years, US hurricanes are at one of their lowest cyclical ebb since the Civil War, humanity has confronted forest fires and severe weather events repeatedly throughout our history, and Sandy’s hardly unprecedented pounding of New York City was compounded by numerous ill-considered decisions by its political leaders.
* The anti-hydrocarbon group Oil Change International claims petroleum coke produced in the oil sands process is not fully accounted for in GHG analyses and will hasten global warming. However, “pet coke” burned as fuel in the Alberta oil sands operations is already included in GHG emission analyses. It is a byproduct of all heavy oil refining, so the Canadian variety simply displaces Mexican and Venezuelan pet coke. And most oil sands output is “upgraded” to medium weight oil for pipelining, by removing carbon and adding hydrogen – with the carbon stored onsite for later sale to manufacturers and other users.
* Scientists from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, say aromatic hydrocarbon levels have increased in the sediments of several Alberta lakes since oil sands development began in the 1960s. Various media stories claimed the study is another “blow to the Keystone pipeline.” The media spin is a bit far-fetched.
First, these hydrocarbon levels are rather typical of remote Alberta lakes, and are well below what is found in lakes near Canada’s urban areas. Second, the measured changes are 25 to 50 nanograms – parts per billion – the equivalent of 25-50 seconds in 32 years, or up to 50 billionths of a fifth of a teaspoon of water. Survey instruments could not even measure these amounts several decades ago, and even the scientists offered no evidence to suggest that such levels constitute an actual problem.
Second, while the hydrocarbons could have come from airborne pollution from oil sands production, they could also have come from conifer forest fires, or increasing boat and seaplane traffic on the lakes. The reported increases could even have resulted from contaminated samples, collecting gear or lab instruments, due to fuel sheens on the lake surface, oils on upper sediment levels, reused lab equipment, or even sunscreen or lotion on technicians’ hands. “Parts per billion” is tiny, and contamination a constant issue.
Finally, the researchers also noted that algae, photosynthesis and nutrient levels in the lakes have increased since the late 1970s, partly as a result of “climate warming” that began when Earth emerged from its 1942-1976 cooling period. This also increased algae-eating zooplankton populations. The lakes are healthy!
In short, the benefits of the oil sands and Keystone pipeline are clear. The downsides are minimal, exaggerated or imaginary. And the alternatives to oil sands are far worse for people and planet.
As analyst and author Indur Goklany demonstrates in his book, The Improving State of the World, we are living longer, healthier, more comfortable and productive lives – on a cleaner planet – than even kings and queens dreamed of 150 years ago. As he explains in his latest paper, “Humanity Unbound,” a major reason is fossil fuels, which have “saved humanity from nature, and nature from humanity.”
Oil sands are a crucial component of the energy revolution that could generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic benefits and tax revenues, resurrect US steel and manufacturing industries, make North American largely energy independent, and enhance our national security.
We cannot afford to turn our backs on this – especially with 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, 47 million on food stamps, 128 million dependent on various government programs, and the nation $16 trillion in debt. This is unsustainable, and driving the USA toward Greece and Europe.
Equally unsustainable are policies advanced in name of preventing climate change. As Austrian film maker and environmentalist Ulrich Eichelmann explains in his new documentary, these Climate Crimes are “killing nature.” Dams are flooding vast ecological preserves to generate hydroelectric power; corn and other monoculture crops are destroying vital habitats; and German, Greek and other European families that can no longer afford heating oil and electricity are chopping down forests for firewood.
Here in the United States, thousands of monstrous wind turbines are butchering 13,000,000 to 39,000,000 birds and bats every year – including eagles, hawks, whooping cranes and other essential and endangered species. And yet the US Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to investigate or prosecute industrial wind operators for this horrific slaughter, and even assists in the flagrant deception and cover-up.
But the programs continue, thanks to billions of taxpayer dollars poured annually into Solyndra and other “green” schemes and bankruptcies, and despite scandals like miraculous Euro solar panels that generate electricity even at 2:00 am, US programs that turn janitors, bus drivers and paper cup makers into “green job” recipients and, not surprisingly, mafia involvement in Italy’s wind and solar escapades.
President Obama has a perfect opportunity to restore ethics and common sense to America’s energy and environmental policies. Our planet and children hope he makes the right choice and says Yes to Keystone.
Warmist assumptions infect instrumentation
Professor Claes Johnson, a skeptic of man-made global warming claims, says he has found a fatal flaw in key instrumentation that supposedly measures, and thus proves, the radiation emitted because of of the “greenhouse gas effect” (GHE) which is calibrated in Watts.These instruments are used for scientific measurements of outdoor downward atmospheric long-wave radiation- the supposed source of the GHE’s added heating mechanism. Johnson performed detailed research into the thermometers of one leading manufacturers of IRT’s Kipp&Zonen pyrgeometers, with their model CGR 4. Kipp & Zonen describe their CGR4 thermometers as having “extremely high reliability and accuracy.” But as Johnson discovered, this is a bogus and perhaps intentionally fraudulent claim.
The stunned professor laments, “There is no reason to believe that the fabricated "radiance product" has anything to do with reality. There is good reason to believe that we the people are deceived by government scientists. But if science can be used to deceive, science can also be used to reveal deception.”
Sweden’s most cited math professor says, “We read that the pyrgeometer measures a voltage proportional to net absorbed radiation, from which "by calculation" a quantity named "downward long-wave radiation DLR" is derived.” But is it?
Johnson tells us that the basic idea for a GHE measurement is from "atmospheric re-emission" by in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), which is claimed to be a "greenhouse gas.” By using the CGR4 thermometer it is possible to see a warming effect from DLR of about 4 W/srm2 per micrometer at a wavelength of 15 micrometer where the trace gas CO2 is emitting/absorbing.
However, after carefully crunching the numbers Johnson has spotted a monumental error. The pyrometer has been calibrated using a bungled calculation of the Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) Law. The Swedish math professor from RTH claims, “The consequences for climate alarmism, and Kipp&Zonen are far-reaching.”
Digging deeper Johnson found that the S-B numbers Kipp&Zonen (and other manufacturers) used were taken from Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation issued by the World Meteorological Organization (section 7.4.3 formula (7.17). However, the Swedish math genius uncovered that “No scientific reference to (7.17) is given by WMO. So Kipp&Zonen uses a formula issued by WMO without scientific support.”
But it gets worse! The WMO admit this whole area of science is not actually known. In section 7.4.3 of their aforementioned document the WMO claimed that: “Over the last decade, significant advances have been made in the measurement of terrestrial radiation by pyrgeometers, which block out solar radiation. Nevertheless, the measurement of terrestrial radiation is still more difficult and less understood than the measurement of solar irradiance.”
The big question Johnson now poses is who is responsible for this deception? “ I think this is an interesting case concerning the responsibility of scientists and scientific institutions, and commercial actors relying on the science. It is clear that in medicine or building technology there are those who are held responsible. It must be so also in atmospherics science. I will ask WMO for the scientific source and report the answer,” said the professor.
If the WMO now decline to give Johnson a straight answer and admit to these serious flaws then once again we shall see how the man-made global warming fraud is sustained by a coterie of self-serving participants. Johnson asks the question: “Can the WMO be sued for distributing science which is admittedly not understood but which they say is valid simply by referring to measurements made by a pyrgeometer using the WMO formula?” if the WMO are allowed to get away with this con trick of circular reasoning then any formula can be validated this way.
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Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. 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 and here
Posted by JR at 1:43 PM