Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Denial is not just a river in Egypt

Denial is not just  a river in Egypt

Sigmund Freud identified denial as one of the maladaptive defence mechanisms that people use to cope with unwelcome truths.  And few people can have as many unwelcome truths to face as Warmists -- starting with the fact that there IS no warming going on.

So what do you do when you are an elderly Irish engineer fronting a "renewable" power company which depends on Warmist scare stories for most of it business?  You put on a nice suit and assure people with great aplomb that "There's no such thing as a climate change skeptic".

Almost the whole of the conservative side of politics ceases to exist with the wave of a hand!  I doubt that Freud ever saw a case of denial on that scale!

You can hear that good ol' Irish charmer (Eddie O’Connor, Ceo of Mainstream Renewable Power) right here:

Everything he says is either irrelevant or false but he says it well


The "shrinking" scare again

Every now and again this one pops up:  Animals (including us) are allegedly going to shrink as the earth gets warmer.  We may become hobbits!  The grain of truth in the scare is that nutritional deficiency does stunt growth.  But to assume that a warmer world will have less food is heroic.  And in fact during very warm  periods in the geologic past we had the dinosaurs -- some of whom were very large indeed.  We have no land animals of that size today. From Paleontology we could well argue that warming will make us LARGER!

The authors below do try to attach some data to their theory but appear to have looked at temperature only -- embracing the blissful fallacy that correlation is causation.  They overlook third and fourth factors that might intervene in the relationship -- for instance the proliferation of species -- large and small -- in warmer climates.  More species should mean more competition for food so members of any given species may get less of it.  These guys are just not serious scientists.  But which Warmists are?

America’s cattle herds will shrink – not in number, but in weight and yield – as the climate warms, according to new research that delivers an ominous warning for farmers.

An extensive study of bison − those great wild cattle that evolved to graze the prairies of North America − has confirmed that animals from warmer, drier grasslands weigh considerably less on average than those from cool, wet ranges.

Joseph Craine, a researcher from Kansas State University’s Division of Biology, reports in the Public Library of Science journal PloS One that he analysed weight, age and sex data from 290,000 animals in 22 herds throughout the US.

He found that the average seven-year-old male bison in South Dakota weighed 856kg (around 1900lbs), while counterparts in Oklahoma clocked in at 596kg (1300lbs).

The difference in mean annual temperature between the two ranges was 11°C, and the two sets of values told an ominous story of change in a warming world − not just for wild bison, but also for domestic cattle.

The research is in line with other findings this year. As reported in January, evidence from 55 million years ago − when the world warmed by 6°C – was unearthed during drilling in the National Science Foundation’s Bighorn Basin Coring Project in Wyoming. It indicated that animal size tended to dwindle with rising temperatures, almost certainly in response to changes in nutritional value.

The implication that mammals could dwarf and humans shrink towards hobbit-like stature under a changing climate was tragically confirmed by a study of body heights among children in north-east Brazil.

In response to near-starvation conditions, children who were brought up on a diet of rats, snakes and cacti reached an average adult size of only 1.35 metres (4ft 6ins).


Corn crop would not be reduced by the Warmist temperature rise

Discussing: Butler, E.E. and Huybers, P. 2013. Adaptation of US maize to temperature variations. Nature Climate Change 3: 68-72.

In the words of Butler and Huybers (2013), "high temperatures are associated with reduced crop yields, and predictions for future warming have raised concerns regarding future productivity and food security." More specifically, they note that "global maize yields are forecast to decline in response to increasing temperature, particularly as the upper range of growing season temperatures becomes hotter," citing Schlenker and Roberts (2006), Easterling et al. (2007), Lobell and Field (2007), Battisti (2009), Lobell et al. (2011) and Roberts and Schlenker (2011).

However, they caution that "the extent to which adaptation can mitigate such heat-related losses remains unclear," and they thus proceed to present some much-needed clarity on this subject by empirically demonstrating how maize is locally adapted to hot temperatures across a subset of 1,013 US counties, after which they used this spatial adaptation "as a surrogate for future adaptation," noting that "US corn hybrids have a product half-life of about 4 years, suggesting sufficiently rapid turnover to adapt to decadal changes in climate."

With the help of this adaptation phenomenon, the two researchers determined that (1) "losses to average US maize yields from a 2°C warming would be reduced from 14% to only 6%," and that (2) "loss in net production is wholly averted." As for a few specifics on the matter, they indicate that under the 2°C warming scenario, "Minnesota stands to increase yields by 11%; the yield losses from northern Ohio west to northern Missouri are nearly eliminated; and North Carolina, Georgia and east Texas reduce losses from 49% without adaptation to 39% with it."

In the concluding paragraph of their report, Butler and Huybers write that "losses to US maize yield from increased temperature," such as those suggested by Schlenker and Roberts (2006, 2009), "are almost certainly overestimated if adaptation is not accounted for." But if it is a part of the analysis, their work suggests that there could well be no net loss in productivity across the entire corn-production region.


Checking models against the data shows that  they are too poor to base policy on

Discussing:  Koumoutsaris, S. 2013. What can we learn about climate feedbacks from short-term climate variations? Tellus A 65: 10.3402/tellusa.v65i0.18887.

Writing as background for his work, Koumoutsaris (2013) says that "currently, global climate models disagree in their estimates of feedbacks, and this is one of the main reasons for uncertainty in future climate projections," citing Bony et al. (2006). And he further indicates that "in order to unveil the origin of these inter-model differences, model simulations need to be evaluated against observations of present climate," which is what he proceeds to do.

More specifically, Koumoutsaris estimated "the feedbacks from water vapor, lapse-rate, Planck, surface albedo and clouds, using models and observations based on the climate response over the last 30 years," which short-term feedbacks "result both from external changes in the forcing (due to greenhouse gas increases, volcanic and industrial aerosol emissions) and internal climate variations (mostly due to ENSO variability)."

And what did he learn?

In the words of the Swiss scientist, "the CMIP3 models show a much larger interdecile range for all short-term feedbacks in comparison to the long-term ones," which he says "is also the case for the three models with the most realistic ENSO representation," citing van Oldenborgh et al. (2005)." He also indicates that the models have difficulty capturing "the position and magnitude of ENSO teleconnection patterns." In addition, he reports that "the uncertainty in the cloud feedback, using a combination of reanalysis and satellite data, is still very large."

Koumoutsaris concludes that his several analyses indicate that "important aspects of the ENSO variability are still poorly understood and/or simulated." And in the case of cloud feedback, he says that it is difficult to come to "any firm conclusion" ... even on the sign of the feedback.

And when these phenomena are so poorly simulated - even to the point where the direction of change of one of them remains unknown - it should be clear to all that the climate-modeling enterprise still has a long, long way to go before it can be considered good enough to serve as a basis for energy policy decisions that are already dictating various aspects of human behavior.


The Cost of War – on Coal

War always has a cost.  The War on Coal declared last Tuesday by Barack Obama is no different.  The costs will be real, substantial, and be felt in every American household.

Barack Obama says there is no more time to wait around for Congress to act.  Seeking the once fashionable Consent-of-the- Governed would take too long.  The President ridiculed those with dissenting opinions – including a growing number within the scientific community; "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society," he said in his speech at Georgetown University.

The "Flat Earthers" apparently include 16 of the most highly credentialed environmental scientists in the world who jointly penned an editorial in the June 28, 2013 Wall Street Journal explaining that, "There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy."

Obama justifies both his unilateral action and cost of the War on Coal with the same explanation Progressives use for virtually every item on their agenda.  We simply must "combat this threat on behalf of our kids."  It's always for the children, isn't it?

As we said in a post yesterday, "Obama's new War is a war against ourselves.  Virtually all of the coal is domestically produced supporting American jobs, families and communities, and providing a huge portion of the affordable energy necessary to support citizens and businesses throughout the nation."

A team of Heritage Foundation Scholars analyzed and quantified the cost of Obama's War on Coal for just the first years from 2015-2030.  Led by David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., Research Fellow for Energy Economics and Climate Change, the Heritage scholars confirmed our assertions from yesterday's blog post.  Obama's war "with no compelling scientific argument" to justify it, will most certainly have tangible, harmful consequences for every American citizen.

Here's a link to the entire Heritage report, and below is a key excerpt with the summary findings:

While it may not be clear exactly which policies will be used, it seems clear that zeroing-out coal-fired electric power plants is a goal of this Administration’s environmental team. This paper will analyze the economic impact of setting such a target. We look at the first 16 years of a 20-year phase-out of coal power: 2015–2030.

The analysis shows significant economic losses extend beyond the obvious areas of coal mining and power generation. In particular, we find that by 2030:

* Employment falls by more than 500,000 jobs;

* Manufacturing loses over 280,000 jobs;
* A family of four’s annual income drops more than $1,000 per year, and its total income drops by $16,500 over the period of analysis;
* Aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) decreases by $1.47 trillion;
* Electricity prices rise by 20 percent;
* Coal-mining jobs drop 43 percent; and
* Natural gas prices rise 42 percent.


Australian government underplays effect of carbon tax on households and businesses while overstating its environmental benefit

THE Federal Government has underplayed the effect of the carbon tax on households and businesses while overstating the environmental benefit.

The cost-of-living impact in the first 12 months of the tax will be a rise of 0.7 per cent, according to Westpac and NAB - exactly what Federal Treasury forecast.

Westpac senior economist Huw Mackay said: "I think consumers are probably pleasantly surprised by how modest the impost is."

But not modest enough for the Government.

It says in a new report, "How Australia's carbon price is working One Year On", that "Westpac and National Australia Bank economists have estimated that the carbon price has increased the Consumer Price Index by just 0.4 per cent".

The report, which bizarrely has an American family on the cover, continues: "This means the Household Assistance Package has left many millions of Australian families better off financially."

A Government spokesman on Climate Change said it was not misleading to use the 0.4 per cent figure even though it related to a period before the tax began.

Meanwhile, manufacturers, construction firms and service providers say profits have cooled due to Australia's effort to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2C.

"For most businesses the high fixed carbon tax has so far reduced profitability rather than encouraging change, while squeezing product development, innovation and jobs growth," said Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, which represents more than 60,000 businesses.

But the government report says: "Since the carbon price started, Australia's manufacturing industry has been investing in new equipment to improve energy efficiency and pollution."

These investments are "cleaning up Australian manufacturing and generating big savings for business".

The report also says there has been a five per cent decline in carbon pollution per unit of electricity because the tax has made greener power "more competitive when compared to higher-polluting coal-fired electricity generation".

"As a result, electricity generation is switching away from high-polluting fuels like brown coal."

Renewable energy output was up 30 per cent, it says. Generation from coal was down 14 per cent.

National Generators Forum executive director Tim Reardon said energy from coal was down "largely due to unforeseen technical outages". The increase in hydro was "due to a wet season - there's been no additional build".

The carbon price would need to be more than $100 per tonne to change the economics of generation, Mr Reardon said.

Energy Supply Association CEO Matthew Warren said: "If we didn't have a carbon price we would still see a drop in emissions."

Coalition spokesman on "Climate Action" Greg Hunt said: "If elected, the carbon tax will be repealed and won't make a second anniversary."




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


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