Friday, October 17, 2014

Projected sea level shrinks

Al Gore warned of a 20ft  rise in sea level so the latest bit of Warmism is interesting.  The MAXIMUM estimated sea level rise is now down to 6ft.  It's all based on Warmist assumptions and modelling but it's some progress, I suppose.  I reproduce the journal abstract below.  Note the words I have highlighted.  Unusual humility!

Upper limit for sea level projections by 2100

By S Jevrejeva et al.


We construct the probability density function of global sea level at 2100, estimating that sea level rises larger than 180 cm are less than 5% probable. An upper limit for global sea level rise of 190 cm is assembled by summing the highest estimates of individual sea level rise components simulated by process based models with the RCP8.5 scenario. The agreement between the methods may suggest more confidence than is warranted since large uncertainties remain due to the lack of scenario-dependent projections from ice sheet dynamical models, particularly for mass loss from marine-based fast flowing outlet glaciers in Antarctica. This leads to an intrinsically hard to quantify fat tail in the probability distribution for global mean sea level rise. Thus our low probability upper limit of sea level projections cannot be considered definitive. Nevertheless, our upper limit of 180 cm for sea level rise by 2100 is based on both expert opinion and process studies and hence indicates that other lines of evidence are needed to justify a larger sea level rise this century.


UK: Ex-minister attacks green obession at heart of Whitehall: Owen Paterson accuses ministers of raising energy prices for the poor

The former Environment Secretary attacked a so-called ‘green blob’ at the heart of Government yesterday – accusing Whitehall officials and ministers of raising energy prices for the poor.  Owen Paterson said their support for flawed wind and solar power cost billions and made electricity and gas needlessly expensive.

He said the ‘green blob’ included civil servants and quangos in thrall to the climate change and environmental lobby. He claimed it had blocked him from prioritising shale gas exploration as a more efficient way to secure energy for the future.

Mr Paterson, who was removed as Environment Secretary in July, said the only way to ‘keep the lights on’ was to scrap the Climate Change Act, which requires the UK to use more renewable energy and is backed by civil servants.

He warned claims of impending environmental disaster were ‘widely exaggerated’, and accused a series of energy secretaries – including the Lib Dem incumbent Ed Davey – of being ‘Sheriffs of Nottingham’ by taking from the poor.

He said: ‘It amazes me that our last three energy secretaries, Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, have merrily presided over the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham: the coerced increase of electricity bills for people on low incomes to pay huge subsidies to wealthy landowners and rich investors.’

The former minister also said he was disgusted by rich film stars who fly to Africa to preach against the burning of fossil fuels there. His reference to the ‘green blob’ follows former Education Secretary Michael Gove’s description of the teaching establishment as the ‘blob’.

Speaking to the Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank, Mr Paterson claimed the effects of climate change had been ‘consistently and widely exaggerated’, and policies to encourage onshore wind farms will cost £1.3trillion by 2050.

He said wind turbines had ‘devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles, carpeted the countryside and the very wilderness that the “green blob” claims to love with new access tracks cut deep into peat, boosted production of carbon-intensive cement, and driven up fuel poverty – while richly rewarding landowners’.

Current energy policy, he said, was a ‘slave to flawed climate action’, adding: ‘It neither reduces emissions sufficiently nor provides the energy we need as a country.’

Offshore wind farms were ‘proving a failure’, hydro-electric power was ‘maxed out’ and solar power was an ‘expensive red herring’. He condemned solar farms as a ‘futile eyesore, and a waste of land that could be used for other activities’.

He urged greater investment in shale gas – pointing out that 40 per cent of Britain’s coal was from Russia and adding: ‘It is better to burn Lancashire shale gas than Putin’s coal.

‘We must be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement and their subsidy-hungry allies.’


Greenpeace condemned by its original founder as 'evil' and being guilty of 'losing its humanitarian roots'

Greenpeace is mainly a club for men who like messing around in boats.  They've even got their own submarine now!  -- JR

Greenpeace has been branded an 'evil organisation' which has 'lost concern for humans' in an astonishing attack by its own co-founder.

Ecologist Dr Patrick Moore, who quit Greenpeace in 1986, has launched a scathing criticism of the activist group, which he insisted has lost its humanitarian roots.

His attack on the organisation he helped create comes as former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson campaigns against the 'self-serving' and 'highly-paid' network of environmental pressure groups he calls the 'green blob'.

Dr Moore told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: 'My problem with Greenpeace is they have lost any humanitarian roots they had. 'When we started Greenpeace it was to stop nuclear war and the destruction of human civilisation, that of course is the "peace" in Greenpeace.

'The "green" is the environment and that's good as well, but they lost the concerns for humans... They have turned, basically, into an evil organisation.'

He gave the example of so-called 'golden rice', a crop enriched with vitamin A which supporters say would help millions of the world's poorest people improve their diet.  Dr Moore said the fact that Greenpeace opposed the idea showed that they no longer care about people.

Dr Moore helped found Greenpeace in 1971 while PhD student in ecology, but he later left the group, claiming it had become more interested in politics than science.

He is now a proponent of nuclear energy and is sceptical about sole human responsibility for climate change.

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, later shrugged of the criticisms made of his organisation.  He said: 'When we do campaigns, we look at influence, we look at impact and we are very, very mindful to incorporate social and economic issues into what we do, because otherwise campaigns won't work.

'There's not going to be some kind of green dictatorship which imposes these decisions on anybody.'

The row comes after Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s Programme Director, was exposed earlier this year as having commuted the 250 miles between Luxembourg and Amsterdam by plane since 2012.  Each trip is believed to have cost Greenpeace £200 and would have generated 142kg of carbon dioxide emissions, it was said.  Dr Parr said Mr Husting's behaviour was 'a mistake' and 'should never have happened'.

On the organisation's position of golden rice, he said: 'The thing about golden rice is it's a least-favourable option and it doesn't actually exist yet, it's been many years in proposal and... it doesn't work.  'The real solution to this is a proper, balanced diet like the home gardening initiatives in Bangladesh have achieved.'


Prominent Canadian geologists wax skeptical

by Nick Eyles and Andrew D. Miall

What is patently obvious from reviewing Canada’s ancient history is that scientists still do not have an adequate understanding of Earth’s complex systems on which to base sound economic and environmental policy. From the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans onwards to the deep interior of the planet our knowledge of complex earth systems is still rather rudimentary. Huge areas of our planet are inaccessible and are little known scientifically. There is still also much to learn from reading the rock record of how our planet functioned in the past.

In so many areas, we simply don’t know enough of how our planet functions.

And yet……

Scarcely a day goes past without some group declaring the next global environmental crisis; we seemingly stagger from one widely proclaimed crisis to another each one (so we are told) with the potential to severely curtail or extinguish civilization as we know it. It’s an all too familiar story often told by scientists who cross over into advocacy and often with the scarcely-hidden sub-text that they are the only ones with the messianic foresight to see the problem and create a solution. Much of our science is what we would call ‘crisis-driven’ where funding, politics and the media are all intertwined and inseparable generating a corrupting and highly corrosive influence on the scientific method and its students. If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead is the new yardstick with which to measure the overall significance of research.

Charles Darwin ushered in a new era of thinking where change was expected and necessary. Our species as are all others, is the product of ongoing environmental change and adaption to varying conditions; the constancy of change. In the last 15 years or so however, we have seemingly reverted to a pre-Darwinian mode of a fixed ‘immutable Earth’ where any change beyond some sort of ‘norm’ is seen in some quarters as unnatural, threatening and due to our activities, usually with the proviso of needing ‘to act now to save the planet.’ Honest scientific discourse and debate is often rendered impossible in the face of the ‘new catastrophism.’

Trained as geologists in the knowledge of Earth’s immensely long and complex history we appreciate that environmental change is normal. For example, rivers and coastlines are not static. Those coasts, in particular, that consist of sandy strand-plains and barrier-lagoon systems are continually evolving as sand is moved by the waves and tides. Cyclonic storms (hurricanes), a normal component of the weather in many parts of the world, are particularly likely to cause severe erosion. When recent events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause catastrophic damage, and spring storms cause massive flooding in Calgary or down the Mississippi valley, and droughts and wildfires affect large areas of the American SW these events are blamed on a supposed increase in the severity of extreme weather events brought about by climate change.

In fact, they just reflect the working of statistical probability and long term climate cyclicity. Such events have happened in the past as part of ongoing changes in climate but affected fewer people. That the costs of weather and climate-related damage today are far greater is not because of an increased frequency of severe weather but the result of humans insisting on congregating and living in places that, while attractive, such as floodplains, mountain sides and beautiful coastlines, are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. Promises of a more ‘stable future’ if we can only prevent climate change are hopelessly misguided and raise unnatural expectations by being willfully ignorant of the natural workings of the planet.

Climate change is the major issue for which more geological input dealing with the history of past climates would contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of change and what we might expect in the future. The past climate record suggests in fact that for much of the Earth’s surface future cooling is the norm. Without natural climate change Canada would be buried under ice 3 km thick; that is it normal state for most of the last 2.5 million years with 100,000 years-long ice ages alternating with brief, short-lived interglacials such as the present which is close to its end.

It is self-evident to us that the public debate concerning environmental change largely lacks an understanding of natural variability. Since the last Ice Age ended, some 12,000 years ago, Earth has been through several periods lasting hundreds of years and possibly longer when it was either warmer or colder than at present. Several earth scientists have suggested that a study of natural variability over recent geologic time should be completed in order to provide a baseline against which anthropogenic change may be evaluated, but this important history has not been introduced fully into the public debate, and is a long way off.

It has to be said that the natural variability of the last few thousand years or hundreds of years or tens of years has formed almost no part in the ongoing discussion of climate change which in some circles assumes that any change since 1940 is largely man-made. This opinion is uninformed by geologic science.

The way forward, it strikes us, is for more scientific honesty and less politics, less grandstanding. ‘We don’t know’ is an honourable credo for scientists. In this regard, we need more science to be directed to the environment, particularly toward better planning of the world’s communities to make them more resilient in the face of change. And it is an increasingly urban face that our planet presents. The many large supercities of the rapidly-approaching future world will be absolutely massive consumers of resources and producers of wastes; they will be the biggest determinants of our global environmental footprint; and it is surely there that much of our effort should be spent.

Today, the rate of change of some parts of the world, especially in regard to urbanization and the ‘rush to the city’ is taxing our abilities simply to map and assess the environmental repercussions of transforming a natural environment to a built landscape. There is no simple technological fix either. Satellite and other monitoring data for example still has to be collected, interpreted, ground truthed, and acted on; steps available only to wealthier countries.

In large areas of the planet the lack of human and financial resources, equality and personal freedoms and political choices trump any global environmental concerns and hobble international co-operation. To these people our obsession with saving the environment must ring hollow. The onus here is on the wealthiest nations with the largest scientific academies to put forward credible notions of how our planet is changing and to discuss the possible origins in an intellectual environment where data gaps are fully acknowledged free of catastrophic overtones.


Ecofascists Hijack EPA Ozone Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency will release its new standards regulating ozone in December. Even while the old ozone standards have not been fully implemented and studied, environmental groups have hijacked the EPA to enact new regulations on the nation’s energy and manufacturing economy. And in the estimation of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “This would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.”

The Supreme Court recently declined to hear the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group, a conglomerate of coal companies, which argued the 2008 ozone rules were too strict. Even after six years, states like Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and especially California did not reach the ozone production levels set in 2008.

While the EPA has not released the details of the new regulations – they’re waiting until after the election for that – the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended to the agency in June to push the ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) down to 70ppb, or even as low as 60ppb. That level “would certainly offer more public health protection than levels of 70ppb or 65ppb and would provide an adequate margin of safety,” committee chair Dr. H. Christopher Frey wrote. Well heck, if we’re talking health protection here, 0ppb would be ideal, but also against the laws of nature.

Ozone, a.k.a. smog, can form naturally, but manufacturing and burning coal can also create ozone. So ecofascist groups like the Environmental Defense Fund label it a “harmful air pollutant” because it allegedly exacerbates respiratory conditions like asthma.

In July, the DC Circuit Court ruled the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it did not pass tougher ozone standards in 2008 (under the Bush administration, the greenies like to point out).

The EPA stalled on passing stricter ozone regulations until 2011. But then, Barack Obama told then-EPA Director Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposed rules, saying, “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”

Surely stricter ozone regulations weren’t too tough even for Obama to stomach. Perhaps he wasn’t yet emboldened, as it was only his first term. However, the July regulation made environmentalists happy that they finally forced the Obama administration to act.

“Smog sickens and even kills some plants and trees, even in America’s national parks, which are supposed to have the cleanest air in the country,” said Mark Wenzler, vice president of conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association. “The Obama administration now has an opportunity to follow the Science™ and not play politics with protecting our national parks and forests from air pollution damage.”

The administration would never play politics.

Perhaps Wenzler meant a court-ordered opportunity. These new ozone rules go beyond executive fiat. These regulations were pushed forward by ecofascists with deep pockets and sharp lawyers. It’s rule by legal suit, baby.

And while the new regulations may make Sequoias and Redwoods happy, the rules would cut down American industry faster than a bald eagle going through a wind turbine. NAM released a study in July concluding new ozone rules “could cost $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk.” That breaks down to costing households $1,570 per year, according to NAM. Furthermore, a 60ppb standard would make every state noncompliant with ozone regulations, with few exceptions – mostly swaths of Montana and North Dakota.

“Based on the way the EPA interprets the Clean Air Act,” the NAM report concludes, “it is virtually ensured that the agency will recommend a stricter standard every five years. Yet, ozone levels are getting so low that a rapidly growing share of even urban areas' ozone concentration now comes from either naturally occurring ozone or from ozone that has been transported from other states or countries. We have reached the point at which significant further reductions simply cannot be accomplished in any cost-effective manner. Absent recognition of this fact from the EPA, it is time for Congress to modernize the Clean Air Act.”

Right now, an act of Congress may be the only thing that will reform the EPA because the courts have weighed in. The bottom line is the environmentalists have won their court battles; America’s manufacturers and coal industry have lost theirs.

Meanwhile, every American has the right to petition the government, but environmentalist groups seem to have an extra-special right to petition the EPA. According to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), newly revealed emails between Gina McCarthy, the current EPA administrator, and David Doniger, a policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, suggest collusion. Vitter said, “These emails clearly demonstrate their beyond-cozy relationship and force the question: Who is working for whom?”

The emails show McCarthy working with Doniger to craft the recently passed greenhouse gas regulations. In the emails, McCarthy tells Doniger in 2011, “I will never say no to a meeting with you.” How many coal companies have such a relationship? And in 2010, McCarthy tells him, “I appreciate your support and patience. … This success is yours as much as mine.”

This was the same woman in July who welcomed public comment on the greenhouse gas regulations and with the same breath described economic arguments against EPA regulation as “tired, false and worn out criticism.”

But that was greenhouse gas regulation. When the EPA deviated from the ecofascist line on ozone, the environmentalists' lawsuit reminded the EPA just who is in charge.


Australia: Coal is 'good for humanity', says Tony Abbott at mine opening

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia's coal industry has a "big future, as well as a big past" and predicted it will be the world's principal energy source for decades to come.

Mr Abbott also heaped praise on Japan in comments that come just days after China slapped harsh new tariffs on coal imports and will be noted in Beijing as negotiations on a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement move towards conclusion.

Industry has estimated the new tariffs could cost Australia's economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually, though it will be some time before exact estimates can be made.

"Let's have no demonisation of coal," Mr Abbott said on Monday. "Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world."

The Prime Minister's comments, which angered the environmental movement, came at the opening of the $US3.4 billion ($3.9 billion) Caval Ridge Mine in Central Queensland, a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi. The mine will produce 5.5 million tonnes annually of metallurgical coal and employ about 500 people.

"This is a sign of hope and confidence in the future of the coal industry, it's a great industry, we've had a great partnership with Japan in the coal industry," Mr Abbott said. "Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world."  "Energy is what sustains our prosperity, and coal is the world's  principal energy source and it will be for many decades to come."

The Coalition had affirmed its faith in the coal industry by abolishing the carbon tax and mining, Mr Abbott said, but if there was a change of government at the next election both of those taxes could come back.

"If you want to sustain the coal industry, if you want to sustain the jobs, if you want to sustain the towns that depend on the coal industry you have got to support the Coalition, because we support coal, we think that coal has a big future as well as a big past."

Mr Abbott's comments about coal having a bright future are in conflict with the United Nations' top climate official Christiana Figueres, who has warned most of the world's coal must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Less than two weeks ago, a lead adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel lashed the Abbott government's championing of the coal industry as an economic "suicide strategy".

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the Prime Minister was "taking a higher and higher stakes gamble by putting all the chips on coal".

Earlier on Monday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Australia risked being seen as the climate sceptic capital of the world ahead of the G20 meeting in November.

"We've got the G20 coming up. Most nations in the world at the G20 are dealing with climate change. Yet we're the climate sceptics capital of the world," he said.

"The rest of the world is moving towards taking real action on climate change, yet we've got a government who's slammed the nation into reverse gear and retreating away from action."

Over the weekend, Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media that Labor would take a carbon price - thought not a tax - as policy to the next election.

And he has previously left open the possibility of some form of resources tax, though he has promised to first consult with business over such an impost.



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