Monday, November 10, 2014

There is no "hidden" heat

Just in case you were not aware, since about 1997 or so, there has been nearly no global temperature rise. This is despite atmospheric CO2 concentration continuing to rise. To date there are some 55 ideas to explain this slowdown in global warming. Some of the ‘explanations’ presume the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ is operating as the IPCC models calculated; it’s just that the heat has hidden elsewhere, maybe deep in the ocean.

I wondered if there was empirical data available of the greenhouse effect? And could it show whether or not the greenhouse effect is increasing with increasing CO2, as the IPCC models expect?

First a very quick summary of the IPCC’s greenhouse theory goes something like this.  Increasing CO2 absorbs some of the upwards radiation from the surface, and then re-emits it back toward earth. This has the effect of increasing earth’s atmospheric temperature as outgoing longwave infrared radiation (OLWIR) is reduced by increasing quantities of CO2. Then, recognising that water vapour is the main greenhouse gas, the IPCC models propose that positive feedbacks dominate. This is where some warming leads to increased water vapour, and as water vapour is the main greenhouse gas this increases the greenhouse effect, this further lowers OLWIR, and increases the temperature.

So let’s see how the measurements fit the theory. I needed two data sets, one for OLWIR, and the other global temperature.

I emailed the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asking for website directions to their OLWIR data. Their response was quick and I downloaded monthly average OLWIR (W/m2) for each 2.5 degree latitude by 2.5 degree longitude area of the globe. After converting the netCDF files to Excel, I scaled each area’s OLWIR to account for the varying size of the area, resulting in a global average OLWIR. (I used Cosine(Latitude) to approximate the relative areas). (There was also some missing data mid 1994 to early 95. I populated this by a linear interpolation). The resulting annual average OLWIR is shown in the graph below for the years 1979 to 2012. A linear regression fit shows a generally increasing trend in OLWIR over this period.

The temperature data I chose is the average of both University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). The result is also plotted on the graph below. A linear regression fit shows a generally increasing trend for years 1979 to 2012. 2013.

And now we’ll take a look at the Stefan-Boltzmann (SB) relative emissivity trend. Using an average global temperature of 14C, the SB relative emissivity has been derived using E/(K*T^4) for each year and plotted on the graph. If the greenhouse effect was increasing, the relative SB should be declining.  It’s not.  It’s flat lining.

The two primary results of this empirical study are:

The missing heat has gone back to space as it always has – as per SB law, via OLWIR.

And more importantly, the greenhouse effect is not increasing as per IPCC dogma.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Is Obama's latest green-energy boondoggle the biggest ever?: World's largest solar plant seeks "obscene" $539 million taxpayer bailout

Obama's green energy scorecard has already racked up over $2.7 billion in losses, and now the world's largest solar/fossil fuel/bird-incinerating plant, co-owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG Energy, is asking for an additional $539 million in free taxpayer funds to pay off their $1.5 billion federal loan.

"the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it's supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised."

In addition, the plant recently filed with regulators to greatly increase the fossil fuels burned by the "solar" plant's inefficient boiler system, due to insufficient heat input from the Sun on cloudy days and at night. The plant wants to burn 1,575 million standard cubic feet [mmcf] of natural gas every year, which will increase its CO2 emissions 59% to 94,749 tons per year.

"To get a sense of that volume, an average U.S. natural gas-fired power plant [using much more efficient and clean-burning turbines instead of boilers] might be expected to produce about 200,000 MWh from 1,575 mmcf of gas, according to the EIA."

Therefore, the plant is producing about 254,263 * 12/8 = ~381,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year using natural gas that could otherwise supply 200,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Thus, over one-half [about 52%] of the plant electricity output is from inefficient use of fossil fuels.

For a huge [$2.2 billion and counting] US taxpayer-subsidized expense, plus high electricity rates guaranteed by long-term contracts with California utilities/ratepayers, 59% more greenhouse gas emissions, and 75% less electricity than promised, could Ivanpah be the world's biggest green energy boondoggle ever?

The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

"They're already paying less than the market rate," said Morris, author of a lengthy report detailing alleged cronyism and corruption in the Obama administration's green energy programs. "Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse."

NRG doesn't see it that way, telling Fox News the money is there for the taking."NRG believes in a clean and sustainable energy future and therefore participates in available government programs to develop and expand the use of clean energy to accelerate America’s energy independence." In 2013, the Obama administration handed out $18.5 billion in renewable energy grants, with $4.4 billion going to solar projects.

Ivanpah is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. It was unveiled in February with great fanfare. Dr. Ernest Moniz, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, justified taxpayers' investment at the time, saying, "We want to be technology leaders. It's good for our economy and it’s also good for helping stimulate the global transition to low carbon."

But since then the plant has not lived up to its clean energy promise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the plant produced only about a quarter of the power it's supposed to, a disappointing 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity from January through August, not the million megawatt-hours it promised.

A NRG spokesman blamed the weather, saying the sun didn't shine as often as years of studies predicted. However by the four-year mark, NRG has "every confidence that the plant will function as anticipated for the life of the facility,"according to the company.

Touted as a clean, green energy, some environmentalists have turned against concentrated solar as a technology, deeming it dangerous and a threat to wildlife. Unlike solar photovoltaics, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, CSP uses thousands of large mirrors to concentrate reflected sunlight into powerful beams aimed at “power towers.” The heat generates steam to turn turbines that create electricity.

The problem is that birds see the mirrors as water. As they approach, the 800ยบ F solar beams roast any bird that happens to fly by. A recent study released by the California Energy Commission conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity called Ivanpah a “mega-trap” that will kill up to 28,000 birds a year.

The plants' owner at the time, BrightSource Energy, said it will likely kill only a thousand birds a year. BrightSource came under scrutiny by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and investigators found the company received direct “guidance and support from the White House” for how it obtained its $1.6 billion in federal loans.


Breakthrough Eyed in Farmer’s Property Rights Dispute With Green Group

Martha Boneta’s years of struggle with a powerful conservation group could come to the beginning of an end this week.

Boneta owns the 64-acre Liberty Farm in the Paris area of Fauquier County, Va. Almost since her family bought the property in 2006, she has been embroiled in a series of disputes with the Piedmont Environmental Council.

At issue:  the conservation organization’s enforcement of an agreement that limits development of the land.

But the Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s board of trustees will meet Thursday in Richmond to consider a resolution in which it would agree to take over all enforcement of the easement on Liberty Farm from the Piedmont Environmental Council.

The environmental council appears to be “open-minded in terms of being willing to discuss the matter,” the foundation’s executive director, Brett Glymph, told The Daily Signal.

The foundation has no power to constrain the actions of the environmental council or other conservation organizations and no oversight role in state law.

The proposed resolution, Boneta says, merely calls for the organization to declare it is willing to take over all enforcement if she and the environmental council can agree it should.

The Piedmont Environmental Council is a land trust, an organization that works to conserve open space by removing land from development. It offers easements, which are legal agreements in which property owners accept cash payments or tax breaks in exchange for accepting limits on development.

Boneta bought her farm from the Warrenton-based environmental council with the easement attached.

The green group’s aggressive efforts to enforce that easement, however,  have resulted in three lawsuits filed by Boneta. One she settled with the green group, a second she withdrew but says she may refile. A third, against Fauquier County over zoning citations, is pending.

Enter the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966 to oversee easement enforcement and policy matters and help preserve open lands, the foundation already is a co-holder of the easement on Boneta’s Liberty Farm.

The foundation inspects the adjoining Oak Road Forest and the land itself. The Piedmont Environmental Council is responsible for building structures and architecture.

In September, the outdoors foundation met separately with Boneta and her lawyer and with the environmental council and its legal counsel.

The meetings led to the resolution, proposed by Boneta’s attorney, William Hurd, a former solicitor general for the state of Virginia, which the board could vote on as early as Thursday’s meeting.

“After so many years of inappropriate inspections by the PEC, isn’t it time for the PEC to step aside and turn its share of the enforcement role over to [the Virginia Outdoors Foundation]?” Hurd asks in a letter.

It is easy to see why Boneta would agree to a takeover by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

Glymph said Boneta “has caused no trouble” for the organization. The foundation, in fact, turned down the environmental council’s suggestion that surveillance cameras be installed to monitor Boneta’s compliance with the easement covering her property.

Boneta’s relationship with the Piedmont Environmental Council, conversely, has been nothing but rocky.

She has contended in court documents and elsewhere that the green group’s enforcement efforts went far beyond what was required to ensure compliance with the easement. She cites snooping through personal possessions, overzealous zoning enforcement and using high-level connections at the Internal Revenue Service  to trigger an audit of her finances.

The Piedmont Environmental Council may be equally eager to move on. The group has endured bad publicity from property rights activists, multiple articles in The Daily Signal and other media, and Boneta’s appearances on TV news programs.

The environmental council’s  enforcement actions led to state legislation, known as the Boneta Bill, that took aim at easement enforcement and clarified farmers’ rights on their land.

The environmental council has issued at least three documents defending itself from Boneta’s charges and assertions.

In one, the group says it holds or co-holds 51 easements that involve nearly 7,600 acres of land, mostly in Virginia’s Hunt Country. But the Boneta case is the only time in the environmental council’s 41-year history that it has gone to court with a property owner.

“The PEC is squandering an incredible amount of money on staff time and attorneys’ fees in its relentless harassment of Martha Boneta,” said Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market organization that focuses on property rights.  "And all it has to show for it is a raft of richly deserved bad publicity that has exposed the PEC as an elitist bully willing to do whatever it takes to crush a small farmer."

The environmental council’s representatives did not respond to The Daily Signal’s phone calls or emails requesting comment.

Glymph, the outdoors foundation’s executive director,  said the environmental council “did not shut the door on the proposal” to move toward handing off enforcement of the Liberty Farm easement to the foundation. She said:

They made no promises, but it appeared to me they were open-minded in terms of being willing to discuss the matter further. They seemed receptive to the idea.

Boneta and representatives of  the Piedmont Environmental Council each will get 20 minutes to address the board of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation at Thursday’s meeting.

The board has moved the meeting to the Virginia State Capitol building to accommodate what is expected to be a much larger crowd than its gatherings usually draw.

If the foundation’s board adopts the resolution, it would be up to Boneta and the environmental council to come to an agreement under which the foundation would assume enforcement responsibilities.

John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, a free-market policy group, credits Boneta for “shining a light and exposing the actions”  of the Piedmont Environmental Council.

But Taylor also expressed concern that average citizens who differ on public policy with well-funded groups such as the environmental council will continue to be at a disadvantage. He said:

We’re seeing a disparate influence of money, and it’s not a fair fight. Here in Virginia, the environmental groups are trying to put all of the rural lands into conservation easements, and they have abandoned any consideration of economic growth and job opportunities.

This makes it difficult for future generations to own property and earn money.  I don’t support permanent easements that forever lock away land. I’m glad Martha [Boneta] is doing what’s she’s doing. The exposure is good for all of us.


Another Endangered Species Act Legal Victory for Landowners and Conservation

Yesterday, proponents of balancing the mandates of the Endangered Species Act with human needs scored a major victory. The U.S. District Court in Utah struck down the federal government’s protection of the Utah prairie dog by ruling in favor of People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, represented by Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation, in a lawsuit challenging the constitutional ability of the federal government to regulate the prairie dog on non-federal land. This decision may also lead to more successful endangered species conservation.

This victory comes on the heels of another legal victory a month ago in which the Federal District Court in D.C. found in favor of the 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act. The judge in the case based much of his ruling on a conservation plan for the lizard that is successful due in no small part to its protection of participating landowners’ confidentiality. This encourages landowners to participate without fear that data about their property could be used by the Fish and Wildlife Service to invoke the Endangered Species Act’s much-feared regulations.

The Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs, who led the effort on the conservation plan, was granted lead intervenor status in the case. The conservation plan involves a wide range of stakeholders, including various oil and gas trade associations, which were also granted intervenor status.

More broadly, the court’s decision is a vindication of the approach taken by the Texas Comptroller’s office over the past several years to find creative, state-based solutions to endangered species issues, which are often complex, conflict-ridden, and involve a dizzying array of public and private sector interests—all of which are trying to cope with the country’s most powerful environmental law.

The Utah prairie dog case is different than the dunes sagebrush lizard case but equally as important. The crux of the lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners and the Pacific Legal Foundation is that the federal government’s use of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause as justification for protecting the prairie dog—because the rodents are somehow involved in interstate commerce, which creates a “nexus” for federal regulation—is invalid because, quite simply, the prairie dog lives entirely within Utah and is not involved any interstate commerce. “The problem, for the federal government, is that the species is only found in this small area of Utah and has nothing to do with the nation’s $15 trillion economy,” according to Jonathan Wood. “Yet, the government attempted to justify its intrusion into this local matter based on the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.”

The court found:

"Although the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to do many things, it does not authorize Congress to regulate takes of a purely intrastate species that has no substantial effect on interstate commerce. Congress similarly lacks authority through the Necessary and Proper Clause because the regulation of takes of Utah prairie dogs is not essential or necessary to the ESA’s economic scheme."

The court also found:

"If Congress could use the Commerce Clause to regulate anything that might affect the ecosystem (to say nothing about its effect on commerce), there would be no logical stopping point to congressional power under the Commerce Clause."

Also figuring in the court’s decision is the Necessary and Proper Clause of Constitution, which states:

"The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

While this case has to do with Constitutional law, the reason why residents of southern Utah are so upset—in particular those in Iron County because it contains most of the prairie dog’s population—is that for decades they have been forced to bear the costs, often substantial, of living with prairie dogs. The examples are legion, but a few of them are:

* Children have been prevented from playing in the field owned by and adjacent to Grace Christian Church in the town of Parowan because prairie dogs pockmarked the field with burrow holes, which could easily cause injury to a running child.

* In the town of Paragonah, prairie dogs reside in the cemetery where their burrows undermine headstones and cause them to lean and even tip over.

* Prairie dog burrows undermine the runway of the Parowan airport, causing it to sink and buckle in places, which poses a serious safety hazard.

* Farmers have long suffered from machinery and irrigation infrastructure damaged by prairie dog burrows, as well as prairie dogs eating crops. In 1984, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the Utah prairie dog was costing farmers $1.5 million annually due to crop loss and equipment damage.

* In Cedar City, the seat of Iron County, “The town has been inundated with prairie dogs that are leaving parks, gardens, vacant lots, the golf course and even the local cemetery pockmarked with burrows and tunnels,” Jonathan Wood of the Pacific Legal Foundation told the Deseret News.

The desecration of cemeteries in Paragonah and Cedar City by prairie dogs is in many ways the issue that most angered residents of Iron County. According to the lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“The city wishes to operate a cemetery that is a pleasant and peaceful place of reflection for people visiting the remains of their deceased loved ones. But the Utah prairie dogs are a safety hazard for visitors to the cemetery. Their burrowing creates an uneven ground on which it is more difficult to safely traverse, particularly for the elderly and disabled.

“The Utah prairie dog threatens the peaceful operation of the cemetery and the sanctity of the grave sites. Recently, a funeral service was interrupted by a prairie dog that scampered around the service and began barking loudly and incessantly. This disturbance caused great stress to the unfortunate widow. The prairie dogs also destroy remembrances left at grave sites. For example, the prairie dogs eat flowers and other plants that visitors place near tombstones. Also, the city wishes to expand the cemetery to provide much needed space for additional grave sites. This expansion, however, has been prevented because the prairie dog has infested the area.”

In response to these problems, the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984 reclassified the prairie dog from endangered to the less-imperiled status of threatened and promulgated a 4(d) rule that allows “take” of prairie dogs through translocation and lethal means.

But this has done little to solve the problem of prairie dogs occupying and damaging private land. According to the Service’s 2012 recovery plan, private lands contain 78% of the Utah prairie dog’s population. The reason for this is private lands have higher quality forage due to mowing and irrigation. This is especially true of private lands in Iron County, which contain 67% of the population.

Since 1984, as it has become increasingly clear that even with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s permitted “take”, property damage caused by prairie dogs and resentment by people forced to bear the costs of harboring the rodents without any compensation has been getting worse.


German Analysis Finds IPCC “Synthesis” Lacks Facts

The summary for policymakers released in early November by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has once again betrayed the science found in the body of the report. In addition, its conclusions and warnings fly squarely in the face of measurable evidence concerning the state of the climate.

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (which goes by its German acronym, EIKE) has done a careful analysis of the IPCC summary for policymakers (SPM) and its synthesis report. These documents purportedly reflect the findings of the IPCC’s three volumes assessing the science, vulnerabilities, and possible responses to climate change.

The SPM includes significant contradictions, simplifications, and even distortions of the science contained in the full reports. In addition, on major points, its conclusions and warnings stand in stark contrast to almost all of the measurements and trends observed in nature.

The EIKE report looks at nine specific claims made in the IPCC’s SPM and synthesis report and finds fault with each one. The claims concern air temperature, sea level rise, ocean temperature, storms, polar ice, extreme weather, crop yields, species extinctions, and man’s responsibility for climate change.

Concerning air temperature and temperature rise, the IPCC’s SPM warns of dramatic temperature rises under business-as-usual scenarios over the next century. The actual range of temperature rise reported in the IPCC’s science reports, however, is as little as 0.3° to a high of 4.8° Celsius, a 16-fold difference, with all values along the scale equally likely. In other words, actual temperature rise is just as likely to be negligible as it is to be dramatic. And all of this ignores a critical real-world observation: Despite a continued rise in CO2 emissions, temperatures have not risen for the past 18 years.

In addition, the SPM claims “the global mean sea level in the 21st Century continues to climb, very likely with a higher speed ... probably in the range of 26 to 82 cm ...” The reality is sea level rise over the past 200 years has not accelerated, and over the past decade the rate of rise has declined.

The IPCC’s SPM hints extreme weather events have become more frequent and intense. Real-world observations disagree: Neither hurricanes, tornados, extreme rainfall events, nor droughts have increased measurably in number or intensity.

The story is the same when it comes to crop failures. While the IPCC’s SPM warns of a decline in staple crops including wheat and corn, each year new records are being set on crop production. Some of IPCC’s own work has shown increased CO2 levels are producing an increase in plant cover and crop growth.

In short, as the German magazine der Spiegel reported, “At the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Alarmism comes before Accuracy.”


Australia:  We need fossil fuels says Qld. Premier Newman

Queensland must transition away from its fossil fuel reliant economy, Premier Campbell Newman says.  But not yet.

He was responding to the United Nations report on climate change, which found the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Mr Newman agreed that in "the longer term, Queensland has to move to a new type of economy".  "And I have said that before," he said.

"I mean, coal has been great for this state over many decades and coal will be very important for some decades to come. Gas as a transition fuel, is a cleaner fuel, and that is a great opportunity and that is why this government backs gas, because it is cleaner than coal.

"Those who say we can immediately change, I am afraid, are condemning people in China, and particularly in India, who live in poverty, are condemning them to that poverty."

The Queensland government has been an unapologetic supporter of mining projects and is relying on mines opening in the resource-rich Galilee Basin to turn around the state's economy.

The projects, particularly the Indian-owned Adani Carmichael mine, which once operational will become the biggest coal mine in the country, have faced fierce opposition from conservationist and environmental groups.

One Indian conservationist has brought legal action against the Carmichael mine in the Queensland courts on the basis of the damage it will bring Indian communities who live near its final destination.

But Mr Newman said if India didn't take Queensland's coal, it would buy it from somewhere else.  "I think the point needs to be made that to take 1.3 billion people in India out of poverty is going to require significant energy and coal, particularly, is what they are after," he said.

"And if Queensland doesn't sell our cleaner coal, our low emissions coal to them, it will be acquired from other places where the coals have all sorts of nasties like sulphur in them and it will be burnt.

"They will improve a lot of their people and I think the opportunity for Queensland is to sell them a superior product as we then work here to try and transition our economy to a new type of economy in the future."

Adani is expected to begin work on its Galilee Basin projects next year.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


No comments: