Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Climate change will leave a sour taste in our mouths - literally: Study shows ocean acidification affects the flavour of shellfish

This is a study of deliberately altered water in a tank, not of actual shellfish in the ocean.  Anything it tells us about the future is therefore entirely speculative.

Furthermore the entire prediction that acidity will increase in the oceans is deliberately dishonest. If, as Warmists predict, the world will warm, that will make the oceans warmer too. And as water warms it OUTGASES CO2, as every drinker of coca cola can observe. Those bubbles in your coke are outgassed bubbles of CO2, outgassed as the drink warms. And less CO2 means less carbonic acid. So a warming ocean will become more ALKALINE.

The Warmists try to have it both ways, saying the oceans will be both warmer and more acidic.  But that flies in the face of basic and easily demonstrable physics.  But they are only pretend scientists so I guess that is OK

It is a popular appetiser at this time of year, but Marie Rose could soon be a lot less paletable, according to a new study.

Marine biologists have found that shellfish take on a sour flavour if they are reared in slightly acidified sea water.

They warn that as the planet's oceans grow more acidic, due to rising carbon dioxide levels, many of our favourite seafoods could become less appetising.

Climate change experts predict that over the next century, the acidity levels of the world's oceans could drop from pH8 to pH7.5.

Many have warned this could lead to shrimps and prawns struggling to build the shells and skeletons they need to survive.

Now, in the first study to test how ocean acidification could impact on the taste of seafood, researchers at the University of Gothenberg and Plymouth University, found it will also affect their taste.

Dr Sam Dupont, a marine biologist at the University of Gothenberg who led the study, said: 'Understanding how seafood will be influenced by coming environmental changes such as ocean acidification is a research priority.

'One major gap in knowledge relates to the fact that many experiments are not considering relevant end points related directly to production and product quality that can have important repercussions for consumers and the seafood market.

'These results help to prove the concept that ocean acidification can modulate sensory quality of the northern shrimp.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the Journal of Shellfish Research, put hundreds of northern shrimp Pandalus borealis into two tanks of water for three weeks.

They were either placed in sea water with a pH of 8 - about the same acidity levels as seen in oceans currently - or in a more acidic tank with a pH of 7.5, which is what experts predict could be the acidity of the world's oceans by 2100.

Both tanks were kept at 11°C (51°F) before they were then assessed by in a taste test by a sensory panel of 30 connoisseurs, who rated them for appearance, texture and taste.

Decreased pH reduced the score significantly for appearance and taste, but not for texture.

Shrimp raised in the waters with the lower pH were 2.6 times more likely to be rated as the worst tasting, while those reared in the less acidic water were 3.4 times more likely to be judged the tastiest.

Also the 63 per cent of the shrimp from the acidic water died during the three weeks.

The results could have profound implications for the seafood industry as it suggests shellfish will become harder as their numbers dwindle, but also demand could decrease as people lose their taste for them.

Dr Dupont added: 'More research is now needed to evaluate impacts on other seafood species, socioeconomic consequences, and potential options.'

The world's oceans are thought to absorb approximately half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by dissolving it.

However, when carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water, it forms carbonic acid, causing the pH of the oceans to decrease.

At the moment the oceans are a weak alkaline, so ocean acidification actually refers to making the world's seas less alkaline.

The impacts of ocean acidification were largely overlooked until the Royal Society published a report in 2005 and in its recent report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the acidity of the world's oceans has already dropped by 0.1 pH unit since preindustrial periods.  It predicts that this will continue to fall by a further 0.4pH units by 2100.

This acidification leads to lower levels of calcium carbonate in sea water, making it harder for shellfish to form their shells.

Popular seafood like crabs, prawns, mussels, lobsters, clams and oysters all rely upon this chemical as the main building block for their shells.

As many of these species are at the lower end of the marine food web, they provide vital sources of food for fish and other animals.

As their numbers dwindle, larger fish and marine mammals will also struggle to find the nutrients they need.

Professor Kevin Flynn, from the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research at Swansea University, told MailOnline: ‘Ocean acidification has the potential to significantly alter ocean life, including fisheries.

‘However, we know very little just now except pieces of the jigsaw. Outputs from research gives contrasting opinions; some indicate little change while others indicate potential for significant change.

‘Changes in taste of seafood could be the least of our problems...the species may not be there to harvest in the first place.

‘Under ocean acidification the food chain as we know it may change, and with it our tastes in seafood will have to change as well.'


ALL "97% Consensus" Studies Refuted by Peer-Review‏

After showing how 97 articles thoroughly refuted the most prominent "consensus" study, Cook et al. (2013), consensus proponents inevitably moved the goal posts and fell back on other "97% consensus" studies: Doran & Zimmerman (2009), Anderegg et al. (2010) and Oreskes (2004) (which is really a 100% consensus study). However, these have all been refuted in the scholarly literature and the following are the peer-reviewed refutations of them.

See here

Federal Bureaucrats Threaten U.S. Energy Boom

Everyone nowadays seems to either love or hate “fracking” for oil and natural gas in U.S. shale formations.

But fracking enjoys an enviable safety record. After all, a large fraction of it is done a mile underground. Not much, if any, evidence of groundwater contamination has been found at fracking sites.

Following the lame-duck Senate’s defeat of a bill that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, attention has shifted to concerns about transporting crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale and oil sands in Alberta to U.S. refineries, many of which are located on the Texas and Louisiana coast.

Refineries located on the East Coast and in California would also obtain feedstock were it not for the bottleneck created by the Jones Act (passed in 1920), which prohibits shipments of cargoes (including crude oil) from one U.S. port to another unless on an American-flagged vessel crewed largely by American sailors.

With the severe constraint on ocean-going oil tankers and limited pipeline capacity, shipping oil via railroad tanker cars is the only viable option. No longer relics of the past, freight railroads are carrying about two-thirds of North Dakota’s Bakken oil. Overall, more than 10 percent of the nation’s total oil production travels by rail. In the last quarter of 2013, some 71 million barrels of crude oil were shipped by rail, more than 10 times the volume of oil shipped that way in 2008.

The growing volume of railroad traffic raises safety concerns. Several oil trains derailed in the past two years, including one in Quebec that cost the lives of 47 people in the town of Lac- M├ęgantic. But bad press is more effective than government regulators in correcting the safety problems that led to that horrible accident. The railroads responded immediately to reduce train speeds, particularly when oil trains are moving through populous areas, and they have lent their support to efforts to replace or upgrade thousands of older rail cars known as DOT-111s.

Interestingly, ever since the heyday of John D. Rockefeller Sr., it is the major oil companies that own the tanker cars, which they then lease back to the railroads for use in transporting oil from the gathering fields to the refineries.

Railroads move hazardous materials—crude oil and chemicals, among other flammable cargoes—without mishap more than 99 percent of the time. Nevertheless, railroads in 2012 pumped a record $25.5 billion into upgrading and maintaining the freight railroad system’s infrastructure. And, since then, billions more have been invested in making the system more efficient and safer. The same attention to safety is true of the pipeline system, which carries some of the nation’s oil and most of its natural gas.

Even so, the U.S. Department of Transportation wants the existing fleet of rail cars to be replaced or upgraded in two years. Such a rapid phase-out, however, could restrict the production of oil and gas, costing consumers as much as $45 billion, according to a study done by ICF International Inc. Lengthening the replacement period to four years would help hold down that cost. So, too, would repealing the outmoded Jones Act and allowing U.S. crude oil to be exported to the rest of the world.

Without oil trains, oil production in the United States would not be booming, and the United States would not be on the verge of becoming the world’s biggest oil producer, surpassing even Saudi Arabia. Thanks to the shale revolution, the nation’s economy is gaining strength, manufacturing is making a comeback, and tens of thousands of jobs have been created, along with billions in new tax revenue.

The concern over the safety of oil trains and pipelines perhaps reflects the fact that we have reached a point in our economic history where we can afford to worry about very small risks.

Eliminating near-zero safety risks uses resources that could be spent to reduce much larger—and thoroughly proven—risks. Real dangers to our health and safety demand attention. Shipping crude oil by rail and pipeline is not among them.


Germany’s ‘energy transformation,’ unsustainable subsidies and an unstable system

Perhaps when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was a child, she attended a party and was the only one who came without a present, or she was wearing inappropriate attire—and the embarrassment she felt haunts her to this day. That’s how psychodynamic psychology (Freud) might explain her December 3 decision to spend more money on Germany’s failing energy experiment to avoid, as Reuters puts it: “the embarrassment of missing her government’s goal of a 40 percent reduction of emissions by 2020.”

As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany has also embraced the biggest carbon dioxide reductions through a program known as “Energiewende” —or, in English called energy change, shift, or transformation. Energiewende was launched in 2000 under Merkel’s predecessor, who offered subsidies for any company that produced Green energy.

While the European Union (EU) has committed to carbon dioxide cuts of 40 percent by 2030, Germany’s national goal aims to get there a decade sooner—which may have seemed achievable early in the program. After the 1990 reunification of Germany, the modernization of East Germany brought rapidly reduced emissions. However, the program’s overall result has raised costs and the emissions the expensive programs were designed to cut.

A few months ago, Bloomberg reported that, due to increased coal consumption: “Germany’s emissions rose even as its production of intermittent wind and solar power climbed fivefold in the past decade”—hence Merkel’s potential embarrassment on the global stage where she’s put herself in the spotlight as a leader in reducing emissions.

On December 3, while 190 governments were meeting for two weeks of climate change talks in Lima, Peru (which, after 30 hours of overtime, produced a compromise deal that environmental groups see “went from weak to weaker to weakest”), Merkel’s cabinet agreed to a package that continues Germany’s optimistic—though unrealistic—goal and increases subsidies for measures designed to cut emissions. Regarding Germany’s “climate protection package”, Barbara Hendricks, Environment Minister, admitted: “if no additional steps were taken, Germany … would miss its targets by between five to eight percentage points.”

The results of the German agreement will require operators of coal-fueled power plants to reduce emissions by at least 22 million tons—the equivalent of closing eight of them. The Financial Times (FT) believes the plan will “lead to brownouts in German homes.”

With the goal of generating 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, Germany has aggressively pursued a Green dream with unsustainable subsidies that have produced an unstable system described by FT, on November 25, as: “a lesson in doing too much too quickly on energy policy.”

So, what are the lessons? What should the U.S., and other countries, learn from Germany’s generous subsidy programs and rapid, large-scale deployment and integration of renewable energy into the power system? These are the questions U.S. legislators should be asking themselves as they argue over a tax extender package that includes a retroactive extension for the now-expired Production Tax Credit for wind energy.

Fortunately, the answers are easy to determine. Finadvice, a Switzerland based advisor to the utility and renewable industry, did an exhaustive study: “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy—Lessons Learned from Germany.” The introductory comments of the resulting report, includes the following statement: “The authors of this white paper would like to state that they fully support renewables as a part of the power portfolio.  …a couple [of the authors] have direct equity interests in renewable projects.” The author’s viewpoint is an important consideration, especially in light of their findings. They wanted Germany’s experiment to work, yet they begin the Executive Summary with these words:

“Over the last decade, well-intentioned policymakers in Germany and other European countries created renewable energy policies with generous subsidies that have slowly revealed themselves to be unsustainable, resulting in profound, unintended consequences for all industry stakeholders. While these policies have created an impressive roll-out of renewable energy resources, they have also clearly generated disequilibrium in the power markets, resulting in significant increases in energy prices to most users, as well as value destruction for all stakeholders: consumers, renewable companies, electric utilities, financial institutions, and investors.”

After reading the entire 80-page white paper, I was struck with three distinct observations. The German experiment has been has raised energy costs to households and business, the subsidies are unsustainable, and, as a result, without intervention, the energy supply is unstable.


We, in the U.S., are constantly being told that renewable energy is close to cost parity with traditional power sources such as coal and natural gas. Yet, the study clearly points out the German experiment has resulted in “significant increases in energy prices to most users”—which will “ultimately be passed on to electricity consumers.” Germany’s cost increases, as much as 50 percent, are manmade, not market-made—due to regulation rather than the trust costs. The high prices disproportionately hurt the poor giving birth to the new phrase: “energy poverty.”

The higher costs hurt—and not just in the pocket book. The authors cite an International Energy Agency report: “The European Union is expected to lose one-third of its global market share of energy intensive exports over the next two decades due to high energy prices.”

Subsidies and instability are big factors in Germany’s high prices.


To meet Germany’s Green goals, feed-in tariffs (FIT) were introduced as a mechanism that allows for the “fostering of a technology that has not yet reached commercial viability.” FITs are “incentives to increase production of renewable energy.” About the FITs, the report states: “This subsidy is socialized and financed mainly by residential customers.” And: “Because of their generosity, FITs proved capable of quickly increasing the share of renewable power.”

Germany’s original FITs “had no limit to the quantity of renewables to be built” and “led to unsustainable growth of renewables.” As a result, Germany, and other EU.countries have “had to modify, and eventually phase out, their program because of the very high costs of their renewable support mechanisms.”

Germany has also begun to introduce “self-generation fees” for households and businesses that generate their own electricity—typically through rooftop solar, “to ensure that the costs of maintaining the grid are paid for by all consumers, not just those without rooftop PVs.” These fees remove some of the cost-saving incentive for expensive solar installation.

Section four of the report, “Unintended Consequences of Germany’s Renewable Policies,” concludes: “Budgetary constraints, oversupply and distortion of power prices, transaction-specific operational performance, market economics (i.e., Germany proposing to cut all support for biogas), debt structures, and backlash of consumers paying higher prices were all factors contributing to regulatory intervention. Projecting past 2014, these factors are expected to continue over the next several years.”


Hopefully, by now, most people—especially my readers—understand that the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar energy means that in order for us to have the lights go on every time we flip the switch (stability) every kilowatt of electric capacity must be backed up for times when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. But, what most of us don’t think about, that the report spotlights, is that because the favored renewables benefit from “priority dispatch”—which means that if a renewable source is generating power, the utility company must buy and use it rather than the coal, natural gas or nuclear power it has available—the traditional power plants operate inefficiently and uneconomically. “Baseload thermal plants were designed to operate on a continuous base. …they were built to operate at their highest efficiencies when running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Now, due to renewables, these plants operate only a fraction of the time—though the cost to build and maintain them is constant. “The effect of fewer operational hours needs to be compensated by higher prices in these hours.”

Prior to the large integration of renewables, power plants earned the most when demand is high—in the middle of the day (which is also when the most solar power is generated). The result impacts cost recovery. “There are fewer hours in which the conventional power plants earn more than the marginal cost since they run fewer hours than originally planned and, in many cases, provide back-up power only.”

This translates into financial difficulties for the utilities that have resulted in lower stock prices and credit ratings. (Note: utility stocks often make up a large share of retirement portfolios.) Many plants are closed prematurely—which means the initial investment has not been recovered.

Because the reduced use prevents the power plants from covering their full costs—yet they must be available 24/7, power station operators in Germany are now seeking subsidies in the form of “capacity payments.” The report explains that a plant threatened to close because of “economic problems.” However, due to its importance in “maintaining system stability” the plant was “kept online per decree” and the operator’s fixed costs are compensated.


Anyone who reads “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy” will conclude that there is far more to providing energy that is efficient, effective and economical than the renewable fairytale storytellers want consumers to believe. Putting a solar panel on your roof is more involved than just installation. The German experiment proves that butterflies, rainbows, and pixie dust won’t power the world after all—coal, natural gas, and nuclear power are all important parts of the power portfolio.

Why, then, did Merkel continue Germany’s commitment to an energy and economic suicide? It is all part of the global shaming that takes place at the climate change meetings like the one that just concluded in Lima, Peru.

If only U.S. legislators would read “Development and Integration of Renewable Energy” before they vote for more subsidies for renewable energy, but, heck, they don’t even read the bill—which is why calls from educated constituents are so important. I am optimistic. Maybe we could learn from Germany’s experience what they haven’t yet learned themselves.


The Great Lima Climate Change Shakedown

The global warming brigades from around the world gathered last week at a United Nations climate change conference in Lima to save the planet. The nations from across the planet were supposed to link hands and all would agree to slash their green house gas emissions.

Instead the conference was a complete dud.

That might be putting it charitably. The BBC described the final agreement as “a weak and ineffectual compromise” while green groups complain that it actually “weakens international climate rules.” It turns out most of the nations of the world see the climate change issue as merely a shake down opportunity to leverage more aid money from American taxpayers.

That’s especially true of the planet’s fastest growing greenhouse gas emitters – China and India. They made it abundantly clear they aren’t much interested in reducing their reliance on cheap and abundant fossil fuels and they fiercely resisted any enforceable targets to do so. What they do want is the U.S. And European nations to write them a $100 billion check.

China and India’s political leaders were sounding last week like Cuba Gooding, in “Jerry McGuire”: “Show me the money.”

The big “breakthrough” was that Europe and the U.S. agreed to provide China, India, South America and Africa with a “loss and damage” slush fund to compensate them for any property losses from rising ocean waters and temperatures. Evidently, it’s all America’s fault for using so much energy.

In less than one month, Barack Obama’s “epic deal” with China president Xi Jinping to reduce greenhouse gas emission standards has been exposed as a sham. It was always a self-delusion to believe that China would do anything to slow down its economic development plans – which rely heavily on cheap and abundant fossil fuels.

Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator admitted in Lima: “we do not have any clear road map of meeting [emissions] target for 2020.”

Well, isn’t that reassuring.

China and India spent the entire week demanding that the U.S. pony up a promised $100 billion to pay poor nations to reduce their emissions. When the U.S. offered $10 billion, U.N. Climate change spokesman, Christiana Figueres, dismissed this as “a very, very small sum.” She says it will take trillions of dollars of commitments to decarbonize the planet. And guess who she has in mind to pay that price tag?

The lesson of Lima is that the rest of the world is not going to cut its carbon emissions. Period. China and India, with two billion people, have nearly doubled their carbon emissions over the last decade with no end in sight and this has negated any progress in the U.S. And Europe. See chart.

Mr. Obama has agreed to an historic climate change deal with… himself. America will give up jobs and money (eventually trillions) and pay higher energy prices and in exchange the rest of the world will do nothing.

In the climate change racket, we are being played for fools.


BOOK REVIEW: Hughes Exposes the Truth About Environmental Scares

Reviewed by Jay Lehr

Popular Deceptions: What they haven’t told us and how much it’s going to cost By Randall L. Hughes.  $12.75 on Amazon

For thirty years, energy engineer Randall Hughes has been frustrated by widespread misinformation on the subject of energy, chemical use, and other targets of environmentalists’ wrath. His frustration has resulted in a book that tackles major public deceptions, written for a layman. It can be enjoyed by anyone with a desire to forego technical jargon and get to the bottom of these issues.

He has succeeded so well I do not know quite where to start in praising the book. I encourage you to make it a Christmas present for the open-minded on your gift list.

Many Subjects

To set up his observations about popular deceptions, Hughes surfs across subjects known to many of us, including autism, DDT, asthma, ozone, golden rice, and prairie chickens. He explains the evolution of lies and the reasons some individuals and groups have little problem playing the deception game to achieve their hidden agendas. The table of contents includes more than 120 items, making it easy to navigate the book for quick reference.

Hughes shows so many of today’s headlines use nothing more than cherry-picked statistics, and demonstrates most green initiative are more about someone’s financial gain than saving the earth. Randall supports his argument with 311 footnotes.

His cost data is exceptional. For example, he writes, “The costs and actions required to comply with the new ozone standard alone is projected to destroy 7.3 million jobs and cost the nation one trillion dollars by 2020. These aren’t the numbers we’ll hear from the mainstream media and certainly not the message we’ll hear from the environmental lobby.”

Hughes does a nice job explaining the unconscionable battles against phalates, BPA, and even chlorine chemicals, and documents how our children are being brought up on cartoons aimed at sowing fear and mistrust of the free market and industry.

EPA: Job Killer

Among the book’s 22 chapters, Hughes spends the most time on the EPA, referring to it as the Employment Prevention Agency. Most of our readers know EPA has become a travesty, but few understand the details he conveys so simply.

Hughes’ chapters on global warming provide an excellent review for the general reader. Of particular interest is Hughes’ exposure of 150 years of New York Times fear-mongering headlines concerning weather that put the lie to the paper’s absurd opinions of man’s impact on today’s climate. Consider these:

Jan. 2 1870—Ice Melts Suddenly on the Hudson River

June 23, 1890—Winters Are Not So Cold Anymore

Dec 16, 1934—Colder Winters Than in Grandfather’s Day

Jan 30, 1961—Experts Agree Climate Is Getting Colder

July 18, 1970—US and Russia Researching Why World Is Getting Colder

Feb 5, 1972—Greenland Ice Cores Show Catastrophic Change 89,500 Years Ago from Warm to Very Cold

Among the many refreshing insights in the book is a report Hughes uncovered from a PR firm for environmental activists which promotes scuzzy talking points such as, “the argument is already won,” the “skeptics are paid experts,” “talk about human values not science,” “avoid discussing costs,” and “alarmism can be a good thing.”

Hughes is at his best when explaining how the world works, such as why the mainstream media strive so diligently against the truth:

“The news media is not in business to deliver facts. They’re in business to sell advertising. The more they increase subscription rates or increase viewers and listeners, the more they can charge for airing commercials. The news itself may be a public service, but the bottom line for the news media is the same as it is for any major corporation, making a profit. The news is designed to shock, surprise and entertain—all in an attempt to increase audience size and increase profits. That’s why catastrophe, scandal, corruption and environmental wrong doing gets top billing."

And that’s why you need to read this book and provide copies to your family and friends.



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


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