Friday, December 12, 2014
Reindeer Populations On The Decline Due To Climate Change, Study Says
An old trick: Choosing start and end points without looking at the in-between. Chinese reindeer populations may indeed have dropped over 25 percent since "the 1970s". But if, as alleged, that was due to global warming, the population drop must now have ceased and the population must now be stable. Why? Because the warming stopped rising 18 years ago. The temperature is stable to within hundredths of a degree.
We also read that the reindeer population in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, "has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013". Sad, no doubt, but warming was not the culprit -- because there wasn't any warming over that period
Reindeer populations across the world are plummeting, thanks to a combination of factors including climate change and human interference, a new study has found. This decrease could actually have lasting effects on climate change, even outside of the Arctic.
The study, which focused on reindeer native to China, found that the populations have seen large declines. In China, reindeer populations have dropped over 25 percent since the 1970s. Mount Daxinganling is the main habitat for reindeer in China. It has been negatively impacted by climate change, causing to soil degradation and higher temperatures, which have hurt reindeer. Human interference, such as poaching for antlers which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, the selling of reindeer to tourists, and reindeer being killed by cars, also have hurt the populations in China.
While the study focuses solely on reindeer populations in China, the trend is not limited to that country. A 2013 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that major reindeer herds in Alaska, Canada, and Russia have all seen declines in population. The largest herd, located in the Taymyr peninsula of Russia, has declined from about 1 million reindeer in 2000 to 700,000 in 2013. The report also found that many reindeer herd’s ranges are smaller than they have been in the past. In 2012, the International Fund of Wildlife’s Jeff Flocken said there has been roughly a 60 percent decline from historical high levels, and that the decline was caused by climate change.
Loss of reindeer populations could actually exacerbate climate change. Researchers in Finland have found that grazing by reindeer can help prevent solar heat absorption which can lead to climate change. In their study, they found that areas where reindeer did not graze had higher levels of heat radiation, thanks to higher levels of shrubs and trees that absorbed heat. A Swedish study has found that reindeer can also prevent the climate-change-caused spread of invasive species in the Arctic tundra.
Warmist scientists go too far with their lies
They can fiddle their temperature record all they like but they can't make the polar ice go away. An allegedly "hot" area is in fact completely covered by ice!
I’ve been suspicious about sea surface temperatures since the bizarro Unisys incident a few weeks ago, when they suddenly replaced cold North Atlantic temperatures with warm ones, based on a completely incoherent explanation.
The claims of record 2014 heat are based on sea surface temperatures, which don’t make any sense. Look at the strip between Greenland and Iceland – they show sea surface temperatures about 6C above normal
Now look at the sea ice map. Ice extends all the way from Greenland to Iceland – far above normal.
It is simply not credible that the seas between Greenland and Iceland are 6C above normal, and have excess ice. The excess ice indicates that sea surface temperatures there are below normal. Something is seriously amiss
Comment from Australia
As Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb prepare to arrive in Lima to represent Australia at the annual United Nations climate negotiations, deep divisions are emerging over whether a deal to be reached in Paris next year will include legally binding targets.
The US says national targets should be voluntary – a position that has won the support of leading Australian economist Ross Garnaut.
But the European Union has claimed that voluntary targets will not provide the necessary long-term certainty to make the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions needed to prevent dangerous climate change. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has now made a similar argument, saying a deal without legally binding commitments would be nothing more than aspirations.
The debate came amid a new stoush over climate finance to be provided by wealthy countries to those still developing. The Abbott government has made it clear that it believes the bulk of money should be paid by industry. That contrasts with its position at home, where it has set up a $2.5 billion fund of taxpayers' money to pay industry to cut emissions.
The two-week Lima conference started positively last week, but began to get bogged down by week's end. The US wants a Paris deal to focus on emissions reduction pledges, but developing countries want to see a greater focus on measures to help the most vulnerable adapt and a stronger link between climate finance paid by the wealthy and the target of limiting the temperature rise by 2 degrees.
Australia has faced criticism from China over its refusal to give any money to the Green Climate Fund. The fund has received $9.7 billion, including pledges from the US, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.
In an interview with Associated Press, Ms Bishop said Australia would continue to directly pay for climate-change adaptation in vulnerable South Pacific island nations through its aid budget rather than donate to a UN fund designed for the same purpose.
"The Green Climate Fund is about supporting developing countries build resilience to climate change. Australia is already doing that through our aid program," she said.
Ms Bishop said her message to the conference would be "that the new agreement should establish a common playing field for all countries to take climate action from 2020" and to call for commitments from all major economies to cut emissions.
She said any deal in Paris needed to be legally binding, and that Australia wanted to see the detail of a US-China emissions deal struck ahead of the Peru conference.
"China has already said that it will continue business as usual until 2030. We want to know whether there's some sort of binding commitment," she said.
A report by US and Chinese academics last year found that for China's emissions to peak and start reducing by 2030, as it plans, it would require significantly more action than business as usual practice.
The legal status of national targets that countries will offer up as part of a new comprehensive agreement in Paris was left deliberately vague in the so-called Durban Platform agreed to in 2011. It said the talks would lead to a "protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force".
But EU lead negotiator Elina Bardram said in Lima last week that legally binding targets were needed to provide confidence for investors.
"The EU is of the mind that legally binding mitigation targets are the only way to provide the necessary long term signal," The Guardian quoted Ms Bardram as saying.
"We're not convinced that an alternative approach could provide the same signals that would be sufficient to deliver the global momentum."
US lead climate negotiator Todd Stern said previous approaches that involved legally binding commitments did not work.
"You could assign every country a particular reduction that on paper looks like a perfect result and then you can't get an agreement on it. This [a deal with voluntary commitments] is a way to get everyone in. It's not going to be perfect, but it's a strong start that would get better and better," he said.
Professor Garnaut told Fairfax Media that while countries can make "serious domestic political commitments", it would be counter-productive to demand they enter into a binding legal commitment. Countries would be more likely to be more ambitious if the targets they set were voluntary, as occurred at a 2010 UN meeting in Cancun.
"We shouldn't be aiming for a legally binding agreement," Professor Garnaut said. "We now know that even if we couldn't recognise it at the time, that at this stage of history that is neither feasible not desirable.
"The ambition of the concerted unilateral commitments at Cancun were much greater than the notionally legally binding commitments at Kyoto [in 1997]. There is good reason for that; when negotiators think they are binding their countries, they are more cautious than when countries are honestly thinking they can do, but there is less sense of the catastrophic consequences if they don't."
Climate finance has so far dominated conference talks. The US pushed to delete words in a negotiating paper stating that financial commitments should be "new and additional", predictable and adequate. The US was supported by Switzerland,which said that unless a call for new commitments of finance post-2020 was left out of the final text, there would be no agreement in Lima.
A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme has found that even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to the level required to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees this century, the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries is likely to reach two to three times the previous estimates of $70-100 billion per year by 2050. Adaptation costs for Africa alone could reach approximately $350 billion annually by 2070.
Record Global Temperature —Conflicting Reports, Contrasting Implications
Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger write very carefully and informatively below. I am however a little bemused that that they think temperature variations as tiny as hundredths of a degree are worth discussing
Despite what you may think if you reside in the eastern United States, the world as a whole in 2014 has been fairly warm. For the past few months, several temperature-tracking agencies have been hinting that this year may turn out to be the “warmest ever recorded”—for whatever that is worth (keep reading for our evaluation). The hints have been turned up a notch with the latest United Nations climate confab taking place in Lima, Peru through December 12. The mainstream media is happy to popularize these claims (as are government-money-seeking science lobbying groups).
But a closer look shows two things: first, whether or not 2014 will prove to be the record warmest year depends on whom you ask; and second, no matter where the final number for the year ranks in the observations, it will rank among the greatest “busts” of climate model predictions (which collectively expected it to be a lot warmer). The implication of the first is just nothing more than a jostling for press coverage. The implication of the latter is that future climate change appears to be less of a menace than assumed by the president and his pen and phone.
Let’s examine at the various temperature records.
First, a little background. Several different groups compile the global average temperature in near-real time. Each uses slightly different data-handling techniques (such as how to account for missing data) and so each gets a slightly different (but nevertheless very similar) values. Several groups compute the surface temperature, while others calculate the global average temperature in the lower atmosphere (a bit freer from confounding factors like urbanization). All, thus far, only have data for 2014 compiled through October, so the final ranking for 2014, at this point in time, is only a speculation (although a pretty well-founded one).
The three major groups calculating the average surface temperature of the earth (land and ocean combined) all are currently indicating that 2014 will likely nudge out 2010 (by a couple hundredths of a degree Celsius) to become the warmest year in each dataset (which begin in mid-to-late 1800s). This is almost certainly true in the datasets maintained by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. In the record compiled by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the 2014 year-to-date value is in a virtual dead heat with the annual value for 2010, so the final ranking will depend heavily on the how the data come in for November and December. (The other major data compilation, the one developed by the Berkeley Earth group is not updated in real time).
There is one other compilation of the earth’s surface temperature history that has recently been developed by researchers Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way of the University of York. This dataset rose to prominence a year ago, when it showed that if improved (?) methods were used to fill in data-sparse regions of the earth (primarily in the Arctic), the global warming “hiatus” was more of a global warming “slowdown.” In other words, a more informed guess indicated that the Arctic had been warming at a greater rate than was being expressed by the other datasets. This instantly made the Cowtan and Way dataset the darling of folks who wanted to show that global warming was alive and well and not, in fact, in a coma (a careful analysis of the implications of Cowtan and Way’s findings however proved the data not up to that task). So what are the prospects of 2014 being a record warm year in the Cowtan and Way dataset? Slim. 2014 currently trails 2010 by a couple hundredths of a degree Celsius—an amount that will be difficult to make up without an exceptionally warm November and December. Consquently, the briefly favored dataset is now being largely ignored.
It is worth pointing out, that as a result of data and computational uncertainty, none of the surface compilations will 2014 be statistically different from 2010—in other words, it is impossible to say with statistical certainty, that 2014 was (or was not) the all-time warmest year ever recorded.
It is a different story in the lower atmosphere.
There, the two groups compiling the average temperature show that 2014 is nowhere near the warmest (in data which starts in 1979), trailing 1998 by several tenths of a degree Celsius. This difference is so great that it statistically clear that 2014 will not be a record year (it’ll probably fall in the lower half of the top five warmest years in both the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) datasets). The variability of temperatures in the lower atmosphere is more sensitive to the occurrence of El Niño conditions and thus the super El Niño of 1998 set a high temperature mark that will likely stand for many years to come, or at least until another huge El Niño occurs.
Basically, what all this means, is that if you want 2014 to be the “warmest year ever recorded” you can find data to back you up, and if you prefer it not be, well, you can find data to back up that position as well.
In all cases, the former will make headlines.
But these headlines will be misplaced. The real news is that climate models continue to perform incredibly poorly by grossly overestimating the degree to which the earth is warming.
Let’s examine climate model projections for 2014 against the observations from the dataset which has the greatest chance of 2014 as the warmest year—the NOAA dataset.
Figure 1 shows the average of 108 different climate model projections of the annual surface temperature of the earth from 1980 through 2014 along with the annual temperature as compiled by NOAA.
Figure 1. Global annual surface temperature anomalies from 1980 to 2014. The average of 108 climate models (red) and observations from NOAA (blue) are anomalies from the 20th century average. In the case of the NOAA observations, the 2014 value is the average of January-October.
For the past 16 straight years, climate models have collectively projected more warming than has been observed.
Over the period 1980-2014, climate models projected the global temperature to rise at a rate of 0.24°C/decade while NOAA observations pegged the rise at 0.14°C/decade, about 40 percent less. Over the last 16 years, the observed rise is nearly 66 percent less than climate model projections. The situation is getting worse, not better. This is the real news, because it means that prospects for overly disruptive climate change are growing slimmer, as are justifications for drastic intervention.
We don’t expect many stories to look any further than their “2014 is the warmest year ever” headlines.
As to the rest of the picture, and the part which holds the deeper and more important implications, well, you’ll have to keep checking back with us here—we’re happy to fill you in!
The New Congress Must Save the USA from the EPA
By Alan Caruba
When the Republican Party takes over majority control of Congress in January, it will face a number of battles that must be fought with the Obama administration ranging from its amnesty intentions to the repeal of ObamaCare, but high among the battles is the need to rein in the metastasizing power of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In many ways, it is the most essential battle because it involves the provision of sufficient electrical energy to the nation to keep its lights on. EPA “interpretations” of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have become an outrageous usurpation of power that the Constitution says belongs exclusively to the Congress.
As a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, I recall how in 2012 its president, Joe Bast, submitted 16,000 signed petitions to Congress calling on it to “rein in the EPA.” At the time he noted that “Today’s EPA spends billions of dollars (approximately $9 billion in 2012) imposing senseless regulations. Compliance with its unnecessary rules costs hundreds of billions of dollars more.”
Heartland’s Science Director, Dr. Jay Lehr, said “EPA’s budget could safely be cut by 80 percent or more without endangering the environment or human health. Most of what EPA does today could be done better by state government agencies, many of which didn’t exist or had much less expertise back in 1970 when EPA was created.”
The EPA has declared virtually everything a pollutant including the carbon dioxide (CO2) that 320 million Americans exhale with every breath. It has pursued President Obama’s “war on coal” for six years with a disastrous effect on coal miners, those who work for coal-fired plants that produce electricity, and on consumers who are seeing their energy bills soar.
As Edwin D. Hill, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, noted in August, “The EPA’s plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity” and its plan would “result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail, and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.”
“The United States cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid,” warned Hill.
In October the Institute for Energy Research criticized the EPA’s war on coal based on its Mercury and Air Toxics Rule and its Cross State Air Pollution Rule, noting that 72.7 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity have already, or are scheduled to retire. “That’s enough to reliably power 44.7 million homes, or every home in every state west of the Mississippi river, excluding Texas.” How widespread are the closures? There are now 37 states with projected power plant closures, up from 30 in 2011. The five hardest hit states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and Georgia.
If a foreign nation had attacked the U.S. in this fashion, we would be at war with it.
The EPA is engaged in a full-scale war on the U.S. economy as it ruthlessly forces coal-fired plants out of operation. This form of electricity production has been around since the industry began to serve the public in 1882 when Edison installed the world’s first generating plants on Pearl Street in New York City’s financial district. Moreover, the U.S. has huge reserves of coal making it an extremely affordable source of energy, available for centuries to come.
The EPA’s actions have been criticized by one of the nation’s leading liberal attorneys, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who has joined with Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, to criticize the “executive overreach” of the EPA’s proposed rule to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. He accused the agency of abusing statutory law, violating the Constitution’s Article I, Article II, the separations of powers, the Tenth and Fifth Amendments, and the agency’s general contempt for the law.
It is this contempt that can be found in virtually all of its efforts to exert power over every aspect of life in America from the air we breathe, the water we use, property rights, all forms of manufacturing, and, in general, everything that contributes to the economic security and strength of the nation.
That contempt is also revealed in the way the EPA spends its taxpayer funding. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) released a report, “The Science of Splurging”, on December 2 in which he pointed to the $1,100,000 spent to pay the salaries of eight employees who were not working due to being placed on administrative leave, the $3,500,000 spent to fund “Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health” workshops around the nation, $1,500,000 annually to store out-of-date and unwanted publicans at an Ohio warehouse, and $700,000 to attempt to reduce methane emitted from pig flatulence in Thailand! “After years of handing out blank checks in the form of omnibus appropriations bills and continuing resolutions,” said Sen. Flake, “it’s time for Congress to return to regular order and restore accountability at the EPA.”
Whether it is its alleged protection of the air or water, the only limits that have been placed on the EPA have been by the courts. Time and again the EPA has been admonished for over-stating or deliberately falsifying its justification to control every aspect of life in the nation, often in league with the Army Corps of Engineers.
If the Republican controlled Congress does not launch legislative action to control the EPA the consequences for Americans will continue to mount, putting them at risk of losing electricity, being deprived of implicit property rights, and driving up the cost of transportation by demanding auto manufacturers increase miles-per-gallon requirements at a time when there is now a worldwide glut of oil and the price of gasoline is dropping.
The United States has plenty of enemies in the world that want it to fail. It is insane that we harbor one as a federal agency.
Peru to press charges over Greenpeace Nazca lines stunt
Activists allegedly damaged the millenia-old Nazca lines during a protest to draw attention to climate talks
Peru has vowed to prosecute Greenpeace activists after they allegedly damaged the world-famous Nazca lines during an environmental publicity stunt.
Activists from the group unfurled cloth letters spelling out a green energy slogan at the millennia-old site on Monday, adjacent to where the figure of a hummingbird is etched into the ground.
Peru has said the activists damaged the ground by leaving footprints, which could last for thousands of years.
“It’s a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred,” Luis Jaime Castillo, the deputy culture minister, said.
In a statement, the Peruvian culture ministry said: "After the illegal, premeditated action by environmental defense group Greenpeace, the zone has been seriously affected.”
It described the stunt as an “attack on the cultural heritage of all Peruvians and all humanity".
Best seen from the sky, the ancient lines are enormous drawings etched in the earth by pre-Inca Nazca civilizations sometime between 500BC and AD 500.
They span some 200 square miles of the desert and have long intrigued archaeologists with the mystery of their size, their meticulously drawn figures and their abundance.
Some of the drawings depict living creatures, others stylised plants or fantastical beings, others geometric figures that stretch for miles.
Visitors to the Unesco World Heritage Site in southern Peru are normally banned from entering the area where the activists staged their stunt.
Even ministers and presidents have to seek special permission and wear special footwear to access the grounds.
Mr Castillo said: “[The lines] are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years. And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognised of all.”
Mr Castillo said the Peruvian government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country and was asking prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.
The activists laid big yellow cloth letters reading: “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable. Greenpeace.”
The message was timed to coincide with climate change talks taking place in the Peruvian capital Lima.
Mr Castillo said: “Peru has nothing against the message of Greenpeace. We are all concerned about climate change. But the means doesn’t justify the ends.”
Greenpeace said it was "deeply concerned about any offense" it may have caused and said its activism was always waged with respect for "the peoples of the world and their cultural heritage”.
Tina Loeffelbein, spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the activists were “absolutely careful to protect the Nazca lines” and that the group was taking the case seriously and investigating. It said on its Facebook page the letters it used were simply cloth spread across the ground, and that its activists had taken care to cause "absolutely no damage" to the site.
But the Peruvian government "did not accept the apology" because Greenpeace "has not accepted the damage caused”.
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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
Posted by JR at 1:42 AM