Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Aha! The new encyclical is going to be just like the old ones!
Encyclicals are normally very cautious documents -- which have something for everyone -- and this one will be no different. As with the utterances of the previous Pope (Ratzinger) it will say that, yes, the environment is important but we must have economic growth too in order to lift the poor out of poverty.
There is no known way of combining Greenie ideas with economic growth so you certainly won't be able to have both but there is no harm in saying we must have both. An encyclical is not legislation. It is just overall guidance.
I predict this one will be rather fun. The Warmists will say the Pope is on their side and business groups will say the Pope is on their side -- just as both Left and Right claimed victory over De rerum novarum and Centesimus annus
A new development model [such as?] is needed to combat global warming, one that marries economic growth to combat poverty with a sustainable use of resources, Pope Francis' deputy said Wednesday.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, said both political and economic commitment will be required to ensure the Earth's health for future generations.
Parolin's remarks came in a message Wednesday to a conference of business and church leaders on how sustainable actions can drive the economic growth needed to lift people out of poverty. It's a theme that Francis is expected to explore in his environment encyclical, which is due in the coming weeks.
"When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation," Parolin's message said. "There is no room for the globalization of indifference, the economy of exclusion or the throwaway culture so often denounced by Pope Francis."
Parolin's intervention was a clear indication that Francis endorses economic development proposals which help the poor but use new, clean-energy, low carbon and efficient technologies.
The conference was organized by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which aims to drive economic prosperity while addressing climate change. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who chairs the commission, said global action to stop climate change had long been stymied by fears that economic growth and jobs would be sacrificed. The commission's studies, he said, had found the opposite.
"We can foster economic growth and mitigate climate risk at the same time," he said. "In fact, this is the only way to achieve long-term, sustained economic growth, and through it to alleviate poverty for the millions of souls that need, demand and deserve it."
"Food security" -- wotta lotta ...
We are told below that groundwater depletion in semi-arid regions of Texas and California threatens US food security. I know nothing about groundwater in Texas and California but I do know that food security is a snark.
The characteristic problem of international trade in farm products is GLUT! Too much food. It's the reason the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture pays tens of thousands of American farmers not to produce. That started back in the '30s with FDR. It's why the EU has a "lake" of unsold wine. Even chilly old Canada is a major food exporter -- of grains in particular.
If we DO get some global warming and another couple of million extra acres of Northern Canada become warm enough for farming, food prices will hit an all-time low because supply will so far outstrip demand. Canada might prohibit all slimming advertisements as hostile to its farmers
The nation's food supply may be vulnerable to rapid groundwater depletion from irrigated agriculture, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere.
The study, which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, paints the highest resolution picture yet of how groundwater depletion varies across space and time in California's Central Valley and the High Plains of the central U.S. Researchers hope this information will enable more sustainable use of water in these areas, although they think irrigated agriculture may be unsustainable in some parts.
"We're already seeing changes in both areas," said Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology and lead author of the study. "We're seeing decreases in rural populations in the High Plains. Increasing urbanization is replacing farms in the Central Valley. And during droughts some farmers are forced to fallow their land. These trends will only accelerate as water scarcity issues become more severe."
Three results of the new study are particularly striking: First, during the most recent drought in California's Central Valley, from 2006 to 2009, farmers in the south depleted enough groundwater to fill the nation's largest human-made reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas -- a level of groundwater depletion that is unsustainable at current recharge rates.
Second, a third of the groundwater depletion in the High Plains occurs in just 4% of the land area. And third, the researchers project that if current trends continue some parts of the southern High Plains that currently support irrigated agriculture, mostly in the Texas Panhandle and western Kansas, will be unable to do so within a few decades.
California's Central Valley is sometimes called the nation's "fruit and vegetable basket." The High Plains, which run from northwest Texas to southern Wyoming and South Dakota, are sometimes called the country's "grain basket." Combined, these two regions produced agricultural products worth $56 billion in 2007, accounting for much of the nation's food production. They also account for half of all groundwater depletion in the U.S., mainly as a result of irrigating crops.
In the early 20th century, farmers in California's Central Valley began pumping groundwater to irrigate their crops. Over time, groundwater levels dropped as much as 400 feet in some places. From the 1930s to '70s, state and federal agencies built a system of dams, reservoirs and canals to transfer water from the relatively water-rich north to the very dry south. Since then, groundwater levels in some areas have risen as much as 300 feet. In the High Plains, farmers first began large-scale pumping of groundwater for crop irrigation in the 1930s and '40s; but irrigation greatly expanded in response to the 1950s drought. Since then, groundwater levels there have steadily declined, in some places more than 150 feet.
Scanlon and her colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey and the Université de Rennes in France used water level records from thousands of wells, data from NASA's GRACE satellites, and computer models to study groundwater depletion in the two regions.
GRACE satellites monitor changes in Earth's gravity field which are controlled primarily by variations in water storage. Byron Tapley, director of the university's Center for Space Research, led the development of the GRACE satellites, which recently celebrated their 10th anniversary.
Scanlon and her colleagues suggested several ways to make irrigated agriculture in the Central Valley more sustainable: Replace flood irrigation systems (used on about half of crops) with more efficient sprinkle and drip systems and expand the practice of groundwater banking -- storing excess surface water in times of plenty in the same natural aquifers that supply groundwater for irrigation. Groundwater banks currently store 2 to 3 cubic kilometers of water in California, similar to or greater than storage capacities of many of the large surface water reservoirs in the state. Groundwater banks provide a valuable approach for evening out water supplies during climate extremes ranging from droughts to floods.
For various reasons, Scanlon and other experts don't think these or other engineering approaches will solve the problem in the High Plains. When groundwater levels drop too low to support irrigated farming in some areas, farmers there will be forced to switch from irrigated crops such as corn to non-irrigated crops such as sorghum, or to rangeland. The transition could be economically challenging because non-irrigated crops generate about half the yield of irrigated crops and are far more vulnerable to droughts.
"Basically irrigated agriculture in much of the southern High Plains is unsustainable," said Scanlon.
The disgusting little worm that is Schellnhuber says Earth Overpopulated by 6B
Hans Joachim Schnellnhuber, a leading German climate scientist who is set to speak as Pope Francis unveils his long-awaited climate change encyclical, once said the world is overpopulated by 6 billion people, Breitbart.com reports.
At the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, Schnellnhuber, who is founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, said that if greenhouse gas buildup caused a rise of 9 degrees Fahrenheit of global temperatures, much life on earth would be threatened. Six billion members of the 7 billion human population would die, he said, according to a New York Times report on the conference.
"In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something – namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people," said Schellnhuber, who is described by the Times writer as using dark humor throughout the talk.
"What a triumph," Schellnhuber said. "On the other hand, do we want this alternative? I think we can do much, much better."
Francis' encyclical comes out on Thursday in Vatican City , and many on the left have hoped it would link the global warming fight to religious obligation, Breitbart notes. With Schellnhuber, one of the word's most aggressive anti-climate change scientists, scheduled to speak, the left may be getting what they hope for.
Schellnhuber said, "The scientific, economic, and moral dimensions all belong together."
Skeptics of man-made climate change already are voicing concern about the encyclical, and Schnellnhuber's presence at the announcement isn't likely to allay their fears.
Breitbart notes he is also the author of the "two-degree target," that calls for nations to keep the global temperature within two degrees of what it was before the industrial revolution.
He also has called for an Earth Constitution that would transcend the U.N. Charter and a "Global Council … elected by all the people on Earth" and a "Planetary Court … a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution."
Twin peaks – twin lies
Supposedly record-high temperature and carbon dioxide levels supposedly bring record chaos
Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin
A recent NOAA article is just what Doctor Doom ordered. It claims the 18-year “hiatus” in rising planetary temperatures isn’t really happening. (The “pause” followed a 20-year modest temperature increase, which followed a prolonged cooling period.) The article states:
“Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”
Published in Science magazine to ensure extensive news coverage before critics could expose its flaws, the report was indeed featured prominently in the national print, television, radio and electronic media.
It’s part of the twin peaks thesis: Peaking carbon dioxide levels will cause peaking temperatures, which will lead to catastrophic climate and weather. Unfortunately for alarmists, the chaos isn’t happening.
No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2. And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change – allergies, asthma, Islamic State and Boko Haram – don’t even pass the laugh test.
The NOAA report appears to have been another salvo in the White House’s attempt to regain the offensive, ahead of the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Climate Conference. However, a growing number of prominent analysts have uncovered serious biases, errors and questions in the report.
Climatologists Pat Michaels, Dick Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger point out that the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius, to make them “homogenous” with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are “clearly contaminated by heat conduction” from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use – whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.
So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration.” However, it will not be “particularly useful” for improving our understanding of what is happening in Earth’s climate system.
Dr. Curry and the previously mentioned scientists also note that the buoy network has covered an increasingly wide area over the past couple decades, collecting high quality data. So again, why did NOAA resort to shipboard data? The ARGO buoys and satellite network (both omitted in this new analysis) do not show a warming trend – whereas the NOAA methodology injects a clear warming trend.
Canadian economist and statistical expert Ross McKitrick also analyzed the NOAA approach. He concluded that it wipes out the global warming hiatus that eight other studies have found. Its adjustments to SST records for 1998-2000 had an especially large effect, he says. Dr. McKitrick also recaps the problems scientists have with trying to create consistent temperature records from the multiple measurement methods employed over the centuries.
Theologian, ethicist and climate analyst Calvin Beisner provides an excellent summary of all these and other critiques of the deceptive NOAA paper.
It is also important to note that, in reality, NOAA is quibbling about hundredths of a degree – essentially the margin of error. On that basis it rejects multiple studies that found planetary warming has stopped.
Britain’s Global Warming Policy Forum succinctly concludes: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA,” as well as by other exhaustive data monitoring reports over the past four decades.
The vitally important bottom line is simple.
The central issue in this ongoing debate is not whether Planet Earth is warming. The issue is: How much is it warming? How much of the warming and other climate changes are due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases – and how much are due to the same powerful natural forces that have driven climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history? And will any changes be short-term or long-term … and good, bad, neutral or catastrophic?
At this time, there is no scientific evidence – based on actual observations and measurements of temperatures and weather events – that humans are altering the climate to a significant or dangerous degree. Computer models, political statements and hypothetical cataclysms cannot and must not substitute for that absence of actual evidence, especially when the consequences would be so dire for so many. In fact, even the “record high” global average temperature of 2014 was concocted and a margin of error.
Simply put, the danger is not climate change – which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate.
Moreover, the IPCC’s top climate official says the UN’s unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global capitalist] economic development model.” Another IPCC director says, “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”
That summit could give government officials and environmental activists the power to eliminate fossil fuels, control businesses and entire economies, and tell families what living standards they will be permitted to enjoy – with no accountability for the damage that will result from their actions.
For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do.
For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.
Countries, communities, companies and citizens need to challenge and resist these immoral, harmful, tyrannical, lethal and racist EPA, IPCC, UN and EU decrees. Otherwise, the steady technological, economic, health and human progress of the past 150 years will come to a painful, grinding halt – sacrificed in the name of an illusory and fabricated climate crisis.
Climate-change skeptics reveal fudging of temperature data; Senators blast global-warming alarmism based on fraud
The entire purpose of global-warming alarmism is to consolidate more power and control in the federal government, according to former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
“I find it very convenient that the politicians who would seize power from the people and heavily regulate businesses on the threat of ill-defined climate catastrophe are usually the ones who wanted to control everything anyway,” DeMint told a large breakfasting crowd at the Washington Court Hotel Thursday. “It’s funny how that works out, and it’s clear what the goals are. It really is central power.”
The crowd was gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 10th International Conference on Climate Change, which took place Thursday and Friday. Hosted by the Heartland Institute, the event brought together skeptics of man-caused climate change from all over the world for two days of expert panels and keynote addresses.
“The facts are these: climate always changes,” said DeMint, now the president of the Heritage Foundation “Human activity might play a role, and … that’s not always a problem, especially not one to be solved by policies which could impoverish prosperous societies and destroy poor ones and not improve the environment. Contorting models and predictions to lie about this so one can advance a centralized political agenda is not simply an insult to science, it’s an offense against democracy.”
In a Thursday morning panel presentation, attendees learned exactly how models and predictions are contorted to make global warming appear to be a huge problem. Meteorologist and blogger Anthony Watts revealed the climate change data gatekeepers – those entities who filter information before it is disseminated for public consumption. He said there are four main types of gatekeepers – dataset curators, such as NOAA; organizations, such as the IPCC; press release services; and science journals.
What most people don’t know, according to Watts, is there is only one source of data on the Earth’s surface temperature – the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). That is why all of the dataset curators produce the same data. However, there exists independent satellite data that doesn’t agree with the single-source surface temperature data on temperature trends over the past 18 years. The latter shows an increase, while the former shows mostly steady temperatures.
Watts said the various gatekeepers adjust data sets all the time. Specifically, they adjust past temperatures downward so it looks like there has been a greater increase in temperature over time. Watts showed that the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, for example, has gradually adjusted the Earth’s past temperatures downward since 1980.
In addition to adjusting data, gatekeepers also infill missing data, according to Watts. Some temperature reporting stations have stopped reporting over time, and instead of simply skipping over them, dataset curators fill in a value.
Not only have some stations stopped reporting, said Watts, but others produce unreliable readings. He showed the audience photographs of two reporting stations in Arizona, both located in asphalt parking lots, which are naturally hotter than more remote areas. Meanwhile, the U.S. Climate Reference Network, with about 150 stations situated away from human beings, has reported essentially stable temperatures over the past several years, he said.
Watts said it can be misleading when agencies show the public only the average annual temperature of an area. As an example, he cited Las Vegas, where the average annual temperature has been rising since 1937. However, the average annual maximum temperature in Vegas has been flat or slightly decreasing. It is the average annual minimum temperature that has been rising, suggesting nights have gotten hotter while days have not.
Watts noted very few states saw record high temperatures in the past two decades. In fact, a plurality of record highs occurred in the 1930s. He also presented a graph showing the number of 90+ degree readings at all U.S. Historical Climate Network stations has been going down since the 1930s.
Recently, NOAA “erased” our current 18-year pause in global warming by adjusting past temperatures downward and recent temperatures upward. Watts claims the latter adjustment relied on problematic data from ship-based temperature readings, which can be driven upward by the ship engine’s heat. He said the 18-year warming hiatus remains in the satellite record.
“We’ve got the temperature record a victim of gatekeeping activity since its production methodology is not fully reproducible outside of the government,” Watts concluded. “We need a third party investigation. The surface temperature record has an overzealous adjustment scheme that adds warming. The resultant temperature data set is, in my opinion, not fit for purpose and not truly representative of the temperature history of the globe or the United States.”
Watts’s fellow panelist, Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, argued global warming alarmists do not follow a rational climate policy because they don’t adhere to “cumulative,” evidence-based methods. In fact, Armstrong said, the IPCC has stated “long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” So instead of scientifically forecasting the future climate, they create computer-simulated scenarios about the future based on “expert judgments.” And he contended expert judgments are useless when it comes to complex, uncertain situations.
“The mass media keeps blaring this thing, and it’s very convincing to people,” Armstrong said. “It’s going to fail as this becomes a more high-involvement situation. It also is going to fail because repeating lies – you can repeat lies as long as people aren’t interested. Once they get interested, then repeating lies harms them.”
One message that has been repeated over and over in the media is that 97 percent of climate scientists agree global warming is very likely due to human activity. But Dr. Roy Spencer, another panelist and climatologist, seemed unimpressed by that data point.
“That 97 percent – even if it was 99 percent, it really doesn’t matter because it’s a herd mentality in climate science,” Spencer asserted. “Most of those people don’t know enough about the climate system, about feedbacks, to give an independent view on whether humans are causing significant climate change.”
Indeed, most of the speakers at the conference seemed to understand the massive mainstream opposition they face. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who spoke at Thursday’s breakfast, said he’s been called a “prostitute” and accused of treason for his views on climate change. But he essentially laughed it off.
“If you don’t have the truth on your side, and you don’t have logic on your side, you do two things: you insult and you call names,” Inhofe told the crowd. “So this is what’s going on, and that’s always an indication that you’re winning, when they start that. It really is. You can’t let it bother you.”
High-tech solar projects fail to deliver
Ivanpah has set such a bad example that other similar projects have been scrapped. A lot of the time it actually runs on a "fossil fuel" -- natural gas
Some costly high-tech solar power projects aren't living up to promises their backers made about how much electricity they could generate.
Solar-thermal technology, which uses mirrors to capture the sun's rays, was once heralded as the advance that would overtake old fashioned solar panel farms. But a series of missteps and technical difficulties threatens to make newfangled solar-thermal technology obsolete.
The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California's Mojave Desert is supposed to be generating more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. But 15 months after starting up, the plant is producing just 40% of that, according to data from the U.S. Energy Department.
The sprawling facility uses "power towers"--huge pillars surrounded by more than 170,000 mirrors, each bigger than a king-size bed--to capture the sun's rays and create steam. That steam is used to generate electricity. Built by BrightSource Energy Inc. and operated by NRG Energy Inc., Ivanpah has been advertised as more reliable than a traditional solar panel farm, in part, because it more closely resembles conventional power plants that burn coal or natural gas.
Turns out, there is a lot more to go wrong with the new technology. Replacing broken equipment and learning better ways to operate the complex assortment of machinery has stalled Ivanpah's ability to reach full potential, said Randy Hickok, a senior vice president at NRG. New solar-thermal technology isn't as simple as traditional solar panel installations. Since older solar photovoltaic panels have been around for decades, they improve in efficiency and price every year, he said.
"There's a lot more on-the-job learning with Ivanpah," Mr. Hickok said, adding that engineers have had to fix leaky tubes connected to water boilers and contend with a vibrating steam turbine that threatened nearby equipment.
One big miscalculation was that the power plant requires far more steam to run smoothly and efficiently than originally thought, according to a document filed with the California Energy Commission. Instead of ramping up the plant each day before sunrise by burning one hour's worth of natural gas to generate steam, Ivanpah needs more than four times that much help from fossil fuels to get plant humming every morning. Another unexpected problem: not enough sun. Weather predictions for the area underestimated the amount of cloud cover that has blanketed Ivanpah since it went into service in 2013.
Ivanpah isn't the only new solar-thermal project is struggling to energize the grid. A large mirror-powered plant built in Arizona almost two years ago by Abengoa SA of Spain has also had its share of hiccups. Designed to deliver a million megawatt hours of power annually, the plant is putting out roughly half that, federal data show.
NRG and Abengoa say their plants will reach power targets once the kinks are worked out.
In contrast, incremental improvements to traditional solar panels have allowed SunPower Corp. to get more electricity that it originally thought it could from its 1,500-acre solar farm. California Valley Solar Ranch was designed to produce 600,000 megawatt-hours a year in 2013 when it started operating, but today it can generate up to 4% more.
"It's years of learning from experience," said Tom Werner, chief executive of SunPower, adding that his employees have been building large-scale solar farms for more than a decade.
Solar-thermal developers including Abengoa and BrightSource continue to build new plants in South Africa, Chile and China. But Lucas Davis, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says it is unlikely more U.S. projects will gain traction as utilities opt for cheaper solar farms that use panels.
"I don't expect a lot of solar thermal to get built. It's just too expensive," he said.
American solar farms generate 15 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. That satisfies less than 1% of U.S. electricity demand, but six times the amount of power that solar-thermal plants currently produce. And the vast arrays of solar panels that blanket the ground cost roughly half as much to build as new mirror-powered plants, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
Electricity prices from new solar farms average around 5 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to GTM Research, which tracks renewable energy markets. That compares with between 12 and 25 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity generated by the Ivanpah power plant, state and federal data show.
It is unclear how much power would cost from a brand new solar-thermal plant, but it would be more than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour, said Parthiv Kurup, an analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Denver.
The cost of solar panels has plunged in recent years amid a world-wide glut of equipment as China, Taiwan and other countries rapidly developed solar manufacturing centers. A few years ago solar-thermal technology was heralded as a better way to deliver carbon-free renewable energy; some utilities even predicted the technology would replace traditional solar farms.
Even if solar-thermal developers could offer the same power prices as their solar-panel rivals do, solar-thermal plants face environmental hurdles in the U.S.
The Ivanpah plant was delayed several months and had millions of dollars in cost overruns because of wildlife protections for the endangered Desert Tortoise. Once built, U.S. government biologists found the plant's superheated mirrors were killing birds. In April, biologists working for the state estimated that 3,500 birds died at Ivanpah in the span of a year, many of them burned alive while flying through a part of the solar installment where air temperatures can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bird carnage combined with opposition by Native American tribes to industrial projects on undeveloped land has made California regulators wary of approving more. Last September, Abengoa and BrightSource abandoned their quest to build a solar-thermal project near Joshua Tree National Park when the state regulator told them the plant's footprint would have to be cut in half.
In March the Board of Supervisors of Inyo County, a sparsely populated part of California that is home to Death Valley National Park, voted to ban solar-thermal power plants altogether. "Ivanpah had a significant effect on the decision making," said Joshua Hart, the county's planning director.
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Posted by JR at 12:37 AM