Tuesday, July 21, 2015
CO2 is making the desert bloom
Being politically correct, the authors try to say that increased rainfall could be bad somehow somewhere but if that is the only problem we have to be worried about everyone can sleep soundly at night
Live Aid took place 30 years ago this summer, raising £150million for drought-stricken regions of Africa. But the world inadvertently did something else to help: greenhouse gas increases brought back life-giving rains.
A new study by scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, UK, shows how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere accidentally triggered a return of the crucial seasonal rains on which much of the Sahel region relies for agriculture and drinking water.
The Reading scientists say the findings show just how fragile and sensitive the African climate is to man-made climate change.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a large part of North Africa was suffering from a devastating persistent drought, leading to a famine in which more than 100,000 people died. Since then, rainfall levels have recovered significantly.
Scientists used a supercomputer climate simulator to study different influences on North African rainfall. When they examined the increases in rainfall since the 1980s, they found around three-quarters of the additional rain was caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations.
Previous studies had suggested other factors, especially changes in the temperature of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, would be more influential on the region in the short-term.
The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Sahelian summer rainfall, controlled by the West African monsoon, exhibited large-amplitude multidecadal variability during the twentieth century. Particularly important was the severe drought of the 1970s and 1980s, which had widespread impacts. Research into the causes of this drought has identified anthropogenic aerosol forcing and changes in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) as the most important drivers. Since the 1980s, there has been some recovery of Sahel rainfall amounts, although not to the pre-drought levels of the 1940s and 1950s. Here we report on experiments with the atmospheric component of a state-of-the-art global climate model to identify the causes of this recovery. Our results suggest that the direct influence of higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was the main cause, with an additional role for changes in anthropogenic aerosol precursor emissions. We find that recent changes in SSTs, although substantial, did not have a significant impact on the recovery. The simulated response to anthropogenic greenhouse-gas and aerosol forcing is consistent with a multivariate fingerprint of the observed recovery, raising confidence in our findings. Although robust predictions are not yet possible, our results suggest that the recent recovery in Sahel rainfall amounts is most likely to be sustained or amplified in the near term.
No Real Global Warming for 20 Years Now
A paper published in Nature magazine in 2014 (see link below) looked at recent trends in global temperature in the lower troposphere (TLT) from satellite observations and attempted to remove the effects from major volcanic activity and from the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The result indicates no global warming for over 20 years now, despite the continued rapid increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. Yet one more study that greatly calls into question the “settled science” of man-made global warming. More evidence that the effects of man-made carbon dioxide on global temperature are quite small and perhaps not even significant.
Most people don’t realize that carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant and is absolutely critical for plant survival. Higher carbon dioxide levels actually promote more rapid plant growth and therefore have a major beneficial effect for crops as well as natural plant growth. From 3 million years ago back to more than 200 million years ago, Earth had no glaciers, global temperatures were much warmer, and carbon dioxide levels were much higher than today. Then about about 3 million years ago at the start of the Pleistocene period for reasons unknown global temperatures gradually cooled and Earth entered an ice age that continues today.
We are lucky to live in one of the relatively short interglacial warm periods between the much longer intense glacial periods. During the last 500,000 years there have been five intensely cold glacial periods each lasting about 80,000 to 100,000 years and separated by interglacial warm periods with much less ice but each lasting only about 10,000 to 15,000 years on average. Our present interglacial period is called the Holocene and started about 11,700 years ago and based on past history will likely end sometime within the next few thousand years or less. The next glacial period will be a major challenge for humanity, with ice covering most of Canada, the northern US, and northern Europe. With colder global temperatures come drier air and expanding deserts as well as much lower carbon dioxide levels that will inhibit plant growth. We should count our blessings today and explore the deep meaning of true climate change over the ages to prepare for what will come.
UK: Green Subsidies Slashed Again – Solar Farms Next In Line As Cabinet Stance ‘Hardens’
Green subsidies are to be slashed again, as the new Tory cabinet “hardens” its stance on eco policies. Cabinet source have said a “big reset” is coming this autumn on subsidies, which are paid for by consumers and push up household bills.
“There is a hardening view in the cabinet that we’ve got to deal with green subsidies,” the source told the BBC. An estimated £4.3 billion is expected to be paid by consumers and hard working families into the green energy industry this year alone.
The cuts are expected to hit the solar farm industry within weeks, which is spreading like a rash across the British countryside. This follows last months surprise announcement by the government to strip the on-sure wind farm industry of its generous subsidies by April.
Furthermore, a tidal lagoon to generate power off the cost of Swansea could be ditched, and there will be a major expansion of nuclear and gas to meet demand under this government.
“We need to deal with those extra costs at the top of the electricity bill,” another Cabinet source told The Daily Mail. “A struggling pensioner has to pay it when she doesn’t have the benefit of putting solar panels or a wind turbine on her roof.”
Last week the think tank Policy Exchange release a new report which stated: “The average household energy bill has risen by £120 over the past five years purely due to ill thought through energy and climate policies which fail to put affordability at the heart of policymaking.”
Richard Howard, author of the report, said: “Household energy bills have soared in recent years. This is not, as some have suggested, due to “rip off energy companies”, but in fact in large part due to government policy. Over the past five years energy and climate policy and network costs have pushed up energy bills by £120 for the average household.”
The report revealed that, “Government energy and climate policies in the form of carbon taxes, subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency grants now make up 7% of the average bill and network costs account for a further 22%.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “Reducing energy bills for hard-working British families and businesses is this government’s priority. We’ve already announced reforms to remove subsidies for onshore wind, and that work to make sure bill payers are getting the best possible deal is going to continue.”
Wind Lobby Scrambles To Hide Alleged Influence Of Foreign Companies
The American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry’s main lobbying group, touts wind power as helping the U.S. economy, but a news report claims the group’s advocacy is being driven by a group of foreign executives.
To make matters more interesting, AWEA removed its list of companies on its Leadership Council from its website — the Leadership Council was still missing from AWEA’s website when this reporter went to check on its status. AWEA refused to comment on the removal when approached by The Washington Free Beacon. Likewise, the wind lobbying group declined to comment on the removal when asked by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“All of the companies represented on AWEA’s Board are American companies or have U.S. subsidiaries,” David Ward, AWEA’s lead spokesman, told TheDCNF. “Like any global industry, some of those companies have parent companies that are active in other countries.
“That distinction is irrelevant as all companies on AWEA’s Board have major offices in America, employ large numbers of Americans, and are making large investments in America,” Ward said.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday the influence of AWEA’s foreign membership clashed with their “made-in-the-USA rhetoric.” The Free Beacon reported there were seven foreign firms listed on AWEA’s Leadership Council as of late 2013 — all of which get federal subsidies for wind power.
One of the companies listed in 2013 as part of AWEA’s leadership council was Iberdola, a Spanish company that’s been awarded billions in government subsidies over the years. The other companies are “Nordex and E.ON Climate & Renewables, both German companies; French EDF Renewable Energy; Portuguese EDP Renewables; a subsidiary of the British RES Group; and Danish firm Vestas,” according to The Free Beacon.
Iberdola has gotten $2.2 billion in green energy subsidies — making it the largest recipient of federal corporate welfare, according to a report by the left-wing group Good Jobs First. The Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill gave billions of dollars in subsidies to wind and solar companies.
The Good Jobs First report also notes that the German-based E.ON Climate & Renewables got $576 million in subsidies , the French company EDF Renewable Energy got $325 million and the Portuguese EDP Renewables received $722 million.
“[A] large portion of the funds received by the foreign energy firms came from Recovery Act programs such as Section 1603,” the report notes. “Japan’s Toshiba, on the other hand, received most of its funding through Energy Department research grants, including numerous awards to its Westinghouse Electric subsidiary for work on nuclear energy. Energy Department grants also make up nearly all of the $237 million in funds received by Germany’s Siemens.”
AWEA brushed off criticism of its foreign membership, saying the wind industry provides tens of thousands of jobs for Americans. Though the group still did not address its removal of the membership list from its website.
“73,000 Americans work in the wind industry, building wind projects that benefit American consumers,” Ward told TheDCNF. “That includes nearly 20,000 manufacturing jobs at over 500 facilities across 43 states. The domestic content of wind farms has risen, with more than 60 percent of the value of U.S. wind farms made in America.”
“The large number of jobs associated with installing, maintaining, and operating wind plants cannot be outsourced, and it is often cost-prohibitive to import large turbine components like blades and towers,” he said. “Wind turbine and component manufacturing is a significant contributor to U.S. heavy manufacturing.”
Lawsuits: A new form of Ecofascism
Climate action is finally gaining ground in Washington. No, not that Washington.
Following their victory in a Seattle court, eight children are pressing Washington State’s Department of Ecology to crack down on carbon pollution. The agency has until August 7 to reach an agreement with the youths, who sued after the department rejected their petition. Otherwise, the kids will go back to court.
“I hope our voices are heard,” said Aji Piper, a 14-year-old and one of the plaintiffs.
Judge Hollis Hill, for one, is listening. She agreed with the teens and tweens in a first-of-its-kind ruling, citing a “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming.”
Climate change mashes up environmental, moral, meteorological, economic, political, scientific, and industrial challenges. Given that complexity, it’s no wonder it took more than 25 years of international climate talks for global emissions to even stabilize.
Slashing climate pollution may take something new — like suing governments for failing to shield their constituents from a climate catastrophe and prosecuting the oil, gas, and coal industries for this mess. Ultimately, climate lawyers could replicate successes scored with tobacco litigation and the legal actions that brought about marriage equality.
The biggest breakthrough came right after the Washington ruling when a Dutch court ordered the government of the Netherlands to reduce that nation’s emissions by 25 percent within five years. As the low-lying nation currently aims for only a 17 percent cut, this case filed on behalf of 900 people marked a global precedent.
More lawsuits are in the pipeline.
One pits South Pacific islanders whose countries are threatened by rising sea levels against big oil companies. These folks from Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines may already have Exhibit A.
It’s an email from Lenny Bernstein, a scientist who worked for both Exxon and Mobil when they were separate companies. In this note, obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Bernstein reveals that Exxon was already taking climate-related risks into account with its investment decisions by 1981.
Experts say the scientist’s email shows that corporate leaders knew for more than 30 years that their oil and gas operations were bound to harm the climate. Instead of changing their ways, they emulated Big Tobacco by bankrolling climate denial.
Proving government liability might also be easier than you’d think. The record shows that U.S. officials began to fret about climate change by 1965.
President Richard Nixon’s advisor — and future Senator — Daniel Patrick Moynihan made this clear in a 1969 memo he wrote to another Nixon aide. In it, he outlined “the carbon dioxide problem” caused by fossil fuels.
“Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter,” Moynihan wrote of the consequences of a potential 10-foot rise in sea levels. “We have no data on Seattle.”
Julia Olson is the founder and lead lawyer of Our Children’s Trust, one of the two groups that helped file the Washington lawsuit. She says the evidence of federal wrongdoing is clear.
“Fifty years ago, they knew exactly what was happening and how to stop it,” she told me. “The solutions at this point lie in the courts.”
She came up with her youth-focused strategy after becoming a mom.
“Kids don’t get to vote and choose the policies for their future,” Olson said. “They are going to suffer the impacts of climate destruction more than the rest of us.”
The lawyer and her team have filed more than a dozen climate cases on behalf of children. Suits in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado, and North Carolina are pending. More are coming soon in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Hawaii. Also on this deep docket: suing the federal government for a second time by the end of July.
Australian public broadcaster hides Green Left bias by reading out questions
The ABC seems to have found a novel way to guard against the Green Left bias shown by so many of its leading presenters. Instead of having them conduct their own interviews, Auntie can simply have them read out questions from audiences.
On Lateline last week Tony Jones was interviewing former Labor environment minister Greg Combet. "Let's go to a Facebook question," said Jones. "This is from Linda Mae Reeb and it's on this subject, she asks, `Can you estimate the investment required in the Australian renewable market to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in emissions?'?"
Combet nodded as Jones read it out. Why wouldn't he? What a pleasant break from the rigours of a forensic television interrogation.
We look forward to similar intermezzos when government ministers are grilled. "I know you're on the back foot now, Treasurer, and my questioning is getting just a little snide," Sarah Ferguson might say, "so let's go to a Facebook question on taxation reform".
Given revelations about high ABC salaries, perhaps this is also a way to save the public broadcaster some money. There are plenty of presentable and relatively cut-price juniors who could sit in the chair and read out the online questions.
No doubt government staffers are busy setting up fake Facebook accounts so they can post their curly queries. "Prime Minister, if we could just leave the Speaker's woes and budget difficulties there for a moment we have a Facebook question," Leigh Sales might say. "This one is from Jenny at Mt Druitt and she asks, `To what do you attribute your greatness?'?"
Next, no doubt, we'll have to commission an investigation into question selection. Perhaps a committee could be formed to devise an ABC code of conduct for social media question selection and presentation. A strong tip for rule No 1 would be to ignore Zaky Mallah's Facebook questions until further notice.
Speaking of that interminable Q&A controversy, there is another reason that infamous Mallah episode was memorable and MediaWatch Watch has been meaning to get back to it ever since. It relates to that regular frustration for regular viewers that we might refer to as Q&A interruptus. Not only do right-of-centre panellists tend to be outnumbered two to one but they often seem to have some difficulty getting any flow into their answers. A random sample might turn up Sophie Mirabella in July 2013. "Tony, the polls have changed," Mirabella said, "but a third of the frontbench, very experienced ministers, refuse to serve with Kevin Rudd and, you know ..."
But the host chips in. "OK," says Tony Jones, "I am going to interrupt you there ." Later in the same episode Mirabella went on. "Over the last 12 months, Tony Abbott has done twice as many interviews as Julia Gillard has done and he is out there every day. He's out ..."
Again, Jones jumps in. "Can you explain why we don't see him doing long format interviews? Why he won't do this program or Lateline or Insiders?" Good question, perhaps we could take it as a comment from the Prime Minister. Back in 2010 (believe it or not) Abbott was on the program and spoke about Labor's leadership coup. "Now, that would never happen in our party," said the Liberal leader. "Because you openly stab people in the back, OK," Jones snapped back. "We don't have," Abbott began before the host jumped in again. "All right, sorry, no, I'm just going to interrupt."
In November last year Attorney-General George Brandis was a solo panellist. "But this is a particular threat to your community because you're the victim of these predators," he said. "Well, George, I'm going to interrupt you there," said Jones. The Education Minister joined the panel in March. "Christopher, I'm not meaning to interrupt here but I'm actually," said the host. Christopher Pyne protested. "I was asked a question," he complained, "so I was just answering it."
You get the picture. It's all part of the cut and thrust and all the more reason, in my view, for Coalition MPs to get back on the program and robustly argue their case. Politicians boycotting television are like fishermen refusing to go to sea.
Still, just in case they might like to know how it is done, there is an alternative method to Q&A interruptus. "I'll start with Antony Hegarty on this because you've made a kind of, I guess, best to say a spiritual connection with the Martu people," Jones said to his panellist during last month's Mallah episode, "and you are here in Sydney with them at the moment. So maybe you could start us out on this subject."
Hegarty wasn't so keen. "Well, I don't want, I think it would be great if they answered the question first," responded the Green Left activist, transgender singer. "Let these guys answer their question," she instructed, motioning to the politicians. "All right," said Jones. "Well, we can start on the question of why, we'll go to Steve Ciobo first, if you like, and then you can respond afterwards." There you go, just take charge. And Hegarty directed proceedings a second time. "Antony?" Jones asked, looking for a response on the indigenous issues. "Yeah, maybe we could ask them about their experience, you know," deflected Hegarty. "Sure, well, I'm happy to," said Jones. Easy done. No Facebook required.
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.
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Posted by JR at 12:40 AM