Sunday, July 05, 2015

New paper finds Mediterranean Sea was up to 7C warmer than present during the Pliocene

In a Greenie coal-free paradise

Regional and global significance of Pliocene sea surface temperatures from the Gulf of Cadiz (Site U1387) and the Mediterranean

Alexandrina Tzanova and  Timothy D. Herbert


The Atlantic – Mediterranean water exchange is a component of global ocean circulation capable of influencing deep water formation in the North Atlantic, yet it is poorly constrained for the time period preceding the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG). The sea surface temperature (SST) gradient between the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the Strait of Gibraltar can shed light on the communication between the two basins. IODP Site U1387 in the Gulf of Cadiz provides the first alkenone based reconstruction of SST for the Atlantic waters that flowed into the Mediterranean Sea during the Pliocene. This site reflects open ocean North Atlantic subtropical temperature trends while the published SST records from the Rossello composite section (Sicily) in the Mediterranean reflect the addition of regional, continentally-influenced signals from Europe and Northern Africa. The Mediterranean, in particular, may be influenced by high latitude Northern hemisphere climatic evolution. In the modern regime the sites discussed in this work have comparable SST and uninhibited surface connection; however, change in local heat loss/gain over the Mediterranean due to variability in latent heat loss and obstructed connection can result in a gradient between the sites in the Pliocene. The Pliocene surface waters of the Gulf of Cadiz and the Mediterranean Sea were as much as 7°C warmer than the modern average of ~ 19-20°C. The reconstructed temperatures show a ~ 1°C cooling for the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar from ~ 6 Ma to ~ 2.7 Ma and increasingly cooler glacials. The long-term SST record from Site U1387 provides a basis for future studies into the hydrological balance of the Mediterranean and the temperature component of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) density. We compared SST on either side of Gibraltar between ~ 3.4 – 2.7 Ma and found that between ~ 2.7 and ~ 3.1 Ma the Mediterranean and Atlantic surface waters show comparable average temperatures and comparable variance.

Global and Planetary Change. Available online 4 July 2015. In Press, Accepted Manuscript

German silliness

Germany to "mothball" largest coal power plants to meet climate targets -- but will switch them on whenever "renewables are not delivering!  It would almost certainly be cheaper and safer to leave them in spinning reserve.  You can't fire up such things instantaneously.  Perhaps that is really what they are going to do

Germany agreed on Thursday to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, after months of wrangling between the parties in chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition.

But Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition partners also, in effect, agreed to set up a “capacity reserve” system where utilities could switch on the brown coal plants if there were power shortages in the country.

An economy ministry spokesman said the decision on brown coal would mean Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. The goal is much more ambitious than the EU-wide target of the same cut by 2030.

“Brown coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be mothballed. Those plants will not be allowed to sell any electricity on the normal power market,” said a spokesman for the economy ministry after the talks which lasted four hours.

In a television interview, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel expanded on the plans, which are part of Germany’s switch to renewable energy away from nuclear and fossil fuels.

“We need a capacity reserve on the power market in case there are shortages due to the switch to renewables. The reserve will be made up of brown coal,” Gabriel told ARD television.

Gabriel originally proposed putting a levy on CO2 emitted by the oldest and most-polluting power stations above a certain threshold to help curb CO2 emissions from the coal sector by a further 22m tonnes by 2020.

But he faced a backlash from industry, with unions saying the plan could put up to 100,000 jobs at risk and lead to the decline of the mining and power generation industries.

The utility companies lobbied hard against the levy and demanded compensation for an alternative reserve option.

While the levy now seems to be scrapped, it is unclear whether companies such as RWE or Vattenfall Europe will get compensation payments or not.

Gabriel also said the leaders of the coalition had agreed that taxpayers should not end up paying for provisions for the costs of the nuclear phase-out.

“We agreed that we want to ensure, a bit like parents being responsible for their children, that a situation doesn’t arise where, due to changes within companies, taxpayers have to pay for the provisions,” Gabriel said.


Germany’s Green Energy Transition May Be Running Out Of Money, Study Warns

The expansion of Green energy is costing billions. The strain on utilities is so heavy that they threaten to fall away as capital providers. Other investors are needed – but that is easier said than done.

The German energy transition has cost more than 100 billion euros so far. It has hit large and small electricity suppliers with force and put traditional business models in question. But 15 years after the start of the transition of the power sector with the aim of renewable, low-carbon generation, experts are asking themselves an anxious question: is the energy transition running out of money?

Quite possible, is the answer that the German section of the World Energy Council and the consultants from Roland Berger provide. In an unpublished study they come to this conclusion: “The necessary equity funds for the expansion of the network infrastructure and offshore wind can probably be provided only with the participation of alternative and international investors. High risks however make it questionable whether the investment needs can be met at a sufficient capacity and speed.”

New investors must be found

It is not about small change. At least 280 billion euros would need to be invested in the next 15 years in order to promote the politically demanded goal of the transformation of the energy system: from wind turbines, biomass plants and solar power plants to local, regional and national electricity distribution networks to large offshore wind farms. This calculation already includes “sustained political support”. Otherwise, it could get even more expensive.

The traditional energy companies – whether they be public utilities or large corporations – are no longer reliable. “Many traditional utilities, which previously financed investments in the electricity sector, mainly through their shareholders’ equity, are today with their backs to the wall,” says Uwe Franke, president of the German section of the World Energy Council, a global association of energy companies. He previously ran the business of BP Europe. Franke says, private and municipal suppliers lacked the investment funds. Therefore, new investors would have to be found to ensure “the energy transition and the security of supply.”

The prerequisites for this will vary. Money for photovoltaic systems, wind turbines on land and for biomass is there. “The necessary funds can still be provided by banks, households and project planners in the future”, according to the Berger study. In addition, the state could possibly easily help out with incentives.

“High risk and market entry barriers” and a “significantly tighter situation” are however applying to investments in offshore wind farms and networks. In 2012 two-thirds of offshore capacity were located in the hands of utilities, which had invested between one and 2 billion euros per wind farm. Here a greater commitment of other investors would be needed in the future. But that is easier said than done: “The high risk of investing in offshore wind farms, however, contradicts the risk profile of institutional investors.” Not least because laws and capital market regulations make the business hard for investors.

When it comes to the distribution networks, weakened public utilities are faced with a significant need for investment. Investors are additionally deterred by structural reasons: the fragmentation in 900 network operators and the trend towards re-municipalisation. For the expansion of the distribution networks, the German Energy Agency estimates costs from 28 to 43 billion euros by 2040.

Required equity questionable

For the transmission systems that transport electricity over long distances double-digit billion investments are needed too. Given the high amounts, it is questionable whether Tennet, Amprion, 50Hertz and Transnet BW “can muster the necessary capital resources on their own.” Funds and institutional investors could be discouraged by the associated risks of major projects like network expansion such as delays in approvals and construction. The current big resistance of the state of Bavaria against the network expansion could be included here.

According to the study, the utilities get under pressure from two sides. On one hand, many lack the capital for green energy investments. At the same time, big investors entered the market, driven by low interest rates and searching for attractive investments. Utilities could therefore lose their role as financiers and owners of installations and networks. At the same time its role as operators will be questioned by specialized project engineers and possibly soon also by equipment manufacturers.

Utilities should be more flexible, understand themselves more as a mediators and think in terms of cooperation. They could take the roles of fund initiators, fund service providers and financial investors. A business model opens at the interface of project developers and investors. “But this transition will not happen automatically,” says Franke. Utilities would have to change and understand the “energy transition as a capital transition”.


Encyclical Ghostwriter: Pope Francis ‘Did Not Intend to Canonize’ Scientific Theories

With the help of some rather convoluted language, American Catholic theologian Thomas Williams attempts below to row back from the plain words of the Pope

In a recent interview, Bishop Mario Toso, who co-wrote the first draft of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, denied that Pope Francis had any intention of “canonizing” scientific theories regarding climate change, but only wished to assert his authority on the moral level.

Toso, who was secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the time of the drafting of the encyclical, said that in the encyclical letter the Pope sought to offer “reflections on the anthropological and ethical issues” related to the care of creation, but that he did not wish to “impose” the results of scientific studies on anyone or to confer his moral authority on scientific opinions.

“Everyone knows that many opinions today considered ‘scientific’ are not irrefutable or incontrovertible,” he said.

“The Church has no competence on the technical and scientific level,” he said, “but rather on the anthropological and ethical levels that relate to scientific phenomenology.”

Toso’s comments come at an opportune moment, when many wonder aloud how far the Pope intended to go in endorsing scientific theories regarding the environment in his letter.

For instance, a London priest, Father Ashley Beck, recently wrote an essay, titled “No Catholic Is Free to Dissent from the Teaching of Laudato Si.” While true in its own way, such a statement could easily be misunderstood to mean that Catholics have to believe everything in the encyclical, which is not the Pope’s intent in writing it.

Much of Pope Francis’ encyclical is an appeal to discussion, rather than a definition of doctrine. He addresses the letter not just to Catholics, but to the whole world, asking for active engagement in facing our common call to responsible stewardship of the environment. He presents a point of view and asks that it may serve as a stimulus to debate.

To take just one example, when the Pope states that the “land of the southern poor is rich and mostly unpolluted,” he is not defining doctrine or asking for Catholics to nod their heads in agreement. One look at the Riachuelo Basin in the Pope’s former archdiocese of Buenos Aires—one of the most polluted places on the entire planet—is sufficient to know that there is plenty of environmental cleaning to be done in the “land of the southern poor.”

The Vatican’s doctrinal office has taught that the papal magisterium sometimes intervenes “in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements” and notes that it often only becomes possible with the passage of time “to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent.”

It also noted that one must “take into account the proper character of every exercise of the Magisterium, considering the extent to which its authority is engaged.” By saying that the Pope was not intending to engage his moral authority regarding scientific opinions, Bishop Toso offers a helpful point of reference for reading the letter.

Moreover, Pope Francis specifically states that his letter forms part of the Church’s social teaching. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church offers its own guidelines for interpreting papal texts in this area. Specifically, it says that the “doctrinal weight of the different teachings and the assent required are determined by the nature of the particular teachings, by their level of independence from contingent and variable elements, and by the frequency with which they are invoked.” Obviously, where “contingent and variable elements” are themselves the matter in question, the Pope is not trying to assert any authority on the matter at all.

Francis himself, in fact, stated bluntly that “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics.” This is important for those who find scientific opinions presented in the encyclical as unsettling.

None of this comes anywhere near “dissent” or “cafeteria Catholicism.” To refute settled Church teaching on faith and morals is one thing; to question scientific interpretations on the state of the environment or what will or might happen in the future is quite another.

“Climate change” will never, and by its nature could never, form part of Catholic doctrine, something which should give Catholic climate skeptics a little relief when they are accused of being somehow less Catholic than the Pope.



By Rich Kozlovich

Sustainable development is a phrase that's being bandied around everywhere these days. It's promoted by the United Nations as the answer to every problem in every aspect of human activity: sustainable development in agriculture, sustainable development in banking, sustainable development in tourism, sustainable development in education, and more. Let's get this right.  Sustainable development is just another effort by the left to take commonly understood words and re-define them in support of an irrational, misanthropic and morally defective ideology. Socialism!

P.T. Barnum would have been truly impressed with this trompe l'oeil, for what better way to deflect attention away from themselves, the real perpetrators of the economic mess in which the world finds itself.  And now, because they've adopted and promoted this phrase - sustainable develoment - and tout it as a philosophy, we're to believe the economic incompetents who run these socialist governments, including the United States, have an economic vision that can be implemented with them in control and it will work to humanities benefit!  We desparately need to explore this.

Just as when they use the phrase “it’s for the children” when they want some pesticide banned - after all, who could be against something that's "for the children" - they resort to these emotional appeals to prevent you from looking deeper into what they’re really promoting.   Their policies haven't been "for the children", it been  “to the children”.  For over 50 years those policies have devastated the children of the third world terribly.

Correspondingly, we had better look more deeply into the phrase “sustainable development” when they talk about economic development.  After all - Who can be against sustainability? After all isn’t sustainability something that can be done over and over again!  Who can be against development?  Isn’t development about creating more and better ways to live!  What can be wrong with any of that?

Let’s think about this for a second.  The words sustainability and development can easily be defined separately, but can they be defined as a phrase?  Are they even compatible as a philosophy?  Ask ourselves this question.   Is anything sustainable if there’s development?  We will explore that!

What happens when the two are combined and defined illogically and in a way that will generate a diametrically different goal than either sustainability or development would mean independently? What happens when the real goal isn’t the leftist mantra – we can fix everything if the world just adopts our vision of sustainable development and give us the power to define it, and unendingly re-define it, as we see fit to meet needs that only we can understand and implement according to some unknown formula?  What if the real goal is global governance under the auspices of the United Nations?

Independently both of these words are easily definable. The trick is to put these words together in order to create a phrase that is so meaningless anyone can attribute any philosophy to it they wish and call their policy “sustainable development”.

In reality the term sustainable development as a philosophy is a logical fallacy because it has no logical foundation.    Who decides what’s sustainable, and for whom?  Who decides some practice or other is or isn’t worth developing?

There are no identifiable parameters for a universal definition or modalities of action to which everyone can agree.  As a result there can be no logical foundation from which to make viable verifiable determinations for what needs to be done.  That leaves opinion - not facts, not science, not history, not results – just someone’s opinion as to how the world should function.  Make no mistake about this.  If the world accepts this there will be no level of individuality will be tolerated, including the real foundation for economic sustainability or development – personal property rights.

Here in the United States that is now, and has been, the thrust of these people from the beginning.  The elimination of personal property rights by use of the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, via their agents of tyranny at the EPA, the Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineers.

They claim sustainable development is to support current and future generations. Both of which is completely incomprehensible for central planning purposes, especially by bureaucrats who’ve never had a real job. Who knows what future generations need?  Who knows what developments will arise that will change the needs of society today.  Who knows what developments will be thwarted by central planning meddling?   Who’s to say what’s best for current of future generations, and how do we know their goals and plans are benign?

Especially since - as a group – the sustainable development mob thinks – mostly privately lest the world find out how insane their vision of the world really is – the world has between four and six billion too many people.  So why does anyone think a massive infusion of regulations and taxes implemented by an unconnected, unaccountable, unconscionable United Nations bureaucracy dominated by tyrants should regulate sustainability?

The reality is that sustainability has no need of government at all.  Actual sustainability is self regulating! Either something can be done or it can’t.  If it can’t be done people will stop doing it and attempt some other way of achieving a needed goal.

That makes development self regulating also.  Development occurs when a need arises, and as in all developmental processes there will be successes and failures.  That’s how light bulb came into being.  Edison tried 1000 compounds as a filament and failed, but he took each failure as a success because they now knew what wouldn’t work.   When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

What regulation from a central authority could have made that happen?   What if central planners didn’t want this development to happen?  What if central planners had decided electric light bulbs were destructive to the economic interests of candle makers and declared light bulbs as a threat to current and future generations?

Who was the most antagonistic opponent of the electric light bulb?  John D. Rockefeller!  Why, was he a supporter of sustainability or development?  I guess you could say he was a supporter of sustainability – because his company, Standard Oil of New Jersey’s number one product was kerosene, which was used to light the nation’s buildings, and the electric light bulb would not be sustainable for his business model.  Remember, gasoline was a by-product of kerosene production and was thrown away because it was so volatile and there were few cars.  Once again – the reality of history is this - nothing is ‘sustainable’ if there’s development.

Now we find these promoters of sustainable development claiming sustainable development isn’t possible without equality of genders.  Really?  Why?  Whether or not our particular societal paradigms practice equality of race, equality of gender, equality of class or not, there is no ‘sustainable’ proof that has anything to do with sustainability or development.  Great political and economic empires came into being without practicing anything that could be construed equality in any arena.

The world’s history demonstrates the largest obstacle to sustainability or development is   government!   The very people who are promoting what they call sustainable development are the very people who stand in the way of legitimate economic sustainable or development with massive infusions of regulations, fees, taxes and penalties for doing anything with which they disagree.

What if they decide drinking wine is a threat to the needs of today’s society? What if they decide growing grape vines or the making of wine will not be tolerated?  What if they decide theatrical entertainment should be restricted in order to more directly focus on producing the things the central authority decides is most important?  Both of those things occurred in ancient China.

These aren’t stupid people.  They’ve been educated in the best universities in the world so they must have studied history….but did they really?  In order to really understand world economics we need to study the history of China!

According to the book Wealth and Poverty of Nations, “by about 500 BCE the Chinese had learned to improve the supply and use of water by means of artificial devices and arrangements; were making use of draft animals (above all, the water buffalo) for plowing; were weeding intensively; and were putting down animal waste, including night soil, as fertilizer. All of this required prodigious labor, but the work paid off.  Yields shot to a high of 1,100 liters of grain per hectare, which would have left a substantial surplus for the maintenance of nonfood producers.”

Printing and paper was invented by the Chinese around the 9th century, but the difficulty of ideographs versus an alphabet made printing or even learning difficult.  “for all that printing [in China] did for the preservation and diffusion of knowledge in China, it never “exploded” as in Europe,.  Such publication depended on government initiative, and he Confucian mandarinate discouraged dissent and new ideas”.  (WAPN pg 52)

The Chinese use of gunpowder started by the eleventh century (two to three hundred years before it appeared in Europe, and probably brought from China) but never advanced beyond their use as incendiaries because the “Chinese would seem to have been more afraid of rebellion from within than invasion from without.  More modern armaments might fall into the wrong hands, and these including those of the generals.” (WAPN Pg. 53)  

So it appears the central authorities decided gunpowder was not to be developed any further for the benefit of a sustainable society…Right?  Or was it for the benefit of the central authorities?

The control of the Chinese population by a central authority – The Emperor, who was presented as “The Son of Heaven”, making him a semi-divine being in the eyes of the Chinese – feared innovation as a threat to his rule.  As a result a nation that was scientifically 500 years ahead of the rest of the world stifled innovation with regulations and an unyielding bureaucracy until the rest of the world surpassed them.  That’s been the history of central planning all over the world.

While there have been times when in the short term it has worked to meet a specific need, as a permanent arrangement to meet societies needs – it’s a disaster!

Their rhetoric about "sustainable development" gives the impression this will benefit society providing for all of humanities needs.  But what happens when this central authority decides to change it to "sustainable consumption"? All they promote in all their schemes and international treaties lead to that - sustainable consumption - and they will decide what and how much will be consumed and by whom.

After he took power in China communist dictator Ma0 Tse Tung decided he needed armament but he didn’t have the capital to purchase it.  So to fix that economic problem he decided to sell the food needed by his Chinese countrymen to get that capital.  Over thirty million innocent people starved to death and Mao said that was the beginning and more may need to die in order to attain his goals.  What was he sustaining?  His power at the expense of humanity!

The left is not a lover of humanity, sustainable development as a policy defined by them and under their control, will not be benefit humanity.   We have the history of leftism, and that history is incontestable!  There really is good and evil in the world and there really is such a thing as right and wrong.  What needs to be demonstrated over and over again is the left isn’t just wrong.  It’s evil!


Australia: Not so little Lambie compares Greens to Islamic State

She's got a point

INDEPENDENT senator Jacqui Lambie's comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left the political group demanding an apology

ADDRESSING a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with "a little joke".

"What's the difference between the Greens and ISIS?" she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

"Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages."

Pre-empting a backlash, Senator Lambie said she was not talking behind the Greens' backs.  "I told the same comments (to) a group of Green senators at the last sitting of Parliament. "I make no apologies. They need to be told, and often."

However, Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor took offence.
"It is outrageous to compare Greens and conservationists with murderous terrorists," she told reporters.  "It's unnecessary, divisive language and she should apologise."

Senator Lambie's comments came in response to a United Nations committee decision in Germany on Thursday to uphold protection measures across Tasmania's 1.5 million hectare Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"The people from the UN would be better off listening to the average person from northwest Tasmania than the environmental zealots and alarmists like the Wilderness Society's Vica Bayley, who will never be satisfied until we're all living in caves, burning candles and eating tofu," she said.

The first-term senator renewed her call for an upper house inquiry into the activities of the Greens, citing the party's move to shut down Tasmania's mining and logging industries. "The key question is: did they use taxpayer funds to kill off Tasmanian jobs and sabotage a sustainable, environmentally friendly industry?"

Senator Lambie went on to tell the conference that she struck a deal with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, that guaranteed Tasmania the right to burn wood waste to produce energy, in exchange for her support of the renewable energy target legislation.

"Let's see if he keeps his word," she said, according to News Corp.



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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