Thursday, October 01, 2015

The latest: Catching sharks causes global warming!

Sharks are the unlikely heroes protecting humans from the perils of climate change, Deakin University researchers argue in today’s publication of esteemed science journal Nature Climate Change.

According to the Deakin University scientists, when humans kill sharks they cause instability in the ocean’s natural food chain, which can ultimately lead to the release of carbon from the seafloor into the earth’s atmosphere.

With fewer sharks in the food chain, populations of the predator’s food sources, such as sea turtles, flourish.

One of the sea turtles’ main food sources is seagrass, which store vast reservoirs of carbon within sediments. With more sea turtles consuming more seagrass, the carbon is unlocked and can be released into the earth’s atmosphere, thereby accelerating climate change.

After examining available data from across the world, the team from Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences is now calling for urgent research to further investigate the consequences of shark-culling practises throughout the earth’s oceans.

The Deakin project’s lead researcher, Dr Peter Macreadie, said that sharks and other predators were being over-harvested by humans.

“For a long time we’ve known that changes to the structure of food webs - particularly due to loss of top predators such as sharks – can alter ecosystem function,” Dr Macreadie said.

“In science, the consequence is what is known as a trophic meltdown. With the loss of around 90 per cent of the ocean’s top predators from around the globe, the occurrences of trophic meltdowns are now widespread.

“In our article, we report the trickle down effects on the capacity of the oceans to trap and store carbon.

“There are multiple ecosystems by which this can occur, but the most profound examples occur in the coastal zone, within seagrass, saltmarsh, and mangrove ecosystems – commonly known as ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems.

“In the case of sharks and turtles, sharks eat turtles, which in turn eat seagrasses. But when sharks disappear, the turtles have a tendency to run wild and the seagrass ecosystems cannot sustain the turtle populations.

“The turtles overgraze, and, as a consequence, we’re seeing large reductions in seagrass carbon stocks.”

Dr Macreadie said this had played out in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where fewer sharks as a result of hunting had led to carbon storage rates less than half the amount in areas which were abundant with sharks.

“At the extreme level, we see turtles without predation pressure eating themselves out of house and home and destabilising carbon stocks that have been locked away for millennia,” he said.

Dr Macreadie said losing sharks and other top predators from the ocean interfered with the ocean’s carbon cycle and can accelerate global warming.

“Stronger conservation efforts and stricter fishing regulations are needed to reinstate the important role that predators play in the ocean’s carbon cycle,” he said.

“It’s about restoring balance so that we have, for example, healthy and natural numbers of both sea turtles and sharks.”

The researchers say while there is limited data on the topic, they believe further studies will reiterate their findings. This research is the first to explicitly link the loss of major ocean predators, including sharks and other top sea animals, to the loss of stored blue carbon.


Another Top Dog in the control business hearts global warming

The Global warming scare is all about getting more control over people

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that climate change will lead to financial crises and falling living standards unless the world’s leading countries do more to ensure that their companies come clean about their current and future carbon emissions.

In a speech to the insurance market Lloyd’s of London on Tuesday, Carney said insurers were heavily exposed to climate change risks and that time was running out to deal with global warming.

The governor said that proposals would probably be put to the G20 meeting in Turkey in November urging the world’s leading developed and developing countries to bring in tougher corporate disclosure standards so that investors could better judge climate change risks.

“The challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come,” Carney said. “The far-sighted amongst you are anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security. So why isn’t more being done to address it?”

Carney added that there was a growing evidence of humans’ role in climate change, noting that since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events had tripled. Inflation-adjusted losses for the insurance industry had increased five fold to $50bn (£33bn) a year.

“Climate change is the tragedy of the horizon. We don’t need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors – imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.


Republican presidential hopeful Bush sets domestic energy as priority

Bush on Tuesday is scheduled to lay out his energy policy during a visit to the Cecil offices of Rice Energy, which produces natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

“The energy sector is extraordinarily important for high growth and high income, for all Americans,” Bush said, citing studies showing that 40 percent of economic growth in the country since 2008 can be attributed to that sector.

He told the Trib that he long has advocated less government intervention in exporting oil and gas. Bush would enable more gas exports to non-Free Trade Agreement allies, particularly in Eastern Europe, which sometimes exclusively depend on Russia to meet their energy demands.

That would help reduce the nation’s trade deficit, he said, and would not lead to a significant price increase domestically, according to a Department of Energy-commissioned study.

His energy plan is geared toward helping American families, Bush said. Building the pipeline, reducing regulation and giving more deference to states that want to drill will assist “domestic energy production and create jobs, increase wages, make gas and electricity cheaper, and help us achieve and sustain 4-percent economic growth,” he said.

The energy industry has a multiplier effect because most equipment used to extract and deliver gas and oil in the United Statesis American-made, he said. “So it is a hugely important sector and in spite of the (production) revolution that we are seeing, the Obama administration has done everything that it can to make it harder,” he said.

Approval of the pipeline is essential, Bush said, as is systematic reduction of regulations, “whether it is the Bureau of Land Management, standards for hydraulic fracturing, methane rules that the ( Environmental Protection Agency) creates that create real uncertainty,” he said. He cited the slow process of leasing federal land and waters, and the EPA’s carbon rule that “will create significantly higher costs.”

“Even though we have had a decline in oil production in the last few months because of price, if we are serious about a national energy policy, we could be energy secure in relatively short order with North American resources,” he said.

States that want to develop or expand energy production, such as Alaska and Virginia, “should be given much more deference than they are today,” Bush said.

President Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton don’t see the industry as an economic driver, Bush said, but “as some sort of environmental socialist agenda.”

His energy plan goes hand in hand with a proposal to reduce taxes by $3.4 trillion during the next decade and his pledge for 4 percent economic growth, Bush said.

“There is great frustration and anger that the system is not working for anybody,” he said.

Voters ultimately look for “which candidate has their heart, cares and understands their plight, and who has the ideas to lift them up,” he said. “… Every presidential race is different, but as you get closer to decision day, that is what is going to matter.”


Obama's Green Plan With the Red Chinese

In tandem with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S., China announced details of its plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. That’s all well and good considering China is the world’s largest emitter, accounting for nearly a third of all emissions. But does anyone trust that China’s plan will actually slow “global warming”? Or that China will even abide by its promises? But never mind that. The important thing is the agreement gives Barack Obama a feather in his cap going into the climate summit in Paris this December.

Indeed, Obama’s climate agenda is paramount, and it is what Mark Alexander called an “end run on Liberty.” And what better partner than Red China? Besides, he’s got to hammer out the details of last November’s agreement that Obama unilaterally made in the wake of his staggering midterm election defeat. Getting China on board is critical, not just to show “leadership” at the Paris climate summit, but to (Obama thinks) pull the rug out from under opponents of his agenda.

Carol Browner, former climate adviser to Obama and Environmental Protection Agency chief under Bill Clinton, said, “[W]ith China’s commitment, opponents of climate action here in the U.S. are running out of excuses, unfortunately not as quickly as the earth is running out of time.”

Obama needs to show the world that its two largest economies are willing to handcuff themselves to allegedly save the planet. As he said at Friday’s joint press conference, “When the world’s two biggest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters come together like this, then there’s no reason for other countries, either developed or developing, to not do so as well.”

The White House boasted in a “fact sheet”: “China confirmed [Friday] that it plans to launch in 2017 a national emission trading system covering power generation, steel, cement, and other key industrial sectors, as well as implement a ‘green dispatch’ system to favor low-carbon sources in the electric grid. These announcements complement the recent finalization of the U.S. Clean Power Plan, which will reduce emissions in the U.S. power sector by 32% by 2030.”

Translation: China will implement cap and trade, the policy Obama failed to push through Congress because it’s so economically damaging. And as Investor’s Business Daily observes, “Cap-and-trade has failed everywhere it’s been tried.”

A Washington Post headline astutely observes, “With cap and trade plan, China adopts emissions policy that couldn’t get through U.S. Congress.” No kidding. That’s because China is a one-party Communist dictatorship. It seems the Post shares Obama’s disdain for the constitutional separation of powers.

It matters little in terms of accountability to China’s central planners if its economy suffers from this emissions scheme. The American stock market has suffered volatility in recent weeks on fears of a slowdown in China. Clearly, China’s economy isn’t too hot. Neither is ours. Yet leaders of both countries are willing to enact economically crushing regulations anyway “for the greater good.” Brilliant.

As for the effect this agreement will have on global temperatures, even proponents admit its likely to be negligible. According to The New York Times, “An analysis by researchers at Climate Interactive … shows that the [world’s] collective pledges would reduce the warming of the planet at century’s end to about 6.3 degrees, if the national commitments are fully honored, from an expected 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit, if emissions continue on their present course.”

First, those temperature claims are fantastical — much of the hype over rising temperatures is based on falsified climate data. Second, the supposed temperature reduction achieved isn’t anywhere near what climate alarmists say we need. But the idea that we’re going to cripple the world economy, hitting the poor hardest, to barely make a dent in such a supposedly inevitable temperature increase is practically maniacal.

On a final note, 2015 is the Chinese Year of the Goat, which is apparently the role Xi has in mind for Obama.


Obama’s Global Warming, Syria Push at United Nations Skips Congress

At the United Nations Monday, President Barack Obama touted what are probably the two biggest items left on his to-do list before leaving office — a global warming agreement later this year in Paris and a settlement to the Syria conflict. Congress barely got a mention.

The Paris accord, like the Iran deal before it, will be strictly an executive agreement, given that Obama wouldn’t have the votes to pass anything in either chamber. Prospects seem to have improved for getting a deal after last week’s agreement with China, which has announced plans to implement a cap-and-trade scheme and push for a global accord in France. Congress, if it gets a chance to weigh in at all, will be via an effort to disapprove Obama’s carbon regulations.

Obama’s hopes for resolving the Syria conflict, meanwhile, rests on Russia and Iran, given that the White House has not been able to articulate a strategy that would both destroy the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, and force Syria President Bashar Assad from power. Congress, of course, hasn’t even been able to hash out a use-of-force resolution targeting ISIS, let alone agree on a broader Syria policy, and Obama’s left to jawbone Russia and Iran to do the right thing.

Both countries have more influence on the ground in Syria than the United States — and arguably more at stake for Russia given its naval base in Syria that is its only one in the Mediterranean.

Obama has the bully pulpit and the Air Force to deploy, but effectively no ground troops in the fight after the failure of the mission to train and equip moderates.

Ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama talked of working with both Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict, but spent much of his speech appearing to tweak the Russian president on democracy, Ukraine and assorted other issues.

He blamed the Syria conflict and chaos squarely on Assad’s attacks on peaceful citizens years ago.

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo,” he said.

But Putin blames the conflict on a failure to support the existing government.

The White House is left hoping Putin will realize at some point that it’s best for Russia if Assad eventually finds greener pastures somewhere else and a new leader more amenable to the broader Syrian population shows up. In the meantime, the White House wouldn’t mind Russian help taking on ISIS.

Congress did get one mention from Obama, with the president believing that Congress will inevitably roll back the embargo on Cuba.

“For 50 years, the United States pursued a Cuban policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people. We changed that. We continue to have differences with the Cuban government, we will continue to stand up for human rights, but we address these issues through diplomatic relations and increased commerce. And people-to-people ties.

“As these contacts yield progress, I am confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.”

That doesn’t appear in the cards anytime soon, however.


Australia: Leftist nukes?

Story below from the far-Left New Matilda, which is a bit surprising.  The Left normally hate nukes.  Rob Parker, president of the Australian Nuclear Association  is however invoking global warming and anti-capitalism so I guess that's how you sell nukes to the Left.  Reason is pointless.  You've just got to push their buttons -- JR

My concern about climate change was ignited in 2005 when climate change awareness was growing and people were angry. We had a general revulsion against consumerism and rampant consumption. Corporate greed and ineffectual politicians were the enemies of the people and the environment and renewable energy solutions were thought to restore some level of control over our lives and return us to living in harmony with nature.

A wave of behavioural doctrines and solutions spread through the climate change movement. I researched alternative energy solutions and found that rarely was any analysis done to justify their adoption. At times perverse outcomes have resulted.

A notable example is that of biofuels, where markets have determined that more money can be made by displacing food production or by destroying tropical habitats, especially of the Orangutan.

But regardless of the evident failure of “renewables” to make any real dent in our greenhouse gas emissions, the ‘back to nature’ movement would brook no opposition. For some, science and technology were seen as a part of this attack on our environment, and so, conceptually straightforward technologies harvesting nature’s free energy became the vogue.

Typically we saw the large scale adoption of de-centralised power systems, such as roof top solar. The intermittency of these systems - which entrench the use of emissions intensive gas turbines - was and remains an inconvenient truth.

We will only get one chance to refashion our economy around low carbon technologies, and people need to be held accountable for their opposition especially when it has no analytical basis.

Typically terms such as "sustainability" are frequently used without any reference to careful life cycle analysis that really should be carried out to justify their validity.

As James Hansen has recently observed:

“People who entreat the government to solve global warming but only offer support for renewable energies will be rewarded with the certainty that the US and most of the world will be fracked-over, coal mining will continue, the Arctic, Amazon and other pristine public lands will be violated, and the deepest oceans will be ploughed for fossil fuels.

Politicians are not going to let the lights go out or stop economic growth. Don’t blame Obama or other politicians. If we give them no viable option, we will be fracked and mined to death, and have no one to blame but ourselves.”

I detect similarities in science denial between the anti-nuclear power brigade and the climate change sceptics.

Again as James Hansen points out “There is no reciprocity from the supporters of renewable energy” with their preferred option being fossil fuel backup of renewable energy. “In other words replace carbon free nuclear power with a dual system, renewables plus gas. With this approach CO2 emissions will increase and it is certain that fracking will continue and expand into larger regions.”

The case I am making is for a clean, low carbon industrial future being in harmony with and nurturing nature. And I recommend reading the "Ecomodernism" thoughts of the Breakthrough Institute at for it is nature in the wondrous cosmic events such as the implosion of giant stars that gave our planet those elements essential to life, such as iron, chromium, molybdenum or cadmium.

These were created when stars in their final death throes fashioned and expelled these elements, along with uranium and thorium, into the cosmos. By a massive fluke, these then aggregate into structures such as the Earth to enable life to flourish.

Mankind’s creativity can harness these elements from the magic furnace of the cosmos and use them to protect rather than assault our environment.

My desire is to stop the industrialisation of our landscapes and to never entertain the massive and "unsustainable" network of towers and transmission lines that typify wind farms and solar plants.

In an increasingly stressed landscape I wish to see nuclear-powered desalinated seawater pumped inland so that we can remove many of the dams currently choking our increasingly climate stressed rivers.

As an engineer, I became concerned that harvesting wind and solar power could not provide the amount of energy required to refashion our industrial economy around low carbon technologies. Nor could they do it in the time frame or within the carbon budgets that are required.

We know the targets. We’ve been told often enough that a stabilisation target of 450ppm carbon dioxide equivalent gives about a 50 per cent chance of limiting global mean temperature increases to 2 degrees. This means Australia would need to reduce its annual emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, which means that our electricity must be generated with emissions less than 90 grams per kilowatt hour.

Importantly, we need to drive carbon out of our electricity generation. It’s no good claiming that we need to de-industrialise or have large cut backs on consumption. The scale of the industrial transition required to achieve a low carbon economy will dwarf our current production.

Meaningful reductions will, for example, result in the use of hydrogen or molten electrolysis to replace coal in the smelting of steel with the result that carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated.

Likewise aluminium, known as “canned electricity” has to be smelted using massive amounts of reliable, clean, low carbon electricity. Our heavy road transport needs to move to electrified rail and our light car fleet converted to electricity.

It’s obvious that we have not even started the process of real carbon reductions and all this needs to be done with speed and with massive energy density.

We will only get one go at transforming our energy base and any system that is unproven or has massive redundancy and does not stand up to analytical rigor must be excluded. No nation has yet made any significant greenhouse gas reductions using wind or solar power, and certainly not with expensive storage systems.

France and Sweden are two standout examples whose nuclear powered electricity generation meets the levels required by 2050. This has resulted in electricity being generated with carbon emissions of 71 and 22 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour versus our 992.

France achieved their transition in 22 years with almost double Australia’s generating capacity. The contrasts of two neighbours in Germany and France could not be more stark - refer to Figure 3 and Figure 4 with France producing electricity with about one tenth of Germany's emissions.

Germany has gone down a failed intermittent renewables route, and the risks to Australia if we follow this route as shown in Figure 5 are obvious.

We have on this planet enough uranium to power the globe for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear power stations utilise materials some 20 times more efficiently than wind or solar power and in nations that embrace the technology. 1200 megawatt reactors are now built in around 4 years.



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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