Thursday, November 19, 2015

A hot October

If you believe the manipulated data put out by NASA, Yes.  The worldwide average for October 2015 was a fifth of one degree above the equivalent figure last year. No news on the satellite data yet, strangely!

Even the crooks at NASA have had to admit, however, that the El Nino oscillation is at least "partly" to blame for the uptick.  How do we know that it was not WHOLLY to blame?  We do not. There is no way of telling.  Given that the usual temperature rises churned out regularly by NASA are in the hundreths of one degree, it seems likely that El Nino was responsible for MOST of the rise.

 A suitably dramatic media report excerpted below, with a lot of irrelevant comparisons and a lot of pretty pictures. If you look closely at the pretty pictures you will see that, overall, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of only about 0.64°C per century, a figure that has been with us for a long time

It's looking almost certain that this year will be the warmest on record.  According to the latest figures from Nasa, October has been the hottest such month since 1880.

Global average surface temperatures last month were 1.04°C above the long-term average - the greatest increase of any month ever recorded.

October 2015 also marks the first time a monthly temperature anomaly exceeded 1°C in records dating back to 1880.

The previous largest change was 0.97°C from January 2007, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The global average temperature for the year so far gives 2015 a 99.9 per cent chance it will beat 2014 as the warmest year on record.

This is according to Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who keeps the temperature records.

'Probability that 2015 will be a record warm year now 99.9 per cent based on Jan-Oct GISTEMP data,' he said.

This year is also likely to finish with global temperatures at about 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

The is halfway past the international goal of limiting temperature rise to no more than 2°C from that baseline.

Scientists say the trend is down to increased greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, as well as a very strong El Niño.


CIA Director Cites ‘Impact of Climate Change’ as Deeper Cause of Global Instability

Since there has been no statistically significant annual climate change for 18 years we must therefore be in a period of exceptional global peace and harmony -- or am I missing something?

Speaking today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said that CIA analysts see “climate change” as a “deeper cause” of the instability seen in places like Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Yemen and Libya.

“Mankind’s relationship with the natural world is aggravating these problems and is a potential source of crisis itself,” Brennan said at one point in his speech. “Last year was the warmest on record, and this year is on track to be even warmer.”

“When CIA analysts look for deeper causes of this rising instability, they find nationalistic, sectarian, and technological factors that are eroding the structure of the international system,” he said in another part of his speech. “They also see socioeconomic trends, the impact of climate change, and other elements that are cause for concern.”

Here are key excerpts from Brennan’s speech:

“The impression one might get from the daily headlines is that the world has become more unstable. And indeed, the historical record supports that judgment.

“In the past three years, there have been more outbreaks of instability than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, matching the rate we saw during decolonization in the 1960s. This has not just been a period of protests and government change, but of violent insurgency and, in particular, of breakdowns in many states’ ability to govern.

“Ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Yemen, Libya, and parts of Africa are clear examples. The human toll is reflected in the UN’s recent announcement that the number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world is the highest it has been since World War II. And of course, all this localized strife gives rise to the persistent threat of international terrorism.

“When CIA analysts look for deeper causes of this rising instability, they find nationalistic, sectarian, and technological factors that are eroding the structure of the international system. They also see socioeconomic trends, the impact of climate change, and other elements that are cause for concern. ….

“In many developing societies, growing pessimism about the prospects for economic advancement is fueling instability. Regions with burgeoning youth populations, such as the Arab world, have been unable to achieve the growth needed to reduce high unemployment rates. Perceptions of growing inequality have resulted in more assertive street politics and populism. At the same time, slower growth has left these nations with fewer resources to devote to economic, humanitarian, and peacekeeping assistance to address these challenges.

“Mankind’s relationship with the natural world is aggravating these problems and is a potential source of crisis itself. Last year was the warmest on record, and this year is on track to be even warmer.

“Extreme weather, along with public policies affecting food and water supplies, can worsen or create humanitarian crises. Of most immediate concern, sharply reduced crop yields in multiple places simultaneously could trigger a shock in food prices with devastating effect, especially in already fragile regions such as Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Compromised access to food and water greatly increases the prospect for famine and deadly epidemics.


On climate change, Catholic leaders must believe in miracles

For the first time, “Catholic leaders representing all regional and national bishops conferences” have come together in a “joint appeal.” According to reporting in the New York Times, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, India, called the October 26 meeting at the Vatican an “historic occasion.”

What brought all these Catholic leaders together for the first time? Not the refugee crisis in Europe. Not the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Not to meet over the church’s current scandalous finances. Not a prayer meeting or a Bible study. It was climate change and the climate aid funds, which take from the rich countries to give to the poor, promoting renewable energy.

Regarding climate change, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich, and one of the signatories to the “joint appeal,” said: “The church can learn from the world” — even though biblical teaching admonishes believers to be “not of the world.”

Maybe the laity gets it better than the clergy. Polls indicate that fewer than half of Catholics believe climate change is caused by human activity.

Together, Marx and his fellow leaders drafted a ten-point specific policy proposal for, as the document says: “those negotiating the COP 21 [United Nations climate conference] in Paris,” November 30–December 11. Saying they are looking out for “the poorest and most vulnerable,” these church leaders want “a fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement.” They call for “a drastic reduction on the emissions of carbon dioxide.”

Within the ten points of the “joint appeal,” number four demands a goal of “complete decarbonisation by mid-century.”

Point five addresses bringing people out of poverty and calls for putting “an end to the fossil fuel era, phasing out fossil fuel emissions, including emissions from military aviation and shipping and providing affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.”

Calling climate change a “moral issue,” Thomas G. Wenski, archbishop of Miami, acknowledged: “We’re pastors and we’re not scientists.”

So, what do actual scientists say about their proposal to phase out fossil fuel emissions and provide affordable renewable energy access for all?

With a similar goal, Google launched a project in 2007 known as RE
In the 2014 article chronicling their four-year project, the scientists conceded: “By 2011, it was clear that RE
More recently, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, made a similar acknowledgement. In an interview with The Atlantic magazine, he talked about how wind has “grown super-fast, on a very subsidized basis” and solar “has been growing even faster — again on a highly subsidized basis,” yet solar photovoltaics are “still not economical.” Gates admitted: “we need energy 24 hours a day” but “the primary new zero-CO2 sources are intermittent.” He says that due to “the self-defeating claims of some clean-energy enthusiasts” that are often “misleadingly meaningless,” the public underestimates how difficult moving beyond fossil fuels really is — which he says will take an “energy miracle.”

Surely the Catholic leaders really do care about “the poorest and most vulnerable.” If they do, rather than calling for the unrealistic “end of the fossil fuel era,” they’d call for the “climate aid” to be spent on “improved public health, education and economic development,” as recommended by noted economist Bjørn Lomborg.

Lomborg, in the Wall Street Journal, states: “In a world in which malnourishment continues to claim at least 1.4 million children’s lives each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.6 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral.” Yet, the Catholic leaders call climate change “a moral issue.”

Citing a U.N. survey of more than eight million people, Lomborg says, “respondents from the world’s poorest countries” who were asked “what matters most to you?” ranked “action taken on climate change” dead last. Their top priorities included “a good education” and “better health care.” In response, Lomborg states: “Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. Green energy sources may be good to keep on a single light or to charge a cellphone. But they are largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor.” He calls the emphasis on climate aid “terrible news” and says it “effectively means telling the world’s worst-off people, suffering from tuberculosis, malaria or malnutrition, that what they really need isn’t medicine, mosquito nets or micronutrients, but a solar panel.”

In addition to switching the focus from “decarbonisation” to priorities that will really help the world’s poor, Lomborg emphasizes: “The people need access to affordable, reliable electricity today.”

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, who advised Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, has said: “Real change only comes from dialogue.” Yet, time and time again, climate alarmists refuse dialogue with scientists and other experts whose views disagree with theirs and instead try to silence them with threats and legal action.

The bishops want to protect the poor from climate risks, but the risks from poverty are much greater and more immediate than those from climate change, and the global treaty the bishops want would slow, stop, or reverse economic growth, destroy jobs, and raise energy costs, harming everyone — especially the poor and elderly. And, by depriving developing nations of the abundant, affordable, reliable energy they need to rise and stay out of poverty, they are condemning them to more generations of poverty, disease, suffering, and death.

Those who agree that “this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral” might want to sign the “Forget ‘Climate Change’, Energy Empowers the Poor!” petition, which urges President Obama and the U.S. Senate to refrain from embracing any global agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

Turkson says the church’s influence on public policy should be “grounded in realities, not ideas” — yet clearly what the church leaders are calling for will require not reality, but a miracle.


Coastal Commission Power Surge

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is an unelected body that overrides the elected governments of coastal counties and cities on issues of land use and property rights. As we recently noted, the powerful CCC is moving into animal management, trying to leverage SeaWorld into killing off its orca shows. As Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee observes, this is hardly the CCC’s only power surge.

San Diego County is attempting to establish a landfill in Gregory Canyon. The inland project is not in CCC jurisdiction but that does not disturb the unelected commissioners. They claim that since the landfill could affect the San Luis Rey River, which flows to the sea, the CCC should play a role in the permitting process. If the CCC can pull this off, Walters says, “its authority could expand to almost the entire state.” Since everything west of the Sierra flows into the sea, “the expansion of a ski resort 7,000 feet high in the mountains could theoretically affect the flow and quality of water in the coastal zone, so its opponents could ask the Coastal Commission to intervene under its jurisdictional theory in the Gregory Canyon case.”

Known for zealotry and Mafia-style corruption – commissioner Mark Nathanson served five years for bribery – the CCC shows how government progressively becomes more intrusive, more expensive, and less responsive to the people. A responsible, accountable government would eliminate the Coastal Commission at the first opportunity. The voters, taxpayers and duly elected governments of coastal counties and cities are entirely capable of overseeing land-use and environmental concerns. The city of San Diego and San Diego County are fully capable of dealing with SeaWorld expansion and the Gregory Canyon landfill.


Too Many Americans Are OK With Punishing Climate Skeptics

A Nov. 12 article by Rasmussen says there’s “Little Support for Punishing Global Warming Foes” — an idea that sparked public outcry after a group of researchers suggested climate dissenters should be imprisoned under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. But that title wasn’t our takeaway after rummaging the data. In fact, we’re more than just a little concerned about what the survey suggests.

According to Rasmussen, 68% of polled voters say the government should refrain from punishing climate skeptics. By definition, that’s an overwhelming majority, but it’s nevertheless alarmingly low considering what’s at stake. Specifically, the survey found, “Just over one-in-four Democrats (27%) … favor prosecuting those who don’t agree with global warming. Only 11% of Republicans and 12% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.” Yes, you read that right. Twenty-seven percent of Democrats are fine with prosecuting climate skeptics, but so are 11% of Republicans. For a party that’s about defending liberty, including freedom of speech, that’s a harrowing discovery.


Australian government compromises on coal stand-off

This concerns government funding for coal-fired generators, not private lending by banks.  It will however undoubtedly reduce the availability of electricity to some extent.  China finances its own generators so will not be affected. India too will probably skate around the restrictions on the grounds that it is a poor country.  Australian negotiators  insisted on exceptions for poor countries.  Most new generators in the Western world are gas-fired anyway, largely thanks to fracking

Australia has backed down from a climate change stand-off with the US and Japan, agreeing to a deal to cut funding for dirty coal-fired electricity by billions of dollars a year.

The agreement, backed by 34 wealthy countries, is expected to give a boost to the United Nations climate summit starting in Paris in 12 days.

The compromise deal was reached at a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the terror-ravaged French capital overnight on Tuesday.

A senior White House administration official said it was a "landmark" – the first deal to include standards to reduce public financing for the dirtiest coal-fired power plants. "If you look at plants ... funded in the last 10 years, this agreement would make 80 per cent of them ineligible," the official said.

"And if you look at the forward pipeline of coal plants on the drawing board today globally, we estimate that this agreement will render more than 85 per cent of those plants ineligible."

Rich countries' export credit agencies have funded about $35 billion worth of coal over the past seven years.

Leaked documents seen by Fairfax Media last week showed Australia had opposed a US-Japan deal that effectively would have limited public financing of coal plants by OECD countries to only the "cleanest" available – mostly those classed as "ultra-supercritical" generators.

The US and Japan also wanted a clause that a coal plant could win public funding only if cleaner alternatives, such as renewables, were not viable.

Australia wanted the deal to still allow the funding of large "supercritical" coal plants, which have higher emissions, and to avoid the requirement that cleaner alternatives be considered.

The US official said under the compromise deal large plants can be funded only if they were ultra-supercritical – that is, if they have the latest technology and the lowest emissions possible.

Dirtier plants could be funded only if they were small and in the poorest countries.

All plants would need to be assessed on whether they were the cleanest alternative available, and if they were consistent with the country's climate change plan before winning funding. The deal will take effect in 2017.

"This is a big step forward," the official said. "It puts clean energy technology, like renewable energy, on a stronger footing."

The deal addressed concerns that cutting emissions would prevent people in the poorest countries getting access to electricity by still allowing small plants using older coal technology to be built in those cases, he said.

The deal includes an Australian proposal that eight countries in which fewer than 90 per cent of people have access to electricity still be allowed to build older coal technology if cleaner alternatives were not available.

The US official said it did not consider this clause significant, estimating it would affect less than 1 per cent of planned coal plants.

Based on Australian Treasury modelling, it is likely Australia's coal exports will fare better than those from competitor countries as the market tightens. Australia's coal is generally considered to be of better quality, and more suitable for use in lower-emission power plants.

Jake Schmidt, of the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, said Australia had watered the deal down, but it would still send "a powerful signal to the private sector that unfettered public financing of overseas coal power plants is coming to an end".

​Julien Vincent, of campaign group Market Forces, said the agreement was a "huge relief", but expressed concern about Australia's positioning in the negotiations.

"Prime Minister [Malcolm] Turnbull said just a few weeks ago that we need to take the ideology out of the climate change debate. For Australia to take a modest proposal ... and only agree to it after kicking holes in it is a sign that we haven't yet shaken off the 'climate change is absolute crap' ideology of Tony Abbott," he said.

Japan backed the deal despite being responsible for more than half of OECD export credit financing of coal. South Korea had also opposed the US-Japan deal, but agreed to the compromise.

The deal covers coal plants funded by public export credit agencies only. Australia's export credit agency, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, does not fund coal.



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