Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Neither Australia's bush fire preparedness nor anything recent is caused by climate change
Contrary to the article immediately below and two following it, recent travails have nothing to do with global warming. Since there has been no global warming for over 18 years the claims CANNOT be true. Things that don't exist don't cause ANYTHING
The satellites are the only way of obtaining a truly global temperature reading and for the last 18 years they just show random fluctuations around a constant mean. Here's the graph:
And even the terrestrial datasets show no statistically significant global temperature change over the last 18 years.
Global temperatures are anything but uniform, however, and there may have been some local warming in some places which was offset by cooling in other places. But local warming is not global warming, to be reluctantly tautologous.
What then is going on? Why the increase in bushfires? No mystery at all. Greenies did it. They have been meddling heavily in forest management. One particularly pernicious type of interference is Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs in winter. Such burnoffs are easy to keep within bounds and reduce fuel load for later fires. So any fires that eventuate in warm seasons are much tamer and spread less.
Why Greenies oppose such burnoffs I am not sure -- some feeling that it "unnatural" would be my guess. They say it is to protect forest critters but the big burns are actually the ones that kill most forest critters. Many of the critters can escape a small controlled burn and a controlled burn can in fact make some provision for that
Now for the Greenie moan:
Australia risks being under-prepared for longer, drier and more severe bushfire seasons, a report from the Climate Council says.
The national report found that record-breaking temperatures and hot winds will place unprecedented strain on firefighting resources, estimating that the number of professional firefighters across Australia will need to double by 2030.
Australia's bushfire season got off to an early start, when more than 200 fires burned across Victoria in the first week of October, and this week, blazes sparked by lightning and burning have destroyed at least 300,000 hectares in the North Cascade, Western Australia, killing four people so far.
Thursday is shaping up as another fire risk day in Victoria, with hot stormy conditions forecast.
"As a country, we are not prepared ... for the impacts of climate change. This is not a future problem; it is already costing us now," said Amanda McKenzie, Climate Council CEO.
"I don't know any [state] government that has a plan for how they are going to manage the need for more firefighters in the future."
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, maximum temperatures in October averaged 3.44 degrees above the long-run average, and almost all of southern Australia recorded its hottest October, driven higher by a big heatwave across the region.
It is the increasing likelihood of such conditions around the world that the Climate Council report said would challenge Australia's firefighting resources.
"Climate change is impacting on the fire seasons in both hemispheres, meaning that they will increasingly overlap. This has the potential to decrease the capacity to share resources …"
The Climate Council said resources meant equipment as well as hands-on assistance.
For example, some of the largest aircraft in Australia's fleet are leased from international companies and are the same as those contracted to firefighting services during the northern hemisphere summer.In August and September, 72 Australian and New Zealander personnel were deployed to support US firefighters, and 104 were deployed to Canada during the 2015 season.
"It's not just looking at how we share resources between Australia and US. If we have multiple fires happening around Australia, that's where we see very serious situations. That's when you have a very exhausted fire service," said Ms McKenzie.
A spokesperson for the NSW Rural Fire Service said they were aware of research "suggesting climate change could result in longer bush fire seasons and increased demands on resources, including firefighters."
"As the lead agency for bush firefighting and management in NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service continues to consider the potential for increased fire activity and how it may impact the prevention, mitigation and suppression of bush fires in NSW," he said.
"Irrespective of the cause, the NSW RFS always assesses conditions and prepares based on the prevailing forecast."
Over the past year the ranks of the service swelled to a record 74,516 volunteers, a figure revealed in annual reports of the state's emergency services tabled in NSW Parliament on Wednesday.
"Our services are leaders in emergency management and are doing an outstanding job of meeting the needs of the community during their time of greatest need," said Minister for Emergency Services David Elliot.
"The report does come at an important time, given we have seen an early start to the bushfire season in WA and Victoria."
Prince Charles says Climate change behind Syrian crisis
The poor soul is desperate to appear wise. Sad for him that global warming stopped long before the current upheavals. That PROVES him wrong. See above
Prince Charles has suggested the cause of conflict in Syria is climate change, in a wide-ranging interview.
Drought and competition for increasingly scarce resources caused by manmade activities also played a role in the refugee crisis which has seen thousands of people leave the Middle East and cross Europe in recent months, the Prince of Wales said.
The remarks were made in an interview with Sky News recorded before the latest wave of terror attacks in Paris, which will be broadcast on Monday.
The Prince, 67, said: “We're seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn't tackle these issues you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.
“And, in fact, there's very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land”.
Asked by Royal Correspondent Rhiannon Mills if there was a direct link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, the heir to the throne replied:
“It's only in the last few years that the Pentagon have actually started to pay attention to this. I mean it has a huge impact on what is happening. I mean the difficulty is sometimes to get this point across – that if we just leave it and say, well there are obviously lots of, there are endless problems arising all over the place therefore we deal with them in a short term way, we never deal with the underlying root cause which regrettably is what we're doing to our natural environment."
The Prince is expected to deliver a keynote speech at the United Nations climate change conference or COP21 in Paris next week.
Is Prince Charles Correct?
He has a defender below. But he assumes what he has to prove. He presumes that here has been global warming in recent years. But there has not been. Warming stopped long before the adverse weather events that he mentions. It cannot therefore be the cause of those events. See above
In an interview recorded before the recent Paris massacre Prince Charles has recently told Sky News that he thinks that Climate Change is one causal factor in the ongoing Syrian situation. Rejecting him out of hand does not seem sound to me based on the available evidence.
The key question is whether there is support for him in the primary peer reviewed scientific literature, and there is. Early this year Kelley et al published a paper in PNAS entitled "Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought." PDF.
The abstract of this paper is as follows:
Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest. We show that the recent decrease in Syrian precipitation is a combination of natural variability and a long-term drying trend, and the unusual severity of the observed drought is here shown to be highly unlikely without this trend. Precipitation changes in Syria are linked to rising mean sea-level pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean, which also shows a long-term trend. There has been also a long-term warming trend in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding to the drawdown of soil moisture. No natural cause is apparent for these trends, whereas the observed drying and warming are consistent with model studies of the response to increases in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, model studies show an increasingly drier and hotter future mean climate for the Eastern Mediterranean. Analyses of observations and model simulations indicate that a drought of the severity and duration of the recent Syrian drought, which is implicated in the current conflict, has become more than twice as likely as a consequence of human interference in the climate system.
Obviously natural variability plays a role but the trend of drying and warming is clear and it has the effect of shifting the drying, warming and PDSI short term fluctuation into something unusual.
Note that temperatures in part respond as a feedback on soil moisture, energy lost from evaporation manifests as temperature increases once the soil is dessicated.
Powerless Scotland looming
ENERGY experts have called for some of the Longannet power station's generators to be kept switched on when it closes next year to help prevent a scenario where Scotland could be without electricity for up to 36 hours.
Some of the most experienced figures in the industry have urged the UK and Scottish governments to intervene to prevent Scottish Power's Fife plant, the last coal-fired power station in Scotland, closing completely in March next year.
Sir Donald Miller, former Chairman of Scottish Power, Colin Gibson, retired Power Network Director of National Grid and Professor Iain Macleod, Past President of The Institution of Engineers in Scotland, have now had three meetings with officials in Energy Minster Fergus Ewing’s department and have also briefed the Secretary of State David Mundell.
They say that under the privatisation arrangements neither the power companies nor National Grid have had any responsibility for planning long term security of supplies.
But following a request last year from the regulator Ofgem for National Grid to assume responsibility, the latter had recently published a schedule of studies. However Sir Donald said: “It is estimated these studies will probably take two years."
He and his colleagues say it is crucial that at least half of 2,400MW of conventional capacity provided by Longannet is retained until these studies are completed and assessed as there would be major implications if there was a shutdown of the power supply before then.
Currently, if there is a problem, Scotland relies on the Cruachan pumped storage hydro station at Loch Awe which can be started in under a minute, supplying power to start Longannet allowing the rapid restoration of supply.
But if Longnannet is no longer operating, the only recourse would be Cruachan combining with the small hydro schemes throughout the Highlands and Galloway. Sir Donald said even if this was possible it would be a lengthy procedure.
“The joint working party set up by National Grid , Scottish Power and SSE, estimated it could take some 36 hours, a wholly unacceptable scenario,” he said.
Sir Donald added: "Bearing in mind the catastrophic consequences we strongly urge that until such time as the National Grid studies are completed at least 1200 MW of Longannet should be retained."
He said the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Scottish Government between them had means of compensating Scottish Power for the costs of retaining some plant in commission. "Given the potential threat, the modest cost would surely be worth it," he said.
Prospect’s negotiations officer Richard Hardy said the union, which has been trying to save more than 200 jobs at Longannet, shared the experts’ concerns.
A Scottish Government spokesman said National Grid and the UK Government had been repeatedly warned of the consequences of declining capacity margins in the UK electricity system and ministers shared concerns expressed by a range of external experts.
Wind power makes electricity expensive and unreliable without cutting emissions
My Times article on wind power is below. An astonishingly poor attack on the article was made in The Guardian by Mark Lynas.
He failed to address all the main points I made: he failed to challenge the argument that wind power has not cut emissions, failed to challenge the argument that wind power has raised the cost of electricity, he failed to challenge my argument that wind speeds are correlated across Europe. And he made a hash of attempting to criticise my argument that wind has made the system less reliable.
The gist of his case was that the recent short-term emergency that gave rise to price spikes was caused by coal-fired power station outages. But the point was that these coincided with a windless day. In a system of coal and gas, the weather would not matter, but in a system dependent on wind, then coal outages on a windless day cause problems. Surely this was not too difficult to understand, Mark? Note that Germany had a windless day too.
Mark Lynas then took to twitter boasting in troll-fashion that he had debunked my article where he was joined by the usual green cheerleaders. They have shot themselves in the foot, I am afraid.
I remain astonished at the fervour with which greens like Mark defend wind power at all costs, despite growing evidence that it does real environmental harm, rewards the rich at the expense of the poor and does not cut carbon dioxide emissions significantly if at all. It might even make them worse, as I argue here. If they really are worried about emissions, why do greens love wind? It isn’t helping.
Anyway, here’s the article:
Suppose that a government policy had caused shortages of bread, so the price of a loaf had shot up and was spiking even higher on certain days.
Suppose that the high price of bread was causing massive job losses. Suppose that the policy was justified on the grounds that the bread was now coming from farmers whose practices were better for the environment, but it turned out they were probably worse for the environment instead. There would be a rethink, right?
For bread, read electricity. The government needs to rethink its electricity policy. Last week’s emergency was a harbinger of worse to come: because the wind was not blowing on a mild autumn day, the National Grid had to call for some large electricity consumers to switch off, and in addition offered to pay up to £2,500 a megawatt-hour — 40 times the normal price — for generators capable of stepping into the breach at short notice.
Among other lessons, this teaches us that letting Liberal Democrats run the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for five years was an expensive mistake. What puzzles me is how little the current government seems to realise it must make a U-turn or get the blame itself.
The coalition promised secure, affordable and low-carbon power, but instead gave us unreliable, expensive and high-carbon power. What is worse, this outcome was “wholly predictable but wholly unanticipated by policymakers”, in the words of Rupert Darwall of the Centre for Policy Studies, speaking to a House of Lords committee (on which I sit) earlier this year.
Mr Darwall’s argument is that wind farms, which cost a lot to build and maintain but pay nothing for fuel, can sell electricity for very low prices when the wind’s blowing. Being intermittent, this power therefore destroys incentives to invest in highly efficient “combined-cycle” gas turbines (CCGTs).
If, when the wind blows, a new gas plant has to switch off, then the return on investment in gas is negative. Combined-cycle plants are sophisticated machines and don’t like being switched on and off. Therefore the gradual replacement of coal-fired power by much more efficient gas-fired power has stalled as a direct result of the wind-power boom.
To solve this problem, the government came up with a “capacity mechanism”, a fancy name for subsidising fossil fuels. But this further impost on the hard-pressed bill payers (likely to exceed £1.3 billion by 2020), instead of bringing forward new gas turbines, last year went mostly to keep old coal-fired stations going.
The next auction, due in December, has brought a rash of bids from diesel generators. This is madness: wind power has made the country more reliant on dirty, high-carbon coal and diesel. (I declare my usual interest in coal, but note that coal has probably benefited from the policy I am criticising.)
Meanwhile, the old coal stations that have not attracted a subsidy are closing because of the coalition’s unilateral carbon tax (sorry, “floor price”).
Eggborough, for instance, tried to switch to subsidised biomass, better known as wood — a fuel that emits even more carbon dioxide than coal per unit of energy — but was refused and so is closing. Thus, when the wind drops, we are plunged into crisis.
Wind’s advocates have long argued that cables to Europe would help on windless days because we could suck in power from Germany when the wind’s blowing there but not here.
Yet last week, as we were debating this very issue in the Lords, I checked and wind was generating about 1 per cent of our electricity, and even less of Germany’s. Studies by the Renewable Energy Foundation published as long ago as 2008 have shown that wind speeds are well correlated across Europe most of the time. Was anyone listening?
Prices charged to electricity consumers have been rising because of the high cost of subsidies for wind power, especially offshore wind. The DECC’s numbers show that small businesses will be paying 77 per cent more per unit for electricity by 2020 than they would be if we were not subsidising renewables.
The cost of the subsidies is on track to hit roughly £10 billion a year in 2020 and that’s before paying for the fleet of diesel generators being subsidised under the capacity mechanism and extra grid infrastructure costs.
What are we getting for that money? A less reliable electricity system, a big increase in cost, lost jobs in the aluminium and steel industries and no discernible cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
If that last claim seems far fetched, consider the following calculation. According to the wind industry, a 2-megawatt onshore wind turbine could cut emissions by about 1,800 tonnes a year in average conditions, offshore a bit more.
With about 13 gigawatts of wind now in service, that would mean the total wind fleet can displace at most 15 million tonnes, or 2 per cent of our 700 million tonnes of total annual emissions.
But, since the effect of the wind boom (solar production, by the way, is an irrelevance lost in the decimal points) has been to deter new gas and prolong the life of inefficient coal, and since it wastes power to get a fossil-fuelled power station up to speed when the wind drops, and since expensive wind power has driven energy-intensive industries abroad to more carbon-intensive countries, the actual emissions savings achieved by wind are lower and probably negative.
We would have been far better off buying new gas or “clean-coal” capacity instead: replacing coal with gas more than halves emissions.
After Wednesday’s near emergency, ministers must surely realise that we cannot rely on the weather to produce the right amount of electricity, and gas is far cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the DECC’s dirty diesel solution. As for nuclear power, Hinkley C was supposed to help with the supply crunch, but it will only come on stream in the mid-2020s, and at a gigantic cost.
The poor and the elderly are hardest hit by high electricity bills. What Chris Huhne and Ed Davey have done to our electricity supply, following the lead of Tony Blair’s foolish 2007 decision to accept a European Union target for renewables, is bonkers.
It has cost wealth, jobs, landscapes, wildlife, security of supply: and all for nothing in terms of emissions savings. It is no comfort to know that some of us have been predicting this for years.
BOOK REVIEW of "The No Breakfast Fallacy: Why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of minerals and metals" by Tim Worstall
It's a standard part of the modern story, that we're about to run out of resources. There's only so much available, metals and minerals are soon to be in short supply. This is incorrect and this book walks through the reasons why it is incorrect.
For example, we are told that we are likely to run out of mineral reserves in a generation or so. This is correct but entirely unimportant. For every generation runs out of mineral reserves: the reason being that mineral reserves is the name we give to those minerals we're going to use in the coming generation. We are no more going to run out of mineral reserves than we are going to run out of breakfast because we eat what is in the refrigerator.
The book notes and explains Worstall getting the China rare earths scare correct, in advance (yes, explaining in 2010 why the problem would not be a problem, when all others were headless chickens on the subject). Discusses the purblind ignorance on display from the New Scientist and various environmentalists on mineral reserves and points to the one fatal assumption that the Club of Rome made in their report, Limits to Growth. The assumption that cooked their conclusion into their report, whatever else they did. Jeremy Grantham's mistake about the minerals for fertilisers running out is also explained. Further, when we should recycle and when we shouldn't is laid out in a form that even a member of a Green Party should be able to understand.
Written in Worstall's usual light style, no prior technical knowledge is needed.
That there might be environmental problems out there is entirely true. That there might even be environmental problems with mineral use could also be true. But the idea that we're about to run out of them, or even face any possible shortages on anything like a human related timescale, simply isn't.
And this book proves it.
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
Posted by JR at 1:20 AM