Friday, November 27, 2015
No more fish dinners for YOU!
This is all theory, not new research and I think we need only one sentence from the academic journal article to sum it all up: "Yet the influence of predators on carbon accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats (that is, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangroves) is poorly understood". We would be unwise to base any action on something that is poorly understood
The oceans cover 71 per cent of our planet’s surface. They are home to complex ecosystems that are being disturbed by industrial and recreational fishing, and other human activities, in ways that may profoundly affect our climate system.
A recent paper in Nature Climate Change has helped highlight some of the impact. The problem arises largely from the fact fishing disturbs food webs, changing the way ecosystems function and altering the ecological balance of the oceans in dangerous ways. The paper focused on the phenomenon of “trophic downgrading”, the disproportionate loss of species high in the food web.
It reported on the loss of ocean predators such as large carnivorous fish, sharks, crabs, lobsters, seals, and sea lions, and the resultant impact on carbon rich vegetation and sediment on the ocean floor. It cited earlier research indicating the overall predator population had reduced by up to 90 per cent from natural levels.
Based on the research findings, that reduction is likely to have adversely affected the ability of vegetated coastal habitats (consisting of seagrass meadows, mangroves and salt marshes) to absorb or sequester atmospheric carbon. It would also have released massive amounts of carbon (unaccounted for in any official emissions figures) in the form of CO2 remineralised from carbon that had been stored in the vegetation and underlying sediment.
The problem arises when the loss of high-level predators causes an unnatural increase in the population levels of their prey, who may be herbivores (such as dugongs and sea turtles) or bioturbators (creatures who disturb ocean sediment including certain crabs). With reduced predator numbers, the former prey has a far greater impact than previously on their own food sources in vegetated coastal habitats.
Those habitats are the most carbon-rich ecosystems in the world, capturing carbon forty times faster than tropical rainforests. Most of the carbon stored in them is in the form of organic matter trapped in the underlying sediment. The sediment contains little or no oxygen, allowing the organic material to last for millennia.
Despite their relatively small overall area they represent fifty per cent of the carbon buried in ocean sediments.
Release Of Carbon Stores
Vegetated coastal habitats are estimated to store up to 25 billion tonnes of carbon. If it was released in the form of CO2, it would equate to more than twice the emissions from fossil fuels globally in 2013 (92 vs 40 billion tonnes).
Estimates of the areas affected are unavailable, but if only 1 per cent of vegetated coastal habitats were affected to a depth of 1 metre in a year, around 460 million tonnes of CO2 could be released. That is around the same level of emissions from all motor vehicles in Britain, France, and Spain combined in 2010, and not far below Australia’s most recently reported annual emissions of around 540 million tonnes.
We can extend the comparison by saying that if 10 per cent of such habitats were affected to the same depth, it would be equivalent to emissions from all motor vehicles in the top nine vehicle-owning nations (USA, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Russia), whose share of global vehicle numbers is 61 per cent. It would also equate to around eight times Australia’s emissions.
Loss of Ongoing Carbon Sequestration
The other key problem is a reduction in the ocean’s ability to sequester (or absorb) carbon from the atmosphere.
If sequestration capability was reduced by 20 per cent in only 10 per cent of vegetated coastal habitats, it would equate to a loss of forested area the size of Belgium.
Evidence that CO2 has a negligible effect on climate
1. Lindzen & Choi papers based on ERBE satellite observations showed sensitivity (to doubled CO2 levels) of only ~0.18C
2. Dr. David Evans has shown, using the same flawed radiative model of the IPCC as the basis, that "The ECS might be almost zero, is likely less than 0.25 °C"
3. Kimoto has shown climate sensitivity is ~.15-.2C due to the IPCC false assumptions of a fixed lapse rate and a mathematical error in calculating the Planck feedback parameter:
4 Volokin et al have shown that planetary surface temperatures are a function of solar insolation and surface pressure only, not greenhouse gas concentrations, on all 8 planets for which we have adequate data, including Earth & Venus.
5. The surface temperature and tropospheric temperature profile can easily be derived from physical first principles including the 1st LoT, Ideal Gas Law, Poisson Equation, Newton's 2nd Law, and Stefan-Boltzmann Law for solar forcing only, and without greenhouse gas "radiative forcing," and perfectly replicates the verified 1976 US Standard Atmosphere. Thus, once again, sensitivity to CO2 is mathematically proven to be essentially zero.
6. Convection dominates radiative-convective equilibrium in the troposphere by a factor of ~8X, and increased greenhouse gases accelerate convection, thereby erasing any alleged cold-heats-hot greenhouse gas radiative effects on the surface.
7. Many other climate sensitivity estimates have concluded climate sensitivity is effectively zero, or so close to zero as to be unmeasurable and negligible.
The world needs more energy, not green BS
Western governments and agencies are now standing in the way of development
Ben Pile piles it on
Earlier this month, a report from the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health announced that ‘fecal sludge’ might be one answer to several of the world’s problems. According to the authors of Valuing Human Waste as an Energy Resource, if the excrement produced by those who lack access to sanitation – a billion people – was collected and processed, 10million homes could be provided with electricity. And this would amount to $200million-a-year worth of biogas. After all, where there’s muck there’s brass. For that reason, the report might be interesting to planners and civil engineers, but it was still given far more importance than it deserved. As the Daily Mail excitedly put it: ‘Human excrement can fuel developing world.’
The message from global institutions to the world’s poor is: ‘you may have your own shit, but you may not have coal’. In 2013, the World Bank, despite acknowledging many people’s lack of access to electricity, said that, because of climate change, it would no longer be supporting the development of coal-fired power stations. The announcement was made in accordance with the principles of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, an alliance of global institutions, civil society and businesses that wants to ‘achieve a broad-based transformation of the world’s energy systems’. But note the caveat: ‘sustainable energy for all’ is not a commitment to ‘energy for all’.
Coal is the cheapest source of energy, but it is denied to all those who can least afford the alternatives. According to data compiled by the Sierra Club, a green, anti-coal NGO, there are 51 coal-fired power plants scheduled for construction in Europe, with a total capacity of 36 gigawatts (GW). Yet in Africa and the Middle East – where there are far fewer champions of climate change – there are just 29 coal-fired power-plant projects in the pipeline, with a total capacity of 20 GW. Meanwhile, a whopping 219 GW of capacity has been announced in China, and India has plans to increase its capacity by 75 GW. The toxic excreta of UN bodies and green NGOs can be seen in these massively uneven patterns of development.
A 2008 paper from Oxfam revealed much about what underpins such backward thinking. Rather than emphasising development as the way forward at all, Oxfam argued, in Survival of the fittest Pastoralism and climate change in East Africa, that ‘pastoralist communities’ (that is, communities primarily based around the raising of livestock) are the best way to tackle climate change. Therefore, Oxfam claimed, pastoralist forms of social organisation should be promoted and protected. In this highly deterministic and patronising tome, Oxfam claimed that pastoralist communities were perfectly adapted to the geography of East Africa, and that the Western model of development and governance is inappropriate. Oxfam’s anti coal campaign, Let them Eat Coal, even claims that not burning coal would ‘fight hunger’.
No less absurd or patronising, but more cautious about revealing its hostility to development, is the New Climate Economy, aka The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate – yet another attempt, or ‘initiative’, from unaccountable, undemocratic global bodies, including the World Bank, to foist ‘sustainable development’ on the world. A working paper, jointly published by the Global Commission and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) last month was superficially concerned with ‘building electricity supplies in Africa for growth and universal access’. But ‘universal access’ only meant connection to an electricity grid for 40 per cent of Africans. ‘For about 60 per cent of the population, mini-grids and stand-alone systems would be the best means to provide access’, said the paper. Reiterating the point, the ODI’s director of strategic development, Dinah McLeod tweeted, ‘Yes: more to the Africa energy puzzle than off-grid, but grid won’t ever come for many. Let’s be optimistic realists.’
Low aspirations for African countries are not set by Africans. They are set by the likes of the UK Department for International Development (DfID), which recently set out its Energy Africa campaign – a manifesto for off-grid solar power. ‘Why is [the Department for International Development] pushing solar-only when Africans say they want on-grid electricity?’, asked Benjamin Leo of the US-based Centre for Global Development (CGD). The CGD conducted a survey of Tanzanians who already had connection to off-grid electricity. Ninety per cent of respondents still wanted a grid connection.
One reason for the UK’s loss of faith in grid electricity, of course, might be the looming failure of the past three governments’ domestic energy policies. The most recent Labour government promised a ‘green industrial revolution’. But all that happened during this ‘revolution’ was a doubling of electricity prices, followed by widespread closures of coal-fired plants, which now threaten the stability of the grid. In Germany, the indubitable pioneers of green energy, domestic energy prices are even higher and yet, in the past four years alone, 10 GW of coal-fired generating capacity has been added – more than half the amount planned across all of Africa.
In the past, organisations and individuals concerned with development believed that industrialisation was a good thing – a necessary condition for raising living standards, realising wider social change and expanding the possibilities of human life. Hubris, and naïve optimism, perhaps, allowed people to imagine that development was a simple, technological process. But the predominant ideas today are far more dangerous. Many in the so-called ‘development community’ have sacrificed any sensible notion of development to ‘sustainability’. They are not only free to influence, perhaps even dominate, the so-called ‘development agenda’; they also decide the terms of progress on behalf of people in developing nations, to whom they remain unaccountable. At talks leading up to the United Nations Framework – Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Paris later this month, countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have agreed to limit further any assistance to developing economies with ambitions to exploit coal resources.
But there is plenty to be cheerful about. Within the past 20 years, extreme poverty has halved, and almost every indicator of human welfare shows unprecedented progress. Perhaps that is what most terrifies an engorged, top-heavy class of environmental and ‘development’ technocrats: the possibility that the World’s problems are being solved not just without them, but in spite of them. It is worth considering the possibility that their plans may soon make ‘development agencies’ the main obstacle to development.
Warmists notice the poor at last
Congressional Republicans make an easy target for their denial of climate change: “I’m not a scientist” is the new “Drill, baby, drill.” But denial also infects large swaths of the environmental movement. Environmentalists deserve enormous credit for calling the world’s attention to the threat to humanity posed by climate change. But precisely because this challenge is so stupendous, we need an uncompromisingly focused plan to solve it. Instead of offering such a solution, traditional greens have been distracted by their signature causes, and in doing so have themselves denied some inconvenient truths.
The first is that, until now, fossil fuels have been good for humanity. The industrial revolution doubled life expectancy in developed countries while multiplying prosperity twentyfold. As industrialization spreads to the developing world, billions of people are rising out of poverty in their turn — affording more food, living longer and healthier lives, becoming better educated, and having fewer babies — thanks to cheap fossil fuels. In poor countries like India, citizens want reliable electricity to power these improvements, and stand ready to vote out any government that fails to deliver it. When American environmentalists tell the world to stop burning fossil fuels, they need to give Indians an alternative that delivers the prosperity they demand and deserve.
That brings us to the second inconvenient truth: Nuclear power is the world’s most abundant and scalable carbon-free energy source. In today’s world, every nuclear plant that is not built is a fossil-fuel plant that does get built, which in most of the world means coal. Yet the use of nuclear power has been stagnant or even contracting.
Nuclear power presses a number of psychological buttons — fear of poisoning, ease of imagining catastrophes, distrust of the unfamiliar and the man-made — and so is held to an irrationally higher standard than fossils. When a coal mine disaster kills dozens, or a deep-water oil leak despoils vast seas, nobody shuts down the coal or oil industries. Yet the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan, which killed nobody, led Germany to shut down its nuclear plants and quietly replace them with dirty coal. Even France — which gets three quarters of its electricity from nuclear power and has never had an accident — now plans to shut down many plants under pressure from environmentalists.
Nuclear today is relatively expensive, but that is largely because it must clear massive regulatory hurdles while its fossil competitors have been given relatively easy passage. New fourth-generation nuclear designs, a decade away from deployment, will burn waste from today’s plants and run more cheaply and safely.
We need to stop subsidizing inefficient technologies and trying to make fossil fuels too expensive to use.
Without nuclear power, the numbers needed to solve the climate crisis simply do not add up. Solar and wind are growing quickly, but still provide about 1 percent of electricity production, and cannot scale up fast enough to supply what the world needs. Moreover, these intermittent energy sources could power the grid only with big advances in battery technology that are still in the basic-science stage. Even with them, we must not triple-count the energy promised by renewables: they cannot supplant existing fossil fuel use and replace decommissioned nuclear plants and meet the skyrocketing needs of the developing world.
These arguments have been forcefully made by pragmatic environmentalists such as James Hansen and Stewart Brand. But the largest groups with the loudest voices, such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, remain implacably antinuclear.
A third truth is that climate change must transcend ideology. A particularly pernicious form of denialism is the conceit within the political left that we must cure longstanding social ills such as inequality, corporate greed, racism, and political corruption along the way to dealing with climate change. Naomi Klein’s campaign to “change everything” casts global warming as an opportunity for the left to step up its various crusades. Whatever you think of such goals, and we agree with many of them, they must not distract us from the priority of preventing catastrophic climate change.
The left also seeks to mobilize support with a narrative that blames the problem on a hateful enemy. The Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, and the Republican Party seem all too eager to step into this role. But even if all these devils magically vanished, we’d still be burning fossil fuels until we found something better.
So what should environmentalists be demanding? Foremost, governments need to fund research and development for low-carbon energy technologies at Apollo-program levels of commitment. Breakthrough innovations are needed in batteries, nuclear energy, liquid biofuels, and carbon capture. The required funding of this ultimate public good is too great a risk with too little a reward for private companies. But it is easily fundable by governments.
The second priority is carbon pricing: charging people and companies to dump their carbon into the atmosphere. Economists across the political spectrum agree that such a price would incentivize conservation, decarbonization, and R&D far more effectively than regulating specific industries and products (to say nothing of sermonizing for a return to an abstemious preindustrial lifestyle). Without carbon pricing, fossil fuels — which are uniquely abundant, portable, and energy-dense — simply have too great an advantage. Yet despite a strong campaign by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a policy that ought to be a no-brainer has yet to catch on with politicians or the public.
Today, climate activism shoots off in too many directions: divesting from portfolios, urging asceticism, ending capitalism, demonizing ogres, prophesying doom, changing everything. This scattershot campaign is morally invigorating but distracts people from acknowledging the most inconvenient truth of all: None of this will stop catastrophic climate change. The movement should hit “Pause,” do the math, and work for the combination of policies that can actually solve the problem.
Bill Gates, Climate Activism, and Wishful Thinking
Bill Gates may know a lot about running a software company, but when it comes to understanding how governments operate, well, let’s just say that not all the glitches have been worked out. Case in point: In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Gates extols the virtues of carbon taxes and other “sticks” of climate activism. Gates also extols “carrots” such as subsidies for low-carbon energy research and development—because, he claims, government sets the gold standard for R&D. But this claim can be quickly cast aside, according to Independent Institute Research Director William F. Shughart II.
“Even a blind squirrel eventually finds an acorn, so it is not surprising that throwing tons of money at government-sponsored research projects sometimes pays off,” Shughart writes.
Moreover, “most of the major inventions of the past 150 years have originated not from scientific advances or from taxpayer-financed R&D, but from the private sector’s engineering departments and shop floors as people on the ground encountered and solved practical production problems.” The software titan’s nonsense about technology history, according to Shughart, reflects a bigger problem: “Although Mr. Gates deserves applause for putting his own money where his mouth is, he is mendacious in maligning the economic system that made him the richest man on the planet.”
Greens ‘smuggle’ climate policy into the church to tip climate politics
Without the evangelical community’s involvement, efforts to build a “broad coalition to pass major climate policies” are “doomed,” according to a just-released report from New America — a nonprofit group that claims to be “dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age.”
“Spreading the Gospel of climate change: an evangelical battleground,” according to E & E News, offers: “An autopsy of evangelicals’ influence on U.S. Climate law.” While the efforts “failed,” the report concludes it is “not a lost cause,” as the authors posit: “there is an untapped potential for environmental activism in the world of evangelical Christianity.” The closing words are “it is a battle worth fighting.”
So, while the initial effort may have failed, its supporters haven’t given up. They hope to learn from their mistakes and continue the crusade to “get evangelicals to tip the politics of the climate” — which consists of big-government solutions like a carbon tax and higher energy prices.
The report offers several reasons for failure, including: “donors who pushed for this ‘deliverable’ did not really understand the internal dynamic of the evangelical world,” and suggests future tactics such as: “better messaging” and more “person-to-person connections.”
Its authors lament that the evangelical community is “a decentralized religious tradition that lacks a clear hierarchy like the Catholic Church” (which helps explain the recent alarmist views adopted by the Pope and many Catholic Bishops). They claim that since most evangelicals are Republicans, asking them to embrace climate change “challenged the belief in the primacy of unregulated markets that is the ideological glue that holds the Republican coalition together.” Both statements, I believe, show how little those attempting to engage “evangelicals on climate change” really understand the Christian faith — despite one of the report’s authors being “an expert on evangelicals.”
We are not “decentralized” nor is our resistance to “engaging” in climate change based in betraying Republican values. Our faith is centered on the Bible — which we look to for inspiration, guidance, and teaching. The messaging of climate change includes an entire world-view that challenges the primacy of biblical teaching.
We believe that God created the Earth and that no part of His creation was by mistake or without intent. He created the earth to benefit humans, not the other way around. And, He is bigger than we are and has a plan. With that foundation, we see that God put coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium under our feet for a reason: because we would need it. In biblical times it wasn’t needed, but in His plan, he knew that we’d need it today. The carbon that was stored within the earth is released today providing power and food for a world that has greater population than the apostles could have ever imagined — but God knew what it would be. We appreciate nature; value the earth and the bounty it provides. We’ve learned from the past mistakes and are pleased that America has greatly cleaned up the pollution of the 70s, but we don’t worship the earth.
While I hope all readers find the report’s inside strategic analysis interesting, evangelicals should be particularly alarmed with the realization that we have been, and will continue to be, the target of an organized and well-funded effort, from outsiders who “lacked deep knowledge about evangelicalism,” to “recruit evangelicals into policy solutions to climate change.”
While admitting failure, there was some early success. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California and author of the best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, was, in 2006, a signatory to the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI). In 2008, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson appeared in an ad for climate action. Some Southern Baptist leaders drafted their own ECI — which was never launched. The report states: “Movement leaders, funders, and the environmental movement were optimistic that this small victory could be the foundation for even more ambitious legislative goals.”
The report is a fascinating case study of the outside effort to “smuggle” the climate policy campaign into churches.
When I read the full 27-page document, the influence of “environmental funders” became obvious: “Since the mid-1990s, environmental funders recognized the need for a broader field of faith-based movements who could expand the influence of environmentalism to unlikely allies. They also realized that evangelicals had a special role to play in this religious portfolio because their religious community was closely associated with the Republican Party.” Evangelical Christians became the target of “constituency engagement development.” Financial grants were made to increase the role of climate change in churches. Environmentalists worked to reframe climate change as “Creation Care” and “hoped that evangelical Christians might publically embrace climate change as a moral issue and an authentically ‘conservative’ concern.”
To do this, funders looked to the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) “to reach out to evangelicals and leverage the moral authority of faith.” The report states: “With funding from the Hewlett and Energy Foundations, the EEN launched the Evangelical Climate Initiative, the culmination of its four-year effort to encourage major evangelical institutions to develop a public witness on climate change.” Notable Christian organizations, such as World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship were given thousands of dollars to name a “Creation Care Chair” in their senior staff. The report concludes: “From 1996 to 2006, EEN leaders and environmental funders believed that the Creation Care movement was on a trajectory of growing legitimacy and power.”
The efforts at infiltration included “building faith-based environmental clubs in Christian colleges” and offering to help churches “reduce their energy bills.”
The report chronicles the work of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light — led by an Episcopal priest: Rev. Alexis Chase. She persuaded Southern Baptist churches to host HEAT classes to train lay leaders to save energy and money in their own homes. And then, “smuggled” the climate policy campaign “into the class as an extension of personal discipleship.”
According to the report, EEN hoped to persuade Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research and Director of the Research Institute of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission—the policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention — to become an ally. Apparently, Duke “was open to the EEN’s message about climate change.” He explored the issue and listened to differing views — including the Cornwall Alliance’s Calvin Beisner (who the report paints as the key voice in exposing the Creation Care movement). Duke realized none of the climate change people gave “any consideration to the role of the Sun in affecting the climate.” Instead, climate action was about large-scale government solutions. He “settled on a belief that climate change was not human-caused and that large-scale government solutions being proposed would impose unacceptable human costs.”
“They weren’t really solving the problem…They’re talking trillions of dollars of investment, a complete restructuring of the economy in order to simply slow down the rate of warming…I said, okay, millions of people will lose their jobs. The entire energy industry will be basically recalibrated. Plus, energy will be more expensive, and the undeveloped world will be plunged into poverty for another generation,” Duke added.
Eventually the funders became frustrated. Quoting an anonymous source addressing the lack of enthusiasm of the evangelicals they were able to bring on board, the report states: “They certainly didn’t turn out to be everything that our funders hoped they would be. Our funders and, I think, some of our inside team to a lesser extent, hoped that this group would become zealots, would kind of be a new army for the community, and would really marshal the troops to this new height. The number of them that have done that is really small. It’s a handful actually.”
In short, the evangelical Christian community has been used. National funders and environmental allies targeted us, thinking that we’d be ready to “influence legislation in Washington.” The strategy was to get “evangelical elites” to embrace “Creation Care” and “frame environmental concerns as moral issues” — thus “creating their own set of biblical and theological themes.” Then, the funders believed, they could “borrow their relationship with their constituencies and have them engage their members on the issue and have it be in a way that would appeal to their constituency.”
While environmental funders who invested in building the Creation Care movement have admittedly failed, the report states: “Movement leaders have also deepened their commitment to more long-term, values-based organizing in local evangelical spaces.” Now, instead of targeting “evangelical elites,” they realize they need “rank-and-file evangelicals.”
I encourage my fellow evangelicals to put on the full armor of God. As Duke did, use your intellect and prayer to discern the truth. Much like the serpent’s efforts with Eve, many Christians have come to realize that Creation Care has nothing to do with The Creator; instead it is attractive messaging for a political agenda.
Be alert. You are the prize to those who lack knowledge about who you are and what you believe in. Without you, their efforts are “doomed.”
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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Posted by JR at 1:42 AM