Sunday, December 27, 2015

Another brain-dead food shortage scare

Greenies have been making false prophecies of food shortages for years now.  Even Hitler did it. And I have often rebutted them. In brief: The world's internationally-traded food problem has for a long time been glut;  Warming would open up new agricultural land in Canada and Russia; Warming should cause more evaporation from the oceans, thus giving MORE rainfall, not less.  A prediction of flood might make some sense but a prediction of water shortage makes no sense at all

Widespread water shortages caused by rising global temperatures could lead to food shortages and mass migration, an expert has warned.

The head of the World Meteorological Society, Michel Jarraud has warned that of all the threats posed by a warming climate, shrinking water supplies are the most serious.

It is predicted that by 2025, some 2.8 billion people will live in 'water scarce' areas - a huge rise from the 1.6 billion who do now.

Parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia will be worst affected, with pockets of Australia, the US and southern Europe also predicted to suffer.

Mr Jarraud told Carbon Brief that although it has been a few years since a spate of major food crises, 'all the ingredients are there for a food crisis to come back on a very large scale.'


Three Global Warming Stories The Media Don't Want You To See

 Want to know the latest global warming news? Don't bother looking in U.S. media. They can't be bothered with stories that contradict the man-made climate change narrative. But the truth is out there.

Let's start with a new paper from NASA — a distinctly American organization — that was covered by the British Express.

The newspaper tells us that our space program has "found the Earth has cooled in areas of heavy industrialization where more trees have been lost and more fossil fuel burning takes place."

This is, of course, the opposite of what we've been told for decades.

The Express reports that the findings confirm that the aerosols from fossil-fuel combustion "actually cool the local environment, at least temporarily," as they reflect "solar radiation away from the planet."

A NASA official said solar radiation is similarly bounced away from Earth when "deforestation in northern latitudes" results in bare land that "increases reflected sunlight."

The Express further reports that the NASA paper's lead author said the findings show the "complexity" involved in estimating future global temperatures.

This is something we've been saying for years. While the mainstream American press can't get off its carbon-dioxide fixation, we've noted that far too many variables affect global climate to focus on a single influence.

The British Daily Mail also wrote about this NASA paper, which clearly has high news value.

But the U.S. press couldn't get out of bed to cover the story. As far as we can tell, the legacy media in this country ignored it entirely.

The same can be said about a study conducted by the Norwegian Polar Institute, which found "that there are probably more polar bears than the last time the bears were counted in this area in 2004, in spite of the fact that there have been many years with poor ice cover during this period." The American press doesn't want the public to know this because it throws into doubt the story it's been feeding us since the 1980s.

Remember, we have been told over and again that man-made global warming was a grave threat to polar bears, which are an endangered species.

Yet here's this study telling us that "scientists now estimate that there are around 975 polar bears in the Norwegian region, whereas they estimated a number of 685 in 2004," while another has found them to be in "excellent" condition, with some being "as fat as pigs."

Indeed, polar bears are making "a surprise comeback."

Finally, in an effort to deliver a public service that the mainstream media refuse to provide, we point out that the temperature data that supposedly show warming have been corrupted by poor positioning.

"The majority of weather stations used by (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts," says Anthony Watts, a former meteorologist who is the lead author of a study of temperature station locations.

Watts believes his work "demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trends and that NOAA's methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend."

As a result of this systematic error, Watt believes the U.S. temperature record needs to be revised.

Nor is this problem limited to America.

Watts says there's also "evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record."

All three of these are significant stories. But instead of doing its due journalistic diligence, the press would rather muse about the role climate change might be playing in the warm Christmas weather in the Eastern part of the country.

It's all part of the liberal narrative. Science that doesn't agree with the media's agenda is treated as if it's myth.


Will global warming slow the earth's rotation?

The latest scare about man-made global warming is that it is slowing the earth’s rotation. The reasoning is that ice melting at high latitudes results in the melt water moving to lower latitudes, which increases the moment of inertia and slows rotation.

Although this is theoretically correct, the amount would so tiny as to be immeasurable. However, the Harvard scientist who announced this, claimed to have found a measurable amount via satellite.

There are all kinds of problems with this. First of all, angular momentum is conserved, so when the ice reforms the rotation rate will increase. But again, the amount would be infinitesimally small, so the whole thing is simply lunch conversation at the physics lab. Okay, but what about the measured amount?

The earth’s axis wobbles on several periods of rotation and this probably would cause tiny, but measurable, change in rotational velocity, but again, angular momentum is conserved and the lost velocity will return when the axis straitens.


Judicial Watch sues government for records in global warming dispute

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday that it is suing the Obama administration to obtain the same internal communications of federal scientists sought by a House committee in a dispute over global warming research.

The group said in a news release that it filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington on Dec. 2 against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking the agency’s “methodology for collecting and interpreting data used in climate models.”

The suit stems from an investigation by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, into a blockbuster June study by NOAA scientists that refuted the notion of a global warming “pause.” The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, undercut a talking point for skeptics of the conclusion that the planet’s warming is man-made.

Smith has subpoenaed NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan for the internal communications of the scientists who did the study, as well as emails among other staff members. Last week Sullivan gave the committee about 100 emails written by non-scientists on her staff, but not of the scientists, which Smith has taken off the table for now.

Judicial Watch said it submitted its Freedom of Information Act request for the records in late October. After NOAA did not respond, the group sued. Among the data it is seeking are atmospheric satellite temperature readings. Smith has said that these readings are more reliable and show smaller rates of warming than the ocean and land data used in the study. Climate scientists, including those at NOAA, have said that it’s the satellite data that is unreliable.

Judicial Watch took credit for prodding NOAA to release the emails to the committee last week.  “We have little doubt that our lawsuit helped to pry these scandalous climate change report documents from the Obama administration,”  Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

NOAA has already provided all the data and methodology it says its scientists used in the study. Agency staff said they had been in communication with the science committee staff for several weeks before they handed over the emails.


‘Climatarian’: These People Think Their Diets Will Reverse Global Warming

You’ve heard of vegetarians, but have you heard of “climatarians”?

A climatrian is a new dieting fad among eco-conscious food snobs purporting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising, transporting and disposing of foods. They believe their dieting choices will help reverse global warming.

The New York Times even listed climatarians as one of the top new food words of 2015 along with “hangry,” “piecaken” and “zarf.” The Times defined a climatarian as a “diet whose primary goal is to reverse climate change.”

“This includes eating locally produced food (to reduce energy spent in transportation), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds, etc.) to limit food waste,” The Times reported last week.

In environmentalist circles, climatarianism has caught on among those who think veganism isn’t hardcore enough (though being a climatarian is nowhere near mainstream).

Enviro blog EcoWatch praised the diet in a Tuesday article, claiming the “evidence supporting a climatarian diet is abundant.”

“Several reports within the past year, including one from the UK think tank Chatham House, have found that eating less meat and dairy is essential to curbing climate change,” according to EcoWatch. And a carbon-conscious diet is not only good for the planet, but is healthy for people, too.”

Increasingly, international groups and environmentalists have been pushing people to eat less meat, saying it’s not just unhealthy, but is also bad for the environment. Earlier this year, the United Nations released a report linking processed meats to cancer.

The U.N. has also encouraged substituting insects in people’s diets as a way to reduce consumption of beef and pork, which environmentalists commonly cite as big emitters of greenhouse gases.

Before you go ditching your hamburgers for roasted cockroaches, it’s not clear that being a “climatarian” is all that good for the environment. In fact, years of evidence from the “eat local” movement show the tenets of eco-friendly diets are often worse for the environment than eating a normal diet.

For example, “locavores” argue locally-grown food is better for the environment because it reduces the energy use from transportation — all that gasoline contributes to global warming, they say.

Numerous studies, however, have debunked the idea that locally-grown food is more environmentally friendly.

Efficiencies in agriculture are highly dependent on trade specialization, meaning certain regions will just be better at growing things at a lower cost than others. The locavore movement ignores this central tenet of economics, according to experts.

“Forsaking comparative advantage in agriculture by localizing means it will take more inputs to grow a given quantity of food, including more land and more chemicals—all of which come at a cost of carbon emissions,” agricultural economist Steve Sexton wrote in 2011 for the blog Freakonomics.

“In order to maintain current output levels for 40 major field crops and vegetables, a locavore-like production system would require an additional 60 million acres of cropland, 2.7 million tons more fertilizer, and 50 million pounds more chemicals,” Sexton wrote. “The land-use changes and increases in demand for carbon-intensive inputs would have profound impacts on the carbon footprint of our food, destroy habitat and worsen environmental pollution.”


Australia: Isn't the sunny optimism below wonderful?

Unmentioned is that this is an old idea and that there are already a lot of these plants around to assess how successful they are.  Huge projects of the sort are already in operation in both California (See here and here) and Spain (See here).  And guess what?  They do produce some power but have big problems and need big subsidies from government to stay in operation

After hours of steady rain, there is not a ray of sunshine in sight and the mud is thick on the ground at the $20 million Jemalong pilot solar thermal plant near Forbes in central west New South Wales.

But in a way, the fact it is overcast helps to explain the importance of this technology, which enables both capture and storage of energy from the sun, according to James Fisher, chief technology officer of Vast Solar.

The engineer, who formerly worked in the fossil fuel industry and said he never thought renewables could compete with coal, now has a much sunnier outlook on the subject.
Technology behind solar thermal power plant

The Australian company has developed what it hopes will be a low-cost, high-efficiency Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) generation technology.

The Jemalong pilot plant will be ready for commissioning in mid-January and is designed to prove the technology works.

Five modules of 700 mirrors — or heliostats — will concentrate the sun's energy onto a receiver mounted on a 27-metre high tower.

Sodium will then be pumped through the receiver where it will be heated up to 565 degrees Celsius and stored in a tank.

When power is needed, the hot sodium will be put through a steam generator, similar to a big kettle, which will boil the water, generating steam and driving the turbine in the same way a coal-fired plant operates.

Mr Fisher said traditional solar or photovoltaic power production converted the sun's energy directly into electricity which then had to be stored in expensive batteries.

He said the difference with CSP was that it captured the sun's energy in heat which was cheaper and easier to store.

"So the big advantage with solar thermal is the storage. Our storage costs around $25 a kilowatt an hour, compared to lithium ion batteries which cost about $300 a kilowatt hour," Mr Fisher said.

He said the system meant power production could happen whenever it was needed and until now, that role of maintaining a steady electricity grid had mainly been provided by coal power.

"We can run 24 hours a day and providing base load is really the key to solar thermal," he said.

Mr Fisher said if the 1.1 megawatt Jemalong pilot proved the technology was viable for 30 years, billion dollar commercial plants would be built.

"This sort of technology will put massive amounts of money into regional Australia if it takes off," he said.

Vast Solar has revealed plans for a 30 megawatt commercial plant — at a yet to be determined location — and Mr Fisher said the company had progressed well in attracting investment.

"But a problem is it's big money to develop it. These plants you can only build in large scale, so a tiny plant will be $100 million and a good-sized plant will be $500 million," Mr Fisher said.

The commissioning process at the Jemalong pilot will take four to six months and experts ranging from representatives of power utilities to academics from the Australian National University will be involved.

The project is also being closely watched by the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Agency, Arena, which has committed $5 million.

Mr Fisher said commercial solar thermal plants could be producing power at seven cents per kilowatt hour, which was cheaper than the most up-to-date coal-fired plants.

"I think we'll look back in 50 years and think, 'wow, what were we doing building coal mines to power a plant that has to run 24-hours a day when the sunshine's free?'"

He said solar thermal technology had a bright future. "Hopefully it will be Vast Solar that cracks it but someone will do it, there's no question in my mind," he said.



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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