Monday, December 21, 2015

Crocodile baloney

The Warmists never stop.  Always a new scare.  This time it's crocs that are going to eat you as a result of global warming.  Why?  Because global warming will drive them towards the cooller waters of Southern Australia.  Just one problem:  Crocs are reptiles and they LIKE warmth. The warmer they are, the more active they are.  So where are they generally found?  In TROPICAL Australia -- around Cape York Peninsula and the Top End.  It's the HOTTEST part of Australia that they like.  They vote with their feet to show the best habitat for themselves. No wonder those who know crocodiles well in the wild dismiss the laboratory study reported below

And I have done my usual trick of looking up the underlying academic journal article (Diving in a warming world: the thermal sensitivity and plasticity of diving performance in juvenile estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)).  When I do that, I often find that the authors have concluded what they wanted to conclude regardless of what their results show.  And so it seems here too.  I note the following sentence in the Abstract: "Maximal dive performances, however, were found to be thermally insensitive across the temperature range of 28–35°C".  Come again?  28–35°C is the temperature range they studied and the central claim of the article is that crocs can't stay underwater for long if the water is hot.  Yet that sentence asserts the exact opposite.  I give up!

The little lady whose Ph.D. research the article was based on -- Essie Rodgers -- would appear to have been very poorly supervised


Saltwater crocodiles may be forced to migrate from the north of Australia to the southern states because of global warming

A University of Queensland study has found the man eaters may be ill-equipped to adjust to rising water temperatures, prompting them to migrate to cooler environments.

The researchers found the higher water temperatures hindered their diving ability, putting the young crocs at risk from predators.

Professor Craig Franklin of the university's School of Biological Sciences said they have found crocodiles are not hardwired to adapt to water temperatures – unlike other cold blooded animals.

'It's likely that if the water is too hot, crocodiles might move to cooler regions, or will seek refuge in deep, cool water pockets to defend their dive times,' he said.

Lead author for the study, PhD student Essie Rodgers, said the study showed increases in water temperatures severely shortened crocodiles diving times.

'Crocodiles are ectothermic animals – where environmental temperatures strongly influence their body temperatures,' she said.

The lethal temperature for crocodiles is in the high 30s to low 40s, making water a critical refuge for the reptiles to avoid dehydration.

Experts have cast doubt on the study, with Crocodylus Park expert Grahame Webb telling NT News the prehistoric animals are highly resilient.

'They've been through plenty of dramatic changes in temperature and they've gone through that okay,' he said.

'I think its important to be careful with these doomsday predictions.'


Now FARMING is bad for the planet

A dubious statement below: "Species distribution in the environment had remained relatively constant for around 300 million years before humans began farming".  Species go extinct all the time.  That's evolution. More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct

The impact of humans on the environment is often cast as a modern problem due to pollution, habitat destruction and man-made climate change.

But new research has shown that the activities of our species have been reshaping nature for more than 6,000 years.

In a study that examined the distribution patterns of species over the past 307 million years, researchers have pinpointed a 'tipping point' when mankind's activities began changing ecosystems.

They said increases in hunting as stone technology improved, the spread of farming and the domestication of animals changed the world in irreversible ways.

This heralded a new stage in global evolution of plants and animals as a force other than nature shaped how the world looked.

Kathleen Lyons, a palaeobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, said species distribution in the environment had remained relatively constant for around 300 million years before humans began farming.

She said: 'This tells us that humans have been having a massive effect on the environment for a very long time.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature, evaluated changes in plant and animal organisation over the past 307 million years.

They quantified the co-occurrence of more than 359,000 different fossilised and modern species from North America, Europe and Africa, examining the possibility of two species occurring in a landscape at the same time.

For example, elephants and giraffes often appear in the same landscape as they prefer the same habitat while lions and zebra also occur side-by-side as the predators prey on the herbivores.

The researchers found that for around 300 million years, it was more common for species to occur together – or aggregate – on a landscape.

Through the Carboniferous period to the early Holocene epoch - 11,700 years ago - they calculate there was an average of 64 per cent of species who occurred in these aggregated relationships.

However, around 6,000 years ago, this appears to have changed with just 37 per cent of species pairs having aggregated relationships.

Since then, they said, species have become more segregated - meaning where you find one species, you are less likely to find another.

Dr Lyons told the Smithsonian Magazine this could have important implications for species alive today.

She said: 'We're living in a lot of areas where species used to overlap their distributions. They don't overlap anymore because they can't get through the areas where we're living now.

'It probably means species are more vulnerable to extinction because there are fewer connections between them.

'And because their geographic ranges are smaller, their abundances are almost certainly smaller.'


The death of rooftop solar -- in CALIFORNIA

If rooftop solar is a dodo in sunny CA, where is it a good thing? It's not dead yet in CA but Jerry Brown and his merry men have pulled their support out from under it

California's aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don't count.

If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn't included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state's electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown.

That means rooftop solar owners are missing out on a potentially lucrative subsidy that is paid to utilities and developers of big power projects.

It also means that utility ratepayers could end up overpaying for clean electricity to meet the state's benchmark because lawmakers, by excluding rooftop solar, left out the source of more than a third of the state's solar power.

Owners of rooftop solar systems and their advocates aren't happy about the policy.

"Ratepayers essentially subsidize utility companies," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Assn. "We all get taken to the bank" if utilities are spending to reach a 50% clean-energy mandate that could be attained faster and cheaper with the help of roof panels.

For homeowners such as Carrie McCandless, the state's policy on rooftop solar came as a surprise.

"I'm stunned," said McCandless, a Livermore, Calif., resident who wanted to help improve the environment because her daughter suffers from severe asthma.

Her solar panels fit the bill, producing clean energy for her family. And they gave her a sense of pride, she said, in helping the state reach its energy targets — or so she thought.

"We all think we're making a difference and contributing," McCandless said. "I'm just so angry."

The rooftop solar industry and consumer advocates say opposition to including rooftop solar in California's renewable energy mandate came from large developers that feared competition for subsidies as well as unions that were upset because rooftop solar installers typically aren't members.

"They excluded it because the unions and corporate entities didn't want it," said Jamie Court, president of the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia include rooftop solar panels in their mandates for clean energy, with varying benefits for participants.

Among the states with clean-energy mandates, the solar industry says, California is alone in its approach of counting mainly commercial installations that sell to utilities — Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric — or facilities that the utilities own themselves.


Another False 'Turning Point' on Climate

By George Will

History, on the “right side” of which Barack Obama endeavors to keep us, has a sense of whimsy. Proof of which is something happening this week: Britain’s last deep-pit coal mine is closing, a small event pertinent to an enormous event, the Industrial Revolution, which was ignited by British coal.

The mine closure should not, however, occasion cartwheels by the climate’s saviors, fresh from their Paris achievement. The mine is primarily a casualty of declining coal prices, a result of burgeoning world energy supplies. Thanks largely to the developing world, demand for coal is expected to increase for at least another quarter-century.

The mine is closing immediately after the planet’s latest “turning point” — the 21st U.N. climate change conference since 1995, each heralded as a “turning point.” The climate conference, like God in Genesis, looked upon its work and found it very good. It did so in spite of, or perhaps because of, this fact: Any agreement about anything involving nearly 200 nations will necessarily be primarily aspirational, exhorting voluntary compliance with inconsequential expectations — to “report” on this and “monitor” that. A single word change that brought the agreement to fruition: it replaced a command (nations “shall” do so and so) with an entreaty (nations “should” do so and so).

Secretary of State John Kerry knew that any agreement requiring U.S. expenditures and restrictions on wealth creation would founder on the reef of representative government. He remembers why Bill Clinton flinched from seeking Senate ratification of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol: The Senate voted 95-0 for a resolution disapproving the Protocol’s principles, with Massachusetts Sen. Kerry among the 95.

Eighteen years later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of whose invaluable functions is to be a wet blanket about moveable feasts such as the Paris conference, says: “Before [the president’s] international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on a [U.S.] domestic energy plan that is likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt, and that Congress has already voted to reject.”

The Paris agreement probably occasions slight excitement among the planet’s billion people who lack electricity, and the hundreds of millions in need of potable water. Historians, write Walter Russell Mead and Jamie Horgan of The American Interest, are likely to say that the Paris agreement ended climate change the way the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Treaty ended war. But as the ink dries on the Paris gesture of right-mindedness, let us praise the solar energy source most responsible for the surge of human betterment that began with the harnessing of fossil fuels around 1800.

The source is, of course, coal, a still abundant and indispensable form in which the sun’s energy has been captured from carbon-based life. Matt Ridley, a member of a British coal-producing family and author of “The Rational Optimist,” notes that the path of mankind’s progress, material as well as moral, has been from reliance on renewable but insufficient energy sources to today’s 85 percent reliance on energy from fossil fuels.

The progression has been from reliance on human (often slaves') muscles, to animal energy (first oxen, then horses), to burning wood and peat as stores of sunlight, to energy from water and wind, to, at last, fossil fuels. Sustained economic growth, a necessary prerequisite for scientific and technological dynamism, became possible, Ridley writes, when humanity was able to rely on “non-renewable, non-green, non-clean power.” Because “there appeared from underground a near-magical substance,” Britain’s landscape was spared: “Coal gave Britain fuel equivalent to the output of 15 million extra acres of forest to burn, an area nearly the size of Scotland. By 1870, the burning of coal in Britain was generating as many calories as would have been expended by 850 million laborers. … The capacity of the country’s steam engines alone was equivalent to 6 million horses or 40 million men.”

And cheap coal produced the iron for new labor-saving machines. The environmental toll from burning coal (it emits carbon dioxide, radioactivity and mercury) has been slight relative to the environmental and other blessings from burning it.

In May 1945, Aneurin Bevan, a leading light among British socialists, said: “This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.” Genius was not required. Socialism — command-and-control government of the sort that climate fine-tuners recommend for the entire planet — soon accomplished this marvel, with coal rationed and the price of fish soaring.


A Climate Agreement Powered by Hypocrisy

Bjorn Lomborg

The beautiful Champs-Élysées is lit with millions of sparkling lights. This year, they are powered by renewable energy. There is a wind turbine as tall as the Arc de Triomphe, and 440 solar panels take up much of the Champs-Élysées roundabout. One evening during the COP21 climate change conference this month, there was neither sunlight nor wind, so organizers asked those of us strolling down the avenue to power the lights via stationary bikes and hamster wheels.

“Pedal power” delivered great images for the television crews that were here to cover the summit. But these “green energy” bikes amount to a victory of empty gestures over substance and reason – which makes them sadly representative of COP21 itself.
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The agreement reached in Paris contains promises that, if enacted between now and the target date of 2030, will cost the global economy at least $1 trillion dollars a year – and possibly twice as much if politicians make inefficient policy choices. This makes the agreement the costliest in history.

My peer-reviewed research paper, published in Global Policy, shows that the 2016-2030 promises on cutting emissions of carbon dioxide will reduce temperatures by 2100 by just 0.05° Celsius (0.09° Fahrenheit). Even if the promised emissions cuts continued throughout the century, the Paris agreement would cut global temperature rises by just 0.17°C. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology find a similar temperature reduction.

This is why former US Vice President Al Gore’s climate adviser, Jim Hansen, who first brought concern about global warming to the public in 1988, called the Paris agreement “a fraud really, a fake” and “just worthless words. There is no action, just promises.”

But politicians suggest the agreement will do much more. The agreement concluded at COP21 goes further than the much-discussed target of capping the global temperature increase at 2°C above pre-industrial levels, but actually states that the aim is to keep the increase “well below 2°C,” with an effort to cap it at 1.5°C.

This is simply cynical political theater, meant to convince us that our leaders are taking serious action. But none of the actors is talking about the impact of the actual, concrete commitments agreed in Paris. Instead, they are placing their faith in deus ex machina: all the vague vows and rhetoric about what will happen after 2030 and toward the middle of the century.

The United States is a prime example of how far-fetched this drama is. It’s no sure bet that if a Republican succeeds President Barack Obama in 2016, even the next four years of promised carbon cuts will happen. It’s even more ludicrous to suggest that promises with a due date of 2050 will be fulfilled by whoever is president after 2030.

The Paris agreement features pledges on greenhouse-gas emissions from developing countries, in exchange for which they will receive huge sums of cash from richer countries. The poor countries will certainly take that money, and some of it may even be spent reducing emissions. But the world’s poorest don’t want solar panels or wind turbines: they have much more immediate needs, not the least of which is for modern energy – which mostly means more access to fossil fuels. It seems likely that by 2030, we will recognize that much of this money-go-round has done very little to help global warming.

So, the Paris agreement is a phenomenally expensive but almost empty gesture – much like the bicycles and hamster wheels cluttering the Champs-Élysées. When I came across them, they and the huge wind turbine and hundreds of solar panels had produced 321kWh of energy in nine days. But the total power requirement of the Champs-Élysées lighting for those days was ten times higher – about 4,500 kWh. Even if 200 professional bikers pedaled nonstop throughout December, they would not produce enough electricity for the Christmas lights.

What’s more, none of the pedaling is actually CO2-neutral. The power needed to manufacture and move the bikes, batteries, wind turbine, and solar panels probably produces higher CO2 emissions than are saved. Just the food consumption for riders to produce electricity emits 24 times as much CO2 as the most polluting coal-fueled power production.

And even if the lights had been produced with dirty old coal, the emissions could have been entirely offset on the European Trading System for about €120. Then it would have been 100% CO2 free. But of course, it wouldn’t have felt as good or created “green” images for television crews.

The really important news from Paris was the announcement of a Bill Gates-led renewable-energy innovation fund. The fund is needed because, despite the arguments of the green-energy lobby and climate activists, today’s inefficient, intermittent solar and wind sources are not yet ready to take over from fossil fuels. Indeed, the International Energy Agency estimates that the world paid $84 billion to subsidize solar and wind power last year, and it expects that 25 years from now, we will still be paying about $84 billion in annual subsidies.

We need to take other actions, too, like ending fossil-fuel subsidies. But the smartest long-term climate policy is the one envisaged by Gates: to invest heavily in research and development to push down the future price of green energy. The promise made by Gates, together with 20 countries, to double R&D funding to $24 billion annually by 2020 is a fantastic development – exactly what is needed. However, much more must be spent to bring forward the arrival of a breakthrough.

Until then, activists and politicians can cynically proclaim their “triumph” over straw-man enemies and global warming itself. But, like those on the stationary bikes in the City of Light, they are spinning their wheels and getting us nowhere.


Proselytizing in Paris‏

More on the recent Paris meeting (aka  COP21 — i.e. the UN’s 21st "Conference of Parties")

Let’s cut to the chase: these assemblies have n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with CO2, Climate, or Science. Instead they are about money, power, control and promulgating doctrine.

It is increasingly apparent that the most fundamental objective of this crusade, is to substantially undermine Western civilization. If you are the slightest bit skeptical of this reality, then please read some of the books written by US environmental leader, Bill McKibben. One of his recurrent homilies is that “modernity” (aka Western civilization) is a bad thing.

With Bill and his fellow acolytes, this is literally a religion. (See here, here, here, here, here & here for sample reports about this.) It’s important to note that when discussing someone’s religious beliefs: facts, logic, Science, etc. are irrelevant (and irreverent) matters that only come into play when they accidentally coincide with the dogma being proselytized.

The good news is that these people are so mesmerized by their own gibberish and greed, that (so far) they have been incapable of coming up with anything meaningful. As Voluntary Mush says: in the end, what we got out of Paris is:
1) voluntary emission caps,
2) voluntary progress reviews,
3) no international oversight of any voluntary progress, and      
4) voluntary contributions to the Fund.

That these preachers are spinning this pablum as a major accomplishment, tells you all you need to know about the credibility of anything they say.

Who is the biggest beneficiary of this insidiousness? China. What would China and some of our largest environmental organizations have in common? Communism — which they’d like to replace Western civilization with. It’s all explained quite well in the trailer for Grinding America Down.

In any case, below is some reasonable commentary on the Paris convocation, roughly arranged in chronological order: before, during and after.

Email from John Droz


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