Monday, January 04, 2016
Global warming "science" on display
One recent article below says that particulate pollution, soot, causes warming. The second says it causes cooling. More evidence that Warmism is a deeply irrational religion. Warmists are not really scientists at all. They only play at it. They just grab any silly theory that leads to the conclusion they want
Soot is bad
Among climate scientists, the consensus is that we must become carbon-neutral by 2050 to avoid catastrophic environmental disruptions. Negotiators at the recent summit in Paris accordingly focused on curbing carbon dioxide emissions.
There's a major problem, however, with a CO2-centric strategy. Because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for a century or more, and because we won't abandon fossil fuels overnight, neutrality by 2050 simply isn't good enough to keep the Earth from warming 2 degrees Celsius - the generally agreed-upon limit - much less the ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees C that many nations support.
If we're serious about preventing or at least slowing climate change, we have to broaden our hit list; even as we move toward carbon neutrality, we must also restrict methane, carbon soot, ozone and hydrofluorocarbon coolants. These pollutants are about 25 to 4,000 times more potent warmers than carbon dioxide, but they remain in the atmosphere from mere days in the case of carbon soot to 15 years in the case of HFCs.
Curbing the emissions of these short-lived climate pollutants, or SLCPs, unlike curbing carbon emissions, will have an immediate effect and can dramatically slow global warming within a few decades.
To put real numbers on it: If we reduce our emissions of methane 50%, black carbon 90% and fully replace HFCs by 2030, then we'll cut in half projected global warming over the next 35 years. These steps will delay environmental disaster and give us time we desperately need to radically change our energy diet.
Existing technologies, clean alternatives and regulatory mechanisms such as the 1987 Montreal Protocol that have proved effective for other climate pollutants can be quickly repurposed to deal with SLCPs.
In November, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to work toward an HFC amendment in 2016. Some parts of the world aren't waiting. India and Pakistan committed to phase down HFCs. Mexico has pledged to cut SLCPs 25% by 2030. California has already cut its carbon soot and ozone-forming gases 90% and is on its way to curbing all four SLCPs.
There's no downside to this approach. By curbing short-lived pollutants, not only will we obtain short-term relief from rapid warming, but we will also slow sea-level rise, increase crop yields and score a major victory for public health. Indoor and outdoor pollution today causes more than 7 million premature deaths annually. Curbing SLCPs can benefit us now, saving potentially 40 million lives over the next 20 years.
What we have in front of us isn't a choice between pulling lever one (carbon dioxide) or lever two (SLCPs); it's crucial that we pull both levers with all of our collective might. We have a moral imperative to act immediately with everything at our disposal, not only because there's no Planet B - as environmental activists put it - but because climate change seriously harms human well-being.
Soot is good
It may seem counterintuitive, but cleaner air could actually be exacerbating global warming trends.
The soot and other particles that make up air pollution tend to scatter light back out into space. As countries around the globe have cleaned up their act, there are fewer particles to reflect light, meaning more sunlight is reaching the Earth's surface and warming it, Martin Wild, a researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, said Tuesday (Dec. 15) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
That's not to say people can blame global warming on the clearer skies - the underlying cause of climate change is excess carbon emissions into the atmosphere. But air pollution may have counteracted some of that warming caused by excess carbon in the atmosphere, Wild said.
Perhaps surprisingly, the sunlight reaching Earth's surface hasn't remained constant, at least not on the timescale of human civilization, Wild said.
"The sunlight we receive at the Earth's surface is not stable over the years, but undergoes substantial decadal changes," Wild said at a news briefing.
To understand what's going on, Wild looked at the level of solar radiation at 56 spots across Europe between 1939 and 2012. There were big peaks in that period. It turned out that solar radiation spiked in the 1950s, and then decreased until the 1980s, when it started to uptick again.
But what could have been the source? Sunspots, which look almost like moles on the face of the sun, are areas of intense magnetic activity which are cooler than the surrounding regions of the sun. Because they emit less radiation at these cooler temperatures, the number and extent of sunspots can change how much light reaches the Earth. However, cycles between high and low sunspot levels are much shorter than the timescales of the global dimming and brightening trend, and these cycles weren't correlated with those larger changes, Wild and his colleagues found.
It turned out that there was a huge spike in sulfur emissions up until the 1980s, at which point sulfur pollutants dropped, Wild said. The drop in sulfur emissions corresponds with the introduction of legislation in a number of countries to reduce air pollution, Wild said. (Diesel exhaust often contains high levels of sulfur compounds.)
It's not surprising to scientists that higher levels of pollutants could dim the Earth's surface: After volcanic eruptions, for instance, the huge amounts of sulfur spewed into the atmosphere can cool the planet for a few years. That's because the tiny particles can scatter and absorb light, reducing how much of that light ultimately reaches the Earth's surface, Wild said.
Air pollution can also alter the light reaching Earth in other ways.
"Polluted clouds, counterintuitively, become brighter," Wild said. "The polluted clouds can also stay longer in the air because their droplets are small." [In Images: Mysterious Night-Shining Clouds]
Here's how the cloud brightening works: Aerosols that are normally in the air are insoluble and act as seeds for water droplets to condense around, and ultimately to form clouds. Polluted air, on the other hand, contains water-soluble particles, leading to clouds with more, yet smaller, water droplets. These numerous and tiny droplets provide more surfaces for light to reflect off, and voil… - brighter clouds.
These brighter clouds also reduce how much light reaches the ground, he added.
What's more, this unintentional geoengineering may have already impacted global warming, Wild said. Global temperatures held fairly constant from the 1950s to the 1980s, and warming only accelerated starting in 1985, when the global brightening seems to have begun, Wild reported in a study published this month in the journal WIREs Climate Change.
He also sees evidence that this unintentional geoengineering affected the world's hemispheres differently. Temperatures held steady until the mid-1980s in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the world's population lives, and spiked up sharply afterward. By contrast, in the "relatively more pristine" Southern Hemisphere, which has much fewer people, the region experienced a steadier uptick in warming. That suggests that air pollution had a measurable effect on global warming on the globe's northern half, and less so in the southern half, he said.
Global Warming Is Now A `Women's Issue' Due To `Ecofeminism'
Surprise! Feminism is just the women's branch of the far-Left. They don't care about women at all. If they did, they would be relentless foes of Islam
Environmentalists are increasingly claiming that global warming is a "women's issue" and that the world needs "eco-feminism" as a path forward.
"We know that the world's poor feel the effects of climate change most acutely, but it turns out there is an even more vulnerable subset to that population: women" reads the article The Sierra Club tweeted Monday.
The author worries about a "agricultural resource gap for women farmers" and that global warming could increase the risk of sexual assault. The author even notes that "women are too often portrayed only as victims of climate change who must learn to adapt, rather than potential leaders and decision-makers."
Ecofeminists believe that women and nature are bonded by traditionally "feminine" values and their shared history of oppression by a patriarchal Western society. This patriarchal society is built on four intersectional pillars of sexism, racism, class exploitation, and environmental destruction.
The ecofeminist attempt to brand global warming as a "women's issue" was powerful enough to get December 8 designated as "gender day" at the United Nations COP 21 Paris global warming summit. Predictably, the ecofeminists aren't happy with the agreement.
"This agreement fundamentally does not address the needs of the most vulnerable countries, communities, and people of the world. It fails to address the structures of injustice and inequality which have caused the climate crisis," Bridget Burns, co-coordinator of the global warming summit's Women and Gender Constituency, said in a press release.
Environmentalist websites have already created a list of demands including a "gender-responsive approach" to global warming and banning nuclear power (which creates no carbon dioxide emissions). Other environmental websites claim the COP 21 U.N. global warming summit is "ethically compromised" due to intense pressure exerted by "corporate environmentalism." It also claims the conference ignores "climate debt," the idea that rich countries owe reparations to poor countries for global warming.
British PM has sparked outrage by blaming Britain's flood crisis on global warming while admitting defences are not fit for purpose
The Prime Minister said more frequent `extreme weather events' driven by climate change were the main driver as Cumbria and the north braces for more hell.
However experts branded his comments "ludicrous excuses" blaming lack of investment on flood defences for the disaster and pointed to historic flooding which pre-dated global warming.
They accused the Prime Minister of deflecting attention away from accusations Britain is woefully unprepared for severe weather.
Climatologists say although devastating, the floods have nothing to do with global warming but are part of a natural weather cycle.
They say heavy and persistent rain not only in the UK but across the world has been bolstered by an especially strong El Nino this year.
The phenomenon - on course to be the strongest on record - is triggered by wind changes in the Pacific Ocean leading to a build up of warm water around the coast of Peru.
It has catastrophic impacts on the world's weather including heavy rain and floods in America and South America and warmer than average temperature across Asia.
Although its effects are still under discussion, it is thought increased atmospheric moisture may be responsible for heavy rain over Europe.
Mr Cameron spoke as he paid a visit to the northern city of York, currently devastated by weeks of heavy rain.
He said: "What has happened - the level of the rivers, plus the level of rainfall - has created an unprecedented effect and so some very serious flooding.
"We do seem to face more of these extreme weather events and problems of floods. "People are told that things that are one in 50, or one in 100, or one in 200 years, they seem to be happening more often.
"So what we should be doing is continuing with the very high level of investment in flood defences.
"The flood barriers have made a difference, both the permanent ones and the temporary ones, but it's clear in some cases they've been over-topped, they've been over-run and so of course we should look again about whether there is more we can do."
Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Forum, slammed the Prime Minister for shrouding the real problem of poor flood defences with excuses. He said: "Flooding has happened through the centuries, though uncommon, what we are seeing is nothing new. "The most likely explanation is that the current El Nino has thrown more moisture into the air as sea waters have evaporated over the Pacific.
"This has nothing to do with climate change but is a natural phenomenon which was happening a long time before climate change took over the agenda. "This is just an excuse for the failure of a number of governments to address the reality that Cumbria and flood prone regions face."
Although Britain has been hit by extreme rainfall over the past few weeks, floods have ravaged UK shores for centuries - before climate change was named.
The North Sea flood of 1953 is long held as one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in British history.
Around 30,000 people were forced from their homes and more than 300 people lost their lives as water swept down the east coast.
In 1864 the Great Sheffield Flood claimed 270 lives and in 1928 heavy rain and melting snow doubled the amount of water in the Thames overflowing into London.
Lynmouth, Devon, was devastated by floods in 1952 which toppled buildings and led to the deaths of 34 people.
In 1998 Easter floods crippled the Midlands with the Rivers Avon, Ouse and Nene bursting their banks during heavy downpours.
More than 4,000 homes were destroyed while power supplies were lost leaving a clean-up bill of œ350 million.
Even further back in history Britain has battled floods with a catalogue of weather-related disasters spanning the last five centuries.
In 1607 Wales and the southwest was all but washed away after the January Bristol floods which some attribute to a huge storm surge or tsunami.
The Great Storm of 1703 saw central and southern England clobbered by strong wind and rain which people at the time blamed on the wrath of God for the sins of the nation.
Most recently the town of Boscastle, in Devon, was ravaged by torrents of swirling floodwater after heavy rain in August 2004.
Dr Peiser said the answer is to spend more on flood prevention drawing examples with Europe where investment in defences has prevented a similar crisis. "You only have to look at Holland, which is much more prone to flooding but they have sorted it out," he added. "They have protected their country and their communities.
"The Prime Minister is right that the UK flood crisis is man-made, in that people havent taken this seriously enough. "The Government needs to spend money on protecting people from floods, not blaming climate change.
"This is nothing to do with climate change, it is simply an excuse."
EPA Now Says It's Not to Blame for Gold King Mine Spill
On August 5, a crew from the Environmental Protection Agency caused a spill of 3 million gallons of water laden with mercury, arsenic, and other toxic metals from the Gold King mine into a river that supplies drinking water for three states.
While the EPA initially promised to hold itself accountable in the same manner that it would hold a private party, it is becoming increasingly evident that this assertion was not entirely accurate.
After the spill, the EPA commissioned an initial analysis of what happened from the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).
The Bureau of Reclamation found that the EPA hit a spring with a backhoe to cause the spill, but the report did not assign blame. Now, a new EPA report has the same failing, further showing that the EPA report is shirking responsibility for its actions.
The EPA's Report
In their report, the EPA claims it was engaged in only "careful scraping and excavation" with a backhoe outside the mine. "Just prior to finishing, a team noticed a water spout a couple of feet high in the air near where they had been excavating."
The report goes on to say that the spout (that they just happened to notice) quickly turned into a gusher of yellow toxic water.
It seems the EPA would have us believe the mine erupted on its own (which is like arguing, but, Your Honor, I was just carrying the gun when it went off all on its own!).
The EPA's report goes on to allege that the mine entrance (or adit) was larger than they "anticipated," and the "fact that the adit opening was about 2 times the assumed 8 to 10 foot maximum adit height resulted in a closer than anticipated proximity to the adit brow, and combined with the pressure of the water was enough to cause the spout and blowout."
In other words, the mine did it!
Is it possible that the spill was caused by the EPA being careless? Nope. The authors claim they were digging "to better inform a planned consultation" scheduled for nine days later.
Essentially, the EPA claims that the spill was an act of God, rather than its own fault.
Not a Good Argument
The EPA argument is unpersuasive for two reasons. For starters, the EPA has prosecuted private parties for the same conduct.
The government prosecuted Edward Hanousek, an employee of the Pacific Arctic Railway and Navigation Company, for conduct so similar to the EPA's that one can simply switch out the nouns in the prosecutor's closing argument that proved successful in that case.
It would seem to be just as apt to the facts of the Animas River spill:
"When [the backhoe operator] hit that unprotected [spring] and that [3 million gallons of toxic mine water] fired out of that [spring], sprayed up into the air, and got into that [Animas River], the defendants . [became] guilty of negligent discharging [acid mine water] into the [Animas] River."
Second, although the initial Bureau of Reclamation report buries most of the facts that are relevant to the cause of the spill under 120 pages of superfluous information, the Bureau of Reclamation report includes just enough facts to make it clear that had a private party caused the Animas River spill, the government would probably have criminally prosecuted that party.
Remember EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's announcement shortly after the spill occurred?
McCarthy said then that "we want to reassure everyone that the EPA does take full responsibility for the spill."
It turns out that the federal government's measure of "full responsibility" has typically meant that criminal charges will be brought for the same conduct by which the EPA caused the Animas River spill as long as only private parties are to blame. The truth is that the EPA has now made several attempts to evade responsibility.
First, the EPA allegedly "doctored" a video of the spill-getting "called on the discrepancy during a House committee hearing."
Then the EPA commissioned a report from the Bureau of Reclamation that was designed to look credible-which, like a bad student term paper, was lengthy and full of unnecessary charts and illustrations-but recited just enough facts to stay relevant to the spill. And even those facts made the EPA look bad.
Now the EPA has published an eleventh-hour report that not only reads like a term paper written on the bus en route to school, but also evades responsibility almost entirely.
In a glimmer of honesty, the EPA report admits that "[i]n retrospect, and based on information learned [later]," the EPA's team was "much closer [to the opening of the mine] when excavating on August 5 than they thought."
This is like saying the Titanic was closer to an iceberg than the captain thought.
Heritage Foundation scholars initially argued that the EPA "should prosecute the subordinate and supervisory EPA officials in this case or stop bringing similar charges against private parties for their negligence."
Had Hanousek worked for the EPA, it seems, he would never have been stigmatized and punished as a criminal.
After the Bureau of Reclamation report, we argued that "[s]omeone should ask the EPA and the Justice Department why the federal government discriminates in favor of government employees and against private parties."
Now, after the EPA published its own report, it seems like Congress will have its work cut out for it if it's going to get even so much as a meaningful acceptance of responsibility from this agency.
Australia: More reductions in solar panel handouts planned
HUNDREDS of thousands of homeowners with solar panels would lose the generous feed-in tariff if they install energy-storing batteries, under a proposal by Energex.
In a submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission electricity pricing inquiry, the state-owned power distributor calls for the law to be changed to strip customers' eligibility for the 44›/kWh tariff if they fit Battery Energy Storage Systems.
The Palaszczuk Government says battery storage was not envisaged when the solar bonus scheme was introduced. But it was not ruling the proposal in or out at this stage and would consider it along with other recommendations after the commission released its report in mid-February.
Queensland has almost 400,000 homes with PV panels. Stripping eligibility to the 44› rate would affect about 265,000 households.
Energex argues the increased ability to keep large amounts of power for release back into the network would give those solar householders on the top rate an unfair advantage which was never intended by the bonus scheme.
Ergon does not call for eligibility to be removed in its submission, but argues that generous government rebates and feed-in tariffs have shifted the mindset of many customers from an environmental motivation to seeking a financial return.
But solar owners are furious. Brisbane resident John Sheehan, who has been the local co-ordinator for Solar Citizens, said the proposal unfairly penalised individuals and undermined the State Government's own target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
He said such a move would discourage people from installing batteries until the bonus scheme ended 12 years from now.
"Energex's action in proposing to block 170,000 homes from installing batteries conflicts with their rhetoric about price signals and reducing peak loads. It's hypocritical and a bit childish really.''
Mr Sheehan speculated that the distributor was concerned that batteries would reduce evening peak demand - and reduce the amount power companies could charge under planned demand-based tariffs.
The 44c/kWh feed-in tariff, brought in by Labor in 2008 as an incentive to encourage homeowners to fit photo voltaic systems, has helped make Queensland the solar capital of Australia.
The rate was reduced to 8c/KWh for new customers in 2012 by the incoming LNP government, which shut it down in 2014. Home-owners in southeast Queensland now have to negotiate a rate with their individual energy retailer, while regional customers get 6.348c/kWh.
But those on the 44c level continue to receive it.
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Posted by JR at 1:23 AM