Monday, March 28, 2016

Fracking, methane and Bill McKibben

Well-known Warmist preacher Bill McKibben has an article out under the heading: "Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry".  He is easily terrified in the hope that we will be too. Like a lot of articles in Leftist publications, it is VERY long-winded.  I sometimes wonder about that.  If they had purely factual statements to make there would surely be no more than a few paragraphs needed.  Readers will note that my posts are very short.  If you know what you are talking about, it doesn't take long to say it.

Anyway, I will not attempt to reproduce any of the huge rant concerned.  The point of the article can indeed be presented with great brevity.  McKibben says that fracking releases methane into the atmosphere and that methane there will soon fry us with global warming.  So he wants to stop fracking!

Such a simple story and so wrong.  It's probably true that atmospheric methane levels have increased as a result of leaks from fracking but does that matter?

No.  It is true that methane can absorb some heat from the electromagnetic radiation that we get from the sun.  And molecule for molecule, it absorbs a lot more heat than does CO2.

Warmists normally stop the discussion there.  But the atmosphere is a complex thing and we have to look at methane in the context of what normally goes on in the whole atmosphere. And it so happens that water vapour absorbs the same wavelengths that methane does.  And there is a heck of a lot more water vapour in the atmosphere than methane.  So the water vapour will already have intercepted most or all of the wavelengths that methane might -- leaving no heating effect due to methane. The effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O.  So methane is a POTENTIAL warming gas but not an ACTUAL one.  No foreseeable increase in methane would generate any increase in warming.

Isn't it strange that in his long article Bill McKibben found no space to discuss that matter?  Just another climate crook.

Coral Reefs Bounce Back Despite Warming Of Oceans

This study is one of many to find that corals are very resilient

Coral reefs have managed to bounce back, despite being under constant threat of extinction. However, marine scientists caution these fragile ecosystems are still being threatened by global warming, pollution and human activity.

The discovery of a large number of coral reefs in excellent health has been quite a joyous occasion for the researchers who routinely deal with ominous news like mass die-offs, worldwide bleaching events, oil spills, and such other calamities which have been pushing the coral reefs towards extinction, reported The Washington Post.

A decade-long study of remote islands in the Central Pacific has indicated that these coral reefs might survive despite threats posed by global warming brought on by climate change and warming of the oceans due to increasing amounts of carbon dioxide introduced by burning of fossil fuels.

In a large scale study covering 56 islands, researchers studied 450 locations that were once teeming with coral reefs. Researchers looked at regions spanning from Hawaii to American Samoa. They even investigated locations in the remote Line and Phoenix Islands as well as the Mariana Archipelago. To their surprise, they realized there are quite a few locations where coral reefs have defied the odds and bounced back to life. Smith’s report was published recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers wanted to investigate the impact of climate change as well as a 1998 El Nino event that led to widespread bleaching. Since 1998, coral reefs had been increasingly banishing the symbiotic algae that gave them their brilliant colors and welcoming seaweed, which encroaches on the real estate once occupied by the corals. Study leader Jennifer Smith, a professor at Scripps’ Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation said the following.

    “After a bleaching event, it really matters what happens to all those dead skeletons. Do they get colonized by big seaweeds, or do they get covered by coralline algae, which are providing settlements for baby corals and providing an environment that facilitates recovery.”

Majority of the reefs that have shown signs of regaining their structure are located near far-flung islands. They are significantly healthier as compared to the reefs near islands that are heavily populated and frequented by humans. In other words, human influence, coupled with coral reef bleaching event — fueled in part by El Niño-driven Ocean warming — has had its detrimental effect on the delicate undersea ecosystem. Such was the impact and scientists had painted a very gloomy picture stating up to 70 percent of coral reefs would vanish before 2050.

It now appears the fear that these reefs were on their way to extinction, has been largely alleviated. The coral reefs that have clearly bounced back strongly indicate that such features won’t fade from existence in the coming decades, as previously feared. Speaking about the discovery of such healthy coral reefs, Smith explained its significance for the researchers.

    “There are still coral reefs on this planet that are incredibly healthy and probably look the way they did 1,000 years ago. The scientists were practically in tears when we saw some of these reefs. We’ve never experienced anything like it in our lives. It was an almost religious experience.”

Smith seems justifiably euphoric because just like environmental science, coral-reef researchers have been dealing with dying and degraded ecosystems, which can be a traumatic and rather depressing experience. However, the sight that greeted the researchers is certainly a breath of fresh air, continued Smith.

    “It’s hard to fathom. I would jump into the water and there would be so much coral, so many different species of fish, so much complexity and color. I would find myself underwater, shaking my head, looking around in disbelief that these places still existed.”

Though coral reefs occupy less than 0.1 percent of the ocean floor, they shelter close to 25 percent of all marine species, reports Los Angeles Times. Besides helping oceanic life, coral reefs also offer food, tourism and flood protection to human settlements along the coastline.


New Survey Casts More Doubt On The ‘97% Consensus’ On Global Warming

A recent survey conducted by George Mason University of more than 4,000 American Meteorological Society (AMS) members found about one-third of them don’t agree with the so-called global warming “consensus” that humans are the cause of most recent warming.

The GMU survey of AMS members found “14% think the change is caused more or less equally by human activity and natural events; and 7% think the change is caused mostly by natural events.”

“Conversely, 5% think the change is caused largely or entirely by natural events, 6% say they don’t know, and 1% think climate change isn’t happening,” according to the GMU poll.

“Fully 33% either believe climate change is not occurring, is mostly natural, or is at most half-natural and half-manmade (I tend toward that last category) … or simply think we ‘don’t know,’”

Dr. Roy Spencer a climate scientist who compiles satellite-derived temperature data at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, wrote in his blog. “For something that is supposed to be ‘settled science’, I find that rather remarkable,” wrote Spencer, who is a prominent skeptic of claims of catastrophic man-made global warming.

GMU found that 29 percent of AMS members thought global warming was “largely or entirely” caused by humans and another 38 percent believe warming is “mostly” due to humans. It should be noted, however, only 37 percent of AMS respondents considered themselves climate “experts.”

“But what I find interesting is that the supposed 97% consensus on climate change (which we know is bogus anyway) turns into only 67% when we consider the number of people who believe climate change is mostly or entirely caused by humans,” Spencer wrote.

Spencer is referring to claims from politicians and environmentalists that 97 percent of climate scientists think humans are causing global warming.

“Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest,” President Barack Obama said in 2013. “They’ve acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.”

The 97 percent figure has largely been cited by activists looking to squash public debates about climate science. The figure is based on a now debunked study 2013 study by Australian researcher John Cook.

“Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on [anthropogenic global warming] is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research,’’ Cook and his fellow authors wrote in their study which was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

But the definition Cook used to get his consensus was over-simplified. Only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate studies examined by Cook explicitly stated that mankind caused most of the warming since 1950 — meaning the actual consensus is 0.3 percent.

“It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when on the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%,” Dr. David Legates, a geology professor at the University of Delaware, said about a study he and four other prominent researchers authored debunking Cook’s consensus claim.

The new AMS survey, however, does show that most of the science group’s members believe global warming “is happening,” according to the GMU poll. The disagreement, however, is over what is the driving force behind global warming: is it mostly caused by humans or mostly due to natural variability?


Scientists Say Obama’s Global Warming Plan Will Fail

The efforts of President Barack Obama and other world leaders to prevent global warming will almost certainly fail, according to a new study published recently by Texas A&M scientists.

“It would require rates of change in our energy infrastructure and energy mix that have never happened in world history and that are extremely unlikely to be achieved,” Glenn Jones, a professor of marine sciences at Texas A&M who co-authored the study, said in a Wednesday statement on Science Daily. “For a world that wants to fight climate change, the numbers just don’t add up to do it.”

The study modeled the projected population growth and per capita energy consumption, as well as the size of known reserves of oil, coal and natural gas, and greenhouse gas emissions. It determined that it would be essentially impossible to meet the global warming goal of 2 degree Celsius by 2100 set by the December Paris agreement.

“The latest study just adds to what everyone other than those with their heads in the clouds already knows: the combination of a growing demand for energy and a growing population will lead to continued growth in the most practical form of energy production—one reliant on fossil fuels,” Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller Caller News Foundation. “Unless a technological breakthrough in non-carbon emitting energy production occurs in the very near future, the global production of energy and the global emissions of carbon dioxide will stay pretty tightly coupled for the remainder of the century.

Significant reductions to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are extremely difficult to achieve due to the immense costs involved according to the scientists. They estimate that simply limiting global warming to the Paris agreement targets would require the annual installation of 485,000 wind turbines by 2028. Only 13,000 turbines were installed in 2015, despite the enormous tax breaks and subsidies offered to wind power.

“The costs of reducing emissions are enormous, while the reductions in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are non-existent,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is nice to see scientists in the alarmist community realizing what has been obvious for decades.”

The likely costs of the kind of wind and solar power program the scientists say would be necessary to actually slow global warming would be measured in the tens of trillions of dollars, and even then success would be far from assured. The scientists conclude that other methods of reducing CO2 emissions, such as significantly increasing the number of nuclear reactors, would run into political opposition from environmental groups.

“Current efforts, like US EPA regulations or the UN’s Paris Agreement may chip away at the tightness of the gross world product/global CO2 emissions relationship but, they probably won’t be successful in breaking it so long as they are relying on current technologies (with perhaps the exception of a rapid build-out of nuclear power plants—something that doesn’t seem to be in the cards),” Knappenberger concluded.

The study’s conclusions are mirrored by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy comments during a Tuesday hearing that the Clean Power Plan (CPP), her agency’s signature regulation aimed at tackling global warming, was meant to show “leadership” rather than actually prevent projected warming.

EPA repeatedly has long argued the point of the Clean Power Plan was to show the world America was serious about tackling global warming in order to galvanize support for United Nations delegates to sign a global agreement to cut emissions. Nearly 200 countries agreed to a U.N. deal last year.


Shades of "Smart Growth" in Australia: Busybodies want to limit other people's choices in apartment sizes

A small, low-cost inner-city "pied-à-terre" might be just what is needed for someone who works in the city during the week but who spends the weekend at a pleasant rural property.  Many men work away from their families during the week.  My father did

THEY’VE been labelled “crappy” and “dog boxes in the sky”, apartments so small and badly designed there’s barely enough room to swing a cat — let alone a pooch.

There’s no space for luxuries like, you know, a dining room table, while some rooms don’t even sport windows.

The tiniest units in Australian cities are so small they would be illegal in crowded Hong Kong and New York.

But far from being spurned, compact flats are being heralded by some as the solution to the growing demand for city living.

However, there are moves afoot to clamp down on so-called “micro apartments” with calls for a minimum size for flats to stop developers squeezing more people into ever smaller spaces.

Earlier this month, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle criticised developers who were sacrificing design for density.

“I am pro-development but some of the developments that have been put before us are shameful”, he told the Urban Development Institute in Adelaide.

Talking to he reeled off a list of developer requests he was outraged by, including windows separated from the rooms they were supposed to illuminate by a corridor so long it was “like something out of Alice in Wonderland”, glass walls whose role it was to filter light into windowless bedrooms but actually created “little caves”, and fridge doors that couldn’t open because of the cramped space.

There was even the builder who created a micro apartment without a kitchen with the reason that it would be ideal for someone who enjoyed eating out.

A critic of unchecked development, Mr Doyle said good design needed to be at the centre of new apartments to prevent “building the slums of tomorrow”.

Yet, for 24-year-old public relations consultant Elena Eckhardt, her tiny Sydney apartment, which she shares with her partner, is a bijou beauty.

“The apartment has a double bedroom, bathroom, laundry, joint kitchen and living room and balcony,” she told

“Despite it being so small I’ve decorated it so it feels very personal.”

At 48sq m her flat is skirting the regulations in NSW, known as SEPP 65, that set a minimum apartment size. One bedroom units can be no smaller than 50sq m but studio apartments can go down to a super snug 35sq m.

Ms Eckhardt’s bedroom is partially separate with openings in the wall letting some natural light “borrowed” from the living room which has large windows.

“It’s the smallest place I’ve lived,” she said of the unit in the city fringe suburb of Chippendale. “We wouldn’t be able to afford a big apartment in the CBD so I do definitely like being here at this stage in our lives.”

Ms Eckhardt said she could walk to work and any number of pubs and shops were in the local area. The couple are out most nights, so see the flat as less a place to linger and more somewhere to bed down in.

Nevertheless, they’ve had to make compromises. “We decided not to have a kitchen table because it’s too cluttered so we only have a table on the balcony and eat there or on the couch”.

“But having a separate bedroom was really important because there is two of us so it doesn’t feel like we’re sharing one room.”

Ms Eckhardt’s 48sq m are an indulgence of open space compared to an apartment advertised for rent in Melbourne CBD that was just 20sq m, or roughly the size of two car parking spots, the Age reported.

In Victoria, unlike NSW, there is no minimum apartment size. In the Victorian Government’s ‘Better Apartments’ consultation, Planning Minister Richard Wynne raised the prospect of a new apartment code which could see minimum sizes alongside a raft of other measures around natural light, noise and outdoor space.

The consultation found daylight and space were the top concerns for apartment dwellers with 76 per cent of respondents calling for a minimum apartment size.



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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