Thursday, August 04, 2016

More of the usual dishonesty from the Green/Left

They are milking the temperature rise due to El Nino for all it is worth.  The last residue of it will be gone soon so they are getting shriller.  If they had any shred of honesty in them, they would at least attempt to quantify the percentage of the warming that was due to El Nino.  They make no such attempt and pretend it is an anthropogenic effect.  The flat levels of CO2 in 2015 make it clear, however, that the warming was ENTIRELY an El Nino effect

Earth's fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records, scientists said in a massive report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet.

Soon after 2015 ended, it was proclaimed the hottest on record . The new report shows the broad extent of other records and near-records on the planet's climatic health. Those include record heat energy absorbed by the oceans and lowest groundwater storage levels globally, according to Tuesday's report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I think the time to call the doctor was years ago," NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report, said in an email. "We are awash in multiple symptoms."

The 2015 State of the Climate report examined 50 different aspects of climate , including dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers worldwide. A dozen different nations set hottest year records, including Russia and China. South Africa had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October: 119.1 degrees Fahrenheit (48.4 degrees Celsius).

Even though it was a relatively quiet hurricane year in the Atlantic, there were 36 major tropical cyclones worldwide - 15 more than average, said NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, co-editor of the report published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

And at the heart of the records is that all three major heat-trapping greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - hit record highs in 2015, Blunden said.

"There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: grim," said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who wasn't part of the report, but called it "exhaustive and thorough."

But it's more than just numbers on a graph. Scientists said the turbo-charged climate affected walrus and penguin populations and played a role in dangerous algae blooms, such as one off the Pacific Northwest coast. And there were brutal heat waves all over the world, with ones in Indian and Pakistan killing thousands of people. One-third of Earth's land mass had some kind of drought last year.

Much of the intense record-breaking and record-flirting weather was because of a combination of a natural El Nino - the periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather globally - and ever increasing man-made global warming.

"This impacts people. This is real life," Blunden said.

Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado said in an email that the report, which he wasn't part of, illustrates the combined power of nature and humans on Earth's climate: "It was like injecting an already amped-up climate system with a dose of (natural) steroids."


No place for scare tactics

By Chris de Freitas, an associate professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland

The column by University of Canterbury sociologist Jarrod Gilbert describing climate change "denial" as a crime, is alarming because he suggests those with opinions different to his should be silenced. What is happening to our education system when university lecturers attack, rather than defend, free speech?

The most worrying aspect of this is the apparent desire to close down debate on a theme that is associated with costly energy policies and other grave economic consequences.

Calling climate sceptics "deniers" is done with the intention of putting them in the same class as "Holocaust deniers". In this context, "denier" has much the same connotation as the N word to refer to people of a certain skin colour. Such insinuations are an insult to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust or those with dark skin. It is both inappropriate and offensive.

In the words of colleague Benny J. Peiser: "As long as we are unable to explain the evident inconsistencies that fly in the face of climate alarmism, attempts to associate scientific scepticism with Holocaust denial can only be regarded as political incitement."

The level of hysteria now being stirred up against climate scientists who are raising very serious questions is reminiscent of attacks made on scientists in Stalin's Soviet Union and pre-war Germany. Those who resort to shooting at the messenger are presumably those without solid arguments on the science.

Just as sceptics have no right to ridicule what is a potentially serious topic, climate catastrophists have a social responsibility not to unjustifiably spook the public.

Climate change scepticism comes in many forms, some which are no less absurd than climate catastrophism. No sceptic denies that climate changes. There is no such thing as a constant climate. For 4.2 billion years, climate has always been getting warmer or colder, wetter or drier, and there has never been runaway warming or cooling.

Recent research findings show there is no evidence -- none at all -- to support the global warmers' scaremongering.

Most climate scientists would agree rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use could affect global climate. Basic physics supports this view. But there is no evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging. Output from computer models is not evidence unless model performance has been validated. So far, it has not.

For significant global warming to occur, increased concentrations must set in motion positive (or destabilising) feedback processes. Such processes would cause temperatures to rise by some other mechanism. One such mechanism is increased evaporation caused by higher temperatures leading to rising water vapour concentration, which is by far the most important greenhouse gas. This would increase retention of energy from the Sun and lead to further warming.

To date, scientific evidence suggests that negative (stabilising) feedback processes prevail, possibly due to the cooling effect of increased cloudiness from water vapour increase. If true, this means it is unlikely higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will greatly influence global climate.

Negative feedback processes are played down by climate alarmists who assume climate is governed by positive feedback processes which they claim will lead to runaway global warming. Four billion years of global climate history shows that negative feedbacks prevail.

"Climate change" does not confirm that carbon dioxide is causing it. The evidence would have to distinguish between human-caused and natural change. This has not been done.

From the research to date, it appears the influence of increasing carbon dioxide on global warming is almost indiscernible. Warming could occur, but no evidence suggests it will amount to much.


Note:  A couple of days after the above appeared, James Renwick, Professor of Physical Geography in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at the Victoria University of Wellington replied.  So how did he respond to the claim of no evidence from de Freitas above?  Did he present some evidence?  No.  He simply said there was ample evidence in the IPCC reports.  But he quoted none of it.

The IPCC is a political body so what it claims has to be examined.  Very often the papers it assembles do NOT support the conclusions in its Summary.  On some occasions, I have traced back an IPCC claim to the papers that allegedly supported it and discovered that none actually did.  At best the support consisted of speculation only.  It would have been great fun if he HAD quoted any of it.  I would have enjoyed ripping it.

Renwick is just being a dupe.  But global warming is his bread and butter so I suppose he has to be.  It's a brave man who would stand between a scientist and his research grants -- JR

Nuclear power and renewables don’t have to be enemies. New York just showed how

Ponder, if you will, two basic facts about clean energy in the United States.

Nuclear power is the country’s largest source of carbon-free energy, supplying about 19 percent of our electricity, but it’s barely growing. Wind and solar are smaller, at about 8 percent, but they’re growing much more rapidly.

Put those together, and you get an intuitive blueprint for reducing US carbon dioxide emissions: Protect the nuclear base, and then scale up wind and solar on top, displacing fossil fuels as you go. Seems reasonable, no?

Yet, strangely enough, many states have struggled with this concept. Even as policymakers have stepped up subsidies for renewable energy, they’ve been letting their nuclear plants shut down prematurely — to be replaced by dirtier natural gas. We’ve already seen this in California, Vermont, Wisconsin. And it’s going to keep happening in the years ahead without serious policy changes. These early nuclear retirements are poised to wipe out many of the impressive gains made by renewables.

So it’s significant news that, this week, New York state offered a fresh approach to this problem. On Monday, the state’s public service commission approved an extremely aggressive clean energy standard that will require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and other renewable sources by 2030.

But — importantly — New York will also offer subsidies to keep open three large existing nuclear power plants that are suffering economically in this shifting energy landscape and were in danger of shutting down prematurely. This way, the state isn’t just taking one step forward, two steps back, on climate change.

It’s a potential template for other states with reactors in danger of closing before the end of their useful life span. New York’s move contrasts sharply with California, where regulators are considering a proposal to shutter the state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, and replace it entirely with renewables and efficiency. It will be very interesting to compare the two states in the years ahead and see which approach yields better results.

More broadly, New York’s plan offers a model of how renewables and nuclear might work together to fight global warming. This notion has been surprisingly controversial of late, particularly after the Diablo Canyon fight. Eduardo Porter of The New York Times recently wrote a column arguing that the growth of subsidized renewables is hurting nuclear in energy markets — a perverse outcome.

Yet as Jesse Jenkins, an energy researcher studying low-carbon electricity systems at MIT, put it to me: “It’s important to unpack this. It’s not renewables killing nuclear. It’s policies that fail to recognize the contributions of both renewables and nuclear. But those policies can change — as they did this week in New York.”

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and become a leader on climate change. With the cost of solar and wind falling dramatically, renewables were a natural focus. The state is embarking on a radical plan to revamp utility models to accommodate renewables. Hence the proposal to grow hydro, wind, solar, and biomass from 27 percent today to 50 percent by 2030

At the same time, New York’s other big source of clean energy — nuclear — was in danger. A combination of cheap natural gas from the US fracking boom and stagnating electricity demand from new efficiency initiatives has caused nuclear revenues to plummet. As a result, reactors at three upstate plants — Fitzpatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile — were in danger of shutting down prematurely, squeezed between high fixed costs and declining revenues:

One reaction here might be: “Fine, let the dinosaur reactors die. If they can’t compete in the market, who needs ’em?” But as it turns out, the state does need them if it wants to scale up renewables and still cut emissions.

Among other things, New York’s Public Service Commission concluded that wind and solar wouldn’t be able to scale up fast enough to replace the lost reactors. So in the interim, the state would end up burning more natural gas and greenhouse gas emissions would rise. What’s more, replacing the steady baseload power from reactors with intermittent renewables could create reliability problems in upstate regions.

The clock was ticking: Entergy warned that it would shut down Fitzpatrick by the end of 2016. Exelon, which already owns Ginna and Nine Mile Point, has offered to buy Fitzpatrick and keep all three open — but only if New York provided financial support for the reactors. Pro-nuclear environmentalists, including NASA climate scientist James Hansen and Michael Shellenberger of Environmental Progress, urged the state to do just that.

In the end, New York’s regulators decided to think about the problem this way: We know that these existing nuclear reactors help New York avoid a certain amount of planet-warming CO2 each year. Based on the federal government’s best estimates of the “social cost of carbon,” we ought to value this benefit at around $50 a ton.

Right now these reactors aren’t fully compensated for this climate benefit. So, the commission decided, let’s start with that $50 a ton and then subtract out what these reactors already receive from power markets, capacity markets, and RGGI, the Northeast’s cap-and-trade system. Then we’ll pay the reactors for the difference — call it a “zero-emission credit” (ZEC):

This zero-emission credit is a hefty subsidy. New York’s ratepayers will pay up to $965 million to Fitzpatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile for the first two years of the program, with adjustments made thereafter through 2029. (The subsidy will shrink if electricity prices rise, per the formula above — or vice versa.) It’s a bailout, it’s not cheap, and there’s a reason various environmental groups are displeased.

That said, Jenkins offers a way to put this in context. The nuclear subsidy comes to $17.48 per megawatt-hour of electricity for the first two years. By contrast, in recent years, procuring renewable power has cost New York about $22 to $35/MWh under state mandates. So keeping these reactors open seems like a cost-competitive way of adding zero-carbon power, at least in the short term.

To be clear, this is not necessarily the optimal way of saving New York’s nuclear power plants. As energy researcher Alex Gilbert explains in wonky detail here, these subsidies are vulnerable to legal challenge and could prove economically dubious if electricity prices shift unexpectedly. Zero-emissions credits are a hasty workaround to a looming reactor shutdown and are considerably less elegant than, say, a simple carbon tax would be.

It’s also unclear what will happen to New York’s reactors after 2029. Technically they may still be capable of operating, but will policymakers keep supporting them? (As Shellenberger points out, phasing out nuclear in 2030 could prove nearly as problematic as phasing it out today.) The commission still has to work out a long-term plan here.

Finally, this week’s order leaves unclear the fate of New York’s fourth reactor: Indian Point, which sits 40 miles north of New York City and is operated by Entergy. Cuomo has long pushed to close this reactor due to concerns that it could be a target for attacks and is so close to the city. Yet New York’s Independent System Operator, which manages the grid, has argued that doing so could endanger the state’s climate goals.

That all aside, what’s notable about this plan is that New York is at least thinking about how to value all low-carbon sources equally, rather than just favoring renewables and letting nuclear power die. In this, New York is way ahead of other states.

When reactors do shut down early, it’s usually awful news for climate change. After Southern California Edison retired two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in 2013, they were largely replaced by natural gas generation, leading to higher CO2 emissions. The same thing happened when Vermont Yankee closed in Vermont in 2014.

All told, a recent analysis by Bloomberg found that closing those seven endangered plants could cause overall US emissions to rise as much as 2 percent — like putting another 7 to 10 million cars on the road.


Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record

A hurricane has not appeared in the Gulf of Mexico in almost three years

Saturday was a quiet day across the Gulf of Mexico, but not one without note, because a strange record was set: It has been 1,048 days since a hurricane developed in or entered the Gulf. That is the longest streak in the past 130 years, since formal record-keeping began in 1886.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and lasts through the end of November. But the last storm in the Gulf was Hurricane Ingrid, which made landfall in northeastern Mexico in September 2013. "You have to have conditions just right for a hurricane to form, and the conditions haven't been ideal in the Gulf of Mexico in the last two years," says Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. The last long Gulf hurricane drought was from October 1, 1929, to August 13, 1932. It was broken by Hurricane 2, which came ashore in Freeport, Texas, as a category 4 storm.

Hurricanes usually form when ocean water has been warmed over the summer months to around 25 degrees Celsius or higher. As humid air and clouds accumulate, light, sweeping winds moving westward from Africa can steer the clouds across the mid-Atlantic toward the Gulf. In some cases, the mass of moisture can begin rotating as it advances. This early stage is known as a tropical depression, which can strengthen to become a tropical storm if the wind direction and speed throughout all levels of the atmosphere remain relatively constant. To be considered a category 1 hurricane or higher, the wind speed inside the rotating storm needs to be at least 119 kilometers per hour (74 miles per hour).

Several tropical depressions and tropical storms have arisen in the Gulf of Mexico in the past couple years, but none intensified to achieve hurricane status. Winds across the upper levels of the atmosphere have been strong, which can tear clouds apart, keeping storms from strengthening, Berg says.

Weaker hurricane seasons are not unusual, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, according to hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Hurricanes are more likely to form in the Atlantic Ocean because there's more room to develop there than in the Gulf. And wind currents often direct Atlantic storms north and west toward the U.S east coast or out into the North Atlantic instead of crossing into the Gulf. The drought can end anytime, however, because the most active part of the season—from August to October—is yet to come.

Despite the long hiatus, NOAA still anticipates a normal Atlantic season with a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms. “Not having hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean that people should become complacent or forget how to prepare for one,” Berg says.


These Climate Change Regulations Will Increase Your Electric Bill

Amid the summer heat, American households are thankful for affordable, reliable air conditioning. But the Obama administration’s war on coal is going to drive up energy prices for families who want to keep cool in the summer and stay warm in the winter.

A recent study by Heritage Foundation economists estimates that the administration’s regulations to counter global warming, or climate change, will increase household spending on electricity between 13 and 20 percent over the next 20 years.

Americans have plenty of reasons to be concerned with the administration’s regulations on new power plants, and states have good reasons to challenge these regulations in court.  Here are three:

Regulations drive up energy costs.

Higher energy costs hurt the poor the most. If the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on new power plants stand, they will take a reliable power source off the market.

For instance, Maryland coal production fell 62 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. Though this decline is partially a result of cheap natural gas prices, many also point to EPA regulations for the industry’s decline.

The decline in coal production is problematic because coal and carbon-based conventional fuels made up 87 percent of America’s primary energy between 2003 and 2013.

In fact, electricity prices are 15 percent lower in those states that rely most on coal.  Unnecessarily driving out coal production will cause electricity prices to increase, disproportionately hurting low-income Americans who spend a greater portion of their budget on energy bills.

Mining towns suffer from overregulation.

The EPA’s regulations of future power plants will have detrimental impacts on coal mining towns.

Alabama coal worker Renea Aldridge said: “Think about the families you’re affecting. Think about all the jobs you’re closing down. I keep thinking the coal industry will never be the same again.”

What’s more, because a small coal mining town’s livelihood often is tied to the power plant, regulation of coal power plants also harms investments, hurts small businesses, and decreases the town’s overall economic activity.

The EPA’s latest regulations of newly built coal power plants will seriously harm these coal towns. And because of the stringent requirements for new plants, many towns that might otherwise have had a coal plant built will be deprived of the economic benefits.

The regulations barely make a dent in climate change.

A few hot days does not mean the planet is experiencing more heat waves because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it did, however, the administration’s climate change policy would make no noticeable impact.

According to Cato Institute’s “carbon tax temperature-savings” calculator, developed by climatologists, the U.S. could shut down its entire economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero and it would mitigate global temperatures only a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 85 years.

In fact, if all industrialized nations cut 100 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, temperatures would be only 0.352 degree cooler than if the emission levels remained the same.

States are fighting back, but Congress should assert its authority.

Last year, much of the Environmental Protection Agency’s onslaught of overregulation came under the pretense of addressing man-made global warming, or climate change. The regulations threaten the livelihood of miners and coal towns, and the availability of coal as a dependable energy source.

The Supreme Court temporarily halted regulations on existing power plants (the administration’s “Clean Power Plan”) after states and industries challenged them.

But another important legal front is the states’ challenge to global warming regulations on new electricity generating units. After the EPA issued a regulation under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act to control how much carbon dioxide may be emitted by new power plants, 23 states filed a lawsuit challenging the proposal.

The regulation restricts carbon dioxide emissions of coal-fired power plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and the emissions of natural gas power plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour.

According to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, the average emission for a coal-fired power plant in 2014 was between 2,070 and 2,170 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, depending on the type of coal used.

States certainly are justified in taking legal action, but it’s also time for Congress to rein in unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA. Congress should pass legislation that prevents all agencies from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.


Greenies Upset Trump Disagrees With Dictators, Commies On Global Warming

The Sierra Club has released a report claiming if real estate mogul Donald Trump were elected president he would be “the the only world leader today to deny the science of climate change.”

The environmental group’s report includes quotes about global warming from the leaders of 195 countries recognized by the U.S. Department of State. The Sierra Club uses this as evidence a future President Trump would be at odds with America’s closest allies on global warming.

“In fact, a review of the data indicates that Trump might very well be the only world leader not calling for urgent climate action,” according to the Sierra Club, America’s oldest environmental group.

Interestingly enough, it also means Trump disagrees with some of America’s rivals as well, including third world dictators and communist regimes.



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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