Friday, September 23, 2016
A more moderate version of the usual food panic
They admit that some crops would do better. Their modelling assumes that farmers will continue to do the same thing if their yields decline. They won't. They will plant different strains of their crop to get their yields back up. And for commercial crops there are many cultivars available
As climate change continues to alter our planet, humans will soon be forced to find new ways to feed the growing population.
It’s estimated that the amount of food produced will have to double in order to meet the needs of over nine billion people that could occupy Earth in the next 30 years – but climate change threatens much of the land needed to support these crops.
In a new study, researchers explain which areas are expected to be hit hardest, and reveal the future locations that may become more suitable to host wheat, corn, and rice.
The study found that 43 percent of the world’s corn and roughly a third of all wheat and rice are grown in vulnerable areas, with the worst seen in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Eastern US.
But, climate change may increase the yield potential of croplands in temperate locations, the researchers say.
This includes western and central Russia, and central Canada.
The areas currently used to grow these crops could suffer major drops in productivity by 2050, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications.
To determine this, the researchers combined climate change models with maximum land productivity data, allowing them to estimate the changes that could come in the next few decades.
According to the researchers, the effects will be seen all around the globe, influencing the poorest areas in the world along with developed countries.
The study found that 43 percent of the world’s corn and roughly a third of all wheat and rice (33 percent and 37 percent respectively) are grown in vulnerable areas.
Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Eastern US are expected to experience the most dramatic effects.
But, climate change may increase the yield potential of croplands in temperate locations, the researchers say. This includes western and central Russia, and central Canada.
‘Our model shows that on many areas of land currently used to grow crops, the potential to improve yields is greatly decreased as a result of the effects of climate change,’ says Dr Tom Pugh, lead researcher and University of Birmingham academic.
‘But it raises an interesting opportunity for some countries in temperate areas, where the suitability of climate to grow these major crops is likely to increase over the same time period.’
The researchers also say that highly developed counties may be hit harder by this effect, as they have a much smaller yield gap.
And, they say many other factors will influence future crops as well.
‘Of course, climate is just one factor when looking at the future of global agricultural practices,’ Pugh says.
‘Local factors such as soil quality and water availability also have a very important effect on crop yields in real terms.
‘But production of the world’s three major cereal crops need to keep up with demand, and if we can’t do that by making our existing land more efficient, then the only other option is to increase the amount of land that we use.’
Attributing Louisiana Floods to Global Warming
By PAUL C. "CHIP" KNAPPENBERGER and PATRICK J. MICHAELS
In mid-August a slow moving unnamed tropical system dumped copious amounts of precipitation in the Baton Rouge region of Louisiana. Reports were of some locations receiving over 30 inches of rain during the event. Louisiana’s governor John Bel Edwards called the resultant floods “historic” and “unprecedented.”
Some elements in the media were quick to link in human-caused climate change (just as they are to seemingly every extreme weather event). The New York Times, for example, ran a piece titled “Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change.”
We were equally quick to point out that there was no need to invoke global warming in that the central Gulf Coast is prime country for big rain events and that similar, and even larger, rainfall totals have been racked up there during times when there were far fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—like in 1979 when 45 inches of precipitation fell over Alvin, TX from the slow passage of tropical storm Claudette, or in 1940 when 37.5 in. fell on Miller Island, LA from another stalled unnamed tropical system.
But we suspected that this wouldn’t be the end of it, and we were right.
All the while, an “international partnership” funded in part by the U.S. government (through grants to climate change cheerleader Climate Central), called World Weather Attribution (“international effort designed to sharpen and accelerate the scientific community’s ability to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts”) and was fervently working to formally (i.e., through a scientific journal publication) “attribute” the Louisiana rains to climate change.
The results of their efforts were made public a couple of weeks ago in parallel with the submission (we’ll note: not acceptance) of their article to the journal Hydrology and Earth System Science Discussions.
Their “attribution” can well, be attributed, to two factors. First, their finding that there has been a large increase in the observed probability of extreme rainfall along the central Gulf Coast—an increase that they claim can be directly related to the rise in the global (!) average temperature. And second, their finding that basically the single (!) climate model they examined also projects an increase in the probably of heavy rainfall in the region as a result of human-induced climate changes. Add the two together, throw in a splashy press release from a well-funded climate change propaganda machine and headlines like the AP’s “Global warming increased odds for Louisiana downpour” are the result.
As you have probably guessed a closer look finds some major shortcomings to this conclusion.
For example, big rains are part of the region’s history—and most (but not all) are result from meandering tropical weather systems whose progress has been slowed by mid-latitude circulation features. In most cases, the intensity of the tropical system itself (as measured by central pressure or maximum wind speed) is not all that great, but rather the abundant feed of moisture feed from the Gulf of Mexico and slow progress of the storm combine to produce some eye-popping, or rather boot-soaking, precipitation totals. Here is a table of the top 10 rainfall event totals from the passage of tropical systems through the contiguous U.S. since 1921 (note that all are in the Gulf Coast region). Bear in mind that the further you go back in time, the sparser the observed record becomes (which means an increased chance that the highest rainfall amounts are missed). The August 2016 Louisiana event cracks the top 10 as number 10. A truly impressive event—but hardly atypical during the past 100 years.
As the table shows, big events occurred throughout the record. But due to the rare nature of the events as well as the spotty (and changing) observational coverage, doing a formal statistical analysis of frequency changes over time is very challenging. One way to approach it is to use only the stations with the longest period of record—this suffers from missing the biggest totals from the biggest events, but at least it provides some consistency in observational coverage. Using the same set of long-term stations analyzed by the World Weather Attribution group, we plotted the annual maximum precipitation in the station group as a function of time (rather than global average temperature). Figure 1 is our result. We’ll point out that there is not a statistically significant change over time—in other words, the intensity of the most extreme precipitation event each year has not systematically changed in a robust way since 1930. It’s a hard sell link this non-change to human-caused global warming.
Admittedly, there is a positive correlation in these data with the global average surface temperature, but correlation does not imply causation. There is a world of distance between local weather phenomena and global average temperature. In the central Gulf Coast, influential denizens of the climate space, as we’ve discussed, are tropical cyclones—events whose details (frequency, intensity, speed, track, etc.) are highly variable from year to year (decade to decade, century to century) for reasons related to many facets of natural variability. How the complex interplay of these natural influencers may change in a climate warmed by human greenhouse gas emissions is far from certain and can be barely even be speculated upon. For example, the El Niño/La Niña cycle in the central Pacific has been shown to influence Gulf Coast tropical cyclone events, yet the future characteristics of this important factor vary considerably from climate model to climate model and confidence in climate model expectations of future impacts is low according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Which means that using a single climate model family in an “attribution” study of extreme Gulf Coast rainfall events is a recipe for distortion—at best, a too limited analysis, at worse, a misrepresentation of the bigger picture.
So, instead of the widely advertised combination in which climate models and observations are in strong agreement as to the role of global warming, what we really have is a situation in which the observational analysis and the model analysis are both extremely limited and possibly (probably) unrepresentative of the actual state of affairs.
Therefore, for their overly optimistic view of the validity, applicability, and robustness of their findings that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme precipitation events in central Louisiana, we rate Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution’s degree of spin as “Slightly Soiled” and award them two Spin Cycles.
"Slightly Soiled" = Over-the-top rhetoric. An example is the common meme that some obnoxious weather element is new, thanks to anthropogenic global warming, when it’s in fact as old as the earth. An example would the president’s science advisor John Holdren’s claim the “polar vortex,” a circumpolar westerly wind that separates polar cold from tropical warmth, is a man-made phenomenon. It waves and wiggles all over the place, sometimes over your head, thanks to the fact that the atmosphere behaves like a fluid, complete with waves, eddies, and stalls. It’s been around since the earth first acquired an atmosphere and rotation, somewhere around the beginning of the Book of Genesis. Two spin cycles.
Brown passes cow fart law, compares fighting climate change to building 'Noah's Ark'
California’s Governor Jerry Brown (D) has just signed the first legislation in U.S. history to control cow flatulence as his state's economy suffers from anemic growth and high taxes. The new law would target 'short-lived' greenhouse-gas emissions from dairy cows and landfills.
The new law is part of Brown’s ongoing crusade to fight #Climate Change. Meanwhile, voters are wondering what he is doing to fix the state’s lackluster economy now that this legislative session has officially ended.
The short-lived emissions targeted include methane, refrigerant gases (HFCs), diesel tractor emissions (black carbon), etc. Methane is believed to have a global warming potential 23 times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2). Most modern landfills have vents that capture methane emissions and use the gas to generate electricity or to burn raw sewage.
"When Noah wanted to build his ark,” Brown said at the signing ceremony, “Most of the people laughed at him. We've got to build our ark, too, by stopping [these] dangerous pollutants.” Brown said Senate Bill 1383 will protect people’s health and their lungs, though any correlation to poor health is still being investigated.
Part of the problem, he says, is how cow farts and manure impact the #Environment. Under the new law, “farmers have to cut methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.” Because this is California, farmers can get assistance from the $50 million brought in under its stringent carbon tax.
Dairy farmers can use the money to buy technology that burns methane and sell the excess electricity back to power companies. All of which is going to take time as they acclimate to being mini-electrical power generators as well as milk and butter producers.
Called “methane digesters,” this type of technology is very expensive and will be funded by money from the state’s carbon tax and other fees. It also penalizes one industry (dairy) at the expense of another (agriculture), which the latter emits far more methane per acreage.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says regulating bovine flatulence can be done by reducing the cows' belching and breaking wind. Others say it’s a way to make favored donors wealthier by rewarding ‘big green.’ Environmental activists have also had a hand in writing the new regulations and hope that tackling these short-lived gases will avert warming long enough for new technologies to be created.
The bill was passed entirely by state Democrats. The current law, however, wasn’t good enough for some anti-fossil fuel activists, who demanded stronger language, more ambitious goals, and not postponing mandates until 2024, which gives farmers time to put in place the new technology.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses wrote in a statement that the “mandated 40 percent reduction in methane and 50 percent reduction in [man-made] black carbon gas” was a “direct assault on California’s dairy industry and will hurt manufacturing.”
The new cow and landfill emission law is also tied to a spending bill for the dairy industry and landfill owners that total $90 million.
California Republicans have denounced the new measures as being onerous, saying they will hurt farmers and other businesses. This new legislation is part of the governor’s far-reaching climate change fight that scientists say will do little to avert warming.
Global warming to trigger financial crisis?
Move over mortgages. There’s now something much, much bigger to worry about, and harder to curtail, and far more likely to cause the next financial crisis: global warming.
That’s the conclusion of a new report published recently by the Bank of Canada.
The report is mainly focused on the reinsurance industry, a shadowy corner of the insurance business, and the fact that what the last financial crisis showed us was that when insurance companies aren’t properly regulated or the risks they take on are poorly understood, the results can be disastrous. On top of that, the report’s authors argue that in an era when climate change is causing natural disasters to be more severe, the risks that reinsurance are taking on could be larger than they appear.
The authors argument focuses on the role of retrocession, which are the risk-sharing arrangements among reinsurers. They are often not fully detailed in insurers accounting statements. “An important feature of the retrocession market is its opacity to both to market participants and regulators,” the report reads, adding that the big problem is that reinsurers often don’t know how much risk or what kinds of risks other insurers or reinsurers are taking on. “It is possible for contagion . . . to occur, in which the losses of one party cascade to others in the network.”
Still, a lot would have to go wrong for a failure in the reinsurance industry to spread to the broader economy. The authors, after running a series of stress tests that evaluate the effect of various scenarios on the industry, argue that the stability of the financial industry appears to fairly robust and that “it would take a catastrophic event larger than any experienced in recent history to result in material failures within the industry.”
Unfortunately for the industry, scientists are predicting that natural disasters, and particularly hurricanes, are going to grow in intensity as the effects of climate change grow. For instance, forecasters are predicting Miami—the twelfth largest metropolitan economy in the United States—will have anywhere from 4 to 8 hurricanes this year. The incidence will only grow over time, as will the chances of unprecedented property damage.
Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, and therefore not the most likely to happen.
Steinem: ‘Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming’
So abortion will cure global warming?
Gloria Steinem helped Planned Parenthood launch a $12 million fundraising campaign last week by saying “nothing is more important” than expanding abortion and “forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming.”
Speaking to a room of 600 people at a gala celebrating Memphis Planned Parenthood’s 75th anniversary, Steinem said, “Nothing but nothing is more important than ensuring our fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which is “the principle that government power stops at our skin.”
“Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming,” Steinem told the crowd.
She also trashed members of the pro-life movement for opposing contraception and sodomy.
“Why is it that the same people who are against birth control and abortion are also against sex between two women or two men?” Steinem asked. It’s because those people “are against any sex that cannot end in reproduction,” she said.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region told local media they’ve already raised $9.8 million in gifts and pledges. Their $12 million fundraising campaign will fund a second Memphis abortion facility and $1.5 million worth of “education” and “advocacy.”
Half of all funds raised are supposed to go toward “sustainability” to keep the Planned Parenthood’s mission alive “for future generations.”
That’ll be difficult given most of what Planned Parenthood does is abort future generations.
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Posted by JR at 12:20 AM