Thursday, September 01, 2016
Earth Is GAINING Land
Sea level rise, where art thou?
Coastal areas around the world are expanding in the face of projections that global warming-induced sea level rise will wipe out coastal cities.
But a recent study by the Dutch Deltares Research Institute found coastal areas had grown, on net, 13,000 square miles over the last 30 years. In total, the study found 67,000 square miles of water was converted into land, and 44,000 square miles of land was covered by water.
“We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” Fedor Baart, the study’s lead author, told BBC News. “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.”
Baart noted the expansion of coastlines around the world has thwarted sea level rise that scientists predict will get worse due to man-made global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels could rise as high as 16 millimeters a year by 2100.
Baart specifically pointed to Dubai, where the coast, “had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts,” according to BBC, and to China where the, “whole coast from the Yellow Sea all the way down to Hong Kong” had been expanded.
The study also found irrigation completely dried up the Aral Sea, and that glacial melting created new lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. It looked at other areas of the world, like the Amazon, where natural and artificial works changed bodies of water.
“We knew in Myanmar that several dams were being built, but we were able to see how many,” Baart said. “And we also looked at North Korea, and we found dams being built there just north of the border from South Korea.”
Baart’s study comes after years of being warned that coastal cities and small islands would be overtaken by rising seas. But this research shows that’s not necessarily the case.
Pacific Islands have been more resilient to global warming than scientists predicted. Some have even grown in size.
Scientists from Australia and New Zealand found in 2015 that despite the Funafuti Atoll seeing “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years]” the island chain has actually enlarged.
“Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013),” according to the study published in the journal Geology. “There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated.”
We're Saved! Feds End Climate Change Threat by Turning CO2 into FUEL!
USING lots of energy, no doubt
The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has discovered a way to turn every man, woman, child and flatulent cow on the planet into an energy source – and eliminate the threat of CO2-caused climate change in the process. The discovery could also land the researchers a Nobel Prize, an MIT-educated physicist tells MRCTV.
The process emulates photosynthesis, the DOE explains in its announcement of the scientific breakthrough:
“In a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers were able to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source using sunlight. Their process is similar to how trees and other plants slowly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting it to sugars that store energy.”
“The setup for the reaction is sufficiently similar to nature that the research team was able to construct an "artificial leaf" that could complete the entire three-step reaction pathway.”
Argonne researchers use a metal compound called tungsten diselenide as a “catalyst” to turn infamous carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide – eliminating its threat to the climate while creating a new source of energy:
“While plants use their catalysts to make sugar, the Argonne researchers used theirs to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, it is much more reactive than carbon dioxide and scientists already have ways of converting carbon monoxide into usable fuel, such as methanol.”
The diselenide catalyst even overcomes the fatal flaw of other methods of converting CO2 into fuel, which expend more energy than they create, the study finds:
"Making fuel from carbon monoxide means travelling 'downhill' energetically, while trying to create it directly from carbon dioxide means needing to go 'uphill.'"
“The reaction occurs with minimal lost energy -- the reaction is very efficient.”
A Nobel Prize awaits the researchers if the new process is successfully implemented, MIT-educated Physicist Dr, Thomas P. Sheahen tells MRCTV.
“Getting rid of Carbon dioxide has become almost the ‘holy grail’ of that kind of science. We really want some kind of process for that to be a big success,” Dr. Sheahen says. “Whatever research team is successful in developing ‘artificial photosynthesis’ will almost surely win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry someday.
Dr. Sheahen says the researchers’ claims sound both plausible and promising – but, it’s a long road through the “valley of death” for projects like this to come to fruition:
“It's not clear how the Oxygen atom is stripped off the CO2 molecule (leaving behind carbon monoxide), but what the authors say happens certainly makes sense. Also, their mention of a 100- hour lifetime for the catalyst is encouraging.”
“Scientists, engineers and business investors often refer to the "valley of death": that arduous stretch of development to get from successful laboratory R&D to a practical commercial product. That span of effort takes both time and money, and an awful lot of fine scientific ideas fall by the wayside en route.”
So, while he considers the findings impressive, Dr. Sheahen tells MRCTV he isn’t prepared to risk any of his hard-earned cash backing the technology - just yet:
“We shall see how this technology pans out. I definitely find this encouraging, and I wish them well, but I'm not ready to become an investor.”
Study: Dems' energy plan raises costs, emissions
The Democratic Party's plan to boost energy efficiency would have the opposite effect of its intended goals of reducing emissions, cutting energy costs and promoting clean energy, the American Action Forum details in a new report issued Tuesday.
Instead of focusing on energy efficiency, the conservative think tank recommends scarcity pricing, which requires that consumers pay more when electricity is in high demand and less when demand is low, to drive down energy demand and encourage clean energy.
It also recommends doing away with energy-efficiency regulations, which it says stymie innovation and have cost U.S. households nearly $1,350 over the past decade.
The study takes a close look at the Democratic Party platform issued last month during the convention in Philadelphia and focuses on one of the party's top energy proposals: Increasing energy efficiency regulations to reduce energy demand and increase clean energy.
"We will cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices through energy efficient improvements; modernize our electric grid; and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world," the Democratic platform says. "These efforts will create millions of new jobs and save families and businesses money on their monthly energy bills."
The American Action Forum's study concludes that raising energy efficiency isn't so simple and can't be achieved without the consequences of higher prices, less innovation and more emissions.
First, raising efficiency in the hopes that it will increase renewable energy resources isn't as simple as the party would like to believe. Increasing energy efficiency reduces demand for electricity, which would stifle wind and solar power, the report finds.
"The problem with this line of thinking is that there are sources of electricity that generate power with virtually zero environmental impact," said the report obtained by the Washington Examiner. "If you adopt a policy that reduces the demand for electricity, you are also reducing the demand for clean energy.
"Even worse, the biggest beneficiaries of increasing electricity demand are new energy sources — which are all cleaner than current coal plants," the report said. "Regulating efficiency standards creates a market where there is less need to innovate and keeps us using the same dirty power plants."
That would limit innovation on clean energy sources, reduce competition for new power sources and create regulatory costs that are passed onto the consumer, it said.
The efficiency agenda also reduces profits for companies, which stifles innovation. "Profit is the motivator for market participants to take chances on new technology," it said. "Energy efficiency standards reduce energy demand, helping to keep prices low, which consequently reduces profits."
The Democratic platform also ignores the reality that the regulations required to accomplish the goals of a cleaner environment come with a cost.
The American Action Forum tabulated that energy efficiency standards over the past decade have amounted to $168 billion in additional costs for consumers.
Washington justifies the regulations by combining their future benefits of energy savings and emission reductions to declare the rule "to be sufficient enough that the burden is worth bearing," the report said. But the method is flawed. It relies on energy being both clean and expensive to justify the need for regulation. And as a consequence, "the closer we get to our actual policy goal of cheap, clean energy, the less benefit these regulations actually deliver," it said.
Two reports about cosmic ray effects
Confirming Svensmark's theory
We happen to be in a weak solar cycle (24) which is actually on pace to be the weakest cycle in more than one hundred years. Therefore, it would not be surprising to have relatively high cosmic ray penetration into the Earth’s atmosphere; especially, since we are now heading towards the next solar minimum phase when solar activity is generally even quieter. In fact, for the past year, neutron monitors around the Arctic Circle have sensed an increasing intensity of cosmic rays. Polar latitudes are a good place to make such measurements, because Earth’s magnetic field funnels and concentrates cosmic radiation there. As it turns out, Earth’s poles aren’t the only place cosmic rays are intensifying. “Spaceweather.com” has led an effort in the launching of helium balloons to the stratosphere to measure radiation, and they find the same trend increasing intensity of cosmic rays over California. — Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, 29 August 2016
A team of scientists from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) and the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has linked large solar eruptions to changes in Earth’s cloud cover in a study based on over 25 years of satellite observations. The new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, shows that the global cloud cover is simultaneously reduced, supporting the idea that cosmic rays are important for cloud formation. The eruptions cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent corresponding to roughly a billion tonnes of liquid water disappearing from the atmosphere. The Suns contribution to past and future climate change may thus be larger than merely the direct changes in radiation, concludes the scientists behind the new study. —Technical University of Denmark, 24 August 2016
Study: Global Greening Will Stave Off The Bad Parts Of Global Warming
Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will create a greener world and prevent the worst parts of global warming, according to a new scientific study.
Researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine found plants use water more efficiently when exposed to higher concentrations of CO2, meaning any droughts caused by global warming would be much less severe than previous estimates.
“This is something that everybody who has studied plant physiology and CO2 has known for decades” Dr. Pat Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute who was not involved with the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Millions of years ago plants there was a lot more CO2 on Earth than there is today,” he said. “Plants grown in high CO2 levels change their optimal temperature for conducting photosynthesis, they’re pre-adapted to a much warmer world with much more CO2 in the air.”
Research suggests more CO2 increases plant growth, which would limit the impact of global warming. High CO2 levels cause plant life to thrive, particularly in arid regions where carbon emissions are literally causing deserts to bloom.
The UCI study suggests rising CO2 emissions will not cause global agriculture to collpase and could even boost agricultural yields. The National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy funded the UCI study.
“Take a look at crop yields, not just in the United States, but around the world,” Michaels said. “One reason for these increasing yields is simply that there’s more CO2 in the air.”
Previous studies suggest global warming is causing roughly half of Earth’s land-mass to demonstrate “significant greening,” and only 4 percent of the world saw a decrease in plant life. The increased vegetation growth caused by warmer temperatures is likely slowing global warming as well, since more trees and plants equates to more sequestered CO2.
“The world of 100 million years ago which was much warmer and drought prone than the world we live in today was a much greener world than the one we live in today,” Michaels told TheDCNF. “If you put more CO2 in the air you create a greener world and the evidence supporting this is compelling. It is obvious that the Earth is greening up. There are literally thousands of studies in the refereed literature showing this.”
Several recent studies rebuke previous claims that global warming could cause the total collapse of American and global agriculture. It is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected and even United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now believes that the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.
Other research authored by a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Davis has also used climate and agricultural computer models to conclude that global warming have a generally positive impact on U.S. farming including fewer frosts, longer growing seasons and an earlier start of ﬁeld operations by the end of the century. The study also found, however, that plants could potentially suffer from more heat stress and more dry days.
Despite this growing consensus, environmental groups still believe that plants and animals aren’t capable of adapting to changing temperatures, leading to mass extinctions and agricultural disruptions attributed to global warming.
“One-fourth of the Earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050 due to climate change,” The Nature Conservancy claims. “Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns across the globe, forcing animal species to migrate to new, cooler areas in order to survive.”
Scientists suspect that global warming will likely have many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Alaskan moose, improving the environment better for bees and literally causing deserts to bloom with foliage.
Australian conservatives trying to rein in Green spending
And the pips are squeaking
Australia's clean energy research efforts are heading for "the valley of death" if Parliament passes the Coalitions's omnibus package of cuts, according to leaders in the sector
Hundreds of researchers around Australia, including dozens at both the Australian National University and the University of NSW, will be faced with the dole queue if cuts to Australia's renewable energy research agency are passed by the Parliament, according to one of the sector's pioneers.
Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull will have a tough time in Parliament getting its savings bill through with opposition from all sides.
Deep cuts to the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contained in the Turnbull government's omnibus "budget repair" bill before the Parliament this week, is an "existential threat" to clean energy innovation in Australia, Professor Andrew Blakers says.
Professor Blakers of the ANU is a world leader in renewables research and he says many of his colleagues nationwide will lose their jobs if the government gets its bill through Parliament and advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost.
The ANU and the University of NSW are world leaders in solar energy research with PERC solar cells, now the commercial standard globally with more than $9 billion in sales, invented by Professor Blakers and his colleague Martin Green at the NSW institution.
ARENA was established in 2012 by the Gillard government and abolished by the Abbott government in 2014.
The agency received a stay of execution in March 2016 but Coalition policy now wants to strip $1.3 billion of funding from ARENA and merge its funding role with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which expects to see a financial return on money it invests in research.
The Clean Energy Council has published a briefing paper that likens de-funding ARENA to "plunging into the clean energy valley of death".
ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht told Fairfax that existing commitments would be met even if Parliament agreed to back the Coalition's cuts.
"The proposed reduction in ARENA's uncommitted funding will not affect existing commitments," Mr Frischknecht said.
"Projects currently receiving ARENA funding will continue to receive funding and ARENA will continue to oversee ongoing contract management and knowledge sharing outcomes for these projects."
The office of Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg did not respond before deadline on Tuesday to a request for comment and Labor says it has not arrived at a position on the ARENA cuts.
Professor Blakers said the decision, if passed, may mean the end of Australia's clean energy research effort and said both sides of politics would shoulder the blame.
"There is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia," Professor Blakers said. "If ARENA is dismantled, then many people would lose their jobs including dozens at ANU. "In the longer term, Australia's leadership in solar energy would vanish.
"After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change."
The research leader called on the Labor Party not to just "wave through" the proposed cuts. "It appears that the ALP might wave through a change to the ARENA Act, which would allow the end of ARENA granting," Professor Blakers said.
"For 30 years there has been a renewable energy funding agency in one form or another in Australia. "This has led to phenomenal success in generation of technology and education. "The worldwide silicon solar cell industry owes its existence in large measure to Australians who were supported by grants from government renewable energy agencies. "Billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to Australia."
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Posted by JR at 12:16 AM