Sunday, September 11, 2016

New amazing discovery:  Warming is GOOD for coral

I have been pointing that out for years

Coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef grow better in the summer and in northern areas, a major ocean chemistry monitoring project has found.

The Future Reef 2.0 project is helping to identify which parts of the reef are most vulnerable to ocean acidification change and has just been extended for another three years.

CSIRO scientists have been running an advanced sensor system from a Rio Tinto vessel as part of the research, which also involves the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

CSIRO ocean carbon research scientist Dr Bronte Tilbrook said the research has found ocean chemistry remains positive for coral growth.

Dr Tilbrook said it had also found there were strong seasonal changes, with the best coral growing conditions in summer.

Conditions were also better in the outer regions of the reef and there was more coral growth in the northern parts, he said.

Specifically, the project has been examining how the entire reef is responding to ocean acidification, bleaching and cyclones.

"The data is going to help us understand how the reef is growing and how it's responding to certain stresses," he told AAP.

"We need to get the big picture and that's the thing the ship is allowing us to do."


How Global Warming Threatens Labor Productivity (?)

Lots of nice theory below but not much reality contact.  I was born and bred in the tropics, where temperatures over 100F were common.  But life just went on much as it would anywhere.  People acclimatize to higher temperatures

Global warming is projected to have a serious negative impact on outdoor labor productivity this century. That impact could well exceed the “combined cost of all other projected economic losses” from climate change, as one expert has explained. Yet it has “never been included in economic models of future warming”!

At the same time, higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels threaten indoor productivity, as I reported last year. The Harvard School of Public Health has found that CO2 has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making at CO2 levels that most Americans are routinely exposed to today.

A 2013 NOAA study concluded that “heat-stress related labor capacity losses will double globally by 2050 with a warming climate.” If we don’t get off our current path of carbon pollution emissions, we face as much as a 50 percent drop in labor capacity in peak months by century’s end.

A number of recent studies have projected a collapse in labor productivity from business-as-usual carbon emissions and warming.

Here’s a key chart from a 2010 Ziven-Neidell paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change.” It plots “the number of minutes in a day that individuals (who work in outdoor or temperature-exposed sectors in the USA) spent working as a function of maximum temperature (in Fahrenheit) that day.”

Productivity starts to nose-dive at 90°F and falls off the cliff at 100°F.

Andrew Gelman, director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University, summed up the research this way: “2% per degree Celsius … the magic number for how worker productivity responds to warm/hot temperatures.” The negative impact appears to start at about 26°C (79°F).

So what does this mean for productivity? Prof. Solomon M. Hsiang has explained: “In my 2010 PNAS paper, I found that labor-intensive sectors of national economies decreased output by roughly 2.4% per degree C and argued that this looked suspiciously like it came from reductions in worker output. Using a totally different method and dataset, Matt Neidell and Josh Graff Zivin found that labor supply in micro data fell by 1.8% per degree C. Both responses kicked in at around 26C.”

Here is the key chart from Hsiang’s own work showing “national output in several [non-agricultural] industries … declining more rapidly at very high daily temperatures.”

Hsiang states the central point. His calculations show that the productivity loss from warming could exceed the “combined cost of all other projected economic losses” from climate change — and yet it has “never been included in economic models of future warming.”

So the next time you see a projection of the economic cost from climate change — and a resulting social cost of carbon — you might want to double the numbers to get a more accurate picture of what we are risking by our callous failure to sharply restrict carbon pollution.


Comment from a reader

The article seems to conclude that the entire world will drop to 50% productivity  ...  IF climate change brings about higher temperatures

My company often does work in freezers and cold storage systems. We pay a 25% premium to our labor for freezer work and we charge the customer for this. The reason.....productivity drops 25%, job satisfaction drops, errors increase and people even resign in spite of the premium pay.  The premium pay does not improve productivity but does help somewhat with job satisfaction and reduction in errors. It does not prevent resignations. We have had many people forfeit the "freezer pay" and quit rather than work at subzero temperatures. If a worker quits during a cold storage job he looses all of his travel allowance and his "freezer pay". We have yet to have someone continue on so as to collect the premiums but then later decline to work on a cold storage job, in which case we would not discharge a person for declining the work option.

Most jobs the USA are not conducted at temperatures above 78 deg F. not since the wide use of HVAC. The hardships of winter take a bigger toll .......rain, snow, ice, sickness, absenteeism, etc.  The reminder of the world works under all kinds of conditions, some with HVAC, some without. The human body was designed to take higher temperatures but had to innovate and adapt to handle lower temperatures.  The cradle of humanity was the tropics.  A 6 degree increase in temperature over the whole world will be addressed with HVAC in the tropics and subtropics and will be a welcome relief elsewhere. Only a few warmist will resist and go without heat or air.

As a boy, I grew up on a farm in East Texas. The hay field was my summer job with outdoor temperatures of 96 deg F and a metal hay barn...........more like 120 deg F. I would agree, above 100 deg F............. I was willing to spend 50% of my time in the shade but my Dad did not agree.

 From my current study of desert temperatures I have not seen any increases in ground level temperatures (Death Valley, California).  I have also looked at temperatures from various famous deserts around the world. They do not match the high levels reached in Death Valley.  Libya comes close but has never matched the record high of 1913 in Death Valley, but then neither has Death Valley.  I was expecting to see some very high numbers this summer in Death Valley but the July August numbers are just more average (maybe even below average) even though the world is crying about how hot it has been.

We happen to now be living in a world of maximum communication. Anyone can publish and find an audience. They can publish any kind of rubbish, draw outlandish conclusions, be embellished and quoted by believers without fact checks, used as reference  material and paid with all kinds of grants. Fortunately, the opposition enjoys the same freedom so long as they are not prosecuted for conspiracy.........also a two way street.

Why the Media’s Portrayal of Carbon Dioxide Is Often Wrong

The media is helping governments wage an all-out war on carbon dioxide while distorting the truth about the colorless gas. This blitz could come with considerable costs for Americans with negligible benefits, at most.

Over the weekend, the United States officially joined the Paris Protocol to combat manmade global warming while President Obama was in China.  The South China Morning Post was first to report story earlier last week. The news outlet, however, was not the first to misrepresent carbon dioxide as a harmful pollutant.

The picture used by the South China Morning Post illustrates a problem with how the media portrays carbon dioxide emissions generally. If you click on the link, the news story will show a picture of factories spewing out nasty, harmful black smoke. The caption of the photo from Reuters is: “Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Hefei, Anhui province.”

But the entire story is about reducing carbon dioxide emissions and combatting man-made global warming. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas. We exhale it. Carbon dioxide is a necessary component for photosynthesis and the growth of green vegetation. The reason behind the regulatory agenda to close existing coal-fired power plants in the United States and push for an international crusade against conventional fuels is because of carbon dioxide’s alleged impact on the climate.

The South China Morning Post is hardly the first to inaccurately portray carbon dioxide emissions. Australia’s Eco News reporting on China being poorly prepared for climate change plasters a large photo of cyclists peddling in a sea of smog with face masks. Time posts an aerial shot of a thick smog settling over Beijing in its story. The federal government has done its fair share of deceiving too through its messaging.

Rarely do you hear the words “global warming” out of President Barack Obama’s mouth. Even “climate change” is less frequent in speeches, unless it’s to facetiously tell the “flat-earth society” that climate change is real.

We all know the climate changes. The debate, which is very much open, is how fast the climate is changing, why it’s changing, and what is man’s impact.

For some time, the message from the White House evolved to “carbon pollution” to convey the very image the media uses—carbon dioxide has harmful, dirty pollutants.

China, without a doubt, has serious air and water quality problems. But people aren’t wearing masks in China because they’re worried about carbon dioxide. If there’s a pressing environmental issue Obama should be addressing while on his final Asia tour, it’s reducing the real pollutants like smog that we know have adverse health impacts.

These are environmental issues the United States has addressed. Through individual choice, regulation, and technological innovation, and having the wealth to address environmental concerns, the U.S. has largely addressed pollutants like black carbon and smog.

There’s a point where regulations go too far, and the regulators in the U.S. are so far past that line that they can’t even see it. The U.S. has been at a point where regulations have extremely steep costs for negligible improvements to air or water quality.

For instance, the increased stringency of the Obama administration’s new ozone standard and mercury air and toxics standard has exorbitant compliance costs passed onto the consumer and very little, if any, direct environmental benefit.

Global warming regulations have similarly high costs for no meaningful impact on global temperatures. The Paris agreement will curtail the use of conventional fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas and increase energy costs for developing countries. Furthermore, it will prohibit access to affordable electricity for countries that have yet to reliably flip a light switch on and off.

So, if you want to look at some pictures, look at ones where global warming policies will prevent better standards of living. Look at the group of boys studying by lantern in Chowkipur, India, as they are just a few of the 1.3 billion people without access to electricity. Look at the images of North Korea and South Korea at night. South Koreans use 10,162 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power per person in a year. Energy-poor North Koreans each use a paltry 739 kWh.  The poorest in the world are those most harmed by global warming policies.

To make matters worse,  the developed and developing world will be making economic sacrifices to maybe reduce the earth’s temperature a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 80 years.

As a colorless gas, it’s not easy to show a picture of carbon dioxide. A smokestack with nothing emitted from it, or even with water vapor, doesn’t have the same fear-mongering feel to it. But instead of taking deceptive and salacious shortcuts, news outlets and the Obama administration alike should stop misleading the public about what carbon dioxide really is.


Berlin delivers new decarbonisation proposal but lack of detail on coal phaseout and electric cars anger green groups

Germany has dropped plans to stop using coal.

Environmental organisations have responded to a government proposal to decarbonise the economy with outrage.

They say the Climate Action Plan 2050 will fall well short of meeting climate targets, and accuse the environment ministry of caving in to pressure from the economics ministry and Angela Merkel’s Chancellery to water down ambitious plans and drop important details, like a deadline for the coal exit.

The final version of the German Environment Ministry’s Climate Action Plan has been published. But concrete targets included in previous drafts have been removed, prompting the Green Party to describe the document as an “admission of government failure”.

The Climate Action Plan was announced at the Paris Climate Summit as a framework for how Germany was to reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050.

Germany is already struggling to meet its 2020 climate targets, and is under additional pressure after Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly said she would make climate policy a priority of Germany’s G20 presidency next year.

The environment ministry’s final version of the plan is still to be coordinated with other ministries. But critics say it had already been watered down under pressure from Sigmar Gabriel’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which insisted on the omission of a date for the coal exit.

Environment minister Barbara Hendricks said Merkel’s Chancellery asked for further changes to the plan.

“I have accepted these amendments to avoid further delays to the necessary discussions within the federal government,” Hendricks said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

But the Green Party and environmental organisations said the Climate Action Plan has lost all power as a blueprint for decarbonising Germany.

“Hendrick’s Climate Action Plan started as a tiger, but turned out to be a toothless tiger-skin rug,” said Green parliamentarians Bärbel Höhn and Oliver Krischer.

Changes to the Climate Action Plan 2050 came after industry associations repeatedly voiced their criticism of sector targets and the listed measures they feared would harm Germany’s economy and competitiveness.

Among other changes, Hendricks made concessions on the transition to renewable transport, one of the weak spots of Germany’s Energiewende.

A June draft said that by 2030 “a large majority of newly registered cars” would have to be powered by electricity or biofuels. But the new plan only states that “the government aims to significantly lower car emissions by 2030” and that e-cars would contribute to that goal.

Greenpeace energy expert Tobias Austrup said the plan’s soft stance on transport put the future of the car industry at risk.

“As long as an emission-free transport sector is not defined as a matter of course, carmakers will continue to dream of a future for the combustion engine – a future that will not exist.”

He added that without a coal exit and specific targets for different business sectors, the plan “lampooned” the spirit of the Paris Climate Conference.

While the environment ministry has repeatedly called for a managed coal exit by 2045 or 2050, other ministries, state premiers in coal mining regions and trade unions have resisted.

Weekly briefing: Sign up for your essential climate politics update

Environmental NGOs praised Merkel for pushing G7 leaders to commit to decarbonisation, and for fighting to make the Paris Climate Conference a success.

But the “Climate Chancellor’s” real commitment is under question because of her failure to push for an end to Germany’s dependence on highly polluting brown coal.

Germany increased power production from renewables to over 30 percent in 2015, yet overall CO2 emissions, as well as emissions from the power and transport sector, have stagnated or increased slightly over the last five years.

The plan’s preamble, added on request of the Chancellery, says the document “shows the basic parameters for the realisation of Germany’s long-term climate protection strategy, providing the necessary orientation for all actors in business, science, and society.”

It adds that “the Climate Action Plan 2050 does not contain rigid guidelines”, and that the government will “make it a key focus to preserve the competitiveness of German industry, including functioning, innovative and complete value chains.”

Environmental NGO Germanwatch said that government had postponed urgent decisions until after the parliamentary elections next year, and in doing so failed to provide planning security.

Policy director Christoph Bals said “the government appears to lack the necessary courage to agree on a clear strategy” to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, adding that the pending consultation with other ministries was a last chance to create a Climate Action Plan “worthy of its name”.

The cabinet is scheduled to approve the Plan by early November. The Climate Action Plan will not be a law – and so will not be put to a vote in parliament – but rather become part of the government’s energy transition strategy.


Ethanol is the wrong solution

By Marita Noon

University of Michigan’s Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco, Ph.D., believes that rising carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming and, therefore, humans must find a way to reduce its levels in the atmosphere — but ethanol is the wrong solution. According to his just-released study, political support for biofuels, particularly ethanol, has exacerbated the problem instead of being the cure it was advertised to be.

DeCicco and his co-authors assert: “Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow.” The presumption that biofuels emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) than gasoline does is, according to DeCicco: “misguided.”

His research, three years in the making, including extensive peer-review, has upended the conventional wisdom and angered the alternative fuel lobbyists. The headline-grabbing claim is that biofuels are worse for the climate than gasoline.

Past bipartisan support for ethanol was based on two, now false, assumptions.

First, based on fears of waning oil supplies, alternative fuels were promoted to increase energy security. DeCicco points out: “Every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has backed programs to develop alternative transportation fuels.” Now, in the midst of a global oil glut, we know that hydraulic fracturing has been the biggest factor in America’s new era of energy abundance — not biofuels. Additionally, ethanol has been championed for its perceived reduction in GHG. Using a new approach, DeCicco and his researchers, conclude: “rising U.S. biofuel use has been associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.”

DeCicco has been focused on this topic for nearly a decade. In 2007, when the Energy Independence and Security Act (also known as the expanded ethanol mandate) was in the works, he told me: “I realized that something seemed horribly amiss with a law that established a sweeping mandate which rested on assumptions, not scientific fact, that were unverified and might be quite wrong, even though they were commonly accepted and politically correct (and politically convenient).” Having spent 20 years as a green group scientist, DeCicco has qualified green bona fides. From that perspective he saw that while biofuels sounded good, no one had checked the math.

Previously, based on life cycle analysis (LCA), it has been assumed that crop-based biofuels, were not just carbon neutral, but actually offered modest net GHG reductions. This, DeCicco says, is the “premise of most climate related fuel policies promulgated to date, including measures such as the LCFS [California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard] and RFS [the federal Renewable Fuel Standard passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007].”

The DeCicco study differs from LCA — which assumes that any carbon dioxide released from a vehicle’s tailpipe as a result of burning biofuel is absorbed from the atmosphere by the growing of the crop. In LCA, biofuel use is modeled as a static system, one presumed to be in equilibrium with the atmosphere in terms of its material carbon flow. The Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use study uses Annual Basis Carbon (ABC) accounting — which does not treat biofuels as inherently carbon neutral. Instead, it treats biofuels as “part of a dynamic stock-and-flow system.” Its methodology “tallies CO2 emissions based on the chemistry in the specific locations where they occur.” In May, on my radio program, DeCicco explained: “Life Cycle Analysis is wrong because it fails to actually look at what is going on at the farms.”

In short, DeCicco told me: “Biofuels get a credit they didn’t deserve; instead they leave a debit.”

The concept behind DeCicco’s premise is that the idea of ethanol being carbon neutral assumes that the ground where the corn is grown was barren dirt (without any plants removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) before the farmer decided to plant corn for ethanol. If that were the case, then, yes, planting corn on that land, converting that corn to ethanol that is then burned as a vehicle fuel, might come close to being carbon neutral. But the reality is that land already had corn, or some other crop, growing on it — so that land’s use was already absorbing CO2. You can’t count it twice.

DeCicco explains “Growing the corn that becomes ethanol absorbs no more carbon from the air than the corn that goes into cattle feed or corn flakes. Burning the ethanol releases essentially the same amount of CO2 as burning gasoline. No less CO2 went into the air from the tailpipe; no more CO2 was removed from the air at the cornfield. So where’s the climate benefit?”

Much of that farmland was growing corn to feed cattle and chickens — also known as feedstock. The RFS requires an ever-increasing amount of ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Since the RFS became law in 2005, the amount of land dedicated to growing corn for ethanol has increased from 12.4 percent of the overall corn crop to 38.6 percent. While the annual supply of corn has increased by 17 percent, the amount going into feedstock has decreased from 57.5 percent to 37.98 percent — as a graphic from the Detroit Free Press illustrates.

The rub comes from the fact that we are not eating less. Globally, more food is required, not less. The livestock still needs to be fed. So while the percentage of corn going into feedstock in the U.S. has decreased because of the RFS, that corn is now grown somewhere else. DeCicco explained: “When you rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter has to get his resource from someplace else.” One such place is Brazil where previous pasture land, because it is already flat, has been converted to growing corps. Ranchers have been pushed out to what was forest and deforestation is taking place.

Adding to the biofuels-are-worse-than-gasoline accounting are the effects from producing ethanol. You have to cook it and ferment it — which requires energy. In the process, CO2 bubbles off. By expanding the quantity of corn grown, prairie land is busted up and stored CO2 is released.

DeCicco says: “it is this domino effect that makes ethanol worse.”

How much worse?

The study looks at the period with the highest increase in ethanol production due to the RFS: 2005-2013 (remember, the study took three years). The research provides an overview of eight years of overall climate impacts of America’s multibillion-dollar biofuel industry. It doesn’t address issues such as increased fertilizer use and the subsequent water pollution.

The conclusion is that the increased carbon dioxide uptake by the crops was only enough to offset 37 percent of the CO2 emissions due to biofuel combustion — meaning “rising U.S. biofuel use has been associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.”

Instead of a “disco-era ‘anything but oil’ energy policy,” DeCicco’s research finds, that while further work is needed to examine the research and policy implications going forward, “it makes more sense to soak up CO2 through reforestation and redouble efforts to protect forests rather than producing biofuels, which puts carbon rich lands at risk.”

Regardless of differing views on climate change, we can generally agree that more trees are a good thing and that “using government mandates and subsidies to promote politically favored fuels de jour is a waste of taxpayers’ money.”


America's Greens: the party of paranoia

As the US edges closer to the 2016 presidential election, many voters are at a loss about who to support. According to a recent national survey conducted by Monmouth University, 33 per cent of people polled had a positive view of Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, and 24 per cent had a positive view of Republican nominee Donald Trump. The survey revealed a plurality of respondents – 35 per cent in total – who didn’t like either candidate.

On election day, most of this 35 per cent will no doubt hold their noses and begrudgingly vote for either Clinton or Trump. However, the historic unpopularity of both the Republican and Democrat picks has raised the hopes of third-party and independent candidates. Beltway conservatives – a la William Kristol – hope an independent, right-leaning candidate will come to the rescue, while other conservatives have jumped ship to Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Many of the Democrats who supported Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the primaries have now reluctantly closed ranks around Hillary, for fear of a Trump victory. The memories of Ralph Nader taking votes from Al Gore in the 2000 election still haunt them. Nevertheless, a sizeable number of left-leaning Bernie Sanders supporters still can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Now, many in the so-called ‘Bernie or bust’ camp are turning to the Green Party.

As spiked has often argued, environmentalism, despite presenting itself as left-wing and progressive, is nothing of the sort. Greens’ anti-growth, conservationist outlook is far removed from previous left-wing demands for material abundance. Yet, unfortunately, green parties in many Western countries are now significant forces on the so-called left. The Green Party of the United States, however, is even more bizarre than its international counterparts. In this election cycle, it’s been less an environmentalist party, and more a full-blown conspiracy-theory party.

The Green Party’s nominee, Jill Stein, has already courted controversy for her statements on vaccination. Although she now claims to support it, she has often, in the past, pandered to the conspiracy theories of the anti-vaccination movement. She has floated the idea that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control, which approve vaccines, are not to be trusted, because they are institutions ‘where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence’. The implication being that evil drug companies are out to poison children. Stein also thinks that wifi signals are potentially harmful, and has suggested restricting wifi in schools.

Yet when it comes to conspiratorial paranoia, Stein’s vice-presidential pick, Ajamu Baraka, takes the tinfoil crown. Baraka seems to have spent years floating around the US conspiracy theory and ‘truther’ scene, regularly appearing on oddball websites and radio shows. Just this year, Baraka contributed an essay to a book entitled Another French False Flag?: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernardino. Baraka’s essay, it should be noted, did not allege that the Paris attacks were a state conspiracy. But many of the other essays did. The book is replete with outlandish conspiracy theories concerning the Paris attacks, and includes contributions from outright anti-Semites like Ken O’Keefe.

Baraka himself seems to find a conspiracy in nearly every news event. He has claimed that the 2014 murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas was a ‘false flag’ attack. He has also suggested that the reason prosecutors are pushing for racist mass shooter Dylann Roof to be sentenced to death is to bolster African-American support for the death penalty. And he thinks the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram was a conspiracy by the powers that be. The man’s paranoia, his tendency to see dark forces lurking behind every major event, appears to know no bounds

Green parties across the world are often prone to conspiratorial thinking about the supposed machinations of energy firms. The US Green Party, however, has gone a step further. The Stein-Baraka ticket is plucking its talking points from the deepest, darkest recesses of online politics. That the Greens are actually considered a viable alternative by some disaffected progressives is testament to how bizarre this election cycle has been – and how distorted progressivism has become.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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