Sunday, October 09, 2016
Hurricanes and Chicken Little Syndrome
Seemingly with every major weather-related event the “man-made” climate change alarmists come rushing forward exclaiming that the event is yet more “evidence” supporting their “settled science” claims. Hurricanes, tornados, lots of rain, droughts, you name it. Like clockwork, the media jumped on Hurricane Matthew and pushed the climate alarmists narrative while marveling at how “timely” the Paris Climate Agreement is. As NBC News' Ron Allen reported, “[Barack Obama] has done something that unites the world around the goal of saving the planet.” We have seemingly entered a comic book universe with fitting titles such as, “Super Hero Obama Saves Earth From Villain Climate Change.”
But the planet has a long history of major weather-related events. This reality has been confirmed time and again by sound scientific data, not questionable “scientific” models that have proven to be rather poor predictors of climate and weather. Back in 2005 when the U.S. experienced an increased number of hurricanes the climate alarmist predicted this to be the start of more frequent and intense storms. What followed was 11 years of low storm activity with no hurricanes hitting the U.S. mainland.
With the Left everything is political, and therefore an excuse to seek greater control over private citizens' lives. The reality is that when people stop believing in God, then they look to some other source of power to solve their problems and protect them. The Left not only accepts this role, they gladly preach it, to the point where they make the ridiculous claim of even being able to control the weather.
The Paris Climate Deal Is About Acquiring Power -- And it will take effect just ahead of the U.S. election
When Friday, Nov. 4 hits in a few weeks, headlines may be so hijacked by the impending presidential election that they miss the other news set to happen that day — the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement will take effect. Or, if you’re Barack Obama, the world will embark on the “best possible shot” at saving the planet. Because planetary survival has always hinged on UN-dictated meteorological engineering.
The Paris Agreement is the UN scheme under which participating countries must work to cut greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperatures increases “well-below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. By comparison, the UN has predicted that based on current trends, temperatures will rise by at least three degrees by 2100. In other words, the UN is hamstringing the global economy for the sake of one degree.
One can only hope the UN already has a pledge of cooperation from the sun for the next 84 years since evidence suggests sunspot activity may actually impact earth’s temperature more than human industry. Shocking, we know.
To go into effect, the agreement requires sign-on by 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions. The deal becomes effective 30 days from the date this threshold is reached. The U.S. and China, which together account for about 38% of the world’s emissions, had already signed onto the deal, with dozens of other countries doing the same. On Tuesday, the EU gave its assent, bringing 28 nations and pushing the tally above the deal’s requirement.
As we noted before, the Paris agreement is merely one part — albeit a big one — of Obama’s effort to centralize control. A side benefit is that it will obliterate the coal industry via death by regulation. Of course, with the Paris deal, he’s gone global with his regulatory fanaticism. Sure, environmental scaremongers à la Al Gore may paint the issue as one of survival — after all, if John Kerry is to be believed, battling climate change is equivalent to fighting the Islamic State — but the real issue is power. Why else would global leaders trip over themselves in a mad dash to implement a deal that will save a measly degree in temperature?
But fabricate a crisis of cosmic proportions, identify government mandates as the only solution, and voila: power.
And that’s not the half of it.
In typical “I have a pen” fashion, Obama specifically avoided the Senate while climate cavorting with the UN. He never gained Senate approval for the deal, giving a thumbs up to the agreement with one hand while flipping the bird to the Constitution with the other. Not quite tickled at Congress being cut out of international treaties, some Republican leaders challenged Obama. But the White House of course claims the agreement isn’t a treaty so Obama can assent via executive action. A fast way to get around that pesky supreme law of the land.
Of course, since it’s “not a treaty,” the Paris agreement carries little enforcement mechanism in the U.S., the one bright spot if there is one.
Still, fast-tracking the deal to make sure it goes into effect before POTUS #45 takes office and possibly blocks it was, undoubtedly, intentional.
With Obama exiting the White House soon (but not soon enough), his successor could technically withdraw from the deal, since it was approved via presidential pen stroke rather than Senate ratification. Hillary Clinton, of course, wouldn’t pull out, but Donald Trump has said he would. But this might be easier said than done. Per the agreement, signatory nations can withdraw with one year’s notice only after three years from the deal’s effective date. Fortune reports that Trump could bypass this requirement by pulling out of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, thereby withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris deal as well. Yet even this underscores the ridiculousness of pledging allegiance to the UN in the first place.
For now, suffice it to say that if a one-degree mark on a thermostat can trigger global mandates that kill industries and drive people out of work, it’s a clear sign the Left will use anything as an excuse to seize power.
UK: Fracking revolution! Ministers overrule locals to approve shale gas sites
Ministers have defied a welter of opposition to give the go-ahead for fracking plans.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today approved proposals for using the controversial mining technique at a site in Lancashire known as Preston New Road - but refused permission for another project nearby.
Opponents fear the technique can cause earthquakes, pollute water, lead to damaging development in the countryside and hit house prices.
The deeply controversial process involves drilling horizontally under ground before using explosive charge and high water pressure to extract gas.
The landmark ruling means shale rock gas can be 'fracked' horizontally for the first time - potentially paving the way for a rich new source of energy for the UK.
Lancashire County Council turned down planning applications for fracking for shale gas at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, even though its officials had recommended one of the schemes.
Cuadrilla appealed against against the decision and it went to a public inquiry which was heard earlier this year. Mr Javid has now approved the Preston New Road site.
Only one other fracking licence has been granted – for the firm Third Energy at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.
However, there are scores of other sites where there may be fracking potential. Other potential sites include Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire and Broadford Bridge in Sussex.
Britain imports about half the gas it uses. The National Grid calculates this could rise to 93 per cent by 2040.
Mr Javid said the decision to pursue fracking would boost the UK economy, adding: ‘Shale gas has the potential to power economic growth, support 64,000 jobs, and provide a new domestic energy source, making us less reliant on imports.
‘When it comes to the financial benefits of shale, our plans mean local communities benefit first.’
Under the Government’s shale wealth fund, it could pay up to £10million per community affected by a fracking site.
These would be drawn from business rates on the sites. Some industry sources warn that communities might have a long wait as significant revenues are unlikely before 2025.
Mr Javid did not grant approval for drilling at Roseacre Wood but said he was ‘minded’ to allow it.
Last night, Preston New Road Action Group chairman Pat Davies said: ‘This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.’
Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow minister for energy, said: ‘Tory ministers pay lip service to tackling climate change but are bending over backwards to force through new fossil fuel infrastructure, with divisive bribes, tax breaks and ministerial powers that over-ride the wishes of local communities.
‘The next Labour government will ban fracking and focus on unlocking the jobs and growth that a new clean low-carbon energy infrastructure can provide for our industry, workforce and communities.’
Greenpeace campaigner Hannah Martin said: ‘Fracking will put our countryside and air quality at risk. Digging up more fossil fuels that we can’t burn if we are to honour the international agreement we signed in Paris and is coming into force next month makes little economic or environmental sense.’
But the move was welcomed by unions. Stuart Fegan, of the GMB, said: ‘The go-ahead will reduce the gas we will need to import from regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and head-choppers as the UK will need to use gas for years to come to heat our homes and generate electricity on the 60 days each year when there is no wind.’
When David Cameron was prime minister, he said the Government was going 'all out for shale' to boost the economy, jobs and energy security.
Soon after she took over as PM, Theresa May launched a consultation which could see home owners receive individual payments for fracking wells drilled nearby.
But the process - in which liquid is pumped deep underground at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas - remains highly controversial, with many protesters turning out for the public inquiry.
Fracking has been mired in controversy since it hit the headlines in 2011 for causing two minor earthquakes in Lancashire, prompting a temporary ban.
The moratorium was later lifted, with controls put in place to prevent tremors, but fracking continues to attract opposition over fears it can also cause water contamination, noise and traffic pollution.
With the Government set to ratify the global Paris Agreement on cutting greenhouse gases before the end of the year, environmentalists argue fracking for fossil fuels is not compatible with tackling climate change and the focus should be on renewables.
Liberal Democrat climate spokeswoman Lynne Featherstone said: 'This decision sets a very dangerous precedent, with the government riding roughshod over the will of the local people.
'Fracking poses a huge risk to our countryside, environment and efforts to tackle climate change, we must continue to fight it at every turn.
'At a time when the rest of the world is moving towards low carbon, this Conservative government is taking us in completely the wrong direction.'
A fracking boss insisted today that drilling for gas is better than importing it.
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, the company behind the plans in Fylde, said the controversial process is the best solution for the UK's fuel shortage.
He told Good Morning Britain: 'The country needs gas. The country is running out of gas, and without some form of energy development, we're going to end up importing all of our fuel from overseas, and we've seen that just last week with the ridiculous situation where Scotland is importing shale gas from America, which frankly is crazy.'
Addressing local concerns about traffic, Mr Egan said that after an initial construction and drilling period the traffic would be 'down to three or four trucks a week'.
He said the impact of a producing site is 'far less, frankly, than a wind farm'.
He added: 'The fact is that this is a temporary development. There is traffic, obviously, you can't do this without it, but we're talking about 25 trucks a day at peak. 'That's for a maximum of six weeks spread out over a two-year period.'
MPs last year gave approval for fracking under National Parks but the wells themselves must be outside – so the companies must drill sideways to get to the shale reserves. In the latest round, licences were granted for exploratory drilling at 53 sites of special scientific interest and three RSPB nature reserves.
What will happen next? Britain has changed its planning rules to allow government intervention to approve or reject shale gas drilling permits and it is thought this could lead to a boom in fracking operations, with the first gas expected to come on to the market next year. Many applications have already led to protests.
Climatologist: Despite the Hype, Paris Climate Accord ‘Doesn’t Really Do Anything’ to Reduce Global Warming
President Obama hailed the European Parliament’s ratification of the Paris Climate Accord on Wednesday as “a turning point for our planet”, but climatologist Patrick Michaels says despite the presidential hype, the international climate change agreement, which goes into effect on November 4th, “doesn’t really do anything” to reduce global warming.
"The truth is that the Paris Climate Accord doesn't really do anything," Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, said of the international agreement, which attempts to prevent average global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100 by drastically reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of its 191 signatory nations.
“If you take a hard look at the numbers, if every nation did what they said they will do, and they won’t, it would reduce warming between now and the year 2100 by between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees C[elsius]. That is an amount that is too small to measure,” Michaels told CNSNews.com.
“I think it’s quite remarkable that people go around clapping each on the back and congratulating each other when they know that they didn’t agree to do very much at all,” he noted.
Michaels pointed out that even if all the pledges to reduce CO2 emissions are kept, the agreement would have a negligble effect on global warming.
“The Chinese, for all of President Obama’s praise, only agreed to do what Obama’s own economists told him they would do with business as usual," Michaels continued."They said, in 2011, given the development of the Chinese economy, it’s going to be mature around 2030 and that means their carbon dioxide emissions will stabilize. And that’s what they said they would do. They said we intend to stabilize our emissions around 2030.
“India, by the way, in Paris agreed to do less than business as usual. Their emissions per capita were dropping, I don’t know, about 20 percent or something like that, and they said we are going to have our emissions per capita not drop as much by 2030. And everybody claps their hands, like they’ve done something. …
“Only the United States and the EU [European Union] are the ones that are going to cost themselves a lot of money for this Paris Agreement. Go figure.”
Obama officially joined the Paris Climate Accord when he signed an executive order on September 3rd, stating at the time that “someday we may see this as the moment that we finally decided to save our planet.”
The president agreed to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 28 percent by 2030, a goal he intends to reach by implementing his controversial Clean Power Plan, which was recently put on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties with other nations must be ratified by the Senate. In light of this, CNSNews asked Michaels for his thoughts on the current status of the international climate change agreement in the U.S.
“It’s very unclear,” he replied. “Judging from the Supreme Court’s statement a little bit over a year ago in one of the power plant cases, and this was when [Justice Antonin] Scalia was still there, something of this magnitude, the court feels, probably should be legislated.
“Also, the Paris Agreement contains the words ‘we shall’ do this, ‘we shall’ do that as opposed to ‘we should’ do this, ‘we should’ do that. And even according to Secretary of State John Kerry, the word ‘shall’ makes it much closer to a treaty.
“And I think the Congress, when it gets back in session next January, ought to decide whether this is a treaty. And say to the president: ‘If we think it’s a treaty, you send it to the Senate for ratification. If you act on it otherwise, there’s going to be major legal problems’.”
Michaels added that the best course of action for the United States is to “do nothing” on climate change.
“Temperatures warmed between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, and depending upon what record you look at – whether you look at a satellite record, whether you look at a surface record – the warming either slowed down beginning in the late 1990s or in the case of the satellite record, stopped.
“Now that’s not predicted to have happened. But on the other hand, remember that it warmed up until the late 1990s, so that got us to a very high stand of temperatures. So even if the temperature remains constant, when you get something like an El Nino which induces an annual temperature spike, one for a year or two, you’re going to get record-high temperatures. And that’s where we are right now,” he told CNSNews.
“What’s going to happen in the next year after that El Nino is completely gone and the cold water that is suppressed comes back up, who knows where that temperature’s going to be a year or two from now, but it’s certainly not going to be as high as it was this year or last year.”
But even the current El Nino-driven warming is not nearly as high as computer models predicted, he pointed out.
“The hallmark of this issue from the get-go has been exaggeration,” Michaels told CNSNews. “Yes, if you put more carbon dioxide in the air, you will get a warming pressure on temperatures in the lower atmosphere and near the surface. That is true. And it’s warmer than it was a 100 years ago.
“But not all of that warming has been caused by carbon dioxide. Much of it occurred before we ever put much carbon dioxide in the air.
“And so the logical conclusion, if you compare what computer models say should be happening and what is happening, is that those models dramatically overforecast the amount of warming.
“And if, say, only half as much warming is going to occur as is being predicted, this turns into a non-problem because technology and society changes so much. Energy technology, just think 100 years ago," Michaels said.
“And if you have a gradual warming and you’re concerned about carbon dioxide, you’re going to be using different technologies 100 years from now. I don’t know what they’re going to be. I’m pretty darn sure they’re not going to be solar energy and windmills. We need good, dense energy that’s reliable. But it’s gonna be very different,” he added.
“So if the warming rate is modest, probably the best thing to do is to do nothing, because doing nothing is really actually doing something. It’s allowing yourself to generate the capital to produce new energy.”
Renewable energy faces stormy weather in Australia
Could Australian politics sink to a more juvenile level than it did last week after an entire state was hurled back into the dark ages by a freak storm?
Malcolm Turnbull, quite rightly, seized the opportunity to tell the states they had to sharpen up on energy security and consider an achievable single renewable energy target.
It wasn’t simply a case of a politician not wasting a crisis, it was a case of a leader reacting immediately to an unprecedented crisis with the potential to recur with even more devastating consequences rather than simply emoting in front of the media.
Instead of addressing the issue at hand, state and federal Labor leaders, clutching hymn sheets from central command, fell over each other to get to the cameras to express their outrage that the Prime Minister dared suggest their policies were inappropriate or unworkable.
It was as predictable as it was pathetic. Turnbull had, according to everyone from Bill Shorten down, turned into Tony Abbott — who, it has to be said, deserves 10 out of 10 for consistency since he lost the leadership by saying one thing publicly on the leadership and something else privately. But I digress.
Neither Turnbull nor federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg questioned that the blackout was caused by the weather. What they questioned was the reliability of the state’s power sources in the face of such an event.
Yesterday’s interim report by the Australian Energy Market Operator suggesting wind power was the root cause of the blackout showed they were spot-on to do so. Rule one, as Turnbull put it yesterday, was to keep the lights on, and again urged South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to own up to his responsibilities.
The South Australian experience has highlighted the possible disastrous consequences of the political one-upmanship on renewable energy targets (which peaks in the ACT, where it has been set at 100 per cent by 2020) yet the response of premiers and their energy ministers has been to accuse Turnbull of “politicking” or morphing into a climate change denier a la Abbott.
Even if he has morphed (and he hasn’t) they, as climate change believers, are the ones preaching catastrophic weather events will become more frequent. If they are right, we can expect more freakish storms more often, wreaking the kind of havoc witnessed in South Australia.
Surely, then, their immediate duty is to ensure they have the capacity to protect their citizens instead of responding with mantra or ideology or insult.
At the meeting of energy ministers in August, Frydenberg had already proposed they should look at the impact on the stability of the system and energy prices of state-based renewable targets. Unsurprisingly, the two most ideologically driven states, Victoria and the ACT, opposed the idea. Queensland was sceptical and NSW strongly supportive.
To his credit, South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis was constructive. Koutsantonis could not be anything else given only weeks earlier he had written to the chairman of the Energy Market Commission, John Pierce, conceding the high uptake of wind and solar had made electricity security a “complex matter”.
Eventually, after a tense stand-off, ministers agreed the review should proceed and it was announced in the post-meeting communique.
Victoria’s opposition to the review is consistent with its ostrich-like approach to the possible closure of the Hazelwood power plant in the Latrobe Valley, which supplies 20 per cent of the state’s energy needs.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio responded to the news of a possible closure by saying the state had the lowest prices in Australia and there was an oversupply of electricity. She insists the state would be able to cope, and does not expect it to affect the state’s energy supply.
D’Ambrosio continued her tedious recital from the hymn sheet on Tuesday, saying Turnbull was being hypocritical and clearly hadn’t done enough hand-wringing over the plight of South Australians. As if that would help.
While condemning the Prime Minister for playing politics rather than showing more empathy, D’Ambrosio showed herself to be a dab hand at politics: “At least with Tony Abbott, the people of Australia knew where they stood on climate policy, we don’t have that when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull.”
Because of the complexity of the issue, the review commissioned at the August meeting will not be ready until the end of the year, so Frydenberg tells me his primary goal at tomorrow’s meeting is to actually get the states to confront the issue. First they have to acknowledge a problem exists.
“What is the goal?” Frydenberg asks. “It is to reduce emissions, but the renewable energy target is a means to an end. If you haven’t got the best systems in place, you increase the costs to consumers or you undermine energy security. Then we are all stuffed.”
Meanwhile Labor glides over its policy of 50 per cent renewables by 2030, with not one detail about how to get there. We were told we had to wait until October next year for an answer to that (pending an election win by Labor), although Frydenberg helpfully has suggested that installing 10,000 wind turbines at a cost of $48 billion may be one option.
When opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler was asked on Sunday on Sky News when we could expect to see the modelling or consequences of its target, Butler confessed it couldn’t be done from opposition, only from government, so an answer could be a long time coming.
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
Posted by JR at 1:34 AM