Monday, October 10, 2016

Climate change "scientist" who said Arctic would be free of sea ice by last month eats humble pie as data show there's MORE there now than there was four years ago

But he is still making his nutty prophecies

A prominent climate change scientist has been forced to backtrack on his prediction that the Arctic would be free of sea ice by September this year - after data showed there is more now than four years ago.

Professor Peter Wadhams, from the University of Cambridge, predicted in 2012 that the Arctic would be ice-free by September this year.

However, figures show there was 1.6 million square miles of sea ice last month - which is actually 20 per cent more than the figure recorded in 2012.

Professor Wadhams told The Telegraph that he still expected the disappearance of Arctic sea ice in 'a very small number of years', but admitted it had not happened as quickly as he had forecast.

He said: 'My view is that the trend of summer sea ice volume is relentlessly downward, such that the volume (and thus area) will come to a low value very soon - in a very small number of years.

'This is to be contrasted with some of the bizarre predictions made by computer modellers, who have the summer sea ice remaining until late this century, which is quite impossible.'

However, Professor Wadhams has been criticised by other scientists for making 'dramatic' predictions that are 'incorrect'.

 Dr Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, wrote on the blog Climate Lab Book: 'There are very serious risks from continued climatic changes and a melting Arctic but we do not serve the public and policy-makers well by exaggerating those risks.

'We will soon see an ice-free summer in the Arctic but there is a real danger of "crying wolf" and that does not help anyone.'

In September, figures from The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado showed there was 1.6 million square miles (4.14 million square kilometers) of Arctic sea ice at its summer low point

In 2012, Arctic sea ice shrank to its lowest level on record at 1.31 million square miles (3.39 million square kilometers).

However, this year's figure remains the second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite. [i.e. since 1979 -- far too short a period to identify a trend, given what we know of low ice levels around the beginning of C20]



President Obama’s flagship policy on climate change had its day in court on Tuesday, September 27 in the U.S. court of appeals for the District of Columbia. The international community is closely watching; most Americans, however, are unaware of the historic case known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP) — which according to David Rivkin, one of the attorneys arguing against the plan: “is not just to reduce emissions, but to create a new electrical system.”

For those who haven’t followed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule, here’s a brief history that brings us to up to date:

EPA published the final CPP rule in the Federal Register on October 2015.

More than two dozen states and a variety of industry groups and businesses immediately filed challenges against it — with a final bipartisan coalition of more than 150 entities including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 electric coops, 3 labor unions, and about a half dozen nonprofits.

On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request for a stay that would have prevented implementation of the rule until the court challenges were resolved.

On February 9, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS), in an unprecedented action, before the case was heard by the lower court, overruled, and issued a stay that delays enforcement of CPP.

The Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear oral arguments before a three-judge panel on June 2, but pushed them to September 27 to be heard by the full court — something the court almost never does (though for issues involving “a question of exceptional importance” procedural rules allow for the case to proceed directly to a hearing before the full appeals court).

The court, which is already fully briefed on a case before hearing the oral arguments, typically allows a maximum 60-90 minutes to hear both sides and occasionally, with an extremely complex case, will allow two hours. The oral argument phase allows the judges to interact with lawyers from both sides and with each other. However, for the CPP, the court scheduled a morning session focusing on the EPA’s authority to promulgate the rule and an afternoon session on the constitutional claims against the rule — which ended up totaling nearly 7 hours. Jeff Holmstead, a partner with Bracewell Law, representing one of the lead challengers, told me this was the only time the full court has sat all day to hear a case.

One of the issues addressed was whether or not the EPA could “exercise major transformative power without a clear statement from Congress on the issue” — with the 2014 Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. EPA determining it could not. Republican appointee Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted that the UARG scenario “sounds exactly like this one.”

Judge Thomas Griffith, a Bush appointee, questioned: “Why isn’t this debate going on in the floor of the Senate?” In a post-oral argument press conference, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) pointed out that the debate has been held on the Senate floor in the form of cap-and-trade legislation — which has failed repeatedly over a 15-year period. Therefore, he said, the Obama administration has tried to do through regulation what the Senate wouldn’t do through legislation.

“Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, one of Obama’s mentors,” writes the Dallas Morning News: “made a star appearance to argue that the Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.”

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a Bush appointee, concluded: “You have given us all we need and more, perhaps, to work on it.”

The day in court featured many of the nation’s best oral advocates and both sides feel good about how the case was presented.

For the challengers (who call CPP “an unlawful power grab”), West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who along with Texas AG Ken Paxton, co-lead the case, reported: “We said (then) that we were looking forward to having our day in court on the merits. Today was that day. I think that the collective coalition was able to put very strong legal arguments forward, as to why this regulation is unlawful, and why it should be set aside.”

But the case has its proponents, too, and they, also, left feeling optimistic. In a blog post for the Environmental Defense Fund, Martha Roberts wrote about what she observed in the courtroom: “The judges today were prepared and engaged. They asked sharply probing questions of all sides. But the big news is that a majority of judges appeared receptive to arguments in support of the Clean Power Plan.” She concluded that she’s confident “that climate protection can win the day.”

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) summarized the session saying that stakeholders on all sides were left “parsing questions and reactions, and searching for signs of which way the judges are leaning.” U.S. News reported: “The judges repeatedly interrupted the lawyers for both sides to ask pointed questions about the legal underpinnings of their positions.”

The decision, which is not expected for several months, may come down to the ideological make-up of the court: 6 of the judges were appointed by Democrat presidents and 4 by Republicans. Though, according to WSJ, Obama appointee Judge Patricia Millet “expressed concern that the administration was in effect requiring power plants to subsidize companies competing with them for electricity demand.” She offered hope to the challengers when she said: “That seems to be quite different from traditional regulation.” Additionally, in his opinion published in the Washington Post, Constitutional law professor Jonathan Adler, stated: “Some of the early reports indicate that several Democratic nominees posed tough questions to the attorney defending the EPA.”

Now, the judges will deliberate and discuss. Whatever decision they come to, experts agree that the losing side will appeal and that the case will end up in front of the Supreme Court — most likely in the 2017/2018 session with a decision possible as late as June 2018. There, the ultimate result really rests in the presidential election, as the current SCOTUS make up will be changed with the addition of the ninth Justice, who will be appointed by the November 8 winner — and that Justice will reflect the new president’s ideology.

Hillary Clinton has promised to continue Obama’s climate change policies while Donald Trump has announced he’ll rescind the CPP and cancel the Paris Climate Agreement.

The CPP is about more than the higher electricity costs and decreased grid reliability, which results from heavy reliance on wind and solar energy as CPP requires, and, as the South Australian experiment proves, doesn’t work. It has far-reaching impacts. WSJ states: “Even a partial rebuke of the Clean Power Plan could make it impossible for the U.S. to hit the goals Mr. Obama pledged in the Paris climate deal.” With Obama’s climate legacy at stake, the international community is paying close attention.

And Americans should be. Our energy stability hangs in the balance.


World's Largest Carbon-Capture Plant to Open Soon

So stupid & so expensive. CO2 is what plants need to grow. And we want to bury it? Misguided idiots

On schedule, on budget. It’s a tall order for any new technology, but for a commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) system, it might be the start of a revolution.

The Petra Nova carbon capture system under construction at the W.A. Parish Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant southwest of Houston, is slated to go online before the end of the year. The billion-dollar facility will become the largest post-combustion carbon capture system installed on an existing power plant in the world.

Systems like Petra Nova that keep carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere may become a necessary means to mitigate climate change, and for some utilities, they could offer a lifeline to beleaguered fossil fuel plants.

“We believe that coal plants are an important part of the energy mix of the United States,” said David Greeson, vice president for development at NRG Energy Inc.. “Our challenge, then, is to mitigate the environmental impacts.”

NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., Japan’s largest oil producer, are running the Petra Nova project as a 50-50 joint venture under the umbrella of Petra Nova Parish Holdings LLC.

The project received $300 million each from NRG and JX Nippon. NRG also received $167 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, plus another $23 million from DOE under Section 313 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 for the carbon capture system.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Mizuho Bank Ltd. are also providing loans totaling $250 million.

Greeson said Petra Nova is on track in large part due to planning and constraints. The development team worked to iron out the technical issues as much as possible before construction began, using components that were already proven to some extent.

In addition, since NRG is an independent power producer, they have bid into a competitive market. That means they don’t have a captive base of ratepayers, so if the price of power jumps too high, their customers have the option of going elsewhere.

“The technology we’re using is definitely evolutionary, not revolutionary,” Greeson said. “We had to execute and know what the deal was going to be before we started.”
An example of widespread CCS?

At the plant, a 240-megawatt slipstream of exhaust flue gas flows into the capture system, which will filter out 90 percent of the carbon dioxide, along with particulates, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

Petra Nova deploys a commercial amine-based carbon dioxide scrubber developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. used to capture carbon dioxide in industrial applications.

The captured carbon dioxide is pumped 82 miles to the West Ranch oil field in Jackson County, Texas, where drillers inject it into depleted wells, squeezing out the stubborn bits of crude oil that remain after the reservoir is tapped, in a process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Drillers estimate that the field holds 60 million barrels that could be recovered with EOR.

The EOR operations will generate the revenue that pays for the CCS system. “We have not impacted the cost of electricity from the plant,” Greeson said.


Blood cell phones and Teslas

Too many “green” policies bleed red, hurting the environment and killing people

Paul Driessen

Leonardo DiCaprio made millions for portraying smuggler Danny Archer in the film “Blood Diamond,” which supported mostly unworkable and now defunct efforts to certify that diamonds did not come from “conflict” areas. He loves modern gadgets and takes great pride in being able to lecture “commoners” about safeguarding Earth’s climate – while flying to Earth Day events on private jets, getting chauffeured in limousines, and being driven to Oscar ceremonies in a heavily subsidized Prius.

It turns out, hybrid and electric vehicles are not so “green” and “eco-friendly,” after all. Ditto for cell phones, laptops, wind turbines, solar panels and a plethora of technologies that utilize batteries, magnets and other components which require cobalt, lithium, rare earths and other metals.

Many of those technologies trace their ancestry to mines, mining and processing methods, and countries that don’t come close to meeting modern standards for environmental protection, child labor or “corporate social responsibility.” You could call them “blood technologies” and “conflict metals.”

A recent Washington Post article, “The cobalt pipeline,” attempted to trace the origins of that essential metal from environmentally destructive, even deadly hand-dug mines in the Congo to multiple consumer products. While Todd Frankel’s eye-opening expos left out many important issues, and addressed others from a simplistic developed-nation perspective, it is a “must read” on modern technologies.

Lithium-ion battery products for which cobalt is indispensable include Post owner Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Kindle, Apple and other cell phones and laptop computers, and BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Tesla and Toyota hybrid and electric vehicles. Amounts range from 10 grams in smart phones to 28 g (1 ounce) in laptops to as much as 15,000 g (33 pounds) in electric cars, the article points out.

Some 60% of the world’s entire supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Frankel notes, and the vast majority of that (72,000 tons of ore in 2015) moves through one Chinese company (Congo DongFang International Mining) to the world’s largest battery manufacturers and users.

Global cobalt demand has tripled since 2010. But in 2015, US dealers sold only 115,000 electric cars – a 4% decline from the previous year, and a mere 0.7% of the 17.5 million cars and light trucks sold in America. Just imagine how much cobalt ore would be required if all US cars had to be electric, as many politicians and environmentalists demand.

Then imagine the millions of tons of cobalt, lithium, rare earth and other metal ores that would have to be mined – often under similarly unsafe, polluting, environmentally destructive conditions in places like the DRC or Baotou, Inner Mongolia – to manufacture the millions of wind turbines and billions of solar panels that would be required to replace fossil fuels with “eco-friendly renewable” electricity generation in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. Try to envision the vast landscapes that would be impacted.

I estimated that generating intermittent US power would require an area the size of Montana swarming with 400-foot-tall onshore wind turbines. Another analyst calculates that it would affect more land than Montana and North Dakota combined: 141,000,000 acres. Bird and bat-butchering wind turbines would leave some open space in between, but bird-roasting and other solar facilities would blanket vast areas.

 And if we eliminate fossil fuel primary and backup power plants, we must store the wind and solar electricity – which means massive battery arrays, which means millions more tons of cobalt and lithium.

Mining experts tell me known locations in the United States contain commercially viable cobalt deposits. My own research (in 1994, before new withdrawals; see pgs 12-17) concluded that virtually all the metals for these and other technologies could be found in US locations that are off limits to exploration and development, under dozens of scenic and environmental categories. We cannot even assess what is there, to make sound policy decisions about whether the full range of technological, ethical, environmental and economic considerations argues for developing them, using modern methods under today’s rigorous regulatory regimes. In fact, even when deposits are still legally accessible, getting permits to evaluate and mine them is increasingly impossible. Mining thus heads overseas, because even the most ardent environmentalists, regulators and politicians refuse to live without their technological marvels.

Western mining companies could mine those overseas deposits under rules and processes that safeguard worker health and environmental values. But they are too often vilified, harassed and kept out, by ardent environmentalists, regulators and politicians. The vacuum is filled by Chinese and other companies, under far less rigorous health, safety and environmental standards.

Or worse, it is filled by tens of thousands of poor “artisanal” miners, who dig holes and mine shafts with hand tools – under few or no health, safety or environmental standards or precautions, and often without permits – to eke out a few dollars a day, to feed and clothe their families. The dangerous, back-breaking work often becomes a family enterprise – with wives and children laboring alongside fathers, and all of them getting covered in heavy metal dust, even bringing it home to infect babies and young children.

The result is high levels of cobalt, lead and uranium in their blood, urine and organs – and multiple blood and respiratory diseases, as well as birth defects. The risk of serious accidents and death in the mines is acute and constant. Frankel and others rightly bemoan the situation. However, the all too real alternatives are prostitution for mothers and daughters, thievery for fathers and sons, or starvation and death for all.

Near and mid-term solutions are elusive in countries as destitute and dysfunctional as the DRC. They are made even more distant by the same “social responsibility” and “environmental” activists who gain fame and fortune by battling Western mining companies.

When Doe Run launched extensive projects to modernize and clean up a decades-long heritage of horrendous state-run lead and silver mines and smelters in Peru, those activists finally spoke up – to denounce the company for not eliminating the problems overnight. In the same vein, Chinese-run mining operations are an improvement over artisanal mines, but China’s health, environmental and human rights record in Baotou, Beijing, Guangdong and elsewhere presents little reason for optimism.

Moreover, the 100,000 or so artisanal miners in Congo mean the companies don’t have to pay wages or worry about health-safety-pollution compliance. That brings cheaper cobalt, which benefits mining, processing, battery, computer and car companies – and the labyrinthine acquisition process makes it all but impossible to trace the origins of a particular pound of chromium.

Artisanal and even modern corporate underground mines are inherently dangerous and deadly. However, global greens detest open pit mining, despite its far lower risks. Forced relocations of families and communities are always wrenching, as Frankel observes – whether for cobalt mines or for TVA projects, China’s Three Gorges Dam, Ugandan climate programs, or anti-logging campaigns that closed down many communities’ economic foundations.

The questions now are: Where and how to begin cleaning up the mess, with what money in this destitute and often war-torn region, and how to replace or improve DongFang, or attract Western companies that can weather callous, hypocritical vilification campaigns by the $15-billion-a year Big Green cabal?

These are the same eco-imperialist pressure groups that oppose drilling, fracking, and fossil fuels, even if they would lift families out of abject poverty; pipelines and train lines to carry oil, because they demand a hydrocarbon-free future; DDT and pesticides to prevent malaria; and Golden Rice and other GMO crops to reduce malnutrition, starvation, poverty, blindness and death. They support only minimal economic development in Third World countries, and only what can be supported by wind and solar power.

Above all, they ensure unsustainable, unconscionable poverty, disease and death in poor nations.

All of this should begin to open people’s eyes, redefine what is “green” energy and technology, and engender robust debate over what really is ethical, Earth-friendly, socially responsible, environmental justice and eco-racism. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen.

Via email

Australia: An admission from the Left that "Renewable" energy was responsible for SA’s Power Outage

By Geoff Russell, writing in "New Matilda"

South Australia has just had some bad weather. Not bad like hurricane Matthew’s trail of destruction in the Caribbean, but bad enough to destroy livelihoods and put lives at risk.

The impacts of bad weather anywhere extend over years. The flooded market gardens will mean increased food prices in the short term and strengthen calls for more money to be spent on flood prevention and mitigation in the long run.

Underinsured businesses may fail and there will be hardship and perhaps even suicide.

The storms toppled power transmission towers and the entire state was blacked out. Large sections of roads in the Adelaide hills fell away as if hit by an earth quake. Backup generators failed in hospitals and businesses. At Whyalla’s steelworks, slabs of steel cooled prematurely and will have to be removed by welding teams in coming weeks.

Medications and much else needing refrigeration had to be dumped and generator sales soared as tens of thousands of households endured not just the initial hours felt by the entire state, but a day or two without power.

Given our propensity for self-interest, I’d expect sales of big battery banks will also boom over the next year or two. If you are into shares, then I’d suggest lead, zinc, cobalt and lithium. One of my UPS units lasted barely 60 seconds instead of the half hour I’d expected, so I’ll certainly be calling for a Royal Commission into UPS standards!

So what went wrong?

Here’s what didn’t happen… a massive storm knocked over huge transmission towers and a grid collapse was the inevitable outcome; the first bit is true and the second is bollocks.

In 2012 a study by Ben Heard and James Brown into a nuclear power option for SA looked at the failure parameters for the South Australian grid.

Grid operators always know how big a generator can fail without bringing down the grid. As a rule of thumb, they want the system to stay up even if their biggest generator fails.

In 2012, Electranet estimated that the grid could handle a 450 mega watt (MW) loss without crashing.

But it’s not just the amount of power that is important. Traditional generators are large lumps of spinning metal which have considerable inertia. Solar doesn’t work like this, and nor, a little surprisingly, do wind turbines. A heavy vehicle has inertia which keeps it moving when it hits a hill. So it is with traditional baseload turbines: they resist slowing down.

If your electricity network has lots of these then it has considerable inertia in the face of sudden losses… it will fail slowly and give you time to respond, typically by load shedding… meaning selectively cutting power to small areas. But the SA network has been radically transformed in recent years and has lost significant capacity to withstand failure.

So how much power did SA lose when those big towers collapsed? A mere 315 MW. The grid should have stayed up and would have stayed up in times past.

At the time of the blackout, the Heywood interconnector was the main source of high inertia power on our grid, and it was running near capacity; shipping in coal power from Victoria.

When the towers collapsed there wasn’t enough capacity in that connector so it was overloaded and turned itself off to avoid damage.

If you want the full blow-by-blow story of what happened, then read the official AEMO report or head over to Ben Heard’s blog for a readable explanation.

The Greens responded locally by making a video reminding people that the storms should be viewed as a powerful portent of our coming destabilised climate. Quite right. Warning people of impending doom soon loses it’s power in the face of continued unruffled contentment amid an almost infinite supply of football finals and cooking programs.

But because their renewable energy policy is rooted in slogans rather than science, they also mounted a robust defence of their renewable energy champion despite him presently spewing blood and thrashing around like the Monty Python Black Knight.

I had a meeting with a senior Greens figure before the recent Federal Election to talk about nuclear power. I was accused of bombarding them with facts. Silly me, I should have arrived with a guitar and a couple of evocative ballads.

“I’m not a scientist” he kept saying, “but I’ve been told” … he went on. “By whom?” By someone else who wasn’t a scientist and doesn’t seem to know any.



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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