Thursday, October 13, 2016

Global warming doubles size of forest fires in US West, study finds

This is just more rubbishy modelling.  They have got no way of knowing what part of forest fire activity is attributable to anthropogenic global warming -- unless they use the old formula "post hoc ergo propter hoc" -- which is both a scientific and a logical fallacy.  It does appear that there is some correlation between fire incidence and global temperature but we must remember what is just about the first law of statistics:  Correlation is not causation.  I would think the correlation could be amply explained by the steadily increasing Greenie influence on forestry.  Greenie resistance to back-burning is by far the biggest producer of catastrophic fires.  I append the journal abstract to the summary below

Global warming has caused the area affected by forest fires in the western United States to double over the last 30 years – and the problem will continue to get worse until the trees start to run out, according to new research.

Higher air temperatures dry out vegetation, making it more prone to combust, as witnessed with increasing ferocity in states like California and Oregon.

While some parts of the world will get wetter as the climate warms, fires have been increasing in places like the Amazon, Indonesia and Canada's boreal forests.

Climate scientists had predicted wildfires would increase in places, but the new study, funded in part by Nasa, is one of the first to quantify the effect.

One of the researchers, Professor Park Williams, a bio-climatologist at Columbia University, said: “No matter how hard we try, the fires are going to keep getting bigger, and the reason is really clear.

“Climate is really running the show in terms of what burns. We should be getting ready for bigger fire years than those familiar to previous generations.”

An extra 4.2 million hectares of forest fires – about 16,000 square miles, the same area as Denmark – were estimated to have been caused by human-induced climate change between 1984 and 2015, according to a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This increase nearly doubled the area that would have burned if the temperature had not risen, the researchers found.

Eventually the fires will be so extreme that the remaining forests are too fragmented for flames to spread easily between them.

“There's no hint we're even getting close to that yet. I'd expect increases to proceed exponentially for at least the next few decades,” Professor Williams said.

While the world’s average temperature has risen by one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, the increase within forests in the US West has been sharper. Since 1970, temperatures have gone up there by 1.5C – and this increase is expected to continue.

Warmer air can hold more moisture, so water is sucked out of plants, dead vegetation and the soil, creating tinder dry conditions.


Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western US forests

By John T. Abatzoglou and A. Park Williams


Increased forest fire activity across the western continental United States (US) in recent decades has likely been enabled by a number of factors, including the legacy of fire suppression and human settlement, natural climate variability, and human-caused climate change. We use modeled climate projections to estimate the contribution of anthropogenic climate change to observed increases in eight fuel aridity metrics and forest fire area across the western United States. Anthropogenic increases in temperature and vapor pressure deficit significantly enhanced fuel aridity across western US forests over the past several decades and, during 2000–2015, contributed to 75% more forested area experiencing high (>1 σ) fire-season fuel aridity and an average of nine additional days per year of high fire potential. Anthropogenic climate change accounted for ∼55% of observed increases in fuel aridity from 1979 to 2015 across western US forests, highlighting both anthropogenic climate change and natural climate variability as important contributors to increased wildfire potential in recent decades. We estimate that human-caused climate change contributed to an additional 4.2 million ha of forest fire area during 1984–2015, nearly doubling the forest fire area expected in its absence. Natural climate variability will continue to alternate between modulating and compounding anthropogenic increases in fuel aridity, but anthropogenic climate change has emerged as a driver of increased forest fire activity and should continue to do so while fuels are not limiting.


Pretty boy is an idiot

Excerpt below from a speech by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau.  He calls carbon pollution. Does he realize that he himself is made of carbon, water and a few other odds and ends?  Carbon is the building block of life.  To call it pollution is  scientific ignorance of the highest order

I have had many opportunities over the past year – over the past number of years, really – to reflect on Canada’s success.

And every time we have done something well, whether it was decades ago with Medicare and CPP, or more recently getting our national debt under control in the 1990s, taking steps to ensure the stability of our banking system, or responding to a global refugee crisis, our success has been rooted in two things.

First, that when we see a problem, we don’t walk away from it, or deny that it exists. Instead, we lean in. We work hard – and we work together – to solve the problems that come our way.

And second, when we say we’re going to do something, we follow through. We live up to our commitments. The world expects that of us. So do the markets. And so do our fellow Canadians.

It is in that very Canadian spirit of solving problems and keeping promises that I address the House today, and share the government’s plan for pricing carbon pollution.

After decades of inaction, after years of missed opportunities, we will finally take real and concrete measures to build a clean economy, create more opportunities for Canadians, and make our world better for our children and grandchildren.

Mr. Speaker, we will not walk away from science, and we will not deny the unavoidable.

With the plan put forward by the government, all Canadian jurisdictions will have put a price on carbon pollution by 2018.

To do that, the government will set a floor price for carbon pollution.

The price will be set at a level that will help Canada reach its targets for greenhouse gas emissions, while providing businesses with greater stability and improved predictability.

Provinces and territories will have a choice in how they implement this pricing. They can put a direct price on carbon pollution, or they can adopt a cap-and-trade system, with the expectation that it be stringent enough to meet or exceed the federal benchmark.

The government proposes that the price on carbon pollution should start at a minimum of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 per tonne in 2022.


Another prophecy of doom that did not come to pass

A report from 1947 said:

"A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, and if the Antarctica ice regions and the major Greenland ice caps should reduce at the same rate as the present rate of melting should reduce at the same rate as the present rate of melting oceanic surfaces would rise in catastrophic proportions and people living in lowlands along the shores would be inundated, said Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, in a speech at the University of California Geophysical Institute.

Dr. Ahlmann added that temperatures in the Arctic had increased 10 degrees F since 1900, an 'enormous' rise from a scientific standpoint...The Arctic change is so serious that I hope an international agency can speedily be formed to study conditions on a global basis," he said.

Dr. Ahlmann pointed out that in 1910 the navigable season along western Spitzbergen lasted three months. It now lasted eight months."


Hillary Clinton’s solar energy baloney

One of Hillary Clinton’s wackier ideas is to build half a billion solar panels — at taxpayer expense. It would be one of the largest corporate welfare giveaways in American history. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) estimates that the cost of the plan will reach $205 billion. That’s a lot of money to throw at Elon Musk and all of Hillary’s high-powered green energy friends.

By the way, there are only 320 million people in the country so her plan would mean more solar panels than people. If Hillary has her way, the entire landscape in America will be blighted by windmills and solar panels. How is this green?

The economics here are even worse. Back in the 1970s Washington made a big bet on green energy with synthetic fuels and renewable fuels. The programs crashed and were all mercifully killed off during the Reagan years. Billions of dollars went down the drain. George W. Bush made a big bet on switch grass and wood chips to produce energy. President Obama has spent more than $100 billion on wind and solar subsidies. Instead of energy independence, we got bankruptcies like Solyndra.

A lesson of the last several decades is that the government has a horrible record of intervening in energy markets. Mr. Obama was running around the country in his first term warning that America was running out of oil. He wasn’t paying attention to the shale oil and gas revolution and the advent of clean coal technology that overnight doubled our fossil fuel resources. At the very time that natural gas prices were falling to $2 per cubic million feet, the government was trying to force feed the nation on wind and solar power which costs three to five times more per kilowatt hour of electricity.


All of this is supposed to save the planet from greenhouse gases and catastrophic planetary warming, but then why not use our cheap, clean and super abundant natural gas? Mr. Obama’s own Department of Energy (DOE) notes that natural gas has been the main factor contributing to the big reduction in U.S. carbon emissions. Natural gas has arguably done more to reduce pollution than virtually all the green energy programs in history. Yet the left is against natural gas production. Nuclear power would also be an obvious and easily achievable form of clean and reliable electric power but the greens hate nukes too. They want to go with the energy sources that are least reliable and in need of the most taxpayer assistance.

The DOE has also admitted that the dollar subsidy per kilowatt of electricity generated is at least 10 times higher than from coal or natural gas. Solar is a very expensive way to produce electricity — as is wind power.

The final irony of the Clinton plan is that as the IER points out, the solar industry is “completely dominated by the Chinese. So $200 billion of American tax dollars will be used to subsidize extraordinarily expensive solar power panels that are mostly made in China and we will stop producing the cleanest fuel of all, natural gas, which is made in America. We could be shipping America’a oil and gas around the world, but we can’t because Hillary Clinton’s State Department wouldn’t allow the pipelines to be built.

And to think Hillary Clinton is accusing Donald Trump of being crazy.


Legal Vulnerabilities of EPA Power Plan's Prerequisite Regulation

Washington is still abuzz about the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals oral argument last week on the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for existing fossil-fuel power plants, the so-called Clean Power Plan. Almost forgotten in the hubbub is the fact that the Power Plan depends upon a prerequisite rulemaking, the agency’s CO2 standards for new fossil-fuel power plants, which has legal vulnerabilities of its own.

The new source rule’s standard for coal power plants—1,400 lbs. CO2/MWh—is based on EPA’s determination that “partial” carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the “adequately demonstrated” “best system of emission reduction” (BSER). That is highly dubious. CCS is not economical and, in actual commercial practice, increases rather than reduces emissions.

Despite billions in government R&D, there is still no utility-scale CCS power plant reliably delivering power anywhere in the world. CCS can dramatically increase the cost of new coal power plants. For example, Mississippi Power’s Kemper CCS Project, cited repeatedly in EPA's proposed new source rule as evidence CCS is adequately demonstrated, was originally supposed to cost $2.2 billion. Now more than two years behind schedule, Kemper is projected to cost $6.6 billion. Similarly, Canada’s flagship CCS power plant, Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, has been plagued by delays, poor performance, and rising costs.

Another problem: No CCS power plant is being built and operated without taxpayer and/or ratepayer subsidies. How can a system of emission reduction be “adequately demonstrated”—commercially viable as well as technically feasible—if it depends on subsidies?

EPA assumes the need for subsidies will decline along with costs, especially if CCS plants offset expenses by selling the captured CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Quick background: Injecting CO2 into an oil field both increases pressure within the field and reduces the oil’s viscosity, coaxing more black gold to the surface. Kemper, Boundary Dam, and most other CCS projects EPA cites are located near oil fields and include EOR in their business plans (80 FR 64551-64556).

But—and here’s the kicker—to the extent EOR makes CCS commercially viable, it also makes CCS unfit as a climate change mitigation technology (h/t William Yeatman). Simply put, EPA’s new source rule does not take into account the CO2 emitted when the recovered oil is combusted.

Based on EPA emission factors (tons of CO2 emitted per barrel of oil combusted) and Department of Energy EOR data (barrels of oil produced per ton of CO2 injected), I calculate CCS combined with EOR emits 1.41-2.6 tons of CO2 for every ton injected underground. That means the “life-cycle” CO2 emissions of a CCS power plant exceeds those of a conventional coal power plant by 40 percent or more. Far from being the “best system of emission reduction” required by the Clean Air Act, CCS in commercial practice—i.e., CCS combined with EOR—increases overall CO2 emissions.

And this just in. EPA gives the impression selling CO2 to EOR companies will make CCS profitable without subsidies. Turns out, the EOR side of business is also subsidized. Internal Revenue Service regulation 45Q awards a $10 tax credit for every metric ton of CO2 sold for use in EOR. According to the online news service Greenwire, “Advocates say it [the tax credit] is critical in funding CCS operations.”



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1 comment:

opit said...

I have found it uncannily difficult to get Search returns on a practice related to what Geo. W. Bush reportedly did on his vacations : "brushing". I have run into the odd forum conversation - very infrequently - relating how police enforcement and fines have discouraged people from proper use of firebreaks around homes and cottages in areas prone to forest fires - both in the US and Australia. Supposedly this is related to carbon sequestration, which of course would make no sense as a land use policy setting things up for all 'savings' to go up in smoke. And of course, should it be actual practice, catastrophic damages would inevitably arise.
As far as the warming Arctic is concerned, I suggest a look at the statistics for 1934 and 1935 to see just how warm things can get.