Friday, December 30, 2016
2016: Historic Year for Climate (?)
Jeffrey Berardelli, the writer below, says he has a degree and career expertise in Atmospheric Sciences. He heads his post with the graph below, which is correct in saying that CO2 levels have increased greatly in recent years
But that is actually an embarrassment. He knows perfectly well that the effect of that rise is supposed to be a leap in global temperature. If there is no such accompanying leap, the entire Warming theory is wrong. But there has been no such leap. Now that the effect of El Nino has faded, temperatures have dropped back to the plateau that they have been on for the whole of this century. See my favourite graph below:
He circumvents that awkward truth by saying that the earth probably had its warmest year this year. It probably did. But that is an excellent example of lying with statistics: Using an inappropriate statistic. As my favourite graph shows, all the high temperatures were in the first half of the year. So if you average the temperatures of all the the months of the year, you get an elevated average mainly because of those early high temperatures. But is an average meaningful in those circumstances? Not if it disguises a trend, which it does. An average would be meaningful if there were highs and lows randomly throughout the year -- but that was not the case. The average does not reflect where the temperature was going and where it ended up. In failing to acknowledge that, Berardelli is simply being dishonest.
Furthermore Berardelli is imprecise in what he says about CO2 levels. They did NOT rise during the Warming event. I monitored the CO2 figures from both Cape Grim and Mauna Loa right from the onset of the warming -- beginning roughly in August 2015. And I noted that the 400ppm peak had been reached BEFORE that warming event and then plateaued during the warming event. There was no rise in CO2 levels accompanying the rise in temperature. So the temperature rise COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise -- because there was no CO2 rise. And it's now in the journals that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016. So El Nino did not merely contribute "part" of the 2015/2016 warming event, it contributed the WHOLE of it. So if we remove the influence of El Nino, we can see that there has been NO anthropogenic global warming for the whole of this century. The present high levels of CO2 have done nothing. Warmist theory is wrong
Why is Carbon Dioxide such an important part of our climate system? First I should mention that C02 makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere. But as you may have read CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas. That means it is very effective at absorbing energy in the infrared spectrum (ie. heat). Basically the sun heats the Earth. The Earth releases that heat and it is then absorbed by greenhouse gases like C02 and methane. So the more greenhouse gases you have, the more heat that is absorbed. It's really quite simple.
So why are we so alarmed? From ice core data we know that C02 has never been over 300 parts per million in the last 800 thousand years. Before the industrial revolution (in the 1800s) C02 concentration was at 270 parts per million. But in the last 150 years, with the increasing population and increased burning of fossil fuels for energy, that number has leaped to an unprecedented 400 parts per million.
To repeat what was just stated: in 800 thousand years of records we have never had C02 concentrations above 300 ppm, but now we have leaped to 400 ppm. Clearly humans have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere. We have changed the balance that has existed for 800,000+ years. That's how an exponentially expanding population of tiny people can overwhelm a relatively large Earth.
Regardless of feelings, this jump in greenhouse gases, most notably CO2, is now driving the Earth's temperatures to record levels year after year. Although not completely done yet, 2016 is on pace to be the warmest ever. Part of that is due to El Nino. But it should be noted that El Nino ended in the Spring of 2016 yet record Global heat was observed well through summer. Since 1880, all of the top 15 warmest years globally, except 1998(an El Nino year), have occurred since the year 2000. We could go on and on about the record setting heat.
It was reported recently that Canadian scientists have warned their colleagues in the United States with Trump. It seems science is losing support from governments especially U.S. and Canada. And this issue is closely associated with climate change.
According to New York Times, Donald Trump along with his nominated Cabinet members sided with the idea that climate change is not an urgent threat that should be treated and should be financed with great money and effort. One of these Cabinet members is the future secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson just like other Cabinet members expressed that since climate change is not a settled science then it must not be treated alongside with other much serious problems. The dialogue from Donald Trump which scientists have worry a lot is "climate change is a Chinese hoax and very expensive bullshit".
These caused climate scientists to increasingly try to quantify economic and health impacts for specific regions in shorter time frames. They made attempts to provide these more localized, near-term risk assessments to help inform policy-making for everyone from lawmakers and water managers to firefighters and average residents.
While scientists are pursuing to urge from every individual in the world to large industries and world governments to act with urgency for the solution of climate change, more individual today, as the issue has been franked is urging science in return to give proof that climate change is really that important to settle immediately.
Judith Curry, professor in the School of Earth and Athmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology accepts that Earth is warming but isn't sure of the links between human activity and climate change. "It becomes voodoo once you start trying to attribute regional extreme-weather events to climate change, when it gets down to regional extreme events, like droughts in California or hurricane landfalls in Florida or wildfires in Canada, then it becomes compounded by the fact that you need hundreds of years of data to really make sense of the statistics."
This situation puts science in the risk of losing trust. That's why the urgency to give convincing proof that indeed climate change is attributed to human activity should be presented as soon as possible.
Is global warming going to cancel the ski season? Popular resorts are completely shut down after no snow falls
The beginning and end of the ski season has always varied, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot. It is absurd to attribute snowfall variations to global warming. If we are going to draw inferences from regional variations, what are we to make of the recent snow in the Sahara? Does that prove global cooling? Inferring global processes from a local one is voodoo science
Unusually high temperatures and a lack of slow is threatening the ski season as popular resorts in Europe have completely shut down.
Some resorts in France have not seen so much as a snowflake in almost a month leaving pistes completely bare.
An estimated 45,000 workers have been left temporarily unemployed, lifts remain stationary and nobody is skiing on the slopes in the worst-hit areas in Massif Central, The Vosges and The Jura in France as well as Charmey in Switzerland.
Weather expert Sandra Larue said December 2016 could end up being the calmest on record due to a 'blocking anticyclone', which can lead to long periods of stable weather, according to BFMTV.
Resorts in the south-western Pyrenées have barely seen any snow all season and some haven't had a fresh dump since November, according to The Local.
It means anybody wishing to get on the slopes have been forced to climb above 2,500m where the temperature is cold enough to cling onto the limited downfalls.
Even high up the mountain in resorts such as Haute-Maurienne near the Italian border and Haute-Tarentaise in the heart of the Alps, no snow has fallen since November.
A top ski resort in Switzerland has had to close its slopes because there is no snow at all on the pistes.
No snow has fallen in Charmey since December 19, leaving the mountain completely bereft of skiers with 2016 registering in the top 10 warmest since Swiss records began back in 1864.
With no snow forecast for at least a week, and with the temperature pushing a balmy 10C, it appears the lifts will remain shut well into the New Year.
The temperature trend in Switzerland is in line with the rest of the world, with 2016 set to be the hottest year on record across the world, the World Meteorological Organization said in November.
Described by My Swizterland, Charmey is a 'fairtytale winter landscape', the delights of the resort are meant to include deep, fresh powder and days in the snow.
With only the odd speck of white, the pistes have been turned into an uninviting sea of discoloured grass.
In Switzerland, the whole year has been up to 0.7 degrees warmer than normal, according to MeteoSuisse - the country's equivalent to The Met Office.
But it's the winter temperatures that have been of particular concern.
In the three months of last winter - from December 2015 to February 2016 - the thermometers hit 2.5 degrees higher than normal, according to The Local, and the trend looks set to continue this year.
Spring was wet in Switzerland, but the summer in Geneva saw a record high 33.5 degrees registered and the heat persisted through autumn.
The ski season looked good in November when a sudden drop in temperature brought with it a fresh dump of snow, but an anticyclone in December melted it all away.
Very little snow has fallen since, leaving the slopes bare and the resorts like Charmey empty.
Some 45,000 seasonal staff have been left in limbo by the weather, according to The Local, with their employers having no need to call them in to work.
Federal Permits Will Allow Wind Farms to Kill More Bald Eagles
New 30-year permits that will be issued next month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) will quadruple the number of bald eagles that wind farms will collectively be allowed to kill per year and avoid prosecution under the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Under the new $36,000 “incidental take permits” - which are to be reviewed every five years by an independent third party – the number of bald eagles that can be killed by permit holders will increase from 1,100 currently allowed under 2009 regulations to 4,200 when the Final Rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, according to the Associated Press.
“The Service’s emphasis on eagle incidental take permits for wind facilities reflects [Obama] Administration priorities for expanded wind energy development and a desire to minimize the impacts of that growth on eagles,” FWS noted. “It does not reflect a belief that wind development poses a disproportionate risk compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles.”
The FWS explained that the new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations are intended to “minimize the impacts” of wind farms on the eagle population. “There is nothing in the revised regulations that will increase take, though we hope more ongoing unpermitted take will be captured under permits in the future,” the agency said.
The new regulations will require long-term permit holders to “search for injured and killed eagles” and then “estimate total take using methods approved by the Service,” according to the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on December 16th.
Permit holders will “be required to provide compensatory mitigation to offset predicted take over each 5-year period.”
Potential permittees will also have to “implement all practicable best management practices and other measures that are reasonably likely to reduce eagle take” to less than 5 percent of the LAP [local area population] for a project already in operation. The “practicable” standard is a modification of the current “unavoidable” standard.
Any permitted facility that exceeds its authorized eagle kill limit would not be fined or criminally prosecuted, although it could still be “subject to an enforcement action at any time for unpermitted prior take of eagles,” according to the Final Rule.
“Only applicants who commit to adaptive management measures to ensure the preservation of eagles will be considered for permits with terms longer than five years,” according to FWS.
But Garry George, Audubon California’s director of renewable energy, pointed out that none of the new technologies used by the wind farm industry to lessen bird deaths “has been proven to work.”
The FWS “may be giving the industry certainty in a permit that allows them to kill eagles for 30 years, but they’re not giving us any certainty that it’s not going to send the population into a spiral,” George said.
Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, also noted that the “lack of an opportunity for public input [during the five-year reviews] makes the rule vulnerable to legal challenges” under NEPA.
After being removed from the Endangered Species Act list of threatened species in 2007, the population of bald eagles is now estimated at 143,000 in the lower 48 states and Alaska. FWS estimates that it “will continue to increase until populations reach an equilibrium at about 228,000.”
But FWS believes the current stable population of 41,000 golden eagles “might be declining toward a lower equilibrium size of about 26,000 individuals.” For that reason, the permitted number of golden eagles killed “would still be set at zero, requiring that all authorized take be offset by compensatory mitigation,” according to the new regulations.
Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to kill or injure eagles – even unintentionally – without a permit. The penalties can range up to a $500,000 fine and two years in prison.
FWS says that “no progress has been made” in its efforts to create an “accurate estimate of collision probability” for eagles at wind farms because “to date, so few incidental take permits have been issued at wind facilities.”
In response to comments from the public, FWS noted that “in the last 18 months, the Service has resolved five civil enforcement actions concerning unauthorized incidental take of eagles… at 15 different wind- energy facilities,” resulting in $55,000 in civil penalties and another $1.8 million to develop technologies to reduce the number of bird deaths.
In 2013, North Carolina-based Duke Energy Renewables became the first wind power company to be found criminally liable under MBTA for killing 163 protected birds, including 14 golden eagles, at two of its wind farms in Wyoming. The company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1 million fine and another $900,000 in restitution and compensatory mitigation.
Last year, Oregon-based PacifiCorp became the second wind energy company to be prosecuted. It was fined $2.5 million for killing 38 golden eagles and hundreds of other protected migratory birds at its wind energy projects in Wyoming.
“No animal says America like the bald eagle, and the Service is using the best available science to make eagle management decisions that promote eagle conservation,” FWS Director Dan Ashe said in a statement.
“Our success in recovering this bird when its populations plummeted in the lower 48 nearly a half-century ago stands as one of our greatest national conservation achievements. The final revised regulations build on this success, taking a comprehensive approach to eagle conservation and demonstrating the Service’s longstanding commitment to bald and golden eagles, responsible industry operations, and the interests of the American people.”
Renewable energy push to hit the Australian Labor Party's heartland
Labor’s traditional working-class supporters will bear the brunt of spiking electricity prices and power failures in the fallout from the South Australian, Victorian and Queensland governments’ push towards ambitious renewable energy targets.
Energy experts have warned the shutting down of more coal-fired power plants and the rise of renewables risks leading to a future where wealthier households can pay for better reliability of supply while others are left in the dark.
Most of the impact of the nation’s rapidly changing electricity market would be on vulnerable consumers who do not have the resources to invest in technologies to reduce their demand on the grid or generate their own electricity.
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has warned that a class of consumers could be prevented from adopting new technologies — such as rooftop solar PV or battery storage — by a limited ability to pay large up-front costs or to obtain finance.
Dr Finkel, who is conducting a review of the electricity market for the federal government following the statewide blackout in South Australia in September, said people who rented properties or lived in apartments were limited in their ability to install new technologies.
Migrants with limited English, people with poor financial literacy and those struggling to make ends meet were at risk of paying increased costs to subsidise households or businesses able to invest in new technologies. Passive or loyal consumers who were not engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs were vulnerable too, Dr Finkel added.
The danger was that, as more consumers took greater steps with the aid of technological advancements to rely less on the grid, the cost of building and maintaining the network would be spread over a smaller number of “vulnerable” users.
The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned that electricity prices are set to surge during the next two years, largely driven by the close of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and Victoria and ongoing investment in wind generation.
Australian Stock Exchange data showed yesterday that base future contract prices for March were highest in South Australia, which yesterday had its third major blackout in four months. For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity in March, it would cost South Australian buyers almost $152.91, compared with $100 in Queensland, $63.75 in NSW and $54.50 in Victoria.
South Australia, under Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, has a renewable energy generation mix of more than 40 per cent, the highest of any state. The state’s last coal-fired power station closed in May.
Several peak industry groups canvassed by The Australian agreed that, without the correct policy settings in place, there was a danger of large numbers of consumers relying less on the grid.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said renewable energy targets hit low-income households harder, while the wealthy were able to access solar and other incentive schemes, the cost of which was then loaded on to other users.
“This is a double whammy for the poor,” Mr Pearson said.
Victoria’s Labor government has set a 40 per cent renewables energy target for 2025 and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a 50 per cent target by 2030. The federal Labor opposition has a renewables target of at least 50 per cent by 2030 compared with the Coalition’s target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.
Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said that, while consumers would not realistically be able to pay directly for more reliable supply from the grid, those with the means could install some form of back-up behind the meter, most commonly a generator. “Of course, some consumers can pay more to have their own supply via solar PV and batteries or via gas as did the Coopers Brewery that saved them during the (South Australian) blackout,” he said.
“The critical issue is how the grid is priced as consumers change the way they use it. Volume-based charging just isn’t fair and yet moving to demand-based charging is highly controversial.
“The extreme version is that homes and businesses are charged for the grid being there even if they never use it at all. These are questions that governments and regulators are grappling with and the answers are messy.”
Climate Institute head of policy Olivia Kember said there was a real risk of large numbers of households leaving the grid, which likely would be the result of ongoing policy failure by federal and state governments. “It’s not just a problem for lower-income households, but also apartment dwellers and large industry that needs grid-based power,” she said. “Currently we are seeing coal stations close with only six months’ notice, and no signals to tell the market what is needed to replace them.”
Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said all consumers ultimately would want to be connected to the grid, even as a form of back-up, although there was a risk more would be less reliant on it. “The reality is if we are going to have a decarbonised system that is going to be reliable, it will cost more and we’ve seen that in South Australia — it is living proof,” he said. “There are a lot of inequities in the system and they are difficult to answer. The inequities can get worse.”
Mr Warren agreed there was a risk that those with the means to invest in new technologies would become less reliant on the grid and leave behind other more vulnerable groups.
“There is evidence that the largest household energy consumers are by far the poorest,” he said.
Warnings by Dr Finkel and the Australian Energy Market Commission that power prices are expected to begin rising is being blamed for generator closures, gas supply constraints and international parity gas prices.
The AEMC warned that, by 2018, the national electricity market would be divided into two price regions: cheaper in the north, Queensland and NSW; more expensive in the south, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said energy security remained “our number one” energy policy priority. “Australians expect access to reliable and affordable electricity and that is what the federal government is determined to provide through the COAG Energy Council,” he said.
“Yes, we have to meet our emissions reduction targets, but it can’t be at the expense of the lights going out or Australians not being able to afford their power bill.”
South Australian opposition cost of living spokesman Corey Wingard said: “The surging price of electricity in South Australia is creating two classes of consumers for this essential service: the haves and have-nots. Sadly many will struggle to keep their airconditioners on this summer … The more consumers that withdraw from the grid the greater the cost that will be borne by those still reliant upon it and the greater number of households will be cut off.”
Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass, said national energy policy must focus on a low-emissions future that included clean coal technologies as well as renewable generation to keep energy prices in check and supply stable. “The closure of the Northern Power Station in SA and Hazelwood in Victoria are driving up power prices and destroying regional economies,” Mr Vass said.
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Posted by JR at 1:28 AM