Thursday, February 02, 2017
Action is needed to make stagnant CO2 emissions fall. Why?
I have been pointing out for over a year that CO2 levels have stopped rising and admissions of that are starting to appear in the literature. The figures from Mauna Loa and Cape Grim are too plain even for Warmists to deny and they haven't got around to fudging them yet.
But the article below says that static levels are not enough. Levels have to decline. But why? We live in perfect comfort with the current levels. So where is the need to reduce them? The article below does not say. It just asserts such a need. The Warmists have a very profitable schtick and they don't want to let it go. They can't accept that they have won their goal
2016 marked the third year in a row when global carbon dioxide emissions remained relatively flat, but actual declines won't materialize without advances in carbon capture and storage technology and sustained growth in renewables.
Without a significant effort to reduce greenhouse gases, including an accelerated deployment of technologies for capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it underground, and sustained growth in renewables such as wind and solar, the world could miss a key global temperature target set by the Paris Agreement and the long-term goal of net-zero climate pollution.
The finding, published in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, is part of a new study that aims to track the progress and compare emission pledges of more than 150 nations that signed the Paris Agreement, a 2015 United Nations convention that aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels -- the threshold that scientists have marked as the point of no return for catastrophic warming.
"The good news is that fossil fuel emissions have been flat for three years in a row," said Robert Jackson, chair of the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. "Now we need actual reductions in global emissions and careful tracking of emission pledges and country-level statistics."
In the new study, Jackson and his colleagues developed a nested family of metrics that can be used to track different national emissions pledges and thus global progress toward the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Applying their method to the recent past, the researchers found that global carbon dioxide emissions have remained steady at around 36 gigatons of carbon dioxide for the third year in a row in 2016.
"The rapid deployment of wind and solar is starting to have an effect globally, and in key players such as China, the U.S. and the European Union," said Glen Peters, senior researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research -- Oslo (CICERO) and lead author for the study. "The challenge is to substantially accelerate the new additions of wind and solar, and find solutions for effectively integrating these into existing electricity networks."
However, wind and solar alone won't be sufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. When the researchers examined the drivers behind the recent slowdown, they found that most of them boiled down to economic factors and reduced coal use, mostly in China but also the United States.
In China, the decline in coal use was driven by reduced output of cement, steel and other energy-intensive products, as well as a dire need to alleviate outdoor air pollution, which is responsible for more than 1 million premature deaths annually.
The reasons for the decline in the United States were more complex, driven not only by a decline in coal use but also by gains in energy efficiency in the industrial sector and the rapid rise of natural gas and wind and solar power. "2016 was the first year that natural gas surpassed coal for electricity generation," said Jackson, who is also chair of the Global Carbon Project, which tracks the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by humans each year.
Looking to the future, the researchers predict that the greatest challenge to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement is the slower than expected rollout of carbon capture and storage technologies. Most scenarios suggest the need for thousands of facilities with carbon capture and storage by 2030, the researchers say, far below the tens that are currently proposed.
Jackson notes that carbon capture and storage technology will prove even more crucial if President Donald Trump follows through with his campaign pledge of resuscitating the nation's struggling coal industry.
"There's no way to reduce the carbon emissions associated with coal without carbon capture and storage," Jackson said.
Trump’s Climate Plans Just Made the Media’s Heads Explode
I’ve just watched the London liberal media’s heads exploding like ripe watermelons.
It was great – a bit like that No Pressure video that the enviro-loons made a few years ago, only better because this time the victims weren’t blameless schoolchildren but grisly, puffed-up, righteously eco, Trump-and-Brexit-hating TV and newspaper Environment Correspondents, all of whom hate my guts. (They hate yours too, so don’t get smug.)
The occasion was a press conference hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation for Myron Ebell, head of the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Satan’s Emissary, as liberals prefer to think of him.
Ebell had come to tell them about Trump’s plans for the environment and energy, which I won’t repeat here because you know them already. (It’s going to be beautiful, that’s all you need to remember.)
No, the reason I went wasn’t to hear what Ebell had to say but to watch how his audience reacted.
You know that scene in The Omen when Damien’s parents try to take him into a church? It was a bit like that. Or maybe the one in The Exorcist, where Regan’s head does a 360 degree spin.
They hated it. (Especially the bit where Ebell told them that Trump would definitely be pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty) They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. They curled their lips. They laced their questions with the bitterest scorn. But they didn’t really tune into Ebell’s measured, silken, soft-spoken answers because, hell, they knew what he was saying just had to be wrong and they didn’t really understand what he meant anyway.
The reporter who set the tone – and if nothing else, you’ve got to admire his honesty – was the one from Channel 4 News who told Ebell: “It will occur to you that this room is full of people like myself who consider that nothing you say has any basis in fact. So what you’ve been telling us is essentially meaningless.”
Ebell replied with some painful home truths. “Elections are surprising things…” he began and went on to explain to the mystified audience why and how it was that Brexit happened and Trump happened.
Basically, he argued – perhaps channelling Michael Gove – people have had enough of the “Expertariat”. And with good reason: “The expert class is full of arrogance and hubris.”
I did debate with myself beforehand whether or not to a five hour round trip just to attend this one hour conference. (There was another Breitbart piece I’d been planning, which might have been cleverer or more interesting or got more traffic, I don’t know.)
But, hell, it was worth it for a number of reasons.
One was the joy of watching the feline Ebell goading the audience with his amused erudition, sweet politeness, and crushing one liners. He’s a cultured, fearsomely intelligent man: Cambridge-educated. (Bizarrely, he was a friend there of Oliver Wetwin, though I don’t think their politics much align these days.)
When the press essentially accused Ebell of representing evil oil interests, he replied by noting the vast power and corruption of what he called the Climate Industrial Complex – from grant-grubbing scientists to regulation-hungry rent-seeking businesses – which feeds on the global warming scam.
When someone invoked battery technology and Elon Musk, he quietly wondered how “the largest recipient of federal taxpayer subsidies in the history of the world” could be represented as any kind of role model.
When asked about the Endangered Species Act he replied – to audible gasps of disgust and hatred – that he’d been trying to reform it for years (without much success) because it didn’t do much for endangered species but did an awful lot of damage to private property and land use rights.
Perhaps the main reason for going, though, was to witness at first hand one of the main reasons why the Great Global Warming Scamsters have got away with so much for so long: the abject failure of the media to do its job and interrogate the alarmist narrative.
The press comes in for a lot of stick. But though I think that on the whole journalists are a lot more principled, brave, and committed species than they are generally given credit for, I’d certainly make an exception for those in the Energy, Environment, and Climate sectors.
With one or two exceptions – none immediately spring to mind, but I’m sure there some – they are a bunch of despicable fails. They’re far too much in bed with the environmental movement; far too ready to transcribe their stories almost verbatim from the press releases of Greenpeace and the WWF or whichever renewable energy outfit has given them the sweet-talk; and far, far too reluctant to question the bullshit fed to them by the compromised scientists who have been milking the climate scare for the last four decades.
Unfortunately, I arrived too late to catch the bit in the conference where someone asked Myron Ebell what Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief policy adviser, thought about climate change.
“Well you can get an idea from the fact that when he was at Breitbart the guy he recruited to write about it was James Delingpole…” Ebell said.
No wonder I got so many hate-filled glares when I poked my head into the crowded room, 15 minutes late.
The feeling’s mutual. But that’s OK because I’m on the right side of history, whereas their view of the world is toast. Welcome to the suck, guys. It’s only just beginning…
North Dakota wants hired pipeline protesters to pay state income taxes
After spending more than $22 million on the Dakota Access pipeline protest, North Dakota wants to make sure any paid activists remember to submit their state income taxes.
Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said his office is keeping an eye out for tax forms from environmental groups that may have hired protesters to agitate against the 1,172-mile, four-state pipeline project.
“It’s something we’re looking at. I can tell you I’ve had a number of conversations with legislators regarding this very issue,” said Mr. Rauschenberger. “[We’re] looking at the entities that have potential paid contractors here on their behalf doing work.”
It’s no secret that millions have been funneled into the six-month-old demonstration via crowdfunding websites, and that more than 30 environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, Indigenous Environmental Network, Food and Water Watch, 350.org and Greenpeace, have backed the protest.
If national environmental organizations are paying protest personnel, they’re not saying so publicly. Still, Mr. Rauschenberger said red flags will be raised if he doesn’t start seeing W2 or 1099 tax forms from those affiliated with the protest arriving at his office.
“It’s something we could possibly pursue if we don’t see 1099s coming in for the activity,” Mr. Rauschenberger said.
The ongoing demonstration has been costly to the state. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat, issued a plea last week for federal help with unruly protesters, some still camped out on federal land, after President Trump moved to expedite the pipeline review.
“After five months of protests, over 600 arrests related to those protests, and more than $22 million in North Dakota taxpayer dollars spent on law enforcement resources to keep North Dakotans safe during the protests, state and local law enforcement agencies are in dire need of federal support,” Ms. Heitkamp said in her letter.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier has criticized “paid agitators” who crossed the line from peaceful protest to lawbreaking by trespassing on private property, blocking highways and bridges and throwing rocks, feces and burning logs at law enforcement.
“If an organization is directly paying someone to come and do activities on their behalf, even protesting — if they’re receiving income and they’re here in North Dakota performing activities for an organization, they owe income tax from Day One,” Mr. Rauschenberger said. “And that entity should be issuing 1099s. Just like a contractor.”
Whether protesters would be required to report income based on crowdfunding donations falls into more of a gray area, he said.
“I think a lot of people think that, ‘Oh, if something goes through GoFundMe, it’s just always considered a gift.’ But it can also be used as a way to funnel money just like an employer paying a contractor,” Mr. Rauschenberger said. “It can be a way to funnel money as well, and very well could be taxable. I’m not saying it is. I’m saying it could be. And it’s really on a case-by-case basis.”
He said the IRS has issued a “loose guidance” on crowdfunding. In general, such income is considered exempt if it represents a gift to be repaid, a purchase of an equity interest or a gift without any expectation of repayment.
Rob Port, who runs North Dakota’s Say Anything blog, said the crowdfunding donations are often framed as payment for services provided. He has tabulated at least $11.2 million in contributions to the DAPL protest.
“If those receiving the money didn’t use it in attempting to block the pipeline, I think those giving the money would be upset. They’d feel cheated,” said Mr. Port. “That certainly seems like a quid pro quo relationship to me. That seems like one person paying another person in pursuance of a specific endeavor.”
Several hundred protesters have braved the harsh North Dakota winter in their ongoing effort to stop the $3.8 billion project over fears about its impact on water quality.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribal council has asked occupiers to leave, citing environmental damage and looming spring flooding at some camps, even though the tribe has led opposition to the pipeline.
Mr. Rauschenberger emphasized that the state isn’t looking into the tribe’s financial relationship with protesters, only off-reservation activity. In addition, contributions such as food and shelter would be considered in-kind donations and not subject to taxation.
“The paper trail for something like that would be probably nonexistent,” he said. “We’d be looking at cash, whether it was a check, cash or debit card issued for performing services as opposed to more of the in-kind. It would be too difficult from an enforcement standpoint. We’d be looking at the cash money trail.”
Any paid protesters would owe income tax in North Dakota if their total income in 2016 exceeded $10,350.
Enforcing the tax code may also come down to whether the costs exceed the benefits. There are rumors that some of the thousands of protesters who moved in and out of camps starting in August were being paid with hard-to-track debit cards, and the state tax division has a staff of 128.
“It all comes down to resources,” Mr. Rauschenberger said.
Bad effects of a carbon tax
Tesla Motors Inc. founder Elon Musk is pressing the Trump administration to adopt a tax on carbon emissions, raising the issue directly with President Donald Trump and U.S. business leaders at a White House meeting Monday regarding manufacturing.
But what the article doesn’t mention is that such a tax would make his electric cars more financially attractive. It’s rather unseemly (and I’m bending over backwards for a charitable characterization) that a rich guy is pushing a tax on the rest of us as a way of lining his pockets.
What’s ironic, though, is that he’s probably being short-sighted because a carbon tax presumably would hit coal, and that’s a common source of energy for electrical generation. So while regular drivers would pay a lot more for gas, Tesla drivers would pay more at charging stations.
Some big oil companies also are flirting with an energy tax for cronyist reasons. An article in the Federalist notes that some of those firms support carbon taxes because they want to create hardships for their competitors.
…carbon taxes do not affect all fossil fuels equally. So just as some fossil fuels are much more carbon-intensive than others, here we can begin to understand how, beyond the benefits of predictability, a carbon tax might actually help some fossil-fuel providers… As a recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper illustrates, for example, in the United States a tax on carbon would disproportionately impact the use of coal relative to natural gas for energy production. …Don’t be surprised, then, if some domestic producers of natural gas end up promoting a carbon tax, not only out of concern for regime stability but also out of a concern to make their product more competitive in the energy marketplace.
To be fair, I suppose that Musk and the energy companies might actually think energy taxes are a good idea, so their support may have nothing to do with self interest.
But it’s always a good idea to “follow the money” when looking at how policy really gets made in Washington.
Even more depressing, the adoption of one bad policy may lead to the expansion of another bad policy. More specifically, some proponents of energy taxes admit that ordinary taxpayers and consumers will be hurt. But rather than realize that a new tax is a bad idea, they decide to match a tax increase with more spending. Here is a blurb from a report by the American Enterprise Institute.
Using emissions and other data from 2013 and 2014, we also find that the revenue from the carbon tax could be enough to expand the EITC to childless workers and hold other low income households harmless, combining a regressive tax with progressive benefits.
This is not good. The EITC already is the fastest-growing redistribution program in Washington. Making it even bigger would exacerbate the fiscal burden of the welfare state.
Judge questions global warming
A jury was selected in Washington state on Monday in the first trial over a coordinated protest that disrupted the flow of millions of barrels of crude oil into the United States, a proceeding activists hope will serve as a referendum on climate change.
Activist Ken Ward says he will not dispute that he shut down a valve on the Kinder Morgan Inc’s Trans Mountain Pipeline near Burlington, Washington, but he will testify that such actions are necessary in the face of the government’s failure to address global warming.
“I am going to talk a little bit about climate science” during the trial in Skagit County Superior Court, said Ward, a former deputy director of Greenpeace USA and co-founder of Green Corps.
“I spent 30-some-odd years following only legal approaches,” Ward said in an interview. “It’s only been in recent years that the scale of the problem and lack of a political solution leaves no choice but direct action.”
Ward, 60, is charged with trespassing, burglary and sabotage. If convicted, he could face up to three decades in prison.
Officials, pipeline companies and experts said the protesters could have caused environmental damage themselves by shutting down the lines.
Judge Michael Rickert has barred Ward’s lawyers from formally mounting a “necessity” defence or arguing that his actions were justified in light of a looming environmental crisis.
“I don’t know what everybody’s beliefs are on [climate change], but I know that there’s tremendous controversy over the fact whether it even exists,” Rickert said. “And even if people believe that it does or it doesn’t, the extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.”
After the defence was denied, Ward said he was shocked that Rickert questioned the existence of global warming.
“We are in the late stages of global collapse,” he said, “and to have someone who is presumably as knowledgeable and aware as a judge should be blithely dismissing the biggest problem facing the world is chilling.”
Ward said he would try to use the “necessity” defence from the witness stand.
Ward was arrested in October when he and other activists in four states cut padlocks and chains and entered remote flow stations to turn off valves to try to stop crude from moving through lines that carry as much as 15 percent of daily U.S. oil consumption.
Supporters call Ward’s trial an “all hands on deck moment” for the climate change movement, which has also spawned protests of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline.
Last week U.S. President Donald Trump signed orders smoothing the path for those pipelines in an effort to expand energy infrastructure.
Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said he expected the trial to be completed this week.
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Posted by JR at 2:10 AM