Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another Greenie false prophecy:  Cocoa

The price of chocolate was bound to soar as climate change reduced the cocoa crop, was the wisdom of a few years ago.  An example here. I   rubbished the scare at the time so I am pleased that the latest reports tell of a cocoa GLUT, not a shortage. It's so easy being right when you are contradicting Greenies.  They don't understand and don't care about how the real world works so are always getting it wrong

The supply of cocoa is extremely concentrated. According to data from Euromonitor International, Ivory Coast alone accounts for more than 40pc of global production, while a further 20pc comes from nearby Ghana, which said last month that it had lost out on almost $1bn (£768m) in export earnings due to the fall in prices.

Ivory Coast was named the fastest growing economy in Africa by the IMF in April 2016. How things change. Two weeks ago, the price of cocoa was $1,780 per tonne, its lowest in almost a decade and 45pc lower than in June last year.

Even now, after a minor rally due to political instability caused by last weekend’s mutiny, it is trading at around $2,058 per tonne, still down more than 36pc compared with the prices from less than a year ago.

A convergence of factors have combined to wreak havoc on these still-developing markets.

The first is demand. “For years we were working with a scenario of low supply and high and fast-growing demand, particularly in the new markets of China and India,” says Kristy Leissle, a cocoa marketer for the Twin and Twin trading company and a lecturer on the global chocolate industry at the University of Washington Bothell.

Now, however, that demand is failing to meet expectations. There are similar problems in the mature western markets, too, where a growing trend of health consciousness and anti-sugar lobbying means demand in the West is starting to plateau.

The situation is exacerbated by a more pressing issue, though: massive oversupply. Around 4 million tonnes of cocoa are produced each year, yet this year’s surplus is expected to come in at between 350,000 tonnes and 400,000 tonnes, around 10pc of production.

It marks a dramatic shift from recent years, where the price of cocoa shot up due to fears over the Ebola crisis and then the strongest El Niño, the weather phenomenon that takes place when ocean temperatures rise in the eastern Pacific, in almost two decades.

“El Niño weather tends to be detrimental to the production of cocoa so we had less cocoa produced than we might have done, leading to high prices” says Jonathan Parkman, co-head of agriculture at Marex Spectron, one of the world’s biggest brokers of cocoa.

“This year we have had much better weather, the crops have recovered, but demand has not yet recovered because the fall in prices is yet to feed through to the consumer.”

So what the farmers in West Africa are left with is essentially the worst-case scenario: abundant supply and poor demand.


Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than previously thought

Glacier flow at the southern Antarctic Peninsula has increased since the 1990s, but a new study has found the change to be only a third of what was recently reported.

An international team of researchers, led by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, is the first to map the change in ice speed. The team collated measurements recorded by five different satellites to track changes in the speed of more than 30 glaciers since 1992.

The findings, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, represent the first detailed assessment of changing glacier flow in Western Palmer Land — the southwestern corner of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The new Leeds-led research calls into question a recent study from the University of Bristol that reported a 45 cubic kilometres per year increase in ice loss from the sector. The Leeds research found the increase to be three times smaller.

Lead author Dr Anna Hogg, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, said: “Dramatic changes have been reported in this part of Antarctica, so we took a closer look at how its glaciers have evolved, using 25 years of satellite measurements dating back to the early 1990s.”

The researchers found that between 1992 and 2016, the flow of most of the region’s glaciers increased by between 20 and 30 centimetres per day, equating to an average 13% speedup across the glaciers of Western Palmer Land as a whole.

These measurements provide the first direct evidence that Western Palmer Land is losing ice due to increased glacier flow — a process known as dynamical imbalance.

The team also combined their satellite observations with an ice flow model using data assimilation to fill in gaps where the satellites were unable to produce measurements. This allowed the complete pattern of ice flow to be mapped, revealing that the regions glaciers are now pouring an additional 15 cubic kilometres of ice into the oceans each year compared to the 1990s.

The earlier study reported that the region was losing three times this amount of ice, based on measurements of glacier thinning and mass loss determined from other satellite measurements. The Leeds study casts doubt on that interpretation, because the degree of glacier speedup is far too small.

Study co-author Professor Andrew Shepherd, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, explained: “Although Western Palmer Land holds a lot of ice – enough to raise global sea levels by 20 centimetres – its glaciers can’t be dramatically out of balance, because their speed hasn't changed much over the past 25 years.

"It could have snowed less as well – that would also cause the glaciers to thin and lose mass."

The greatest speedup in flow was observed at glaciers that were grounded at depths more than 300m below the ocean surface.

Dr Hogg said: “We looked at water temperatures in front of the glaciers which have sped up the most, and we found that they flow through deep bedrock channels into the warmest layer of the ocean. This circumpolar deep water, which is relatively warm and salty compared to other parts of the Southern Ocean, has warmed and shoaled in recent decades, and can melt ice at the base of glaciers which reduces friction and allows them to flow more freely.

"With much of Western Palmer Land’s ice mass lying well below sea level, it is important to monitor how remote areas such as this are responding to climate change. Satellites are the perfect tool to do this."

Pierre Potin, ESA’s Manager of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 Mission, which was used in the study, said: “We will continue to use Sentinel-1’s all weather, day-night imaging capability to extend the long term climate data record from European satellites.”


OPEC crying about U.S. shale output

OPEC officials gathering in Vienna on Friday to prepare for next week’s ministerial meeting kept their focus on rising U.S. shale oil production, which has been diluting the price impact of their production cuts.

National representatives from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and officials from several non-members heard a presentation on the outlook for the U.S. industry from Roger Diwan, a Washington-based analyst at IHS Markit Ltd., according to delegates familiar with the matter. Mark Papa, a partner at private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC and former boss of shale pioneer EOG Resources Inc., also spoke to the group, delegates said.

Officials at the meeting were relieved that the two outside consultants had estimates for growth in average U.S. crude output of 450,000 to 500,000 barrels a day this year, lower than the 562,000 barrel-a-day forecast from OPEC’s own analysts, said two delegates.

The emphasis on U.S. production underscores the dilemma for OPEC and its allies as they consider whether to extend their cuts beyond June. The producers, who together account for about half the world’s oil supply, have seen the initial price boost from their historic agreement fade as shale companies deployed more rigs and raised the country’s output to the highest since 2015. That recovery could accelerate if they decide on May 25 to prolong the curbs.

IHS’s Diwan presented an estimate that U.S. output this year will be about 500,000 barrels a day higher on average than in 2016, the delegates said, asking not to be identified because the meeting was private. That still means that production at the end of 2017 will be 700,000 to 1 million barrels a day higher than at the start, the delegates said.

That compares with a supply reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day from October levels implemented by OPEC, plus a cut of less than 400,000 barrels a day from non-members.

Papa, who helped create the shale industry more than a decade ago, estimated that average U.S. output would be 450,000 barrels a day higher this year, the delegates said.


Industrial Energy Consumers to White House: "No Benefit" to Paris Agreement

There is “no benefit” to U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) argues in a letter sent yesterday to President Donald J. Trump. The IECA is a nonpartisan association of leading manufacturing companies with $1.0 trillion in annual sales, over 2,300 facilities nationwide, and with more than 1.6 million employees worldwide.

Alluding to a recent New York Times op-ed by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Ted Halstead, the IECA letter states: “We disagree with those who say that staying in the agreement will spur investment and American competitiveness, create jobs, and ensure access to global markets.”

The IECA is skeptical of climate agreements in general, which typically fail to “provide a level playing field” and actually “create greater uncertainty” for energy intensive, trade exposed (IETE) U.S. firms. IECA President Paul N. Cicio explains:

All costs of reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, whether imposed on the electric generation sector or the oil and gas sectors, are eventually imposed upon us, the consumer. We are the ones who eventually bear the costs of government imposed GHG reduction schemes. At the same time, we are often already economically disadvantaged, as compared to global competitors who are subsidized or protected by their governments. . . .

IECA is wary of international climate agreements because the U.S. manufacturing sector competes globally, and because other countries do subsidize, and will continue to subsidize and provide advantages to their manufacturing sectors, regardless of any global climate agreements. And, importantly, because the U.S. government does not subsidize U.S. EITE industries, we can become non-competitive in the global marketplace. Global GHG reduction agreements may sound well-intentioned at the macro level, but at the micro level, where we reside, it can create significant uncertainty, risk, and job loss.

The Paris Agreement exemplifies such pitfalls. It will make U.S. manufacturers less competitive vis-à-vis their Chinese and Indian counterparts:

Furthermore, the U.S. commitment under the agreement is significantly more stringent than the commitments undertaken by some of our largest competitors in the global marketplace, many of whom, including China and India, essentially pledged to continue increasing their GHG emissions substantially for the foreseeable future. . . . China’s pledge under the Paris Climate Accord would allow it to actually increase GHG emissions by 117 percent by 2030 before they start reducing.

The IECA also objects to the mode by which President Obama purported to make the United States a party to the Agreement:

Any U.S. commitment to reduce GHG emissions under an international construct should only have been undertaken through the process prescribed in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. IECA believes that U.S. participation in any global agreement to reduce GHG emissions, whether such agreements are binding or not, should be submitted to the U.S. Senate for a vote of ratification. Our forefathers made it clear that the checks and balances between the Executive Branch and Congress are essential.

IECA member companies come from a diverse set of industries including chemical, plastics, steel, iron ore, aluminum, paper, food processing, fertilizer, insulation, glass, industrial gases, pharmaceutical, building products, automotive, brewing, independent oil refining, and cement. Lest anyone suppose IECA’s position on the Paris Agreement reflects a lack of commitment to energy efficiency, Mr. Cicio points out:

The manufacturing sector already has an incentive to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions, it is called global competition. Global competition is relentless and requires EITE industries to reduce energy consumption to be competitive. If we are not globally competitive, we cease to exist. . . .

For a variety of reasons, including a dedication to energy efficiency and energy cost reductions to improve global competitiveness, today’s U.S. manufacturing sector’s GHG emissions are 26 percent below 1973 levels. The industrial sector is the only U.S. sector whose GHG emissions are below 1973 levels.


Bill Nye, the people hater

To be fair, Bill Nye didn’t actually say people should be eliminated by their governments to save the environment and the planet. He did say that there are too many people and parents, at least in the developed world, should be punished for having "too many” children:

The season finale of pop scientist Bill Nye's new Netflix show "Bill Nye Saves the World" suggested that the government should punish people who have too many children, for the sake of the environment.

"The average Nigerian emits 0.1 metric tons of carbon annually," noted Nye's guest, Dr. Travis Rieder. "How many does the average American emit? Sixteen metric tons."

Rieder said Americans having an average of two children are "waaaay more problematic" than Nigerians having seven when it comes to preventing global warming.

"Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?" Nye asked.

“I do think we should at least consider it," Rieder said.

Nye pushed him even further.

"Well, ‘at least consider it' is like, ‘do it,'" he opined.

The other two guests pushed back, however, pointing out that what Nye and Rieder were proposing came dangerously close to the eugenics policies of America's past, which ending up disproportionately targeting poor women and minorities.

Yes, his remarks are perilously close to advocating eugenics. It is a short trip from deciding how many children people should be allowed to have to deciding who gets to have children at all. It bears a striking resemblance to China’s one-child policy, which included sterilization and forced abortion. China’s one-child policy, instituted by the Communist government in the late 1970s to stem rising population, compels couples in urban areas to have just one child and limits couples in rural areas to two children if the first child is a girl, as girls are seen as having lesser value than boys in some parts of the Asian nation. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, agreed with Bill Nye that too many people were a problem that needed to be dealt with:

This administration supports draconian actions to fight climate change. In 2007, at climate change talks in Vienna, Su Wei, a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official, boasted that China's one-child policy had reduced China's population at that point by some 300 million human beings, roughly equal to the U.S. population.

Avoiding those 300 million births "means we averted 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2005," based on average world per capital emissions of 4.2 tons, he said.

John Holdren, the president's top science adviser, has no quarrel with this barbarism, seeing it as necessary to fight global warming and resource depletion. Even the U.S. Constitution can't stand in his way.

In a previous book, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," co-authored with Thomas Malthus fans Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Holdren writes that large families "contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children" and "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility."

On page 837, he writes, it has "been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

Hillary Clinton’s idol, and founder of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger, had her particular idea on which children should be allowed to be born. As J. Kenneth Blackwell, writing in the Washington Times, noted, those who chant “black lives matter” obviously exclude the abortion rate of black babies that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and the KKK could only dream of:

138,539 black babies, nearly one baby in three, were killed in the womb in 2010. According to the CDC, between 2007 and 2010, innocent black babies were victimized in nearly 36 percent of the abortion deaths in the United States, though blacks represent only 12.8 percent of the population. Some say the abortion capital of America is New York City. According to LifeSiteNews, the city’s Department of Health reported that in 2012, more black babies were aborted (31,328) than born (24,758). That’s 55.9 percent of black babies killed before birth. Blacks represented 42.4 percent of all abortions.

This is a disturbing and tragic situation that continues unabated and is the fulfillment of Sanger’s dream. As Blackwell also noted:

According to Sanger, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.” She opened her first abortion clinics in inner cities, and it’s no accident that even today, “79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities are located in black or minority neighborhoods.”

Population control is the tool of tyrants. Whether it is to build a master race or lower carbon dioxide emissions, it is inherently evil in its methods and goals. Ironically, and contrary to Nye’s hypothesis, wealthier societies are healthier societies. Which is better for the environment -- to reduce emissions thanx to natural gas obtained by fracking, or to let families in underdeveloped countries burn animal dung to cook their food and heat their homes? Wealthier societies can afford the technology to clean the air and water without sacrificing human lives.

It is fracking that has produced a boom in the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel, that has produced a significant reduction in the U.S. of so-called “greenhouse gases”. As the Washington Times reported:

White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.

“For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we’ve seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005,” said Mr. Deese. “And they’re at their lowest level in nearly 20 years.”

He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.

“To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it,” said Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

Carbon dioxide is the basis for all plant and animal life on earth, whether it emanates from the nostrils of Bill Nye or from the children he wishes would not be born. He is lucky his parents didn’t come up with the idea first and eliminate a dangerous source of hot air.

Nightmare scenarios regarding overpopulation have made the rounds since Thomas Malthus predicted in 1798 that overpopulation would outstrip England’s food supply and the British Empire would literally starve to death. Similar nonsense was express in Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968) which warned: “In the 1970s, the world will undergo famine -- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked on now.” Today, a major problem America faces is not famine, but obesity.

Malthusian thinking fails to grasp that human beings are the ultimate resource, that with more bodies come more minds that create more ideas. Neither Malthus or Ehrlich could envision the advances in medicine, science, technology, and biotechnology that would tame disease, increase the food supply at exponential rates, find new resources, or create new substitutes.

The view that human beings are inexorably outstripping the globe´s capacity to sustain them is one of the most vivid, powerful, and enduring economic myths of the modern era because the chicken littles who argue it forget one simple fact -- with bodies come minds.

Bill Nye is wrong. We are not cattle that graze until there is no grass. Our species, unlike all others, can consciously apply problem-solving techniques to the project of expanding its resource base. Minds matter economically as much as hands and mouths. And minds arrive only in company with bodies. Be fruitful and multiply.



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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