Friday, September 22, 2017



Climate Models Stink

Skeptics have been pointing out for years that Warmist climate models "run hot"  -- i.e. predict much more warming than ever happens -- but they were ignored.  Now that the gap has become unmistakeable and mainstream climate scientists admit it, big "attitude adjustments" are needed.  Do the models have any correspondence with reality at all?  

Climate alarmists and “settled science” extortionists have a rather incredulous response to a new study appearing in Nature Geoscience. The study takes a fresh look at the “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain endurable temperatures. According to the study, compiled by a consortium of scientists from all over the world, the doomsday clock remains, but it’s been extended by quite some time.

The Washington Post calls the finding “a potential whiplash moment” that “was published by a number of researchers who have been deeply involved in studying the concept, making it all the more unexpected.” According to the study, contrary to previous disquisitions, it is possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), or what most scientists concur is a critical —but largely out-of-reach — global warming threshold. “It had been widely assumed that this stringent target would prove unachievable,” the Post reports, “but the new study would appear to give us much more time to get our act together if we want to stay below it.”

The Post says that, based on new calculations, “We have more than 700 billion tons left to emit to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, with a two-thirds probability of success.” According to co-author Richard Millar, “That’s about 20 years at present-day emissions.” The hope is that this buys enough time to more robustly mitigate global warming’s effects. Predictably, however, the study is already being downplayed. But it’s important to understand why the researchers came to this conclusion. For us so-called climate skeptics, it’s not surprising in the least.

According to researcher Joeri Rogelj, “The most complex Earth system models that provided input to [the IPCC] tend to slightly overestimate historical warming, and at the same time underestimate compatible historical CO2 emissions. These two small discrepancies accumulate over time and lead to an [sic] slight underestimation of the remaining carbon budget.” Rogelj’s colleague Pierre Friedlingstein echoed this point: “The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower.” In other words, the models were too rambunctious.

The problem of overly ambitious global warming projections is well known. Climatologists like Dr. Roy Spencer and John Christy have found that climate models are grossly exaggerating future warming. What’s interesting is that some mainstream scientists are finally — perhaps because the facts leave them with no alternative — addressing this reality. How the rest of their peers are likely to respond is less encouraging. It’s also worth repeating that the true effects of global warming are still unknown and probably excessively dramatized. But at least this study tries to incorporate some authenticity.

SOURCE




Cut Green Taxes Now! Scientists Admit Overstating Global Warming

Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures.

But critics now say this should be reduced because it is based on outdated information. They point that out the taxes further push up the cost of living as companies and the public sector pass the costs on to consumers.

Nearly all of the world’s governments are signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels. Many commentators believed this was practically impossible.

 Green taxes on families¿ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday (file photo)

 Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.
But now a leading group of climate researchers has said that projections used in previous studies were too pessimistic and the 1.5C target was achievable, provided strict cuts to carbon dioxide were made.

The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on climate policy, claimed there was no reason to change its targets for cutting carbon in the light of the new paper.

But critics said that, as these estimates formed the basis of UK energy policy, it was also time to rethink the green taxes on energy intended to address them.

John Constable, [GWPF Energy Editor and] chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which opposes subsidies to wind farms said: ‘This research has confirmed what a lot of people have known.

‘What is significant is establishment figures are now admitting it. [Policy-makers] should stop panicking and focus on cutting costs to consumers.’ The researchers, in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience, had said the world can emit around 240billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – around 20 years of current emissions – and still meet the 1.5C target.

Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London, admitted his predictions had been too pessimistic.

 Around 10 per cent of a family¿s energy bill ¿ roughly £111 a year ¿ is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)

Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures (file photo)
‘When the facts change, I change my mind, as [economist John Maynard] Keynes said,’ Dr Grubb told The Times.

‘It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.’

Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, said: ‘What we really need to [ask] is how do we spend our money, how much should we spend on cutting CO2, compared to all the other things we should spend on [such as] the NHS. Are we spending too much on achieving too little?’

The Government has ordered a review of energy bills, headed by Oxford academic Professor Dieter Helm, although detailed recommendations of tax cuts do not form part of his brief.

SOURCE



     
Leftist Global Warming Mythology

By Bruce Walker

The left's response to the natural disasters in Florida was to raise again the bogeyman of man-made global warming.  The left blames every natural disaster or significant change in weather on man-made global warming.  So if the weather is unseasonably hot, man-made global warming is the culprit, but if the weather is unseasonably cold, the man-made global warming is to blame as well.  The "science" of the left simply plugs in man-made global warming to every natural disaster or significant change in the weather.

This is anti-science in its purest form.  Totalitarianism – and the left is utterly totalitarian – always claims to base its actions upon "science."  So the Nazis insisted and persuaded many scientists involved in genetics, psychology, biology, and so forth to agree with Nazi racial policies as "scientific," and almost everything that happened was accounted for by the Nazis as part of racial "science."  So the Soviets coerced all scientists to accept as an overarching "science" Marxism, and so geneticists and physicists were sent to the Gulag or worse if their scientific discoveries conflicted with Marxist "science."

The settled "science," which is to say anti-science, is screeched by the left despite the fact that more than 4,000 scientists, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from more than 100 nations signed the Heidelberg Appeal, which explicitly challenged politically correct science and warned against "irrational ideology" and "pseudoscientific arguments of false and nonrelevant data."

Even more interesting is the Oregon Petition from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which explicitly stated that there was "no convincing scientific evidence" of global warming and noted that rising carbon dioxide is beneficial to plants and animals.  This petition has been signed by more than 30,000 scientists in America.

The left assumes global warming when a truly scientific analysis of the data could mean a stable climate, a cooling climate (which is what the great scientist Sir Fred Hoyle believed was the case at the end of the last century), or global warming.  The left not only prostitutes science into insisting upon man-made global warming, but ignores any explanation for climate change, assuming that climate change is real, which conflicts with its politically correct theory of man-made global warming.

So the left ignores dramatic changes in global climate about which we have abundant evidence, scientific and documentary, based upon people living in these periods.  During the Roman Warm Period, the climate was 2℃ to 6℃ hotter than it is today.  The Dark Age Cold Period saw a significantly cooler climate than today.  The Medieval Warming Period, which lasted centuries, saw the climate 3℃ warmer than it is today, and the Little Ice Age, which ended shortly before the American Civil War, saw temperatures 2℃ lower than today.

None of these climatic changes in temperature can be explained by human activity, and all of them produced changes greater than what the Chicken Little leftists claim will produce the end of civilization.

The left also ignores explanations for any global warming that do not involve human activity.  Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research in Denmark, proposes a new theory for possible global warming and a new discipline, cosmoclimatology.  Svensmark shows how cosmic rays have affected the climate on Earth over thousands of years.  Perhaps even more persuasive, Svensmark notes that the climate changes of Mars track very closely the climate changes on Earth and that these changes fit closely into his theory that climate change is caused by cosmic rays and other forces of nature operating outside Earth.  This does not preclude global warming; rather, it finds that natural forces, cosmic forces, in this case, account for global warming and not human activity.

So why does the left love its silly theory of man-made global warming?  Why does the left violently resist scientific opinions to the contrary?  Because all the left really cares about is power, just like its close cousins, Marxism and Nazism.  Man-made global warming demands – or rather, the left demands on behalf of its pet theory – a concentration of power away from the people and to remote, insulated, arrogant political bosses.

Whatever happens in any area of life produces the same shrill cry for statist power by the left, no matter what the problem may be or how badly the left's "solution" to the problem may have failed in the past.  Power, power, power and power is all the left loves.

SOURCE





How Obama's EPA Nearly Bankrupted John Duarte's Farm

A controversial rule on water pollution allowed the agency to micromanage private land use

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has set out to transform the agency he leads to a greater extent than any of Trump's other cabinet appointees, pledging to end what he dubbed the agency's "anti-energy agenda" by loosening requirements on carbon emissions and eliminating land use restrictions.

In his first speech to EPA employees, Pruitt laid out his goal of returning the agency to its core focus of protecting the environment while following what he called "the letter of the law."

"I believe that we as an agency, and we as a nation, can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment," Pruitt told his staff.

Environmentalists vehemently opposed Pruitt's appointment, depicting him as a climate change denier determined to undermine the EPA's core mission of protecting the environment.

One of Pruitt's first targets is a controversial rule on water pollution put in place by the Obama administration that he deemed a "power grab" by environmental regulators.

To better understand why property rights advocates applauded the move, consider the case of fourth-generation farmer John Duarte, who has fought a protracted and costly legal battle with federal regulators over how to till his 450-acre farm in Tehama County, California.

In 2012, the Army Corps of Engineers, working in conjunction with the EPA, accused Duarte of damaging wetland features on his property. He was hit with $30 million in fines and restoration fees.

Duarte's troubles stemmed from a 2015 provision in the Clean Water Act known as the Waters of the United States rule that was meant to better protect large bodies of water by regulating use of the streams, ponds, and ditches that flow into them. The EPA has used this provision to micromanage private land use.

The agency accused Duarte of mismanaging the wetland areas located on his property, claiming that his four-inch plow furrows created small mountain ranges. They contend Duarte should have obtained a permit before tilling his own land.

"The average time to obtain a Clean Water Act permit is close to two years, and the average cost just to hire the consultants and do the studies to get permits approaches a quarter of a million dollars," says Anthony François, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation who represented Duarte in his case against the government. "Clearly if you had to undertake that kind of cost and time just to get the necessary permit to plow your fields every year you're not going to grow a lot of food."

In 2016, attorneys general from 31 states (including Pruitt) challenged the Obama administration's overreach on the Clean Water Act. The case is still active in federal court.

University of Virginia Law Professor Jason Scott Johnston, who is also an adjunct scholar at the libertarian CATO Institute, believes it's likely the Supreme Court would strike down the 2015 water regulation. He says that the Obama administration expanded the definition of wetlands beyond the parameters set by the Court in the 2007 Rapanos v. United States decision.

"The broad trend of environmental regulation during the Obama administration was to use the coercive threat or reality of regulation simply to try to shut down entire industries and entire types of economic activity," says Johnston. "They have promulgated a definition of wetlands which clearly contradicts what the Supreme Court said."

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the EPA to repeal the Waters of the United States rule, but getting the regulation off the books could take several years and be delayed by legal challenges from environmental groups.

Meanwhile, Duarte settled his case in August for $1.1 million to avoid paying a significantly larger fine. He hopes Pruitt's focus on regulatory rollback will restore farmers' property rights.

"We become peasants where these federal prosecutors can come in like the Sheriff of Nottingham, decide for themselves what they think a family can pay," Duarte says. "If the federal prosecutors can come on this land with this set of facts, there is no farm in America that is safe from this kind of prosecution."

SOURCE




The UN Climate Panel Cannot Be Trusted

In his Opening Statement on September 6 at the 46th Session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Montreal, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee asserted that “Science underpins the negotiating process and provides the evidence base for sound policy.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The IPCC is highly biased and simply ignores findings that do not conform with the climate alarm.

This is because, contrary to its original purpose of studying all climate change, the IPCC role is now:

to assess …the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced [bold added] climate change…
The problem is, you cannot determine the human effect unless you know the extent and cause of natural climate change. And, of course, if human-induced climate change was found to be trivial, there would be no reason for the IPCC to exist. The IPCC therefore always supports the climate scare, no matter what the science reveals.

The IPCC’s narrow mandate is one of the results of the definition of climate change given by the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Convention asserts:

“Climate Change means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods.”

Since the IPCC is required to support the Framework Convention, the IPCC had to adopt the UNFCCC’s political definition of climate change. This results in policy-makers, not scientists, leading the process. Indeed, IPCC vice-chair Thelma Krug admitted as much when, according to the Canadian Press (Sep 6, 2017), she said that scientists are guided by policy-makers in 195 member states. Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor Richard Lindzen was not exaggerating when he said that the supposed scientific consensus was reached before the research had even begun.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************




Thursday, September 21, 2017



Trump administration working toward renewed drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in more than 30 years, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling.

Congress has sole authority to determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within the refuge’s 19.6 million acres. But seismic studies represent a necessary first step, and Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation to permit them.

The effort represents a twist in a political fight that has raged for decades. The remote and vast habitat, which serves as the main calving ground for one of North America’s last large caribou herds and a stop for migrating birds from six continents, has served as a rallying cry for environmentalists and some of Alaska’s native tribes. But state politicians and many Republicans in Washington have pressed to extract the billions of barrels of oil lying beneath the refuge’s coastal plain.

Democrats have managed to block them through votes in the Senate and, in one instance in 1995, by a presidential veto.

In an Aug. 11 memo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting director James W. Kurth instructed the agency’s Alaska regional director to update a rule that allowed exploratory drilling between Oct. 1, 1984, and May 31, 1986, by striking those calendar constraints.

Doing so would eliminate an obstacle that was the subject of a court battle as recently as two years ago.

“When finalized, the new regulation will allow for applicants to [submit] requests for approval of new exploration plans,” Kurth wrote in the memo.

If the rule is finalized after a public comment period, companies would have to bid on conducting the seismic studies. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in a June 27 memo, obtained by Trustees for Alaska through a federal records request, that this work would cost about $3.6 million.

With oil prices averaging around $50 per barrel, potentially too low to justify a significant investment in drilling in the refuge, it is unclear how much interest companies would have. Some might consider proceeding with those studies to get a better sense of the area’s potential.

The behind-the-scenes push to open up the refuge — often referred to by its acronym, ANWR — comes as longtime drilling proponents occupy key positions at the Interior Department.

Its No. 2 official, David Bernhardt, represented Alaska in its unsuccessful 2014 suit to force then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to allow exploratory drilling there. Joseph Balash, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Interior assistant secretary for land and minerals management, asked federal officials to turn a portion of the refuge over to the state when he served as Alaska’s natural resources commissioner. The state’s plan was to offer the land for leasing.

During a stop in Anchorage on May 31, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he hoped to jump-start energy exploration on Alaska’s North Slope in part by updating resource assessments of the refuge.

“I’m a geologist. Science is a wonderful thing. It helps us understand what is going on deep below the surface of the Earth,” Zinke said at the time. “We need to use science to update our understanding of the [coastal plain] of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Congress considers important legislation to responsibly develop there one day.”

The Fish and Wildlife memo notes that the Interior Department asked it “to update the regulations concerning the geological and geophysical exploration” of that coastal area but does not identify who issued the directive.

An Interior official said in an email Friday that the department is “required by law — the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act — to allow for seismic surveys in wildlife refuges across Alaska.”

“Hundreds of seismic surveys have been conducted on Alaska’s north slope — many of them on ANWR’s borders,” the official added.

Both the Clinton and Obama administrations concluded that the department was legally barred from permitting seismic studies in the refuge. And environmentalists have consistently opposed such activity, which sends shock waves underground. They say it would disturb denning polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as musk oxen and other Arctic animals.

Environmental groups would be likely to challenge any decision to conduct seismic work in the refuge in federal court.

SOURCE




What's With the Paris Climate Accord?

Is Trump out or still in? That depends on what happens with ongoing negotiations for a "better" deal.

This weekend The Wall Street Journal published a “bombshell” report in which it alluded to President Donald Trump’s reneging on his previous decision to exit the Paris climate accord. The Journal’s initial headline, “Trump Administration Won’t Withdraw from Paris Climate Deal,” suggested that a major shift had occurred. The truth is that there is less “news” here than what’s implied — yet at the same time, it indicates that more skepticism was warranted when Trump made his initial announcement.

The Journal began its report: “The Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement to fight climate change ‘under the right conditions,’ offering to re-engage in the international deal three months after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out if it didn’t find more favorable terms. During a climate-change meeting Saturday of more than 30 ministers led by Canada, China and the European Union, in Montreal, U.S. officials broached revising U.S. climate-change goals, two participants said, signaling a compromise that would keep the U.S. at the table even if it meant weakening the international effort.”

None of this is inconsistent with the president’s initial proclamation. On June 1, Trump stated: “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord … but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair [emphasis added].”

In this sense, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters is correct in saying, “There has been no change in the U.S.‘s position on the Paris agreement. As the president has made abundantly clear, the U.S. is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.” Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do in June. The Journal headline now reads less assertively, “Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”

Perhaps the lesson here is that conservatives should have been more skeptical from the get-go. As his statement proves, Trump hinted in June that the U.S. wasn’t necessarily walking away from the Paris climate accord. The bigger concern is whether any final decision will contradict Trump’s campaign pledge. In May 2016, he said, “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He should be reminded that any U.S. partnership with the UN on this matter would betray his constituency.

Of course, we don’t know what the terms or conditions of a refined deal would look like. But Trump also needs to understand that global accords, particularly environmental ones, are a dangerous game. His advisers need to be very direct and insistent on the fact that partner nations cannot be trusted to fulfill their end of the bargain. The Paris accord’s biggest advocates have their eyes set on the redistribution of wealth, which is what the accord would facilitate. Whatever his end game is, it’s imperative that Trump refuse any “deal” that harms business or uses any tax dollars to fund a statist scheme.

And, oh, by the way, the science isn’t settled. Oxford researchers have released some interesting findings on the so-called “carbon budget,” or how much emissions the earth can take and still maintain temperatures. The Washington Post notes, “Any substantial revision to the carbon budget would have major implications, changing our ideas of how rapidly countries will need to ratchet down their greenhouse gas emissions in coming years and, thus, the very workings of global climate policymaking.” Well, how about that?

SOURCE




Bad Policies Make Hurricane Disasters Worse

Natural disasters, it’s often said, bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, the very same people who act as Good Samaritans during times of crisis often advocate government policies that unintentionally make such disasters worse. In the case of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the counterproductive policies include National Flood Insurance and laws against “price gouging.”

Most people intuitively grasp that lowering the cost of certain behaviors encourages more of it—a phenomenon called “moral hazard”—but they often fail to grasp the scope and power of such inducements. National Flood Insurance, which subsidizes flood insurance premiums, has had a profoundly undesirable effect: it has encouraged construction in flood-prone Houston, whose population has increased 23 percent since the massive flooding caused by tropical storm Allison in 2001. “Congress should get rid of [National Flood Insurance],” write Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell and Berry College economist Phillip Magness in an op-ed at CNBC.com. “It encourages bad choices, which produce bad results.”

Laws against so-called price gouging are another well-meaning disaster policy with disastrous consequences. A price is a signal wrapped up in an incentive (as one economics textbook eloquently put it). Thus, when Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi announced that sellers who hiked prices of useful goods during Irma would face a fine of $1,000 per violation, she was disrupting the signals and incentives that would have communicated the relative importance and scarcity of those goods, encouraged their conservation, and helped bring forth additional supplies. In other words, she encouraged shortages. “Keeping prices low is pointless if there’s nothing left to buy,” write Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall and University of Tampa economist Michael Coon in an op-ed in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel. Such price controls, they conclude, “harm the very people they are intended to help.”

SOURCE





Forest Stewardship vs. Environmental Fanaticism

Trump addresses the growing problem of western forest fires via the promotion of responsible logging practices.

The West is on fire. While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have held much of the nation’s attention, folks living in the more sparsely populated western states have been enduring another natural disaster. This summer alone some 47,000 wildfires have destroyed eight million acres — that’s an area the size of Maryland. Not only have forests, homes and wildlife habitat been destroyed but air pollution levels have spiked in the West’s normally pristine mountain air. And the ugly truth is that over the past several years the frequency and size of these western forest fires have been increasing.

What has caused this problem? While ecofascists like to blame climate change, the real culprit is misguided government policy. During Bill Clinton’s time in office, new Forest Service policies were enacted to appease environmentalists. These policies sharply reduced logging and roadbuilding in national forests. It is this mismanagement practice by the Forest Service that can be tied to the increase in disease- and insect-infested forests, which have become literal tinderboxes ready and waiting to be ignited.

Not only have the Clinton-era policy changes proven destructive to America’s forests, they have been financially costly. Before Clinton, the Forest Service spent 16% of its annual budget fighting wildfires; in 2015, it was over 50%. Since 1990, more than 450 firefighters have lost their lives fighting wildfires, many of which could have been prevented had responsible logging been allowed.

The solution to poor logging practices is not to shut down logging but to promote responsible logging. Forests are valuable renewable resources that should be constructively managed, not left as tinder for the next devastating and massively polluting wildfire.

This is a bipartisan issue within local communities affected by these fires, precisely because the cause of the problem is undeniable and the solution is an obvious one. However, that hasn’t stopped out-of-state environmentalist groups from seeking to stop responsible national forest stewardship. In Montana, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan are suing to stop the state from thinning the Flathead National Forest. One would think that these environmentalists would embrace practical solutions for protecting the environment and decreasing air-pollution, but no. Once again an illogical emotional ideology trumps any rational solutions for these ecofascists.

Thankfully, Donald Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who is from Montana, is aggressively acting to correct the Forest Service’s mismanagement problem. Last week, Zinke issued a memo to park and land management officials instructing them to aggressively begin clearing out dead and dying trees on federal lands. The memo states that the aim is to “proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction managements to save lives, homes and wildlife habitat.” It will take time, but hopefully, through proper forest management the threats posed by these massive forest fires will significantly decrease, and the West’s forest will be healthier for it.

SOURCE





Prominent Australian conservative to vote against "clean" energy

Tony Abbott has warned he'll vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him. "He has let the government know his position. He won't vote for a clean energy target," a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.

In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.

"It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labor's climate change obsessions to go down this path," he writes.

Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the world's largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the world's highest power prices.   "But that's what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion."

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subsidies for renewable energy and encouraging coal-fired power.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to keep the company's NSW Hunter Valley power station Liddell open beyond its planned 2022 closure.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************



Wednesday, September 20, 2017



Newspaper criticized for climate skepticism

Paper criticized for including data from an El Nino year -- but Warmists almost universally did that recently.  I wonder will they be criticized by press regulators?  The "Mail" should haul the "Guardian" before the same regulators


Claims in the Mail on Sunday that global warming data had been exaggerated in order to secure the Paris climate change agreement have been criticised by the UK’s press regulator.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation censured the newspaper for publishing a story in early February that was flawed in key aspects. The news story suggested that data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s gold-standard sources of weather and climate research, had been treated in such a way as to suggest greater warming than had really occurred.

The research hinged on the "pause" in global warming that had been seized on by dismissers of climate change as evidence that the concerns of mainstream scientists had been overblown. The so-called pause or hiatus has long been a contentious issue in climate science. The outlier year of 1998 was exceptionally hot, owing to a strong El Niño, and these record temperatures were not surpassed for several years.

This allowed sceptics to claim that global warming had stopped until 2013. However, as mainstream scientists pointed out, the years following 1998 still exhibited an upward temperature trajectory compared with the long-term average, so while the upward march of temperatures was slightly slower, and some years were cooler than others, talk of a "pause" that suggested an end to global warming was misleading.

The Mail on Sunday article alleged that the NOAA had taken data that was "unverified" and used it to suggest the pause had not happened.

Ipso ruled that the Mail on Sunday had "failed to take care over the accuracy of the article and had then failed to correct these significantly misleading statements". Further, a graph published with the article that purported to show large differences between NOAA’s published data and data on warming from other sources was found to be wrong, owing to the newspaper’s "failure to plot the lines correctly".

Some of these examples were deemed to constitute breaches of the editorial code to which newspapers sign up.

David Rose, the author of the original story, frequently writes on global warming, often reporting on sceptics’ views on climate science. He is a respected journalist and won the British Press Awards’ prestigious reporter of the year title for 2015. He writes frequently on issues such as police corruption and miscarriages of justice.

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, pursued the Ipso claim against the newspaper. He said: "Fake news stories about climate change are a significant threat to the public interest in the UK, US and other countries. The expert community must continue to fight back against the deluge of propaganda from climate change deniers."

He said several other media outlets had repeated the false claims, and they had even been cited in a letter to NOAA from a leading committee chairman in the US Congress. He called the Ipso ruling "a significant victory".

A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said: "The subject of the rate of climate change is fiercely debated, with reputable scientists taking positions on both sides. The Mail on Sunday has published articles that challenge some widely held opinions. The complainant in this case is a professional spokesman for two academic institutions involved in the debate. He has complained to the press regulator on three previous occasions about our articles on climate change, but those complaints were rejected."

The spokesman added: "This newspaper is fully committed to the principle of independent press regulation and is a member of Ipso. We are disappointed with this finding, but we accept it and are publishing the adjudication with prominence in the newspaper and online."

Not all of the complaints made by Ward against Rose’s article were upheld, and some of those upheld reflected narrow technical points, for instance over the archiving of data.

SOURCE




Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests

Big climbdown

Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

An unexpected "revolution" in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

They also condemned the "overreaction" to the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.

According to the models used to draw up the agreement, the world ought now to be 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th-Century average, whereas the most recent observations suggest it is actually between 0.9 to 1 degree above.

The discrepancy means nations could continue emitting carbon dioxide at the current rate for another 20 years before the target was breached, instead of the three to five predicted by the previous model.

"When you are talking about a budget of 1.5 degrees, then a 0.3 degree difference is a big deal", said Professor Myles Allen, of Oxford University and one of the authors of the new study.

Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, it suggests that if polluting peaks and then declines to below current levels before 2030 and then continue to drop more sharply, there is a 66 per cent chance of global average temperatures staying below 1.5 degrees.

The goal was yesterday described as "very ambitious" but "physically possible".

Another reason the climate outlook is less bleak than previously thought is stabilising emissions, particularly in China.

SOURCE.  Journal abstract below.

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C

Richard J. Millar et al.

Abstract

The Paris Agreement has opened debate on whether limiting warming to 1.5 °C is compatible with current emission pledges and warming of about 0.9 °C from the mid-nineteenth century to the present decade. We show that limiting cumulative post-2015 CO2 emissions to about 200 GtC would limit post-2015 warming to less than 0.6 °C in 66% of Earth system model members of the CMIP5 ensemble with no mitigation of other climate drivers, increasing to 240 GtC with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation. We combine a simple climate–carbon-cycle model with estimated ranges for key climate system properties from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Assuming emissions peak and decline to below current levels by 2030, and continue thereafter on a much steeper decline, which would be historically unprecedented but consistent with a standard ambitious mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), results in a likely range of peak warming of 1.2–2.0 °C above the mid-nineteenth century. If CO2 emissions are continuously adjusted over time to limit 2100 warming to 1.5 °C, with ambitious non-CO2 mitigation, net future cumulative CO2 emissions are unlikely to prove less than 250 GtC and unlikely greater than 540 GtC. Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 °C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.

SOURCE




Interior secretary proposes changes to 10 national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

The memorandum, which the White House has refused to release since Zinke submitted it late last month, does not specify exact reductions for the four protected areas Zinke would have Trump narrow — Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou — or the two marine national monuments — the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll — for which he raised the same prospect. The two Utah sites encompass a total of more than 3.2 million acres, part of the reason they have aroused intense emotions since their designation.

The secretary’s set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed. It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit "traditional uses" such as coal mining and grazing.

If enacted, the changes could test the legal boundaries of what powers a president holds under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Although Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions.

The memorandum, labeled "Final Report Summarizing Findings of the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act," shows Zinke concluded after a nearly four-month review that both Republican and Democratic presidents went too far in recent decades in limiting commercial activities in protected areas. The act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, gives the president wide latitude to protect public lands and waters that face an imminent threat.

"It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects," the report reads, adding that while grazing is rarely banned "outright," subsequent management decisions "can have the indirect result of hindering livestock-grazing uses."

Zinke said Trump should use his authority under the Antiquities Act to change each of the 10 sites’ proclamations to permit activities that are now restricted. These include "active timber management" in Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off New England.

In most of his recommendations, Zinke suggests Trump amend the existing proclamations "to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights."

The White House is reviewing the recommendations and has not reached a final decision on them. At several points, the memo bears the marker "Draft Deliberative — Not for Distribution."

In an e-mail Sunday, White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said she would not discuss in detail a review that is still underway: "The Trump Administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the President and relevant agencies."

The majority of the monuments listed in the report were established by either President Clinton or President Obama, but the two Pacific Ocean sites were created by President George W. Bush and later expanded by Obama.

"No other administration has gone this far," Kristen Brengel, vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said of the Trump White House in an interview. "This law was intended to protect places from development, not promote damaging natural and cultural resources."

SOURCE





Solar Power Death Wish

Billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies haven’t made the U.S. solar industry competitive, and now two companies want to make it even less so. Suniva Inc., a bankrupt solar-panel maker, and German-owned SolarWorld Americas have petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose tariffs on foreign-made crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.



Solar cells in the U.S. sell for around 27 cents a watt. The petitioners want to add a new duty of 40 cents a watt. They also want a floor price for imported panels of 78 cents a watt versus the market price of 37 cents. In other words, they want the government to double the cost of the main component used in the U.S. solar industry. Solar electricity prices could rise by some 30% if the ITC says they’ve been injured by foreign competition—a decision is due by Sept. 22—and the Trump Administration goes along with the tariff request.

U.S. manufacturers won countervailing and antidumping duties against imports from China and Taiwan in 2012 and in 2015. But now they’re resorting to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 because they don’t need to show they are victims of dumping or foreign government subsidies. They only need to show that imports have harmed them.

The harm is real but that’s due to changes in the marketplace. The U.S. solar industry has discovered that its comparative advantage lies not in making panels, a basic product, but in adding value to imported cells and modules. This involves making and installing racking or framing systems and incorporating innovations like trackers that orient toward the sun.

To turn sunshine into energy requires inverters that translate the energy captured on a solar panel into something that can be sent on the electrical grid. While there are fewer than 1,000 jobs in U.S. panel manufacturing, some 260,000 jobs rely on access to imported panels.

SOURCE




Australia's fraudulent Bureau of Meteorology

Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being "not fit for purpose" — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a "hardware fault".

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and "kill off" a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed "the need for a major revision of the dataset".

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: "When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified." He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and "raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record".

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that "some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it."

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: "Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references".

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a "thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes".

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************


Tuesday, September 19, 2017



More nonsense from the Ivory Tower

Is rising CO2 making food less nutritious? It may be.  Increasing the supply of one nutrient without increasing the supply of others would seem logically to dilute the proportion of those other nutrients in any plant.  But the idea that this is a problem is laughable.

In our technological world that the Greenies hate, the problem is OVER nutrition, otherwise known as obesity.  Individual foods may be less nutritious but we have and eat lots of them.  There is no nutrition shortage.  Glut is the besetting problem in the supply of food basics and there is no end to that in sight


Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

“What struck me is that its application is wider,” Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? “It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition,” he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

He published those findings just a few years ago, adding to the concerns of a small but increasingly worried group of researchers who are raising unsettling questions about the future of our food supply. Could carbon dioxide have an effect on human health we haven’t accounted for yet? The answer appears to be yes—and along the way, it has steered Loladze and other scientists, directly into some of the thorniest questions in their profession, including just how hard it is to do research in a field that doesn’t quite exist yet.

SOURCE




Trump Will Pull Out Of Paris Climate Agreement, White House Confirms

Donald Trump is still planning to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement unless the UN can offer ‘better terms,’ despite claims to the contrary, the White House has said.

Two members of a recent international meeting said that a White House representative had said the US would maintain the accord, The Wall Street Journal  reported earlier on Saturday.

But the White House says that’s nonsense – and that Trump is still planning his climate exit unless he gets the changes he wants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initial remarks about Trump reversing his decision to pull out of the agreement were made at an international meeting in Montreal.

That meeting had seen ministers from 30 countries, including Canada and Britain, discussing US climate-change goals with White House senior adviser Everett Eissenstat.

Two people at the meeting said that they were told America would instead seek compromises within the existing framework rather than renegotiating it. ‘They are seriously considering the terms on which the US could re-engage,’ one of the officials at the meeting.  ‘They have also made clear that they have no intention to renegotiate or develop a parallel track to Paris.’

Those remarks were reiterated by Miguel Arias Canete, European commissioner for climate action and energy. He said: ‘The US has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement.’

That would contradict Trump’s promise in June that he would pull out unless it was either renegotiated or scrapped and started again.

‘The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,’ Trump claimed on June 1.

SOURCE





Climate skeptics may soon join a key science advisory panel at U.S. EPA

A number of people who reject the findings of mainstream climate science are being considered by the Trump administration for spots on EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a voluntary but influential panel that reviews science used in environmental regulations.

The selection of any of those researchers would be the beginning of a very different advisory board that would bear the hallmark of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, said Steve Milloy, an attorney and longtime EPA foe who worked on President Trump’s transition team for the agency.

Heartland Institute spokesman Jim Lakely said in an email: “We applaud any effort by Administrator Pruitt to bring qualified non-alarmist scientists onto the EPA’s advisory boards. There is a vigorous debate over the causes and consequences of climate change, and it’s vital that EPA acknowledge that fact and have a more balanced approach to the agency’s rule-making.

The deadline for public comment is set to expire Sept. 28. After that, EPA boss Pruitt will have final approval on the candidates. The board has 48 member slots, 15 of which expire at the end of the month. It’s not clear how many positions will be filled.

SOURCE




ARCTIC SEA ICE ENDS MELTING SEASON AT LEVELS ABOVE 5 AND 10 YEARS AGO



Arctic sea ice extent has likely just reached its low point of the melting season and is above levels from 2012 and 2007 at this same time of year.  Arctic sea ice generally shrinks every year during the spring and summer seasons until it reaches its minimum yearly extent around this time of year. Sea ice then typically regrows during the frigid fall and winter seasons when the sun is below the horizon in the Arctic. The apparent end to this year’s melting season in the Arctic is right around the mid-point of September.

While Arctic sea ice extent appeared to be headed for record lows earlier this year, the melting rate changed pace and actually slowed down in the summer months.  The low point just reached is clearly still below the normal value for the 1981-2000 time period, but it is actually a tad higher than the last couple of years (not shown) and safely above the record low seen during 2012 and also above levels seen ten years ago.

The Arctic sea ice extent has been generally below-normal since the middle 1990’s at which time the northern Atlantic Ocean switched sea surface temperature phases from cold-to-warm and it is likely to return to pre-mid 1990’s levels when the ocean cycle flips back to cold in coming years.

Meteorologists track oceanic temperature cycles in the northern Atlantic Ocean with an index value known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).  The AMO flipped from negative-to-positive in the mid 1990’s signaling an important long-term sea surface temperature phase shift from cold-to-warm and it has stayed generally positive ever since. Typically, oceanic temperature cycles in the Atlantic Ocean have lasted for about 20 to 30 years.

SOURCE





AGL gets more from Greenie subsidies than it get from burning coal

No wonder it wants to shut down its coal generators -- thus leaving Australia with insufficient base-load power

Australians are on track to pay more than $500 million to AGL to fund its flagship solar generators, as the energy giant prepares to shut down its Liddell coal power station, a move that has prompted warnings of a power shortfall that could lead to blackouts and price hikes.

The company has already ­secured $230m in direct grants and is forecast to gain far more under the renewable energy ­target, deepening the political divide on energy policy as the federal government considers cutting ­future aid to make coal more competitive.

The scale of the subsidy is now a key question in the government’s debate on whether to ­embrace a clean energy target, as opponents of the idea challenge AGL and others to prove that wind and solar schemes can work without taxpayer handouts.

Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet ministers are yet to decide on whether to adopt a clean ­energy target but are unwilling to continue the heavy subsidy, ­putting a priority on more reliable power supplies, including coal and gas.

The two AGL solar farms in western NSW generate a combined 359,000 megawatt hours of electricity, just 4 per cent of the ­capacity of Liddell, but have ­secured more long-term investment than the coal power station under laws that continue the ­renewable subsidy until 2030.

Investors are warning the ­government against a halt to the taxpayer assistance for renewables, arguing this would lead to an investment freeze that would ­intensify the energy shortages in the decade ahead.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said the subsidy going to AGL from taxpayers and electricity consumers contrasted with claims that renewables would be more efficient than coal regardless of government assistance.

“AGL keeps telling everybody that renewables no longer need a subsidy — well, if that’s the case, why do we need a clean energy target?” Senator Canavan said.

The Australian understands the government is aiming to encourage more investment in reliable power with a “capacity pricing” structure that could favour coal and gas and meet Mr Turnbull’s stated aim of improving the ability to “dispatch” power at short ­notice.

Even so, AGL is seeking to shut Liddell in 2022, rejecting a ­government push to keep it open a further five years, and is planning to replace it with renewable power and “peaking” gas that can fire up when electricity supply is low.

AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman told The Australian the subsidies for the solar farms would shrink in the decade ahead as the value of renewable energy certificates declined.

Mr Redman also sent a clear warning that the government’s looming decision on a clean ­energy target would not change the company’s assessment that a new coal-fired power station was not viable.

“The economics are now somewhat overwhelming — the world of electricity generation is heading down the renewables path,” Mr Redman said.

“Even without the impact of carbon-emissions policies, we would absolutely be heading down the path of building more renewables. Coal-fired power will not be built in that world.”

The AGL solar projects at ­Nyngan and Broken Hill received $166.7m in direct grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and another $64.9m from the NSW government, as well as qualifying for credits under the renewable energy target.

The Australian estimates the Nyngan project receives more than $18m a year for its 233,000 megawatt hours given an $80 price for renewable energy ­certificates, while the Broken Hill project receives about $10m a year for its 126,000 megawatt hours.

While taxpayers funded the initial grants, households pay for the renewable certificates because the cost is passed on to them in their electricity bills.

TFS Green analyst Marco Stella wrote in RenewEconomy on September 4 that the spot price for these certificates rose above $85 in late August.

AGL stands to receive $589m from the original grants and consumer subsidies for the two solar projects over the period to 2030 if the price holds at $80 until 2020 and then falls to $60 for the ­subsequent decade, an outlook described as conservative by two sources familiar with the market. This falls to about $480m if the renewable certificates fall to $30 in the next decade. It drops to $375m in the unlikely event the certificates fall to zero from 2021.

AGL sold the two projects to its Powering Australian Renewables Fund last November, making no cash profit in the sale. It owns 20 per cent of the fund while 80 per cent is held by Queensland Investment Corporation for clients including the Future Fund.

Mr Redman said the two projects were built in response to government calls for early investors to demonstrate large-scale solar and when the cost of the technology was much higher than it is today.

He said “we’d build a wind farm in every backyard” if the spot price of certificates stayed at today’s levels, but added this was unrealistic and the values were likely to fall in the early 2020s as they had in the past.

The government is weighing up whether to embrace a “reliability energy target” or a “strategic reserve” to offer financial rewards to AGL and others to build gas power, given the industry belief that major new coal power stations will not be viable.

This will get a higher priority than new schemes to subsidise renewables.

However, the rewards to AGL and others for their existing solar or wind projects cannot be altered because the Senate is highly unlikely to allow a change to the renewable energy target rules that apply until 2020 and continue payments until 2030.

The government has decided it has nothing to gain from ­starting a fight over the RET that it cannot win, leading it to keep the rules as they were agreed by Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  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

*****************************************




Monday, September 18, 2017



Climate Scientists Are Not Noble, Stop Paying Them

Everyone assumes climate scientists are noble. Fighting to save the planet. What nonsense. Not even close

Me included. I (Dr. Duane Thresher) am a climate scientist too. As I have said I went into climate science so I could study what I wanted, get paid, and be left alone, and that is one of the better reasons to go into climate science.

Even the ones (see ahead for the others) who, like myself, honestly put in the years of courses and research necessary to be a real climate scientist are often twisted by it, made much less than noble. They put in a lot and give up a lot. And then nobody takes them seriously, not even other scientists.

Men climate scientists for instance. I'm tempted to name names and tell tales out of school here. But for now let's just say a lot of men climate scientists missed out on dating as graduate students and are determined to make up for it when they become senior scientists. And a lot of young women grad students are recruited by them into climate science these days. And as we learned from Hurricane Harvey, correlation is causation. Nah, I'm sure it's just because those men climate scientists think women are smarter than men so will be better scientists.

Climate scientists are academics. Academics living in ivory towers -- elites living a privileged life away from the harsh practicalities of the real world -- is a common expression because it is so true. They often have never had any other jobs except at universities, which take very good care of them (best health insurance I ever had). Academics live in their heads (and it's often not pretty in there!) not in the real world.

Climate scientists are so thrilled with having any power, they don't even think about the billions of poor who will suffer based merely on their opinion that carbon emissions should be drastically cut. Duh, who do they think is going to suffer the most if carbon emissions are cut? The poor. Yeah right, they are going to carbon tax the rich and give it to the poor to make up for their losses. Grow up. Robin Hood is a myth. That money will end up back in the pockets of the rich and the poor's quality of life will get worse. Real heroes those climate scientists.

And then there are the not qualified who become climate scientists. When the science bureaucrats (if you can't do real science be a science bureaucrat) decided global warming was the next big thing, there was a huge influx of money, which meant a huge influx of unqualified into climate science since there just weren't enough qualified and the money HAD to be used. Enter opportunists, carpetbaggers, the corrupt, the ignoble. Physicists and mathematicians who couldn't make it in their own fields, like James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt (who actually told me one reason he became a climate scientist was because he couldn't make it in his degree field of mathematics). People who just wanted instant success as fake heroes or showmen rather than doing years of hard slow obscure real science.

Given the save-the-planet nature of the field, the unqualified included herds of do-gooders, particularly women. (Note: Dr. Claudia Kubatzki agrees with this assessment.) They love committees. Protection by the herd. Power without sticking your neck out.

Science by committee. The IPCC for example. Yeah, that's going to work. Particularly when you have unqualified people on the committee to begin with. Scientific committees spend their time compromising to get -- God save us -- scientific consensus. 32 (ft/sec/sec) for gravitational acceleration is hard to remember, 100 would be better but all, except for the deplorable deniers, agree to compromise on 50. Now demand that be implemented in NASA's programs since it is by scientific consensus (and the committee was diverse). What did happen to the Mars Climate Orbiter? (Yes, I know, it was a mix-up of English and metric units but that could have been caused by the committee to force Americans to adopt the metric system. I like rocket units with pounds in it; so much more descriptive than newtons. And remember, I worked for NASA so I am a rocket scientist.)

This influx into climate science of unqualified also meant they threw out good scientific practices, like not pretending climate models can actually predict climate when they were just invented to study it by experimentation. That inconvenient truth was such a hassle for the fake heroes and showmen of climate science. Things really didn't start taking off until they got rid of that. And then when failing celebrities started to help, oh my!

What to do?

Stop paying climate scientists. The good ones are so into their science they will work for food, maybe less, maybe even pay to do it. French President Macron has invited the rest to move to France so they will be fine. He'll probably even provide free burqas for the women climate scientists. Oh, wait, the women won't be allowed to work.

(Anybody ever notice how the leaders destroying Europe don't have any of their biologically-own kids so no real reason to care about the future but they are always accusing Holocaust deniers, I mean climate change deniers, that if they don't believe in global warming they don't care about their kids?)

Then let climate scientists make some clear predictions for 5 years into the future, not 50 when they won't be around any more to take responsibility. When they are wrong they have to give back their taxpayer-provided salaries, with interest, and quit climate science.

Or go to prison, like the seismologists in Italy. There -- actually like seismologists everywhere -- they wrote their funding proposals stressing the (impossible) prediction aspect way too much. Then an unpredicted earthquake, as they all are (forever), hit with a major loss of life. It had to be somebody's fault. A cautionary tale for California seismologists. When San Francisco is leveled it's going to be your fault. Join the "Admit You Can't Predict" movement before you go to prison!

Start with defunding NASA GISS where this whole global warming nonsense started. It was started by James Hansen, formerly head of NASA GISS and considered the father of global warming. It was continued by Gavin Schmidt, current head of NASA GISS, anointed by Hansen, and leading climate change warrior scientist/spokesperson.

I know from working there for 7 years that NASA GISS has almost been defunded several times in its life anyway. It's a small group over a restaurant (Tom's Restaurant from the TV comedy Seinfeld!) in New York City, nowhere near any other major NASA facility. Just the dedicated data link to the nearest NASA facility, GSFC in Maryland, is a big expense. GISS is the Goddard Institute for SPACE Studies. If you don't need a rocket to get to it, it's not space.

Besides, NASA GISS is a monument to bad science that truly should be torn down. Take the money and buy a rocket.

SOURCE



John Stossel: A Climate Of Growing Skepticism

When it comes to hurricanes, it’s the alarmists who are wrong — on so many levels.

“How many once-in-a-lifetime storms will it take,” demanded “The Daily Show” comic Trevor Noah, “until everyone admits man-made climate change is real?” His audience roared its approval.

When Hurricane Irma hit, so-called friends admonished me, “Look what your fossil fuels have done! Will you finally admit you are wrong?”

No. It’s the alarmists who are wrong — on so many levels.

First, two big storms don’t mean much. The global-warming activists must know that because when Donald Trump joked about a lack of warming on a snowy day, they lectured us about how “weather is not climate — one snowstorm is irrelevant to long-term climate.”

But now that bad weather has come, they changed their tune. Time magazine reported confidently, “Climate change makes the hurricane season worse.”

But Irma and Harvey came after a record 12 years without any Category 3-5 storms.

The government’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said neither its models “nor our analyses of trends in Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm counts over the past 120-plus years support the notion that greenhouse gas-induced warming leads to large increases in either tropical storm or overall hurricane numbers.”

As Irma approached, The Washington Post ran an even dumber headline: “Irma and Harvey Should Kill Any Doubt That Climate Change Is Real.”

Of course climate change is real! Climate changes — it always has and always will. For the past 300 years, since “the little ice age,” the globe warmed about three degrees. The warming started well before man emitted much carbon.

So the real unanswered questions are: 1. Will climate change become a crisis? (We face immediate crises now: poverty, terrorism, a $20 trillion debt, rebuilding after the hurricanes.) 2. Is there anything we can do about it? (No. Not now; the science isn’t there yet.) 3. Did man’s burning fossil fuels increase the warming? (Probably. But we don’t know how much.)

Politicians (and ex-politicians like Al Gore) are eager to exploit our fears by calling for more spending and regulation in the name of fighting deadly but preventable climate change — as if feeble efforts like the Paris climate accord would have made the tiniest difference. They wouldn’t.

A video I made about this seems to have struck a chord. It got more than a million views last weekend.

Some people reacted with anger online: “the scientific community suggest that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet. Isn’t (it) at least a little reckless to put a finger in each ear and say ‘Nuh uh! LALALALALALALALALA!’ ”

A calmer commenter wrote, “Don’t forget the hurricanes of the past. 1926 Miami, 1935 Keys, 1947 West Palm Beach, Donna 1961. People act like hurricanes like these have never happened.”

Right. And he left out Galveston’s hurricane in 1900, which killed as many as 12,000 people.

One commenter added, “It’s called El Nino and La Nina. We will be entering El Nino again (and) so seeing storms actually form. It shifts back and forth every 7-10 years or so. Do schools not teach these things?”

Climate fluctuates, and humans don’t have too much to say about it. Maybe someday humans will be gone. The storms will continue. But at least there’ll be less hot air.

SOURCE





Delingpole: Climate Change Skepticism Now Virtually Illegal in Trudeau’s Canada

Did you know that in President Bieber’s Canada it is now virtually illegal to express doubts about the existence of ManBearPig?

No, I wouldn’t have believed it either, till I learned via Lorrie Goldstein about the extraordinary criminal action brought in Canada by a bunch of eco-fascistic litigants against three climate skeptical organisations.

    The complaint was filed by Ecojustice on behalf of six “prominent” Canadians, including former Ontario NDP leader and UN ambassador Stephen Lewis.

    It accused three groups, Friends of Science, the International Climate Science Coalition, and the Heartland Institute of making false and misleading claims about climate change, including that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

    When it launched its complaint in December, 2015, Ecojustice told the National Observer it would press the Commissioner of Competition to refer the matter to the Attorney-General of Canada for “criminal charges against the denier groups.”

What’s really shocking is the reason the case was dropped by the Competition Bureau (an arm’s length agency funded by President Bieber to the tune of $50 million a year) after an investigation lasting 14 months.

No, the reason wasn’t because someone in Bieber’s administration suddenly realized that this would be an unconscionable abuse of state power to curtail freedom of speech and to adjudicate on scientific issues so contentious and moot as to be far beyond any government body’s area of competence.

Nope. It was simply that the Competition Bureau ran out of money.

    The federal government won’t say if it has any immediate plans to boost funds for Canada’s competition watchdog so that it can resume an investigation into climate change-doubting advertising.

    Last week, Canada’s Competition Bureau told National Observer it didn’t have enough resources to pursue a probe of websites and billboards that share false information about climate change unless new evidence is provided by members of the public that would help the bureau reboot its stalled investigation.

(Note, by the way, the aggrieved tone of the liberal newspaper reporting on this issue. In the New World Order which National Observer is clearly itching for President Bieber to impose on Canada, there should be limitless quantities of public money made available for the zealous prosecution of climate deniers, wherever they may be lurking.)

It is, as Goldstein says, like something out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It’s also a grotesque inversion of justice. As many of us in this parish are perfectly well aware, if anyone deserves prosecution for publishing criminally misleading material it’s the guys in the climate alarmism industry.

I’m not suggesting we should lock these guys up. Merely that if ever it came to trial before an honest judge and an open-minded jury, the skeptics would have a slam dunk case against the alarmists.

After all, the only bad thing climate skeptics have ever done is make a few dodgy scientists and a heap of rent-seeking businessmen sleep less easily in bed at night by questioning the quality of the data and the economics behind their Enron-style money-making scam.

But the Warmists, as I have argued before, have a charge sheet as long as your arm:

    The Green Blob’s tentacles extend everywhere: into our kids’ classrooms (where they are brainwashed with environmental propaganda); into our universities (where whole departments have now been hijacked by green junk science—because hey, that’s where the money is); into the mainstream media (most of which repeats, unquestioningly, the spurious claims of impending eco-disaster put out by environmental activists and publicity-hungry university departments); into business, which now wastes billions on environmental compliance and billions more on energy costs artificially inflated by the almost entirely unnecessary government-mandated drive for renewables); into government (where few politicians, even now, have the nous to appreciate that they have been sold a pup and who still continue to inflict more “sustainable” initiatives on their hapless electorates); into the economy, where jobs have been killed and growth blighted by measures designed by eco-fascists on a self-admitted mission to destroy Western industrial civilisation; into the environment, which has been ravaged by the very things we’re told are supposed to help save it—from bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco crucifixes to those forests in the US which have been chopped down to create wood-chip biofuels to be burned at Britain’s Drax power station to the rare-earth minerals mined in appalling conditions in China to make wind turbines; into the cost of living (inflated by green taxes, regulations and tariffs), where in some cases people have been driven into fuel poverty and an early death because governments like Obama’s have caused electricity prices “necessarily” to “skyrocket” by mandating renewables over cheaper, more reliable fossil fuel.

SOURCE





Finally, some commonsense Western fire policies

New DOI and DOA policy to cut overgrown, diseased, dead and burned trees is long overdue

Paul Driessen

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

As of September 12, amid this typically long, hot, dry summer out West, 62 major forest fires are burning in nine states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. The Interior Department and Ag Department’s Forest Service have already spent over $2 billion fighting them. That’s about what they spent in all of 2015, previously the most costly wildfire season ever, and this season has another month or more to go. The states themselves have spent hundreds of millions more battling these conflagrations.

Millions of acres of forest have disappeared in smoke and flames – 1.1 million in Montana alone. All told, acreage larger than New Jersey has burned already. However, even this hides the real tragedies.

The infernos exterminate wildlife habitats, roast eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, immolate wildlife that can’t run fast enough, leave surviving animals to starve for lack of food, and incinerate organic matter and nearly every living creature in the thin soils. They turn trout streams into fish boils, minus the veggies and seasonings. Future downpours and rapid snowmelts bring widespread soil erosion into streambeds. Many areas will not grow trees or recover their biodiversity for decades.

Most horrifically, the conflagrations threaten homes and entire communities. They kill fire fighters and families that cannot get away quickly enough, or get trapped by sudden walls of flames.

In 2012, two huge fires near Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado burned 610 homes, leaving little more than ashes, chimneys and memories. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated through smoke and ash that turned daytime into choking night skies. Four people died. A 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs, CO burned 14 young firefighters to death.

These are not “natural” fires of environmentalist lore, or “ordinary” fires like those that occur in state and privately owned and managed forests. Endless layers of laws, regulations, judicial decrees and guidelines for Interior and Forest Service lands have meant that most western forests have been managed like our 109 million acres of designated wilderness: they are hardly managed at all.

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn, than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.

Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.

The result is easy to predict. Thousands of thin trees grow on acreage that should support just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. Tens of billions of these scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees that the Forest Service says still stand in eleven western states. Vast forests are little more than big trees amid closely bunched matchsticks and underbrush, drying out in hot, dry western summers and droughts – waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires or arsonists to start super-heated conflagrations.

Flames in average fires along managed forest floors might reach several feet in height and temperatures of 1,472° F (800° C), says Wildfire Today. But under extreme conditions of high winds and western tinderboxes, temperatures can exceed 2,192° F (1200° C), flame heights can reach 165 feet (50 meters) or more, and fires can generate a critter-roasting 100,000 kilowatts per meter of fire front. Wood will burst into flame at 572° F. Aluminum melts at 1,220 degrees, silver at 1,762 and gold at 1,948° F!

Most of this heat goes upward, but super-high temperatures incinerate soil organisms and organic matter in thin western soils that afterward can support only stunted, spindly trees for decades.

These fires also emit prodigious quantities of carbon dioxide, fine particulates and other pollutants – including mercury, which is absorbed by tree roots from rocks and soils that contain this metal, and then lofted into the sky when the trees burn.

Rabid greens ignore these hard realities – and divert discussions back to their favorite ideological talking points. The problem isn’t too many trees, they insist. It’s global warming and climate change. That’s why western states are having droughts, long fire seasons, and high winds that send flames past fire breaks.

Global warming, global cooling and climate change have been part of the Earth and human experience from time immemorial. Natural climate fluctuations brought the multi-decade Anasazi drought, the Dust Bowl and other dry spells to our western states. To suggest that this summer’s heat and drought are somehow due to mankind’s fossil fuel use and related emissions is deliberately delusional nonsense.

Neither these activists nor anyone in Al Gore’s climate chaos consortium can demonstrate or calibrate a human connection to droughts or fires. Rants, rhetoric and CO2-driven computer models do not suffice. And even if manmade (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide does play a role amid the powerful natural forces that have always controlled climate and weather, reducing US fossil fuel use would have zero effect.

China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam alone are building 590 new coal-fired power plants right now, on top of the hundreds they have constructed over the past decade. Overall, more than 1,600 new coal generators are planned or under construction in 62 countries. People in developing countries are also driving far more vehicles and making great strides in improving their health and living standards. They will not stop.

Western conflagrations jump fire breaks because these ferocious fires are fueled by the unprecedented increase in combustibles that radical green policies have created. These monstrous fires generate their own high winds and even mini tornados that carry burning branches high into the air, to be deposited hundreds of feet away, where they ignite new fires. It has nothing to do with climate change.

Remove some of that fuel – and fires won get so big, hot, powerful and destructive. We should also do what a few environmentalist groups have called for: manage more areas around buildings and homes – clearing away brush that federal agencies and these same groups have long demanded be left in place.

Finally, we should be using more of the readily available modern technologies like FireIce from GelTech Solutions. They can suppress and extinguish fires, and protect homes, much better than water alone.

The last bogus eco-activist claim is that “fire isn’t destruction; it’s renewal. It creates stronger, more diverse ecosystems.” That may be true in managed forests, timber stands in less tinder-dry states, and forests that have undergone repeated, non-devastating fires. For all the reason presented above, it is not true for government owned and mismanaged forests in our western states.

Over 50 million acres (equal to Minnesota) are at risk of catastrophic wildfires. Right now, we are spending billions of dollars we don’t have, should not have to spend fighting all these monstrous killer blazes, and should have available to improve forests and parks and fund other vital programs.

These forests could and should create jobs and generate revenues in states where far too many lands, timber, oil and minerals have been placed off limits – primarily by urban politicians, judges and radical activists who seem determined to drive people off these western lands, turn them into playgrounds for the wealthy, and roll back other Americans’ living standards and well-being. Cleaning out dead, diseased, burned, overgrown trees would bring countless benefits. It would make our forests healthy again.

Above all, the new Interior-Agriculture approach would demonstrate that Rural Lives Matter.

Via email



Dumping green folly will secure Australia's energy future, reboot economy

In the blink of an eye we are confronted by a national energy pricing and supply crisis. This is the cost of virtue signalling — that propensity for those on the political left, including moderates in the Liberal Party, to advocate policies aimed more at demonstrating their moral superiority than delivering practical results.

This nation’s most pressing economic challenge, it is also the most volatile political dilemma that threatens to derail Malcolm Turnbull’s career for a second time. (It cost him the Liberal leadership in 2009.) Climate and energy are set to define the next decade of ­national affairs just as they have plagued us since 2007.

To comprehend the politics we need a helicopter view; to examine first principles and the true aims of the policies. Far too much of the debate is predicated on gestures rather than results.

We are an energy-rich nation. Last year we exported 388 million tonnes of coal (valued at $35 billion) to supply affordable and ­reliable energy to countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and India. Our liquefied natural gas exports are doubling from 30 million tonnes a couple of years ago to almost 80 million tonnes (valued at $42bn) by 2019.

Australia also remains one of the largest exporters of uranium (nuclear energy is the ­silver bullet if we ever get serious about emissions) and, after a price and volume slump, trade will ­rebound to values of more than $1.2bn during the next few years.

While we happily export our energy advantage, we have deliberately sacrificed it at home. Households are paying some of the highest electricity prices in the world and manufacturing industries have been closing or downscaling because of cost pressures created in part by rapidly rising power prices. Energy bills are also creating commercial hardship for struggling retailers as well as hospitality and other sectors.

The largest single factor in the power crisis is the renewable ­energy target demanding 23 per cent of electricity be supplied by renewables, which are subsidised by consumers. When the renew­ables (mainly wind turbines) supply power they can do so at zero cost, thereby undercutting the viability of baseload generators and hastening their demise. The trouble is renewable ­energy can’t supply all our needs at any time and, crucially, is intermittent and unreliable. So we still need all of the baseload and peaking generation.

Under this formula we must ­either be caught short of supply or need to almost double our investment in energy so every megawatt of renewable energy is backed up by storage or thermal generation.

And just when we need more rapid-response gas generation to back up wind energy we have a gas supply/price issue courtesy of long-term export contracts and state restrictions on exploration and exploitation. What a mess.

What we don’t ever hear our major party politicians ask is why we are doing this to ourselves. We might also expect this would be a line of inquiry for media in fearless pursuit of their audiences’ interests. But no; incurious acceptance of the imperative for emissions ­reductions is universal in the public broadcasters and love media.

News Corp papers and Sky News are the only mainstream media likely to offer a plurality of views. Journalists who sail with this zeitgeist will justify their position by pointing to the political consensus on the emissions reductions targets set in Paris. But public and media debate should not be about accommodating convenient bipartisan compromise; it should be about reality and the public ­interest.

If the justification for our self-imposed energy crisis is saving the planet, then any reference to the facts will expose the futility. Australia’s carbon emissions make up about 1.4 per cent of global emissions and we are looking to reduce them by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Simultaneously, emissions are rising elsewhere by quantities that dwarf our total emissions, let alone our inconsequential reductions.

As this newspaper reported this week, China has 299 coal-fired power stations under construction and India 132. Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, The Philippines, South Africa and other nations also are expanding coal-fired generation so that an extra 621 plants are under way. Yet we disrupt our economy, surrender a natural economic advantage, shed jobs and reduce our standard of living to phase out a handful of plants.

On the first principle of whether our efforts do any environmental good — no matter the urgency or otherwise of climate action — the answer is our efforts are pointless. So we are then left with the diplomatic commitment to Paris that both major parties support.

Astonishingly, less than a day after Donald Trump won the US election promising to abandon Paris, Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia’s ratification. The Prime Minister thumbed his nose at the obvious opportunity to hold out, see if the US withdrew (as it has) and perhaps forestall our own commitment.

The accord is dramatically weakened without the world’s largest economy, especially given other powerhouses such as China and India will continue to increase their emissions. (Ironically, perhaps no country is making a greater contribution to emissions red­uct­ions than the US through its innovation in areas such as fracking and battery technology.)

The Paris Agreement is not binding, so we don’t need to meet our targets anyway. Yet the political-media class seems viscerally locked onto them.

Turnbull talks about the energy “trilemma” of affordability, reliability and emissions reductions. But even the Finkel review noted these objectives are at odds with each other.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel tried to prescribe “policies that simultaneously provide a high level of energy security and reliability, universal access to affordable ­energy services, and reduced emissions. This is easier said than done. There is a tension between these three objectives.”

Neither Turnbull nor Finkel or Labor are willing to compromise on the third leg of the trilemma. Their starting point is emissions reductions; and they accept that reliability and affordability can be compromised to meet the target.

Finkel says: “The uncertain and changing direction of emissions reduction policy for the electricity sector has compromised the ­investment environment in the NEM.” But his solution — and that of the Coalition and Labor so far — is to try to formulate a settled, preferably bipartisan, emissions reductions scheme.

So the aim is to provide investment certainty even if it locks in higher electricity prices. The obvious alternative of relegating emissions reduction aims in favour of cheap, reliable power is simply not considered, even though we know it would have no discernible ­impact on the global environment. (We can always run other carbon abatement and energy efficiency schemes if we feel the need.)

The only pragmatic argument against scrapping the emissions reduction imperative is that it, too, may fail to break the investment strike because potential investors will still fear a future carbon pricing scheme. The political temptation is to lock in expensive and debilitating long-term policy solely to deliver the certitude of bipartisanship. This is the ­antithesis of seeking bipartisanship in the national interest.

All the federal government has succeeded in doing so far is taking ownership of the energy mess from the states. The Coalition will not admit that the RET — which it has backed, along with Labor, out of political convenience — is the heart of the problem.

On present settings the government is doomed to fail at the next election and then we will see a Labor government lock in permanently higher energy costs through a carbon pricing scheme. Perhaps the only salvation for the Coalition — and the economy — would be to call time on this green folly in the interests of protecting consumers, boosting jobs and rebooting a competitive advantage.

It would be a risky gambit contested by the rent-seekers in the energy sector. But it would be a fight for the national interest. The question is whether Turnbull, who has always claimed to be as green as Labor, can find it within himself to make the case.

SOURCE
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.  Email me (John Ray) here.