Thursday, January 11, 2018

Warning: wild lands of Scotland ‘irrevocably damaged’ by push for wind power 

The retiring head of the body representing Scotland’s climbers and hillwalkers has condemned as “unsustainable” the growth of wind farms on wild land across the country.

David Gibson is to step down as chief executive officer of Mountaineering Scotland in March, after 11 years leading the group of 14,000 members.

He said that thought Mountaineering Scotland had won several battles against intrusive wind farms it had also lost others and some areas of the Highlands were now “irrevocably damaged”.

“The vast majority of the public have never been near the mountains so they have no real idea of the damage that wind farms can do the the landscape,” said Mr Gibson.

“It is not sustainable for the First minister or [national tourism body] VisitScotland to trumpet Scotland as the best country in the world to visit while these large wind farms are being built on such a scale.

“And there are two dozen more in the pipeline of concern because of their size and positioning.

“There have already been too many windfarms constructed – or will be built – that have irrevocably damaged the landscape, or will do when they are constructed.”

Mr Gibson singled out the Creag Riabhach Wind Farm to be developed on a site on the Altnaharra Estate in Sutherland, and the Stronelairg wind in the Monadhliath mountains to the east of Fort Augustus, as examples of schemes that would “wreck the landscape”.

Danish billionaire Anders Povlsen had sought a judicial review through his company Wildland into the decision to allow the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm to be developed, but lost at the Court of Session in Edinburgh during the summer.

Creag Riabhach was the first such project to have been approved in a designated wild land area since the ministers adopted a revised planning framework in 2014.

The rules were devised to protect the country’s most rugged and beautiful landscapes, but campaigners have said they fall short.

“It has been very challenging taking on Scottish Government policy and big business like SSE when we only have a £500,000 budget for the entire organisation,” added Mr Gibson.

“It has all been done on a shoestring. The mountains have changed considerably over the last 20 years – then there were no wind farms on them.

“The Government has never sat down and consulted on spatial planning policy for wind farms.

“I think they have now come some way in regards to National Scenic Areas to protect them against wind farms. I would like to see that extended to wild land.”

Mr Gibson, 65 added that he planned to spend his retirement exploring more of Scotland’s hills and Mountaineering Scotland is in much better shape than when he joined it.

He added they had won some battles and attempted to “protect mountaineers’ rights to enjoy their sport – particularly at times when some people have been calling for them to be closed after certain tragedies”.

A government spokesman said wind power and other renewables were already playing a crucial role in meeting Scotland’s move towards a low-carbon future.

He added: “However, we also have clear policies to ensure developments only go ahead in the right places and Scottish planning policy now provides additional protection for our National Parks and National Scenic Areas and the impacts on wild land are now formally considered as a material factor in determining planning decisions, where relevant.”


Repairing the Damage to Children Caused by Climate Alarmists: A letter from Ross McKitrick

It seems the high school students mentioned here om January 1st  sent their 5 questions to other distinguished climate authorities, not least to Ross McKitrick and to Richard Lindzen.  Both have made their replies public.  Here is the one from McKitrick:

'In late 2017 I was contacted by a group of students at a high school in Europe asking if I would answer some questions on climate change for a project they were working on. Here are the questions they asked, and the answers I gave them.

1. What is behind global warming? Over the last 150 years there have been influences due to strengthening solar output, land-use changes, increased greenhouse gases and natural variability, among other things. The dominant school of thought in climatology is that rising greenhouse gas levels explain most of the overall warming trend since the 1950s. There are good reasons to support this, although the climate system is too complex to assume the matter is settled. The mechanisms by which the sun affects the climate are not well understood, nor are the mechanisms behind clouds, ocean-atmosphere interactions and other basic processes. The relative lack of warming in the tropical troposphere and over the South Pole are not easily explained under the theory that greenhouse gas levels dominate the climate system.

2. What can we do to prevent global warming? If it is a natural process, nothing. If it is mainly due to rising greenhouse gas levels we need to ask instead whether we would want to prevent it. It would require complete cessation of fossil fuel use, which would cause intolerable economic and social costs and would only yield small changes in the time path of global warming for the next century or more. Even large-scale emission reductions (such as under the Paris and Kyoto treaties) would only cause a small slowdown in the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100, so any benefits from such policies are likewise tiny, yet the costs would be enormous. The small warming that took place since the early 20th century was largely beneficial, and the astonishing social and economic benefits associated with cheap fossil energy far outweighed any problems it might have created. It is likely that this will be true over the next century as well.

3. If we don't do anything about it, how does it affect us and our descendants? Humans flourish in every climate on earth from the tropics to the polar regions. We are very adaptable. The only issue is whether changes take place so quickly that we cannot adapt, but history shows this to be a rare situation. Climate processes are slow, and if the climate models are correct, the changes are gradual and predictable. People can adapt to warming conditions more easily than to cooling conditions. The IPCC predicted that over the next hundred years, changes in economies and technology will have a much larger effect on peoples' lives than changes in climate.

4. What will happen in the future, and what are the alternatives for us, if the Earth becomes unlivable? There is no chance that greenhouse gases will make the Earth unlivable. If an asteroid hits, or another ice age begins, or something like that, then we face catastrophe. But the question essentially asks, what happens if we all die? The answer is, we all die. 2

5. How can we save Earth if it isn't too late? To ask the question is to reveal that you greatly overestimate your size in relation to the Earth. We could not ruin the Earth even if we tried, nor could we save it if it faced ruin. Our planet is a remarkably adaptable and robust home. We don't live in a giant china shop where everything is fragile and breakable, it's more like a playground where everything is made to withstand considerable wear and tear. Over the Earth's history the amount of CO2 in the air has typically been 2-10 times higher than at present yet the plants, animals and oceans flourished. Much of the past half million years have been ice age conditions which wiped out life on the northern continents, yet it always came back as soon as the ice retreated. If you take the view that the ordinary human pursuit of prosperity and happiness will somehow destroy the planet you will end up adopting an anti-human outlook. This is both a scientific and an ethical error. Set your sights on a more modest scale, by trying to be a good citizen and be helpful to the people around you, and you will make much better decisions than if you are thinking in terms of faraway abstract categories like saving the Earth.

Good luck with your studies.'


Global Cooling Expected For 2018 …Warming Projection May Be One Of The Great Scientific Blunders Of Modern Times

Global warming scientists continue struggling to find an explanation for the nearly 2 decades long global warming pause that has taken hold of the planet since the late 1990s.

The most recent temperature spike was due to the natural El Nino event at the equatorial Pacific, and that has disappeared over the last months. Alarmists claim that the global temperature is still 0.5°C above normal, yet it’s been so for the past 20 years!

Cooling signs abound

The search to explain the unexpected lack of warming is about to get a little tougher as 2018 is poised to see a further cooling across the globe. Signs of this cool-off are showing up in Greenland, the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland and all across the northern hemisphere. A huge swath of North America has started 2018 with record cold.

La Nina to persist until spring

Another major reason cooler global surface temperatures are expected in 2018 is the now strengthening La Nina event taking place as equatorial Pacific surface temperatures have plummeted by 1-2°C since June of this year. This means that global cooling lies ahead for the planet in the months ahead. The latest forecast sees La Nina conditions extending into next spring:

There is a lag of about 6 months between the ocean surface temperature and satellite global lower troposphere temperatures. That means the la Nina low forecast for January, 2018, will start showing up in the temperatures by late spring (NH).

Cooling Pacific and Indian Ocean far more signficant

Alarmists also like hollering about the current unusual warmth at the poles. But veteran meteorologist Joe Bastardi tweets here that the “warmth” at the poles is not what we need to be looking at, writing that “far more significant” is the cooler area from the Indian ocean through Africa, the Atlantic, South America and the Pacific.

Cooling where it’s warm and humid a bigger deal in future global temp considerations.”

In a nutshell, a cool square kilometer over the equatorial Pacific far outweighs a warm square kilometer over the North Pole. All that red coloring scientists like to use to make the poles look hot is mostly hype.

Solar activity near 200-year low

In the current solar cycle 24 sunspot activity is now at the lowest level in almost 200 years. In the early 1800s the Earth found itself in the grips of the Dalton Minimum, a cold period with similarly low solar activity:

The accumulated sunspot anomaly from the mean of the previous 23 cycles – 107 months into the cycle.

A number of distinguished scientists and dozens of scientific publications warn that the planet may in fact be entering a period of global cooling. There were 7 such papers in 2017 alone.

One of the great scientific blunders of modern times

The upcoming solar cycle 25 also is expected to be a weak one, which bodes ill for the planet for the next 10 to 15 years. The current solar cycle 24 is the third weakest since the systematic observation of solar cycle activity began in 1755. Only solar cycles no. 5 and 6 (1798 – 1823 during the Dalton Minimum) were weaker.

As the above chart shows, weak solar cycles are linked to cool periods and come in bunches, alternating with the warm solar cycle bunches. It’s little wonder that the last 100 years have seen a warming, as cycles 17-23 were all above normal. If the pattern holds, cycle 26, and possibly even cycle 27, will also be below normal, which points to a cooling 21st century.

Ironically policymakers, in typical inept fashion, may be erroneously preparing societies for the completely wrong scenario and thus be unwittingly committing one of the great scientific blunders of modern times.



South Australia planning to build the world’s largest thermal solar plant

Will someone save South Australians from their crazy Green/Left government?  They have got a big battery that peters out in only a matter of minutes and windmills that fall over in South Australian wind and now they are going to get something that other people have been trying to make work for many years.  Solar thermal just does not work as advertised.  They sometimes even use more energy than they produce and require huge subsidies to keep working.  The Ivanpah plant in California and the Abengoa experiment in Spain are cases in point

Following the success of the world’s largest battery, South Australia is aiming to build the world’s largest thermal solar plant.

SolarReserve’s $650 million, 150 megawatt Aurora solar thermal plant has received state development approval.

Construction of the facility will begin this year.

South Australian acting energy minister Chris Picton called the project a welcome development for the state.

"It's fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals and schools," Mr Picton said

“South Australia is fast becoming a global centre for the development of renewable energy with storage, with a range of other projects set to come online over the next few years.”

Commenting on the latest approvals, SolarReserve chief executive Kevin Smith said it is a major milestone.

“It is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring clean power generation technology to South Australia,” Mr Smith said.

The Clean Energy Council executive general manager Natalie Collard told Fairfax Media, "the price that the government will pay for power is remarkably low, considering solar thermal is a very young technology in Australia.

"The state has taken a series of positive steps towards greater energy independence which are really starting to pay off. And it has already met its target of 50 per cent renewable energy almost a decade early," she said.

“South Australia is providing the rest of the country a glimpse of a renewable energy future. Our electricity system is rapidly moving towards one which will be smarter and cleaner, with a range of technologies providing high-tech, reliable, lower-cost power."

The power plant will be able to generate 500-gigawatt hours of energy annually, providing power to around 90,000 homes, with eight hours of full load storage.

Once constructed, the facility will be the world’s largest single-tower solar thermal power plant.

It works by using multiple heliostats - which are in essence turning mirrors - to focus solar energy onto a single central tower.

This tower uses molten salt technology to store this heat, which it can later use to create steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity when needed.

The plant will displace the equivalent of 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Australia has two other large-scale solar thermal plants, a 44-megawatt plant at Kogan Creek in Queensland, and a small 9.3-megawatt facility built to support AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power plant in NSW, although neither is a single-tower style of thermal solar plant.

South Australia drew international focus late last year when, in a partnership with Tesla, it installed the world's largest single battery unit, capable of powering 30,000 homes.

The new plant will be located 30 kilometres north of Port Augusta, in South Australia.


Global cooling:  It's official!

The oceans are gradually losing the heat they accumulated in the years of El Nino

THERE’S no doubt last year was hot but eyebrows have been raised following a dump of climate data. Globally the world actually cooled slightly.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) 2017 annual climate statement, released on Wednesday, the world got slightly cooler last year compared to 2016.

But put away dreams of skiing down the Blue Mountains or snow gently falling in Brisbane’s CBD — 2016 was the hottest year globally on record, temperatures are still well above average and 2017 will go down as Australia’s third warmest year in history.

Climate researchers have said Australia remains “vulnerable” to the effects of climate change and only “political inertia” was preventing concrete steps being taken to tackle the issue head-on.

The BoM’s Head of Climate Monitoring, Dr Karl Braganza, said the national mean temperature in 2107 was 0.95C warmer than average.

“Despite the lack of an El Nino — which is normally associated with our hottest years — 2017 was still characterised by very warm temperatures,” he said.


Erratic weather: with both record highs and lows

Not much of a story in that for Warmists

The drop-dead bats of Sydney’s summer shocker have joined the frozen lizards of Florida as proof positive the weather gods have gone crazy.

With Donald Trump calling for a bit more global warming, Australia can only dream of getting a dose of America’s current Arctic chill.

It’s a steep learning curve. Climate change can now make things hotter and colder simultaneously, with the strangest of natural results.

As temperatures plunge in the US, frozen sharks have washed ashore after drowning because water had frozen in their gills. In the usually balmy, tropical southern panhandle of Florida, iguanas have fallen out of palm trees frozen solid. The reptiles were still capable of being thawed if placed into the sun.

In Australia, it has been a similar story but opposite.

As temperatures soared to an eight-decade high of 47.3C in western Sydney this week hundreds of bats fell out of trees dead in Campbelltown, literally cooked alive. News of the brain-fried flying foxes travelled around the world.

Australian fruit bats at home

Heat-affected bats fell out of the trees in Sydney in 1790 also.  Yes. 1790, not 1970.  Australia has always had episodes of extreme heat in summer

Given such shocking extremes it can be difficult to maintain perspective.

But even the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate monitoring, Karl Braganza, admitted yesterday it was not unusual for Australia to have the hottest city temperature in the world at this time of year, as it did this week.

The coincidence of the northern hemisphere winter with summer across the equator will see to that.

But BoM says its homogenised national temperatures are continuing to creep ahead, confirming concerns about a gradually warming world.

At the end of the day, however, weather is still the weather and climate, climate.

Current extreme events are not unprecedented and the fashion for “attribution science” to decide if they are more or less likely to occur does not change that.

Natural variation is still not fully understood. Unless you are prepared, as London columnist Matt Ridley controversially has been, to take the really, really long view.

Ridley concedes the world is slowly slipping back into a proper ice age after 10,000 years of balmy warmth.

But he says where interglacials start abruptly with sudden and rapid warming they end gradually with many thousands of years of slow and erratic cooling.

In geological terms it’s a sure bet another ice age is on its way.

When it does come, maybe in many thousands of years’ time, some things will remain the same.

It’s just the bats, the sharks and humans who really will have reason to complain about the weather.


Australian East Coast Narrowly Avoids a Widespread Blackout – Thanks to Coal

The spare coal capacity which saved the day during the heatwave will soon no longer be available.

Energy giant AGL plans to shutter its NSW based Liddell coal plant by 2022. They have so far refused federal government entreaties to keep the plant open. AGL plans to divert future investment towards government subsidised renewable projects.

WHY wouldn’t AGL shut down Liddell coal-fired power when global warming theory obsessed politicians are shelling out billions upon billions of taxpayers money to fund the unreliable energy, corporate rent-seeking, subsidy-sucking renewables scam.

I do hope “save the planet” greens and climate freaks suffer their fair share of zero electricity in high-demand times. Or, maybe it will take one of their relatives or loved ones to die of heatstroke or freezing cold for them to quit the collective climate change hysteria that is hurting the poor and destroying economies.



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


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