Monday, March 12, 2018

The President of Iceland is a nit

There are some things so crazy that only an intellectual would believe them and Gudni Johannesson is dripping with academic qualifications -- none of which are in the sciences, unfortunately.  He is basically an historian.

He recently went to a Greenie-dominated conference and apparently felt that he had to find some way in which global warming would  be bad for Iceland -- a most unlikely task.  Below you can see what he came up with -- basically  nothing, just Warmist boilerplate.

He resorted to the very vague "harming biodiversity", with the example that cod are becoming rarer in the nearby ocean but mackerel are becoming more common.  That's a problem?

Gudni is very popular in Iceland because he is a nice man who is good at having something nice to say about all parties in the country. He is himself politically centrist and belongs to no party.  But his habit of having something for everyone has on this occasion reduced him to absurdity

Icelanders have long joked that global warming was something people on the chilly Nordic island could look forward to, but as ice caps and glaciers melt at record speeds, that gag is wearing thin, according to the country’s president.

Warming oceans around the North Pole are harming biodiversity and fish stocks, and causing acidification in the world’s northern regions, forcing countries like Iceland to adapt to a new reality, said President Gudni Johannesson.

“The common joke in Iceland is to say that on this cold and windy, rain-swept island, global warming is something we should cheer for - but it’s no longer funny,” Johannesson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

“Climate change affects us all on this globe, but you can see the effects in particular in the northern regions - the ice cap around the North Pole is melting at record rates, the oceans there are getting warmer,” he said.

On the flip side, climate change could bring some economic benefits to the country of just 340,000 people, which would become a natural trade hub if new routes opened up from Asia to the Atlantic due to melting Arctic ice, he said.

“The fact that the ice cap in the north is melting is no source for joy (but) the undeniable fact is that where there was ice, there will be a free waterway,” he said. “Who knows, as the century goes on, maybe we will see increased traffic via the North Pole with Iceland as a hub.”

Johannesson was speaking on the sidelines of the World Ocean Summit in the Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen on Friday, where environmentalists, politicians and business leaders met to discuss how to improve the state of the oceans.

While warmer temperatures are driving greater stocks of mackerel towards Iceland’s coasts, the cod that was once a mainstay of its fishing industry is likely to head north, said Johannesson, who wore a pink tie made of cod skin at the summit.

Changing patterns of fish migration will make it essential to reach deals with neighboring nations over fish catches, said the president, a former academic who has written about Iceland’s “cod wars”.

Iceland clashed with other states in the region several years ago as it upped the amount of mackerel it hauled in.

Iceland’s relations with places like the Faroe Islands and Norway are usually amicable, and “the only source of potential conflict lies in the distribution of fishing quotas”, Johannesson noted.

In 2016, mackerel was the third-largest catch for Iceland and its third most valuable fish, netting $103 million, or 8 percent of the nation’s total catch value.

Iceland is also weighing up how to expand its salmon-farming industry, while considering its potential environmental impact.

“Fish farming is a part of the blue economy now and... will expand,” said Johannesson. However, it has to be “as safe as possible because nature comes first”, he added.

As one of just a handful of countries in the world that permits commercial whale hunting, Iceland’s whale catch is “sustainable”, said Johannesson, who declined to comment on whether he personally supported the industry.

Whale-watching has boomed alongside the tourism that has underpinned Iceland’s economic rebound, he said, with no sign visitors are staying away in protest at Iceland’s continued hunting of minke and fin whales.

“Sustainability and the miniscule amount of whales being caught in recent years (are) based on scientific advice and way below any figures potentially threatening the future of the two whale stocks in question,” he said.


Jordan Peterson has One for the Greenies

There was no shortage of entertaining moments during Jordan Peterson’s first Australian lecture last week, but the best was surely when he strode onto the stage and the audience gave him a standing ovation. He hadn’t even spoken.

Dr Peterson will tell you that happens everywhere he goes as he pretty much tours the planet full-time, the 21st century’s first rock-star psychologist.

His lectures are sold out. Ask why, and he says, confusingly: “Because I like them.”

The audience? “Yes. I like them, and they know it. Damn right they do,” he says in that accent, now so familiar to so many, courtesy of 50 million YouTube views. “They are people who don’t get much encouragement. I know that, because I get thousands of letters from them. To have someone say ‘there is more to you than you think’ — it feels good to them. They know I’m on their side.

“And it’s not common to find somebody on the side of humans. We keep getting told how appalling we all are. How the planet has too many people, and how we are wrecking everything. And I ­always think, there’s an easy solution if you think the planet has too many people. You could leave. But, of course, the people who most want to say that are never the ones who think they should be culled. It’s other people they want to cull.”

This tour he will speak about policies that keep indigenous Australians in poverty, the “victim mentality”, the “crisis in masculinity” that tries to make girls of boys and vice versa; “contemptible” Western feminism; the “murderous philosophy of radical leftists” and “morally and historically wrong” limits on free speech, including hate speech.



Study: ‘Fossil’ Fuels Everywhere In Outer Space,/b>

Calling hydrocarbons "fossil" fuels is absurd.  Fossils in outer space?

A team of researchers carried out a series of experiments to study how complex hydrocarbons, an important class of molecules needed to create the building blocks for life, formed in space.

Hydrocarbons (“fossil fuel”), compounds made up of differing amounts of carbon and hydrogen, are common on Earth but also outside it. Some hydrocarbons, such as benzene or naphthalene, have been detected in meteorites floating around the solar system, leading scientists to wonder how they might have formed.

Now, a paper published in Nature Astronomy on Monday provides a possible answer. Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of California, Berkeley and Florida International University, have recreated pyrene, a hydrocarbon commonly formed during the combustion processes in car engines, in a lab.

Musahid Ahmed, co-author of the paper and a chemist at UC Berkeley, said: “Starting off from simple gases, you can generate one-dimensional and two-dimensional structures, and pyrene could lead you to 2-D graphene. From there you can get to graphite, and the evolution of more complex chemistry begins.”

A pressurised mixture of 4-phenanthrenyl – a hydrocarbon with one unpaired electron – another hydrocarbon compound acetylene were injected into a microreactor from a nozzle at supersonic speeds.

Next, a beam of UV light was directed at the gas to ionise the mixture and simulate similar conditions to those found around a star. The loss of electrons kickstarts a series of reactions that eventually create pyrene. Since it requires other hydrocarbons to make pyrene, it doesn’t quite explain how the first hydrocarbons were created.

But, Ahmed, said he believes this process could explain how “some of the first carbon-based structures evolved in the universe”.

Pyrene is part of a larger chemical group known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are estimated to make up about 20 per cent of all carbon in the Milky Way. PAHs are composed of ring structures that are found in interstellar dust grains, leftover material flung from stars. They provide a chemical pathway for amino acids, peptides and sugars, some of the essential ingredients for life, to form.

Ralf Kaiser, co-author of the paper and an astrochemistry professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, explained to The Register that PAHs provide surfaces for other molecules like water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide or methanol to condense on.

“Molecules from the gas phase can condense on the cold grains – it’s similar when water ice builds up in your ice box from the water in the air.”

After these molecules build up on PAHs like pyrene, if they’re exposed to ionizing radiation it can fire up another series of reactions to create amino acids, peptides and sugars.

The next step is to find out if these life-bearing molecules can be formed from ionising a mixture of hydrocarbon gases. “Is this enough of a trigger? There has to be some self-organization and self-assembly involved to create life forms. The big question is whether this is something that, inherently, the laws of physics do allow,” Ahmed concluded.


Opposition to pipelines hurting Canada

Canadian oil producers can’t get a break. First it was the pipelines — there are not enough of them to carry the crude from Alberta’s oil sands to export markets. This pipeline capacity problem has been forcing producers to pay higher rates for railway transportation, which has naturally hurt their margins in no small way. Now, there is a shortage of rail cars as well.

The situation is going from bad to worse for Canadian producers who can’t seem to catch a break. Canadian railway operators are fighting harsh winter weather and finding it hard to supply enough cars to move both crude oil from Alberta and grain from the Prairies.

The harsh weather is just the latest factor, however. Before that, there was the 45-percent surge in demand for rail cars from the oil industry, Bloomberg reports, citing Canadian National Railway. The surge happened in the third quarter of last year, and Canadian National’s chief executive Ghislain Houle says that it took the company “a little bit by surprise.” This surprise has led to “pinch points” on the railway operator’s network, further aggravating an already bad situation.

As a result, crude oil remains in Alberta and prices fall further because Alberta is where the local crude is priced, Bloomberg’s Jen Skerritt and Robert Tuttle note. In fact, Canadian crude is currently trading at the biggest discount to West Texas Intermediate in four years, at $30.60 per barrel. The blow is particularly severe as it comes amid improving oil prices elsewhere driven by the stock market recovery.

The light at the end of the tunnel is barely a glimmer. Despite federal government support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, it is still facing obstacles that may result in it never seeing the light of day. The project that would boost the current pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 bpd to 890,000 bpd, accommodating much of the increased Alberta bitumen production, is being challenged in court and Kinder Morgan has yet to collect even half of the necessary permits to proceed with it. There are no other major pipeline projects in Canada that have been approved.

Meanwhile, the news from the research front is not good, either. Back in September, media outlets reported on an accidental discovery that could make transporting bitumen by rail much safer by turning the crude into pellets. This would minimize the danger of a spill but, some said at the time, would increase transportation costs.

Canadian national Railway is also working on its own bitumen pellet technology it calls CanaPux, but for now it has not yet been commercialized, perhaps for the same reason of cost. Yet bitumen pellets, some observers note, could be the best solution to the current conflict between Alberta and British Columbia. The latter is doing everything it can to stall Trans Mountain’s expansion citing environmental concerns. Alberta stopped importing B.C. wines in retaliation.

But bitumen pellets are safe, their creators say, so B.C. would have nothing to worry about. And yet, like grain, these pellets would need rail cars to transport them should this option be chosen despite cost considerations. Canadian National says it plans to hike its capex to $2.6 billion this year in response to the shortage. The effect of the surprise jump in demand for railcar capacity from the oil industry should also subside eventually. The only question is how much all these factors would hurt Canada’s oil production growth in the meantime.


Chilling fact is most climate change theories are wrong

MAURICE NEWMAN comments from Australia

You have to hand it to Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald’s climate change alarmist-in-chief, for his report last month - “ ‘Really ­extreme’ global weather event leaves scientists aghast”.

Hannam is often the ­canary in the coalmine (er, wind farm) when there is a sense that public belief in man-made global warming is flagging. With Europe in the grip of a much colder winter than predicted and with the ­abnormal chill spreading even to Africa, he did his best to hold the line.

Earlier this year, Climate Council councillor Will Steffen also climbed on board — for The Sydney Morning Herald of course. Extreme cold in Britain, Switzerland and Japan, a record-breaking cold snap in Canada and the US and an expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet coincided with a ­Bureau of Meteorology tweet (later retracted) that January 7 had set a heat record for the ­Sydney Basin. Steffen told us these seemingly unrelated events were in fact linked. “Climate ­disruption” explained both. Whether fire or ice, we’re to blame. No ifs, no buts.

Now a warming Arctic provides the perfect opportunity for Hannam to divert attention from the latest deep freeze. He ominously warns: “Climate scientists are used to seeing the range of weather extremes stretched by global warming, but few episodes appear as remarkable as this week’s unusual heat over the Arctic.”

It’s true, warm air has made its way up to the high Arctic, driving temperatures up to 20C above ­average. But Anthony Watts, who runs a climate change website, puts things into perspective. He observes: “Warm moist air from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has warmed the Arctic above the 80th parallel. It should be noted, however, that the Arctic Circle actually starts at 66 degrees north, meaning the record heat is over a much narrower area.”

Cato Institute atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue reviewed high Arctic temperature data going back to 1958 and says: “Data before the satellite era … has some problems, so it’s hard to say the current spike is for sure a record.” He says that if the baseline is 1973, when the polar-­orbiting satellites began recording the data, there is not much difference between today’s ice extent and then.

Indeed, we now have satellite confirmation that global air temperatures are back to the same level they were before the 2014-16 super El Nino event and, this January and February, the decline accelerated. Since 2015 satellites also have detected a fall in sea surface temperatures.

Solar expert Piers Corbyn, of British forecasting group Wea­therAction and famous for his successful wagers against the British Met Office forecasts, predicts Earth faces another mini ice age with potentially devastating consequences. He notes: “The frequency of sunspots is expected to rapidly decline … reaching a minimum between the years 2019 and 2020.” Indeed, the present decline in solar activity is faster than at any time in the past 9300 years, suggesting an end to the grand solar maximum.

Critics say while “it might be safe to go with (Corbyn’s) forecast for rain next Tuesday, it would be foolish to gamble the world can just go on burning all the coal and oil we want”. That’s the nub of it. The world has bet the shop on CO2 warming and the “science” must be defended at all costs.

But while spinning unfalsi­fiable “climate disruption” slogans may sway readers of The Sydney Morning Herald and resonate with believers in their centrally heated halls, those in the real world, witnessing hundreds of people dying of the cold and thousands more receiving emergency treatment, will consider they’ve been duped.

Not feeling duped are successive Australian governments that have become committed members of a green-left global warming movement promoted by the UN. On dubious scientific grounds they have agreed to accept meaningless, anti-growth, CO2 emission targets that enrich elites and burden the masses.

And, true to label, a Green Climate Fund supported by Australia and 42 mostly developed countries will redistribute $US100 billion ($128bn) annually to poorer nations as reparation for the unspecified environmental harm the West has allegedly caused them.

Big emitters such as China, India and Russia are conspicuously absent.

Policing Australia’s targets and helping to spread confirmatory propaganda is a network of international and local bureaucracies. The world’s academies and meteorological organisations, frequently found to be unreliable and biased, keep the faith alive. They reject debate and starve nonconforming researchers of funds and information. Students are indoctrinated with unproven climate-change theories that an unquestioning media gladly ­reinforces.

Meanwhile, the country ingenuously surrenders its competitive advantage by refusing to embrace its rich endowment of affordable baseload energy. This it happily exports while lining the pockets of renewable energy rent-seekers with generous taxpayer subsidies.

Should the world enter a per­iod of global cooling, we should ­expect concerted denial. Too many livelihoods, too many reputations and too much ideology ­depend on the CO2 narrative. Having ceded sovereignty over our economies’ commanding heights to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva, the West (Donald Trump excluded) repeatedly turns to expensive vanity projects to paper over this folly. If the iceman cometh, there can be no quick fix. Yet we know it takes twice as much energy to heat a home than to cool one. So pity the poor and infirm who respected medical journal The Lancet says are 20 times likelier to die from cold than heat.

While even to mention a mini ice age risks scorn and derision, recent research has shown a close correlation between solar activity and climate on Earth. That possibility alone should cause shivers. But it will take time and experience before we accept the global warming movement is really the triumph of ideology over science. Until then we will continue to commit life’s cardinal sin of putting too many eggs into one questionable basket.




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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