Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wake up Britain or perish a starving shivering death

John A Brown writes from Scotland:

Although this is nothing compared to what some less fortunate than myself had to and who are still enduring I had to make a 16 mile round trip for milk. Putting this into perspective there is a convenience store just 75 yards from my back door, a supermarket 200 yards from my front door, another 10 supermarkets along with countless convenience stores along the way yet I had to drive out 8 miles for milk and even then I was lucky to get it.

Thankfully the direction in which the snow showers were coming from meant that locally we missed the brunt of it. However, a few miles inland it was a different story. Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament lambasting lorry drivers for bringing the motorway network to a standstill citing that Police Scotland and the Scottish Transport Minister had warned the public not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The problem is that although they were warned, I bet you the very same folk who issued the warnings and lambasted the hauliers are the very same ones who are now grumbling about having no basic foodstuffs on the table. Bread, milk, fresh fruit, veg, and meat are either in short supply or non existent with fuel supplies dwindling.

For Pete’s sake get a grip. Three days of inclement weather and the country grinds to a halt. Before I was born in 1965 there were two notable winters with severe weather, 1947 and 1962 – 1963. Although the country did eventually succumb to the harsh winter conditions in 1947 and well as the winter of 1962 -63 it has to be noted that they succumbed in weeks not a matter of days.

My own personal view on the matter, and I could be wrong, is that years ago people weren’t as affluent as they are now. Personal transport was either your feet or an awkward bus journey. Food storage wasn’t great as things that required chilling were either placed on a marble slab in the pantry, or in our case, the end bedroom as it was freezing due to having no central heating. Now we drive out to the local supermarket or hypermarket, load up the car, and on returning home we freeze, chill and store whatever we want. Years ago your mother had to traipse down to the local high street on a daily basis for provisions.

Years ago most of our local retailers sourced the majority of their products locally all year round or whilst in season depending on the product from for example; farms, dairies, bakeries so forth. Nowadays everything is centralised and sourced out of season from overseas. This in turn exacerbates the situation we find ourselves in today. Although the winters of 1947 and 1962 – 63 saw the country eventually grind to a shivering halt, I believe that had things not been centralised (not forgetting communities having to travel further for employment then). Not as many people would have been on the transport network, neither would there have been as many hauliers out on the road when this weather system barrelled in.

If the climate is bucking the AGW mantra, which I think is indeed spiralling into a extreme cooling trend, governments need to address this forthwith. Although the governments of northern Europe invest heavily on snow and ice clearing infrastructure the UK government are of the opinion that as this only occurs once in a while, so it would not be cost effective to invest. Furthermore, by law European drivers must fit winter tyres but here in the UK we are not even encouraged to do so let alone required by law.

Wake up Britain and address the problem or perish a starving shivering death.


Greenpeace seeks in vain for climate change in the Antarctic: Less fishing recommended!

The Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" stayed in January and February 2018 in the Antarctic Weddell Sea. Klimaretter reported on February 24, 2018:

Marine biologist Susanne Lockhart of the California Academy of Science led the expedition of the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" to Antarctica in January and February. In total, around 30 scientists, journalists, activists and filmmakers were on board.

klimaretter.info: Ms. Lockhart, you spent three weeks on a research expedition in Antarctica in January: do you see or feel anything about climate change there?

Susanne Lockhart: "I've been to research trips there many times. The changes can not be overlooked. Where a compact glacier used to be a few years ago, today, for example, a small river flows under the ice, hollowing out the glacier from below. There is a direct link between climate change and the ecosystem in Antarctic waters.

klimaretter.info: Which animals or plants are there?

Susanne Lockhart: It often starts with the smallest creatures that are at the very top of the food chain. So the population of the Antarctic krill is currently decreasing - these are small crustaceans that are pretty much the source of all fish in this region. Other animals, such as the jellyfish Salpidae, are increasing because they do not mind the warmer water. The krill crustaceans, on the other hand, can not handle even minimal temperature increases. [...] We have to protect the Antarctic waters so that the pressure does not come from all sides. There is less fishing or at least controlled fishing. We can not allow that, for example, by climate change anywaythreatened Krill is also threatened by expansive intensive fishing. The krill is the livelihood for the Antarctic animal kingdom - when its population goes down, it affects all other animals."

A quick look at the Antarctic temperature trend over the past 35 years, based on RSS satellite data, shows that it has not gotten warmer. Annoying.


CO2 Impact Analysis: Will Increased CO2 Be of Harm or Benefit To Major Grain Crops?

What does the science say in regards to the effect of elevated CO2 on major food sources across the globe?

It is well known that airborne CO2 acts as a vegetation fertilizer, which fortunately for the world, has produced a vast 'greening' of nature. Some 70% of greening is attributed to increased CO2 fertilization say the NASA researchers.

In regards to agriculture crops, a new study has again determined that increased CO2 will produce greater yields.

This peer-reviewed study focused on rice and maize.

"Rice is the most consumed staple crop in the world and maize is close behind in rank as the third most important cereal crop. Their annual yields are consumed by billions of persons worldwide.....Pingale et al. report that elevated CO2 positively influenced the growth and productivity of both crops. Plant growth and yield parameters such as leaf area, stem dry weight, panicle dry weight, cob dry weight and grain number per cob were all significantly increased under elevated CO2. And the end result of these several enhancements was a CO2-induced increase in both rice and maize grain yield."


I believe in global warming — and even I think carbon taxes are idiotic

Let me preface by saying that I believe the greenhouse effect is real. Therefore, I am for sensible policies that reduce global emissions. Sadly, carbon taxes aren’t sensible if our goal is to reduce global emissions. They cost too much and do too little. So how did we go so wrong on carbon taxes?

Carbon taxation was originally based on a right-wing, free-market theory. The simple idea, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, is that if you tax something, you get less of it. It could elegantly allow the markets to find the most efficient ways to reduce carbon without the need for government regulations. Many respectable conservative-minded people bought into this theory. Let’s look at the reality in practice.

Theoretically, carbon prices are supposed to reduce regulation. However, in every jurisdiction where carbon pricing has been implemented, it doesn’t reduce regulation — it increases it. Carbon-pricing schemes in Europe, California and Canada are all very complicated. The Canadian government just recently introduced 500 new pages of legislation and regulation. Another example, the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan, has a carbon-tax-credit program, but acknowledges the cost of regulatory compliance is likely too high for all but the largest companies.

Policies that not only eliminate some people’s jobs, but increase global emissions
Another problem is carbon leakage, which occurs when production and investment simply move to jurisdictions without a carbon tax. In this case, emissions are simply displaced in whole or in part.

Carbon leakage is worse than you think, as it can actually increase global emissions. Take the case of Canadian aluminum, which produces only two tonnes of carbon per tonne, versus American aluminum at 11 tonnes of carbon per tonne. In practice, no one should have to explain to an aluminum worker that they lost their job because “after all, we all need to do our part,” only to have global emissions increase 550 per cent as a result. (To generalize this example, Canada’s economy is 70 per cent reliant on trade, and 80 per cent of our trade is with the United States, which has not imposed a carbon tax.)

To try and mitigate carbon leakage, every carbon-pricing scheme uses output-based allocations (OBAs). Industries that are energy intensive and trade exposed (EITE) are given free permits to emit or a carbon-tax rebate to allow them to compete. For example, we would give the aluminum industry a tax exemption for carbon taxes based on its output.

However, as carbon-tax enthusiasts like to point out, people like to avoid taxes, so everyone will lobby for a tax rebate based on complicated formulas and models. Since government determines who will receive these massive subsidies, and how much they will receive, the process is inevitably politicized.

The other problem we find in practice: Demand for hydrocarbons is very inelastic. People will pay what it takes to heat their homes and get to work. The Conference Board of Canada found that even a $200/tonne carbon tax would only reduce 12 megatonnes of Canadian emissions before carbon leakage. Global carbon would likely only be reduced by 70 per cent of this amount. Meanwhile, just one large LNG plant could achieve more than that by replacing coal in China with natural gas.

Canada has a global comparative advantage in carbon in many industries because of our high environmental standards. A global approach to capitalizing on Canada’s environmental advantage would yield a double dividend of a stronger economy and a cleaner global environment. Carbon pricing, on the other hand, may create a green paradox — policies meant to reduce emissions that not only eliminate some people’s jobs, but increase global emissions.

So why do our left-wing friends love carbon taxes, when they say reducing emissions is their concern? The answer is the epitome of Reagan’s description of government, all wrapped up in one simple, marketable policy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And, if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Even many conservatives have let themselves be convinced that carbon pricing is an efficient, market-based policy. An acceptance of the theory without examining the practice is what got them there.


Australia: $1.3bn hit on electricity users as subsidies for solar panels surge

Energy consumers will be forced to pay more than $1 billion for rooftop solar installation subsidies this year, increasing power costs by up to $100 per household, according to an industry analysis.

Operators warn of a spike in the number of unscrupulous ­operators unless the green-power subsidy is wound back.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released figures showing that more than 1057 megawatts of ­capacity was installed last year, equating to 3.5 million solar ­panels being fixed to rooftops.

Industry analysis obtained by The Australian reveals the cost of small-scale technology certificates — created to increase the incentive to install rooftop solar — shows the value of the sub­sidies was $500 million last year.

The solar industry is expecting the subsidy to increase to about $1.3bn this year after the regulator estimated in January that 22 million new certificates would be created over the year. The certificates are granted to people installing solar panels, and electricity retailers are required to buy them.

Jeff Bye, founder and owner of Demand Manager in Sydney, a company that creates and trades the certificates, warned that the rebate was “overly generous” in many circumstances. “There are strong reasons to support installation of rooftop solar in Australia; however, it’s a question of the degree of support needed,” he said.

“The cost increase (this year) is about $800m and there are 8 million households … so there’ll be a cost impact of around $100 per household. The electricity impact might be $40 or $50 per household but businesses will pass through the additional cost too … That subsidy of $500m last year, or $1.2bn to $1.3bn this year, is added on to everyone’s bills.”

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Energy Market Commission had found the average cost to households over the past five years was about $29 a year, with the price peaking in 2012 at $44 for the year. “The AEMC forecasts residential electricity prices will fall over the next two years as renewable energy, including small-scale solar supported by the Renewable Energy Target, enters the system,” Mr Frydenberg said.

In last year’s Residential Electricity Price Trends report, the AEMC acknowledged that “costs incurred in purchasing certificates are assumed to be passed on to consumers through retail prices”.

Mr Frydenberg celebrated the solar rooftop take-up last year, saying Australia had emerged as a “world leader” and noted that one in five households used solar power.

NSW Liberal MP Craig Kelly, chairman of the Coalition backbench committee for energy and the environment, warned that the cost of rooftop solar subsidies was being carried by those who could least afford it.

He said the benefits of lower power prices were going to high-wealth households that installed the panels, while those without solar panels were hit with higher prices passed on by electricity ­retailers.

“It’s effectively a reverse Robin Hood scheme where we are ­increasing the electricity prices on the poor to reduce electricity ­prices for the rich,” Mr Kelly said.

“A woman rang me during the week and broke down on the telephone. She just got her electricity bill and it was $800. She was ­expecting a bill of $400 ... she’s got no way of paying for it.”

Mr Frydenberg faces calls to ­reduce rooftop solar subsidies by slashing the price of the certificates that electricity retailers are required to buy. He is expected to set a target for the calendar year by the end of this month.

Mr Bye said the number of certificates to be bought each year was set by the small technology percentage (STP), but warned the system was flawed and the certificates were overpriced.

“In recent history, the certificates have traded close to the maximum legislated price of $40 and the target-setting process, overseen by the minister, effectively leads to a continuation of that pattern,” Mr Bye said.

“However, there was a period last year when the market price dropped to $30 but the boom in solar installations continued.”

Mr Bye warned that the high STC price, coupled with growing demand for solar, could attract “unscrupulous operators”.

“It’s nowhere near what it was 10 years ago under the home insulation program but we should be wary of subsidies attracting the wrong people,’’ he said.




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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