Monday, March 05, 2018

Warmists admit their data is crap

But they have to do so carefully, of course.  They go to great lengths to show that available meteorological data is too rough to make precise and fine-grained quantitative generalizations.

 But bad as the data is, it does truly show global warming happening, they say. But that it ridiculous.  The generalizations put out by Warmists are very fine -- in hundredths of a degree Celsius.  They would normally be able to show no net climate change at all without reference to such very fine measurements.

Yet it is precisely such fine measurements that the authors below  show as unjustifiable with the existing data

By "Towards a global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network" they mean that we badly need a truly scientific network of temperature monitoring stations

Towards a global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network

P. W. Thorne et al.


There is overwhelming evidence that the climate system has warmed since the instigation of instrumental meteorological observations. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the evidence for warming was unequivocal. However, owing to imperfect measurements and ubiquitous changes in measurement networks and techniques, there remain uncertainties in many of the details of these historical changes. These uncertainties do not call into question the trend or overall magnitude of the changes in the global climate system. Rather, they act to make the picture less clear than it could be, particularly at the local scale where many decisions regarding adaptation choices will be required, both now and in the future. A set of high-quality long-term fiducial reference measurements of essential climate variables will enable future generations to make rigorous assessments of future climate change and variability, providing society with the best possible information to support future decisions. Here we propose that by implementing and maintaining a suitably stable and metrologically well-characterized global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network, the present-day scientific community can bequeath to future generations a better set of observations. This will aid future adaptation decisions and help us to monitor and quantify the effectiveness of internationally agreed mitigation steps. This article provides the background, rationale, metrological principles, and practical considerations regarding what would be involved in such a network, and outlines the benefits which may accrue. The challenge, of course, is how to convert such a vision to a long-term sustainable capability providing the necessary well-characterized measurement series to the benefit of global science and future generations.


Zambia taps climate fund to battle worsening drought

What a lot of crap.  You can't forecast droughts and floods.  If you can, every farmer in Australia would like to hear from you

Zambian farmers facing more extreme weather are set to get better early warning and weather information to help them cope, as part of a new grant from the Green Climate Fund.

In a funding round announced this week, the international climate fund approved $32 million(R381.53 million) toward a broader effort by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme to help shore up food security and keep farmers from slipping into poverty.

The UN agencies had already raised $125 million toward the effort, which aims to help fight poverty among about 940,000 farmers hit by extreme weather in Zambia, according to Janet Rogan, a UNDP representative in the country.

The effort aims to help farmers plan for climate risks, make their farming more resilient and diversified and give them better access to markets, said Simon Pollock, a spokesman for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), in an email interview.

“In addition, this intervention is specifically designed to create economic opportunities for women,” Pollock told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The project targets 16 particularly climate-vulnerable provinces in the country, where worsening droughts and flooding have been a problem.

Zambia, like many of its southern African neighbours, is struggling with strengthening climate impacts in the face of already widespread poverty.

According to the 2016 UNDP Human Development Report, about 60 percent of the country’s people live below the poverty line, more than 40 percent of those in extreme poverty.

The report says 70 percent of Zambians rely on agriculture for a living, and agriculture, forestry and fishing contribute 24 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Eric Chipeta, an energy and environmental analyst in Zambia for UNDP, said the effort would, for instance, provide Zambian farmers with insurance that issues automatic payouts when certain rainfall or temperature thresholds are passed, and crops are presumed dead or damaged.

“The initiative will go a long way to strengthen the capacity of farmers to plan for climate risks (and) provide the opportunity for weather index insurance even in times of poor rains,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Zambia has seen increasingly unpredictable weather, including drought this year that hit at the time when maize – the country’s staple crop – began putting out tassels, Chipeta said. Drought at that point can cut harvests significantly, experts say.

In many areas of Zambia, “there is a high rate of poverty, meaning efforts to end hunger and poverty are at risk if we don’t take immediate action to adapt agricultural practices to changing climate conditions”, Chola Chabala, Zambia’s permanent secretary for National Development Planning, said in a press statement.

Chipeta said that the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather already has severely affected Zambian farmers.

The GCF-backed initiative will be rolled out with support from national institutions such as Zambia's Ministry of Agriculture and the Zambia Meteorological Department, Chipeta said.


Manufacturers CEO: “Suing oil companies is a waste of time”

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons authored an op-ed in the Washington Times where he highlighted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s deeply misguided and politically-motivated plan to sue manufacturers and divest public pension funds of fossil fuel investments.

Ignoring the fact that manufacturing jobs have been on the rise in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been insistent in driving his agenda forward in an effort to score political points with well-connected activists and wealthy donors by filing a frivolous lawsuit. Timmons writes:

As for Mr. de Blasio’s new lawsuits against manufacturers, they, too, will do little to help the people of his city. Ultimately, there is no legal basis to support these politicized lawsuits, which attempt to use public nuisance laws to blame manufacturers in the United States for the impacts on infrastructure from climate change.

 Climate change is a shared challenge, particularly in a city of more than 8.5 million energy-using residents. The courts have found time and again that the political branches of government — Congress and the executive branch — are the proper regulators of carbon emissions, not the courts.

 Make no mistake: all of this is part of a larger effort designed by a cabal of activists to take down manufacturing in America while making plenty of headlines but little positive difference. That is why the National Association of Manufacturers recently launched the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, which aims to expose these bad actors and their efforts to expand their legal attacks from New York to Boulder to San Francisco.

 During the NAM’s 2018 State of Manufacturing tour, Timmons appeared on John Catsimatidis’ New York radio show The Cats Roundtable, where he warned of the challenges the manufacturing sector may face should trial lawyers continue going after crucial sectors in the U.S. economy:

We’ve got this case where the mayor is trying to promote [public nuisance lawsuits] that literally will help no one but the politicians and the trial lawyers. It certainly doesn’t help the taxpayers, and doesn’t help the pensioners. We want to make sure that this is not just a template for trial lawyers to come after manufacturers of all types throughout the economy.

 Timmons also participated in an interview with New York radio host Fred Dicker on the Fred Dicker: Focus on The State Capitol show where he called Mayor de Blasio’s lawsuit against manufacturers “malpractice by elected officials” and a “waste of resources”:

Climate change is a major problem that we all must work together to solve–but it is inappropriate to blame it entirely on the manufacturing companies that we all rely on. Mayor de Blasio should be looking out for his constituents, not enriching trial lawyers and appeasing environmentalists. His abuse of power takes away opportunities from the very people he’s supposed to lift up. The climate lawsuit is a waste of resources that sends a horrible message to New York job creators.

The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) is taking a stand against politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio and has just filed requests with the city under the New York Freedom of Information Law so that taxpayers are granted full transparency in these misguided efforts and can more fully understand the true objectives of the litigation.


Expedition to 'Hidden' Antarctic Ecosystem Turned Back by Global warming cooling

Scientists on their way to investigate a mysterious region of Antarctica's seafloor, hidden by thick ice for 120,000 years, have run into an obstacle: Their research ship has been forced to turn north, after dense sea ice prevented it from reaching the southern Larsen C ice-shelf.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) announced today (March 2) that the captain of the research vessel RRS James Clark Ross had made the "difficult decision" to turn back from the Larsen C region after encountering pack sea ice up to 16 feet (5 meters) thick.

The thick ice has slowed the ship to a few miles a day, and they were running out of time in the Antarctic's brief summer to reach the Larsen C area and complete a marine survey. The seafloor alongside the ice-shelf was exposed last year after the calving of the giant iceberg known as A-68. [In Photos: Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf Through Time]

"We knew that getting through the sea ice to reach Larsen C would be difficult," BAS expedition leader and marine biologist Katrin Linse said in a statement. "Naturally, we are disappointed not to get there, but safety must come first."

"The captain and crew have been fantastic and pulled out all the stops to get us to the ice shelf, but our progress became too slow, with just 8 kilometers [5 miles] traveled in 24 hours, and we still had over 400 kilometers [250 miles] to travel," Linse said. "Mother Nature has not been kind to us on our mission."

The expedition team on board the RRS James Clark Ross, hailing from nine polar research institutes in Europe and Australia, was put together at very short notice. They had hoped to be the first to survey the region of seafloor exposed by the 2,240-square-mile (5,800 square kilometers) iceberg, which separated from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in July of last year.

The ecosystems of the seafloor beneath Antarctica's floating ice shelves are unique and rarely studied: According to BAS scientists, the seafloor exposed by the A-68 iceberg has been completely covered by the ice shelf for up to 120,000 years, in total darkness and connected to the open ocean by only minimal currents.

The expedition scientists were rushing to carry out a marine survey of the exposed area before it becomes increasingly bathed in sunlight as the A-68 iceberg moves away. Although the sea ice in the area is thick enough to turn back the research ship, it won't be enough to stop sunlight from reaching the exposed seafloor, BAS spokesperson Athena Dinar told Live Science. "The wind will move the sea ice, and the sea will be exposed to sunlight."

Scientists will now have to wait out the Antarctic winter until the next attempt to reach the edge of the ice shelf early next year, by an expedition led by Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute on board their research vessel, the RV Polarstern, BAS representatives said in a statement.


New coal mine:  Australian Labor Party leader shown up as an opportunist too smart by half

The Adani project has become a turning point in the contest over political, cultural and financial power in Australia. It is an iconic test of strength between the growing progressive/green lobby and the Turnbull government-backed pro-development forces with long-run consequences.

“This is the biggest environmental campaign ever run in this country and one of the biggest campaigns in the world,” former Australian Conservation Foundation director Geoffrey Cousins told The Australian. “It has got international attention from The New York Times to The Financial Times.

“It is a landmark event. The campaign is about climate change, global warming and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Adani would be the biggest coalmine in this country. In my view the project is dead in the water, but you don’t stop until it sinks. Nobody is going to fund this mine. Financial institutions watch their reputation and if you damage your reputation then your shareholder value drops.”

The Labor Party, though beset by internal divisions, is essentially working to undermine Adani with its mantra that the project “doesn’t stand up financially” — a blatant appeal to no confidence that prejudges a commercial result about an approved project.

Political opponents are playing with fire. This issue has consequences for the viability of regulatory approvals, foreign investment, the coal industry and regional Queensland’s economic outlook.

The proof of the near triumph of anti-Adani sentiment is the convoluted, expedient yet unmistakeable shift of Bill Shorten. Once pro-Adani, the Opposition Leader has been galvanised by the Batman by-election and public mood to tilt his position against the project while still paying lip service to pro-coal opinion in regional Queensland.

Shorten’s character as an opportunist has rarely been so embarrassingly exposed. On display is his compulsion to offer conflicting messages to different constituencies for electoral gain, the antithesis of any politics of principle.

In the process, Shorten got caught out from his trip and dialogue with a calculating Cousins, whose ruthless skill as an environmental advocate is legend. The two principals have different versions but, according to Cousins, Shorten not only sought advice but signalled his willingness to change Labor policy — instead of letting Adani die from lack of funds, Shorten lurched towards a policy that he would revoke its licence as prime minister.

This would have been filled with traps — Shorten would have been cast as killing agent for a project that he feels cannot survive anyway. Whether Shorten reassessed or was persuaded by colleagues, by week’s end the flirtation with Cousins was in a polite retreat of sorts.

Cousins explained what happened from his dialogue with Shorten: “I believe he wanted to have a firmer policy on Adani but in some way he was held back by his colleagues. He had given me a precise timeline about the announcement of his stance. He told me he wouldn’t do it in his National Press Club address at the start of the year but that I shouldn’t be concerned about that. He said he would do it in Queensland and would make the announcement in Queensland the following week.

“He subsequently rang me to explain that he would need more time. I think he was having difficulty with his colleagues. I said OK. I mean, that’s his job. But I felt it was best to keep the pressure on. My experience is that keeping the pressure on is the only course that ever delivers anything.”

In late January, Cousins had hosted Shorten on a $17,000 tour of the reef and a flight over the Adani mine site. “Shorten could see precisely where he was snorkelling and what had happened to the reef,” Cousins said. “We flew over the mine site and there’s nothing there, just a couple of buildings, it’s a lot of nonsense.”

Given the delay, Cousins ­decided to turn up the heat. He dropped his bombshell on the ABC’s 7.30 with Leigh Sales on Tuesday night. Cousins said Shorten assured him “when we are in government, if the evidence is as compelling as it appears now, we will revoke the licence in accordance with the law”.

This is what Cousins wanted to hear: a different and tougher Labor stand that he hoped might settle the issue. Cousins said there was no mistake — the statement was delivered precisely this way at least a half-dozen times. Shorten believes this version is highly exaggerated: he wanted assistance and advice from Cousins; he has no time for the mine; he believes it will fall over; he wanted to explore options but he will not create sovereign risks or break contracts.

According to Cousins, Shorten said he would take the issue to the shadow cabinet. Cousins also gave Shorten legal opinions ­obtained by the ACF to the effect that under the law, revocation can occur if an issue is revealed that was not identified when ­approval was ­initially given that would otherwise have resulted in that ­approval being denied. Given this law, Cousins said, “in this situation the risk sits with the company — it is not a sovereign risk”.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg repudiates any claim the grounds exist for revocation. Frydenberg told Sky News this week his advice was that no such new information was available.

“Here’s the critical point,” Frydenberg said. “That ­information is not at hand. So there is now not a case for the revocation under section 145. Shorten knows that but because of the Batman by-election he’s trying to be all things to all people.”

Frydenberg’s advice exposes the high risk Shorten would run if he pledged revocation or to explore revocation in office. This would constitute a short-term fix but a major folly. A number of senior Labor figures warn of the serious political risks in this position. It would be a gift to the Turnbull government with the potential to swing sentiment against the anti-Adani camp.

Despite Cousins’s argument, it would raise certain issues of sovereign risk. The government would mount this argument. It would ­assert Shorten was prepared to pose a sovereign investment risk in the cause of winning green votes in the inner city.

The politically smart position for Labor is obvious — let the project expire because of lack of funding but avoid any pledge from opposition or act in office that sees Labor assume accountability for revocation. This would open a Pandora’s box — if Labor moved to kill the Carmichael mine then what other coal proposals or ventures would be safe and what would be the investment consequences?

As a governing party presiding over a substantial coal industry by world standards, Labor must build product discrimination from the Greens based on a coherent policy framework.

The Shorten-Cousins rapport has not been widely known within the Labor Party and is now an issue raising questions about Shorten’s judgment. The Carmichael mine has been through a protracted series of environmental law provisions and is approved subject to 36 strict conditions.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, there are precisely defined circumstances that govern suspension or revocation of federal environmental approval. Opposition environment spokesman Tony Burke told the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas this week that under the law, as minister, “you must never prejudge a decision”. If so, you risk legal action from the aggrieved company. No prizes for guessing where Burke is coming from.

As Frydenberg said: “The Carmichael mine has gone through the process. It has been challenged in the courts multiple times and has been upheld. It is a mine that is in the Galilee Basin, it’s 300km inland in a dry and dusty part of Queensland, and it has ­received strong support from local mayors, from the unions and local communities.”

In short, revocation of the Carmichael mine on environmental grounds is a daunting task loaded with traps. Comparisons with the Franklin dam under the Hawke government are nonsense. That predated the EPBC Act and the politics since are transformed — because of the EPBC Act, no political party can make a firm commitment to use environmental law to stop a project.

This was the message opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese sent repeatedly this week to anyone with ears.

“The Adani coalmine has been approved,” Albanese said. “It has been approved under state and federal approvals. The question is what can Labor do? What Labor can do is … make sure that there is no subsidy of the rail line or other infrastructure for what is a private project. If that doesn’t occur, and the company has said it themselves, the project will fall over and be unable to get finance. At the moment, it just doesn’t have ­finance. They have tried to get it everywhere and it just doesn’t stack up.”

Shorten said of the project yesterday: “I make no secret that I don’t like it very much. I don’t think the project is going to ­materialise. The Adani mining company seem to have missed plenty of deadlines. It doesn’t seem to stack up financially, commercially or indeed environmentally.” But Shorten ruled out any breaking of contracts and that also meant any action as prime minister to revoke the licence.

Understand what is happening — federal Labor wants to destroy this project but keep its hands clean from any financial or political backlash.

It knows “Adani” is a dirty word from the focus groups. Indeed, Frydenberg knows as well and is careful now only to use the term “Carmichael”.

Labor’s hostility must become a material factor in the final ­assessments made by the company. With polls pointing to a change of government, Labor’s campaign makes successful ­financing a more remote possibility. Shorten’s tougher position only intensifies the stakes ­involved in the Batman by-election. How will Shorten look if Labor loses despite his intensification of the campaign against the Adani mine, his trip to the region, his dialogue with Cousins and the belief by the former ACF director that Shorten was ready to play the revocation card?

The green lobby is desperate to defeat the mine on environmental and climate change grounds. While these grounds have sway with public opinion, they are the weakest instruments to secure Carmichael’s defeat — the real pressure points are lack of finance and political “no confidence” from the alternative government despite Adani’s success in meeting the formal approvals.

The mine is a long way from the Great Barrier Reef. Yet arguments about its alleged proximity to the reef are irrelevant in climate change terms since to the extent emissions are corroding the reef that is a universal, not a local, phenomenon.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan attacked Labor’s hypocrisy, saying many of the delays have sprung directly from politics. “This mine is the cornerstone to unlocking the Galilee Basin,” Canavan told The Australian. “There is a window of opportunity at present in the world coal markets with the price high and ­renewed confidence. But the risk for Australia is that we will miss this window and this opportunity essentially because of political ­factors.”

Canavan said the decision by the Queensland Labor government last year to veto any potential loan from the $5 billion Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility for the rail line to the port had a “huge impact” on the overall venture. The company wanted the funds and wanted governments “to have skin in the game”.

“This wasn’t just a backflip,” he said. “The Queensland government gave Adani repeated assurances they would support federal government loans to the rail line.” This was now a lost ­option courtesy of a political ­decision.

Queensland Labor’s decision has been reinforced by Shorten’s tougher stance and the recent warning by opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler that Carmichael was not in the national ­interest and that proposed new mines in the Galilee Basin were also not financially viable.

Canavan concedes that Adani’s “financial options are limited”. He warns that “future investors will look at the way Adani has been treated and have to ­reconsider investment in Australia”. He fears that the opportunity presented by higher coal prices will be missed and is frustrated at the extent of opposition to Carmichael from other coal companies operating in Australia.

The objective of the Greens is to use Carmichael as the instrument to terminate any new coalmines in Australia. Victory will strengthen their hands for the next battle and solidify the hostility of local financial institutions to finance coal projects.

Meanwhile, there seems no end to Shorten’s dissembling — he ­declared yesterday that “we are a resource nation, we are a mining nation”, while he passes judgment as a politician on the finances of Adani in an ­effort to ensure its funding cannot materialise.

Cousins, who has lobbied the Indians and the Chinese against the project, said: “They have no money. They were briefing journalists they could get money from China but the Chinese banks have come out rejecting this. The financial community in Australia accepts climate change science ­totally. Adani’s business case just doesn’t stack up.”

If Cousins’s predictions are ­realised, the killing of Adani after it passed all state and federal ­approvals will bring progressive and green momentum to a zenith. On display will be its moral power, its ability to smash through government and court approvals, its capture of the financial sector and its delivery of a decisive blow to the once-strong pro-development, pro-coal ethos.

Can you imagine the scale of political conflict that will erupt in this country if Adani defies such hostility and somehow manages to proceed with finance?

It is also an insight into our ­morality as a nation — the moral case that Carmichael will help many thousands of poor people in India gets almost no traction; ­indeed, it is mocked by progressive politicians who insist there is an alternative over-arching ­morality — stopping the coal ­industry in the cause of saving the planet from global warming.




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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