Monday, June 18, 2018

Rebellion in Canada: Ontario’s New Premier Announces End Of Cap-and-Trade Carbon Tax

Incoming government will use every power available to challenge federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax on Ontario families, individuals and small businesses

TORONTO — Premier-designate Doug Ford today announced that his cabinet’s first act following the swearing-in of his government will be to cancel Ontario’s current cap-and-trade scheme, and challenge the federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax on the people of Ontario.

“I made a promise to the people that we would take immediate action to scrap the cap-and-trade carbon tax and bring their gas prices down,” said Ford. “Today, I want to confirm that as a first step to lowering taxes in Ontario, the carbon tax’s days are numbered.”

Ford also announced that Ontario would be serving notice of its withdrawal from the joint agreement linking Ontario, Quebec and California’s cap-and-trade markets as well as the pro-carbon tax Western Climate Initiative. The Premier-designate confirmed that he has directed officials to immediately take steps to withdraw Ontario from future auctions for cap-and-trade credits. The government will provide clear rules for the orderly wind down of the cap-and-trade program.

Finally, Ford announced that he will be issuing specific directions to his incoming attorney general to use all available resources at the disposal of the government to challenge the federal government’s authority to arbitrarily impose a carbon tax on Ontario families.

“Eliminating the carbon tax and cap-and-trade is the right thing to do and is a key component in our plan to bring your gas prices down by 10 cents per litre,” said Ford. “It also sends a clear message that things are now different. No longer will Ontario’s government answer to insiders, special interests and elites. Instead, we will now have a government for the people. Help is here.”


Zwally doubles down

Zwally appears to be a Warmist but he is standing by his research findings about Antarctica -- which are in stark contrast to the model-driven and assumptions-filled conclusions discussed here yesterday

Antarctica Not Losing Ice, NASA Researcher Finds.  NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally says his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Is Antarctica melting or is it gaining ice? A recent paper claims Antarctica’s net ice loss has dramatically increased in recent years, but forthcoming research will challenge that claim.

NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally first challenged the “consensus” on Antarctica in 2015 when he published a paper showing ice sheet growth in eastern Antarctica outweighed the losses in the western ice sheet.

Zwally will again challenge the prevailing narrative of how global warming is affecting the South Pole. Zwally said his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Much like in 2015, Zwally’s upcoming study will run up against the so-called “consensus,” including a paper published by a team of 80 scientists in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The paper estimates that Antarctic is losing, on net, more than 200 gigatons of ice a year, adding 0.02 inches to annual sea level rise.

“Basically, we agree about West Antarctica,” Zwally told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “East Antarctica is still gaining mass. That’s where we disagree.”

Reported ice melt mostly driven by instability in the western Antarctic ice sheet, which is being eaten away from below by warm ocean water. Scientists tend to agree ice loss has increased in western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula has increased.

Measurements of the eastern ice sheet, however, are subject to high levels of uncertainty. That’s where disagreements are.

“In our study East Antarctic remains the least certain part of Antarctica for sure,” Andrew Shepherd, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Leeds, told TheDCNF.

“Although there is relatively large variability over shorter periods, we don’t detect any significant long-term trend over 25 years,” Shepherd said.

However, Zwally’s working on a paper that will show the eastern ice sheet is expanding at a rate that’s enough to at least offset increased losses the west.

The ice sheets are “very close to balance right now,” Zwally said. He added that balance could change to net melting in the future with more warming.

So, why is there such a big difference between Zwally’s research and what 80 scientists recently published in the journal Nature?

There are several reasons for the disagreement, but the biggest is how researchers make what’s called a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which takes into account the movement of the Earth under ice sheets.

Scientists use models to measure the movement of land mass in response to changes the ice sheet sitting on top. For example, Zwally said eastern Antarctica’s land mass has been going down in response to ice sheet mass gains.

That land movement effects ice sheet data, especially in Antarctica where small errors in GIA can yield big changes ice sheet mass balance — whether ice is growing or shrinking. There are also differences in how researchers model firn compaction and snowfall accumulation.

“It needs to be known accurately,” Zwally said. “It’s an error of being able to model. These are models that estimate the motions of the Earth under the ice.”

Zwally’s 2015 study said an isostatic adjustment of 1.6 millimeters was needed to bring satellite “gravimetry and altimetry” measurements into agreement with one another.

Shepherd’s paper cites Zwally’s 2015 study several times, but only estimates eastern Antarctic mass gains to be 5 gigatons a year — yet this estimate comes with a margin of error of 46 gigatons.

Zwally, on the other hand, claims ice sheet growth is anywhere from 50 gigatons to 200 gigatons a year.


British fire disaster caused by Warmist rules

Though the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry has only just begun, a leaked interim report makes clear that one of the principle reasons for the fire was the use of flammable cladding added to the outside of the building by the contractors Rydon.

The cladding was there to shield insulation from weather damage. But, tragically, it carried the initial fire, which started in one flat, between the floors of the tower block.

Former housing secretary, now home secretary, Sajid Javid has claimed that the cladding that the developers used was in breach of fire regulations, because it was flammable. But he was trying to pass the buck. The fire regulations only state that the insulation should be fire resistant, not the cladding that protects it.

In hindsight, it is easy to see that Grenfell’s refurbishment made the building unsafe. But why was the building refurbished in this way in the first place?

The ‘policy context’ for the Grenfell Tower Regeneration Project, according to its ‘sustainability and energy statement’, is the Climate Change Act of 2008. ‘The council recognises the government’s targets to reduce national carbon dioxide emissions’, and ‘to deliver this, the council will’ carry out its plan for ‘conversions and refurbishments of 800m2 or more of residential developments’.

In its 2013-17 housing strategy, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea boasted that it had ‘agreed to clad a high-rise block in the north of the borough’ – Grenfell Tower – as part of the ‘greener housing’ strategy to ‘mitigate the causes of and adapt to the effects likely to occur due to climate change’.

The Climate Change Act was passed as part of the government’s commitment to meet the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in 2005, to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto targets and those of the Climate Change Act are ambitious. Even before 2008, developers and architects were worried about environmental impact. On his election to the presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Paul Hyett announced ‘a crusade through which British architects and the RIBA address both their obligations to future generations – with respect to the delivery of a truly sustainable environment’.

At first, climate campaigners looked at industry. But the evidence showed that homes were a major source of carbon emissions. ‘They’re responsible for 31 per cent of energy consumed here’, protested environmentalist George Monbiot in his 2006 book Heat, arguing that the answer was government-enforced refurbishment.

In 2010, environment secretary Ed Miliband published a report, Warm Homes, Greener Homes, which identified social-housing projects as key to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. It identified social housing as having ‘the potential to make a big contribution in… reducing carbon emissions from homes’. Because social housing is generally ‘in large purpose-built blocks, or on large estates, where social tenants remain the majority tenure’, it offers ‘carbon-reduction measures at scale’, it argued.

Note that Miliband identified social tenants as being more likely to support such measures. That is not because they are necessarily more supportive of carbon reduction, but because they have fewer rights than homeowners, and so are more easy to direct. Miliband wanted to ‘kickstart the installation of more ambitious eco-upgrades, with social housing providing particular leadership to stimulate the industry and reduce costs’. Now that social housing was on the frontline of the carbon-reduction campaign, social tenants were targeted for refurbishment measures, including cladding insulation.

Overall, the trend in building was to put much greater stress on reducing carbon emissions. Part L of the Building Regulations covers energy and has been successively expanded to oblige developers to make savings. As a consequence, many more ‘new materials’, often different kinds of plastics, have been fixed to the exterior of buildings. At the same time, Part B of the Building Regulations, which deals with fire safety, has not kept pace – so that the kind of cladding that Rydon put around its insulation was not prohibited. The shift in the Building Regulations betrays official thinking regarding residents: reducing their carbon emissions is a priority, but their safety is not.

The Climate Change Act was taken on board by successive London mayors and integrated into London’s housing plan. The 2014 housing plan said, ‘the mayor is committed to a targeted programme of retrofitting and upgrading the capital’s existing housing stock’. Then mayor Boris Johnson promised to ‘work with partners towards the environmental retrofitting of all London’s affordable housing’, leading to reductions of ‘up to 600,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum’.

In its 2009 Carbon Management Plan, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea set out its commitment to the Climate Change Act: ‘The Act sets the UK’s domestic targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050… under the Act local authorities will have a duty to reduce their carbon emissions.’

The planning application for the Grenfell Tower Regeneration Project set out the borough’s goals, principally ‘the complete overcladding of the exterior’. The ‘overcladding works are an integral part of the upgrade of the heating of the building’ and its ‘energy efficiency’, it said.

Why overcladding, you might ask? Energy was at the forefront of the council’s thinking. In its consultations with the tenants, the council saw the cladding as offering ‘a dramatic improvement in heat loss’ that would ‘generate significant energy savings’. As the application explained, ‘this project targets the main environmental deficiency of Grenfell Tower at its root: it is hugely wasteful of energy’. ‘The improved envelope performance and proposed replacement heating system reflect current energy standards for new residential buildings’, it said.

Grenfell Tower was not the only London block that was refurbished to meet the ideals of reducing carbon emissions. In Newham, the 23-storey Ferrier Point was also refurbished by contractors Rydon. According to the council’s sustainability strategy, the refubishment was ‘proposed to adopt a target of 60 per cent carbon reductions… in line with the government’s emission-reduction target’. In Camden, the Chalcots estate was also refurbished by Rydon, ‘a refurbishment designed to improve the estate’s carbon footprint’.

Since the fire, the London mayor’s office has lost its enthusiasm for retrofitting: ‘The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire has raised urgent and wide-ranging questions that must be answered over the safety of many older high-rise residential buildings, particularly those built in the 1960s and 70s that have been retrofitted’, reads the 2017 Housing Strategy.

The refurbishments at Ferrier Point and the Chalcots estate are under review, and will most likely be reversed, as will the three refurbishments at Mount Wise in Plymouth, and in all likelihood a great many more. Currently, the government has admitted that some 299 buildings have failed to meet fire standards. Refurbishment, it turns out, was a false economy.

Refurbishment, of course, does not have to make buildings dangerous. In the end, the use of flammable panels was the problem – whether or not the fault for that lies at the door of Rydon or with the government for permitting it. But extensive refurbishment was bound to introduce greater complexity and therefore greater risks. On the whole, it would be better to rebuild older estates from scratch. Refurbishment is the conservative option. On this point, we have to agree with mayor Sadiq Khan: ‘If it is not possible to safely retrofit existing buildings, the mayor believes government should ensure resources are made available to demolish them and replace the social housing like for like.’

But there are barriers to such an approach. First, councils’ spending and borrowing is capped, which makes it difficult for them to rebuild without involving private developers. Second, tenants – and leaseholders – do not trust rebuilding programmes, and with good reason. Their experience is that they are priced out of the new developments, either through much higher rents or, if they are leaseholders, because the compulsory purchase price is much less than the cost of a comparable flat on the newly built estate. Partnerships between councils and private developers generally lead to a substantial loss of original tenants, between the ‘decanting’ and the opening of the new block.

The country’s housing has for too long been dominated by excessive caution about building, coupled with indifference to safety.


UK: Scandal of 'killer' wood burning stoves and the question - is the political class’s obsession with global warming rotting their brains?

Amazing backflips show they have no clue about what they are doing

The Government earned plaudits from the green lobby yesterday for its new plan to crack down on the craze for wood-burning stoves.

As the Mail reported on its front page, the stoves chuck out lethal pollution, particularly from wet wood, and contribute to thousands of early deaths from lung and heart disease.

But hang on! One reason Britain burns more wood than it has done for decades — a 2016 survey found 7.5 per cent of households in London burn wood — is that only recently, the Government and the greens told us burning wood to heat our homes was the best thing we could do for the environment.

Wood is ‘sustainable’, we were told. It gives off less CO2 than any other heating. It will help us save the planet and meet CO2 reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.

As a result of these persuasive arguments, about 1.5 million British homes have wood-burning stoves and 200,000 more are sold every year.

Now we learn that wood-burning is the single biggest source of tiny soot particles called PM2.5s — they are also emitted by burning coal and diesel — which go into our lungs and are said to be responsible for an estimated 37,800 premature deaths a year.

Given these horrific facts, why have governments in recent years made wood-burning such a core part of energy policy? For there is no doubt ministers have been desperate to encourage it.

There is just one issue. Health problems apart, the whole thing is an economic disaster.

Only last week we had a withering report from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee about the failings of something called the ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’, a scheme launched in 2011 by Chris Huhne when he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The idea was to offer lavish subsidies to businesses and homeowners to cut their ‘carbon emissions’, and save on energy bills, by centrally heating their premises by burning wood pellets. Participants could only qualify if they installed specific expensive renewable heating systems — as opposed to wood-burners bought by homeowners simply trying to be eco-friendly.

The MPs found that, although the scheme will cost taxpayers a staggering £23 billion in subsidies in the next 20 years, the high upfront costs meant take-up has been shamefully low.

Just 35,000 households have invested in it since its launch, while 6.2 million have installed very much cheaper gas heating over the same period.

The committee declared that the Government utterly failed to take account of the serious health risks posed by wood burning, while, thanks to the subsidies on offer, too many unscrupulous people had ‘gamed’ the system just to make money.

But last week’s report was far from the first time the Renewable Heat Incentive has given rise to a major scandal.

A version of the scheme — with even more lavish subsidies — ran so totally out of control in Northern Ireland in 2016 that it led to the downfall of the government there, sparking a political crisis that, 17 months later, is not resolved.

The crisis arose from the discovery that its subsidy bill had already hit £500 million and by 2020 was due to top £1 billion.

So generous was the Northern Irish scheme to businesses, offering £160 for every £100 they spent on wood chips, that firms used it to heat disused warehouses and long-empty offices, knowing the more they spent on wood chips the greater their profit would be.

Some users of the scheme kept heating systems running flat out night and day because they made such a profit from the subsidy scheme.

But even this disgracefully wasteful affair is dwarfed by what has become one of the most controversial green energy schemes of all: the conversion of boilers at the giant Drax power station in Yorkshire from coal to wood pellets, costing us all £800 million a year in subsidies.

Millions of tonnes of wood pellets are now needed by Drax every year, and since it is impossible to supply that quantity domestically, vast amounts of pellets are shipped 3,500 miles to Yorkshire from the U.S., where forests are destroyed to supply them.

As with the Government’s endorsement of wood-burning stoves and its Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the idea behind Drax’s conversion to wood pellets is that burning trees or ‘biomass’ is ‘carbon neutral’ because eventually new, CO2-absorbing trees will grow to replace the ones that have been felled.

Yet a series of studies has confirmed what should have been obvious. It takes decades to grow a mature CO2-absorbing tree to replace a CO2-producing tree that can be cut down in seconds. Far from cutting Drax’s CO2 emissions, the largest power station in Britain gives off even more CO2 than when it just burnt coal.

Even the most ardent green activist groups have protested that chopping down millions of acres of forest in America to fuel a system that ends up chucking out more CO2 is an absurd ecological disaster.

This was even endorsed in a report last year by Duncan Brack, who had been a special adviser to Chris Huhne when this scheme was first being discussed.

The bitter truth is that these fiascos caused by our obsession with wood-burning are just a part of a larger disaster that taints almost every green scheme governments have foisted on Britain in the quest to reduce carbon emissions.

Remember why the Blair government in 2001 encouraged millions of motorists to switch to driving diesel cars through offering tax subsidies. It was because Blair’s chief scientific adviser Sir David King had decided that diesel gives off much less CO2 than petrol.

Eventually, it turned out that the pollution (in the form of those PM2.5 particles and toxic nitrogen oxides) emitted by diesels posed such a serious health risk it could be causing thousands of premature deaths in Britain every year.

And so, with a screeching U-turn, all the tax incentives encouraging us to buy diesel cars were reversed and diesel drivers were penalised. In this week’s latest proposed measures, the Government plans to clamp down not just on wood-burning stoves, but also even further on diesel vehicles.

The real question is why do our gullible politicians constantly deceive themselves and the rest of us with their endless, ever-more costly ‘green’ schemes which turn out to be nothing of the kind and actually increase pollution?

It is all very well MPs coming out with yet another report on yet another green energy fiasco. But why is it always only after the damage has been done? Why can’t they properly evaluate these green initiatives before they happen?

The fact is that not one of these schemes comes into being without having been nodded through Parliament.  In that sense our MPs are as much a party to these disasters as the ministers who propose them.

It’s as if the political class’s obsession with global warming rots their brains — for which the rest of us have to pay a very heavy price.


Prominent Swiss Meteorologist Says Blaming Weather Events On Climate Change “Unscientific Idiocy”

No one understands the causes of weather better than highly experienced meteorologists. And so when it comes to questions about extreme weather events, there is no one better to ask than prominent Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann (or Joe Bastardi in the US).

Yesterday at Twitter the veteran, high-profile Swiss meteorologist Kachelmann tweeted about an interview he had given with Austrian online magazine on the topic of extreme weather in Europe, and how the interview was withdrawn before publication.

The main reason behind the withdrawal was Mr. Kachelmann taking issue with what he viewed as low-blow journalism by, who in the introduction needlessly brought up the phony rape charges lodged against Kachelmann 8 years ago by a scornful ex-girlfriend.

Though the former German flagship ARD television meteorologist was cleared of the charges and got through the legal ordeal, his reputation tragically did not survive the media feeding frenzy and gutter journalism.

To make a long story short, Kachelmann yesterday simply posted a draft of the unpublished interview at Twitter, before later taking it down.

But I managed to read it and so now report on its content.

In the interview, questioned Kachelmann about the warmer European springs, weather extremes, serious scientists, and other issues.

On the subject of the recent warmer springs and more severe thunderstorm activity, Kachelmann responded that it has gotten warmer, but that the alleged higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has more to do with hype coming from places like Facebook and click-hungry Internet sites.

Kachelmann added it’s normal for large weather patterns “to act up” and that it “has nothing to do with climate change”.

However he does attribute the warmer temperatures and higher humidity to climate change and that it is “statistically significant”, but then reminds that the statistics for weather extremes have yet to be shown as being significant.

When asked about climate denialism and why people like Donald Trump get votes with climate change denialism, the Swiss meteorologist says: “There’s a lack of scientific knowledge on both sides.”

Next he cited examples from on social media:

"Over the last weeks I’ve seen so many completely senseless tweets from Greenpeace and green politicians, who wish to blame without any doubt the daily weather on climate change, often with fake statistics, and so climate deniers are not alone. Serious scientists are working quietly between the embarrassing megaphones on both sides.”

Blame measurement instruments?

"As an example of just how absurd the media can be, in the interview unwittingly displayed a remarkable ignorance of climate (which all-too often prevails among the climate-ambulance-chasing-media) in posing the question: “Are there reliable instruments today that would allow us to determine if a weather event can be attributed to climate change, or indeed to the weather pattern at hand?”

Blaming weather on climate change “idiocy”

Kachelman answers by telling that weather events unfortunately don’t come with a certificate of origin, and any claim that they do needs to be viewed as “unscientific idiocy”.




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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