Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Hiatus

Later today I am going into hospital for a day procedure so I am unlikely to be back on top of things for a while. At age 75 my resilence is limited. Presuming all goes well, I should be back posting on Sunday.  If there are complications, of course, I could be admitted and that would take a longer time to resolve.  I will however be in very good hands so I think I will end up satisfactorily patched up. My mood is a bit dark at the moment -- unusual for me -- but as I write this I am listening to some of the marvellous music of Mozart and that helps




Environmental 'time bomb': It will be another CENTURY before we see the true effects of climate change on freshwater supplies, experts warn

The basic assumption behind this article is false.  They assume that global warming will lead to LESS water being available -- when it is basic physics that warmer oceans will evaporate off more and thus lead to MORE rainfall, not less.  Water availabiity would be the LAST thing to worry about in a warming world.  But it's all modelling below so GIGO

Future generations face an 'environmental time bomb' caused by the effects climate change has on freshwater supplies, scientists have warned. It could take more than 100 years for the full impact of changes occurring today to be felt on the world's groundwater reserves, experts say.

Groundwater comes from rainfall that is trapped underground in cracks and small holes in soil, sand and rock, as well as from springs and other natural sources. It also takes longer to respond to climate change than surface water but will diminish with lower levels of rainfall.

This has major implications for the future availability of water for drinking, as well as farming and industry, say researchers.

Experts from the University of Cardiff based their findings on groundwater computer simulations together with hydrological data.

They found that groundwater in wetter, more humid, locations may respond to climate change over a relatively short time scales.

In contrast, regions where water was naturally more scarce had much longer groundwater response times.

The authors point out that groundwater was essential in drier parts of the world where surface water supplies were limited.

Lead scientist Dr Mark Cuthbert, from Cardiff's school of Earth and ocean sciences, said: 'Our research shows that groundwater systems take a lot longer to respond to climate change than surface water, with only half of the world's groundwater flows responding fully within 'human' timescales of 100 years.

'This means that in many parts of the world, changes in groundwater flows due to climate change could have a very long legacy.

'This could be described as an environmental time bomb because any climate change impacts on recharge occurring now, will only fully impact the baseflow to rivers and wetlands a long time later.

'It is essential that the potential for these initially hidden impacts is recognised when developing water management policies, or climate change adaptation strategies for future generations.'

SOURCE 





The Antithesis of Green

By ROBERT BRYCE

The energetic chatter of the moment is dominated by talk about the Green New Deal — a collection of proposals that would require running the entire American economy on renewable electricity within a decade or so.

The Green New Deal has been endorsed by scads of liberal politicians including New York governor Andrew Cuomo, former California state senator Kevin de León, media darling and newly sworn-in Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and anti-hydrocarbon activist Josh Fox. The goals of the Green New Deal are nothing short of radical. As the website for the left-wing think tank Data for Progress explains, the Green New Deal aims to “transform the economy and the environment in ways that achieve sustainability, equity, justice, freedom, and happiness.” Achieving happiness has never been easy. Even harder will be the Green New Deal’s aim of completely eliminating the use of coal, oil, and natural gas by 2050.

How all this happiness and energy legerdemain will be achieved is anyone’s guess. Supporters are particularly vague about how they would find the hundreds of billions — or even trillions — of dollars needed to attempt such a plan. Nevertheless, there is one unassailable fact about the Green New Deal: It is not green. Indeed, the entire notion of an all-renewable-energy system is the antithesis of environmental protection and scenic conservation.

The backers of the Green New Deal — along with their allies at big environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and others that tout all-renewable schemes — refuse to acknowledge the simple truth that deploying renewable energy at the scale required to fuel the U.S. economy would require covering state-sized territories with nothing but wind turbines and solar panels. It would also require stringing tens of thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines.

Promoters of all-renewable schemes inhabit a make-believe world where there’s endless amounts of vacant land — territory that’s just waiting to be covered with energy infrastructure. The truth is exactly the opposite. All across the country, from Vermont to California, local and state politicians are restricting the encroachment of renewable-energy projects, with wind energy and high-voltage transmission lines facing the staunchest opposition.

Before discussing that opposition, let’s look at a study published last year by two researchers from Harvard University that detailed the enormous amounts of land that would be required by an all-renewable scenario. The study, co-authored by Harvard physics professor David Keith and postdoctoral fellow Lee Miller, looked at 2016 energy-production data from 1,150 solar projects and 411 onshore wind projects. Those wind projects had a combined capacity of 43,000 megawatts, or roughly half of all U.S. wind capacity that year.

The key conclusion in Keith and Miller’s paper is this: “Meeting present-day US electricity consumption, for example, would require 12 percent of the continental US land area for wind.” The two researchers didn’t spell out exactly what that means, so let’s do the math. The land area of the continental Unites States is about 2.9 million square miles (or 7.6 million square kilometers). Twelve percent of that would be about 350,000 square miles (or 912,000 square kilometers). Therefore, merely meeting America’s current electricity needs with wind would require an area more than twice the size of California, which covers about 164,000 square miles (424,000 square kilometers).

In other words, just meeting existing electricity demand — and remember, this ignores the vast amounts of natural gas needed by industry and the millions of barrels of oil per day needed to fuel our airplanes, trucks, and cars — would require covering with wind turbines a land area twice the size of Nancy Pelosi’s home state. The idea of setting aside that much land is nonsense on stilts.

The all-renewable dogma of the Green New Deal looks yet more absurd because it is being promoted at the very same time that more and more landowners and politicians in rural areas are fighting against renewable-energy projects. Consider what is happening in Vermont, the home state of Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator and former presidential candidate. Sanders, along with Ocasio-Cortez, was among the early champions of the Green New Deal. But wind projects in Vermont are facing strong opposition. Last November, both gubernatorial candidates — incumbent Republican Phil Scott and Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist — made it clear that they’re opposed to further wind-energy development in their state. Furthermore, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association, no new wind projects are being developed in Vermont.

Or look at New York, which has a renewable-energy mandate of 50 percent by 2030. But three upstate counties — Erie, Orleans, and Niagara — as well as the towns of Yates and Somerset, are actively fighting a proposed 200-megawatt project called Lighthouse Wind, which aims to put dozens of turbines on the shores of Lake Ontario. The same developer that is pushing Lighthouse Wind, Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, is also facing fierce resistance on another project in New York that aims to put 109 megawatts of wind capacity on Galloo Island, which sits off the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. In its application to the state for a permit, Apex neglected to report that bald eagles have been nesting on Galloo Island. The company’s permit for that project is now in jeopardy.

Or look at California, which recently enacted a mandate that requires the state to obtain at least 60 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. In 2017, California had about 5,600 megawatts of installed wind capacity — that’s about 150 megawatts less than what the state had back in 2013. In 2017, Rob Nikolewski of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that in addition to a ban on wind projects in Los Angeles County, three other counties — San Diego, Solano, and Inyo — had also passed restrictions on wind turbines. Nikolewski then quoted the head of the California Wind Energy Association, who lamented the industry’s inability to site new projects in the state. “We’re facing restrictions like that all around the state. . . . It’s pretty bleak in terms of the potential for new development.”

Land-use battles are also being fought over the high-voltage electricity-transmission lines needed to carry solar- and wind-generated electricity from rural areas to customers in big cities. In 2017, Iowa enacted a law that prohibits the use of eminent domain for high-voltage transmission lines. The move doomed the Rock Island Clean Line, a 500-mile, $2 billion, high-voltage direct-current transmission line that was going to carry wind-generated electricity from Iowa to Illinois. The opposition forced the project’s developer, Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, to withdraw its application for the project in Iowa.

In early 2018, Clean Line Energy Partners also announced it was suspending its years-long effort to build a 720-mile, $2.5 billion transmission line across the state of Arkansas. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line aimed to carry wind energy from Oklahoma to customers in the southern and southeastern U.S. But the project faced fierce opposition in Arkansas, where the state’s entire congressional delegation opposed the deal.

In short, renewable-energy projects are facing a growing rural backlash, and that backlash is already limiting the growth of renewable sources and in particular, the growth of wind. The obvious conclusion is that renewable energy alone cannot meet our economy’s enormous energy needs, and no amount of populist spin can change that fact.

SOURCE 





The drive to make New York ‘zero carbon’ is insane

New York’s Democratic-run state Legislature might enact one of the most radical ­energy mandates on the planet. The Climate and Community Protection Act would require that greenhouse-gas emissions from all sources be halved by 2030 and reach zero by 2050. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

That would mean retooling the entire state economy, which will be accomplished central-planning-style, with lots of committees and working groups. The climate-justice working group, for example, will be tasked with identifying which New Yorkers receive 40 percent of a carbon-tax bounty that will be hoovered up from residents and businesses.

Other unelected bureaucrats will impose a combination of performance standards — emissions limits that will effectively ban fossil-fuel use — and set those carbon taxes.

The state’s existing Clean Energy Standard calls for reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But the CCPA will require the ­entire economy to be run solely on electricity generated with renewable energy resources, primarily wind and solar power. Transportation, which today accounts for 40 percent of the state’s ­energy consumption, will have to be powered solely by electricity — even the Staten Island Ferry.

Manufacturing — or what’s left of it — will have to be all-electric. Farmers won’t be able to use chemical fertilizers on their lands. The state’s dairy industry will be shuttered, because cows belch tons of methane. How the CCPA envisions those emissions being captured is anyone’s guess. The same holds for methane emitted by landfills.

The few energy-intensive manufacturing industries that remain in the state will have to go. Cement, for example, is manufactured from limestone using a chemical process that releases carbon dioxide. Even the greenest electricity won’t change that basic chemistry.

To justify the accompanying mandates and taxes, the CCPA requires comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. But even if New York’s reductions fell to zero tomorrow, the impact on the world’s climate would be too small to measure. Hence, the CCPA won’t provide New Yorkers any measurable benefits. Yet rest assured that Albany data-torturers will dutifully claim billions in benefits, and New Yorkers will bear billions in new costs.

The numbers provide a reality check. In 2015, the last year for which the state has published data, total emissions were about 217 million metric tons. According to the 2018 BP Statistical Review, between 2007 and 2017, the US steadily reduced its annual carbon emissions, cutting them by 800 million metric tons, around 14 percent.

But over that same period, ­annual emissions from the rest of the world increased by more than four billion metric tons. In other words, while the US has been ­reducing its carbon emissions, the rest of the world’s emissions have been increasing five times as fast, at an average rate of about 400 million tons each year.

Thus, even if New York somehow zeroed out, the net impact would offset only about six month’s worth of the annual increase in global emissions.

The zero goal will require the state to obtain massive quantities of renewable electricity. In 2016, total state energy consumption was about 2,800 trillion BTUs. Of that, less than one-fifth was consumed in the form of electricity. And only about 15 percent of that electricity was generated from wind, solar and biomass facilities.

Meeting the state’s needs using wind alone would require 140,000 turbines — nearly double the total amount of wind ­capacity in the entire US.

Meeting the state’s electricity needs solely with solar, meanwhile, would call for more than 15 times the total amount of solar energy in the entire US. It would also necessitate covering 10 percent of the entire state’s land with solar panels and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

And because wind and solar power work only when the wind blows or the sun shines, the state will need backup storage. Lots of it. Meeting just one day’s average daily electricity consumption for an emissions-free New York would require installing 1.5 million megawatts of battery storage, equivalent to installing around 160 million Tesla Powerwalls, or about 20 in every single home and apartment in the state.

Even if current battery storage costs fall by 80 percent, that would still require an investment of $750 billion, equivalent to $37,500 for every New Yorker.

If they cared to look, the politicians in Albany could easily see that achieving the CCPA’s impossible goal will cost trillions of dollars, crater the state’s economy and have no effect on climate. Of course, when has reality ever stood in the way of green virtue-signaling and spending taxpayer money?

SOURCE 





Trump Signs Another Bipartisan Law to Boost Advanced Nuclear

Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse on the government shutdown. But they agree on federal support for novel reactor technologies.

In the midst of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, a rare instance of bipartisan energy policy success mostly got lost in the noise.

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Monday aimed at accelerating development of a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors. The Republican administration's efforts to revive the coal industry clash with Democrats’ plans to address climate change and transition to clean energy. So this marks a rare instance of cooperation between the two parties, and the second instance of cooperation on advanced nuclear in the last four months.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act calls on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make its review process "technology-inclusive" by 2028. The process was designed for the light water reactors that ruled the industry for the last half-century, but new reactors emerging from labs and startups use fundamentally different technologies. The law also calls for more transparency on the costs and timelines of NRC reviews.

“It’s really recognizing that a lot of our policies around nuclear and institutions around nuclear are pretty outdated,” said Jessica Lovering, who researches nuclear technology and policy as director of energy at The Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank supportive of nuclear power.

The NRC is not affected by the partial shutdown, which has slowed renewable energy permitting and forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers to work without pay. Its budget is funded through fiscal year 2019, according to law firm Morgan Lewis. But even with the office open, the NRC's review process is slow, which the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act seeks to address.

This follows another nuclear assistance law passed with bipartisan support and signed by Trump in September.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act called for a cost-sharing grant program to help advanced reactors pay for the lengthy licensing process, and construction of a fast neutron source for testing advanced technologies. The U.S. currently lacks such a facility, forcing companies to look overseas to test certain reactor designs.

Big win for advanced reactor advocates

The two laws together knock off several wish-list items for the various stakeholders interested in commercializing advanced reactors.

Old-school light water reactor construction has all but vanished from the U.S., thanks to gargantuan construction costs, long build times and public concerns about the technology. New technologies promise an antidote: They’ll be smaller, safer and easier to install, their advocates say.

Interested parties include more than the old-guard nuclear industry itself.

There’s a cluster of new startups entering the space after decades of technological stagnation. A vocal contingent of climate activists insist that nuclear, as the largest source of zero-carbon electricity, will play a crucial role in decarbonizing electricity (others would rather shut it down and put all their chips on wind and solar).

On the more conservative side, nuclear energy represents a reliable 24/7 power source, just the sort of thing the Trump Department of Energy has argued for as a bulwark against the intermittent fluctuations of wind and solar plants.

It’s also the living legacy of American ingenuity, at risk of being co-opted by Russia or China. And it could create jobs as test sites and production move forward.

Time is money

Only one of the new cohort of nuclear companies, NuScale, has officially begun the NRC review process. Tellingly, that company still uses light water reactors, just scaled down small enough to be produced in a factory; it didn’t have to run the gauntlet with a fundamentally exotic reactor design. NuScale also received a cost-share grant from the DOE worth $217 million to help pay for the review, which will take several more years.

The NRC derives most of its funding from fees paid by applicants, Lovering noted. The longer it takes to review a new and unprecedented design, the more the company has to pay for it.

Rewriting the regulations should avoid some headaches by tailoring questions to the new technology, instead of framing the review around what makes sense for light water reactors. Saving time literally saves money.

“There has been stuff happening inside the NRC, but having legislation that directs them to come up with the rules and put them in place, that’s a big change,” Lovering said. “A lot of advanced reactor companies need this to happen before they can start licensing.”

While the NRC is not affected by the government shutdown, the licensing process will still be long and expensive. To address this, the new legislation calls for “predictable and efficient” licensing, which should at least give companies a better sense of how long they should expect to wait.

The two laws set in motion a number of small efforts that could produce more efficient testing of new technologies. That still doesn’t guarantee advanced nuclear will succeed in the marketplace: As an expensive new electricity source, it will have to break into a market increasingly dominated by cheap renewables. Utilities tend to be risk-averse in adopting new energy technologies, and nuclear comes with more public relations challenges than most.

Future legislation could focus on jump-starting demand, Lovering said. Permitting has to come first, though, and Republicans and Democrats agree on that, if little else in the energy arena.

“It’s this rare thing where both sides can come together and agree we should be making it easier for these...American companies to be developing advanced energy technology,” she said.

SOURCE 





Why Trump's EPA Is Right to Reverse the Obama Administration’s Regulatory Power Grab on Mercury Emissions

The Trump EPA is rejecting the flawed reasoning the Obama administration used to broaden its power under the Clean Air Act in favor of the rule of law.

In 2015, the Supreme Court’s Michigan v. EPA decision held that the Obama EPA erred in deciding that regulating mercury emissions as a hazardous air pollutant under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act was “appropriate and necessary.” Now the Trump EPA is proposing to reverse the Obama EPA's decision, and the regulatory authority it handed the agency to impose its costliest regulation ever, triggering sharp media criticisms.

A New York Times article treated it as an attack on the use of benefit-cost analysis and Americans’ health. The Los Angeles Times editorialized that the current proposal was the Trump EPA’s “most harmful step yet,” which “would undermine not only current regulations, but regulatory efforts in the future,” based on “ludicrous” logic and “wonky legalisms.”

Such reactions are highly misleading. They ignore the central issue, which is the “wonky legalism” that the Obama EPA used to bootstrap its mercury ruling into far more power than the Clean Air Act (CAA) gave it over fine particulate emissions. The Trump EPA would reject that in favor of the rule of law.

The EPA’s Mercury Bait and Switch
At the heart of the issue is the difference between the regulation of fine particulate pollution under CAA Sections 108-110 and regulation of toxic emissions, such as mercury, under Section 112.

Under Section 109, the EPA already sets national ambient air quality standards that, “allowing an adequate margin of safety, are required to protect the public health.” But if the EPA has determined that the federal fine particulate standard it set in 2013 is “adequate to protect public health,” that offers them no excuse to further tighten those standards.

Using Section 112 instead of Sections 108-110 would give the EPA almost unlimited command and control over who they could target and how.

Further, under National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the EPA sets standards for fine particulates that states must meet, but the states determine how to meet them, preventing the EPA from singling out coal-fired power plants as “victims,” echoed in President Obama’s assertion that his environmental policies would bankrupt them.

The EPA’s mercury bait and switch created a way for it to overcome both of those CAA limitations. If it could declare mercury a hazardous air pollutant, it could justify tighter mercury regulations. Then they could use those regulations under Section 112 to effectively tighten fine particulate emission restrictions. And using Section 112 instead of Sections 108-110 would also give the EPA almost unlimited command and control over who they could target and how, which Chief Justice Roberts recognized as an “end run” around its statutory limits.

Unfortunately, implementing the mercury gambit under Section 112 required a determination that harm from mercury pollution was great enough that restricting it was “appropriate and necessary,” which proved impossible to do honestly.

The Truth about Mercury Emissions
First, power plants emit only a tiny fraction of the mercury released into America’s air. According to the EPA, annual global mercury emissions were estimated at 7,300 to 8,300 tons, of which only 2,100 tons were anthropogenic in 2005, and of that, US power plants emitted only 53 tons of mercury, which was expected to fall to 29 tons in 2016. Reductions of such a small magnitude (well under 1 percent) in mercury emissions cannot save thousands of lives. In fact, CDC surveys showed blood mercury levels for American women and children to be already below the levels found safe by the EPA, FDA, and WHO, and falling further.

Even with such “creative” assumptions to inflate the damage, the estimated economic gain from reduced exposure to mercury was $6 million or less annually.

To estimate the magnitude of the effects, the EPA could have used a University of Rochester study of the Republic of the Seycheles, whose residents consume types of fish—the primary “carriers” of methylmercury from atmospheric deposition to humans—similar to American diets. But the Center for Science and Public Policy found that the study of high-dose exposure, which followed the same children from six months to nine years of age, found “no observable health effects associated with fish consumption in which methylmercury is present.” So the EPA ignored it.

Instead, the EPA based its criteria on a study of Faroe Islanders. Not only do they eat more fish, their diets include a great deal of pilot whale meat and blubber. That gives them not only far higher doses of mercury but also of PCBs. Further, they ingest little selenium (which limits conversion to methylmercury) or fruits and vegetables. Given that in epidemiology the most basic principle is that “the dose makes the poison,” their circumstances are irrelevant to Americans.

The EPA constructed a model of hypothetical women who “consume extreme quantities (at the 99th percentile) of the most contaminated fish from the most contaminated bodies of water."

As the Center for Science and Public Policy concluded, “The Faroe Islands study should not be the sentinel study upon which assessment of methylmercury intake via should be gauged.”

But on that flimsy basis, the EPA constructed a model of hypothetical women who “consume extreme quantities (at the 99th percentile) of the most contaminated fish from the most contaminated bodies of water,” according to the Cato Institute’s Amicus brief. It added a 50 percent “cooking adjustment factor.” It then estimated “the potential effect of this exposure on their hypothetical children’s neurological development in utero.” That effect was minuscule.

The EPA itself found that only “between 1 and 3 percent of women of childbearing age (the group of most concern) eat sufficient amounts of fish to be at risk from methylmercury exposure,” and the FDA and most states already issue strong advisories for consumers to limit their intake. Even with such “creative” assumptions to inflate the damage, the estimated economic gain from reduced exposure to mercury, which is the sole justification for mercury regulation spelled out under CAA Section 112, was $6 million or less annually.

The EPA Mercury Rule Is Unjustified and Punitive
Because those benefits were dwarfed by up to $9.6 billion in annual costs, the “appropriate and necessary” standard for mercury regulation was laughably unmet. So the EPA simply ignored the costs at that point (which the Supreme Court found could not allow the issue to be seriously addressed), allowing it to deem that the very small and very questionable benefits it “found” justified Section 112 regulation, even though the costs were 1,600 times the benefits relevant under that section.

Newspapers and other supporters of President Obama’s agenda never wanted anyone to notice the egregious overstepping of the EPA’s regulatory powers involved in the mercury case.

Only after that very large finesse of its legal limits, when addressing what regulations could be imposed as a result, the EPA asserted a massive claimed co-benefit of reduced fine particulate emissions to justify it. However, that was strongly at odds with its own determination that such fine particulate regulations were already “adequate to protect public health.” Further, it could not justify onerous Section 112 “remedies” in any event since fine particulates are regulated under different sections that don’t provide such powers.

Newspapers and other supporters of President Obama’s agenda never wanted anyone to notice the egregious overstepping of the EPA’s regulatory powers involved in the mercury case. Now, to preserve what following the law would undo, they are following the same script, including rhetorical red herrings to distract Americans from seeing the real issue.

But the EPA’s mercury machinations were never about protecting Americans’ health. It was a regulatory power grab to sidestep the Clean Air Act’s limits, as its purpose-built “backdoor” reveals. It was to transmute supposed environmental public servants into people Americans would have to serve. Consequently, we should recognize that rather than being “appropriate and necessary,” the EPA mercury rule is both unjustified and punitive.

SOURCE 

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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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Tuesday, January 22, 2019



Climatologist: Oceans Warming Reports ‘Greatly Exaggerated’

Based on ocean temperature variations in thousandths of a degree!

Roy W Spencer below hints that Cheng fitted his observations to the models

Summary: The recently reported upward adjustment in the 1971-2010 Ocean Heat Content (OHC) increase compared to the last official estimate from the IPCC is actually 11%, not 40%.

The 40% increase turns out to be relative to the average of various OHC estimates the IPCC addressed in their 2013 report, most of which were rejected.

Curiously, the new estimate is almost identical to the average of 33 CMIP climate models, yet the models themselves range over a factor of 8 in their rates of ocean warming.

Also curious is the warmth-enhancing nature of temperature adjustments over the years from surface thermometers, radiosondes, satellites, and now ocean heat content, with virtually all data adjustments leading to more warming rather than less.

I’ve been trying to make sense out of the recent Science paper by Cheng et al. entitled How Fast are the Oceans Warming? The media headlines I saw that jumped out at me (and several others who asked me about them) were:

World’s Oceans Warming 40% Faster than Previously Thought (EcoWatch.com),

The oceans are heating up 40% faster than scientists realized which means we should prepare for more disastrous flooding and storms (businessinsider.com)

For those who read the paper, let me warn you: The paper itself does not have enough information to figure out what the authors did, but the Supplementary Materials for the paper provide some of what is needed.

I suspect this is due to editorial requirements by Science to make articles interesting without excessive fact mongering.

One of the conclusions of the paper is that Ocean Heat Content (OHC) has been rising more rapidly in the last couple decades than in previous decades, but this is not a new finding, and I will not discuss it further here.

Of more concern is the implication that this paper introduces some new OHC dataset that significantly increases our previous estimates of how much the oceans have been warming.

As far as I can tell, this is not the case.

Dazed and Confused

Most of the paper deals with just how much the global oceans from the surface to 2,000 m depth warmed during the period 1971-2010 (40 years) which was also a key period in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5).

And here’s where things get confusing, and I wasted hours figuring out how they got their numbers because the authors did not provide sufficient information.

Part of the confusion comes from the insistence of the climate community on reporting ocean warming in energy content units of zettajoules (a zettajoule is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules, which is a billion trillion joules… also a sextillion joules, but male authors fear calling it that), rather than in what is actually measured (degrees).

This leads to confusion because almost nowhere is it ever stated what the assumed area of ocean was used in the computation of OHC (which is proportional to both temperature change and the volume of seawater involved in that temperature change).

I’ve looked in this paper and other papers (including Levitus), and only in the 2013 IPCC report (AR5) did I find the value 3.6 x 10^14 square meters given for ocean area. (Just because we know the area of the global oceans doesn’t mean that is what is monitored, or what was used in the computation of OHC).

Causing still further confusion is that Cheng et al. then (apparently) take the ocean area and normalize it by the entire area of the Earth, scaling all of their computed heat fluxes by 0.7.

I have no idea why, since their paper does not deal with the small increase in heat content of the land areas. This is just plain sloppy because it complicates and adds uncertainty when others try to replicate their work.

It also raises the question of why energy content? We don’t do that for the atmosphere. Instead, we use what is measured — degrees.

The only reason I can think of is that the ocean temperature changes involved are exceedingly tiny, either hundredths or thousandths of a degree C, depending upon what ocean layer is involved and over what time period.

Such tiny changes would not generate the alarm that a billion-trillion joules would (or the even scarier Hiroshima bomb-equivalents).

But I digress.

The Results

I think I finally figured out what Cheng et al. did (thanks mostly to finding the supporting data posted at Cheng’s website).

The “40%” headlines derive from this portion of the single figure in their paper, where I have added in red information which is either contained in the Supplementary Materials (3-letter dataset IDs from the authors’ names) or are my own annotations:



The five different estimates of 40-year average ocean heating rates from the AR5 report (gray bars) are around 40% below the newer estimates (blue bars), but the AR5 report did not actually use these five in their estimation — they ended up using only the highest of these (Domingues et al., 2008).

As Cheng mentions, the pertinent section of the IPCC report is the “Observations: Oceans” section of Working Group 1, specifically Box 3.1, which contains the numerical facts one can fact-monger with.

From the discussion in Box 3.1, one can compute that the AR5-estimated energy accumulation rate in the 0-2000 m ocean layer (NOT adjusted for total area of the Earth) during 1971-2010 corresponds to an energy flux of 0.50 Watts per sq. meter.

This can then be compared to newer estimates computed from Cheng’s website data (which is stated to be the data used in the Science study) of 0.52 W/m2 (DOM), 0.51 W/m2 (ISH), and 0.555 W/m2 (CHG).

Significantly, even if we use the highest of these estimates (Cheng’s own dataset) we only get an 11% increase above what the IPCC claimed in 2013 — not 40%.

Agreement Between Models and Observations

Cheng’s website also contains the yearly 0-2,000m OHC data from 33 CMIP5 models, from which I calculated the average warming rate, getting 0.549 W/m2 (again, not scaled by 0.7 to get a whole-Earth value).

This is amazingly close to Cheng’s 0.555 W/m2 he gets from reanalysis of the deep-ocean temperature data.

This is pointed to as evidence that observations support the climate models which, in turn, are of course the basis for proposed energy policy changes and CO2 emissions reduction.

How good is that multi-model warming rate? Let me quote the Science article (again, these numbers are scaled by 0.7):

“The ensemble average of the models has a linear ocean warming trend of 0.39 +/- 0.07 W/m2 for the upper 2,000 m from 1971-2010 compared with recent observations ranging from 0.36 to 0.39 W/m2.”

See that +/- 0.07 error bar on the model warming rate? That is not a confidence interval on the warming rate. It’s the estimated error in the fit of a regression line to the 33-model average warming trace during 1971-2010. It says nothing about how confident we are in the warming rate or even the range of warming rates BETWEEN models.

And that variation between the models is where things REALLY get interesting. Here’s what those 33 models’ OHC warming profiles look like, relative to the beginning of the period (1971), which shows that they range over a factor of 8X (from 0.11 W/m2 to 0.92 W/m2) for the period 1971-2010!



What do we make of a near-perfect level of agreement (between Cheng’s reanalysis of OHC warming from observational data and the average of 33 climate models) when those models themselves disagree with each other by up to a factor of 8 (700%)?

That is a remarkable stroke of luck.

It’s Always Worse than We Thought

It is also remarkable how virtually every observational dataset — whether (1) surface temperature from thermometers, (2) deep-ocean temperature measurements, atmospheric temperature from (3) satellites, and from (4) radiosondes, when reanalyzed for the same period, always end up with more (not less) warming?

What are the chances of this? It’s like flipping a coin and almost always getting heads.

Again, a remarkable stroke of luck.

SOURCE





Climate hysterics skyrocket

Increasingly absurd disaster rhetoric is consistently contradicted by climate and weather reality

Paul Driessen

Call it climate one-upmanship. It seems everyone has to outdo previous climate chaos rhetoric.

The “climate crisis” is the “existential threat of our time,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her House colleagues. We must “end the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future.”

Former California Governor Jerry Brown solemnly intoned that America has “an enemy, though different, but perhaps very much devastating in a similar way” as the Nazis in World War II.

Not to be outdone, two PhDs writing in Psychology Today declared that “the human race faces extinction” if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels. And yet “even people who experience extreme weather events often still refuse to report the experiences as a manifestation of climate change.” Psychologists, they lament, “have never had to face denial on this scale before.”

Then there’s Oxford University doctoral candidate Samuel Miller-McDonald. He’s convinced the only thing that could save people and planet from cataclysmic climate change is cataclysmic nuclear war that “shuts down the global economy but stops short of human extinction.”

All this headline-grabbing gloom and doom, however, is backed up by little more than computer models, obstinate assertions that the science is settled, and a steady litany of claims that temperatures, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts et cetera are unprecedented, worse than ever before, and due to fossil fuels.

And on the basis of these hysterics, we are supposed to give up the carbon-based fuels that provide over 80% of US and global energy, gladly reduce our living standards – and put our jobs and economy at the mercy of expensive, unreliable, weather dependent, pseudo-renewable wind, solar and biofuel energy.

As in any civil or criminal trial, the burden of proof is on the accusers and prosecutors who want to sentence fossil fuels to oblivion. They need to provide more than blood-curdling charges, opening statements and summations. They need to provide convincing real-world evidence to prove their case.

They have refused to do so. They ignore the way rising atmospheric carbon-dioxide is spurring plant growth and greening the planet. They blame every extreme weather event on fossil fuel emissions, but cannot explain the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age or extreme weather events decades or centuries ago – or why we have had fewer extreme weather events in recent decades. They simply resort to trial in media and other forums where they can exclude exculpatory evidence, bar any case for the fossil fuel defense, and prevent any cross-examination of their witnesses, assertions and make-believe evidence.

Climate models are not evidence. At best, they offer scenarios of what might happen if the assumptions on which they are based turn out to be correct. However, the average prediction by 102 models is now a full degree F (0.55 C) above what satellites are actually measuring. Models that cannot be confirmed by actual observations are of little value and certainly should not be a basis for vital energy policy making.

The alarmist mantra seems to be: If models and reality don’t agree, reality must be wrong.

In fact, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels climbed to 405 parts per million (0.0405% of Earth’s atmosphere), except for short-term temperature spikes during El Niño ocean warming events, there has been very little planetary warming since 1998; nothing to suggest chaos or runaway temperatures.

Claims that tornadoes have gotten more frequent and intense are obliterated by actual evidence. NOAA records show that from 1954 to 1985 an average of 56 F3 to F5 tornadoes struck the USA each year – but from 1985 to 2017 there were only 34 per year on average. And in 2018, for the first time in modern history, not a single “violent” twister touched down in the United States.

Harvey was the first major (category 3-5) hurricane to make US landfall in a record twelve years. The previous record was nine years, set in the 1860s. (If rising CO2 levels are to blame for Harvey, Irma and other extreme weather events, shouldn’t they also be credited for this hurricane drought?)

Droughts differ little from historic trends and cycles – and the Dust Bowl, Anasazi and Mayan droughts, and other ancient dry spells were long and destructive. Moreover, modern agricultural and drip irrigation technologies enable farmers to deal with droughts far better than they ever could in the past.

Forest fires are fewer than in the recent past – and largely due to failure to remove hundreds of millions of dead and diseased trees that provide ready tinder for massive conflagrations.

Arctic and Antarctic ice are largely within “normal” or “cyclical” levels for the past several centuries – and snow surface temperatures in the East Antarctic Plateau regularly reach  -90 °C (-130 F) or lower. Average Antarctic temperatures would have to rise some 20-85 degrees F year-round for all its land ice to melt and cause oceans to rise at faster than their current 7-12 inches per century pace.

In fact, the world’s oceans have risen over 400 feet since the last Pleistocene glaciers melted. (That’s how much water those mile-high Ice Age glaciers took out of the oceans!) Sea level rise paused during the Little Ice Age but kicked in again the past century or so. Meanwhile, retreating glaciers reveal long-lost forests, coins, corpses and other artifacts – proving those glaciers have come and gone many times.

Pacific islands will not be covered by rising seas anytime soon, at 7-12 inches per century, and because corals and atolls grow as seas rise. Land subsidence also plays a big role in perceived sea level rise – and US naval bases are safe from sea level rise, though maybe not from local land subsidence.

The Washington Post did report that “the Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot.” But that was in 1922.

Moreover, explorers wrote about the cyclical absence of Arctic ice long before that. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait,” Sir Francis McClintock wrote in 1860. “I was here at this time in [mid] 1854 – still frozen up – and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape.”

Coral bleaching? That too has many causes – few having anything to do with manmade global warming – and the reefs generally return quickly to their former glory as corals adopt new zooxanthellae.

On and on it goes – with more scare stories daily, more attempts to blame humans and fossil fuels for nearly every interesting or as-yet-unexplained natural phenomenon, weather event or climate fluctuation. And yet countering the manmade climate apocalypse narrative is increasingly difficult – in large part because the $2-trillion-per-year climate “science” and “renewable” energy industry works vigorously to suppress such evidence and discussion … and is aided and abetted by its media and political allies.

Thus we have Chuck Todd, who brought an entire panel of alarmist climate “experts” to a recent episode of Meet the Press. He helped them expound ad nauseam on the alleged “existential threat of our time” – but made it clear that he was not going to give even one minute to experts on the other side.

“We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it,” Todd proclaimed. “The Earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.” The only thing left to discuss, from their perspective was “solutions” – most of which would hugely benefit them and their cohorts, politically and financially.

Regular folks in developed and developing countries alike see this politicized, money-driven kangaroo court process for what it is. They also know that unproven, exaggerated and fabricated climate scares must be balanced against their having to give up (or never having) reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy. That is why we have “dangerous manmade climate change” denial on this scale.

That is why we must get the facts out by other means. It is why we must confront Congress, media people and the Trump Administration, and demand that they address these realities, hold debates, revisit the CO2 Endangerment Finding – and stop calling for an end to fossil fuels and modern living standards before we actually have an honest, robust assessment of supposedly “settled” climate science.

Via email





Judge Finds Faulty Lines, Not Climate Change, Source of Cali Fires

A federal judge is blaming giant utility Pacific Gas and Electric as a major culprit in massive wildfires that ripped through California in 2017 and 2018.

An order issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, who is hearing a case related to the Northern California utility’s response to a 2010 pipeline blast, laid responsibility for the fires at PG&E’s door, according to NBC.

“The Court tentatively finds that the single most recurring cause of the large 2017 and 2018 wildfires attributable to PG&E’s equipment has been the susceptibility of PG&E’s distribution lines to trees or limbs falling onto them during high-wind events,” his order in the case reads.

“The power conductors are almost always uninsulated,” the judge wrote. “When the conductors are pushed together by falling trees or limbs, electrical sparks drop into the vegetation below. During the wildfire season when the vegetation is dry, these electrical sparks pose an extreme danger of igniting a wildfire.”

The utility offered a statement in response.

“PG&E’s most important responsibility is the safety of our customers and the communities we serve,” the utility said. “We are aware of Judge Alsup’s latest order and are currently reviewing. We are committed to complying with all rules and regulations that apply to our work, while working together with our state and community partners and across all sectors and disciplines to develop comprehensive, long-term safety solutions for the future.”

Scott McLean, deputy chief of communication for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that PG&E bears responsibility for 12 of 17 fires in 2017.

No assessment was available for 2018.

Alsup has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 30. He is seeking to force the utility to upgrade its fire safety program.

One legislator hailed the judge’s action, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, whose district includes areas impacted by the fires, said he is encouraged that Alsup is delving into PG&E’s safety policies and procedures.

“A federal judge is actually saying things and hopefully will do something about the lack of maintenance at PG&E,”  Hill said. “No one else has required that.”

PG&E has said that liabilities from the fires have forced it into bankruptcy, with a Chapter 11 filing planned for the end of the month, the Sacramento Bee reported.

“The people affected by the devastating Northern California wildfires are our customers, our neighbors and our friends, and we understand the profound impact the fires have had on our communities and the need for PG&E to continue enhancing our wildfire mitigation efforts,” said interim CEO John Simon in a statement, according to CNN.

“We remain committed to helping them through the recovery and rebuilding process. We believe a court-supervised (bankruptcy) process … will best enable PG&E to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion,” he said.

Alsup has made his dissatisfaction clear with PG&E.

Earlier this month, he said he was considering an order against the utility that would require a full inspection of its power grid.

Alsup said he was considering forcing PG&E to shut down sections of the grid during windy weather unless an inspection has shown its equipment is safe, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

SOURCE






New Allegations Of ‘Fishy’ Climate Science

A collage of 50 lionfish was supposed to dampen questions over concerns around the academic rigor of former star James Cook University research student Oona Lonnstedt. Instead, the colorful photograph has prompted only more questions.

According to colleagues, Lonnstedt, who now lives in Sweden, no longer wants to be con­tacted about her research and, in fact, has abandoned her career in science.

What she has left behind is a test case of how the science community deals with concerns about alleged malpractice when they are raised.

Veteran marine scientist Walter Starck, who received a Ph.D. in marine science from the Univer­sity of Miami in 1964, says the Lonnstedt affair is symptomatic of a new era.

Starck says generations of researchers have been schooled in a culture wherein threats to the Great Barrier Reef are an unquestionable belief from which all evidence is interpreted.

“She (Lonnstedt) got into the ocean acidification and global warming and the effect CO2 was going to have on the behavior of marine animals and she started publishing,” Starck says.

“Immediately the publishers lapped it up. As a graduate student, she managed to get as much published in one year as most professors do in a decade.”

Lonnstedt’s work is now being picked apart.

JCU says it has appointed an independent panel to investigate the lionfish study and remains “committed to the highest standards of ethical research”.

“The university takes seriously any allegation that a staff member or student has acted contrary to those standards,” a university spokesman says.

“An external panel will investigate research conducted by Oona Lonnstedt at JCU to determine whether there has been any research misconduct.”

Critics say JCU has been quick to talk but slow to act.

When concerns over Lonnstedt’s work were first raised in December 2017, JCU said: “The university intends to review the Ph.D. examiners’ report and determine whether any further investigation is required”.

In May last year, JCU said it was establishing an external panel of experts to investigate.

This week, in response to questions from Inquirer, JCU said: “Membership of the external panel has been finalized. Panel members have accepted the role but have not yet been formally appointed.”

The lionfish affair was first raised when the prestigious journal Biology Letters confirmed it was investigating a discrepancy in the number of lionfish obtained by Lonnstedt at her research facility on Lizard Island in Queensland and the dozens of specimens supposedly used in her experiments.

The Biology Letters investigation followed a finding of “scientific dishonesty” about a 2016 research project conducted by Lonnstedt, this one in the Baltic Sea and showing small fish preferred to eat small pieces of plastic, less than 5mm in diameter, than their normal food, and this made them grow slowly and more likely to be eaten by predators.

Lonnstedt’s paper on the micro­plastic research was published in the journal Science but was retracted after an investigation by Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board raised the possibility that some of the research described “was not conducted”. Although Lonnstedt and her co-author still strongly defend the paper, they say they decided to retract it.

“Science has to rest on solid ground and the results of this study, even if they are correct, will not be trusted as long as a suspicion of misconduct remains,” they said in a statement to the journal Nature.

Before the microplastics study, Lonnstedt had been one of JCU’s most prolific authors before finishing her Ph.D. studies at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, publishing many high-profile papers on fish behavior.

One claimed that when damsel­fish live in degraded corals, which may be caused by climate change, they lose some of their sense of smell and become “fearless” and more sub­ject to being eaten by predators.

In another paper, she looked at the effect of high concentrations of carbon dioxide on the ability of damselfish to respond to predators. Lonnstedt found they were likelier to be eaten by predators.

Three of the most well-­publicised environmental threats — reef degradation from climate change, changes in ocean’s acidity or alkalinity from carbon dioxide and the impact of microplastics — all, according to Lonnstedt’s work, cause little fish to be eaten by predators.

One paper has been proved to be incorrect because it was found Lonnstedt did not have time to undertake the research she claimed.

The microplastics finding raised questions about Lonnstedt’s other published work, in particular, the finding of the behavior of lionfish. Lonnstedt found lionfish can wave their fins at each other to communicate to go hunting in pairs and take turns in striking at their prey.

After the editors of Biology Letters issued a statement of concern early last year, Lonnstedt’s co-­authors on the lionfish paper wrote a “correction.”

Included in the correction was “a collage of 50 lionfish photographs providing evidence of the number of lionfish caught during the study”.

When it was posted, former JCU marine scientist Peter Ridd analyzed the collage of images and found some striking results.

“The big question is how many different fish are in these pictures,” Ridd said. “A careful analysis of the pictures would indicate that it is probably far less than 50.”

By studying the metadata included in the original file names, Ridd has shown that when put into the order that the pictures were taken, it was clear that the same images had been mirror imaged, rotated or manipulated in other ways to appear to be different fish.

Ridd wrote to Lonnstedt’s co-authors alerting them to his discovery. He said the sheer number of problems, plus the manipulation of the images by mirror imaging and color correction, “makes one wonder what is going on”.

Ridd said given that Lonnstedt had been shown to have deficient data in other research, and given that there seemed to be evidence of modified images, it would not be wise to give the benefit of the doubt in this case.

Rather than accept Ridd’s analysis, the co-authors replied that their correction to Biology Letters had been taken out of context by the journal.

“Based on our understanding, it was not her intent for the collage to represent a picture of all of the lionfish she used,” they said. Rather, she was providing it as evidence “that she had lionfish in the laboratory”, the co-­authors said.

“Normally I would suggest that you contact Dr. Lonnstedt for further clarification about this paper. However, I am led to believe that she has abandoned her career as a scientist,” co-­author Doug Chivers said.

“We have been asked to stop contacting her with regards to this paper. This leaves us in a tough spot in not being able to answer questions adequately. We will discuss any future actions with the editor of Biology Letters.”

SOURCE






Ten Reasons for Australia to Exit the Paris Agreement Now

by Viv Forbes

It is urgent that all Australian politicians understand the dangers in the Paris Climate Agreement. Here are TEN REASONS to EXIT PARIS NOW:

The science is NOT settled - hundreds of scientists in Australia and thousands more throughout the world reject the theory that human production of carbon dioxide is driving dangerous global warming. And the 102 computerised climate models have always predicted more warming than has occurred. (They got it right once, 39 years ago.)

There is no unusual global warming. Since the last ice age ended there have been warm eras hotter than today’s modern warming – the warm peaks are getting lower, not higher. Climate has always changed in response to forces far greater than human activities. The endless procession of man-made scare campaigns about cooling, warming, ice melting, sea levels, ocean acidity, cyclones and droughts have all proved false.

Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant – it is an invisible natural gas that supplies the whole food chain. More carbon dioxide is beneficial to the biosphere - forests, grasses and crops grow better thus benefitting all animal life that relies on plants.

The populous world nations are unlikely to curb their CO2 emissions – China, India, Russia, Brazil, USA, Japan, SE Asia, Indonesia, Africa and the Arab world will ignore Paris limits.

Despite 20 years of favourable promotion, subsidies, taxes, targets and propaganda the contribution of the intermittent energy producers (wind and solar) to world energy supplies is trivial – about 3% (see if you can find “solar” in the graph below.)

Australian energy policies, taxes and targets are making electricity more costly and less reliable, hurting consumers and driving industry off-shore. And once they have ruined electricity and coal their next targets will be agriculture and motorists.

With no nuclear power, no geothermal power, limited hydro potential and increasing barriers to gas exploration, Australia has few options except coal for cheap reliable grid power, and oil products for transport.

With a huge continent, a small population and heavy reliance on exports, each Australian will be heavily penalised by the Paris Agreement for the emissions associated with exports consumed by others.

Compliance with the Paris Agreement will destroy industries and jobs, encourage bureaucracy and transfer controls and money to affiliates of the United Nations.

Should the world experience even modest cooling in the decades ahead Australia will urgently need increased supply of reliable power for homes and industry and the global atmosphere will need more carbon dioxide plant food.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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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Monday, January 21, 2019



Pacific nations spooked by climate scare

Bainimarama and Rabuka are the leading figures in Fiji politics and both are fine and reasonable men.  Both have led military coups during their path to power but on all occasions did so bloodlessly.  They both now hold democratically elected posts.  But they are military men, not exactly steeped in world politics, so have understandably taken seriously all the Greenie shrieks about sea-level rise swamping Pacific atolls.

Most of the Fiji islands are volcanic in origin but there are a few lightly populated outlying coral atolls.  The volcanic islands, where almost all the people live, are too elevated to be affected to any significan extent by the Warmist projections of sea-level rise

And sea-level rise is largely a snark anyway.  As Nils Axel Morner peskily points out, it is mainly a product of "adjustments".  And some atolls are actually gaining in area anyway.  See Morner on Fiji here


Australia must not put the interests of a single industry above the lives of Pacific nations battling climate change, Scott Morrison has been firmly told.

At an official dinner in Fiji to mark a newly announced partnership between the two nations, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama explicitly told Australia to do better.

He said the only way to guarantee the survival of Pacific island countries was for Australia to shift away from fossil fuels.

"I urged your predecessor repeatedly to honour his commitment to clean energy," Mr Bainimarama said on Thursday night in Suva.

"From where we are sitting, we cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples and vulnerable people in the world over.

"Rising seas threaten whole communities, forcing them to endure the trauma of relocating from land they've endured for generations.

"Fijian farmers are watching their crops perish in soil that has been spoiled by the heightened salinity that is associated with sea level rise."

Mr Bainimarama said the evidence of climate change was clear in the disappearing coastlines in Bangladesh and worsening flooding in the United States.

"And in Australia as well, where soaring temperatures have reached record highs in several major cities just this week," he said.

"This cannot be written off as a difference of opinion.

"Consensus from the scientific community is clear and the existential threat posed to Pacific island countries is certain."

Mr Morrison responded in his speech, praising Mr Bainimarama for Fiji's global leadership on climate change.

"I pay respect in particular to Mr Bainimarama's international leadership on climate change and oceans," Mr Morrison said.

"You have heard him speak passionately about this this evening and it was that same passion he took into the leadership of the COP process over the past 12 months."

In Vanuatu on Wednesday, Mr Morrison promised Pacific nations Australia would directly fund projects tackling the impact of climate change.

But he said Vanuatu's leaders had not asked Australia to do more to curb emissions.

SOURCE





Pacific island nations are GROWING in area

Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations

Paul S. Kench et al.

Abstract

Sea-level rise and climatic change threaten the existence of atoll nations. Inundation and erosion are expected to render islands uninhabitable over the next century, forcing human migration. Here we present analysis of shoreline change in all 101 islands in the Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu. Using remotely sensed data, change is analysed over the past four decades, a period when [adjusted] local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 ± 0.4 mm.yr−1).

Results highlight a net increase in land area in Tuvalu of 73.5 ha (2.9%), despite sea-level rise, and land area increase in eight of nine atolls. Island change has lacked uniformity with 74% increasing and 27% decreasing in size. Results challenge perceptions of island loss, showing islands are dynamic features that will persist as sites for habitation over the next century, presenting alternate opportunities for adaptation that embrace the heterogeneity of island types and their dynamics.

Nature Communicationsvolume 9, Article number: 605 (2018)





Considering the total earth system, global warming and polar ice-melt will NOT lead to sea-level rise

Why would sea-level rise for global warming and polar ice-melt?

Aftab Alam Khan

Abstract

Two major causes of global sea level rise such as thermal expansion of the oceans and the loss of land-based ice for increased melting have been claimed by some researchers and recognized by the IPCC. However, other climate threat investigators revealed that atmosphere–ocean modeling is an imperfect representation, paleo-data consist of proxy climate information with ambiguities, and modern observations are limited in scope and accuracy. It is revealed that global warming and polar ice-melt although a reality would not contribute to any sea level rise. Floating-ice of the polar region on melting would reoccupy same displaced volume by floating ice-sheets. Land-ice cover in the polar region on melting can reduce load from the crust to activate elastic rebound that would raise land for its isostatic equilibrium. Such characteristics would not contribute to sea level rise. Equatorial bulge, polar flattening, elevation difference of the spheroidal surface between equator and pole with lower in the pole, strong gravity attraction of the polar region and week gravity attraction of the equatorial region, all these phenomena would play dominant role in preventing sea level rise. Palaeo-sea level rise and fall in macro-scale (10–100 m or so) were related to marine transgression and regression in addition to other geologic events like converging and diverging plate tectonics, orogenic uplift of the collision margin, basin subsidence of the extensional crust, volcanic activities in the oceanic region, prograding delta buildup, ocean floor height change and sub-marine mass avalanche. This study also reveals that geophysical shape, gravity attraction and the centrifugal force of spinning and rotation of the earth would continue acting against sea level rise.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2018.01.008





The Great Global Warming Hurricane Myth

hurricane florence damageHow often do we hear claims that there are more hurricanes than there used to be, or that they are now much more powerful? Such claims are bolstered by 24-hour news coverage, featuring dramatic images of extreme weather.

Newspapers and TV channels alike can get more viewers and readers with apocalyptic ‘Worse Than Ever’ headlines. Worse still, many such organizations are happy simply to make up facts to suit themselves.

For instance, last year the BBC baldly stated, in a supposedly factual piece, that ‘a warmer world is bringing us a greater number of hurricanes and a greater risk of a hurricane becoming the most powerful category 5’.

They were forced to retract this claim only after an official complaint, by which time the false information had gone ’round the world and back.

But what is the truth?

A study by the Global Warming Policy Foundation shows that hurricanes, in fact, are not getting more common, or stronger.

The most reliable data is for US landfalling hurricanes, for which the US Hurricane Research Division maintains records back to 1851. The data show no upward trend in hurricane frequency.

The record year for hurricanes was as long ago as 1886 when there were seven.

As for major hurricanes (category 3 and above), there was recently a record 12-year period without any making landfall in the United States, until Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey made headlines in 2017, and Michael again last year, all making landfall at category 4. Although these were hugely powerful storms, there have been much stronger ones in the past.

Since 1851, there have only been three category 5 hurricanes, the strongest. The most powerful of these was the Labor Day hurricane which hit Florida in 1935, followed by Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992.

Although it is unusual to have three category 4s in the space of two years, you have to go back to 2004 and Charley to find the previous one. By contrast, between 1945 and 1954, there were six category 4s. Three more followed in successive years from 1959 to 1961.

Reliable databases for all Atlantic hurricanes and global ones do not go as far back as those for the US. It is only since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s that we have had meaningful data globally.

Previously many hurricanes were either not spotted at all, or were underestimated in strength. Hurricane hunter aircraft were understandably reluctant to fly into the middle of the strongest storms, and this is likely to have affected the record.

The data that we do have, however, show no indication of any long-term trends.

It is true that there have been shorter-term trends. For instance, there is more Atlantic hurricane activity now than in the 1970s and 80s.

But this is generally accepted to be due to the ocean cycle known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Go back to the 1940s and ’50s, and you find similar levels of activity to the present.

For example, while there have been 28 major Atlantic hurricanes in the last ten years, there were 39 in the 1950s. The record individual year was 1950 when there were eight.

Whenever a particularly bad storm comes along, there is always someone ready to claim that global warming made it worse. Bigger, stronger, wetter, fast-moving, slow-moving, earliest, latest, furthest north, longest-lasting. I could go on.

A classic example was Hurricane Florence, which brought very significant rainfall to North Carolina. However, what exacerbated Florence were some very specific localized weather conditions.

An unfortunate concatenation of prevailing wind directions meant that it stalled off the coast for a number of days, allowing high rainfall totals to build up.

There have been other hurricanes and tropical storms which have delivered more intensive rainfall over the US.

Hurricane Floyd, for instance, dumped much more rain than Florence, but this was spread over most of the US east coast as it quickly traveled north.

By contrast, Florence’s rainfall was concentrated over what was, in fact, a very tiny area.

The simple truth is that there have always been catastrophic hurricanes, and always will be. To blame them on global warming is to ignore the data and indulge a new form of green superstition.

SOURCE





6 Takeaways From New EPA Chief’s Confirmation Hearing

America is “the gold standard for environmental progress,” Andrew Wheeler, the president’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate committee Wednesday during his confirmation hearing.

Committee Democrats, while accusing him of favoring the fossil fuel industry, avoided personal attacks on Wheeler, who took over as acting EPA administrator after Scott Pruitt’s resignation in July under partisan fire.

Wheeler highlighted the Trump administration’s regulatory reform agenda and its goals in an opening statement to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“In 2018, EPA finalized 13 major deregulatory actions, saving Americans roughly $1.8 billion in regulatory costs,” Wheeler said. “To date, under President [Donald] Trump, EPA has finalized 33 major deregulatory actions saving Americans almost $2 billion. The U.S. is the gold standard for environmental progress.”

Wheeler said policymakers don’t need to make a trade-off between economically damaging government regulations and environmental protection.

“Through our deregulatory actions, the Trump administration has proven that burdensome federal regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress,” he said. “Certainty and the innovation that thrives in a climate of certainty are key to progress.”

Democrats on the committee, however, said Wheeler is biased toward producers of coal and other fossil fuels and ignored the need to protect the environment and for “urgent action” to prevent catastrophic climate change.

They asked Wheeler, 54, to offer his opinion on the recent findings of the National Climate Assessment, an interagency government report, and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Democrats also pressed Wheeler on his relationship with the coal industry and took the opportunity to comment on the partial government shutdown and its impact on the EPA’s ability to perform vital functions.

Committee Republicans credited Wheeler with working to “provide greater regulatory certainty” while upholding environmental standards. They cited his long record of public service, including work he previously did for the committee.

Wheeler, Pruitt’s deputy, assumed his responsibility for implementing key parts of Trump’s regulatory reform agenda. These included ending the practice of “sue and settle” and rolling back restrictions on the private sector that the administration viewed as costly and duplicative.

The Senate confirmed Wheeler to serve as deputy EPA administrator in April 2018, and this marked his second confirmation hearing in 14 months.

Prior to rejoining the agency, the Ohio native was Republican staff director for the same Senate committee.

A lawyer who was an Eagle Scout, Wheeler began his public career in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as a special assistant in the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.

Wheeler worked as a lobbyist for Murray Energy, a coal mining company based in Ohio. Robert E. Murray, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, is a prominent supporter of Trump and his name also came up.

Here are six key takeaways from Wheeler’s confirmation hearing.

1. Democrats Cast Wheeler as Extreme

Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, the panel’s ranking Democrat, set the tone with an opening statement in which he favorably compared Wheeler with his predecessor while objecting to Wheeler’s policy stances.

“Mr. Wheeler is certainly not the ethically bereft embarrassment that Scott Pruitt proved to be and—to be fair—he has engaged more frequently and substantively than Scott Pruitt with both Congress and EPA career staff,” Carper said, adding:

I knew that Mr. Wheeler and I would not always agree. But I hoped that he would moderate some of Scott Pruitt’s most environmentally destructive policies, specifically where industry and the environmental community are in agreement. Regrettably, my hopes have not been realized.

In fact, upon examination, Mr. Wheeler’s environmental policies appear to be just as extreme as his predecessor’s, despite the promises that Mr. Wheeler made when he first appeared before our committee.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., criticized Wheeler for describing concerns over climate change as an “issue” instead of a “crisis.”

“I think you are 100 percent wrong,” Markey told Wheeler. “We are having a climate crisis.”

Markey cited last fall’s National Climate Assessment, which draws from the EPA and 12 other federal agencies, to bolster his point. He also criticized Trump’s response to the report.

Markey: “How did President Trump respond when asked about the conclusion of the National Climate Assessment … ? He said, ‘I don’t believe it.’ Do you agree with Donald Trump?”

Wheeler: “I believe that President Trump was referring to the media reports of the assessment itself, and I question the media reports as well because they focused on the worst-case scenario and they also focused on one study that was not actually in the report. And that’s the study that said there would be a 10 percent hit to the GDP [without strong government action].”

2. Shutdown Politics

In the run-up to the hearing, some committee Democrats criticized Wheeler for making use of EPA staff to prepare amid the partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22.

In a letter to the EPA, they expressed concern that Wheeler was operating in violation of a U.S. law that prohibits executive branch agencies from spending money or incurring obligations outside those provided by Congress or federal law.

Carper, among the Democrats to sign the letter, commented on how the shutdown affects federal workers and the public.

“With much of EPA shut down, rules are not being written. Drinking water and power plant inspections are not being performed,” Carper said, adding:

Superfund sites are not being cleaned up. The safety of new chemicals is not being assessed. Public meetings are being cancelled. Just as important, 14,000 furloughed EPA employees are unsure if they will be able to afford their mortgages, day care providers, or grocery and electricity bills. Some of those furloughed employees appear to have been asked to help prepare for this very hearing …

In his opening remarks, Wheeler noted that the EPA “deleted all or part of 22 [Superfund] sites from the National Priorities List” in fiscal 2018, calling it the “largest number of deletions in one year” since fiscal 2005.

“And we are in the process of cleaning up some of the nation’s largest, most complex sites and returning them to productive use,” he added.

3. Facts on Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a leading skeptic of climate change, sought to set the record straight on the trend of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.

Although Trump critics have blamed the administration’s “rollback” of environmental regulations for rising carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, Inhofe said these critics overlooked key facts.

The Oklahoma Republican cited an article from Forbes that said carbon dioxide emissions are still down 11 percent since 2005 and that the recent uptick can be attributed to robust economic growth. Inhofe invited Wheeler to comment.

“Our CO2 emissions peaked in 2005 and it’s been on a decline since then,” Wheeler said. “We believe, and I was just briefed on this by my career staff, that we are going to continue to see a decline in CO2 emissions.”

“We had an uptick in manufacturing and industrial output that brought our CO2 emissions up slightly,” he added, “but overall we don’t expect that to continue. The downward trend is going to continue in the long term.”

4.  Ties to Coal Industry Executive

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who once proposed using a law designed to fight organized crime to prosecute individuals and organizations who don’t support his climate change agenda, characterized Wheeler as favoring fossil fuel interests.

Related: Secret Deal Among AGs to Prosecute Climate Change ‘Deniers’ Challenged in Court

Whitehouse asked Wheeler about his relationship with Murray, the coal industry executive who owns and operates Murray Energy. He focused on an “action plan” Murray had presented to the Trump administration.

“You have your thumb, wrist, forearm, and elbow on the scales in virtually every determination that you can in favor of the fossil fuel industry, and I think that is very unfortunate,” Whitehouse told Wheeler.

“We learned by published reports that on March 29, 2017, you attended a meeting between your client Bob Murray and Energy Secretary Rick Perry where this action plan was discussed.”

Whitehouse presented photos of the meeting, saying the “action plan” was in the room. He said the plan also was given to Pruitt and to Vice President Mike Pence.

At the time, Murray was a client of the lobbying firm where Wheeler worked.

Whitehouse: “Can you tell me now how many meetings with Trump administration officials for Bob Murray did you arrange, attempt to arrange, or attend, and with whom?”

Wheeler: “I didn’t try to arrange the meeting with Scott Pruitt. Someone else at my firm did that. The purpose of that meeting was talking about the relief … ”

Whitehouse, interrupting: “My question was quite specific, how many meetings with Trump administration officials did you arrange or attend for Mr. Murray?”

Wheeler: “The meeting with Secretary Perry, and then I believe we had an additional meeting at the White House. … But I did not arrange or attempt to arrange … ”

Whitehouse interrupted again, saying he would continue to pursue this line of questioning in writing.

5. Presidential Contenders and Climate Change

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., both viewed as likely presidential contenders in 2020, asked Wheeler his views on climate change.

Sanders: “President Trump has indicated his belief that climate change is a hoax. … Do you agree?”

Wheeler: “I believe climate change is real and that man has an impact on it.”

Sanders: “The president has said that climate change is a hoax. Do you agree with him?”

Wheeler: “I have not used the hoax word myself.”

Sanders also expressed dismay that Wheeler did not refer to climate change in his opening statement.

Booker asked Wheeler about his views on the U.N.’s climate change report as well as the U.S. government assessment, highlighting dire forecasts in both documents.

“There’s this urgency to move as quickly as possible,” Booker said. “We face growing challenges not just now, but really over the next 25 years. … Why are you pulling back on regulations that will ultimately help us to deal with what our climate scientists say we need to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?”

In response, Wheeler said he and his team are “moving forward on a proactive basis” to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

He cited the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which replaced the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, as a key component of ongoing efforts.

6. Balancing Environment With Economy

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who chairs the committee, praised Wheeler for implementing regulatory reforms that balance environmental protection with economic growth.

Summing up his EPA tenure, Barrasso said:

Acting Administrator Wheeler has led efforts to issue commonsense regulatory proposals like the Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the revised definition of ‘Waters of the United States’; implement this committee’s 2016 bipartisan reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act in an effective and efficient manner; reduce lead exposure, including through the Federal Lead Action Plan; provide greater regulatory certainty to states, to tribes, localities, and to the regulated community; and improve enforcement and compliance assistance.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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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Sunday, January 20, 2019




Long lost cities in the Amazon were once home to millions of people

The introduction to a recent article in New Scientist below sets the scene for what is now known about the prehistory of Amazonia.  I have recently read quite a few of the scientific studies of the subject in the hope of finding out WHY civilization largely vanished from Amazonia in quite recent times.  It seems that at least some parts of Amazonia were as developed as the Incas in Peru and the Aztecs in Mexico.  So it seems important to understand what happened to the Amazonian civilization. 

It might be better to refer to it as the Arawak civilization as the Northern Amazon seems to be the origin of a group of Arawak languages that are now widely spread in Northern South America and the Caribbean.  The original Arawaks clearly had a lot of influence one way or another

And even the archaeologists may have underestimated the extent of Arawak civilization.  "Black" soil is widely found in Amazonia and black soil is an artifact of human cultivation. The natural soils of Amazonia are rather poor and infertile but that can be remedied by burning any combustible material to hand.  That leaves a residue of charcoal (carbon!) which makes the soil much more fertile and suitable for the cultivation of crops.  So we are dealing with a pretty big phenomenon in studying the human history of Amazonia

The obvious reason for the collapse of pre-Columbian civilization in Amazonia (Arawakia?) is the white man's diseases.  The conquistadores in Mexico and Peru had to wait only a little bit before disease decimated their native opponents, making conquest by the few over the many a possibility and a reality.

And we saw that sort of thing vividly in the progress through what we now know as the Southern United States by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.  De Soto pushed North from Mexico into more Northern lands not for conquest but in search of gold.  And wherever he went he found flourishing native tribes.  Those who slightly later followed in his footsteps, however, found an almost depopulated landscape.  The diseases De Soto and his men carried with them had completely wiped out the former flourishing tribes.

So on the DeSoto precedent, disease is clearly a sufficient explanation of the population loss and subsequent loss of civilization in Amazonia.  But is it the whole explanation? The people of Peru and Mexico were not wiped out to anything like that extent and adapted their ways to the Spanish influence so that they substantially survived the catastrophe that had overtaken them.

Which is where we come to climate change.  It appears that for much of the latter Holocene the Amazon had much less rainfall and existed in Savannah-like conditions.  But Savannah can grow crops and it seems that the natives did just that. As the earth continued to rebound from the last ice age, however, rainfall increased.  And rainfall fertilizes everything, including "weeds" ("Weeds" are just unwanted plants) and fungi.  And the native agriculture may have been struggling with that problem at the time the Spaniards arrived. So the Spaniards and their diseases were the last straw for a struggling Amazonian civilization

It is all speculation at the present stage of our knowledge but it seems that the Greenies may be getting it partly right in their occasional squawks about the Amazon.  Global warming has in fact been bad for civilization in the Amazon in the past.  But there is nothing in rainforest that daunts modern civilization and its machines.

And the usual Greenie claim that Amazonia is pristine forest and, as such, should not be touched by human hands, is completely uninformed, as we expect from Greenies.  "Don't bother me with the facts" seems to be their motto. There may in fact be no original forest in Amazonia

Amazonia has in fact already been heavily modified by human hands, with its fertility in particular being greatly increased by human intervention.


THE Amazon rainforest is so vast that it boggles the imagination. A person could enter at its eastern edge, walk 3000 kilometres directly west and still not come out from under the vast canopy.

This haven for about 10 per cent of the world’s species has long been regarded as wild and pristine, barely touched by humanity, offering a glimpse of the world as it was before humans spread to every continent and made a mess of things. It is painted in sharp contrast to the logged forests of Europe and the US.

But it now seems this idea is completely wrong. Far from being untouched, we are coming to realise that the landscape and ecosystem of the Amazon has been shaped by humanity for thousands of years. Long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, the Amazon was inhabited, and not just by a handful of isolated tribes. A society of millions of people lived there, building vast earthworks and cultivating multitudes of plants and fish.

We don’t fully understand why this flourishing society disappeared centuries ago, but their way of life could give us crucial clues to how humans and the rainforest could coexist and thrive together – even as Brazil’s new government threatens to destroy it.

Some of the first Europeans to explore the Amazon in the 1500s reported cities, roads and cultivated fields. The Dominican friar Gaspar de Carvajal chronicled an expedition in the early 1540s, in which he claimed to have seen sprawling towns and large monuments. But later visitors found no such thing.

SOURCE





Scientists say Trump’s first 2 years have been fatal for a livable climate

Well, if it is fatal, the games is over and we might as well  eat, drink and be merry!  In reality, however, if climate change were a real thing people individually would be doing something about it.  It would not depend on who is President.  But the warming is so slight as to be imperceptable so no-one much is bothered about it -- except for power hungry Leftists and journalists seeking headlines


Two years in, the presidency of Donald Trump has been a possibly fatal disaster for our livable climate, a number of climate and clean energy experts told ThinkProgress.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, countless climate experts voiced their concern about Trump, who had infamously called climate change a “hoax” and said it was “created by and for the Chinese.” Trump promised to undo Obama-era environmental laws, bring back coal power, and withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, in which the world’s nations unanimously agreed to start ratcheting down carbon pollution.

For all these reasons, climatologist Michael Mann wrote in October 2016 that Trump was “a threat to the planet.”

Two years after taking office, Trump has followed through on many of his promises to gut environmental regulations, promote the production of fossil fuels, kill U.S. climate action, and start withdrawing from the Paris accord.

“Our worst fears have come true,” Mann told ThinkProgress. Other experts agreed.

“In explaining the demise of our planet, a coroner’s report might very well read ’cause of death: the Trump presidency,'” said CNN host Van Jones, special adviser for green jobs under President Barack Obama.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, noted that by undoing Obama-era climate rules and rejecting the Paris agreement, Trump is delaying climate action, perhaps fatally.

“Trump got the Koch Bros what they wanted,” McKibben said, referring to petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch. Trump’s rollbacks gave them “another half-decade or so of their business model, even at the expense of breaking the planet.”

Others, such as former Vice President Al Gore, acknowledge that “President Trump is going all out to damage humanity’s efforts to solve the climate crisis,” but take comfort in the clean energy revolution — which continues despite Trump’s repeated efforts to cut funding for research, development, and deployment.

“The price of renewable energy continues to plummet,” Gore noted. “All around the world, cities, states, and businesses alike have said ‘We’re Still In’ and are pushing forward new and increasingly ambitious goals” to cut carbon pollution.

Solar power prices are dropping at record rates. CREDIT: Acera.
Stunning drops in solar, wind costs mean economic case for coal, gas is ‘crumbling’
Things are only going to get tougher for gas and coal compared to renewables.

Some experts pointed to the very real public health disaster being created by Trump and his team as they undermine and roll back basic clean air and clean water protections that Americans have come to take for granted.

“The deep culture of corruption at all political levels of the Trump administration has reawakened fears about toxic pollution, water contamination, and even asbestos exposure in communities across the country,” said Christy Goldfuss, former managing director of Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality and currently senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress. (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.)

SOURCE






Climate debate: 97pc of scientists agree on nothing

IAN PLIMER

It is often claimed that 97 per cent of scientists conclude that humans are causing global warming. Is that really true? No. It is a zombie statistic.

In the scientific circles I mix in, there is an overwhelming scepticism about human-induced climate change. Many of my colleagues claim that the mantra of human-induced global warming is the biggest scientific fraud of all time and future generations will pay dearly.

If 97 per cent of scientists agree that there is human-induced climate change, you’d think they would be busting a gut to vanquish climate sceptics in public debates. Instead, many scientists and activists are expressing confected outrage at the possibility of public debates because the science is settled. After all, 97 per cent of scientists agree that human emissions drive global warming and there is no need for further discussion.

In my 50-year scientific career, I have never seen a hypothesis where 97 per cent of scientists agree. At any scientific conference there are collections of argumentative sods who don’t agree about anything, argue about data, how data was collected and the conclusions derived from data. Scepticism underpins all science, science is underpinned by repeatable validated evidence and scientific conclusions are not based on a show of hands, consensus, politics or feelings. Scientists, just like lawyers, bankers, unionists, politicians and those in all other fields, can make no claim to being honest or honourable, and various warring cliques of scientists have their leaders, followers, outsiders and enemies. Scientists differ from many in the community because they are allegedly trained to be independent. Unless, of course, whacking big research grants for climate “science” are waved in front of them.

The 97 per cent figure derives from a survey sent to 10,257 people with a self-interest in human-induced global warming who published “science” supported by taxpayer-funded research grants. Replies from 3146 respondents were whittled down to 77 self-appointed climate “scientists” of whom 75 were judged to agree that human-induced warming was taking place. The 97 per cent figure derives from a tribe with only 75 members. What were the criteria for rejecting 3069 respondents? There was no mention that 75 out of 3146 is 2.38 per cent. We did not hear that 2.38 per cent of climate scientists with a self-interest agreed that humans have played a significant role in changing climate and that they are recipients of some of the billions spent annually on climate research.

Another recent paper on the scientific consensus of human-induced climate change was a howler. Such papers can be published only in the sociology or environmental literature. The paper claimed that published scientific papers showed there was a 97.1 per cent consensus that man had caused at least half of the 0.7C global warming since 1950.

How was this 97.1 per cent figure determined? By “inspection” of 11,944 published papers. Inspection is not rigorous scholarship. There was no critical reading and understanding derived from reading 11,944 papers. This was not possible as the study started in March 2012 and was published in mid-2013, hence only a cursory inspection was possible. What was inspected? By whom?

The methodology section of the publication gives the game away. “This letter was conceived as a ‘citizen science’ project by volunteers contributing to the Skeptical Science website (www.skepticalscience.com). In March 2012, we searched the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science for papers published from 1991-2011 using topic searches for ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’.”

This translates as: This study was a biased compilation of opinions from non-scientific, politically motivated volunteer activists who used a search engine for key words in 11,944 scientific papers, were unable to understand the scientific context of the use of “global warming” and “global climate change”, who rebadged themselves as “citizen scientists” to hide their activism and ignorance, who did not read the complete papers and were unable to evaluate critically the diversity of science published therein.

The conclusions were predictable because the methodology was not dispassionate and involved decisions by those who were not independent.

As part of a scathing critical analysis of this paper by real scientists, the original 11,944 papers were read and the readers came to a diametrically opposite conclusion. Of the 11,944 papers, only 41 explicitly stated that humans caused most of the warming since 1950 (0.3 per cent). Of the 11,944 climate “science” papers, 99.7 per cent did not say that carbon dioxide caused most of the global warming since 1950. It was less than 1 per cent and not one paper endorsed a man-made global warming catastrophe.

Political policy and environmental activism rely on this fraudulent 97 per cent consensus paid for by the taxpayer to rob the taxpayer further with subsidies for bird-and-bat-chomping wind turbines, polluting solar panels and handouts to those with sticky fingers in the international climate industry. It’s this alleged 97 per cent consensus that has changed our electricity from cheap and reliable to expensive and unreliable.

Activists with no skin in the game are setting the scene for economic suicide.

Time for yellow shirts to shirt-front politicians about their uncritical acceptance of a fraud that has already cost the community hundreds of billions of dollars.

SOURCE





When environmentalism becomes corruption – Part 1

Environmental principles are too often used to stop lawful, responsible, vital land uses

Craig Liukko

All across the United States, private property rights are under assault – assault by state and federal legislators and regulators, environmentalist groups, wealthy liberal foundations, corporations and other special interests, often acting in coordination or collusion with one another. They are seizing or taking control of lands and other valuable property without due process or just compensation, under a host of environmental and other justifications, many of which are fictional at best.

I have personally witnessed attempts to shut down the small mining industry in my state of Colorado. Exploration and development by this industry often results in discoveries of major deposits of minerals that are essential for everything we make, use and do – including medical equipment, cell phones, computers, aircraft, aerospace, automobiles, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, and modern high-tech weapon and communication systems.

Actions that block mineral development in the United States make us 50-100% dependent on sometimes less than friendly foreign sources, and on mines that are operated using, abusing and under-paying parents and children, often under horrendous health, safety and environmental conditions.

Stories like what my company went through can be found everywhere in the United States now. Worse, they are no longer confined only to businesses that rely on development of our nation’s vast and highly available natural resources – done today with the highest regard for laws, worker safety and the ecology.

My parents co-founded our family’s mining business. In their later years, they suffered incredible, needless physical and financial pain – at the hands of clever crooks who defrauded our company and ideologically corrupt bureaucrats who took advantage of corrupt legal and regulatory systems to devise yet another opportunity to close yet another mining operation.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) eagerly supported the crooks in an attempt to steal and destroy our hard work and the investments of 135 mostly senior citizen shareholders in our privately held Colorado corporation. In the process, our corporate and personal names were slandered in local newspapers by false reports from DRMS officials.

Far too many government agencies are corrupted now because they have been largely taken over by radical environmentalists, who know little about mining or society’s crucial need for minerals, who are ideologically opposed to mining and other productive land uses, and whose ideologies too often make them think they are above the law.

Environmentalism has become a new religion, whose extremists will do whatever it takes to fulfill their misguided life missions, to engage in what far too often amounts to injustice and legalized theft.

Worst of all, they have no respect for those who literally stake their time, their fortunes and even their lives mining for metals that make our modern technologies, lives, health and living standards possible. There is little difference between them and other radical religious zealots who cross the line from respectful observance into insanity and acts of depravity. They miss few opportunities to undermine America’s once incredible opportunities under the guise of “saving the planet” – mostly from problems and dangers that have been wildly exaggerated or willfully misrepresented or even concocted.

When we began underground hard rock mining near Silverton in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in 1980, regulations were comparatively few – but compared to earlier times of few or no rules, mostly sensible and more than ample to ensure human safety and environmental protection.

Dynamite was available at the local hardware store. It was very important for us to protect the environment and operate with the utmost safety. We did exactly that, as we were initially regulated by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for the environment and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for safety. In all those years, our company never had a single lost time accident; always took great care to protect the air, water and wildlife habitats; and made sure we never disturbed any more land than was absolutely necessary.

The DRMS began regulating our silver mine several years later. The transition went smoothly for several years, but then silver prices dropped to unsustainable levels. We reclaimed much of the historically mined silver property at our own expense for later use – then raised more capital from family and friends to expand into gold mining in 1988 with the purchase of 370 acres of private mineral property and associated permits. Our new property was surrounded by USFS public land.

A private litigation ensued, which we won handily – even though the DRMS entered the fray in an attempt to use the opportunity to gain more control over our property and mining in general. A concerned Colorado state representative came to our rescue at the time and blocked the DRMS action.

The agency had just become involved in the Summitville open pit mine disaster in the 1990s. The environmental disaster involved extensive pollution of local streams due to leakage of acidic water that contained large quantities of toxic heavy metals originating from decades-old mine tunnels from decades-old mining operations and poorly constructed storage pits associated with more recent open-pit mining.

The DRMS and other agencies should have regulated the operations and pollution much more responsibly from the outset. But they were largely inattentive and negligent. The disaster ultimately cost Colorado and U.S. taxpayers over $150,000,000 – a liability that the agency then capitalized on as an excuse to increase the price for reclamation bonds to unreasonable levels.

It was the first major example in Colorado of environmental activist bureaucrats attempting to regulate an industry in which it actually had no or too few qualifications, and doing so more from a position of opposing activities that they disliked and whose value they did not appreciate.

Fast forward to 2015. The historic San Juan Mining District experienced an even greater disaster: the infamous 2015 Gold King Mine Spill, whose direct cause can be laid squarely on the DRMS, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DRMS policies for handling earthen plugs in old mine portals had already been evaluated by the United States Geological Survey, which strongly advised against this method of remediating leakage from abandoned mines. The USGS was ignored.

Negative environmental impacts from reopening caved-in portals have been a problem for decades. It should be obvious that plugging a leak or opening while water is still flowing into a mine means it will fill up and spill over. If the water mixes with acid-generating elements underground, it will become acidic. Yet the DRMS signed off on its policies and practices anyway – causing a disaster that even today is costing taxpayers more millions of dollars, with ongoing cleanup costs that will eventually make the Summitville clean-up costs look cheap.

And still, when my company was in court with the DRMS in 2017, its lawyer told the judge and courtroom that the DRMS would undoubtedly need to plug our portals. Some bureaucrats never learn, or will say anything to an uneducated populace to shut down legitimate operators.

In fact, another vast area in the San Juans, once one of the richest underground mining districts in the world, is now off limits to mining – not because of shoddy mining practices, but because incompetent and ideologically driven bureaucrats have been handed the reins to regulate access into oblivion.

Via email





"Heatwaves" in Australia

The Warmists at BoM are typical Leftists -- inveterate  cherry-pickers. You will see below that they have searched for and reported all the places in Australia that have been unusually hot lately,  mostly places that are ALWAYS very hot.  You would never guess from their reporting that some places are COOLER than usual.  I know that there are because I live in one -- a major State capital that is curiously unmentioned below.  Typical mid-afternoon temperatures in Brisbane are 34C but yesterday (Friday) was 31C and today (Sat) it is 32.25C.

They are doing their best to transform a normal hot summer into something unusual (guess why?) but with selective reporting like theirs you would be foolish to believe it

Their latest wrinkle is to mention bitumen roads melting.  But I remember sitting on the verandah of our family home in Cairns 60 years ago and watching the heated air rise like worms off the bitumen road outside.  The bitumen was soft then too.  You wouldn't want to walk on it. I went close to have a look. And that was long before global warming was thought of


Temperature records have already been broken but the worst of the heatwave sweeping across parts of Australia is yet to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are expected to slide well into the 40s, while the CBD is likely to have its fifth consecutive day above 30C for the first time in eight years.

On Thursday, a total of 27 places across NSW and the ACT baked in record maximum temperatures, with one town in the northwest of NSW sweltering in oppressive, all-time high heat for two straight days.

The freakish temperatures have turned forecast maps a worrying black and purple in areas where the mercury is set to spike.

Whitecliff, a tiny outback town with a population of just under 150 people, broke its record on Wednesday with a temperature of 48.2C, dropping only marginally on Thursday with a high of 47C just after 3pm. The extreme heatwave emptied the streets, turning it into a scorching ghost town.

Elsewhere in the far northwest, Tibooburra Airport recorded the top temperature in the state on Thursday with 48.2C just before 4.30pm.

In Sydney’s west, Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Camden all reached 35C by 1pm.

Conditions are so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.

Motorists were warned of the deteriorating surface as social media photos show the tar beginning to melt. Picture: Facebook
Looking ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more sweltering weather on the way for much of the state.

In a statement, BOM spokeswoman Anita Pyne said the west of NSW would likely see temperatures in the mid to high 40s, including areas around the Ivanhoe and Menindie areas forecast to hit up to 48C.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service is battling more than 60 fires across the state, and 13 fire bans are in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland.

Temperatures in Sydney’s west are expected to climb as high as 45C on Friday, ahead of a long-awaited cool change on Saturday.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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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