Thursday, January 03, 2019

China Ignores Paris Climate Accord As CO2 Emissions Rapidly Rise

Despite being lauded by President Obama for signing the Paris UN Climate Change Accords, China is still rapidly expanding greenhouse gas emissions.

President Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping issued a ‘U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change’on March 31, 2016 stating that both nations were signing the Paris Accords and would take further “concrete steps” to “use public resources to finance and encourage the transition toward low carbon technologies as a priority.”

The joint statement on climate change was trumpeted as creating “an enduring legacy of the partnership.”

President Obama’s “concrete steps” for the U.S. to combat climate change included issuing an Executive Order ‘Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change’, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to cut 32 percent of power plant carbon emissions by 2025, mandating higher vehicle mileage, substantially limit oil and gas drilling on public lands and requiring energy-efficient building codes.

The Heritage Foundation estimated that if the Paris Accords Obama signed were fully implemented, it would have achieved a .36 degree Fahrenheit reduction in global temperatures.

But the economic costs of Obama’s Paris commitments over the next 20 years would have included the loss of $2.5 trillion in GDP, 400,000 jobs, over $20,000 less income per family of four; and about 17 percent higher electricity prices.

The Paris Accords’ also commitment so-called ‘advanced nations’ to provide $100 billion in ‘Green Climate Fund’ subsidies for reparations to developing countries to fund infrastructure improvements.

With the U.S. share already set at about $22 billion, Obama‘ Joint Presidential Statement’ committed the U.S. to increase climate change subsidies.

Despite already being the planet’s largest contributor of greenhouse emissions at 22 percent, China was required by the Paris Accords to curtail emissions’ growth only by 2030.

China did commit to promoting a “global clean and low-carbon energy transition, especially towards sustainable, affordable, reliable and modern energy services.”

To quantify China’s actions since signing the Paris Accords, the GWP Foundation issued an analysis titled, ‘China’s Climate U-Turn.’

According to the GWP analysis, China now has the world’s largest number of renewable energy installations. But as a percent of China’s total electric power production, wind accounts for 2.7 percent and solar accounts for just 0.5 percent.

Given the higher costs of maintaining interruptible power, the Chinese authorities curtailed about 50 percent of wind unit potential production.

Low utilization rates are also blamed on poor wind-farm siting, failing to build power grid connections, and installing inefficient wind turbines.

China’s air pollution levels did decline last year due to a reduction in electric power produced from coal. But greenhouse gas emissions grew due to a 15 percent increase in the use of natural gas.

As a result, China’s annual pollution levels remained 72 percent higher than World Health Organization guidelines.

Rather than planning for a post-carbon future, The International Energy Agency reported that China has been the world’s largest oil importer since 2013.

China has signed new oil supply agreements with Oman, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Congo, South Sudan, Brazil, Venezuela, and Canada.

China is set to be the world’s largest LNG importer in two years and is building natural gas import pipelines from Russia, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Turkmenistan

To keep its domestic coal miners employed, China increased its consumption of coal last year for the first time since 2013. As part of its “Belt and Road” initiative, China has plans to build 700 coal-fired electric plants across the Eurasian plain.

One of Donald Trump’s first actions after being inaugurated as President of the United States was issuing an Executive Order withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Accords.

China’s state news agency Xinhua led media outlets around the world in calling Trump’s move a “huge setback” in the global battle against climate change.

The official China news source deemed the move a U.S. retreat from the “common aspiration of mankind for a low-carbon future.”


Tale Of Two Stations…Striking Contrast: Urban Tokyo Warms Strongly While Rural Island Station Shows No Warming

Hachijojima is a rural-type island off the coast from the megapolis of Tokyo in the Pacific.

What makes Hachijojima interesting is that it is ideal for comparing its trend to a heavily urban environment, like Tokyo’s.

Such a comparison can allow us to see the urban signal on measured data, like temperature. The following chart shows that there has been no warming at this island over the past 70 years, using the unadjusted data from the Japanese Meteorology Agency (JMA):

Now when we compare rural Hachijojima to massively urban Tokyo, using the mean daily maximum temperature, we can clearly see the urban heat island (UHI) effect:

While Hachijojima has seen no only a modest warming trend since 1980, modern urban Tokyo has seen a strong warming. This is very likely due to the urban heat island effect where steel, concrete and asphalt store energy from the sun and fuels consumed by cars, buildings and factories.

The data for both stations go way back to 1907:

From 1907 to 1935, the trend for both was very similar, with no rise. Then there was a rise for both stations from the 1930s to 1961. Note how in this period Tokyo temperature rose more quickly than Hachijojima.  Next came the cooling of the the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, followed by the most recent warming.

Note how the most recent warming since the 1980s has been far stronger in Tokyo then it has been in rural Hachijojima. Tokyo, once significantly cooler, is about as warm as Hachijojima today.

And since the peak in 1998, Hachijojima has been cooling a bit while Tokyo has been warming!

Can all this be explained by CO2? Honestly not.

Obviously the urban heat island (UHI) effect is the real driver in Tokyo and is corrupting urban data, while natural ocean factors may be at work to account for the difference as well.


Michigan Lawmaker Wants To Fine Restaurants Hundreds For Handing Out Plastic Straws

A Michigan state lawmaker is pushing two bills that would impose a hefty fine on distributing plastic straws unless requested and ban single-use plastic items such as cotton swabs, cutlery and plates, the Michigan Capitol Confidential reports.

Democratic Rep. Tom Cochran introduced the pair of bills, House Bill 6504 and House Bill 6505, Nov. 27, 2018 to start a conversation about single-use plastics and “the impact they have on our environment.”

“I guarantee my bills are not going to get a hearing or any movement,” Cochran told the Capitol Confidential. “I felt very strongly that I wanted to make a statement and hopefully move the conversation forward and I’m working with my colleagues to hopefully get the issue taken up in the future.”

Bill 6504 would ban the sale of all single-use plastics by 2024, except in cases where no “sustainable alternative” exists. Bill 6505 would charge restaurant owners with a misdemeanor for giving plastic straws to customers unless the customer explicitly requests one.

The misdemeanor’s penalty is unclear. One section says those guilty of violating 6505 are “punishable by a fine of $500.00 for each day” the law is violated. Another section says a restaurant owner will be warned for the first two violations and fined $25 per violation after that, but no more than $300 annually.

Cochran did not respond to requests for comment and clarification.

On Sept. 20, Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation banning full-service restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless requested by a customer. Restaurants in violation can be fined up to $300 a year. Individual cities in the state have enacted much stiffer penalties, such as Santa Barbara’s that hits straw ban violators with six months in jail or $1,000 in fines.

Seattle banned plastic straws and utensils at “all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and institutional cafeterias” on July 1. Violators are fined $250 per infraction.

Several restaurant chains, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, have begun transitioning from plastic to paper straws on their own.


Polar Bears: Why All You’ve Been Told Could Be WRONG

On the afternoon of July 3, Aaron Gibbons, a hunter from the Inuit hamlet of Arviat on the north-west shore of Hudson Bay, took his three children on a boat trip.

Gibbons, 31, had a well-paid job at Meadowbank, a gold mine deep in the Arctic tundra, which took him away for weeks at a time.

But when he was home, he loved to deploy the inherited skills of his ancestors.

‘He was an experienced provider of country food for his family,’ says his uncle, Gordy Kidlapik, 60, a hunting veteran. ‘His father had brought him up that way, and he was good at it.’

Aaron and his children were headed for Sentry Island – seven miles across the bay from Arviat – a popular spot for picnics, hunting and fishing, where they planned to harvest some of its abundant supply of Arctic tern eggs.

In dappled summer sunshine, the island is idyllic – a place of rugged moorland, shingly beaches, and brilliant green shrubs.

Unfortunately, polar bears like tern eggs, too, and the family hadn’t been there long when Gibbons realized that a mature male, 9ft in length from jaws to rump, was stalking them.

He yelled at the children to get back in the boat, and as they scrambled to escape, he stood his ground on the beach. For reasons that remain unknown, he was without his rifle.

The bear pounced, and while his 12-year-old daughter desperately radioed for help, Aaron was mauled to death.

His friend William Tiktaq, 32, told me:

‘That evening, I was in the party that recovered his body. I put a tarp on top of him in the boat, so the salt water wouldn’t get to him. He was badly mauled. There were bites everywhere. It’s not a sight you want to see.’

Six months later Aaron’s death, the first fatal attack by a polar bear in the Hudson Bay area for 19 years, is still a raw and emotional wound, described with sadness and horror by everyone I met.

Its impact was intensified by a second mauling in August, when a mother bear and a cub attacked a group of three Inuit hunters near Naujaat, 500 miles to the north, killing Darryl Kaunak.

‘These deaths have been a blow to the whole community – all of us are in shock,’ Evelyn Qasuk, 43, a mother of four children, told me. ‘

It makes me nervous about my kids walking around outside the house. Everyone says there are more polar bears, and they’re not scared of us. Ten years ago, they’d run when they saw a human. Now they’re no longer shy. They keep on coming.’

Part of a chain of coastal settlements in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory,

Arviat, population 2,800, is a snowy huddle of low, well-insulated buildings and very remote. The nearest road connected to the rest of Canada is at Winnipeg, 800 miles away.

For six days before my arrival, blizzards and ice on the runways had forced the Arctic carrier Calm Air to cancel its Arviat flights.

Last week, Arviat’s minimum temperature hit minus 36C. However, as I rapidly discovered, its people – who are almost all Inuit – are as warm as its weather is brutal.

They also turned conventional wisdom on its head, saying that polar bears are not in crisis, nor even in decline: the main problem, according to the people who know them best, is that there are too many of them.

Climate change – cited as the reason for their imminent demise, due to rising temperatures shrinking the ice essential to their survival – may be altering their behavior, but the Inuit say they are adapting, and remain fat and healthy, and perfectly able to breed.

Scared and exasperated by the threat the bears pose, some Inuit leaders are voicing a demand which, if granted, may trigger a global furor akin to Japan’s decision to resume commercial whaling.

They want to be allowed to increase their permitted polar bear hunting quota to reduce numbers.

Like almost any story about polar bears, the summer maulings were soon slotted into a familiar narrative. They were, it was claimed, one more symptom of climate change caused by humans, which is said to be rapidly driving the bears towards extinction.

‘Without action on climate change, we could see dramatic declines in polar bear numbers by mid-century,’ says campaign group Polar Bears International (PBI). The reason: ‘Loss of their sea-ice habitat and reduced access to their seal prey.’

According to PBI’s conservation director, Geoff York,

‘what we’re seeing across the Arctic as sea ice recedes is that more polar bears are spending time on shore… It is creating that perfect storm of potential for human-bear conflict’.

In places such as Arviat, adds Professor Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta, there might appear to be more bears, ‘but you can’t equate seeing more bears with there being more bears’.

All that was happening was that the bears were spending more time near humans, and hence becoming more visible.

Around the Arctic, polar bears – estimated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to number in total about 26,000 – are divided into 19 ‘sub-population’ groups.

Prof Derocher said he had ‘no hesitation’ in saying that the sub-population in the Arviat region, known as West Hudson Bay, has ‘declined from historic levels’. Eventually, the level would become ‘unsustainable’. Already, he says, the bears have become skinnier and less able to reproduce, while fewer cubs grow to adulthood.

The people of Arviat vehemently disagree, their knowledge derived from centuries of survival in the harshest environment imaginable and co-existence with bears and other wildlife.

Inuit elder David Alagalak, 74, spent his early years living in a traditional stone hut and shot his first adult bear in 1952 when he was nine.

He says: ‘The population in this area has increased by 300 to 400 percent. Everywhere the hunters go, they see polar bears. There are a lot more than in the past.’

William Tiktaq adds:

‘When I was a kid, I didn’t worry about bears. Now you have to keep your eyes open and your ears clean. I wish the scientists from down south who say they’re dying out would come and spend a year, or even five years, and they would know about this increase. If we had scientists living here, they would have a different perspective.’

Mayor Bob Leonard, originally a southerner who has lived in Arviat for 45 years, agrees: ‘Something has happened in the past six or seven years. We never used to see bears, even if we went camping somewhere like Sentry Island. People are angry and afraid.

And because of the claims scientists have made in the past, which turned out not to be true, they don’t care much for what scientists say. You get the sense the world looks at this place as a large zoo and has to have an opinion on it. That can get irritating.’

Since polar bear sightings began to increase, Arviat has employed bear ‘monitors’ who patrol its perimeter and unpaved streets on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs, a type of quadbike) or, when it’s snowy, on ski-doos. Their job: to ‘deter’ bears who pose a threat and chase them away.

One of them is Gordy Kidlapik’s friend Leo Ikhakik, 56. He’s had many close calls – such as the time his ATV’s wheels got snared in a fishing net at a former whaling spot jutting out into the bay: ‘I couldn’t move forward or backward.’

He radioed for help, but by the time it came, ‘there were five polar bears coming towards me, real close’.

On another occasion, the main fuse on his ATV blew when he was at the village dump – ‘the polar bears’ restaurant’, where they find lots of goodies. Fumbling with the electrics, he managed to get it going, once again encircled by five bears.

The first stage in deterring a bear is to fire a blank, ‘crackshot’. The problem, Ikhakik says, is that you’re ‘training a bear not to be scared of it because it knows it won’t get hurt’. Next, he will try a rubber bullet, aiming at the rump.

But if even that doesn’t work, rather than kill a charging bear with a high-velocity rifle round, he will try to hit it with another rubber bullet on the nose.

‘I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stopped a bear like that. They really protect their noses. They find food with them, and that’s how they sense danger.’

Ikhakik and his fellow monitors have become very necessary. In mid-winter, with pregnant bears hibernating and males far out on the sea ice, the danger seems remote, though a huge male was seen at the Arviat dump the night before I arrived. But in warmer seasons, bears have become a constant presence. On some days, Ikhakik has had to deter up to 20. The record is 26.

One day, Kidlapik says: ‘I saw a bear that popped out between two buildings, right after school ended – the children were just going home.’

It chased two girls who, thankfully, managed to get inside their house and shut the door in time.

On other occasions, ‘bears have come right up to local hunters,’ says Kidlapik. ‘They’d be butchering an animal they’d just harvested and it would take it away. One guy had just harpooned a beluga whale and was getting ready to tow it back in his boat. He ended up having a tug-of-war on the beach.

‘Bears get close to fishermen’s nets, then start chasing them, to protect the catch they now see as theirs. It used to be normal to camp out. Today you can’t, because there are too many bears. You might travel 40 miles out in an ATV, but you make sure you get back home, even if it’s the middle of the night.’

Halloween, says Ikhakik, was especially challenging – because ‘there were so many bears around and so many kids on the streets’. They put on extra patrols, but many families decided it was too dangerous for their children to go out. Trick or treating mostly happened within the confines of the community center sports hall.

Many people in Arviat have encountered mortal peril. Tiktaq told me: ‘One time there were three of us, driving in a line on ATVs. My friend was leading and he thought he’d passed a rock. I was in the middle and the rock got up. It was a big, lone male and he started running towards my brother, who was at the back. If he hadn’t swerved, the bear would have got him.’

And, say the Inuit, the bears are not ailing. According to Kidlapik: ‘They’re not coming here because they’re starving. And they’re still mating, still having cubs.’

He illustrates his point with a series of photographs he has taken in and around Arviat in all seasons over the past two years. They show bears of both genders at every stage of life – and all nourished and healthy.

Part of Ikhakik’s job is to record details of every bear he sees and to estimate its weight. He says: ‘You often hear that the lack of ice is killing the bears but it’s not true. The bears are healthy. Once in a while with any species you’re going to come across sick animals: you’ll find skinny, limping caribou. But 95 percent of the time, these are healthy, big, fat bears.

‘I respect people who say there’s a crisis. But when you’re doing bear work, as I do, you’re going to have a better side of the story. They wouldn’t hire me to protect the townspeople if they didn’t need me, and I’m not seeing them dying out.’

So who is right – the scientists and campaigners or what the Nunavut government calls Inuit ‘TEK’ – traditional ecological knowledge? Despite the bears’ iconic status, it is impossible to give a definitive answer.

Scientists use two main methods to estimate the changing size of polar bear sub-populations: ‘mark and recapture’, which requires bears to be tranquilized and tagged, and aerial surveys. But both have huge margins of error.

According to scientists, three of Canada’s 13 bear sub-populations are in decline, including West Hudson Bay.

However, a new Nunavut government bear management plan cites TEK from Inuit communities that contradict this: they say none of the bear populations are shrinking, while nine are increasing.

Meanwhile, a study published in 2016 revealed past cases where TEK and scientists disagreed about bear sub-populations – and claimed the Inuit were eventually proven right.


Australia: Built and paid for by the poor

Sunlight is free, as any number of solar power advocates will remind you.

But converting sunlight into electricity very definitely is not free. This applies even if you do not have solar panels installed at your property.

The costs of solar energy to the general community are created by government subsidies that encourage solar panel installation. This means that your money is financing at a significant level the solar panels being fitted throughout Australia.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, tax-funded subsidies to the one-in-four Australian households that have installed solar panels add $45 a year to the average power bill of every family in NSW.

Analysis of electricity costs by power giant EnergyAustralia shows that Australia’s eight million households are helping to pay off the solar systems of the two million people who can afford them.

If you pay taxes but do not have the spare cash to install solar panels yourself, bad luck. Those taxes will instead help fund the installation of solar panels for those with sufficient wealth to do so.

This is clearly an inequitable arrangement, and it just as clearly hits Australia’s most economically-disadvantaged taxpayers hardest.

In fact, they are hit twice: once by subsidies, and again by higher power costs that in part are due to a continued push for renewable energy sources over reliable and inexpensive coal.

Yet Labor, supposedly the party representing society’s battlers, is poised to make this unfair situation even worse.

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s plan to introduce further subsidies for households that install battery storage for solar systems is forecast to send costs even higher.

Again, further subsidies will only offer a discount to those who are already able to afford their share of battery storage installation. But the less well-off will make up the difference.

“Our concern is not with solar power,” EnergyAustralia chief customer officer Chris Ryan told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s about fairness.

“With electricity prices at record highs, it’s time to look at whether one group of Australians should be paying more for their electricity than they need to for the privilege of funding other households’ solar systems.”

One group of Australians should not be subsidising wealthier Australians. This is a reversal of how charity works. It is Robin Hood giving to the rich.



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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