Thursday, January 31, 2019

US temperatures so low you can get frostbite in five minutes

And people still believe in global warming??  Climate is the sum of weather

A deadly polar vortex so intensely cold it can give people frostbite and hypothermia in as little as five minutes is sweeping parts of the United States.

Seventy-five per cent of the country’s population — about 220 million people — will be hit with the freezing temperatures this week, with the Northeast and Midwest forecast to be worst hit, CNN reports.

The Associated Press reports temperatures across 12 states have been forecast to be the coldest in at least a generation, if not in history.

Temperatures in Chicago are expected to go as low as minus 32C. Minnesota has had wind chills of minus 52C, AP reported.

Governors in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan have declared emergencies in their states.

The dangerous weather event has forced the cancellation of thousands of flights, with airlines waiving the usual fees for flight changes.

At least four people have died as a result of the below-freezing temperatures.

They included a man who was struck and killed by a snow plough in Chicago, a young couple whose SUV hit a car on a road in Indiana and a man in Milwaukee who was found frozen to death in a garage.

Schools across the Midwest region have been closed and workers have been sent home.

Authorities are warning about hypothermia and frostbite, which they say could come on after just five minutes of being exposed to the intensely cold outdoors.

These are actually a public health risk and you need to treat it appropriately and with that effort,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “They are life-threatening conditions and temperatures.”

About 160 warming centres have opened up in Chicago, where the wind chill could make weather feel as cold as minus 45C, officials said.

Authorities are working with shelters and churches to move homeless people off the streets as temperatures continue to plunge.


Germany to shutter all 84 coal-fired plants to fight climate change

Blackouts will quickly open them again

Germany is planning to shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over a 19-year span in an effort to combat climate change.

A 28-member government commission announced the commitment on Saturday, with chairman Ronald Pofalla saying that it marked an "historic accomplishment," according to The Los Angeles Times.

“It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” Pofalla said at a news conference in Berlin. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”

The Times noted that the announcement was significant considering coal plants account for 40 percent of Germany's electricity. The plan calls for $45 billion in spending to mitigate the pain in regions where coal is widely used. The recommendations from the commission are expected to be adopted by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The move to close coal-fired power plants comes about six years after Germany announced plans to phase out all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Twelve of the nation's 19 nuclear plants have been shut down so far, according to The Times.

The Times reported that the decision to shutter coal-burning and nuclear plants will result in Germany counting on renewable energy to supply 65 to 80 percent of the country's power by 2040.

Renewable energy accounted for 41 percent of the country's power in 2018, making it the leading source of electricity.

The commission's recommendations would mean that about 24 plants would be closed within the first three years of the plan. Just eight coal-burning plants would remain by 2030 if the plan were carried through how its intended.

The move could impact thousands of citizens, as about 20,000 jobs are directly linked to the coal industry.


In Vermont, a progressive haven, emissions spike forces officials to consider drastic action

It’s a state that prides itself on purity: its pristine land, progressive politics, even its ice cream. So it was no surprise when Vermont sought to lead the way in cutting carbon pollution, vowing to reduce greenhouse gases from the state’s power plants, cars, and other sources by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 and 50 percent by 2028.

Those goals, set by lawmakers in 2005, were significantly more aggressive and made before similar pledges in Massachusetts and other states. But 14 years later, the zeal in the Green Mountain State has yielded not so much cleaner air, but embarrassment.

A report released last year found that emissions had actually increased 16 percent over 1990 levels, a startling divergence from the goal.

“It wasn’t just disappointing and ironic, it was surprising,” said Sandra Levine, a senior attorney based in Vermont for the Conservation Law Foundation. “Many thought we were at least moving in the right direction. But we weren’t just missing the target, we were moving backward.”

The state’s failure to reduce emissions reflects the steep challenges in the way of radical energy efficiency, particularly at a time of low gas prices and strong economic growth. It isn’t the product of organized opposition but of up-country habits.

Among the factors tripping up the state are the preference for gas-guzzling pickups in rural parts and the reliance on wood for heat.

“Inertia is a powerful thing, but we’re going to need to break through it,” said Johanna Miller, energy and climate director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council, an advocacy group. “The state is falling behind and the time to act is short.”

The failure to meet its lofty goals has implications far beyond Vermont, a reminder that far more sweeping changes will be needed if such goals are to be met, here and across the nation.

A preliminary analysis released this month by the Rhodium Group, a research firm in New York, found that carbon emissions in the United States rose by 3.4 percent last year — the second-largest annual gain in more than two decades. It was surpassed only in 2010, as the nation emerged from the Great Recession.

In Vermont, long, frigid winters demand a lot from the state’s power plants, a challenge that increased in 2014 when the state’s only nuclear power plant closed. Drafty old homes are another source of waste and an example of the need for increased emissions, as are the state’s many wood-burning stoves and dairy farms.

Natural gas has replaced dirtier fossil fuels such as oil and coal, yet most emissions are coming from the transportation sector, mirroring the national trend.

In 2015, exhaust from trucks and cars was responsible for more than 43 percent of Vermont’s emissions, according to the state’s latest statistics.

Much of the blame falls on the aging pickup trucks, the state’s most commonly registered vehicles, which many residents often drive alone. The state also has a disproportionate number of tourists who clog its mountain roads on their way to ski resorts or leaf peeping.

A 2017 state report found that Vermont drivers log significantly more miles than the national average, a rate that was increasing more than twice as fast as in other states. With sparse development and little public transit, Vermont was 11th highest in the United States in terms of the amount of miles driven per resident, the report found.

“We have major challenges in addressing these issues,” said Peter Walke, deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. “Ultimately, it comes down to thousands of individual choices.”


Demo/Green New Deal Strengthens Russia and China

By hitting the U.S. military with deep cuts, "saving the planet" could have a dangerous result.

The Green New Deal has become a big deal, with a fair bit of the coverage it’s receiving being due to the fact that Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been pushing it. The fact is, her star power (in the media’s mind) is giving this program a boost. But this leftist scheme isn’t just about saving the environment from the ravages of capitalists. It would also give Russia and China a huge boost.

Aren’t “progressives” always touting how green energy is something that will benefit America? Well, it’s all in the not-so-fine print about the Green New Deal. You see, it calls for at least a 50% cut in military spending.

Take our current Air Force, which has seen massive cuts in its fighter squadrons. Even that tight budget would be cut in half. Look at our Navy, with too few hulls in the water as it is. That goes from 11 carriers to six — which would leave it in a one-to-one ratio with China’s planned carrier expansion. Our overstretched Army goes from a mere 10 divisions to five. The Marines Corps would take hits, too, in this drastic slashing of our capabilities.

What does that mean in real-world terms? Well, right now, we’d already be hard-pressed to deal with Russian aggression against Europe and Chinese power plays in the South China Sea. Our military, while it is very capable, is still too small. We fought the War on Terror with too small a force, and we’re paying today for George W. Bush’s failure to sufficiently increase the force structure after 2001.

Our current efforts against radical Islamic terrorist groups would, of necessity, also be crippled. Worse, America would be abandoning key allies in the Middle East, which would rebound to the benefit of Russia and China. With NATO already unreliable, many Eastern European nations could be compelled to again accept subjugation to Russia.

America’s allies in the Pacific would, in the best case, have to arm themselves — including with nukes — to make up for the drastic drop in American capabilities. Even then, the South China Sea would be dominated by the butchers of Beijing. That doesn’t help the cause of peace on earth at all.

Many of those who loudly support the Green New Deal are the ones who would back the nonsense claim from the likes of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) that Donald Trump somehow is a Russian agent. But the actions tell a very different story. In 2012, many of these folks cheered when Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia our biggest geopolitical foe, even though Romney was right all along.

On the other hand, President Trump has taken tough action against Russia. He has worked to restore our military readiness. He’s also been hitting Vladimir Putin in the wallet by expanding American oil and gas production and promoting exports, thereby not only reducing the size of the Russian pie, but also getting a slice of the pie for the United States. Oh, and Russia’s about to lose one of its client states as Venezuela moves to topple Nicolas Maduro’s regime, and the United States is happy to help shove it over the edge. Makes you wonder if Democrats are only tough on Russia because it’s a way to get Trump, not out of any real concern about Putin’s ugly track record of thuggery.

Green New Deal proponents should be asked some very tough questions about the geopolitical effects of the military cuts. After all, we wouldn’t want to be aiding Russia and China, now, would we?


Australia's energy crisis: Heatwave-struck residents are hit with a $1.1BILLION power bill over just two days as temperatures soared towards 50C

Heatwave-struck residents across two Australian states were hit with a $1.1 billion bill for just 48 hours' worth of energy last week.

As temperatures climbed to well over 40C last week in Victoria and South Australia, residents racked up a $944million bill for Thursday and a further $178 million bill for Friday, according to The Australian.

The figures come from an analysis of consumer demand and spot market prices, which energy experts said were at a 20-year high of over $3300/MWh (megawatt hour) and climbed to $14,500/MWh for about five hours.

Although electricity prices are worked out in advance through hedging contracts, experts have said that consumers will feel the effects of the price spike in the long term.

'When retailers need to contract, the generators know they will be petrified, and they are more likely to achieve higher prices than they otherwise would,' Victorian Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain told the publication.

In the last decade electricity prices for consumers have risen 117 per cent, more than four times the average price rise for other services, according to the ABC.

The Grattan Institute think tank released a report in 2018 saying three main factors were to blame for the rise: major power plants closing due to high maintenance costs, rises in the price of gas and coal, and the market being 'gamed' by energy generators.   

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said more investment in power generation was needed to bring costs down. 'The underlying tightness of the market in these southern states risks more of these pure price setting days. The high price of power on these days alone justifies investment in reliable sources of power, such as coal-fired power,' he said.

The heatwave last week caused blackouts in 200,000 Victorian homes as residents rushed to switch on their air-conditioners and the hot weather put stress on infrastructure with transformers overheating.

Three coal-fired power units also failed, which prompted the market operator to order the blackouts at 12pm on Friday as a load-shedding measure.

Electricity prices are unlikely to drop anytime in the near future as experts warn the price of gas remains high and building new generation plants, using existing fossil fuels or renewables, is expensive and the cost will be passed on to consumers. 



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


No comments: