Thursday, April 04, 2019

April 2019 And It’s Snowing In Saudi Arabia!

As Spring is sprung in the northern hemisphere the otherwise arid, hot climes of Saudi Arabia are experiencing a wild week of snow, hail and dream-like fog and ice accumulation.

Locals were quick to post on Youtube video of the unusual conditions:

Most of the snow fell near Tabuk in the Hijazi Mountains.

Usually, April sees an average daily mean temperature of 32 degrees C (90F). No announcements have been made as to whether the record low temperature of 11 C (52F) has been broken, though it seems a distinct possibility after watching the video evidence.

None of the locals dared to build any snowmen. The last time Saudis took part in such “western activities” after a freak snowfall in January 2015, they were condemned by a cleric who called it sinful and “anti-Islamic.” He issued a fatwa (religious ruling) forbidding the activity – though clearly his opinion is not shared by everyone in the country.

The climate of Saudi Arabia is marked by high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night. The country follows the pattern of the desert climate, with the exception of the southwest, which features a semi-arid climate.

This reminds me of how genius climate scientists claimed back in 2000 that ‘Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past’ – ‘Children just aren’t going to know what snow is’ – UK Independent.


The Key Global Energy Trend Isn’t GND, It’s LNG

Renewables get the press, but natural gas is growing much faster.
While the Green New Deal continues to dominate energy discussions in the United States, the rest of the world continues to rely on coal, oil, and natural gas. And of those three, according to a report released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency, natural-gas consumption grew faster last year than any other form of energy, including renewables. That jump in global gas use reflects the soaring growth in U.S. production and exports of that same fuel.

Much of the media attention to the new IEA report focused on the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions, which rose by 1.7 percent last year. The IEA said the increase was due to “higher energy demand propelled by a global economy that expanded by 3.7 percent in 2018.” The report also noted the continuing growth in renewables, which increased by 4 percent.

Renewables such as wind and solar get lots of positive press. But last year renewables were eclipsed by the growth in global gas use, which jumped by 4.6 percent. At that rate, global gas demand could double within the next 16 years or so. The good news about the growth in global gas demand is that it is helping displace coal and liquid fuels for electricity generation — a change that, in turn, is helping reduce air pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. During combustion, gas emits almost zero sulfur dioxide, and it produces about half as much carbon dioxide as coal and about 30 percent less than diesel fuel or fuel oil.

One of the main drivers of the surge in global gas use is the shale revolution. States such as Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Louisiana are all producing record quantities of natural gas. Indeed, the growth in domestic gas production has been nothing short of astonishing. In 2005, U.S. gas production was about 47 billion cubic feet per day. This year, U.S. gas production will average about 90 billion cubic feet per day. That’s an increase of 91 percent in just 14 years.

To put that in perspective, consider this: Since 2005, just the increase in U.S. natural gas production is equal to two times Iran’s natural-gas production, or four times Saudi Arabia’s.

The surge in shale-gas production has transformed both the domestic and the international gas businesses. Domestically, coal-fired power plants are being rapidly replaced by gas-fired ones. Between 2000 and 2017, the amount of U.S. electricity generated by gas-fired power plants more than doubled, while the amount produced from coal fell by nearly 40 percent.

The shale revolution has also made the U.S. a pivotal player in the global liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) business. At the end of 2018, the U.S. was exporting about 4 billion cubic feet of LNG per day. Only Australia and Qatar currently have more LNG export capacity than the U.S., and if all the planned LNG facilities are approved, the U.S. will soon be the world’s biggest LNG exporter. By mid-2020, the Energy Information Administration expects U.S. LNG export capacity will reach 10.6 billion cubic feet per day. Thus, within a year or so, U.S. LNG exports could be nearly equivalent to the entire gas output of Norway, Europe’s biggest single gas producer.

In 2018, the U.S. exported LNG to 30 different countries, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, both of which are major oil producers. It’s an open secret in Houston that Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, is trying to secure a long-term LNG contract with U.S. suppliers. Doing so would allow the Saudis to reduce the amount of oil they are using to generate electricity and replace it with lower-cost LNG from the U.S.

To be sure, Tuesday’s IEA report included other important facts, including the news that global nuclear production grew by 3.3 percent last year due to new reactors starting up in China and the restart of four reactors in Japan. But the key takeaway from the report is that countries all over the world are continuing to pursue economic growth and are using the lowest-cost fuels they can find to fuel that growth. Renewable energy may get the headlines, but the IEA report clearly shows that natural gas — and in particular, low-cost natural gas from the U.S. — is playing an increasingly important role in fueling that growth.


Coffee cup ban: British firm's sales fall by £250k

An independent coffee chain said it has seen sales fall by £250,000 since it banned single use cups last summer. Boston Tea Party (BTP) has called for major national and international brands to follow suit.

Owner Sam Roberts said it had factored the loss in takings into its plans and that too many operators were "putting their profits before the planet".

Rebecca Burgess, chief executive of plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea, praised BTP's "bravery".

The chain, which has 22 branches around England and is based in Bristol, started the ban in June 2018.

Customers must bring a reusable cup, drink in or pay a deposit on a cup they can return to any branch.

How has it affected the business?

Boston Tea Party usually sells £1m in takeaway coffees per year but it is down 25%.

Mr Roberts says thankfully the business is supported by a strong food offer and most customers are supportive of its stance on single use cups. But he agrees a smaller coffee shop would struggle to finance a ban.

He said: "We have lost around 25% of our takeaway coffee sales but we modelled that into our costs as passing trade who don't want to get involved in the cup loan scheme.

"We felt this was a financial loss we had to take and we want this to be a call to action to other companies.

"Those using a 25p off a reusable cup scheme - we know first-hand this has a very low penetration and when we launched that scheme ourselves, only 5% of customers took it up.

"There's too many operators not dealing with the problem and putting their profits before the planet.

"At the moment bigger businesses are deploying a smoke and mirrors strategy and not resolving problems while seeming like they are doing something about it.

"We are 100% committed and there's no going back."

Mr Roberts said the firm had stopped 125,000 cups going to landfill, sold 40,000 reusable coffee cups and raised £12,000 for local charities with the money saved on buying disposable cups - roughly 10 pence for every cup.


Bjorn Lomborg: 95% Fewer Climate-Related Deaths Over Last 100 Years

Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming, joined FNC's Tucker Carlson Monday night to talk about how many people really die from climate-related disasters in 2019 compared to how many did in 1919.

TUCKER CARLSON: I keep hearing from watching television in this country that many people are dying of climate change in the United States. Is it a leading cause of death here?

BJORN LOMBERG: No, by no means and, look, we actually have pretty good data for how many people die from weather-related disasters, so climate-related disasters, and the truth is over the last 100 years it's dropped dramatically. Every year in the 1920s, we estimate about half a million people died around the world. Now, we quadrupled the population and, yet, the number has dropped like a stone. It's 95% reduced. We are now down to about 20,000 people that die every year. This is not because of global warming. This is simply because getting richer means you stop being in trouble when the weather is bad.

TUCKER CARLSON: So if the problem as measured by death rates is getting better, the threat is in decline, why the focus on it? Why not a focus on cancer or diabetes or Alzheimer's or suicide or drug ODs? These are all rising.

BJORN LOMBERG: Yes, absolutely. If you ask people around the world, the U.N. did that a couple of years ago. They asked 10 million people, what do you want us to focus on, they told us not surprisingly if you are really poor you worry about healthcare, food, and education. Those were the top things that came out. At the very end, number 16 of 16 priorities, came global warming. Not surprising, if you are poor. But if you are rich and well-meaning, this is one of the things that you can start worrying about. And, look, global warming is a real problem but it's not anywhere the size of what most people let you believe.

TUCKER CARLSON: So, maybe it's an easy problem for the richest in our society to focus on because it doesn't really require anything of them. They can still fly private and have four houses and be deeply concerned about this problem. Maybe that's why they have chosen it.

BJORN LOMBERG: Well, I think it certainly gives a lot of people a sense of, 'I'm really trying to do something good. Oh, I have cut down. I'm no longer eating meat,' or something like that. The reality, of course, is if you really wanted to cut carbon emissions dramatically as many people talk about, you would have to experience a cost that would be much, much higher. If you take, for instance, the Green New Deal, Bloomberg estimates, and this is just one of many estimates that it would cost every year about $2.1 trillion, that's two-thirds of the U.S. budget. So, no, we can't afford that even if you did, the impact would be fairly small in 100 years. It would be a very small and inefficient way of helping people very little.

TUCKER CARLSON: Okay. So assuming this is about helping people and I don't believe that it's clearly about grabbing power. Let's pretend it's about helping people. In the name of helping them, you would probably wind up killing more than you would save because poverty does kill people. We know that.

BJORN LOMBERG: Exactly. What you have to be very careful about is to say, how do you go and help people, for instance in Bangladesh and other places? Well, a lot of people will say we need to cut carbon emissions so that they will have less of a problem in 100 years. Of course, the reality is most people in Bangladesh want to get out of poverty. We should help them by having more free trade, having more opportunity, having more technology. Those are the things that will make them much richer so that when 2100 comes around they will not only be better able to tackle global warming, but also all the other challenges: Alzheimer's, cancer, all the other problems you were talking about.

TUCKER CARLSON: So you're a man that talks about science, who is fluent in the terms of science. How do you feel when you start hearing politicians discuss scientific issues with theological terms. Talking about the morality of your society, and making claims to their own virtue? Does that make you uncomfortable?

BJORN LOMBERG: Well, I'm an economist, actually, so I look at all what the scientists are telling us. They are telling us global warming is a problem, but it's also a moderate one. They tell us by the end of the century, global warming will cost somewhere between 2% and 4% global G.D.P.

Remember, by then, we will be about 10 times richer per person. So, about 1,000% richer and then we have to pay 2% to 4%. That's a problem. Not the end of the world. When politicians go out and tell us we have got to go morally do something that's really nice, cutting off meat, or not driving your car, or something, in order to pacify this problem, they are simply talking against the better opportunity of actually dealing with this problem. Because that's not going to happen. You can't tell people to do this.

What you need to do is focus on technology. Well, Americans and everyone, have had many problems in the past. We have not solved those problems by telling people, could you please do with less? What we have done is through technology, enabled people to do more with less. Actually enabled people to be better off with technology. This is all about innovation. We need to innovate the price of green energy down below fossil fuels. And then, of course, everyone, not just rich and well-meaning Americans and Europeans, but the Chinese and Indians will want to switch.


Why Canadian ‘climate porn’ is ineffective

If you’re gullible enough to believe it was pure coincidence that a doomsday report by federal climate scientists on global warming was released on the same day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed his carbon tax on four provinces, I have a proposition for you.

I would like to sell you some oceanfront property in Alberta caused by rising ocean levels due to global warming.

The report breathlessly warns Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

But that’s hardly surprising since Canada is a big, northern country and it’s long been known warming is occurring faster at the North Pole and in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth.

The report says the adverse impacts on Canada are “effectively irreversible” and will be felt for hundreds of years, even if Canada and the rest of the world succeeds in lowering industrial greenhouse gas emissions to avoid even worse warming.

Trudeau and Co. obviously wanted the release of this report on the same day (Monday) it imposed their new federal carbon tax on Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, in order to portray everyone who opposes the tax as “climate deniers.”

Except that effort was inadvertently bushwhacked on Tuesday when federal environment commissioner Julie Gelfand, in her final report, said the Trudeau government isn’t doing enough to combat climate change and isn’t on track to meet Trudeau’s 2030 target of reducing Canada’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels.

This consistent with decades of failures by Liberal and Conservative governments to meet every emission target they’ve ever set.

Last year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted humanity had just 12 years to avert catastrophic warming, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pegged it at two years to avert “runaway climate change.”

This is nothing new.

It’s called “climate porn”, a phrase coined in 2006 by the United Kingdom’s Institute for Public Policy and Research, a progressive think tank, to describe the alarmist rhetoric that permeates public discussion of climate change, following an extensive review of government and environmental websites and media coverage.

In their paper, “Warm Words: How are we telling the climate change story and can we tell it better?” authors Gill Ereaut and Nat Segnit concluded:

“Climate change is most commonly constructed through the alarmist repertoire – as awesome, terrible, immense and beyond human control … It is typified by an inflated or extreme lexicon, incorporating an urgent tone and cinematic codes.

“It employs a quasi-religious register of death and doom, and it uses language of acceleration and irreversibility.

“The difficulty with it is that the scale of the problem as it is shown excludes the possibility of real action … by the reader or viewer. It contains an implicit counsel of despair – ‘the problem is just too big for us to take on’.”

It’s also counter-productive because people simply don’t believe Trudeau government rhetoric that while climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to humanity, it can be solved by a carbon tax that will make 80% of us richer.

I mean, seriously. Who are these people kidding?



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