Sunday, November 17, 2019


SUVs in the gun again: Soaring demand for SUVs is cancelling out the "benefits" of electric cars

The increasing demand for sports utility vehicles is eliminating the emissions savings made by those who have switched to electric cars, the global energy watchdog has warned.

There has been a sixfold increase in SUVs since 2010, from 35 million to 200 million, and they now account for 40 per cent of new car sales, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It said that nearly all manufacturers had increased advertising of the cars because they tended to provide higher profit margins.

The share of motor sales in Britain taken by SUVs rose from 21 per cent in 2014 to 39 per cent last year, according to separate analysis of industry data by the green group Transport & Environment. Four of Britain’s top ten best-selling cars last month were SUVs — the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Range Rover Evoque.

SUVs consume 25 per cent more fuel per mile than a medium-sized car because of additional weight and poorer aerodynamics. They were responsible for all of the growth in oil demand, of 3.3 million barrels a day, from passenger cars between 2010 and 2018, with total fuel consumption from other types of car falling slightly, the agency said.

If the sales trend continued, SUVs would be responsible for an additional two million barrels of oil a day by 2040, offsetting the savings from nearly 150 million electric cars. The IEA said the car industry planned to offer 350 electric models by 2025 but they would mainly be smaller cars as SUVs were “harder to electrify”. It forecast that global annual sales of electric cars would rise tenfold by 2030 from two million last year. Even so, electric cars would still account for less than 7 per cent of the world’s fleet.

The agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report said: “Unless there is a major change in consumer preferences, the recent boom in SUV sales could be a major obstacle towards developing cleaner car fleets.”

Boris Johnson pledged yesterday to invest an extra £500 million in rapid charging points for electric cars to ensure that drivers would never be more than 30 miles from one.

SUVs have become the second fastest rising source of greenhouse gas emissions globally after power generation, according to the IEA.

Almost half of all cars sold in the US are SUVs, although the agency noted that “this trend is universal”, making up 42 per cent of sales in China, 30 per cent in India and 27 per cent in South Africa.

SUVs produced 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide last year, a rise of 544 million tonnes on 2010, higher than the growth in emissions from heavy industry, lorries, aviation and shipping. The IEA said that male and younger drivers were more likely to buy SUVs.

The AA said that cheap car finance was partly responsible because it meant that more people could afford an SUV. The government’s decision to charge a standard rate of £140 a year in road tax after the first year for all cars, regardless of emissions, had also reduced the incentive to buy a more fuel efficient car.

Luke Bosdet, an AA spokesman, said that lack of gritting in winter prompted some people to buy SUVs while for others the motivation was “a bit of keeping up with the Joneses”.

Greg Archer, UK director of the campaign group Transport & Environment, said: “The growth in SUV sales is the main reason CO2 emissions from new cars have been rising. This is making it harder for carmakers to achieve targets for reducing emissions.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said drivers valued SUVs for their “style, higher ride and commanding view of the road”. It said that average CO2 emissions from new SUVs, or “dual-purpose” cars, had fallen by more than 43 per cent since 2000.

SOURCE






Climate Change is the Least of the Causes of California's Wildfires

Arlington, VA - Biologist Jim Steele, who for more than a decade ran San Francisco University's Sierra Nevada Field Campus and currently serves as a member of the CO2 Coalition, a Virginia-based group of 50 climate scientists and energy economists who use research to explain why they believe people should not be alarmed by the rise in carbon dioxide, finds the increase in wildfires in California since the 1970s has been caused by changes in forest management, not climate change.

In a new piece at science publication WattsUpWith That, Steele outlines a detailed scientific rebuttal to media claims that CO2-driven warming is to blame for California's devastating wildfires, based on tree-ring research at the field campus. It disputes a CNN story,California wildfires burn 500% more land because of climate change based on this study by lead authors Park Williams and John Abatzoglou.

After identifying the primary causes of California's fires, none of which is an increase in average temperature, Steele concludes:

"Doing my best Greta Thunberg imitation, I say to climate alarmists, 'How dare you misrepresent the causes of wildfires. How dare you imply less CO2 will reduce human ignitions and reduce surface fuels and the spread invasive grasses. Bad analyses lead to bad remedies - your bad science is stealing Californian's dreams and your false remedies distract us of from the real solutions."

"Bad analyses cause bad remedies, and here is why Williams and Abatzoglou's last paper exemplifies a bad scientific analysis," writes Jim Steele, the 32-year director of San Francisco State's Sierra Nevada field campus. "Analyzing changes in California's burned areas from 1972 to 2018 they claimed, "The clearest link between California wildfires and anthropogenic climate change thus far, has been via warming-driven increases in atmospheric aridity, which works to dry fuels and promote summer forest fire." But natural cycles of low rainfall due to La NiƱas also cause dry fuels. The increase in burned area is also attributed to increases in human ignitions such as faulty electrical grids, to increased surface fuels from years of fire suppression, and to changes in vegetation that increased the abundance of easily ignited fine fuels like annual grasses.

Furthermore, temperatures in some local regions experiencing the biggest fires have not been warming over the past 50 years (See temperature graphs in this essay's last segment. Data from Western Regional Climate Center). All those factors promote rapid wildfire spread and greater burned areas. Although good science demands separating those contributing factors before analyzing a possible correlation between temperature and area burned, Williams and Abatzoglou oddly did not do so! That's bad science."

Via email from https://co2coalition.org/




The Green New Deal Isn’t Just Expensive. It’s Also Bad Environmental Policy

We’re not hearing much about the Green New Deal these days, but it’s still a priority for some candidates, as anyone who’s attended a recent Bernie Sanders rally can attest.

Criticism of the Green New Deal tends to center on cost and rightly so. It would be extremely expensive. Researchers estimate it would take more than $5 trillion just to switch from coal, nuclear, and natural gas to 100% renewables.

But even if you set economic concerns aside, an ironic fact remains: In the United States and around the world, the central planning policies at the heart of the Green New Deal have a horrible track record for the environment.

Governments in countries such as Venezuela and China (or in the past like the Soviet Union and Cuba) either routinely mismanage and waste resources or ramp up production with little to no accountability for environmental damage that comes with it. The absence of price signals reduces the incentive to be more efficient and do more with less.

In addition, the absence of property rights reduces the incentive to conserve and gives government-controlled industries a free pass to pollute without compensating or protecting its citizens.

The Green New Deal would massively expand the size and scope of the federal government’s control over activities best left to the private sector. It would empower the feds to change and control how people produce and consume energy, harvest crops, raise livestock, build homes, drive cars, and manufacture goods.

Secondly, the Green New Deal would result in a number of unintended consequences. For instance, policies that limit coal, oil, and natural gas production in the United States will not stop the global consumption of these natural resources. Production will merely shift to places where the environmental standards are not as rigorous, making the planet worse off.

Moreover, it’s not as if wind, solar, and battery technologies magically appear. Companies still have to mine the resources, manufacture the product, and deal with the waste streams.

There are challenges to disposing potentially toxic lithium-ion batteries and solar panels, or even wind turbine blades that are difficult and expensive to transport and crush at landfills. While these are solvable problems, they’re seldom discussed by Green New Deal proponents.

There would also be massive land use changes required to expand renewable power. Ben Zycher at the American Enterprise Institute estimates that land use necessary to meet a 100% renewable target would require 115 million acres, which is 15% larger than the land area of California.

Two recent National Bureau of Economic Research papers underscore the unintended consequences of energy policy on human well-being. One found that cheaper home heating because of America’s fracking revolution is averting more than 10,000 winter deaths per year. The Green New Deal would wipe all of that away, and reverse course by mandating pricier energy on families.

Another paper found that the Japanese government’s decision to close safely operating nuclear power plants after Fukushima increased energy prices and reduced consumption, which consequently, increased mortalities from colder temperatures. In fact, the authors estimate that “the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself.” Unintended consequences.

Another hallmark of bad environmental policy is focusing on outputs, not outcomes. According to the frequently asked questions sheet released along with the Green New Deal, it is “a massive investment in renewable energy production and would not include creating new nuclear plants.”

One would think that if we only have 11 or 12 years to act on climate change, we’d want to grab the largest source of emissions-free electricity we can get. But that’s not the case.

That’s typical for most big-government environmental policies: They’re so focused on prescriptive ways to control peoples’ behaviors that they crowd out or ignore opportunities for innovative solutions.

The reality is that environmental policies aren’t good for the environment if they’re so bad for people. The costs of the Green New Deal would be devastatingly high for households. Government policies that drive up energy bills are not only very regressive, but they would also harm consumers multiple times as they pay more for food, clothes, and all of the other goods that require energy to make.

By shrinking our economy by potentially tens of trillions of dollars, the Green New Deal will cause lower levels of prosperity and fewer resources to deal with whatever environmental challenges come our way. That’s a bad deal for our economy and our environment.

SOURCE





Planners versus people

Writing in Slate, bicycle activist and journalist Alex Baca argues that the Green New Deal has a big blind spot: It doesn’t address the places Americans live. Sprawl, she claims, along with the transportation and other issues it creates, is perhaps the largest contributor to climate change.

Baca mocks progressive Berkeley, California, for spending $40 million to renovate a parking garage a block from a subway station (albeit with rooftop solar, electric-vehicle charging stations, spots for car-share vehicles, rainwater capture, and water treatment). This, she says, shows that “progressive Democrats remain unwilling to seriously confront the crisis of climate change,” given that America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is transportation.

In Baca’s view, Green New Dealers should stop building roads that promote suburban and exurban greenfield developments. On top of retrofitting buildings, why don’t “we” build more housing closer to jobs centers and reallocate what we spend on building new roads to paying for public transit. “We,” of course, implies government mandates that force compliance.

The late Henry Hazlitt, author of Economics in One Lesson, in a 1962 speech warned that when we discuss “economic planning,” we must be clear concerning what it is we are talking about. “The real question being raised is not: plan or no plan? but whose plan?”

Hazlitt asserted that planners want to substitute their own plans for the plans of everyone else, often by laying down a government-backed “master plan” that individuals dare not deviate from. Of course, government planners assure us, “the only persons who are going to be coerced are those whose plans are ‘not in the public interest’.”

Daniel John Sobieski, in American Thinker, called Greta Thunberg’s celebrated voyage “a fossil fuel–supported stunt [that] was not about climate and not about real sacrifice. It was about shaming the Industrial Revolution and capitalism, things that have reduced planetary poverty to historic lows and fueled technologies that have raised the global standard of living to historic highs that more people than ever before share in.”

Sobieski pegged Thunberg’s voyage as “not about climate … [but] about creating a climate of fear, a picture of imminent planetary doom that can only be forestalled by government’s control of every aspect of our lives, from the energy we use to the food we eat to the land we use to our modes of transportation. Everything from cows to combustion engines is bad.”

Ever since the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, U.S. Presidents have lauded Agenda 21, a grandiose United Nations scheme to reorganize the world to save the planet from climate change. But as a 2014 CFACT editorial explained, “The only way Agenda 21 can work is to deny private citizens their private property rights.“ This should not have been surprising, given that the UN has long maintained that “public control of land use is … indispensable.”

Indeed, Agenda 21 stated clearly that “Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market…. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”

Sobieski reminded us that enviro-socialist globalists believe that a fragile Earth itself is on the brink, “and humanity is the plague infecting it.” In his view, “The globalists are hammering out an agenda that will determine not only how many people there will be, but where they will live, how they will live, and what governments will permit them to do in order to save the planet.”

Baca’s article demonstrates a major flaw in much of enviro-socialist planning. Zillow states that the current median home value in Berkeley is $1.25 million, and the median rent price is $3,775 per month. Is there any wonder people commute to work?

A 2015 study by the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office advised the Legislature to change its policies to facilitate significantly more private home and apartment building in California’s coastal urban areas. The study, however, warned that doing so “would require the state to make changes to a broad range of policies that affect housing supply … including policies that have been fundamental tenets of California government for many years.”

In short, the study states that California will have to reverse decades of planning to solve the affordable housing crisis the planners themselves created. Baca’s plan is based on her theory that “sprawl” is inefficient, thus people should be herded into more concise spaces – in a nation where “going to the country” has been a dominant theme throughout its history.

SOURCE





Australia: Climate alarmists are brazen opportunists preying on misery

Chris Kenny writes well below but omits what is probably the most important point:  Global warming CANNOT cause drought.  Global warming would induce more evaporation off the oceans  which would come down as MORE rain, not less.

So the widespread claims that the fires are caused by  of global warming because global warming has induced drought are just another Greenie fraud. Drought is if anything a sign of cooling, not warming. It is true that drought does dry out the vegetation and thus encourages fires but what causes drought?

Nobody knows exactly.  All we know is that Australia is very prone to it.  Australian farmers often go for years without seeing rain -- which is why there is a lot  of irrigation


Like a struck match in the bush, global warming is the spark that triggers a destructive firestorm in public debate. Heated on emotion, fanned by sensationalist media and fuelled by ideology, it burns through common sense, reason and decency, showing no respect for facts or rational thought.

Climate alarmists are using tragic deaths and community pain to push a political barrow. Aided by journalists and others who should know better, they are trying to turn a threat endured on this continent for millennia into a manifestation of their contemporary crusade.

It is opportunistic, transparent, grisly and plain dumb. Contributions this past week take lunacy to new levels in an ominous sign for public discourse. In this land of droughts and flooding rains — Dorothea Mackellar’s “flood, fire and famine” — we now confront an extra injury every time the weather tests us; silly and reckless posturing from climate alarmists trying to prove their point.

History doesn’t matter to them, nor the facts. Rather than consider reality they proffer an almost hallucinogenic alternative, pretending their political gestures will deliver cooler, damper summers unsinged by bushfires.

This repugnant rhetoric must be called out; facts and science must prevail. But engaging in this debate must never be interpreted as downplaying the severity of what has occurred — four deaths, hundreds of properties destroyed, lives changed and trauma ongoing. It is only to say this is the perennial horror of our sunburnt country that will bedevil this land long after all of us, our children and our children’s children are gone.

Australia’s natural history is impossible to interpret without reference to fire; plants evolved to survive bushfire and depend on it for propagation. Indigenous heritage demonstrates an understanding of fire in managing vegetation, protecting kin and hunting animals. Since European settlement our story is replete with the menacing scent of disaster and tragic episodes.

Victoria has suffered most, in 1851 with a dozen people killed, along with a million sheep and five million hectares burned. In 1926, 60 dead; in 1939 there were 71 dead and just five years later at least 15 died. In the 1960s dozens were killed in Victoria in numerous years and just 10 years ago on Black Saturday 173 lives were lost along with more than 2000 houses.

In South Australia and Tasmania there is a similar repetition of tragedy, often during the same heatwaves, only with smaller and sparser populations the casualties are lower. Still, the toll is horrific; 62 people died in the Tasmanian fires of 1967.

Wetter summers and drier winters make the NSW fire season earlier and less intense, with blazes common in late spring. Devastating blazes have been regular, taking multiple lives on multiple occasions in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Yet so much coverage and commentary in the past week would have it that the latest tragedy is a new phenomenon. Rare as it is for the rainforests of northern NSW and southern Queensland to burn, it happens.

Back in September, Joelle Gergis of the Australian Nationa University’s Climate Change Institute wrote in Guardian Australia about how “I never thought I’d see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis?”

The Climate Council member wrote: “As a scientist, what I find particularly disturbing about the current conditions is that world heritage rainforest areas such as the Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland are now burning.”

But such fires predate climate change: “A bushfire in Lamington National Park today swept through a grove of 3000-year-old Macrozamia palms,” The Cairns Post reported on October 25, 1951. “These trees were one of the features of the park … the fire has burnt out about 2000 acres of thick rainforest country.” That is rainforest burning in Lamington National Park 70 years ago.

Journalists, often encouraged by authorities, have written about the “unprecedented” nature of the Queensland fires. Yet newspaper searches tell a different story. Toowoomba’s The Chronicle in 1946 reported winter fires in late Aug­ust: “From Bundaberg to the New South Wales border … hundreds of square miles of drought-stricken southeastern Queensland were aflame.” Two years later in The Central Queensland Herald there were reports on September 30 of “An 800-mile chain of bushfires fed by dry grass stretched tonight along the Queensland coast from Cairns to Maryborough.”

Earlier this year, former NSW fire commissioner, now ­climate activist, Greg Mullins told ABC radio: “There’s fires breaking out in places where they just shouldn’t burn, the west coast of Tasmania, the world heritage areas, wet rainforest, subtropical rainforest, it’s all burning — and look, this is driven by climate change, there’s no other explanation.”

But The South Australian Chronicle of February 1915 reported lives lost and the “most devastating bushfires ever known in Tasmania sweeping over the northwest coast and other districts. The extent of the devastation cannot be over-estimated.” And in 1982 The Canberra Times detailed a “huge forest fire” burning out 75,000ha of dense rainforest on Tasmania’s West Coast.

Terrible as our fires are — often the worst in a generation or more — they are not abnormal in our landscapes, in our climate. A sober discussion in the global warming context might argue that, across time, our endemic bushfire threat could increase marginally rather than diminish with extra rain.

But to suggest the threat is new or can be diminished by climate policy is to pile false hope and mind-numbing stupidity on top of alarmist politicking.

This week, journalists and politicians have wilfully misrepresented claims from NSW fire authorities that they had never confronted so many emergency-level fires at once. An unprecedented number of fires, especially when deliberately lit, has more to do with expanding population than climate.

There also has been much ­hyperbole about the fire rating of “catastrophic”; a new category added to the rating system after Victoria’s 2009 fires to ensure greater community responsiveness. CNN International went heavy on our fires, saying half of Queensland was facing bushfire emergency.

The US-based broadcaster ran a Nine Network report by Airlie Walsh declaring it was the “first time in history Sydney had been met with such catastrophic conditions”. This was typical of the misleading reporting; it was merely the first time the “catastrophic” category had been invoked since it was introduced a decade ago.

Back in 2009, the ABC reported how the additional category was about raising awareness: “Victorian Premier John Brumby said in the last fire season, only five days would have been classified as code red. The new fire warnings system will provide the community with a better understanding of the level of bushfire threat on any given day based on the forecast weather conditions, he said in a statement.”

CNN also used our fires as the basis for an interview with David Wallace-Wells, author of The ­Uninhabitable Earth. He was asked “how dangerous” it was that our Prime Minister “doesn’t actually want to tackle the problem”. This, in the modern parlance, is fake news.

Wallace-Wells, without resort to science, asserted Australia was ­already “suffering intensely” from climate change which, according to him, was responsible for our current drought. He also wrongly claimed our government was not taking any “meaningful action” on climate.

As a national park staffer, and having studied and trained at bushfire management, I experienced one of the Ash Wednesday infernos in 1983. Temperatures well over 40C, tinder-dry bush in the steepest parts of the Adelaide Hills and winds gusting towards 100km/h; this was hell on earth, when fires become a storm and only survival counts.

I missed the worst of it but joined the mop-up — a miserable task amid burned homes, melted cars and the smell of death — ­before helping to extinguish blazes over following days. No one who was there will ever say they’ve seen worse.

People who have seen bushfires only on television can have no idea, and those who experience the horrors of a firestorm won’t get into silly comparisons. In her nonfiction account of Victoria’s Churchill fire on Black Saturday, Chloe Hooper relays first-person accounts.

“The flames were lying down because the wind was howling through.” “It was basically hailing fire.” “It was like a jet engine, I’ve never heard a noise like it and then the penny dropped — it was the fire coming.” “Trees ignited from the ground up in one blast, like they were self-exploding.”

All of this is so lethal, terrifying and devastating — and always has been. It insults all those who have been lost before to pretend it is worse now.

Heat, wind and fuel are what drive our fire threat, and the worst conditions will involve hot, dry conditions and gale force winds across a heavy fuel load. The only factor we can realistically control is fuel — hazard reduction is crucial but often resisted.

While drought can limit the fire threat in some areas by inhibiting grass and shrub growth, the big dry has turned the forests of northern NSW and southern Queensland into tinderboxes. This situation is directly linked to the drought, so the critical question is whether there is a connection between the drought and climate change.

The most authoritative assessment of this came in June from the director of the Centre for ­Climate Extremes, Andrew Pitman. (I have inserted an additional word, in brackets, that Pitman and his centre later said should have been included.)

“This may not be what you expect to hear but as far as the climate scientists know there is no (direct) link between climate change and drought.

“Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented but there is no reason a priori why climate change should make the landscape more arid.

“And if you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last 100 years there’s no trend in data, there’s no drying trend, there’s been a drying trend in the last 20 years but there’s been no drying trend in the last 100 years and that’s an expression of how variable the Australian rainfall ­climate is.”

Pitman is no climate sceptic. These are just the scientific facts. Yet his comments are fastidiously ignored by most media except to deliberately reinterpret them.

Mostly preferred are unfounded prognostications from people such as businessman cum green campaigner Geoffrey Cousins telling Radio National Breakfast “everyone in this country now understands the link between climate change and these fires”.

Or Greens leader Richard Di Natale telling the Senate that global warming is “supercharging these megafires”.

What a confluence: media eager to elevate a sense of crisis; political actors exaggerating to advance a cause; horrendous threats that require no embellishment; public fascinated by weather patterns; and information from official authorities feeding the frenzy (revised fire danger categ­ories; weather bureau rainfall records starting only from 1900, therefore eliminating the first five years of the Federation drought; historical temperature readings revised downwards so that this January a record capital city maximum was declared in Adelaide despite a maximum one full degree higher being recorded in January 1939).

When cold, hard analysis of facts is required, we see wild claims constantly made and ­seldom tested.

Di Natale and ­fellow Greens Adam Bandt and Jordon Steele-John stoop so low as to blame these fatal fires on the ­government, dubbing it “arsonists”. Former fire chiefs gather to suggest, with straight faces, that some additional climate change action from government could have quelled these fires. It is as ­offensive as it is ­absurd, but it is seldom called out by a complicit media.

Even Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has conceded that if we were to eliminate all our nation’s greenhouse gases (about 1.3 per cent of global emissions) it would do “virtually nothing” to the ­climate.

The real situation is even more hopeless, of course, because ­global emissions continue to rise. So, the first crucial furphy perpetrated daily by the virtue signallers is that Australian action can control the climate.

It is too ridiculous to be ­repeated yet it is, seriously, and daily. We also constantly hear, as we did on CNN, claims Australia is doing nothing; this ignores our Paris commitments, energy upheaval and the latest report from ANU experts Andrew Blakers and Matt Stocks. They found the country is on track to meet its Paris emissions reduction targets, investing 11 times the global average in renewable energy.

This has not, and will not, cool our summers or quell our bushfires. Still, even if we magically could freeze the climate — setting it permanently at whatever it was in the 1950s, 1850s or 1750s — we know we would still face catastrophic fire conditions in many, if not most, fire seasons.

Many commentators this week have done what they often do when the green left over­reaches; they say the debate has gone too far at either end.

This is intellectually dishonest; one side of this argument urges getting on with the hard task of battling our brutal and ever-present bushfire threat, the other side is playing inane and opportunistic politics.

No one has cut through the nonsense and sanctimony better than The Weekend Australian’s cartoonist, Johannes Leak. He has given us the brattish little arsonist sitting on his mother’s lap being told, “Don’t blame yourself darling, that bushfire you lit was caused by climate change.”

Then there was “Total Fire Bandt” who was fighting bushfires by installing solar panels while others confronted the flames. And Leak showed the Greens sacrificing the economy in a pointlessly pagan attempt to appease an ­ominous blaze.

The overwhelming majority of Australians, who comprehend the omnipresent bushfire threat, would agree with these points. But our debate is shaped by a media/political class far removed from practical realities, more afraid of the chill winds of the ­zeitgeist than a blistering hot northerly.

SOURCE 

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1 comment:

bill bedford said...

Tony Heller has a graphic that shows the source of the Australian droughts -- The country is surrounded by cold water.

https://realclimatescience.com/2019/11/drought-caused-by-cold-water/