Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ice loss in Antarctica and Greenland increased sixfold in the last 30 years

The methodology used to arrive at this conclusion looks pretty shaky to me -- easily fudged.  But for the sake of the argument let us assume it is solid gold. The question then becomes:  What is the source of the heat?

The earth is not a perfect sphere.  It is flattened at the poles.  So the magma underlying the earth's crust is closest to the surface there.  So upwelling magma -- volcanoes -- should be more frequent there.  And it is.  Subsurface volcanoes are amply documented at both poles.  So volcanic heat will be an influence on polar temperatures. It will melt a lot of the ice above it.

And that factor explains why Arctic temperatures are often out of sync with global temperatures.  But volcanic activity is erratic so Arctic temperatures will not be different in any regular way.  And that is what we do see with the Arctic.

And there is no reason to believe that Arctic temperatures will even out over time.  They may be higher in one time period than another.  And that is what the article below reports.

So the report below tells us nothing about global warming. It tells us a bit about polar warming but offers no systematic explanation of it

Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice six times faster than in the 1990s, a pair of studies in the journal Nature show.

According to the international team of climatologists behind the research, the unprecedented rate of melt has already contributed 0.7 inches (1.78 centimeters) to global sea level rise in the last three decades, putting the planet on track for the worst-case climate warming scenario laid out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest report. The dreaded scenario, which predicts a total sea level rise of 23.6 inches (60 cm) by the year 2100, would put hundreds of millions of people living in coastal communities at risk of losing their homes — or their lives — to flooding.

"Every centimeter of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people's lives around the planet," study author Andrew Shepherd, a professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds in England, said in a statement. "If Antarctica and Greenland continue to track the worst-case climate warming scenario, they will cause an extra 6.7 inches (17 cm) of sea level rise by the end of the century."

"This would mean 400 million people are at risk of annual coastal flooding by 2100," Shepherd added.

For the new studies, a team of 89 scientists assessed ice loss data from 11 satellites that have been monitoring Antarctica and Greenland since the early 1990s. The data created a detailed picture of how much mass each region's glaciers have lost over the last 30 years, and showed how quickly the remaining ice is flowing into the sea.

The team found that Greenland and Antarctica have lost a combined 7 trillion tons of ice (6.4 trillion metric tons) from 1992 to 2017. Almost all of the lost ice in Antarctica and about half of the lost ice in Greenland is due to warming ocean waters melting the edges of glaciers, causing each region's ice sheets to flow more quickly toward the sea. The rest of Greenland's ice loss is due to warming air temperatures, which melt the ice sheets at their surfaces, the researchers said.

The rate of ice loss in each ice sheet also increased substantially over that period, rising from a combined 89 billion tons (81 billion metric tons) per year in the 1990s to 523 billion tons (475 billion metric tons) per year in the 2010s.

This sixfold increase in the rate of ice loss means that the melting polar ice sheets are responsible for a third of all sea level rise, the researchers said. (Thermal expansion, which causes water to take up more space as it warms, is responsible for much of the remaining sea level rise.)

The accelerated ice loss puts the planet well on the way toward the IPCC's worst-case scenario.


EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler Pulls Back His Agency’s Overreach

Andrew Wheeler recently completed his first year as the official administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and what a busy year it was.

The EPA now accounts for $6.5 billion in deregulatory savings achieved over the course of President Donald Trump’s administration.

A little more than a year ago, The Daily Signal published a piece by one of us about Wheeler’s pending confirmation by the Senate. It noted that the vote would occur as the country was being introduced to the left’s radical Green New Deal proposal.

Well, you don’t hear as much about the Green New Deal anymore. While a lot of that has to do with the absurdity of the proposal itself, from gassy cows to transoceanic trains, a good deal of credit is due to the practical success of the Trump administration’s environmental agenda.

On Feb. 28, Wheeler marked his first year as the Senate-confirmed administrator of the EPA. For those interested in an in-depth look at the EPA during 2019, we would refer you to the agency’s Year in Review, but here are a few highlights that we especially welcomed here at The Heritage Foundation.

Soon, the EPA will finalize a rule that rejects the regulatory games played by the Obama administration in pushing its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, or MATS. Reducing emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants costs more ($9.6 billion annually) than it provides in benefits ($4 million to $6 million annually).

The costs were as much as 2,400 times greater than the benefits, but the Obama administration went forward with the rule anyway, claiming that questionable secondary benefits unrelated to reducing mercury emissions exceeded the rule’s costs.

The Heritage Foundation’s Daren Bakst wrote that, among other problems, the level of overreliance on secondary benefits would make it possible for the EPA to avoid ever having to justify the purpose of its rules, such as reducing mercury emissions.

This new rule puts a stake in the ground to say such abuses will not be tolerated, and is another way the Trump administration and the EPA under Wheeler is stopping the overreliance on ancillary benefits.

Last August, the EPA published the notification of its decision to withdraw from an Obama administration determination that would have preemptively restricted Alaska Pebble Mine owners from even applying for permits to launch mining projects within this resource-rich area.

Once again, the restriction was chalked up as just another arbitrary regulation that puts the hammer down on opportunities for economic success.

“The decision was like a teacher failing a student before he or she even takes the test,” Heritage’s Nick Loris wrote.

Luckily, Wheeler’s notice to withdraw will lift the auto-block to natural resource development projects that would yield us rare earth minerals—a market that China is trying strategically to corner—that are used in both everyday devices and high-grade defense equipment. Shovel-ready progress on the mine still remains subject to litigation.

The EPA issued two new proposals to give states more control over coal-combustion residuals.

Also known as “coal ash,” this material is recycled and reused in a variety of products, such as cement, drywall, and bricks, and even to make plastics lighter. It can be found in major industrial projects across the United States, including the EPA’s own headquarters.

Unfortunately, under the Obama administration, the EPA imposed heavy-handed regulations on how to manage coal ash.

Wheeler’s proposed revisions to these regulations, Loris wrote, “provide the flexibility for utilities to safeguard against potential threats to human health and the environment while providing a sensible framework to allow for coal ash reuse.”

This could play a critical role in reducing the costs of many contemplated infrastructure projects.

In January, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule. The latter rule represented the worst parts of government, all wrapped up in one major example of massive overreach.

Essentially, it was a major power grab by the EPA and the Corps that created confusion and consequences for private land owners due to its overly broad and nonsensical definition of what constituted a “navigable water” and was thus subject to the EPA’s onerous regulations.

Upon issuance of the final replacement rule, Heritage’s Bakst said, “this new rule rightfully rejects the idea that Washington bureaucrats must regulate every drop of water in the country in order to effectively protect our nation’s waters.”

Wheeler’s second full year as the confirmed head of the EPA will be full of challenges and opportunities. They range from implementing the agency’s rule to combat past regulatory abuses to reining in its runaway Science Advisory Board and transparently refocusing it on science.

And, of course, the EPA likely will continue to be a major part of this administration’s deregulatory success.


46 “Climate Change” Denying Statements made by Former IPCC people

An enlightening list of comments from former IPCC contributors once they’ve eventually left the political organization and are no longer subject to any bullying and financial repercussions:

Dr Robert Balling: The IPCC notes that “No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.” This did not appear in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers.

Dr Lucka Bogataj: “Rising levels of airborne carbon dioxide don’t cause global temperatures to rise…. temperature changed first and some 700 years later a change in aerial content of carbon dioxide followed.”

Dr John Christy: “Little known to the public is the fact that most of the scientists involved with the IPCC do not agree that global warming is occurring. Its findings have been consistently misrepresented and/or politicized with each succeeding report.”

Dr Rosa Compagnucci: “Humans have only contributed a few tenths of a degree to warming on Earth. Solar activity is a key driver of climate.”

Dr Richard Courtney: “The empirical evidence strongly indicates that the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is wrong.”

Dr Judith Curry: “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC because I don’t have confidence in the process.”

Dr Robert Davis: “Global temperatures have not been changing as state of the art climate models predicted they would. Not a single mention of satellite temperature observations appears in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers.”

Dr Willem de Lange: “In 1996 the IPCC listed me as one of approximately 3000 “scientists” who agreed that there was a discernible human influence on climate. I didn’t. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that runaway catastrophic climate change is due to human activities.”

Dr Chris de Freitas: “Government decision-makers should have heard by now that the basis for the long-standing claim that carbon dioxide is a major driver of global climate is being questioned; along with it the hitherto assumed need for costly measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions. If they have not heard, it is because of the din of global warming hysteria that relies on the logical fallacy of ‘argument from ignorance’ and predictions of computer models.”

Dr Oliver Frauenfeld: “Much more progress is necessary regarding our current understanding of climate and our abilities to model it.”

Dr Peter Dietze: “Using a flawed eddy diffusion model, the IPCC has grossly underestimated the future oceanic carbon dioxide uptake.”

Dr John Everett: “It is time for a reality check. The oceans and coastal zones have been far warmer and colder than is projected in the present scenarios of climate change. I have reviewed the IPCC and more recent scientific literature and believe that there is not a problem with increased acidification, even up to the unlikely levels in the most-used IPCC scenarios.”

Dr Eigil Friis-Christensen: “The IPCC refused to consider the sun’s effect on the Earth’s climate as a topic worthy of investigation. The IPCC conceived its task only as investigating potential human causes of climate change.”

Dr Lee Gerhard: “I never fully accepted or denied the anthropogenic global warming concept until the furore started after NASA’s James Hansen’s wild claims in the late 1980s. I went to the [scientific] literature to study the basis of the claim, starting with first principles. My studies then led me to believe that the claims were false.”

Dr Indur Goklany: “Climate change is unlikely to be the world’s most important environmental problem of the 21st century. There is no signal in the mortality data to indicate increases in the overall frequencies or severities of extreme weather events, despite large increases in the population at risk.”

Dr Vincent Gray: “The [IPCC] climate change statement is an orchestrated litany of lies.”

Dr Mike Hulme: “Claims such as ‘2500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous … The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was only a few dozen.”

Dr Kiminori Itoh: “There are many factors which cause climate change. Considering only greenhouse gases is nonsense and harmful.”

Dr Yuri Izrael: “There is no proven link between human activity and global warming. I think the panic over global warming is totally unjustified. There is no serious threat to the climate.”

Dr Steven Japar: “Temperature measurements show that the climate model-predicted mid-troposphere hot zone is non-existent. This is more than sufficient to invalidate global climate models and projections made with them.”

Dr Georg Kaser: “This number [of receding glaciers reported by the IPCC] is not just a little bit wrong, it is far out by any order of magnitude … It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing.”

Dr Aynsley Kellow: “I’m not holding my breath for criticism to be taken on board, which underscores a fault in the whole peer review process for the IPCC: there is no chance of a chapter [of the IPCC report] ever being rejected for publication, no matter how flawed it might be.”

Dr Madhav Khandekar: “I have carefully analysed adverse impacts of climate change as projected by the IPCC and have discounted these claims as exaggerated and lacking any supporting evidence.”

Dr Hans Labohm: “The alarmist passages in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers have been skewed through an elaborate and sophisticated process of spin-doctoring.”

Dr Andrew Lacis: “There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department.”

Dr Chris Landsea: “I cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.”

Dr Richard Lindzen: “The IPCC process is driven by politics rather than science. It uses summaries to misrepresent what scientists say and exploits public ignorance.”

Dr Harry Lins: “Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now. The case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.”

Dr Philip Lloyd: “I am doing a detailed assessment of the IPCC reports and the Summaries for Policy Makers, identifying the way in which the Summaries have distorted the science. I have found examples of a summary saying precisely the opposite of what the scientists said.”

Dr Martin Manning: “Some government delegates influencing the IPCC Summary for Policymakers misrepresent or contradict the lead authors.”

Steven McIntyre: “The many references in the popular media to a ‘consensus of thousands of scientists’ are both a great exaggeration and also misleading.”

Dr Patrick Michaels: “The rates of warming, on multiple time scales, have now invalidated the suite of IPCC climate models. No, the science is not settled.”

Dr Nils-Axel Morner: “If you go around the globe, you find no sea level rise anywhere.”

Dr Johannes Oerlemans: “The IPCC has become too political. Many scientists have not been able to resist the siren call of fame, research funding and meetings in exotic places that awaits them if they are willing to compromise scientific principles and integrity in support of the man-made global-warming doctrine.”

Dr Roger Pielke: “All of my comments were ignored without even a rebuttal. At that point, I concluded that the IPCC Reports were actually intended to be advocacy documents designed to produce particular policy actions, but not a true and honest assessment of the understanding of the climate system.”

Dr Paul Reiter: “As far as the science being ‘settled,’ I think that is an obscenity. The fact is the science is being distorted by people who are not scientists.”

Dr Murry Salby: “I have an involuntary gag reflex whenever someone says the science is settled. Anyone who thinks the science is settled on this topic is in fantasia.”

Dr Tom Segalstad: “The IPCC global warming model is not supported by the scientific data.”

Dr Fred Singer: “Isn’t it remarkable that the Policymakers Summary of the IPCC report avoids mentioning the satellite data altogether, or even the existence of satellites — probably because the data show a slight cooling over the last 18 years, in direct contradiction of the calculations from climate models?”

Dr Hajo Smit: “There is clear cut solar-climate coupling and a very strong natural variability of climate on all historical time scales. Currently I hardly believe anymore that there is any relevant relationship between human CO2 emissions and climate change.”

Dr Richard Tol: “The IPCC attracted more people with political rather than academic motives. In AR4, green activists held key positions in the IPCC and they succeeded in excluding or neutralising opposite voices.”

Dr Tom Tripp: “There is so much of a natural variability in weather it makes it difficult to come to a scientifically valid conclusion that global warming is man made.”

Dr Gerd-Rainer Weber: “Most of the extremist views about climate change have little or no scientific basis.”

Dr David Wojick: “The public is not well served by this constant drumbeat of alarms fed by computer models manipulated by advocates.”

Dr Miklos Zagoni: “I am positively convinced that the anthropogenic global warming theory is wrong.”

Dr Eduardo Zorita: “Editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations, even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed.”

The Anthropogenic Global Waming hoax is unraveling.


How Oil Saves the Whales (and May Save Us All)

Google the phrase “fossil fuels are killing us.” The search returns are a collection of wild alarmist claims, including everything from pollution is killing us to storms are killing us to angry mother earth is killing us because it hates us now.

Before the actual COVID-19 pandemic was declared, a European team declared air pollution a “pandemic” that’s killing 8.8 million people a year. Environmental factors such as air quality don't fit the definition of pandemic, which is a widespread disease, but never mind that. Expanding definitions are usually attempts to expand government power, such as the CDC's imperial march into gun control over the past decade or so. The Democrats are running on some variation on the theme, and say they will ban fracking and even fossil fuels themselves if they win, while claiming they're the party of science.

For years before the actual pandemic, fracking was keeping energy costs low and keeping the lights and the medical monitors on in just about every hospital in the country if not the world. Fracking, which has been around and proven safe for fifty years, was saving lives. But ok, try and ban it because reasons.

Meanwhile in reality, the pre-modern human lifespan was around 30 years. Now, in our supposedly polluted, oil-soaked industrial world, the average lifespan has shot up to more than 70 years. The world’s population has topped 7 billion and is growing. is our use of fossil fuels killing us, exactly, when there are more of us now and we’re living longer than ever before? And when deaths from natural disasters, some of which are supposedly caused by climate change, have decreased by about 97% over the last 100 years?

COVID-19 didn't come from using fossil fuels. It may have come from old-school wet markets.

Not only are we living longer than ever while we’re using more fossil fuels than ever (and we have more proven reserves than ever), we’re now using petroleum and its by-products for everything from energy to medical devices and pharmaceuticals, to fabrics and plastics. And the rise of fossil fuels has demonstrably saved the whales the anti-fossil fuel activists claim to love.

History of Light

In 1859, America was on the eve of civil war. Industrialization had arrived, and with it the beginnings of mechanized warfare, mass cultivation and mass production. Our cities were growing and their needs were growing too. We needed power for our industries and we needed light for so many things.

The hunting and killing of whales, mainly right whales, had been around for thousands of years and was big business. Whaling fleets crisscrossed the world’s oceans seeking out whales to slaughter and bring back to the people on land. Whaling was America’s 5th largest industry in 1859. In 1853 alone, whalers killed 8,000 whales, threatening them with extinction. The global whaling industry spawned tycoons with mansions and their own fleets of ships, private navies built to find and kill these gigantic creatures.

Whaling was dangerous and expensive, as you needed ships and crews, but whales provided two major products: meat and oil. Meat could be gotten much more easily by ranching cattle, raising chickens and fishing for smaller sea creatures closer to shore, animals less likely to crush and sink the ships used to hunt them. But whale oil was practically irreplaceable. In 19th-century America, whale oil meant indoor light.

Humans have always had the need to light the night around us. Predatory animals see better in the dark than we do. Those same animals tend to fear fire and light. Lighting the night extends the day, extending hunting time and extending the time humans can use to do things.

We take indoor light for granted now, but in ages prior to ours, night light was far less common though it was needed. It meant keeping creatures and criminals at bay. It meant being able to study books at night, and it meant being able to write your thoughts down after sunset too. Light after darkness meant safety and science and progress.

Fuel for Progress

The means of lighting the night have changed over time. Oversimplifying things a bit, first we burned dung or wood. Ancient humans would chop down every tree around to support their construction and energy needs.

The Chinese are believed to have discovered and first used coal for fires about 3000 to 5000 years ago. Everyone else was still using wood or oils derived from wood or dung. In what became the United States, coal was discovered in 1679 and it and oil made from it soon became the fuel of choice.

Coal was a much better fuel than wood. It burned longer, it burned hotter and it burned more reliably. It was lighter than wood, so it was easier to transport. And as far as anyone knew, there was enough coal underground to burn forever. All we had to do was dig it up. Coal and coal oil was cheap but it was also dirty.

Like whale oil, coal created its own economy and its own classes of tycoons and workers, mansions and shacks. Coal allowed us to make stronger metals, giving rise to taller buildings, stronger ships and the railroads.

Coal saved the trees that we had been cutting down to burn to cook our food and light our nights. And as early as the late 18th century, whale oil began to displace coal for indoor lighting.

Whale oil was not the only source of fuel to burn lamps at night, but it was one of the best. There was also burning oil or camphene, which was made from trees and a mix of chemicals. Whale oil was more expensive but considered better as it was less likely to explode and set your whole house on fire. It was less smelly and burned better than oil derived from animal fat. It was less sooty than coal oil. Whale oil was expensive, at about $2 or more a gallon in the 19th-century economy, but it lit up the night.

And so whaling was big business right up until 1859. The world’s whale population was dwindling and there was a rising consciousness that these majestic creatures were more than mere things to burn. And as whales became more scarce, their oil became more expensive. Whaling became a less viable business, based on the economics.

Black Gold

In 1859, the creation of a different fuel changed the game. That was kerosene, and it was made from the fossil fuel oil we think of today. That oil had been known to exist for thousands of years but had not been discovered in sufficient quantities to spawn an industry. Slicks had been spotted in the oceans. Ancient peoples used it to patch up their boats. But it wasn’t able to power industry and change the world at scale. The invention of kerosene changed that. Not only was kerosene better than whale oil for most uses, it was also a lot cheaper and the discovery of more oil deposits in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states made that fuel less expensive while whale oil’s price was rising. You could buy about three gallons of kerosene for the price of one gallon of whale oil. Kerosene was the more affordable fuel and it won out. To be sure, government policies had a say, but economics was the real driver. Spindletop popped in January 1901, launching the oil age for good. The last American whaler set sail in 1927. The populations of many whale species have bounced back. Many species, including right whales, are still endangered but instead of hunting them, we now protect them.

Whales Saved

So the rise of fossil fuel oil helped save the whales. It allowed us to electrify the world. Petroleum powers your computer and many of the components are made from it, too. You’re probably wearing something that was made from fossil fuels and unless you’re seeing by candle or the fireplace at night, you’re burning dead dinosaurs. Even electric cars are powered mostly by oil, coal or natural gas, with a percentage of nuclear power in the mix.

And the world population has gone up from about 1.2 billion in 1850 to 7.7 billion in 2020. Petroleum became a major world thing in 1859. If fossil fuels are “killing us,” it’s difficult to see how or where.

Something may someday displace fossil fuel oil as our primary energy source. Maybe it will be cleaner for the air, but it will certainly dirty up something else. Economics will drive that change, not any government edict. We will turn to a fuel source that is more reliable and affordable than fossil fuels, if one exists. And whatever that next fuel source turns out to be, there will be no free lunch. Every fuel source requires something, either chemicals or materials, that have to be removed from the ground and re-purposed for our use. Windmills require steel and fiberglass, which require energy to produce, and plastics to coat the wires. Solar panels require metals and rare earth minerals. Both require batteries, which require chemicals. Where those things are located, under the ground and in which countries, who discovers them and who extracts them, will shape politics and the balance of power of the future.

For now, we’re dealing with the declared COVID-19 pandemic. How are we going to create medical devices from syringes to tubes and blood pressure monitors, how will we encase them in plastics, how will we secure them in cars and trucks and aircraft, and how are we going to move devices, drugs and patients to where we need them to be?

Petroleum and its by-products make all of this possible.


British budget hearts car drivers

The Budget unveiled by the government makes it more difficult for the UK to meet its net-zero carbon climate target, academics and environmentalists have warned.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was accused of undermining the goal set by Theresa May just nine months ago after he froze fuel duty yet again – a policy that has cost a cumulative £50 bn since 2011.

As well as making it even cheaper to drive compared with public transport fares, the chancellor announced a £27 bn, 4,000-mile road-building program compared with just £1 bn for green transport.

Environmental groups said that the Budget on Wednesday was “truly awful” and that it “completely destroys any pretense of UK government leadership”.

The Budget comes just months before the UK is due to host the international COP26 summit, where other countries will be asked to make their own contributions to cutting their carbon emissions.

“It is a mistake to freeze the fuel-duty escalator for the 10th year in a row, threatening attainment of UK’s net-zero target, and damaging the UK’s credibility in advance of hosting the UN climate conference in December,” said Steven Sorrell, professor of energy policy at the University of Sussex Business School.

“Car drivers have enjoyed a large price cut in real terms since 2010 since the price of gasoline and diesel has not kept pace with inflation. At the same time, public transport fares have risen faster than inflation, and bus travel has declined.

“Cheap fuel prices have encouraged people to purchase gas-guzzling SUVs, which now account for one-quarter of new car sales. Carbon emissions from transport are rising, and cars now emit more CO2 than power stations. These trends are not sustainable.”



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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