Sunday, May 24, 2020

Another Crack in the Climate Censorship Wall

In 'Reading Seawater," a review essay in the December 2019 issue of the science journal Inference, Lawrence University geosciences professor Marcia Bjornerud wrote that changes in ocean chemistry from carbon dioxide emissions damage shell health and may be leading to mass extinctions. Professor Bjornerud also argued that as deep oceans remove CO2 from the surface today, they "regulate" the climate.

Ecologist Patrick Moore, the chair of the CO2 Coalition, submitted a footnoted response to Inference disputing Professor Bjornerud's conclusions. In another sign of a reopening of debate in mainstream journals on claims of CO2-driven climate catastrophe, Inference printed the response in its May 2020 issue. This spring, the Chronicle of Philanthropy also printed an exchange on such claims.  However, daily news sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and CNN continue to refuse to print critiques of their climate narrative. 

Dr. Moore's response, below, is followed by the relevant excerpts from the Bjornerud article. The CO2 Coalition will shortly be publishing a more detailed White Paper on this topic, Ocean Health: Is there an 'Acidification' problem? This summary of decades of research on CO2 and ocean health was prepared by biologist Jim Steele, long-term director of San Francisco State University's Sierra Nevada research campus.

Here is Dr. Moore's letter to Inference, published May 4, 2020:

To the editors:

Marcia Bjornerud has written a tour de force on the history and chemistry of the oceans. She ties many aspects of the world's seas together in a thoughtful narrative. There are, however, a few subjects on which I believe some comments are needed.

Bjornerud asserts that "leakage of carbon from the surface into the deeper ocean is, in fact, essential for climate regulation" and that "this process, known as the carbon pump, has partly offset anthropogenic increases in CO2 arising from the combustion of fossil fuels." No evidence can be found in the geological record going back 500 million years that the oceans have regulated the climate by absorbing CO2. During this period, there is little correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature. There is no support for a causal relationship.

During this 500-million-year history, atmospheric CO2 has declined from at least 6,000 parts per million (ppm) to 180 ppm. It reached its lowest level during the last major glaciation, 20,000 years ago. Far more CO2 has been sequestered into sediments as fossil fuels and carbonate rocks, such as limestone, than has been released back to the atmosphere. If this process had continued without anthropogenic emissions, CO2 would eventually have been reduced to lower than 150 ppm, leading to the eventual death of plant life. In this light, emissions can be seen as inadvertently rescuing life on earth from an early demise due to continued sequestration of an essential ingredient for all life.1

Even at the present 415 ppm, of which 135 ppm are due to industrial emissions, CO2 is still a limiting factor for the growth of most plants, including farm crops and trees. The anthropogenic increase in CO2 has raised crop production globally by 15 to 30 percent since 1900. Field experiments show that the expected increase in the next 100 years will have an even greater impact.2 It is standard procedure for commercial greenhouse growers to elevate CO2 to 800­-1200 ppm, increasing growth and yield 20-50 percent.3

Bjornerud also asserts that "excess CO2 in seawater can eat away at the shells of the tiny calcitic organisms that help to sequester carbon in mineral form." She refers to the contention that higher CO2 levels in seawater will result in ocean acidification that harms aquatic species, especially those that produce calcium carbonate from CO2 and calcium to build protective shells. There is no evidence to support this hypothesis. Marine and freshwater calcifying species survive in a wide variety of pH values, including freshwater species of clams, mussels, and crayfish that calcify in the acidic range at pH 6 and lower.4

There is no conceivable atmospheric CO2 concentration that will result in offshore ocean pH becoming lower than an alkaline 7.5, let alone neutral 7.0, in the foreseeable future.5 Many of the calcifying species evolved when atmospheric CO2 was 4,000 ppm or higher. These include the microscopic phytoplankton coccolithophores, the zooplankton foraminifera, the molluscs, marine arthropods, and corals. It is primarily these species that have removed large amounts of CO2 from the oceans in order to armor themselves with shells. Human emissions of CO2 have inadvertently reversed the worrisome depletion of CO2, the primary food for all carbon-based life on earth.

In her final paragraph, Bjornerud states, "All the mass extinction events evident from the fossil record have been linked to variations in ocean chemistry," and that "the demise of the dinosaurs, for example, can be attributed in large part to oceans poisoned by the constituents of the carbon and sulfur-rich rocks vaporized by the Chicxulub impactor." The cause of the Permian extinction is widely contested and there is no consensus on any of the suggested explanations. The only extinction for which there is relatively good evidence is that of the dinosaurs at 65 million years BP, which was coincident with a large asteroid striking the Yucatan peninsula. It is surmised that the asteroid penetrated the earth's crust. This caused a vast amount of material to be thrown into the stratosphere, where it remained for years, blocking the sun, ending most photosynthesis, and cooling the earth until it cleared. It is difficult to imagine how a change in ocean chemistry could eliminate all the terrestrial dinosaurs in addition to the marine species. It is not difficult to imagine that both terrestrial and marine species would die out for lack of photosynthesis and the food it provides.

Bjornerud concludes, "For this reason, some of the changes in ocean chemistry observed during the Anthropocene ought to give pause. The magnitude of these changes is comparable to the Great Dyings of the geologic past." It should be noted that the proposal to adopt the term "Anthropocene" has not yet been approved by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which oversees the official geologic time chart.6 On the question of CO2 emissions, there is simply no possibility that current emissions could make the oceans toxic for marine life.

Joy Ward et al. "Carbon Starvation in Glacial Trees Recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits, Southern California," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102, no. 3 (2005), doi:10.1073/pnas.0408315102. ↩
"What Rising CO2 Means for Global Food Security," CO2 Coalition, February 23, 2019. ↩
T. J. Blom et al., "Carbon Dioxide in Greenhouses," Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Government of Ontario, December 2002. Yunpu Zheng et al., "The Optimal CO2 Concentrations for the Growth of Three Perennial Grass Species," BMC Plant Biology 18, no. 27 (2018), doi:10.1186/s12870-018-1243-3. ↩
Wendell Haag, North American Freshwater Mussels: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), doi:10.1017/cbo9781139048217. ↩
Caitlin Kennedy, "Ocean Acidification, Today and in the Future," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, November 3, 2010. ↩
Meera Subramanian, "Anthropocene Now: Influential Panel Votes to Recognize Earth's New Epoch," Nature, May 21, 2019, doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01641-5. ↩

Here are the relevant excerpts from "Reading Seawater" by Professor Bjornerud:

On CO2-driven "acidity" and shell health: "Some of the carbon in organic matter is reoxidized-that is, decomposed and converted to CO2 again-which is one factor causing the oceans to become more acidic. Excess CO2 in seawater can eat away at the shells of the tiny calcitic organisms that help to sequester carbon in mineral form." 

On changes in ocean chemistry and mass extinction: 
"All the mass extinction events evident from the fossil record have been linked to variations in ocean chemistry, such as widespread acidification, anoxia, and associated perturbations to the carbon cycle.... For this reason, some of the changes in ocean chemistry observed during the Anthropocene ought to give pause. The magnitude of these changes are comparable to the Great Dyings of the geologic past."

On climate regulation:

"(L)eakage of carbon from the surface into the deeper ocean is, in fact, essential for climate regulation.... This process, known as the carbon pump, has partly offset anthropogenic increases in CO2 arising from the combustion of fossil fuels."

Email from tThe CO2 Coalition []

Calls to add ‘climate change’ to death certificates – New study demands ‘climate change’ be added as ‘pre-existing condition’

Professors in academia are touting a new study that is being used to call for “climate change” to be added as a cause of death on death certificates. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” co-author Dr Arnagretta Hunter, from The Australian National University (ANU) Medical School, said. The study was published May 20, 2020 in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Given the focus on COVID-19 infection rates and death tolls, it appears the climate activists in academia may want in on the scary and emotional death toll counts in order to draw attention back to their climate cause.

Hunter explained: “There is second component on a death certificate which allows for pre-existing conditions and other factors. “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.”

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke.” …  “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from coronavirus,” Dr Hunter said.

The study claims: “Death certification needs to be modernized, indirect causes should be reported, with all death certification prompting for external factors contributing to death, and these death data must be coupled with large-scale environmental datasets so that impact assessments can be done.”

Statistician Dr. Matt Briggs reacted this way: “They discovered a way to boost fear and keep control!” Briggs added, “Daily body counts blasted from the evil media, ‘Over 100 people died from climate change today, raising questions about … blah blah…'”

But the climate skeptic blog Tallbloke was not receptive to claims that “climate change” should be added to death certificates. “Climate alarmists yet again strain credulity to the limit, no doubt hoping to stir up guilt in the populace about energy use,” the blog noted.

A comment on the Tallbloke blog also ridiculed the study’s claims, noting: “Australia must have a lot of health threats if the ‘single greatest’ one accounts for 2% of the mortality rate.”


Destroying Virginia’s environment to save it

By Paul Driessen

Mere weeks after Governor Ralph Northam signed a partisan “Clean Economy Act” that had been rushed through the state legislature, Dominion Energy Virginia announced it would reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To do so, the utility company will raise family, business, hospital and school electricity bills by 3% every year for the next ten years – as they and state and local governments struggle to climb out of the financial holes created by the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown.

Just as bad, renewable energy mandates and commitments from the new law and Dominion’s “integrated resource plan” will have monumental adverse impacts on Virginia and world environmental values. In reality, Virginia’s new “clean” economy exists only in fantasy land.

The infamous Vietnam era quotation, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it,” may or may not have been uttered by an anonymous US Army major. It may have been misquoted, revised, apocryphal or just invented. But it quickly morphed into an anti-war mantra.

For Virginia, it could reemerge as “we had to destroy our environment in order to save it.” (The same will be true for any state that travels this make-believe “clean, green, renewable, sustainable” energy path.)

Supposedly to reduce emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, Dominion Energy plans to expand the state’s offshore wind, onshore solar and battery storage capacity by some 24,000 megawatts of new (pseudo)renewable energy by 2035 and far more after that. It will retain just 9,700 MW of existing natural gas generation, and only through 2045, build no new gas-fired units, and retire 6,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation. The company also intends to keep its four existing nuclear units operating.

To “replace” some of its abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel electricity, Dominion intends to build at least 31,400 megawatts of expensive, unreliable solar capacity by 2045. Dominion estimates that would require a land area some 25% larger than Fairfax County, west of Washington, DC.

Fairfax County is 391 square miles (250,220 acres). It has more than 23,000 acres (36 square miles) of parks. That means Dominion Energy’s new solar facilities alone will blanket 490 square miles – 313,000 acres – of what are now beautiful croplands, scenic areas and habitats, teeming with wildlife.

That’s nearly half the land area of Rhode Island. It’s eight times the District of Columbia – and nearly 14 times more land than all Fairfax County parks combined. All will be blanketed by imported solar panels, plus more land for access roads and new transmission lines. Just for Dominion. Just for solar.

And those solar panels will actually generate electricity maybe 20-25% of the year, once you factor in the nighttime hours, cloudy days, and wintertime, early day and late afternoon to evening times when the sun is not shining brightly enough to generate more than a tiny smidgeon of electricity.

Dominion and other Virginia utility companies also plan to import and install over 400 monstrous 850-foot-tall offshore wind turbines – and tens of thousands of half-ton battery packs, to provide backup power for at least a few hours or days when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. They will supposedly prevent the economy from shutting don’t even more completely during each such outage than it has during the Corona lockdown.

Most of these solar panels, wind turbines and batteries – or their components (or the metals and minerals required to manufacture those components) – will likely come from China or from Chinese-owned operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America … under mining, air and water pollution, workplace safety, fair wage, child labor, mined land reclamation, manufacturing and other laws and standards that would get US companies unmasked, vilified, sued, fined and shut down in a heartbeat.

However, those laws and regulations do not apply to most of the companies and operations that will supply the supposedly “clean-tech” technologies that will soon blight Virginia landscapes.

Thus far, no one has produced even a rough estimate of how much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, lithium, cobalt, silica, rare earth metals and countless other materials will be needed. All of them will require gigantic heavy equipment and prodigious amounts of fossil fuels to blast and haul away billions of tons of rocky overburden; extract, crush and process tens of millions of tons of ores, using explosives, acids, toxic chemicals and other means to refine the ores; smelt concentrates into metals; manufacture all the millions of tons of components; and haul, assemble and install the panels, turbines, batteries and transmission lines, setting them on top of tens of thousands of tons of cement and rebar.

No one has tallied up the oil, natural gas and coal fuel requirements for doing all this “Virginia Clean Economy” work. Nor the greenhouse gases and actual pollutants that will be emitted in the process.

Nothing about this is clean, green, renewable or sustainable. But neither Dominion Energy nor Virginia government officials have said anything about any of this, nor about which countries will host the mining and other activities, under what environmental and human rights standards.

When will we get a full accounting? Just because all of this will happen far beyond Virginia’s borders, does not mean that we can ignore the global environmental impacts. Or that we can ignore the health, safety and well-being of children and parents in those distant mines, processing plants and factories. This is the perfect time to observe the environmentalist creed: think globally, act locally. Will that be done?

Will Dominion and Virginia require that all these raw materials and wind, solar and battery components be responsibly sourced? Will it require independently verified certifications that none of them involve child labor, and all are produced in compliance with US and Virginia laws, regulations and ethical codes for workplace safety, fair wages, air and water pollution, wildlife preservation and mined lands reclamation? Will they tally up all the fossils consumed, and pollutants emitted, in the process?

Science journalist, businessman and parliamentarian Matt Ridley says wind turbines need some 200 times more raw materials per megawatt of power than modern combined-cycle gas turbines. It’s probably much the same for solar panels. Add in the backup batteries, and the environmental and human health impacts become absolutely mindboggling in their scale.

If you ignore all the land and wildlife impacts from installing the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and transmission lines – you could perhaps call this “clean energy” and a “clean economy” within Virginia’s borders. But beyond those borders? A compelling case could be made that the world would be far better off if we just built modern combined-cycle gas turbines (or nuclear power plants) to generate electricity in the first place – and avoided all the monumental human and ecological impacts of pseudo-renewable energy.

And when it is time to select sites for these 490 square miles of industrial solar facilities, will Virginia, its county and local governments, its citizens, environmentalist groups and courts apply the same rigorous standards, laws and regulations – for scenic views, habitats, wildlife and threatened or endangered species – as they do for pipelines, drilling, fracking, coal and gas power plants, and other projects? Will they apply the same standards for 100-foot-tall transmission lines as they do for buried-out-of-sight pipelines?

Virginia’s Clean Economy Act will likely plunge every project and every jurisdiction into questions of race, poverty and environmental justice. Dominion Energy and other electric utilities will have to charge means-tested rates (even as rates climb 3% per year) and exempt low-income customers from some charges. They will have to submit construction plans to environmental justice councils – even as the utility companies and EJ councils ignore the rampant injustices inflicted on the children and parents who are slaving away in Chinese, African and Latin American mines, processing plants and factories.

Talk about breaking new ground. It will be interesting to see how Governor Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, and other Virginia government, utility and industry officials handle all these fascinating issues.


The dark side of renewable electricity

The “Praise the Lord” (PTL) empire that preacher Jim Bakker built with wife Tammy crumbled thirty years ago. Today, it seems like we’re being mesmerized again in the press and social media. The rhetoric is about dispensing with thousands of products from petroleum derivatives so we can save the world from human destruction by switching to industrial wind and solar generated electricity.

Everyone knows that electricity is used extensively in residential, commercial, transportation, and the military. All of which to power motors, lite the lights and make all our medications and medical equipment. Yet it’s the thousands of products that get manufactured from crude oil that are used to “make” those motors, lights, medications and electronics.

We’ve had almost 200 years to develop clones or generics to replace the products demanded by society that we get from crude oil. The social needs of our materialistic societies are most likely going to remain for the products that have become part of our daily lifestyles, and for continuous uninterruptable electricity, not just intermittent electricity from wind and solar.

Despite the preaching about these renewable saviors, it’s becoming obvious that due to their intermittency, unreliability, and their inability to replace any of the derivatives from petroleum, societies around the world may not be too thrilled about needed social changes to live on just electricity.

Electricity is one of those products that came AFTER the discovery of oil. All the mineral products and metals needed to make wind turbines and solar panels rely on worldwide mining and transportation equipment that are made with the products from fossil fuels and powered by the fuels manufactured from crude oil.

A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. Never discussed by the GND or Paris Accord sponsors are the questionable and non-transparent labor conditions and loose, or non-existing, environmental regulations at the mining sites around the world for the products and metals required for renewables. To meet the goals to go “green” will most likely cause a rare earth emergency as those “green” goals require a massive worldwide increase in mining for lithium, cobalt, copper, iron, aluminum, and numerous other raw materials such as.

A list of the sixteen components needed to build wind turbines are: Aggregates and Crushed Stone (for concrete), Bauxite (aluminum, Clay and Shale (for cement), Coal, Cobalt (magnets), Copper (wiring), Gypsum (for cement), Iron ore (steel), Limestone, Molybdenum (alloy in steel), Rare Earths (magnets; batteries), Sand and Gravel (for cement and concrete), and Zinc (galvanizing).

A list of the seventeen components needed to build solar panels are: Arsenic (gallium-arsenide semiconductor chips), Bauxite (aluminum), Boron Minerals, Cadmium (thin film solar cells), Coal (by-product coke is used to make steel), Copper (wiring; thin film solar cells), Gallium (solar cells), Indium (solar cells), Iron ore (steel), Molybdenum (photovoltaic cells), Lead (batteries), Phosphate rock (phosphorous), Selenium (solar cells), Silica (solar cells), Silver (solar cells), Tellurium (solar cells), and Titanium dioxide (solar panels).

The origins of the products for wind and solar are mined throughout the world, inclusive of more than 60 countries of Algeria, Arabia, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Congo (Kinshasa), Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, and Zambia.

The signatories to the Green New Deal (GND) and Paris Accord, to sunset the fossil fuels industry for a world surviving on renewable electricity would also sunset its own renewable industry that’s supposed to be the salvation for the world, as there would be no components to build the turbines and panels!

All mining and processing activities to get the iron ore and other metals that go into turbine manufacturing, transporting the huge blade beasts to the sites, and decommissioning them, are all energy intensive activities that rely on fossil fuels and the products from crude oil and leave difficult wastes behind to dispose of during decommissioning.

The useful life of wind turbines is limited, generally from 15 to 20 years, but none of the decommissioning plans are public. Mining projects, oil production sites, and nuclear generation sites are required to provide for decommissioning and restoration details down to the last dandelion. Would governments and greenies allow a decommissioned mine, oil or nuclear site similar latitudes given to renewable sites?

We can be preached to forever about “clean electricity” messages, and bedazzle farmers with the prospects of on-going revenue from renewables. However, the extensive mining worldwide for materials for millions of wind turbines and solar panels, and the decommissioning and restoration details, and the social changes that would be necessitated for societies to live without the thousands of products from petroleum derivatives remain the dark side of the unspoken realities of renewables.

The dark side of renewable wind, solar and biofuel energy is that they are not clean, green, renewable or sustainable. They are horrifically destructive to vital ecological values that will last for generations to come.



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.  

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