Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wildlife populations have declined by 68% since 1970—and it’s humanity’s fault

The WWF is a propaganda outfit.  And, like the dictators of the 20th century, they like big numbers. The dictators had elections with around 98% of the vote being for the dictator. They were somehow oblivious that such numbers simplty made them look absurd

 The WWF are only a little behind. About wildlife populations we read here:

"Most importantly, what lies behind this 68% figure is the inequality in population losses in different regions on the globe. A staggering 94% decline in LPI has taken place in the tropical subregions of Latin America and the Caribbean"

94% of wildlife has disappeared in Latin America?  That's nearly all of it. That teeming wildlife in the Amazon and other Southern jungles does not exist apparently. Believe it only if you need to.  WWF propaganda is just as stupid as most other propaganda

Over the past 50 years, as human activity has skyrocketed—with our global population increasing by nearly four billion, and consumption, global trade, and deforestation all soaring—we’ve lost, on average, more than two-thirds of world’s wildlife populations. And with that cost to our natural world comes dire consequences for our own health.

That’s according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. The Living Planet Report is a biannual study from WWF on trends in biodiversity and the health of the planet. Looking at nearly 21,000 monitored populations of more than 4,300 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians around the world, this year’s report found that between 1970 and 2016, the size of those populations fell an average of 68%. Some species fared even worse. Wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean saw an average decline of 94%, and freshwater species around the world have dropped 84% on average.

Our planet’s biodiversity “is being destroyed by us at a rate unprecedented in history,” the authors write. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has led to the loss of tens of millions of hectares of forests and more than 85% of the world’s wetlands. Of all the Earth’s ice-free land, 75% has been “significantly altered,” and our oceans have been largely overfished and polluted.

Currently, climate change is not the biggest driver of this biodiversity loss. It’s our food production, mainly the conversion of native habitats into agricultural systems. Agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation, meaning if we want to stem this biodiversity loss, we need to transform our food systems. As time goes on, though, climate change will become an even bigger driver.

That’s alarming for our plant and animal populations, and also for us. Humanity overspends its biological budget—meaning we take more from the Earth to sustain our lifestyles than the planet can regenerate—every year. We’re living each year, per the report, as if we have 1.56 Earths. As we lose more and more biodiversity, we lose the resources to sustain humanity’s demand, and that in turn will harm our health, wealth, and security.

This is a sign of our “broken” relationship with nature. “These wildlife population trends would be devastating enough taken as an independent metric—but they aren’t independent. Wildlife population trends are an overall indicator for the health of our planet,” says Jeff Opperman, WWF’s Global Freshwater Lead Scientist, over email. “When one alarm bell is ringing this loudly—a 68% decline in average species populations—that means the whole system is off balance. That matters to people because nature provides us with everything: nutritious food, clean air, clean water, medicine.”

Nature and biodiversity also protect humans, he adds, and we’re already seeing the effect of that loss of protection. In 2019, Africa had its largest outbreak of desert locusts in decades, India and Pakistan experienced extreme droughts and heat waves that forced tens of thousands to leave their homes, and more than 10 million hectares—the size of Iceland—burned in Australia’s wildfires. This year has brought a new, worldwide consequence of these global changes: the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we may not know the complete origins of the novel coronavirus, we do know that 60% of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, and the emergence of such diseases is correlated with high human population density, and driven by deforestation and the increased harvesting of wildlife.

“Yes, these trends can actually be reversed. It really is possible, but it will take global conservation strategies along with a transformation of the way we produce and consume as humans, especially for our food system,” Opperman says. We just need to heed these warnings—the pandemic, the fires—of biodiversity loss, and do something about it. He’s optimistic we will. “Young people today really understand this because they are growing up in a world that’s already seeing the impacts of climate change. Unlike previous generations, they don’t need to be convinced that this is a problem, or that it’s not just a side issue,” he says. “I’m not only optimistic but I’m confident that there will be changes to come that will help biodiversity recover and reverse the trends we’re seeing now.”


“New Little ICE Age Instead of Global Warming?” by Dr Theodor Landscheidt

Among the long list or scientific papers suggesting that a solar-driven spell of global cooling is on the cards, Dr Theodor Landscheidt’s ‘New Little ICE Age Instead of Global Warming?‘ probably has the claim of priority.

Published in 2003, just a year before his death, Landscheidt’s research is standing the test of time, and is still largely on course to be proved correct.

The paper’s abstract begins:

‘Analysis of the sun’s varying activity in the last two millennia indicates that contrary to the IPCC’s speculation about man-made global warming as high as 5.8C within the next hundred years, a long period of cool climate with its coldest phase around 2030 is to be expected.’

Crucially, in the growing list of research concluding that a solar-driven multidecadal spell of global cooling is on the cards (research from multiple studies of quite different characteristics), the year 2030 ALWAYS features prominently. Unlike the IPCC, which tosses its thermageddon doomsday date back and forth like a hot potato, researchers who track the multimillennial plays of the cosmos (namely those of the Sun) routinely land on the year 2030 as being the date of ‘climate deterioration’: this in itself should serve as compelling evidence.

Dr Landscheidt continues:

‘It is shown that minima in the 80 to 90-year Gleissberg cycle of solar activity, coinciding with periods of cool climate on Earth, are consistently linked to an 83-year cycle in the change of the rotary force driving the sun’s oscillatory motion … As the future course of this cycle and its amplitudes can be computed, it can be seen that the Gleissberg minimum around 2030 and another one around 2200 will be of the Maunder minimum type accompanied by severe cooling on Earth. This forecast should prove skillful as other long-range forecasts of climate phenomena, based on cycles in the sun’s orbital motion, have turned out correct as for instance the prediction of the last three El Niño years before the respective event.’

Dr Landscheidt concludes his introduction with the IPCC’s position on global warming, and he points to a growing list of publications showing a solar-climate connection:

‘The IPCC’s judgement that the solar factor is negligible is based on satellite observations available since 1978 which show that the Sun’s total irradiance, though not being constant, changes only by about 0.1 percent during the course of the 11-year sunspot cycle. This argument, however, does not take into account that the Sun’s eruptional activity (energetic flares, coronal mass ejections, eruptive prominences), heavily affecting the solar wind, as well as softer solar wind contributions by coronal holes have a much stronger effect than total irradiance. The total magnetic flux leaving the Sun, dragged out by the solar wind, has risen by a factor of 2.3 since 1901 (Lockwood et al., 1999), while global temperature on earth increased by about 0.6°C. The energy in the solar flux is transferred to the near-Earth environment by magnetic reconnection and directly into the atmosphere by charged particles. Energetic flares increase the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation by at least 16 percent. Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs this excess energy which causes local warming and circulation disturbances. General circulation models developed by Haigh (1996), Shindell et al. (1999), and Balachandran et al. (1999) confirm that circulation changes, initially induced in the stratosphere, can penetrate into the troposphere and influence temperature, air pressure, Hadley circulation, and storm tracks by changing the distribution of large amounts of energy already present in the atmosphere.’

Moving on, Section 3 of the paper includes this golden nugget:

‘If the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) were the dominant cause of the observed rise in global temperature, the trend of this rise would be similar to the continuously rising CO2-trend  after Peixoto and Oort (1992).

The increase in surface temperature from 1890 to 1940 was steeper and smoother than in the current warming phase since the early 1980s though the rate of anthropogenic emissions at that time was only 10% of the present rate. From 1940 through the late 1960s temperatures were falling in spite of the fast rise of anthropogenic CO2-emissions.

A closer look shows that nearly all Gleissberg minima back to 300 A.D., as for instance around 1670 (Maunder minimum), 1810 (Dalton minimum), and 1895, coincided with cool climate in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas Gleissberg maxima went along with warm climate as for instance around 1130 (Medieval climate optimum). The degree of temperature change was proportional to the respective amplitudes in the Gleissberg cycle. During the Maunder minimum solar activity was minimal and during the Medieval Climate Optimum very high, probably even higher than in the six decades of intense solar activity before 1996.’

In subsequent sections, Dr Landscheidt’s paper delves into ‘the length of the 11 year solar cycle and temperature’, it looks at ‘the relationship between solar eruptions and global temperature’, as well as the ‘forecast of deep Gleissberg minima and cold climate around 2030 and 2200’.

My summary serves as a brief introduction to Dr Theodor Landscheidt’s work, and of course should not be seen as a substitute for reading the paper itself, which concludes with a damning verdict on the IPPC’s scientific method:

‘The IPCC’s “story lines”, far from forecasts as practiced in other fields of science, are nearly exclusively supported by runs of General Circulation Models (GCM). These models are based on the same type of nonlinear differential equations which induced Lorenz in 1961 to acknowledge that long-range weather predictions are impossible because of the atmosphere’s extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. It is not conceivable that the “Butterfly Effect” should disappear when the prediction range of a few days is extended to decades and centuries.

The IPCC-hypothesis of global warming requires that long-wave radiation to space is reduced because of the accumulating anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Actually, satellites have observed a trend of increasing tropical long-wave radiation to space over the past two decades (Wielicki et al., 2002). GCMs predict greater increase in temperature with increasing distance from the equator, but observations show no net change in the polar regions in the past four decades (Comiso, 2000; Przybylak, 2000; Venegas and Mysak, 2000). According to the most recent data, Antarctica has cooled significantly (Doran et al., 2002) instead of warming.’

In this prominent paper’s final section (11), it is concluded:

‘We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago. As to temperature, only El Niño periods should interrupt the downward trend, but even El Niños should become less frequent and strong.’

Unfortunately, accurately gauging modern temperature trends has been made nigh-on impossible. Many of today’s data sets cannot be trusted as they ignore, deliberately or otherwise, crucial factors such as the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) in order to exaggerate, or indeed completely fabricate, a warming trend.

Furthermore, regional fluctuations –rather than the global average– will be far more important to know as we move forward into a Grand Solar Minimum. Some parts of the planet are actually expected to warm during this otherwise bout of “global” cooling–the Arctic being one. However, saying all this, the overall temperature of Earth is still expected to drop –perhaps by as much as 2C. Looking at the global temperature data sets out there, the most trustworthy is probably the UAH Satellite-Based Temperature of the Global Lower Atmosphere–but this also suffers from a host of issues. Currently, as of August 2020, the UAH has Earth at 0.43C above the 1981-2010 average–which is down a full half from the El Niño-driven high observed at the start of 2016. For almost 5 years now we have been living a sharp cool-down, and if we take out naturally-occurring El Niños then we find that there has been no discernible warming since the turn of the millennium, arguably even longer.

MORE here See the original for links, graphics etc.

US gives first-ever OK for small commercial nuclear reactor

U.S. officials have for the first time approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor, and a Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor that Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho.

The small reactors can produce about 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors. The first would be built in 2029, with the rest in 2030.

NuScale says the reactors have advanced safety features, including self-cooling and automatic shutdown.

“This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the entire U.S. nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins in a statement.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems already has agreements with the Energy Department to build the reactors at the federal agency’s 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility that would help with the development of the reactors.

The Department of Energy has spent more than $400 million since 2014 to hasten the development of the small modular reactors, or SMRs.

“DOE is proud to support the licensing and development of NuScale’s Power Module and other SMR technologies that have the potential to bring clean and reliable power to areas never thought possible by nuclear reactors in the U.S., and soon the world,” said Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy.

The energy cooperative has embarked on a plan called the Carbon Free Power Project that aims to supply carbon-free energy to its nearly 50 members, mostly municipalities, in six Western states. The company plans to buy the reactors from NuScale, then assemble them in Idaho. The company is also looking to bring on other utilities that would use the power generated by the reactors.

Cooperative “members themselves would use a portion of the electricity, but other utilities would become involved and purchase power,” said LaVarr Webb, spokesman for the cooperative.

He said not all the power that will be produced from the proposed reactors has been allocated, but he expects more interest with the U.S. approval of NuScale’s design.

He said the next step is for the cooperative to submit a combined construction and operating license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The process also includes an environmental analysis. Webb said the cooperative will likely have that ready within two years.

The first small modular reactor is scheduled to come online in 2029, with 11 more to follow in 2030.

The modular reactors are light-water reactors, which are the vast majority of reactors now operating. But modular reactors are designed to use less water than traditional reactors and have a passive safety system so they shut down without human action should something go wrong.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the design means the agency is satisfied such technology will work properly.

The modular reactors are also part of a much larger U.S. plan to replace current reactors, many of them decades old, with more efficient and safer reactors. U.S. officials say nuclear power helps reduce carbon emissions from coal and natural gas, a cause of global warming.

There are currently 95 licensed commercial nuclear reactors operating in the U.S., generating about 20 percent of the nation’s energy, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Utah Taxpayers Association has come out against Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems building the reactors, contending costs will soar as they have with some traditional reactors that are much larger.

But the cooperative says such a comparison is unfair, and akin to comparing a 1960s gas guzzler automobile with a modern electric vehicle.


Biden's radical climate change plan could be far reaching

It's just a desperate play for attention and relevance.  It would need the co-operation of both houses of Congress to happen so it's just not going to happen. Congress is a notorious lead weight on change of any sort

If he did get some part of it through Congress, its destructive results would soon become obvious and there would be a massive loss for the Donks at the mid-terms, possibly enough to override a presidential veto to corrective legislation

The article below is from a Leftist source.  Even they can see the risks

The fire season has just begun in the United States and already it has left the nation staggered by its ferocity. In California alone almost a million hectares have burnt so far, though conflagrations are being fought in 12 other states.

This week the temperature reached an all time record of 49.4 degrees in one Los Angeles suburb and the skies of San Francisco darkened to blood red throughout long hot days. News reports are full of clips of horrified residents saying that they thought they knew the risks of wildfires, but that nothing prepared them for this.

Asked if he had ever witnessed such conditions, the renowned climate scientist Michael Mann said during a radio interview this week: “Yeah, well I was on sabbatical in Sydney during what they now call the Black Summer fires… and it had that same sort of haunting orange hue. And it is the same phenomenon; unprecedented heat and drought last summer gave them unprecedented fires.

“We’re seeing the same thing happen in California, as we warned - as we have long warned - we would see if we continue to warm the planet by polluting the atmosphere with carbon pollution.”

In another time this might have prompted the sort of searing national debate over the need to properly tackle climate change that broke out here in Australia before the rolling catastrophes of 2020 diverted our attention.

But the US is not only battling a pandemic and the consequential economic collapse but relentless civil strife supercharged by a poisonous election campaign.

As a result, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s adoption of what some consider to be the most ambitious climate change action plan ever put forward by a major party of a major nation has attracted far less attention than it probably deserves.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, one of many on the party's left who had opposed Biden on environmental grounds and who have now embraced his candidacy, described Biden’s plan as visionary.

“This is not a status quo plan,” he told The New York Times in July. “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change'.”

At the heart of Biden’s climate change package is a determination to decarbonise the nation’s electricity system by 2035 before reaching net-zero carbon emissions for the entire economy by 2050.

To achieve this Biden would spend US$2 trillion on research for new green technology, new clean infrastructure and retrofitting existing buildings across the nation for energy efficiency.

He would direct all government procurement towards green technology, including electronic vehicles, and fund a Civilian Climate Corp similar to the Works Progress Administration established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal", established to help the nation lift itself out of the Great Depression.

By comparison, after the 2008 financial crisis the Obama administration secured $90 billion for renewable energy in what is so far the largest single piece of climate change legislation passed in the US.

And Biden’s ambitions go beyond US borders. The plan would see him integrate climate policy into US foreign trade and national security strategies. According to policy documents, the US under a Biden presidency would lead an effort to “to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets”.

So significant is the potential for the plan that the global energy research consultancy Wood Mackenzie recently published a paper saying that a Biden loss would end any chance the US has of decarbonising its economy by 2050.

According to its analysis the plan would see “capital investments in renewable energy and energy storage assets top US$2.2 trillion through 2035. Utility-scale solar demand will soar to over 100 GW/yr, while battery storage capacity will surpass 400 GW - nearly 40 per cent of the total installed power generating capacity of the US in 2020. Coal-fired generation will exit the market in its entirety”.

Wood Mackenzie research director Dan Shreve believes the plan is so ambitious that it “teeters between achievable and aspirational but the backing of energy sector giants could tip the balance and once again establish the US as a leader in the fight against climate change”.

Either way, its scope would upend the US energy sector, and players wishing to thrive in it would need to plan for possible partnerships with - and acquisitions of - upstart storage providers, renewable energy developers and green hydrogen technology suppliers, says the Wood Mackenzie paper.

The international implications of the plan are equally significant says Matto Mildenberger, a University of California professor of political science who specialises in climate policy.

He notes that on their own either China, the European Union or the US has the power to drive down technology costs and shift markets through their sheer market size and force. Operating in concert that process accelerates.

So will it happen?

Mildenberger notes that Biden would not only have to win the White House, but Democrats would need to take the Senate, and then Biden would need to make climate change action central to his first-term agenda.

Mildenberger believes that the will within the administration might be there, as the climate change package is as much an economic stimulus policy as it is an environmental one.

The echoes of Roosevelt's 'New Deal' are no mistake, and much of the plan has been repurposed from the Green New Deal proposed by left-wing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Indeed one of that plan’s chief architects, Julian Brave NoiseCat, is one of many on the left now backing Biden as a result.

It appears clear that Biden is seeking to use his climate policy as a vehicle to unite his party before the election and tackle compounding social, environmental and economic crises after it.

“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax',” Biden said in a speech last month. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs'.”

Mildenberger, who has written at length about global and Australian climate politics, believes that a Biden presidency would immediately change the tone of climate diplomacy because Trump’s lack of action has given cover to interest groups and politicians seeking to derail climate policy around the world.

He says Trump has given the Morrison government "cover" to this end just as the Howard government "hid behind" George W. Bush.

This international reset could prove to be critical as the world prepares for next year’s delayed United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow, known as COP26 (the 26th meeting of the UN Conference of Parties). At that meeting nations are expected to reveal more ambitious emissions reduction goals in keeping with scientific advice on the volume of reductions required to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.

Australia's former top climate diplomat, Howard Bamsey, who led negotiations at a number of COPs, says that Australia would already have been under pressure from the UK, which is determined to host a successful meeting. That pressure will only be increased by a climate activist White House.

But he notes that Australia has proved willing to pay a diplomatic price for its recalcitrance on the issue in the past.

Bamsey, now a professor with the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, says he does not believe that the world would change suddenly for Scott Morrison should Biden win in November, but that pressure for increased Australian ambition would slowly mount over the year leading up to the Glasgow meeting.

Australia would not only feel pressure to increase its ambition from a Biden White House, should he win, says Bamsey, but from the UK which would be determined to host a successful COP meeting.

Perhaps even more significantly, Mildenberger says that should Biden win there is a chance that China and the US could resume co-operation over the issue, a partnership that was crucial to the success of the Paris agreement. (Bamsey is sceptical on this point.)

But even if all that was to fall into place he is no longer convinced that an orderly decarbonisation of the world’s economy is now possible.

“We needed to act 10 years ago for that,” he says. “But the Biden plan offers real hope that we can prevent the worst of climate change.”



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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