Saturday, January 09, 2021

Temperature stasis: 2020 ties with 2016 as world's hottest year on record

But CO2 levels have been rising relentlessly. If global warming theory were right, 2020 should have been hotter

Last year tied with 2016 as the world's warmest on record, rounding off the hottest decade globally as the impacts of climate change intensified, the European Union's earth observation program says.

After an exceptionally warm autumn and winter in Europe, the continent experienced its hottest year on record in 2020, while the Arctic suffered extreme heat and atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming carbon dioxide continued to rise.

Scientists said the latest data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service underscored the need for countries and corporations to slash greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to bring within reach the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to avoid catastrophic climate change.

"The extraordinary climate events of 2020 and the data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service show us that we have no time to lose," said Matthias Petschke, director for space in the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.

The bloc's space programs include the Copernicus earth observation satellites.

In 2020, temperatures globally were an average of 1.25 degrees Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times, Copernicus said.

Last year also saw the highest temperature ever reliably recorded, when in August a California heatwave pushed the temperature at Death Valley in the Mojave Desert up to 54.4C.

The Arctic and northern Siberia continued to warm more quickly than the planet as a whole in 2020, with temperatures in parts of these regions averaging more than 6C above a 30-year average used as a baseline, Copernicus said.

In 2021, let’s challenge green tyranny

Environmentalism has become a key weapon in the fight to restore technocratic rule.

At the start of the year, the world’s plutocrats gathered alongside their political allies in Davos for the World Economic Forum, and listened excitedly while special guest Greta Thunberg berated them for not going far enough in the fight to save the planet. It was a telling moment, capturing just how central environmentalism – especially today’s self-flagellating, end-of-days version – now is to the worldview of the West’s political, business and cultural elites.

It has been quite the rise. For much of environmentalism’s history, it was largely on the fringes of elite discourse, not at the centre. It was the counter-enlightenment preserve of landed aristocrats, disillusioned Tories (the origins of the Green Party), and the New Left. Not the mission statement of prime ministers, multinationals and the very institutions of globalist rule, from the EU to the UN.

But that is what it has become in recent decades: the hug-a-husky purpose of governments; the corporate social responsibility of international conglomerates; the cause to unite nations.

Two key factors account for its ascendency: the long-standing demoralisation of capitalism, and the emergence of essentially technocratic governments after the end of the Cold War. In the anti-modern narrative of environmentalism, these managerial elites found their raison d’etre: to manage the risks and the threats produced by industrial modernity. It even provided them with an ultimate aim: to manage us out of environmental disaster.

But environmentalism has always been more than just a story appended to ‘third way’ governing. It is itself essentially technocratic. It invests authority in ‘the science’ and the expert at the expense of the demos.

And it did so successfully until 2016. Until Brexit and Trump. Until, that is, so many across the West, disenfranchised for so long under this technocratic consensus, seized back some degree of control.

And this has had a tremendous effect on environmentalism. Ever since 2016, the tone has become shriller, the threat supposedly more urgent, the narrative more apocalyptic. Climate change is now a climate emergency. Al Gore’s merely inconvenient truth is now XR’s truth that must be told. And the future towards which we are forever tipping is catastrophic.

This is because environmentalism is no longer the handmaiden of technocratic rule; it is now a weapon in the fight to restore technocratic rule. Hence the presentation of climate change is now so aggressive, so hyperbolic, so threatening. Because it is being used to fight populism, frighten citizens back into obeisance and roll back the democratic gains of recent years. And that is what we have witnessed over the past 12 months, from the wilfully apocalyptic framing of Australia’s wildfires in Janaury through to the UN secretary general’s December demand that all nations declare a climate emergency: namely, the further elite turbocharging of environmentalism as a justification for the restoration of the pre-2016 consensus.

Admittedly, some environmentalists have been concerned that climate change would be pushed down the political agenda by Covid this year, just as it was after 2008 by the financial crisis. After all, some of XR’s planned stunts were shelved and the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) was postponed.

They needn’t have worried. The pandemic emergency has been treated as a climate emergency in miniature. A dress rehearsal, even. This is because it has largely been interpreted through the same risk-conscious prism as broader environmental problems have. Thus Covid has been conjured up as a by-product of baleful modernity, a symptom of our unsustainable lifestyles, a message from vengeful Gaia. As early as March, tireless green twerp George Monbiot was celebrating Covid as ‘nature’s wake-up call to complacent civilisation’. Prince Harry agreed, declaring ‘it’s almost as though Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms for bad behaviour, to really take a moment and think about what we’ve done’.

What’s more, Covid, like climate change in general, has also been relentlessly mobilised on behalf of the technocratic restoration against the populist revolt. Hence the death tolls in Britain and America have been deliberately attributed to their populist governments – proof, so the restorationist attack goes, that not listening to the experts, not heeding the warnings of science, is a fatal mistake. And vice versa. Listening to the science and locking down is proof of the merits of technocracy and the wisdom of its restoration. As Greta Thunberg put it, ‘It is possible to treat a crisis like a crisis, it is possible to put people’s health above economic interests, and it is possible to listen to the science’.

The implication of the pandemic is as clear to Thunberg as it is to the political, media and business elites who treat her as their outsourced conscience: climate alarmism builds on the pandemic, and further justifies the technocratic restoration. In other words, the short-term expert-led governance during the pandemic emergency now justifies the restoration of long-term expert-led governance during the climate emergency. And to hell with freedom, democracy and the rest of it.

A UN economist, Mariana Mazzucato, has even mooted the possibility of a ‘climate lockdown’, in which governments would limit car use, ban red-meat consumption, and shut down fossil-fuel companies.

While that green dream remains just that, we’re already seeing the fruits of this green restoration of the old technocratic order. Throughout the developed world, policies and long-term economic plans are now being drawn up according to the expert-defined imperatives of the climate emergency. A green future, it seems, is one colonised by today’s technocratic elites.

So US president-elect Joe Biden, who has spent the year wielding the ‘existential threat’ of climate change as a stick with which to beat Trump voters, has promised to sign the US back up to the Paris Climate Agreement and create carbon-free electricity by 2035. And Ursula von der Leyen, the unelected head of the European Commission, has, as part of her Green New Deal, pledged ‘to rebuild our economies differently and make them more resilient’. Even Boris Johnson, knocked off his populist course by the pandemic and never possessing the most adamantine of backbones, has announced a ‘green industrial revolution’.

Of course, there will be no democratic debate about the nature of all this green-washed, post-Covid rebuild. That is being decided elsewhere, by experts, in the name of sustainability. And that should worry us. At the end of this wretched year, the green restoration of the managerial order is in full swing. The political response should be the same in the coming months as it was four years ago: we need more democracy, not less.

Here's Proof the Pentagon Must Get Out of the 'Climate Change' Racket

For many years now, the Pentagon has become infiltrated by liberals who want to turn the military into a division of the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, the Defense Department inspector general’s annual report warns that “climate change” is a long-term threat to military installations and operations.

“Rising sea levels, extreme weather such as flooding, wildfires, or hurricanes, and a melting Arctic will require the DoD to consider the security, readiness, and financial implications of these non‑traditional threats,” the report reads. Also, “droughts, water scarcity, and other natural resource limitations” brought on by climate change “offer opportunities for adversaries, competitors, and violent extremist organizations to exert their influence in pursuit of their goals.”

Apparently, climate change hurts us, but not our enemies?

In 2019, a Pentagon report claimed that climate change could cause our military to “collapse” in twenty years.

Oh, really?

I think it’s about time to get the Pentagon out of the business of radical environmentalism.

Why? Because the Pentagon is actually really bad at it. Really bad.

Back in 2004, a secret Pentagon report that was leaked to the media claimed that by 2020, major European cities would have succumbed to rising sea levels and Britain would be experiencing a “Siberian” climate. The report also predicted that nuclear conflict, widespread droughts, and famine would erupt worldwide. The report argued that climate change was a bigger threat than terrorism because climate change would bring the entire world to the edge of anarchy.

“Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,” the Pentagon report concluded. “Once again, warfare would define human life.”

None of it happened.

“The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists,” predicted The Guardian, “Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.”

Who’s humiliated now?

Despite the epic fail of the Pentagon to accurately predict the impact of climate change, years of fearmongering still have the Left believing that our military should be more focused on environmentalism than on defending the country from foreign adversaries. With Joe Biden expected to take office in a few weeks, the push to make the military a force against climate change will be stronger than ever. Ray Mabus, the former Secretary of the Navy under Barack Obama, recently wrote an editorial in TIME arguing that under Biden, the United States military must “lead the way” on climate change.

I want the military to focus on what it does best, not what the radical left wants it to do.

Politicians have turned a blind eye to the problems that "renewable" energy brings with it

Australia has "just months" to fix major problems with the electricity market, according to a blistering assessment of the state of the energy sector.

Chair of the Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, said "years of insufficient action" and "band-aid solutions" have characterised Australia's response to growth of renewable energy generation.

She warned the market needed a rapid redesign to ensure the lights stay on.

Her comments came as the Energy Security Board (ESB) released its latest Health of the National Electricity Market report.

The ESB was established by the energy arm of the Council of Australian Governments to "support the transition of Australian energy markets and advance the long-term interests of consumers".

It has oversight of energy reliability, security and affordability.

The report found that security of electricity supply "remains the most concerning issue" for the National Electricity Market (NEM), which includes all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

"Increasing penetration of variable renewable energy resources ... is making it more difficult to maintain security," the report said.

"To manage security issues, AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) has had to intervene in the market far more than in earlier years."

AEMO issued more than 250 directions in 2019-20, compared to 158 the previous year.

A direction is when some power generators are asked to increase or decrease their output to shore up electricity supply.

The report welcomed the growth of renewable energy, citing its success in "substantially" lowering emissions, with the electricity sector on track to cut emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 levels.

But in an accompanying statement, Dr Schott warned the failure of regulation to keep pace has become a critical issue.

"The technology and renewables-driven transformation of our energy market is no longer an if or when proposition. It is here and now," she said. "The pace of change is accelerating. Band-aid solutions are no longer viable.

"The current set of systems, tools, market arrangements and regulatory frameworks is no longer entirely fit for purpose.

"This pace of change means there are now just months to finalise the redesign of the electricity marketplace so consumers can reap the benefits of this change."

State governments have been implementing their own renewable energy policies, given the failure of successive energy and emissions reductions policies at the Commonwealth level.

Dr Schott said the states' actions are understandable given "years of insufficient action" across the sector, but warns the "diminishing patience of governments" could undermine the NEM.

She also noted the some players in the electricity sector were resistant to change.

The NEM and power generators are struggling to come up with a coherent plan "to keep the lights on" due to policy and pricing limitations, according to a major independent study.

"Some seem to be more interested in protecting the status quo or perhaps their own interests rather than addressing challenges in the long-term interests of the community," Dr Schott said.

Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor agreed that taking action now was critical to minimise disruptions. "The NEM needs to adapt to address risks to reliability, security and affordability, particularly sudden, unexpected exits of thermal [coal] generators," he said.

"We need a coordinated approach to market design to keep the lights on and costs down."

The ESB is currently examining options to improve electricity supply security, including a nationally consistent approach for state and federal governments to underwrite development of "firming" technology, such as pumped hydro and gas plants.

Improving the Retailer Reliability Obligation, introduced by the Federal Government in 2019, is also on the cards, given it has been widely criticised in the sector as being cumbersome and ineffective.

But Mr Taylor pointed to financial support for specific projects as evidence of action to address the problems highlighted by the ESB.

"We've made many announcements and put in place a range of initiatives in the last two, three years that are addressing exactly this, whether it is underwriting new generation, Battery of the Nation [or] Snowy 2.0."

Professor Ken Baldwin from the ANU's Energy Change Institute told the ABC an integrated energy and emissions reduction policy is what is needed.

"If there was a consistent policy going forward which had targets milestoned at every decade for the amount of emissions reduction we need to achieve in the electricity sector, that would help," he said.

"The government has a role to play in central planning for transmission, but when it comes to the generation side of things, then leaving the market to respond to clear signals form government over time for our emissions reduction strategy is the most efficient way to proceed."




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