Friday, June 23, 2017



Solar Power Stops Working Well When It’s Hot Outside

Don’t expect recent heat waves hitting the southwest to make solar panels produce more energy, according to an industry representative.

High temperatures decrease a photovoltaic solar cell’s output by between 10 and 25 percent, Stuart Fox, a vice president at the green energy company CivicSolar, told The San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday. Research indicates that a solar panel’s power output drops by 1.1 percent for every 1.8 degree rise in temperature above 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and solar panels can get much hotter than that.

“If you take a glass solar shingle and lay it on the roof, there’s no air going behind it, so it might get a lot hotter — it might get to 140 or 160 degrees Fahrenheit,” Fox told The Chronicle.

Photovoltaic solar cells work when energy from the sun excites electrons on the panels, which generates energy the cells can capture. However, at high temperatures it takes less energy to excite the electrons, meaning that the cell produces less power. High temperatures frequently coincide with peak demand for electricity, meaning that solar power is at its least effective when it is most needed.

This effect is a big problem for rooftop solar panels, which lack the capacity for large scale cooling of industrial solar systems but receive the majority of taxpayer support.

Most state solar subsidies go to residential rooftop installations through a subsidy called net metering, a 30 percent federal tax credit. Previously, solar subsidies were so lucrative that solar-leasing companies installed rooftop systems, which run at minimum $10,000, at no upfront cost to the consumer. Companies do this because state and federal subsidies are so massive that such behavior is actually profitable.

Researchers found that expanding or maintaining net metering subsidies for rooftop solar will drive up power prices. Without government support, solar energy is non-viable, according to a 2015 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Even proponents of solar power and net metering recognize their reliance on subsidies. Without high net metering payments, rooftop solar “makes no financial sense for a consumer,” Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, told The New York Times in February 2016.

SOURCE




Obama Still Creating a Toxic Environment for Trump’s Policies at EPA

“Pay no attention to that man behind that curtain!” The Wizard of Oz had a good reason for trying to distract Dorothy when his true identity was revealed in the 1939 classic film. The last thing he wanted was for her to figure how things really operated.

Oz isn’t the only place where people are ignorant of who operates quietly in the shadows. The federal government is rife with people who do their jobs away from the spotlight, wielding a measure of influence that can even outweigh that of their bosses.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency. You may be aware that its current administrator is a man appointed by President Trump – Scott Pruitt. But there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Francesca Grifo, the agency’s “Scientific Integrity Official.”

And frankly, that’s fine by Grifo. The less you know about her and many other unelected bureaucrats, the easier their jobs are. Especially because Grifo’s current job appears to be trying to subvert Pruitt’s.

Grifo was hired in 2013. Her position as “Scientific Integrity Official” grew out of President Obama’s stated goal to “restore science to its rightful place,” as he put it in his 2009 Inaugural address.

Like so many other titles and goals, it all sounds pretty harmless. But as Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel recently pointed out, a political motive was at work. This was, she writes, Obama’s “way of warning Republicans that there’d be no more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.”

Grifo came to the agency from the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, so you can imagine why she was selected. You can also imagine what her job boils down to now that Donald Trump is president: thwarting his agenda as much as possible.

Toward that end is a meeting she’ll be hosting soon with numerous groups to discuss ways to pursue “scientific integrity.” The initial guest list read like a “who’s who” of the liberal environmental movement: Earthjustice, Public Citizen, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Progressive Reform, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and yes, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This is a government employee using taxpayer funds to gather political activists on government grounds to plot — let’s not kid ourselves — ways to sabotage the Trump administration,” Strassel writes. (Since then, some conservative groups have been invited as well, but it took Strassel’s column to do it.)

It isn’t just disagreements over policy that fuels the behind-the-scenes activities of bureaucrats such as Francesca Grifo. They surely have their eyes on the budget cuts that the president has proposed to climate programs.

Climate Wire called his budget “a slap in the face.” To Scientific American, it’s a “slaughter.” Think Progress deems it “a punitive … assault on science, the environment, and indeed the planet.”

But as environmental experts Katie Tubb and Nicolas Loris point out in a piece for the Daily Signal, all this hyperventilating lacks context.

For one thing, some cuts to the federal government’s sizable climate budget are clearly in order: At least 18 agencies administer climate-change activities, to the tune of $77 billion between fiscal years 2008 and 2013.

There’s a lot of wasteful spending in there, such as $700,000 to a global-warming musical, and an EPA grant for “green” nail salon concepts in California. Moreover, Tubb and Loris note, most of the money goes to “green” tech rather than to science, wildlife or international aid. “Even after the president’s proposed cuts,” they write, “there is plenty of money left in the federal budget to study and model the climate.”

If President Trump wants to make any headway at the EPA and other federal agencies, he needs to do more than appoint good people to run them. He needs to make sure that the people behind the curtain aren’t working to undermine him.

SOURCE




Experts Published A Scathing Rebuttal To The Left’s Favorite Green Energy Study

A group of researchers have published a scathing rebuttal to a 2015 report claiming the U.S. could run on 100 percent green energy, which they say suffered from “significant shortcomings.”

The 2015 study led by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson claimed wind turbines, solar power and hydroelectric dams could power the entire U.S. But 21 researchers published a retort to Jacobson’s study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Jacobson’s “work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions,” reads the PNAS study’s abstract.

“Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power,” wrote the 21 experts, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Christopher Clack.

The researchers were worried politicians would use Jacobson’s study to promise a “greener” world that’s more expensive and less technology achievable than they let on.

David Victor, an energy policy expert at University of California-San Diego and PNAS co-author, said Jacobson’s study sets “wildly unrealistic expectations” that could cause a “massive misallocation of resources.”

“That is both harmful to the economy, and creates the seeds of a backlash,” Victor told MIT Technology Review.

So far, only Hawaii has a policy calling for 100 percent green energy, but California Democrats are pushing legislation to get all its electricity generated from green energy by 2045.

Environmentalists and some Democrats hailed Jacobson’s paper when it was first published. The study was even featured in the anti-fracking film “Gasland II” and attracted the attention of celebrities, like Mark Ruffalo.

Jacobson’s paper also spawned the creation of the “Solutions Project” — a non-profit dedicated to “moving all of us to clean, renewable energy powered by the wind, water, and sun.” Ruffalo sits on its board, along with Jacobson.

A group of left-leaning non-profit foundations, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund, back the Solutions Project.

Jacobson did not sit idly by, and published his own rebuttal to the PNAS report. He also lashed out against the PNAS authors in the media.

“They try to falsify this thing by claiming that there are errors,” Jacobson told The Washington Post. “This is what really bothers me with this paper. I don’t have any problem with people trying to quibble with our assumptions.”

“There is not a single error in our paper,” Jacobson told Technology Review in a short email.

He even accused Clack of using “intentional misinformation” to back his study and said his critics had a financial incentive to dispute his research.

“They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates or fossil-fuels advocates,” Jacobson said. “They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.”

Essentially, the criticism of Jacobson’s paper comes down to modeling and assumptions.

“They do bizarre things,” PNAS co-author Daniel Kammen of the University of California-Berkeley, told Technology Review.

“They treat U.S. hydropower as an entirely fungible resource. Like the amount [of power] coming from a river in Washington state is available in Georgia, instantaneously,” he said.

PNAS study authors say the U.S. could get 80 percent of its energy from sources that emit no carbon dioxide, but that goes beyond solar, wind and hydro power. The authors say nuclear energy, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage systems for biomass would be needed.

SOURCE




EPA’s suspect science

Its practices have defiled scientific integrity, but proposed corrections bring shock and defiance

John Rafuse

President Trump’s budget guidance sought to cut $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s $8.1 billion expectation. Shrieks of looming Armageddon prompted Congress to fund EPA in full until September 2017, when the battle will be joined again.

Then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would prioritize Superfund cleanups based on toxicity, health-impact and other factors. The ensuing caterwauling suggested that EPA had no priorities since Bill Ruckelshaus (EPA’s first administrator, 1970-1975). But consider some standard EPA practices:  

1. EPA advocates claim the US is unhealthy and dirty. They won’t admit that US water quality has improved dramatically since 1970. They deny that factories, cars and power plants are far more efficient and clean. They ignore that, while most nations continue to cut down forest habitats for fuel, the Lower 48 states have more forest coverage than when the Pilgrims landed in 1620.

They never mention that the US did not sign the 1992 Kyoto Accord, nor that it is the only nation to meet its Kyoto targets. Is it ignorance? malignance? eco-professional propaganda? Yes, yes, and yes.

The United States is one of the cleanest, healthiest nations on earth. Our progress will continue because we rejected the Paris Accord and thus will not cripple our economy, jobs or environmental progress. Other nations must work hard to catch us. They may work hard, but they won’t catch up, and they’ll blame us.        

2. Eco-militants at EPA tricked the Supreme Court into letting it label plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide a pollutant. Meanwhile, professional enviros demand “zero tolerance” for pollutants – because they claim “any dose kills.”

However, CO2 is plant fertilizer, the trace gas that makes plant and animal life possible on our planet. Atmospheric CO2 is just 400 parts per million (ppm), or 0.04% of the air we breathe, compared to 21% oxygen and almost 1% argon.  Classrooms average 1,000 to 2,000 ppm; US nuclear submarines average 5,000 to 8,000ppm. We inhale 400 ppm and exhale 40,000 to 50,000 ppm.

That means 100 to 125 times the “fatal dose” of a “zero tolerance pollutant” is always in our lungs.  We don’t die, because CO2 is not a pollutant and because real scientists know that dosage, not microscopic presence, is the key.

EPA keeps cheating, but dosage always determines poisonous impact. In fact, EPA experiments illegally exposed human test subjects to 10 and even 30 times the levels of fine soot particles that EPA claims are lethal. No one got sick or died, and yet EPA continues its “standards” and lies.

3. DDT saved millions in World War II from death by typhus. By 1970 DDT had helped wipe out malaria in 99 countries, including the USA. Administrator Ruckelshaus appointed a scientific committee to examine claims that the pesticide caused cancer and other problems. The experts said it did not, because dosage determines effect.

Ruckelshaus ignored them, never attended a minute of their hearings, never read a page of their extensive report. He simply banned DDT in 1972.  He later said he had a “political problem” due to Rachel Carson’s misinformed book Silent Spring and pressure from the Environmental Defense Fund, and he needed to “fix it.”

Other nations followed suit, banning DDT. Since 1972, some 40 million children and parents have needlessly died from malaria. Today DDT is partially reinstated, but P.A. Offit, Pandora’s Lab, Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, quotes Michael Crichton, MD: “Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in twentieth century America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die, and we didn’t give a damn.”

4. EPA knowingly relies on fake science. Data from point-source “pollution” are used to “project” thousands of asthma cases and cancer deaths. EPA “validates” the analyses by “assuming” that each projected death and illness happened to someone who had spent every second of a 70-year life at the point-source – within 6 feet of the measurement point. But Newton’s Law of Inverse Squares proves that dosage wanes by the inverse square of the distance; 5 units of distance cuts dosage impact to 1/25 what it was at its source. At 10 units, the impact is 1/100th.  EPA’s analysis is a dishonest, purposeful scam.

The 70-year/6-foot/no-movement assumption makes a joke of all its calculations and projections. EPA has relied on that scam for decades to “prove” need for a non-scientific regulatory remedy for every newly invented threat.

5. EPA colludes with professional environmentalists to “fix” “inadequate” draft regulations. EPA then “settles” cases, pays co-conspirators’ fees with taxpayer funds and wins excessive regulatory powers it sought from the beginning. Parties who oppose the decision never get a day in court, and the “sue-and-settle” cases ensure high costs but provide no health or environmental benefits.

6. EPA covers up crimes. As the auto industry cratered since 2000, Flint, Michigan has lost 25,000 citizens and become poorer and more minority. The 2010 Census Report concluded that 42% of the population was in a “level of poverty and health … not comparable to other geographic levels of these estimates.” Yet EPA (and state and local authorities) did nothing to protect them. What happened?

The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act delegated compliance to EPA, which typically approves a State Compliance Plan, re-delegates authority, and oversees State and local enforcement. Flint’s drinking water has been lead-poisoned for three years – ever since state and local officials switched water sources to save money with no hearings, approvals or notifications to EPA or affected citizens.

Drinking, tasting and smelling nauseating newly-brown water alerted residents to potential dangers. An EPA expert tested the water in 2014 and wrote repeated warnings to Agency officials. A February 2015 Detroit News report said EPA’s Regional Administrator knew the facts but claimed her “hands were tied.”

Then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy forbade the staff expert from meeting, writing or speaking about the issue, and reassigned him.  Thus the two most senior and directly responsible EPA officials “washed their hands” of the problem.

But Flint Medical Center tested for lead in the water and sounded the alarm. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added powerful voices. Flint’s mayor and Michigan’s governor took heat until the state’s attorney general initially charged five Flint and Michigan officials with wrongful issuance of permits, and tampering, altering and falsifying evidence. That has now expanded to more than 50 criminal charges against 15 state officials; including one of involuntary manslaughter (an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease took 12 lives).

The two “clean-handed” EPA officials kept mum until June 12, 2016, when Gina McCarthy wrote to Michigan’s governor and Flint’s mayor. Citing “major challenges” and her “long-term” clean water goal, she blamed state and local staffs and old and (newly) over-large piping. She said EPA had no money to help. Will Michigan’s AG indict EPA officials involved in the EPA cover-ups?  That would be logical, but don’t bet on it.

McCarthy’s was a nasty letter from a culpable official. Later in 2016, Congress voted $110 million to repair Flint’s drinking water, no thanks to EPA. The work will go on for years as Flint residents get bottled water from EPA and the state.

President Trump’s budget guidance exposed decades-old EPA abuses. The evidence exposes EPA’s lack of mission, commitment and integrity. If EPA would use honest, evidence-based science to protect the nation’s health, it would be a welcome and long overdue change – perhaps a miracle. What’s your bet?

Via email



Former Dem congressman: End the war on coal

BY RON KLINK

Very few members of Congress have actually shoveled tons upon tons of coal. I have.

I started working in a coal yard at the age of 13 and I know what coal has meant to the development of this great country and the comfort of its people.

I later had the honor of serving in Congress for four terms. As a Democrat from western Pennsylvania, I spent my time in Congress and the years since I left as an advocate for clean American coal.

For Pennsylvania, the reasons to support coal are obvious, regardless of your political affiliation. Until recent years, the coal industry was a cornerstone of our regional economy. An industry that once employed almost 863,000 American workers now employs just over 50,000. According to the most recent statistics, only about 6,600 of those jobs are in Pennsylvania — down more than 16 percent from the previous year.

As the rest of the world relies more and more on coal, Washington has told us to use less. — it wasn’t a suggestion. A single rule passed in 2011 wiped out half of the coal industry’s entire output. Plants shuttered overnight and the jobs that supported them were gone as well. And that’s thanks to just one regulation that is part of a much larger war on coal that has gone on for at least a generation. The casualties are thousands of lost jobs, entire communities shuttered as their sole source of prosperity disappeared thanks to overtly political mandates from Washington.

The damaged caused by the war on coal doesn’t end in Pennsylvania, or even the coal mining regions of Appalachia. Until recently, resilient resources like coal and nuclear energy provided what’s known as “baseload power” to our country’s energy grid. By definition, baseload power is able to withstand sudden and drastic fluctuations in both supply and demand. Coal and nuclear facilities maintain weeks — and up to a year — worth of fuel on-site and have reliable supply chains that can deliver power to customers even under crisis conditions. These fuels are the only energy sources capable of delivering baseload power. But Washington has nearly regulated them out of existence.

This is not an inconvenience. It’s a crisis. Other energy sources have already proven themselves unworthy in the event of a catastrophe. Our reliance on natural gas nearly cost lives during the 2014 polar vortex, when supply disruptions forced power plants to cut production or shut down altogether and prices skyrocketed overnight. And for all of the government subsidies directed toward so-called renewable energy like solar and wind, those sources aren’t anywhere close to being able to meet the country’s energy needs even under ideal circumstances.

If we wait for the next severe weather event or a terrorist attack on our power grid, it will already be too late. We have to act now. The process of changing rules and rolling back regulations in Washington can take years. If we don’t get ahead of the next catastrophe, it could cost lives and lead to massive price volatility.

There is a sliver of hope. Right now, the Department of Energy is conducting a study on baseload power and our nation’s energy supply chain. That study will likely reveal what we already know — that we are in a crisis situation. At that point, it will be up to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Trump to act swiftly to roll back regulations, end the war on coal and right the ship so our energy grid is once again fueled by baseload power.

For years, Washington has waged a war on reliable energy under the auspices of environmental protection. This is a false choice. Clean American coal is both responsible and reliable — if only we unshackle it from wild overregulation and political stigma. We can restore energy stability and security in the United States and make this country a world leader when it comes to clean and sustainable energy. That’s no small feat considering that coal consumption is booming in countries like China and India.

In a much more immediate sense, we will find ourselves on stable footing here at home for the first time in years. We need the ability to fuel our grid with reliable, resilient baseload power. It’s good for our workers, it’s good for our national security and it’s good for our country. Washington needs to act immediately.

SOURCE

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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   main.html 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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Thursday, June 22, 2017



The latest bit of lying propaganda from the NYT

We read:

"In recent days, American Airlines has been forced to cancel more than 40 flights in Phoenix. The reason: With daytime highs hovering around 120 degrees, it was simply too hot for some smaller jets to take off. Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult — and sometimes impossible — for planes to generate enough lift.

As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence.

“We tend to ignore the atmosphere and just think that the plane is flying through empty space, but of course, it’s not,” said Paul D. Williams, a professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in Britain who studies climate change and its effect on aviation. “Airplanes do not fly through a vacuum.

The atmosphere is being modified by climate change.”

This is another "evergreen", trotted out whenever we get hot weather, to re-inforce the global warming faith.

However, as usual there is more behind the headline:

We also read:

"American Airlines canceled flights using Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) equipment. These are the business jets that cover routes between hubs and smaller markets. Larger passenger jets are rated to tolerate higher temperatures, well above those currently being experienced in the American Southwest—after all, planes also fly from Dubai, Riyadh, and Cairo.

The CRJ’s history might play a role in its airworthiness under extreme heat. CRJs are currently made by Bombardier, a multinational transportation manufacturer. Bombardier bought the CRJ line from Canadair, a Canadian state aerospace company. These jets were originally designed for business use, and only later developed to serve the commercial regional jet market.

They were not necessarily intended for use in all conditions and markets, nor to be packed full of passengers like they are today. (Bombardier did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

That circumstance is a consequence of deregulation and consolidation in the American airline market. When regulation demanded that airlines serve all markets, larger jets serviced smaller airports. But as those requirements lifted, and as more airlines merged, even once-thriving hubs like Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Memphis have become minor markets.

Airlines began relying on equipment like the CRJ, because they can transport a smaller number of people at a lower cost. Were the affected flights on Boeing large jets instead, there would be no question about their ability to fly."

Phoenix of course, is HOT. Record high for June is 1990, at 122 F, 50C.  It seems everything is really pretty normal, but hey, it's Global Warming, right?

As usual, Tony Heller has the detail about Arizona heat

H/T Dennis Ambler





Does Nuclear Energy Have a Future in the United States?

In May, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released a daily energy briefsummarizing the current and future state of nuclear energy production in America. According to the EIA, nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 percent to 11 percent by 2050. That decline coincides with a predicted growth in electricity demand of up to 92 percent—nearly doubling current consumption—over the same period.

Nuclear-powered plants can produce reliable, base-level electricity—typically generated by fossil fuels—with zero carbon emissions. Engineering innovations have resulted in advanced nuclear reactors that are much safer, more efficient, and more affordable than reactors currently in use. Such technology should have a promising future as a part of the U.S. energy portfolio. Unfortunately, regulatory requirements here at home have driven the cost of bringing new reactor technology to market so high that power companies are instead lobbying for billions in subsidies to keep decades-old technology in operation.

Transatomic, a company founded by nuclear engineers from MIT, are developing molten salt reactors that are “walk-away” safe (they do not require constant supervision), and produce less than half as much radioactive waste yearly as traditional nuclear reactors. The scientists at NuScale Power have developed a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that can be assembled in a factory and shipped on a flatbed truck, reducing up-front construction costs and providing more flexibility for electricity providers. Because of their small size, SMRs also cannot melt down. Bill Gates’ nuclear company (TerraPower) has designed a traveling wave reactor that can run continuously for 40 years, eliminating the need for refueling as the reactor consumes all of its original fuel.

In order to get their technologies to market, nuclear innovators must navigate a complex, burdensome regulatory framework established decades ago in the name of public safety. Innovation has put to rest many of the safety concerns that regulation was meant to protect us from. This regulation now operates mainly as a barrier to clean, affordable energy. NuScale Power’s SMR technology offers perhaps the best hope of next generation nuclear finding its way to the US power grid, but even that may take a decade or more to become reality.

In the beginning of 2017, NuScale submitted the first-ever design certification for a SMR in the United States. That application, 12,000 pages long, must be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the end of the 40-month review period, the NRC will issue NuScale a design certification for their reactor. That certification will be valid for 15 years, during which time NuScale will file for a combined license to build and operate that plant. The licensing process will take another 5 years, after which time construction finally can begin.

The NRC charges $265 per professional staff-hour to review permits, licenses, and other required documentation. According to Mason Baker, Chief Legal Officer for the Utah Area Municipal Power Supply (which is working with NuScale to build their first SMR), UAMPS relies on a 50 percent financial partnership with the Department of Energy to cover initial development costs. Without such support, the cost of regulatory compliance—which Baker estimated would amount to seven figures by the end of the submission process—would prevent the project from ever getting off the ground.

TerraPower signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation at the end of 2015 to build its reactor design overseas. The company hopes eventually to bring the technology back home.

If the U.S. wants a future of diversified, clean energy, the NRC needs to reform the way it permits and licenses nuclear technologies. The current framework effectively stymies innovation and forces nuclear companies to rely heavily on government support. Heavy government involvement in energy production does not make for a healthy, competitive energy market.

SOURCE





Study Finds Fracking Doesn’t Harm Drinking Water in Texas

Hydraulic fracturing hasn’t contaminated groundwater in Texas, isn’t an earthquake hazard, and has been a boon for the state’s economy, according to a study released Monday.

The new study’s conclusions on drinking water are in line with multiple other studies of hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling into rock and injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to obtain shale gas and oil, which is produced from fractured rock. Some environmentalists argue that it can harm water supplies.

The report initiated by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, based in Austin, asserted that “direct migration of contaminants from targeted injection zones is highly unlikely to lead to contamination of potential drinking water aquifers.”

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

To conduct the three-year study, the academy assembled a panel called the Task Force on the Environmental and Community Impact of Shale.

“In Texas and pretty much everywhere, hydraulic fracturing has not been proven to have an adverse impact on drinking water,” Christine Ehlig-Economides, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston who is chairwoman of the task force, told The Daily Signal.

The study examined the impact of fracking on drinking water.

“The average annual water use for hydraulic fracturing activities in 2011 and 2012 in Texas was about 20 billion gallons of water,” the report said, citing an Environmental Protection Agency study from last year. “Because this volume represents on 0.2 percent of total water use in the state, and 0.7 percent of total state consumptive use, it might be considered small.”

The study also explored the impact of fracking in five other areas: geology and earthquake activity; land resources; air quality; the economy; and society. It found generally positive results for each.

However, in a sixth category, transportation, the report found that fracking produced a surge of trucks, damaging pavement at an estimated cost to state taxpayers of $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year.

Even so, the study concluded that fracking adds $473 billion to the Texas economy and created 3.8 million jobs.

“Texas has had a long history of oil and gas technology for the world,” Economides said. “Has it had environmental impacts? Yes, it has since it started in the 1850s. But over that time, the industry has learned and corrected those mistakes.”

Last year, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency completed a five-year study that didn’t find evidence of widespread contamination as a result of fracking. The EPA said fracking can affect drinking water “under some circumstances,” but didn’t cite any confirmed instances and determined there were too many uncertainties about existing data of contamination.

The Texas academy study cited a 2011 Groundwater Protection Council study, which found that 10 of the 211 contamination incidents examined occurred because of drilling and none was related to fracking.

The Texas academy study asserted that direct fracking into rock affecting the state’s drinking water supply “has not been observed in Texas.”

In March, a U.S. Geological Survey of 116 wells across Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas found fracking was not a major source of chemicals and methane in drinking water wells. It concluded that the detected levels of methane were likely naturally occurring.

A University of Texas study found methane levels from well water in two Texas counties, Parker and Hood, weren’t the result of North Texas’s Barnett Shale, after a sample of 479 wells in those counties.

A Duke University study dated July 2017 noted a “lack of changes in water quality observed in drinking-water wells following the installation of nearby shale-gas wells.”

SOURCE




EPA Ends $1 Million Taxpayer-Funded Gym Membership Program

The Environmental Protection Agency has ended a nearly $1 million program that provided gym memberships for employees.

The new administration under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt identified the gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Examples of the program's misuse included $15,000 for gym memberships for 37 EPA scientists in Las Vegas last year.

"We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year," said EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox. "Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment."

Pruitt vowed an end to taxpayer-funded programs after the Washington Free Beacon report on the agency spending $15,000 on gym memberships in Las Vegas, earlier this year. Employees in the U.S. Environmental Science Division billed taxpayers $399 each for gym memberships, even though employees had access to a "state-of-the-art" gym on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus.

The campus gym includes a relaxation room with massage chairs, fitness assessments, personal trainers for hire, a registered dietician, a spa and leisure pool, indoor jogging, and a "gender neutral bathroom."

The EPA began notifying employee unions last week that the agency is discontinuing fitness subsidies and fitness center funding, according to an EPA official.

The benefits will officially end on July 31, and no additional funds for fitness centers will be provided. For facilities that already have gym equipment that is paid for, the EPA will no longer pay for the maintenance of the equipment and will not purchase any new equipment.

The Trump administration has proposed cutting the EPA budget by 31 percent.

SOURCE



Australia's Chief Scientist accidentally exposes the lie of Australia’s climate policies that are de-industrialising Australia



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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   main.html 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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Wednesday, June 21, 2017



Some footprints are more equal than others

Greenies are always moaning about our "footprint" on the environment. But "Renewables" make one great huge HOOFPRINT on the environment. Below is an infographic put up by the U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change. It shows the land area taken up by two British renewable power sources compared with the land area occupied by the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station




The U.K. plans to invest in new nuclear power following France’s lead, but breaking ranks with Germany and the big Green pressure groups.

The U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change published this infographic, but then took it down.  Businesses reaping billions in subsidies from solar and wind deemed it “unhelpful.”

The facts according to the U.K. government? Acres required to power 6 million homes:

Wind 250,000
Solar 130,000
Nuclear 430

The Daily Telegraph calls it “the infographic the U.K. government doesn’t want you to see.”

The U.K. should not only want you to see this, it should add in coal and gas as well.

SOURCE





A strange new respect for Pretty Boy

Trump gives Bill McKibben the creeps.  Justin Trudeau gives me the creeps.  But what Warmist warrior McKibben says below tends rather to reconcile me to Trudeau. What McKibben deplores is always worth celebrating

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

Not rhetorically: Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. Indeed, they specialize in getting others to say them too – it was Canadian diplomats, and the country’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, who pushed at the Paris climate talks for a tougher-than-expected goal: holding the planet’s rise in temperature to 1.5C (2.7F).

But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet.

Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: “No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So let’s do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.

That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.

This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canada’s self-image/energy policy. McKenna, confronted by the veteran Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, said tartly: “We have an incredible climate change plan that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, also investing in clean innovation. But we also know we need to get our natural resources to market and we’re doing both.” Right.

But doing the second negates the first – in fact, it completely overwhelms it. If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldn’t matter all that much if every Tim Hortons stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead.

Canada’s got company in this scam. Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to be more sensitive than his predecessor, a Trump-like blowhard. When he signed on his nation to the Paris climate accords, he said: “It is clear the agreement was a watershed, a turning point and the adoption of a comprehensive strategy has galvanised the international community and spurred on global action.”

Which is a fine thing to say – or would be, if your government wasn’t backing plans for the largest coal mine on Earth. That single mine, in a country of 24 million people, will produce 362% of the annual carbon emissions that everyone in the Philippines produces in the course of a year. It is obviously, mathematically and morally absurd.

SOURCE





"Greenies" look likely to send a bat extinct

They don't care about nature or the environment at all.  Power and control is their aim

Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat

W.F. Fricka et al.

Abstract

Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. However, population-level impacts are unknown as we lack basic demographic information about these species. We investigated whether fatalities at wind turbines could impact population viability of migratory bats, focusing on the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the species most frequently killed by turbines in North America. Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (λ = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America. If viable populations are to be sustained, conservation measures to reduce mortality from turbine collisions likely need to be initiated soon. Our findings inform policy decisions regarding preventing or mitigating impacts of energy infrastructure development on wildlife.

Biological Conservation, Volume 209, May 2017, Pages 172–177



How Obama undermined the Warmists

The NYT has a long article that tries to explain why the Republicans are overwhelmingly skeptical.  It's just "ad hominem" stuff with not a single climate statistic being quoted -- and vast power being attributed to the Koch brothers -- but I thought their comments on Obama had something in them.  See below

After winning re-election in 2012, Mr. Obama understood his second-term agenda would have to rely on executive authority, not legislation that would go nowhere in the Republican-majority Congress. And climate change was the great unfinished business of his first term.

To finish it, he would deploy a rarely used provision in the Clean Air Act of 1970, which gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to issue regulations on carbon dioxide.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” he declared in his 2013 State of the Union address.

The result was the Clean Power Plan, which would significantly cut planet-warming emissions by forcing the closing of hundreds of heavy-polluting coal-fired power plants.

The end run around Congress had consequences of its own. To Republican (and some Democratic) critics, the Clean Power Plan exemplified everything they opposed about Mr. Obama: He seemed to them imperious, heavy-handed, pleasing to the elites on the East and West Coasts and in the capitals of Europe, but callous to the blue-collar workers of coal and oil country.

“It fed into this notion of executive overreach,” said Heather Zichal, who advised Mr. Obama on climate policy. “I don’t think there was a good enough job on managing the narrative.”

Republicans who had supported the climate change agenda began to defect and have since stayed away. “On the issue of climate change, I think it’s happening,” Mr. McCain said in a CNN podcast interview last April. But, he said, “The president decided, at least in the last couple years if not more, to rule by edict.”

Mr. Obama’s political opponents saw the climate rules as a ripe opportunity. “When the president went the regulatory route, it gave our side more confidence,” Mr. Phillips said. “It hardened and broadened Republican opposition to this agenda.”

Starting in early 2014, the opponents of the rule — including powerful lawyers and lobbyists representing many of America’s largest manufacturing and industrial interests — regularly gathered in a large conference room at the national headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, overlooking the White House. They drafted a long-game legal strategy to undermine Mr. Obama’s climate regulations in a coordinated campaign that brought together 28 state attorneys general and major corporations to form an argument that they expected to eventually take to the Supreme Court.

They presented it not as an environmental fight but an economic one, against a government that was trying to vastly and illegally expand its authority.

“This is the most significant wholesale regulation of energy that the United States has ever seen, by any agency,” Roger R. Martella Jr., a former E.P.A. lawyer who then represented energy companies, said at a gathering of industry advocates, making an assertion that has not been tested.

Attorneys General Step In

Republican attorneys general gathered at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia in August 2015 for their annual summer retreat, with some special guests: four executives from Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies.

Murray was struggling to avoid bankruptcy — a fate that had befallen several other coal mining companies already, given the slump in demand for their product and the rise of natural gas, solar and wind energy.

The coal industry came to discuss a new part of the campaign to reverse the country’s course on climate change. Litigation was going to be needed, the industry executives and the Republican attorneys general agreed, to block the Obama administration’s climate agenda — at least until a new president could be elected.

West Virginia’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, led the session, “The Dangerous Consequences of the Clean Power Plan & Other E.P.A. Rules,” which included, according to the agenda, Scott Pruitt, then the attorney general of Oklahoma; Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general; and Geoffrey Barnes, a corporate lawyer for Murray, which had donated $250,000 to the Republican attorneys general political group.

That same day, Mr. Morrissey would step outside the hotel to announce that he and other attorneys general would sue in federal court to try to stop the Clean Power Plan, which he called “the most far-reaching energy regulation in this nation’s history, drawn up by radical bureaucrats.”

Mr. Pruitt quickly became a national point person for industry-backed groups and a magnet for millions of dollars of campaign contributions, as the fossil fuel lobby looked for a fresh face with conservative credentials and ties to the evangelical community.

“Pruitt was instrumental — he and A.G. Morrisey,” said Thomas Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries, an adviser to Mr. Trump’s transition team and the president of a pro-fossil fuel Washington research organization, the Institute for Energy Research. “They led the charge and made it easier for other states to get involved. Some states were keeping their powder dry, but Pruitt was very out front and aggressive.”

After the litigation was filed — by Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Pruitt, along with other attorneys general who attended the Greenbrier meeting — Murray Energy sued in the federal court case as well, just as had been planned.

In February 2016, the Supreme Court indicated that it would side with opponents of the rule, moving by a 5-4 vote to grant a request by the attorneys general and corporate players to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan while the case worked its way through the federal courts.

Trump

When Donald J. Trump decided to run for president, he did not appear to have a clear understanding of the nation’s climate change policies. Nor, at the start of his campaign, did he appear to have any specific plan to prioritize a huge legal push to roll those policies back.

However, it did not go unnoticed that coal country was giving his presidential campaign a wildly enthusiastic embrace, as miners came out in full force for Mr. Trump, stoking his populist message.

And the surest way for Mr. Trump to win cheers from coal crowds was to aim at an easy target: Mr. Obama’s climate rules. Hillary Clinton did not help her cause when she said last spring that her climate policies would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

In May 2016, Mr. Trump addressed one of the largest rallies of his campaign: an estimated crowd of over 10,000 in Charleston, W.Va., where the front rows were crammed with mine workers.

“I’m thinking about miners all over the country,” he said, eliciting cheers. “We’re going to put miners back to work.”

“They didn’t used to have all these rules and regulations that make it impossible to compete,” he added. “We’re going to take it all off the table.”

Then an official from the West Virginia Coal Association handed the candidate a miner’s hat.

As he put it on, giving the miners a double thumbs-up, “The place just went nuts, and he loved it,” recalled Barry Bennett, a former adviser to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. “And the miners started showing up at everything. They were a beaten lot, and they saw him as a savior. So he started using the ‘save coal’ portions of the speech again and again.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers embraced the miners as emblematic of the candidate’s broader populist appeal.

“The coal miners were the perfect case for what he was talking about,” Mr. Bennett said, “the idea that for the government in Washington, it’s all right for these people to suffer for the greater good — that federal power is more important than your little lives.”

SOURCE




"Global coral bleaching event that has lasted three YEARS has finally ended - but reefs are still fighting for their lives"

Nonsense all round.  The Indian ocean was not affected so the event was not global.  And it is admitted below that the effect was largely due to El Nino, not anthropogenic global warming.  They say that El Nino and anthropogenic global warming together had an additive effect but -- even conceding that CO2 causes anthropogenic global warming -- there was no CO2 rise in the relevant years so there was clearly NO rise in anthropogenic global warming.  To put it semi-algebraically:  El Nino + 0 = El Nino.

And corals are at their most diverse and abundant in warm tropical waters so the claim that warm waters are bad for them is fundamentally perverse.  In Australia's case a sea-level fall was almost certainly the cause of bleaching in warm tropical water off the Far North Queensland coast

And both the extent of the loss and the difficulty of the recovery have been greatly exaggerated.  Do I need once again to mention the coral reef at Bikini atoll which was once the target of a thermonuclear blast -- but which is now again thriving?

 It's just all baseless assertion below.  Correlation is asserted as causation.  Factors like sea-level fluctuations are almost certainly involved but no attempt is made even to look at that.  One doesn't look to Warmists for a balanced account of anything -- which reveals them as fundamentally unscientific.  A scientific paper will normally look at all the possible causes of an event and evaluate them against one another. Warmists know just one cause for everything, ignore all else and assert it "ad infinitum"


A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide has finally ended after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday.

About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first announced a global bleaching event in May 2014.

It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.

The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope.

Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it'll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin.

Places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef, northwest Hawaii, Guam and parts of the Caribbean have been hit with back-to-back-to-back destruction, Eakin said.

University of Victoria, British Columbia, coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years.

While conditions are improving, it's too early to celebrate, said Eakin, adding that the world may be at a new normal where reefs are barely able to survive during good conditions.

Eakin said coral have difficulty surviving water already getting warmer by man-made climate change. Extra heating of the water from a natural El Nino nudges coral conditions over the edge.

SOURCE

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017



That 14.8C degrees current global temperature again

A correspondent has updated me on the above issue. He points out that the 14.8C GAT referred to is also the Annual Average for 2016.  14.84C is shown at the NOAA Annual Summary here. They show .94 anomaly + 13.9 average, which is 14.84.

This compares with HIGHER temperatures reported for 1997 and 1998

NOAA say that their 1997 and 1998 averages were wrong and that they have subsequently been revised downwards.  They say:

"Please note: the estimate for the baseline global temperature used in this study differed, and was warmer than, the baseline estimate (Jones et al., 1999) used currently. This report has been superseded by subsequent analyses. However, as with all climate monitoring reports, it is left online as it was written at the time."

That is mightily convenient.  It becomes amazingly convenient when one notes that the original GAT for 1997 in the report was 16.92C -- ie over 2.0C warmer than 2016. Over the last 20 years they have lowered the 1998 temperature by 2.4C, and they currently say records are being broken by a measly tenth or hundredth of a degree.

Clearly, the average global temperature is at best an unreliable and wild guess of no worth for policy or any other purposes.  On the original NOAA figures, the earth has COOLED by 2 degrees since 1997/1998 --  JR




Greenpeace admits its attacks on forest products giant were ‘non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion’

Greenpeace, after repeated attacks against Canada’s biggest forest products company for “destroying,” Canada’s boreal forests, now says that it was merely stating an opinion about the logging activity, not a fact.

After years of weathering attacks on its forestry practices, Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc. last year sued Greenpeace in United States District Court in Georgia under racketeering statutes, alleging that Greenpeace’s repeated attacks on Resolute, to raise money for Greenpeace, amount to criminal activity.

In its claim, Resolute noted that Greenpeace has lobbied big Resolute paper customers, such as the Rite-Aid pharmacy chain (which printed its flyers on Resolute newsprint), encouraging them to switch suppliers, because, said Greenpeace, Resolute is a “forest destroyer.”

But now Greenpeace says it never intended people to take its words about Resolute’s logging practices as literal truth.

“The publications’ use of the word “Forest Destroyer,” for example, is obvious rhetoric,” Greenpeace writes in its motion to dismiss the Resolute lawsuit. “Resolute did not literally destroy an entire forest. It is of course arguable that Resolute destroyed portions of the Canadian Boreal Forest without abiding by policies and practices established by the Canadian government and the Forest Stewardship Council, but that is the point: The “Forest Destroyer” statement cannot be proven true or false, it is merely an opinion.”

Greenpeace adds that its attacks on Resolute “are without question non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion and at most non-actionable rhetorical hyperbole.”

None of the allegations by Resolute or Greenpeace has been tested in this case, which remains before the courts.

Richard Garneau, the chief executive of Resolute, who himself hails from the company’s centre of logging operations in the Saguenay region north of Quebec City, seized on Greenpeace’s admissions in an op-ed published Thursday in the conservative U.S. magazine National Review.

“A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court,” Garneau wrote. “They started changing their tune. Their condemnations of our forestry practices ‘do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,’ as they concede in their latest legal filings. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.”

Garneau, in Toronto Thursday, said Greenpeace’s attacks have hurt many across northern Quebec and Ontario.

“It is sad that we have to do all this to straighten out the record on misinformation,” he said. “It is sad that all Greenpeace’s allegations are against people who cannot defend themselves against organizations who blackmail customers to raise money.”

Resolute has faced criticism over its logging practices in the boreal forests of Ontario and Quebec from people other than Greenpeace. Forest product companies pay the German-based Forest Stewardship Council to review their logging operations and ensure they are sustainable. The FSC logo emblazons products across Canada as responsibly sourced — such as the envelopes used by Canada’s five biggest banks to send out customers’ account statements. FSC in 2014 revoked its seal of approval for logging operations that comprise about half of the forests where Resolute operates in Canada.

FSC said that Resolute wasn’t doing enough to protect caribou habitat, and failed to get permission from First Nations to log certain forests.

But Resolute has trained its legal firepower squarely on Greenpeace. In 2013 Resolute extracted an apology from Greenpeace for falsely alleging that Resolute had cut trees in an area it promised to spare. That same year, Resolute sued Greenpeace for libel in Thunder Bay, Ont., alleging that the global environmental group was spreading lies about the forest harvesting operations.

In a statement released to the Financial Post late Friday,  Shane Moffat, head of forest campaigns at Greenpeace Canada, wrote that, “Greenpeace Canada stands by our criticism of Resolute
 Forest Products’ practices that have been undermining the ecological integrity of the boreal forest in key regions where Resolute operates. Richard Garneau has taken legal arguments out of context to imply that Greenpeace is backing down on these claims. Greenpeace Canada is not involved in this lawsuit, but is being sued by Resolute in Ontario.”

SOURCE





Ship of Fools III – Global Warming Study Cancelled Because of ‘Unprecedented’ Ice

Heavy Arctic ice proves global warming, don't you know?

A global warming research study in Canada has been cancelled because of “unprecedented” thick summer ice.

Naturally, the scientist in charge has blamed it on ‘climate change.’

According to Vice:  The study, entitled BaySys, is a $17-million four-year-long program headed by the University of Manitoba. It was planning to conduct the third leg of its research by sending 40 scientists from five Canadian universities out into the Bay on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen to study “contributions of climate change and regulation on the Hudson Bay system.”

But it had to be cancelled because the scientists’ icebreaker was required by the Canadian Coast Guard for a rather more urgent purpose – rescuing fishing boats and supply ships which had got stuck in the “unprecedented ice conditions”.

    “It became clear to me very quickly that these weren’t just heavy ice conditions, these were unprecedented ice conditions,” Dr. David Barber, the lead scientist on the study, told VICE. “We were finding thick multi-year sea ice floes which on level ice were five metres thick… it was much, much thicker and much, much heavier than anything you would expect at that latitude and at that time of year.”

Clearly not one to let a crisis go to waste, Barber seized the opportunity to perform the usual alarmist clown dance for the media, explaining why this incident definitely shows that global warming is a major problem and deserving of our urgent attention.  He told Vice:     “It was clear it was from the Arctic, I just needed to be among the ice to see it,” said Dr. Barber. “What was also clear to me was that climate change has caused this event to happen.”

[Don’t you just love that “I just needed to be among the ice”? I think what he’s trying in his subtle way to tell us is: “Not all superheroes wear capes”]

Warming to his theme, he told Global News:  “This is climate change fully in action – affecting our ability to make use of marine resources and transport things.”

and:  “This is a wake-up call for all of us in the country.”

Of course it is. Now Barber has the perfect excuse to share his war stories with all the other global warming experts who have had their research expeditions/publicity stunts stymied by unseasonal bouts of global warming.

There was the Ship of Fools expedition in which an Australian climate researcher called Chris Turkey had to call an expedition to the melting Antarctic after his ship got stuck in the ice.

The Caitlin Expedition – supported by the Prince of Wales – in which Pen Haddow and his team had to abandon their trip to the North Pole because it was colder than they’d expected.

Most recently there was Ship of Fools II, in which a global warming research voyage by David Hempleman Adams had to be curtailed because of unexpected ice.

What on earth can Mother Gaia be trying to tell them?  Possibly the same message she’s trying to send out to the Greenies in California with this unexpected fall of white global warming:

    A rare winter-like storm brought more snow to the Sierra Nevada on Monday, giving skiers the opportunity to enjoy the slopes as summer gets underway.

    At Squaw Valley, the storm dropped four inches of snow at the upper elevations and two inches at the base, delighting skiers and snowboarders who will be on the slopes past the Fourth of July for a first time in history.

    “It’s definitely unique,” Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows resort spokesman Sam Kieckhefer said. “We are seeing bathing suits and costumes on the slopes. The skiing has definitely been extremely festive.”

Apparently, she didn’t get the famous memo from the Independent a few years back.  -- saying snowfalls are just a thing of the past.

Why, if you didn’t know better you’d almost think unseasonal bouts of snow and ice were nothing to do with “global warming” but were a natural phenomenon which had been with us since time immemorial….

SOURCE





The political legacy of the Paris Accord departure

It expanded the chasm between ‘everyday’ Democrats and ‘country club’ Democrats

Now the Republicans are the party of “the little guy” — the truckers, the farmers, welders, secretaries, waitresses — and the Democrats have become the party of the big money interests, Google, Facebook, George Soros, Bloomberg. Nowhere is this better illustrated than by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.

The billionaire country club Democrats and their brethren in the media are not going to have their incomes affected like people in the colonies whose livelihood is dependent on abundant low cost energy. We in the “colonies” resent dictatorial policies emanating from the “kingdom of D.C.”

In an eight-minute video with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul ridicules the notion that the oceans will rise 100 feet in the next 100 years by pointing out that the oceans were 300 feet lower eons ago which allowed migration across the Bering Strait.

Isn’t it interesting how the term ‘global warming’ has morphed to climate change?

NASA estimates that steps advocated now would reduce temperatures by 0.2 degrees centigrade over 100 years.

Certainly man has had an influence in the changing environment and air quality since the first caveman started the first fire, but how does that fire or all the subsequent sport utility vehicles and coal fired plants compare to the natural causes which have spawned seven ice ages, one coming all the way down to the northern boundary of Florida.

Everyday Democrats see through the silliness of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer saying that Mr. Trump has destroyed the future of two generations of Americans.

The controls on two pollutants, PM2.5 and ozone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are the ones most linked to health issues such as asthma attacks, hospitalization and reduced mortality with more than 90 percent of the benefit from controlling PM2.5.

According to the World Health Organization of the United Nations, that PM2.5 across the United States is 8.3 micrograms per cubic meter (UG/M3), similar to Iceland and New Zealand, which are 7.6 and 8.0 per cubic meter, respectively.

What are they in the countries which are ridiculing our president and chastising him for “bailing out” and endangering the world? France is 12.1, the United Kingdom 12.2, Germany 13.5 and Japan 14.6. All significantly higher than our 8.3.

Guess what the European standard is? 25 UG/M3.

So, we here in the United States have been doing a far better job of controlling pollutants than the rest of the world, well before the Paris Accord was signed in 2015.

The everyday Democrats see President Obama, sending $1 billion of their taxpayer money (without their approval, channeled through Congress) to a Greenie fund. How much has Russia sent into the Green Climate Fund? Answer: $0.00. China? Zero. India? Also zero, zilch, nada.

Here’s a very impressive comment from the Pakistanis:

“Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030.

An exponential increase of greenhouse gas emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected.”

Rand Paul says Russia is allowed to increase their carbon footprint 50 percent while we’re required to reduce ours 20 percent, and China is not required to do anything.

So the $1 billion the leader of the country club Democrats, President Obama, sent went to countries like Kenya, Thailand, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Vietnam.

An organization called Transparency International has a Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2014, they ranked the major countries that got grants from the workers of America. Those countries ranked between 25-43 on their Corruption Perceptions Index. Zero is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 is very honest, clean and not corrupt.

Has the media dug deeply to find out how much of these workers’ dollars were siphoned to offshore bank accounts or cronyism that inflated the price of contracts?

Jake Tapper could cause his reputation to soar if he put his journalistic investigators on such a topic rather than passing along the exaggerations of the religion of climate change.

How about the $26.6 million that went to the country of Vanutu to expand the use of “climate information services” in order to “ensure adaptation planning and policy implementation is informed by the right data”? So, basically the money was spent to “create a necessary base to underpin awareness-raising and long-term policy planning around climate change.” No wind turbines. No solar panels. No hydroelectric dams. But Vanutu did get $26.6 million of really great data.

The new breed of country club Democrats are not evil and are not stupid any more than the Republican country club types were/are; they’re simply misinformed.

Things are looking up for America, thanks partly to Mr. Trump’s boldness. Cicero centuries ago said criticize by creating. Donald Trump created a way around the flawed media by his flood of Tweets. While his fans feel some of them are irrelevant, that practice has allowed him to abscond with the Democrats’ core base.

SOURCE




Advancing scientific integrity on bees

Putting a beehive at the VP’s residence could spur people’s understanding of bee problems

Paul Driessen

Second Lady Karen Pence and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently teamed up to install a honeybee hive on the grounds of the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC. This will serve as a “great example” of what people can do to help “reverse the decline” in managed honeybee colonies around the country, the secretary said.

Helping bees and educating people about bee problems is a good idea. However, if the hive is an attempt to reduce media and environmentalist criticism of Trump Administration policies – or put the Pences and Ag Department on the “right” side of the “bee-pocalypse” issue – it will backfire. It will also undermine administration efforts to advance evidence-based science, restore integrity to scientific and regulatory processes, promote safe modern technologies, and support continued crop production and exports.

A steady stream of misinformation has fueled misplaced public anxiety about bees. Being on the “right” side must therefore begin with recognizing that honeybee populations are actually increasing, as the decline in managed honeybee colonies reversed in recent years. Attention to the vice presidential hive should instead focus on preventing and controlling the biggest single threat to honeybees, especially in small-scale hobbyist hives: infestations of Varroa mites.

Anti-pesticide zealots and headline-seeking news media have been talking for years about domesticated bees (and now wild bees) serving as “the canary in the coal mine,” whose health problems portend yet another man-made environmental calamity. The future of agriculture, human nutrition, perhaps all life on Earth could be at risk if bees and other important pollinators “disappear,” they ominously intone.

That is nothing more than fear-mongering. Honeybee populations have been bouncing back nicely since the days when many worried about mysterious large-scale deaths in hives. In fact, the “crisis” was seriously (and sometimes deliberately) overblown, and honeybee populations are now at or near 20-year highs in North America and every other continent, except Antarctica.

Assiduous scientific investigation helped identify the mites, viruses and fungal pathogens that can infest hives, and beekeepers are learning to treat infestations without inadvertently killing bees or entire hives. That process has underscored the hard reality that, for professional and hobbyist beekeepers alike, maintaining healthy hives is complicated and difficult, especially when multiple pathogens invade.

However, in another sense, honeybees truly are canaries in the coal mine. They are harbingers of the ways environmentalist attacks on modern agriculture can damage one of the most productive, competitive and globally vital sectors of the American economy. American agriculture feeds the USA and world, while generating trade surpluses and supporting rural and small town communities across the country.

Unfortunately, determined anti-pesticide zealots have been trying for nearly a decade to use the alleged “bee crisis” to prevent farmers from using advanced-technology neonicotinoid pesticides that boost agricultural yields, reduce the need for other crop-protection insecticides that can harm bees, and reduce risks to humans, birds, other animals, non-pest insects, and bees.

Neonics are now the world’s most widely used pesticide class. They are mainly (some 90%) applied as seed coatings, which lets crops absorb the chemicals into their tissue and allows minuscule amounts to target only pests that feed on and destroy crops. Radical greens have tried for years to blame neonics for higher-than-normal over-winter hive losses, “colony collapse disorder” (in which bees mysteriously abandon their colonies, leaving the queen, food and unhatched eggs behind) and other bee problems.

The mere fact that neonics may be detected in negligible, below-harmful levels in the nectar and pollen of neonic-treated crops, in foliage near neonic-treated cropland, or in the food stored in honeybees hives, has fueled emotional campaigns to ban these crop protection products. The activists simply ignore large-scale field studies that have consistently shown no adverse effects on honeybees at the colony level from field-realistic exposures to neonics. They ignore the fact that bees thrive among and around neonic-treated corn and canola crops in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

Anti-pesticide crusaders are determined to take neonics out of farmers’ pest-control “tool-kits.” They will not let scientific facts stand in their way.

This is the tug-of-war that Mrs. Pence’s beehive has plunged her into. What if her bee colony collapses and dies? Whatever embarrassment this may bring to her skills as a beekeeper (and those of USDA staff who will be charged with keeping the hive alive), activists will claim the bee deaths further confirm that the Trump Administration’s enviro-critics are right – and America’s farmers are wrong.

So what can we learn from the fate of one bee colony on the bucolic grounds of the Naval Observatory in the middle of urban Washington, DC? Potentially plenty – if Mrs. Pence and her USDA aides put on their thinking caps, learn more about “bee issue” realities, use this otherwise empty gesture to dramatize the real issues facing honeybees and their keepers, and help advance the cause of scientific integrity.

In recent weeks, the USDA-supported Bee Informed Partnership at the University of Maryland published its annual survey of honeybee colony losses for 2016-17. Although lower than last year and among the best since the decade-old survey began, over-winter losses of 21% and in-season (summer) losses of 18% are still troublesome numbers. However, a vitally important point must be kept in mind.

Those losses were suffered overwhelmingly by small, backyard, hobbyist beekeepers. (Barely 1% of respondents to the BIP survey are large-scale commercial beekeepers, which skews the survey.) This parallels other studies that show small-scale, hobbyist, backyard beekeepers suffer much higher rates of colony loss than do large-scale professionals, who handle the vast majority of US bees and hives.

Those other studies also show that small-scale beekeepers have the greatest difficulty keeping their bees alive in the face of the scourge of Varroa destructor mites. Epidemic since its 1987 arrival in the USA, this bee parasite is a triple threat. Bee larvae often hatch with Varroa mites already attached to them, and these parasites: (1) suck the bee’s hemolymph blood-equivalent out of them, (2) thereby compromising the bees’ immune systems, and (3) vectoring a dozen or more viruses and diseases into honey bees and colonies, turning what were just nuisance infections before Varroa arrived into devastating epidemics.

This has produced a striking paradox – which Mrs. Pence’s new bee colony could help explain. In the wake of widespread publicity about the supposed bee crisis, tens of thousands of well-meaning people across the USA – from the rural countryside to rooftops in densely populated urban areas – have set out to “help the bees” by setting up hobbyist beekeeping operations of one or a few hives. The problem, studies show, is that these well-intentioned initiatives often end up making things worse for honeybees.

Many newly-minted, nature-loving hobbyist beekeepers believe – contrary to the overwhelming bulk of beekeeping literature and practice – that treating their hives chemically for Varroa mites is “against nature,” and thereby hasten the inevitable disaster to their hives. When those hobbyist hives collapse under the weight of uncontrolled or poorly controlled Varroa mites and related diseases, surviving bees migrate in search of new homes, frequently among the healthy hives of some neighboring professional beekeeper – carrying Varroa mites with them. That’s how hobbyist beekeepers inadvertently contribute to the spread of this honeybee epidemic – and to the spread of misinformation about bee losses.

Mrs. Pence’s colony won’t provide lessons on supposed harmful effects on honeybees from exposure to neonic pesticides. The nearest neonic-treated canola and cornfields are well beyond her bees’ roughly 3-mile flight. However, it’s a golden opportunity to use the colony as an object lesson in what small-scale beekeepers should do to keep their hives alive and thriving: above all, control Varroa mites.

Mrs. Pence’s bee colony could become an exemplar for small-scale beekeepers on how to do right by honeybees. By implementing sound beekeeping practices (particularly properly timed Varroa counts and controls), live-streaming those practices and daily hive activity via the bee equivalent of the Panda Cam, and posting short how-to videos, she could teach millions about bees … and advance hobbyist efforts to help bees. That would help replace failure and disappointment with rewarding fun and satisfaction.

Via email

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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   main.html 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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Monday, June 19, 2017



What is the global mean temperature?

There is some excitement in Germany at the moment about what is the global mean temperature.  After some years of reporting an annual mean of 15 degrees Celsius, the WMO and NOAA are reporting a current mean of 14.8 degrees. In other words, the global mean temperature has DROPPED.  Read all about it here.

I am ready to be corrected but as far as I can see it is just a misunderstanding.  Here are the two relevant paragraphs from the WMO:

"NOAA said the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces in May was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F), beating the previous record set in 2015 by 0.02°C (0.04°F). May 2016 marks the 13th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.

After five consecutive record months it comes to no surprise that the average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–May 2016 resulted in the warmest such period on record across the world's land and ocean surfaces, at 1.08°C (1.94°F) above the 20th century average of 13.1°C (55.5°F), surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.24°C (0.43°F), according to NOAA"

SOURCE

So there you see the 14.8°C figure.  It is pretty clear however that the 14.8°C figure refers to May average only, not the average temperature for the whole year.

So:  A storm in a teacup?  I think so -- JR





Another dishonest attempt to deny the 21C temperature stasis

Britain's "Spectator", normally a fairly conservative publication, has just published a supercilious article by Dr Phillip Williamson, who works at the University of East Anglia as a science coordinator for the Natural Environment Research Council.  He cherrypicks a few facts to deny the temperature stasis of the 21st century.  But does not mention ONE NUMBER from climate statistics.  

And we are used to the totally unscientific practice we get from Warmists of not considering and weighing all the possible explanations for a given datum.  Every datum is presented as if global warming alone could explain it. Williamson's does that throughout.

For instance, he presents the 2015/2016 temperature rise as if it were part of anthropogenic global warming, with no hint of the strong alternative explanation that it was caused by El Nino.   But bizarrely, he later on admits that: "Such El Niño events have contributed to the sharp rise in global air temperatures over the past three years".  He undermines his own prior argument!

His argument could well impress some laymen but it would impress no-one accustomed to academic writing.

Paul Homewood picks his article to pieces as follows:


He claims, by the time he [Whitehouse] wrote his piece, the hiatus in global air temperatures had already come to a blistering halt. The years 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record — an unprecedented run.

This may be true for the widely discredited surface temperature record, but not according to satellite data for the atmosphere, which shows last year as only in a statistical tie with 1998.

It is, of course, Williamson’s prerogative to refer to surface data, but he needs to explain why he chooses to ignore the satellite data. To make no reference at all to data, which would undermine his argument, is not the behaviour one associates with a proper scientist.

He goes on to say, now that the most recent El Niño event has ended, global air temperatures ought to be falling, but they aren’t.

This is totally untrue, global temperatures have fallen back by half a degree and more since the El Nino peaked last year, and are back to levels seen in the years after 2001.

The heart of the Williamson article however concerns oceans and how they are somehow hiding the missing heat.

However, things are not quite as black and white as he makes out.

We only have ARGO data since 2004, which is far too short a period to be drawing conclusions from. Prior to that, we had very little idea what was happening to ocean heat content.

It is certainly debatable just how much we know now.

He states, it’s tough to demonstrate a whole-ocean average temperature increase of less than 0.1°C in about 1.4 billion cubic km of seawater. Tough, but not impossible — steadily, scientists have managed to complete the picture.

In fact, the temperature increase detected is much less than 0.1C, approximately 0.02C since 2004.

It is certainly questionable whether any statistical significance can be attached to such a small amount at all, or whether such a figure is genuinely detectable.

Then there is the question of just what is causing this increase in ocean temperatures, if it really exists.

He claims that around 93 per cent of the extra heat gained by the Earth over the past 50 years has sunk into the ocean. Unfortunately this is just mumbo jumbo. It is a physical fact that long wave radiation can only penetrate the top few millimeters of the ocean, where any warming would quickly lead to evaporation.

Even if there was a way for this extra heat to be mixed up with the deep ocean, the difference would be too small to detect.

This raises the question of whether other factors are at play in raising ocean temperatures, with the obvious one being the sun. After all, climate scientists have long known that ocean cycles can have major effects on the climate. Not only are they very powerful, but also very long lasting. The idea that man has caused sudden changes in the deep ocean is frankly scientific gibberish.

Williamson’s logic is that the pause in air temperatures, which he seems to accept existed until the 2015/16 El Nino, was because the world’s climate was going through a period of natural cooling, with the oceans holding back the heat (think La Nina).

But this ignores the AMO, which has been running through the warm phase since the mid 1990s. As even NOAA accept, when this happens, global air temperatures rise.

Meanwhile, the PDO has not really got into negative phase yet, partly because of the recent record El Nino.

Neither of these facts are consistent with his argument. Air temperatures have in fact plateaued despite the AMO and PDO.

But perhaps most importantly of all is the longer term trend. Williamson gives us a clue, when he says, “as the ocean warms, it expands”. In other words, sea levels rise.

But we know from tidal gauges all around the world that sea levels have been rising since the late 19thC, and for most of that time at a similar rate as now, and long before man made CO2 had any significant influence.

There is therefore no evidence that what we are seeing now is not just a continuation of that natural trend.

We in fact know very little about these ocean processes, and it is certainly a subject which deserves much greater attention.

Now that would be a good topic for the Spectator, but don’t expect Mr Williamson to be writing it!

FOOTNOTE

It was Phillip Williamson in his role as science coordinator (whatever that means!) who made a formal complaint about one of James Delingpole’s articles about ocean acidification to the UK press regulatory body IPSO last year.

Dellers has his usual forthright account of how IPSO threw out the complaint!

Sounds as if one of Williamson’s jobs is to shut down free speech.

SOURCE




Deserts 'greening' from rising CO2

It has always been clear that the Sahel has been greening in recent years but the Australian research below confirms that the effect is worldwide

Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.

In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO, in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, according to CSIRO research scientist, Dr Randall Donohue.

"In Australia, our native vegetation is superbly adapted to surviving in arid environments and it consequently uses water very efficiently," Dr Donohue said. "Australian vegetation seems quite sensitive to CO2 fertilisation.

This, along with the vast extents of arid landscapes, means Australia featured prominently in our results."

"While a CO2 effect on foliage response has long been speculated, until now it has been difficult to demonstrate," according to Dr Donohue.

"Our work was able to tease-out the CO2 fertilisation effect by using mathematical modelling together with satellite data adjusted to take out the observed effects of other influences such as precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes."

The fertilisation effect occurs where elevated CO2 enables a leaf during photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight into sugar, to extract more carbon from the air or lose less water to the air, or both.

If elevated CO2 causes the water use of individual leaves to drop, plants in arid environments will respond by increasing their total numbers of leaves. These changes in leaf cover can be detected by satellite, particularly in deserts and savannas where the cover is less complete than in wet locations, according to Dr Donohue.

"On the face of it, elevated CO2 boosting the foliage in dry country is good news and could assist forestry and agriculture in such areas; however there will be secondary effects that are likely to influence water availability, the carbon cycle, fire regimes and biodiversity, for example," Dr Donohue said.

"Ongoing research is required if we are to fully comprehend the potential extent and severity of such secondary effects."

SOURCE





Nevada Reinstates Solar Panel Policy After Tesla Throws Temper Tantrum

Nevada’s Republican governor signed a bill Thursday reinstating a solar energy policy that would bring electric automaker Tesla back after a prolonged boycott of the state’s initial decision to nix the rule.

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the legislation bringing back installers Sunrun and Tesla after nearly a two-year absence. CEO Elon Musk boycotted the state until Nevada reinstated the policy, which requires public utilities to purchase excess power from rooftop solar panels.

State legislators passed the bill, known as net metering, a policy many activists say is critical to keeping Nevada’s solar industry afloat. The growth of the residential solar industry has slowed recently in several Western states.

The policy reinstatement will “bring in thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in positive economic benefit” to Nevada, Tesla executive JB Straubel said at the bill’s signing.

Sandoval’s decision to sign the bill comes after voters passed the Energy Choice Initiative in 2016 calling on lawmakers to split up the state’s electrical market and end the utility company’s legal monopoly. The amendment was spurred in part by massive companies seeking to leave NV Energy and find their own providers.

The vote likely came as a result of a decision in 2015 by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to hike fees on homes affixed with solar panels, a move that basically kicked one of Tesla’s solar panel divisions out of the state.

PUC at the time imposed rules effectively ending net-metering, all but forcing electrical utilities to buy the energy produced by rooftop solar panels at near-retail rates. The move eventually led to a 30 percent decrease in solar installation jobs in the state last year.

Tesla, Sunrun, and others promote net metering to encourage the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Some analysts believe the policy is a wealth transfer from public utilities to rooftop solar companies, because the demand and price for the electrical power fluctuates widely on any given day.

SOURCE




Australia: Climate change zealots need to get real

Peta Credlin

The biggest deniers in the whole climate change debate are those who think we can have affordable power, lower emissions and a reliable network.

We can’t.

And after they almost sleepwalked their way to defeat at the last election, it would appear Coalition MPs have found their voices again on the issue that has defined Australian political debate over the past 15 years or more.

There’s no doubt that any policy that lowers Australia’s CO2 emissions will increase the cost of power and any move away from baseload capacity will make our network more unreliable.

Forget the movie, this is the real “inconvenient truth” that climate change zealots have never wanted to acknowledge. For too long, the views of the Zeitgeist have dominated debate and anyone daring to question any aspect of climate change was branded a sceptic. Scientific fact or not, any issue that’s galvanised the Left to the point of hysteria makes me sceptical that it’s more about the politics than anything else.

Australia contributes 1.4 per cent of global emissions. That’s right — four fifths of bugger all. But for many years we have been told that we must lead the way in reducing global emissions or suffer a loss of international standing for failing to do our bit. I don’t buy this and never have. We’re just the mugs who take these things seriously when so many don’t.

Take Kyoto for example; we didn’t even sign it yet we met the targets. How about the refugee issue? We’re one of only 27 countries in the world that offers resettlement to refugees while 140 odd countries do not.

What’s that again about everyone doing their fair share?

We live in one of the most competitive economic regions in the world. We are also a country rich in natural resources which has delivered us a record-breaking 26 years of economic growth.

We will never beat our neighbours when it comes to cheap labour but Australia’s abundant energy has always been our saving grace. We are the world’s second largest exporter of thermal coal and will soon be the largest exporter of gas. We also have the world’s biggest reserves of uranium. We should be an affordable energy superpower and, 15 years ago, we were; because the power system was run to minimise price and maximise reliability. Affordable power made us highly competitive, delivered industry and jobs, and gave us all a high standard of living.

Since then, green politics has trumped sensible economics and the result is subsidised wind farms and solar panels that make unprofitable the very coal and gas fired power stations that we need for baseload power. It’s a policy induced mess and we’re all paying the price, particularly our small to medium businesses who are doing it tough.

If you’re a well-off greenie with solar panels on the roof, a Prius in the garage and public transport outside your door, you probably don’t mind. In high income electorates feeling good about saving the planet might matter more than keeping the cost of living down.

For everyone else, we want to see a clean environment, good beaches, and our bush protected but we don’t think killing off our industry just to appease the UN gods and various other Lefties makes much sense, particularly when countries like China and India will massively increase, not decrease, their emissions in coming years. Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re economically shooting ourselves in the head.

Right now, China’s emissions are 20 times those of Australia and even if they meet their Paris Agreement commitments, by 2030, China’s emissions will be 50-60 times ours. Seriously? We sell off industry and jobs in a mistaken belief the world that is acting with similar intent but it is clear they’re not, and won’t. Again, remember my refugee example and you get what I mean.

So what about Finkel?

It’s claimed that the Chief Scientist’s report to COAG aims to address the “trilemma” of achieving lower prices, greater security and a 28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. Wrong. The report is about meeting the emissions reduction aspiration (which it converts into a commitment) at the lowest cost without major interruptions to supply. It’s not about affordable, reliable power; it’s about climate change.

As every household knows, power prices are skyrocketing and more blackouts are looming this summer because of government policy that mandates the use of intermittent (and unreliable) wind and solar power. Currently, the “renewable energy target” is 23 per cent, which means a doubling of wind generation in the next four years.

Yet the response of Finkel is to graft a “clean energy target” onto the existing RET to achieve 42 per cent of our power supply from renewable sources by 2030. In other words, he’s proposing to solve the problems caused by too much wind and solar power by having even more wind and solar power.

Reports out of Tuesday’s marathon party room discussion suggest that the Prime Minister’s colleagues are now in no mood to accept yet another giant step towards yet another Labor Party position. After adopting Labor’s policy on schools (Gonski 2.0) and Labor’s position on budget repair (more spending funded by a bank tax), there’s growing resistance to adopting Labor’s position on climate change (a 42 per cent renewable target versus Bill Shorten’s 50 per cent one).

The Prime Minister has said that the alternative to Finkel is to do nothing and that nothing is not an option. So far, though, the party room is unconvinced and is reluctant to embrace a Labor-lite solution to the power crisis that could just make it worse. They won’t accept Finkel’s report as it is, with many fearing his modelling of lower power prices is about as dependable as Treasury’s modelling for a return to surplus.

Around the world, China, India and Japan are massively investing in next generation coal fired power stations because they’re cleaner than any of the generators we have here and coal is still by far the most cost-effective way to generate reliable baseload power. If other countries can build high-efficiency, low-emission power stations to run on Australian coal, why can’t we? If it’s right for them under international agreements, how can it be wrong for us? And if the banks won’t fund them because they need ‘certainty’ then why doesn’t the government get involved?

Clearly there’s market failure here and a risk to Australia’s energy security, as well as the capacity of our industry to remain competitive. Wasn’t market failure one of the reasons the government is spending $50 billion-plus on the NBN?

It’s no good having fast broadband if you can’t turn it on.

SOURCE

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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   main.html 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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