Friday, July 20, 2018



Not Only Does Banning Straws Not Help The Environment Much, It Hurts Disabled People

Last June, an organization I’ve been affiliated with for a long time — since high school, in fact — held its semi-annual meeting. Allowed a guest, I invited a retiree I know to join me and my then-infant daughter.

Everywhere I walked in the hotel ballroom that day, fellow members greeted me warmly and cooed over my baby. But my guest, who entered with us and was beside me all day, was completely ignored.

Over and over again, people saw his walker and looked away, walked away, or talked only to me, even after I’d introduced him.

It was eye-opening. People I’ve long known and think of as “good people” did this. It showed me how blind we can all be to the disabled, both to their existence and their different needs.

A perfect example of that obliviousness on a large scale is the new push for plastic straw bans. These bans sound eco-friendly, they’re trendy, and they completely disregard the needs of the disabled who live in, work in, or visit strawless locales.

New York City introduced a ban bill in May. Seattle’s ban went into effect on July 1. Starbucks announced their plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 on July 9.

And on July 10, Washington DC’s city council introduced its own ban bill, while American Airlines announced its intention to ban “straws and stir sticks from its flights and lounges.”

In case you were wondering, Seattle’s newly implemented ban isn’t going well. Having never discussed the ban proposal with the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities, a group that exists specifically to advise the city about such issues, implementation has been chaotic.

“[City leaders] seem to be telling restaurant owners in Seattle there’s a total ban and telling disability organizations that there are exemptions,” Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, told me. “They haven’t taken the time to ask for public comment. It’s pretty clear they haven’t thought it through.”

It’s not clear Washington’s leaders thought their proposed ban through either.

“I need to have access to straws because of muscle weakness. I can’t lift a cup to my mouth,” Andrea LaVant, who works in the District told me. She uses a power wheelchair full-time because she has Muscular Dystrophy. “I’m upset hearing the news, especially because Washington, in particular, is a city that has been recognized for its accessibility in so many different ways, and because of that, the population of people with disabilities is very high, and so it’s an insult, I believe, to completely ignore the needs of a significant part of the population.”

Straw bans have other negative ripple effects. Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, notes that any ban impacts individuals with medical issues as varied as Cerebral Palsy, Quadriplegia, and Dementia.

As for proposed alternatives, Carter-Long told me there is no real replacement. “Paper straws tend to get soggy and increase the risk of choking … they’re not good for people who chew involuntarily, have excess saliva, or can’t bend because of limited mobility. Silicone straws aren’t flexible … Metal, glass, and bamboo aren’t flexible, which poses obvious dangers for people with Parkinson’s or Cerebral Palsy who can’t control movement.”

Even wheat and silicone straws are problematic — they pose allergy risks. In short, he concludes, “If somebody tells you the options available don’t work for them, listen to them.”

A ban would also seriously inconvenience young families. With three young children, my family doesn’t eat out often. However, when we do, it’s straws (and high chairs) that make those meals possible.

Straws enable my toddler to drink independently, without soaking herself or the restaurant floor. If the District bans straws, we’d travel elsewhere for those family outings.

Personally, I remain somewhat perplexed as to why banning disposable straws has become so urgent. “At most, straws account for about 2,000 tons of the 9 million tons of plastic that are estimated to enter the ocean each year, according to the Associated Press — .02 percent of all plastic waste,” Reason reported. In other words, there are bigger environmental fish to fry.

But here we are. So, in the interest of moderation and sanity, I’d like to offer a proposal.

First, let’s press pause on straw bans until a true alternative exists that won’t inconvenience the disabled.

Second, environmental groups should sponsor a contest, encouraging innovators to create an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative that meets everybody’s needs.

Third, if you live or work in the Washington area, contact the City Council with any concerns. When the Council reconvenes in mid-September and holds hearings, be prepared to testify about ways to improve this bill.

Finally, let’s lead with kindness and common sense. If cities or businesses still want to reduce straw usage, the best short-term strategy is a reduction, rather than complete elimination. As Lawrence Carter-Long suggests, “Say flexible straws are available to people on request.”

Protecting the Earth we’ll eventually leave our children is laudable. But we must also see the people who are in front of us today. Policies intended to help the planet that harms the most vulnerable among us are neither noble nor real long-term solutions.

SOURCE 






Renewable energy seeks demand, investment to survive Trump squeeze

The wind and solar industries hope demand for carbon-free power from U.S. cities, states and corporations can offset headwinds from President Donald Trump’s tax policy and tariffs, developers said this week.

The Trump tax overhaul trimmed production and investment tax credits, and the administration also slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. The moves, aimed at boosting manufacturing and economic growth, also dimmed prospects for renewables.

But Trump’s withdrawal of federal support for Obama-era climate goals indirectly helped the industry by inspiring a backlash among U.S. cities, states and corporations, which have grown more ambitious about installing cleaner forms of energy.

Also, investors with years of deals under their belts are less wary about financing solar and wind than they were years ago, and socially responsible funds are actively seeking projects to invest in, according to executives and investors at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street in New York.

Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy, noted that two big solar projects worth about $2.5 billion total have been canceled or stalled since the tariffs were announced in January. The Solar Energy Industries Association has said the tariffs would result in the loss of 23,000 U.S. jobs.

But some manufacturers and developers have announced new projects in the face of the tariffs. Wetstone noted that solar led all generation sources with 2.5 gigawatts of new capacity in the first quarter of 2018.

‘SEA CHANGE’ IN DEMAND

“There is a sea change in grass-roots demand for renewable energy,” Susan Nickey, managing director at Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc (HASI.N), which invests about $1 billion a year in the sector, said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference on Tuesday.

“More and more corporations and consumers are saying ‘We want 100 percent renewable energy,’” she said, adding city and state governments are adopting renewable-friendly policies to reflect that growing demand.

She cited a survey of financial institutions that showed two-thirds of respondents planned to boost renewable investments this year. Some 89 percent said they would sharply increase planned investments from now to 2030 unless government policies slow demand for renewable energy. (bit.ly/2lsBoRI)

Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Energy Inc’s (NRG.N) NRG Renewables, told a panel at the conference that while Trump’s tax bill was initially worrying, “it has been ultimately easier to work through the repercussions than we anticipated.”

As the bill moved through Congress, Republican lawmakers from states with renewable projects joined Democrats to make changes. The final version kept 80 percent of the investment tax credit and production tax credit values, and dropped a proposed corporate alternative minimum tax that would have made the tax credits less valuable.

“Members on both sides of the aisle stepped out to support us,” Laura Beane, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Renewables, said on Wednesday. Avangrid is developing the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts.

DODGING TARIFFS

Quick action helped many developers dodge harm from U.S. tariffs on solar cells, noted Stacey Kusters, president of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co’s [MEHC.UL] BHE Solar.

“A lot of the projects that were planned went in and bought two years’ worth of panels” before the tariffs, she said.

Meanwhile, the industry is bracing for the scheduled reduction and ultimate expiry of lucrative subsidies on solar and wind power over the coming years, including a 30 percent tax credit on solar installations.

This will make it trickier to finance some renewable projects, said Robert Sternthal, managing director at Rubicon Capital Advisors, who is putting together a team of bankers to advise on renewable deals in North America.

Without the incentives, “pricing may have to go up on the electricity side” for some projects, he said on Tuesday. Yet he also expects growing demand from tech corporations that have pledged to be carbon-neutral and will not rely on wind or solar energy for profits.

“Google, Facebook and Apple don’t have to make 6 to 7 percent returns on these assets,” he said.

Improvements in technology could help make wind and solar more competitive “in terms of cost and sustainability” after tax credits expire, said Rafael Gonzalez, president and chief executive officer of Enel Green Power North America, whose projects include wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.

Beane said Avangrid Renewables is betting on prospects for “a lot of demand for offshore wind power in the U.S. Northeast.” The company starts construction on the Vineyard Wind project next year, and it is slated to come online in 2021.

By then, she said, the project may be competitive on its own thanks to improved technology and expertise: “You’ll be very surprised at the prices.”

SOURCE 





Warmists see conspiracy in Trump/Putin dialogue: It's all about them

Eric Holthaus:

Whether Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 is not up for serious debate — numerous intelligence agencies, both foreign and domestic, concluded it did.

During a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin went a long way toward answering why.

“I did [want Trump to win] because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal,” Putin said.

That statement was widely covered, but I’m convinced something else Putin said during the press conference is more important.

“I think that we as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power, as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets,” he said. “We do have space for cooperation here.”

Some close observers have drawn this connection before, but it’s worth saying again explicitly: There’s no way to understand Trump’s relationship with Russia without putting oil and climate politics at its center. If you’re upset at Trump and Putin for undermining our democracy, just wait until you find out that they are likely colluding to destroy our planet’s climate system, too.

After Monday’s meeting in Helsinki, it’s clearer than ever that we are at a crucial moment in our American democracy as well as in the biggest and most important fight we’ve ever had — the fight against climate change.

Fossil fuels still power 80 percent of the world’s economy, and the leaders of that dying industry might start acting in desperation to stave off its decline. You can see why rapidly eliminating dirty energy sources — exactly what science says we have to do — might be fiercely opposed by politicians who have a substantial stake in their success.

Russia is a petrostate, and the U.S. is now, too. In fact, the two countries are the world’s largest non-OPEC oil producers, extracting nearly as much as all OPEC countries combined. They also own an even greater share of the global natural gas market: Added together the two countries produce six times more natural gas than the rest of the world.

By working together, they can keep the global economy swimming in oil and gas.

And what’s the primary force working against the fossil fuel industry these days? Climate activists. It’s not difficult to see the Trump-Putin alliance as a deliberate attempt to delay action on climate change.

SOURCE 




Let There Be More Than Light

BJØRN LOMBORG

For the well-off in both rich and poor countries around the world, lives are enriched by plentiful access to energy that provides light, fresh food, and clean water, and that powers technology and allows the ability to control the temperature.

Abundant energy provides the same life-transforming labor as hundreds of servants: Without a refrigerator, we would need to locate fresh food daily, store shelves would be half-empty, and a lot of food would go bad before we could eat it – one reason why, in 1930, stomach cancer was the leading cancer in the United States.

Without synthetic fertilizer, which is produced almost entirely with fossil fuels, half the world’s food consumption would be imperiled. Without modern stoves and heaters, we would need to find our own firewood, and we would risk being poisoned in our own houses by killer air pollution. And without fuel-powered trucks, ships, and machines, humans would need to do nearly all the hard labor.

Worldwide, fossil fuels produce two-thirds of all electricity, with nuclear and hydro producing another 27%. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar, wind, wave, and bio-energy produce just 9.8% of electricity in the OECD, and this is possible only because of huge subsidies, cumulatively totaling more than $160 billion this year. Even ultra-environmentally aware Germany still produces more than half its electricity with fossil fuels.

Yet there is a disturbing movement in the West to tell the 1.1 billion people who still lack these myriad benefits that they should go without. A familiar refrain suggests that instead of dirty, coal-fired power plants, poor countries should “leapfrog” straight to cleaner energy sources like off-grid solar technology. Influential donors – including even the World Bank, which no longer funds coal energy projects – endorse this view.

The underlying motivation is understandable: policymakers must address global warming. Eventually moving away from fossil fuels is crucial, and innovation is required to make green energy cheap and reliable. But this message to the world’s poor is hypocritical and dangerous. While fossil fuels contribute to global warming, they also contribute to prosperity, growth, and wellbeing.

There is a strong, direct connection between power and poverty: the more of the former, the less of the latter. A study in Bangladesh showed that grid electrification has significant positive effects on household income, expenditure, and education. Electrified households experienced a jump of up to 21% in income and a 1.5% reduction in poverty each year.

Reliance on coal is not ending soon. While we would wish otherwise, it often remains the cheapest, most dependable energy source: the IEA estimates that, by 2040, coal will still be cheaper, on average, than solar and wind energy, even with a sizeable carbon tax.

Over the past 16 years, nearly every person who gained access to electricity did so through a grid connection, mostly powered by fossil fuels. And yet donors say that many of the 1.1 billion people who are still without electricity should instead try solar panels.

Compared with expensive grid expansion, providing an off-grid, solar cell is very cheap. But for the recipient, it is a poor substitute. It offers just enough power to keep a lightbulb going, and to recharge a mobile phone, which is better than nothing – but only barely. The IEA expects that each of the 195 million people with off-grid solar will get just 170kWh per year – or half of what one US flat-screen TV uses in a year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the first rigorous test published on the impact of solar panels on the lives of poor people found that while they got a little more electricity, there was no measurable impact on their lives: they did not increase savings or spending, they did not work more or start more businesses, and their children did not study more.

Little wonder: 170kWh is not what most of us would consider real access to electricity. Off-grid energy at this level will never power a factory or a farm, so it cannot reduce poverty or create jobs. And it will not help fight the world’s biggest environmental killer: indoor air pollution, which is mostly caused by open fires fueled by wood, cardboard, and dung, and claims 3.8 million lives annually. This is not a concern in rich countries, where stoves and heaters are hooked up to the grid; but because solar is too weak to power stoves and ovens, recipients of off-grid solar panels will continue suffering.

In 2016, the Nigerian finance minister called out the West for its “hypocrisy” in attempting to block Africa from using coal to solve its power shortages. “After polluting the environment for hundreds of years,” she said, “now that Africa wants to use coal, they deny us.”

A Copenhagen Consensus study for Bangladesh found that building new coal-fired power plants there would, over the next 15 years, generate global climate damage eventually costing around $592 million. But the benefits from electrification through higher economic growth would be almost 500 times greater, at $258 billion – equivalent to more than an entire year of the country’s GDP. By 2030, the average Bangladeshi would be 16% better off.

Denying Bangladesh this benefit in the name of combating global warming means to focus on avoiding 23 cents of global climate costs for every $100 of development benefits we ask Bangladeshis to forgo – and this in a country where energy shortages cost an estimated 0.5% of GDP, and around 21 million people survive on less than $1.25 per day.

There is no choice: we must fight energy poverty and fix climate change. But that requires a huge increase in green-energy research and development, so that clean sources eventually outcompete fossil fuels. And it means recognizing that it is hypocritical for the world’s wealthy, who would never accept survival on a tiny amount of power, to demand this from the world’s poorest.

SOURCE 





McDonald’s move to ban plastic straws angers Australians

There is NO justification for this.  Ocean detritus comes from Africa and Asia, not Australia

FIRST it was plastic bag ban rage — now Australians are turning to McDonald’s to take out their anger and frustration.

News the fast-food giant is going to make sipping a thickshake harder has outraged people across the country — and the world — who say the plastic ban is being taken too far, causing them too much inconvenience.

The environmental impact speaks for itself — more than 10 million plastic straws are used in Australia every day.

They contribute to the estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic filling our oceans and by 2050 experts estimate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

But news of the McDonald’s move to phase out plastic straws over the next two years has caused people to flood social media in anger, with many joking it is the “last straw”.

One Facebook user said it was “overkill looking for public praise”.

“What about the lid on the drinks that uses so much more plastic,” he said.

“Then we have plastic spoons and knives and forks they give you. This campaign is bordering on insane.”

Many agreed the plan to roll out the change to all 970 restaurants nationwide by 2020 was more about the company’s corporate image than the environment.

“Plastic straws make up less than 0.003 per cent of the plastic in the ocean. The straw ban is f*****g pointless and shifts the blame from corporations systemically destroying the environment to individuals,” said one Twitter user.

Paul Harvey, an environmental scientist at Macquarie University, has previously said without appropriate exemptions, a federal legislative ban on single-use plastic straws could prevent people in need from “accessing a basic medical aid”.

“We need to ensure that we have the right strategy to accommodate those who still depend on single-use plastics,” he said.

Disability rights groups across the world have been vocal in their views, highlighting people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis need straws to eat and drink.

“Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do,” said one US group after the move to ban straws there.

Worldwide people have been active in their straw ban campaigns, claiming success when companies announce their changes.

Campaigners claimed victory when Starbucks announced it would stop using plastic straws in its stores by 2020, with a petition to encourage them gaining 150,000 supporters.

Even kids have started their own petitions to encourage giants such as Disney World to ban straws and lids.

Others include a petition to stop Subway with more than 95,000 signatures, and ongoing McDonald’s pushes around the world.

In Australia, McDonald’s will start trialling paper straws in August in two outlets.

The move comes as supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles get rid of free plastic bags.

Woolworths has also said it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018 and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines in a bid to appease increasingly environmentally conscious customers.

McDonald’s says the trial is part of a larger, long-term global effort to identify viable, sustainable alternatives to its single-use plastic straws.

“We know plastic straws is a topic our customers are passionate about and we will find a viable solution,” McDonald’s Australia supply chain director Robert Sexton said.

Greenpeace Australia applauded the decision.

“It’s wonderful McDonald’s is making a commitment to reducing consumption of single-use plastic and we look forward to seeing more detail around this proposal to see the overall impact,” Greenpeace spokesman Simon Black said.

McDonald’s paper straws are the same as those it’s trialling in the UK.

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   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, July 19, 2018



IPCC’s Kangaroo Science…Will Ignore Over 600 Papers Showing Sun’s Impact On Climate

The upcoming 6th IPCC Sixth Assessment Report will be a “comprehensive assessment of the science” related to climate change and published in 2022.

However, don’t expect it to be “comprehensive” at all as hundreds of scientific publications showing profound impacts by sun and oceans will go ignored.

Climate science has turned into a religion that centers on a single act of faith. Human CO2 is changing our climate.

In the past, it was always understood that climate was impacted by a vast array of factors, such as oceanic cycles, solar cycles, aerosols, cloud cover, etc. to name a few.

But over the years tremendous resources have been poured into an effort aimed at pinning the blame on man-made greenhouse gases. Models have been grossly distorted and corrupted to make CO2 the 90%+ climate driver.

Despite global temperatures falling by more than 0.5°C over the past two years due to the ending of an El Nino event, IPCC scientists continue to insist that trace gas CO2 is the main driver behi9nd climate warming.

In the IPCC 5th summary report for policymakers, for example, solar and oceanic factors described as having little effect on global temperatures:

With such a disregard for natural factors, it is no surprise that we are already observing the spectacular failure of the climate models.

Not only have ocean cycles been grossly ignored in climate models, but so have solar factors. The sun is not constant in its behavior and has been shown to act in cycles that have profound impacts on the earth’s climate system.

Research showing sun’s impact piles up

Despite all the effort to frame CO2, scientists are still conducting a formidable amount of research on the sun’s impact.

Indeed since the last IPCC report was released in 2013, there have been literally hundreds of scientific peer-reviewed publications showing that the sun, directly and indirectly, has a great impact on the Earth’s climate. Yet IPCC scientists obstinately continue to refuse to acknowledge these in their models.

Back in 2013, I produced a list of 123 paper showing that the sun impacts global climate.

NTZ guest author Kenneth Richard has been busy listing the papers as well. What follows is the list of papers showing the sun impacts global climate.

2012 123 papers had been published and ignored by IPCC 4AR

In 2014, 93 papers were published.

In 2015,  95 peer-reviewed papers were published

In 2016, 133 papers were published.

In 2017,  121 peer-reviewed solar papers were published.

In 2018, so far, ca. 60 papers.

That brings the total of scientific peer-reviewed papers that will be completely ignored by the IPCC to 625. If that isn’t fraudulent “science-based” policymaking, then what is?

Aim: Human society in shackles

The aim of the IPCC is to ignore recognized standards of science, frame mankind for a nonexistent crime, and shackle human society. It’s the next planned slavery. The developing countries, who will be denied cheap and reliable energy, will bear the heaviest chains.

SOURCE 




Green Energy Campaign Has Been a Humanitarian Disaster

Millions of lives were at stake. Hillary Clinton was on board. Money poured in. And yet the big aims behind an effort to tackle the plague of third-world cooking fires has produced only modest gains.

For many decades, it was one of the globe’s most underappreciated health menaces:  household pollution in developing countries, much of it smoke from cooking fires.

The dangerous smoke — from wood, dung or charcoal fires used by 3 billion people in villages and slums across Africa, Central America and Asia — was estimated by health officials to shorten millions of lives every year. The World Health Organization in 2004 labeled household pollution, “The Killer in the Kitchen.” Women and children nearest the hearth paid the greatest price.

If the health costs were not ominous enough, many environmental advocates worried that what was known as “biomass” cooking also had potentially grave consequences for the planet’s climate. Emissions from the fires were contributing to global warming, it was feared, and the harvesting of wood for cooking was helping to diminish forests, one of nature’s carbon-absorbing bulwarks against greenhouse gases.

In 2010, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was formed to help mount a sustained effort at tackling the threats posed by household pollution. The alliance pledged to help engineer the distribution of 100 million cookstoves, small-scale appliances designed to cut fuel use and toxic emissions in impoverished households worldwide by 2020.

The United Nations Foundation was a founding partner in the effort. Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, lent the support of the American government, promising money and the resources of a handful of agencies. “Millions of lives could be saved and improved,” Clinton said when the alliance’s formation was announced, adding that clean stoves could be as transformative as vaccines.

Eight years and $75 million later, however, the Alliance has fallen well short of its ambitious health and climate goals.

An array of studies, including some financed by the Alliance itself, have shown that the millions of biomass cookstoves of the kind sold or distributed in the effort do not perform well enough in the field to reduce users’ risk of deadly illnesses like heart disease and pneumonia.

The stoves also have not delivered much in the way of climate benefits. It turns out emissions from cooking fires were less of a warming threat than feared, and that — outside of some de-forestation hot spots — the harvesting of wood for cooking fires only modestly reduces the sustainability of forests. […]

The Alliance’s plans for the future come with something of an ironic twist: It will now make greater efforts to promote and distribute stoves that use propane, a fossil fuel, the same blue-flamed byproduct of gas drilling contained in cylinders under countless American backyard grills. (Outside of the U.S. propane is most commonly called liquefied petroleum gas, or lpg.) These stoves, it turns out, burn much more cleanly and efficiently than nearly all biomass stoves, reducing the harmful smoke given off during cooking while having a negligible impact on the climate.

In an interview last summer, Radha Muthiah, then the Alliance’s chief executive, said the Alliance was never against propane stoves, but should have been more direct about its openness to a fossil-fuel solution. “We really should have been launched as the Global Alliance for Clean Cooking,” she said. “You cannot talk about stoves without talking about fuels. It’s half the equation.”

SOURCE 

 


Climate change is contributing to the migration of Central American refugees

Here is the evidence presented in the article:  "He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities".  There you have it ladies and gentlemen. THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

As immigration issues along the US southern border continue to roil the country, one driving force of migration from troubled Central American countries has received relatively little notice: climate change.

Author and journalist Todd Miller, who has written a new book called, "Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security," says climate change is a key factor forcing families to flee from Central America and Mexico — and deadly droughts, hurricanes, floods and mudslides are projected to intensify further in the region as global warming increases, which will hit small farmers especially hard.

Miller says statistical data already document the devastating effects of NAFTA and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) on small farmers who were suddenly put into direct competition with highly subsidized US agribusinesses and grain movers. Around 2 million small farmers, particularly in southern Mexico, were displaced or could no longer make ends meet, Miller says.

During his research, however, he encountered farmers fleeing for ecological, not just economic, reasons. He heard stories from farmers who had faced drought or damaging hurricanes that devastated local communities, and some people told him that natural disasters and changing climate situations were the primary reason they were heading north.

“In the region that extends from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras into Nicaragua, which is filled with many poor, small farmers who depend on seasonal rainfall, the farmers were expecting rain and there was no rain,” Miller says. “One mayor in a nearby town where these farmers are from said, ‘We are facing an unprecedented calamity.’”

A climate scientist who studies the area told Miller the drought conditions were not an anomaly, but had been occurring for 10 years and were connected to a warming globe. “So, we're looking at a situation in Central America, which already has a number of factors that are displacing people, and we have to look at this ecological aspect to give a holistic analysis of it,” Miller says.

The climate scientist called Central America “ground zero” for climate change in the Americas, Miller says. It is an isthmus, meaning it has large bodies of water on two sides, so it is more vulnerable to sea level rise, powerful storms, hurricanes and large swings between too much and too little rain.

A report on Mexico showed the potential for an equally unstable future. The report predicted that by the year 2050, 1 in 10 Mexicans would be displaced due to climate-related hazards such as sea level rise, hurricanes and drought.

Water scarcity also presents severe problems for Central America and Mexico. Northern Mexico and Arizona, where Miller lives, are in a severe drought already and “the projections for drought going forward are dire,” he says. “Some people don't have running water most of the day or it will run only for a couple hours a day, so they’re already adjusting to really awful situations."

During his research, Miller looked at “a binational … water harvesting project” happening on the US-Mexico border. Guides took him to Silver Creek, which is what’s known as a “dry wash:” no water runs through it for much of the year and then it flows strongly during the monsoon or rainy season. The guides showed him a series of gabions embedded in the stream bed.

A gabion is essentially a steel cage filled with rocks that acts as a kind of sponge, Miller says. The gabions slow down the water during the rainy season and release it at a lower rate while allowing the surrounding landscape to soak in the water and sediment.

Around these gabions, desert grasses and willows and other trees were growing back. Wildlife is also returning to the region. “They told me the most amazing thing that I had ever heard — that [while] this region of Arizona and Sonora was in a 15-year drought, they had raised the water table, due to these gabions, by 30 feet," Miller says. "They were literally reversing a drought in a very small-scale sort of way.”

Miller believes the US would do well to invest in these kinds of projects in the countries that are sending environmental refugees north in search of a means to survive, rather than spending $25 billion building a wall to keep them out. Otherwise, there is no stopping what could be a uniquely troubled future.

Global projections for the number of people displaced by climate change by 2050 range from about 150 million to 1 billion, Miller notes. The precise numbers are still a matter of debate among scientists who do empirical research connecting climate with displacement, but, Miller says “one of the researchers told me, ‘Whatever it is, it's going to be staggering, and it's going to be without precedent in human history.’”

SOURCE 





The Feds Don’t Have A Plan For Hundreds Of Species It’s Supposed To Be Protecting

The federal government has yet to craft a recovery plan and set standards for delisting on nearly a third of species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead testified Tuesday.

Mead sat before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing discussing amendments to the ESA. The draft legislation would be the first “substantive” updates to the law in three decades if it is passed.

Mead, a Republican, has “witnessed some of the ESA’s greatest failings” firsthand from his position in Wyoming.

“It took five lawsuits and fifteen years to delist a recovered gray wolf population in Wyoming. Grizzly bears are embroiled in litigation for the second time,” Mead testified. “Canada Lynx were listed more than 18 years ago and still have no discernable path to recovery. Nearly 30 percent of all listed species have no recovery plan, and litigation dictates U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) priorities and workload.”

More than 1,600 species native to the U.S. have been listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Of those species, roughly two percent have been taken off the list as recovered, extinct or erroneously listed because flawed data was used to justify the listing decision.

The ESA has saved 99 percent of the listed species from extinction, supporters of the current law argue.

“We should not forget that the ESA as written has a 99 percent success rate at preventing the extinction of listed species and that 90 percent of species with recovery plans are on track to meet their goals on schedule,” Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler testified at Tuesday’s hearing.

The proposed legislation gives state and local research greater weight in listing decisions but leaves the final decision in the hands of the secretary of the interior. The legislation also prevents lawsuits seeking to overturn a delisting decision for five years after a species is officially removed from the list.

SOURCE 





Keep Australia’s coal-fired power plants operating, says AEMO report

The nation’s independent energy market operator yesterday called for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations to remain in operation for as long as possible.

Extending the operation of this fleet for as long as they are economically viable represents the “ least-cost option” for the next twenty years, according to the recommendation. It is thought the move would ward off any future price shock, as Australia transitions to a more renewables-involved grid.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the report speaks a lot of sense.

“I certainly know that the ACCC report and the AEMO report, they do give hope for investment in coal. Certainly other technologies as well, but coal has to be party of the mix,” he says.

“But we also need to as a nation, know and understand there are some of those coal-fired power stations which could be enhanced, which could be revitalised and expanded. That could also provide a solution if the investment isn’t there for new coal-fired power stations.”

The report and this kind of sentiment is predicted to flare up debate around AGL’s planned 2022 closure of the Liddell power station. McCormack says government should not “ rush in and nationalise things” when it comes to privately operated assets, also reiterating his technologically agnostic stance.

“The ACCC chairman said only last week, that only a technology neutral approach will get prices down. Whenever government prescribes that the technology should be one thing or another, that is when you get higher prices.”

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   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, July 18, 2018


U.S. CO2 Levels Drop Again — So Why Aren't Green Groups Rejoicing?

Global Warming: Once more, science provides bad news for global warming alarmists. U.S. CO2 levels again declined during 2017, despite overall global output again rising. Credit U.S. fracking and the natural gas boom. But don't worry: the hysteria won't end.

The new report, based on U.S. data, shows clearly the U.S. continuing downward trend.

"The U.S. emitted 15.6 metric tons of CO2 per person in 1950," wrote the Daily Caller. "After rising for decades, it's declined in recent years to 15.8 metric tons per person in 2017, the lowest measured levels in 67 years."

That's right. 67 years. Green groups and leftist climate extremists should be exulting. The U.S. has found a way to produce more GDP — making all of us better off — with less energy.

Meanwhile, Europe has imposed massive economy-deadening regulations on its economies in order to reduce CO2 output. How has that worked?

Last year, European output of CO2 rose 1.5%, while U.S. output fell 0.5%. For the record, the disaster predicted when President Trump left the Paris climate agreement and rejected draconian EPA restrictions on power plants hasn't materialized. On the contrary, the U.S. model has been shown to be superior.

This isn't the first time we've reported the ongoing decline in U.S. CO2. And if current trends hold, it won't be the last. And, to be sure, it is a long-term trend.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest energy report notes that, from 2005 to 2017, U.S. energy related emissions of carbon dioxide plunged by 861 million metric tons, a 14% drop. It's both a result of the decline due to the Great Recession and the fracking revolution.

The EIA forecast expects a slight uptick over the next two  years in the U.S. as the economy continues its Trump boom. But it will still be way below where it was 13 years ago.

Question: Over the same period, how did the rest of the world do? Emissions rose by 21% to 6.04 billion metric tons over the 12 years, mostly due to booming economic growth in India and China, where coal-fired energy output continues to expand.

The truth, and it's proven by the hard data, is that CO2 made in the USA will not choke the world to death or cause it to massively overheat. And you can thank capitalism for that.

Because capitalism, unlike socialism and its welfare-state kin, hates waste. So it does all it can to be efficient. That means using as little energy as possible to make things. And this predates any of the current CO2 hysteria.

In the U.S., the data are clear and utterly convincing: In 1949, it took 1,098 metric tons of CO2 emissions to produce $1 million in GDP in the U.S., after adjusting for inflation. Today, it takes just 301 metric tons to produce that same million dollars, after inflation — a 73% gain in carbon-efficiency.

Indeed, we're actually decarbonizing our economy, and rapidly.

As new technologies continue to emerge, including better battery storage for alternative energy sources, safer nuclear power plants, and the fracking revolution that continues to make natural gas the energy of choice for conventional power plants, U.S. CO2 output is likely to continue to decline for every dollar of GDP produced.

Instead of being harshly criticized by green groups and Euro-socialists, as has been the case for three decades now, we should be the model for green growth. When it comes to CO2, the U.S. is the leader. The rest of the world is the laggard. That's a fact.

If any green groups have had the guts to come forward and laud this truly phenomenal development, we haven't heard it. We did a Google search and couldn't find a single instance of an identifiable green group applauding the U.S.' extraordinary performance on CO2. None.

Green Grumblings

Instead, we continue to hear the same dark grumblings and prognostications of doom that never come true. That includes the mainstream media, too.

You might remind your less-than-informed friends the next time they criticize America's greenhouse gas output: Not only is the U.S. the only major country that is cutting output, but it is providing a roadmap for how to do it.

Time for the green hypocrites to stop talking, and start doing. Or to admit that it has nothing to do with climate change at all, and everything to do with an extreme-left political agenda masquerading as earth-friendly environmentalism.

SOURCE 





Italian forecasters connect solar minimum and global cooling

“It seems something can not be hidden longer…” says Italian geologist Dr Mirco Poletto.

“On ‘Il meteo’, an Italian weather forecast website, they continue talking about solar minimum and cooling,” says Dr Poletto. “The funny thing: they say the sun is “unusually” weak, showing no knowledge about long term solar cycles. Going on in the article, however, they mention Maunder minimum, the little ice age, and other cold periods.”

Here’s my (Robert’s) attempt to paraphrase the Italian website:

The Sun appears unusually tired, because sunspots on its surface are not visible and seems destined to remain rather low for the next days. This continues a trend since the beginning of 2018, because there have already been 108 days this year without stains (without sunspots). That makes us reflect, because all of 2017 had only 110 “spotless” days (without stains ).

Should we be concerned? Well, scholars say there is a close correlation between solar activity and our climate, and an “off” sun could have quite negative repercussions. This is not a fantasy, as it has happened in the past.

Between 1645 and 1715 our planet lived through what was called the ” Maunder minimum “, named after Eward Maunder , a British astronomer. During the Maunder minimum the average global temperature dropped by 1.5 ° C , and it was precisely in those years that Europe endured the harshest winters in memory. In 1709 the port of Genoa froze , the Venetian lagoon turned into a single slab of ice. The consequences were catastrophic, with heavy snowfall in the winter and abnormally cool summers that completely overturned the agricultural activities and breeding .

At present there are no conditions for the return to a ” Little Ice Age “, but climatologists say that we could return to a period similar to that experienced in the 60s of nine hundred (I don’t know what that means), with average global temperatures below current levels.

The implications for Italy may be immediate. There are increasing possibilities of a rather cool and rainy autumn , especially in the northern regions and parts of the central ones, while the South could enjoy a prolonged summer, at least during the month of October. The winter could then present greater snowfall and cold, a bit as happened in the 60s and 70s of the 900, years, in which the activity of the sun was less, just like now .

The climate could be at a really crucial crossroads over the next few years. Big changes seem to be waiting for us, and we could all be witnesses to something very unusual.

SOURCE 





Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”…Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!

As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.

According to a commentary by Daniel Wetzel of online German Daily ‘Die Welt’, the aging rickety wind turbines are poorly inspected and maintained and thus are now posing a huge risk.

Over the past months alone there’s been a flurry of reports over wind turbines failing catastrophically and collapsing to the ground, e.g. see here, here and here.

As the older turbines age, their components and electronic control systems are wearing out and beginning to gravely malfunction. And according to Wetzel, these turbines are not even subject to strict technical monitoring by Germany’s TÜV (Technical Inspection Association), which provides inspection and product certification services.

In Germany industrial systems are required to regularly undergo technical inspections and approvals in order to ensure that they operate safely. However wind turbines are exempt from this strict requirement and so many wind park operators are neglecting to properly inspect, maintain and repair the systems, which is costly. And so it surprises no one that the aging turbines are beginning to fail catastrophically.

As a result, the TÜV is calling for turbines to be treated like any other industrial system, and be required to undergo rigorous inspections as well, Wetzel writes.

In 2016, near in the region of Paderborn, a 100-tonne turbine and its rotors plunged to the earth. The turbine was nearly 20 years old.

“Razor-sharp shards” threat to grazing animals

In another case, earlier this year, near Bochern, Wetzel reports, a brakeless 115-meter tall turbine spun wildly out of control before “two of the 56-meter blades “ripped to shreds ‘in a cloud of glass, plastic and fill material’.”

“Razor-sharp fiberglass shards flew 800 meters,” the Westfalen Blatt reported.

The debris from exploded turbine now poses a threat to the environment. The sharp fiberglass pieces injure grazing animals, says the Hanover School of Veterinary Medicine. “For cattle they can even perforate the stomach.”

Hazard to ground water

Another hazard comes from the hundreds of liters of transmission oil the turbines that seep into the groundwater. Moreover the huge reinforced concrete foundations require tremendous energy for their manufacture and they penetrate deep into the ground, which adversely effects soil and groundwater.

Growing list of disasters

The number of wind turbine disasters is mounting, reports Wetzel. Wind energy opposition group Vernunftkraft keeps a list, which has grown to be pages long. But the German Association of Wind Energy (Bundesverband Windenergie) downplays the incidents, calling them “isolated cases”.

Dealing with “ticking time bombs”

Yet the situation has in reality grown so serious that TÜV is now urgently calling for rigorous inspections and regulations in order to assure operational safety.  TÜV expert Dieter Roas says that we dealing with “ticking time bombs.”

Wetzel writes that many turbines are now approaching their 20-25 year lifetimes and that extending their operating time should require technical approval.

The technical and structural integrity of the turbines in most cases is completely unknown.

TÜV expert Roas warns: “Here we are dealing with significant dangers”.

SOURCE 





The Incredible Scam of Rooftop Solar

We've all heard about "shop local" and "get your food from local farmers, not distant corporate farms."  Lots of people have apple trees in their backyards.  Often they can't begin to eat or give away all the apples.  In the meantime, big supermarkets sell corporate apples for one dollar a pound and up.  I propose that people with backyard apples be able to take them to the supermarket and sell them to the supermarket for the same price at which the supermarket is selling apples.  Furthermore, they should be able to take them at any time and receive payment.  If the store gets too many local apples, it can reduce its purchase of corporate apples.

My apple proposal may seem ill advised, but that is exactly how rooftop solar power works.  The homeowner gets to displace power from the power company, and if the homeowner has more power than he needs, the power company is obligated to purchase it, often for the same retail price at which it sells electricity.  That policy is called net metering.  In order to accommodate the homeowner's electric power, the utility has to throttle down some other power plant that produces power at a lower wholesale price.

The exact arrangements for accepting rooftop solar vary by jurisdiction.  In some places, net metering is restricted in one way or another.

A large-scale natural gas-generating plant can supply electricity for around 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Rooftop solar electricity costs, without subsidies, around 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, or five times as much.  Average retail rates for electricity in most places are between 8 cents and 16 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Yet, paradoxically, the homeowner can often reduce this electric bill by installing rooftop solar.

It is actually worse than forcing the power company to take 30-cent electricity that it could get from a natural gas plant for 6 cents.  When the company throttles down a natural gas plant to make room for rooftop electricity, it is not saving six cents, because it already has paid for the gas plant.  All it saves is the marginal fuel that is saved when the plant is throttled down to make room for the rooftop electricity.  The saving in fuel is about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.  So 30-cent electricity displaces grid electricity and saves two cents.

But where does the other 28 cents come from?  Who pays for that?  Part is paid for by the federal 30% subsidy for solar energy construction cost.  That takes care of about nine cents per kilowatt-hour.  That leaves the homeowner with electricity costing him 21 cents per kilowatt-hour.  The cost comes from his monthly payments on the loan to build the solar system divided by the number of kilowatt-hours generated that month.  If he pays cash for the solar system, then the monthly cost is his lost investment return on the cash he paid.  If he lives in a jurisdiction where electricity costs 11 cents, then he is losing 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour generated (21 cents minus 11 cents).  But if he lives in California, where larger home users of electricity pay 53 cents per kilowatt-hour if they consume beyond a baseline limit, he saves 32 cents for each kilowatt-hour of solar electricity generated.  In that case, the power company is losing kilowatt-hours it could have sold for 53 cents.  Other customers have to pay more to make up the lost revenue.

From the standpoint of society, rooftop solar substitutes 30-cent electricity in order to save two cents.  If the homeowner is at least breaking even, as he usually is, he hasn't lost anything due to the substitution.  The money to pay for the 30-cent electricity comes from the taxpayer-provided subsidy and revenue that is no longer paid to the power company.  The taxpayers and power company pay for 30-cent electricity that could have been obtained for two cents by burning a little more natural gas.  If the homeowner makes a profit on the solar power, then the burden on everyone else is even greater.  Since the power company is guaranteed a rate of return, or at least has to break even, rates have to be raised enough to pay for the overpriced rooftop electricity.  The burden falls on society to pay for the scheme.  The purveyors of rooftop solar, crackpot environmentalists and rooftop solar-owners, are happy.  Everyone else is screwed.

Here is an example of rooftop solar that costs 30 cents a kilowatt-hour.  A 5-kilowatt rooftop system costs about $21,000 installed.  It will generate 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year.  If it is financed over 20 years at 8% interest, the annual payment will be $2,139.  The cost per kilowatt-hour is $2,139/7,000 = $0.306, or 30.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.  Of course, costs and interest rates vary, as does sunshine.  If you think 8% is too high for the interest rate, ask yourself if you would loan your neighbor $21,000 for 20 years for less.  Rooftop solar is expensive compared to utility-scale solar, because it is a small custom installation.  The orientation and slope of the house roof may be less than ideal.  Large-scale utility solar, in contrast, can be as cheap as seven cents per kilowatt-hour.

An increasing problem, already present in California, is too much solar.  The electric grid has a combination of base load power and additional peaking loads.  The base load runs 24 hours a day and is not easy to throttle down.  Solar power peaks around midday.  If there is so much solar as to threaten the base generation, solar has to be curtailed.  In California, this happens in the spring, when sunshine is plentiful but the air-conditioning load is not yet large.  When solar dies, in the hour before sunset, peak power consumption is often being reached.  In that case, solar aggravates the rate at which the rest of the grid has to increase power output to handle the early evening peak.  If the homeowner is at least breaking even, he is probably generating surplus electricity during the middle of the day, adding more solar during the critical midday period and increasing the size of the sudden surge in power demand when the sun fades.

Utility-scale solar costing seven cents is a big waste of money.  Rooftop solar costing 30 cents is insane.  Special interests  – the solar industry and environmentalist crackpots – have convinced legislatures and public utility commissions to stack the deck with net metering and absurdly high tiered electric rates.  The result is to make it profitable for homeowners to invest in what otherwise would be very expensive electricity.  Society as a whole pays for the economic waste, amounting typically to 28 cents per kilowatt-hour of rooftop electricity.

It is foolish to justify rooftop solar on the grounds of reducing CO2 emissions, because if you work the numbers, it costs about $800 to avoid emitting a metric ton of CO2 using rooftop solar.  You can buy a carbon offset that does the same thing for $10.  Reducing CO2 emissions is dubious in any case.  Global warming-climate change ideology is struggling because warming is not remotely meeting expectations.  Believers are starting to lose their faith in global warming.  It is dawning on them that global warming is another scary disaster in a long parade of scary disasters that never materialize but make money for interested parties.  Fewer people want to waste billions on a quixotic quest for renewable power.

The most prominent remaining global warming believers are now advocating nuclear power as the best means of reducing CO2 emissions.  CO2 is plant food that makes plants grow better with less water.  It greens deserts and increases agricultural productivity.  Bring it on.

SOURCE 





Two North Texas wind projects cancelled due to military concerns

Sheppard Air Force Base and the military community is celebrating a win this week as a wind farm company decides to not build near the base.

The base announced that Innergex, a renewable energy company, was considering building wind farms near Byers and Bluegrove.

After information campaigns from the base and Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) about how the developments would negatively impact Sheppard’s training routes, the company removing themselves from the permitting process – meaning their interest in the area is essentially over.

“We are grateful for the decision Innergex has made regarding proposed wind projects in Byers and Bluegrove," George Woodward, SAFB Public Affairs spokesperson, said Friday.

"These projects would have had serious negative impacts on our ability to safely manage both civilian and military air traffic in those areas and would also have reduced the overall number of effective flying training days we have each year."

The process, he said, was an effort of both the base and local officials.

“We appreciate the continued support of local civic, business and government leaders on this issue as we continue to work with them and with wind energy advocates to balance military readiness and economic development,” he said.

SMAC President Glenn Barham said this is good news for the Sheppard area.

Wind turbines near low-level military training routes can cause radio interference and be a hazard to the aircraft themselves when the craft are 1,000 feet or closer to the ground.

Barham said Sheppard has focused efforts on keeping turbines out of the low-level flight routes for training pilots at the base.

Currently, there are 17 of these flight routes – three have already been abandoned because of wind farm encroachment.

“There are others proposed that we have learned about that could cause the closure of two more routes. We are looking to educate everybody about encroachment,” Barham said.

Renewable energy is a great innovation that benefits people, but, Barham said, their aim is to mitigate any issues that may arise between the military and wind farm companies.

SMAC, Sheppard and other military bases are testing a more proactive approach with these wind farm companies to help alleviate any unnecessary animosity between the groups.

They are not against renewable energy, Barham said, but want to be part of the planning process sooner to inform companies as to the best locations that will not impact training missions.

For instance, he said, flight training routes are 10 miles wide and companies could chose to locate a farm closer to an edge, rather than the middle, of a training route.

“One day they might fly five miles left of the center line. The next day, two miles right of the center line. They need plenty of maneuvering space,” he said.

When talking with a wind farm company, they may ask them to consider not placing a wind farm right in the middle of a training route, but rather to an extreme edge of the route.

“We believe that, by working together and communicating early in the process, we can reach mutually compatible solutions not only in and around military bases, but also around FAA-designated military training routes and operating areas in Texas and Oklahoma,” Woodward said.

State legislators are already taking notice of the need to change regulation of wind farms to better protect military training bases.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1576, approved in early May by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin offers far-reaching regulation to protect routes from encroaching turbines.

Barham said SMAC representatives will be meeting with Rep. James Frank and the next senator-elect after November to consider proposition of similar legislation in Texas.

Such a bill would be “immensely useful” to Sheppard and other military training bases, Barham said.

SOURCE 

***************************************

For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here.  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

*****************************************


Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Japanese Scientists: IPCC Models Sloppy And Lopsided, Major Factors “Not Adequately Represented”

Another paper titled The Solar Wind and Climate: Evaluating the Influence of the Solar Wind on Temperature and Teleconnection Patterns Using Correlation Maps lends great support to the claim that solar activity plays a major role in driving the Earth’s climate, and that CO2’s impact is being grossly overstated.

The paper, authored by a team of researchers led by Japanese physical chemist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, photo right, examined the influence of changes in solar activity (solar wind in particular) on surface temperatures and major oceanic oscillations such as the Arctic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which have great impacts on regional and global climate.

The researchers feel that the major drivers of the Earth’s climate are more related to the sun and the oceans, and CO2’s role has been exaggerated.

Sun and oceans play great role

The paper cites, for example, Levitus et al., which found multidecadal temperature oscillations with magnitudes as large as 4°C for the Barents Sea at depths of 100–150m and that the timing of the oscillation coincided with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a major factor in the Atlantic Ocean.

IPCC models shoddy, major factors “not adequately represented”

The team of scientists found a clear influence of the solar wind on climate, and thus solar activity “should be considered much more than conventionally believed”.

The authors state, “once its mechanism becomes clearer and incorporated into climate models, it will greatly contribute to policy development.”

“The effectiveness of climate models is greatly reduced when the influence of the sun (and moon) is not adequately represented,” they state in the paper’s conclusion.

Dr. Kimimori Itoh has been a harsh critic of the mainstream, narrow scientific view that trace gas CO2 acts as the main driver behind global climate. He once called it “the worst scientific scandal in history” and that “when people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”

SOURCE 





Rejecting carbon colonialism

African Development Bank breaks with anti-fossil fuel banks to fund coal power, prosperity

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

We recently explained how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) use manmade climate change alarmism to justify lending policies that reject funding for fossil fuel electricity generation, promote expensive and unreliable renewable sources, and thereby help keep impoverished nations poor.

Now, in a daring show of humanity and common sense, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has broken ranks with the World Bank and its like-minded carbon colonialist brethren. The AfDB has announced that it will once again finance coal and natural gas power generation projects. As AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina puts it, “Africa must develop its energy sector with what it has.”

In a formal statement, Adesina noted: “The key challenge for Africa is the generation of power. The continent has the lowest electrification rate in the world. Power consumption per capita in Africa is estimated at 613 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Power is the overriding African priority.

“The investment is expensive, yes, but the long-term returns will be much greater. To fast track universal access to electricity, the Bank is investing US$12 billion in the power sector and seeks to mobilize $45-$50 billion from other partners.”

Put in understandable everyday terms, those numbers mean the electricity that makes modern lives, jobs, productivity, living standards, health, communication, computers, entertainment and life spans possible is available to Africans a paltry 4.7% per capita of what Americans rely on. Just imagine having electricity available only 1 hour a day … 8 hours a week … 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch when you have power. And at three times what Americans pay.

Try running your life that way – or with wind and solar systems that are just as sporadic and unreliable – and might increase your per capita electricity to 10 or 15% of US levels.

Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other sub-Sahara African countries have vast coal deposits. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom estimates that South Africa’s 53 billion tons of coal reserves could meet its needs for 200 years! Many also have enormous natural gas resources.

Those fossil fuels must not be ignored and “kept in the ground,” to appease eco-imperialists.

The AfDB is being encouraged by the Trump Administration, which may partly account for the new policy. The Trump USAID is now running the Power Africa 2.0 program, a vital upgrade of the Obama era program that promoted renewable energy and strongly discouraged the use of affordable fossil fuels.

USAID says Power Africa 2.0 is “one of the largest public-private partnerships in development history, with more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 150 public- and private-sector partners.”

The Obama program managed to facilitate financing for just 7,300 MW of electrical generating capacity (15% of what Germany generated with coal in 2016) – and most of that was from expensive, unreliable wind and solar units. Even Bloomberg said President Obama’s “signature initiative for Africa” fell “well short” of its goals, producing less than 5% of the new electricity it promised; and virtually all that power was intermittent, expensive wind and solar – leaving hundreds of millions of Africans “in the dark.”

The only fossil fuel theoretically allowed under the Obama Power Africa con was natural gas. And even then his Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a 130-MW power plant in Ghana that would burn clean natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted.

USAID Administrator Mark Green says the new Power Africa goal is 20,000 MW by 2020, using “affordable, reliable energy,” meaning coal in many cases. More broadly the Trump Administration has spearheaded creating a “global fossil fuel alliance.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry often refers to this as “new energy realism” in global power development, noting that fossil fuels are absolutely essential for developing countries, especially in those where many people still have no electricity. How refreshing.

Even in South Africa, the most electrified and advanced nation in sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient electricity means too frequent brownouts that hamper factory and mining output, and keep hospitals and schools far below optimal levels. Its maternal mortality rates are some 35 times higher than in the US, tuberculosis rates 230 times higher, and thousands still die every year from lung and intestinal diseases.

But World Bank carbon colonialists still rebuffed South Africa when it applied for a loan to finish its coal-fired Medupi power plant, despite its advanced clean coal and pollution control technologies. Claiming the project violated climate change and sustainability goals, the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club and other agitator groups pressured the bank to deny funding. The Obama Administration ultimately voted “present” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations.

Excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan nations “enjoy” a minuscule 181 kWh annual per capita electricity consumption – 1.4% of the average American’s! In fact, Africa is home to 16% of the world’s population – and 53% the world’s people without electricity. It’s no wonder Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries are taking charge of their own destinies and building dozens of coal-fired power plants.

As Professor Rosemary Falcon points out, clean coal is not just feasible; it is also about the cheapest way to generate electricity on a continent where twice as many people as live in the United States are without power. Her “sustainable coal research group” developed a process that separates poor-quality coal from better fuel, crushes it and removes components that don’t burn well. Burning it in advanced power plants generates more electricity with “less ash, less fumes, more heat and a longer burn.” That’s clean coal.

Every country could do this, if they had the “political will” to do so, says Nigerian Sam Bada, a member of Falcon’s team. “I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity. Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”

All this helps explain why the AfDB is doing what all MDBs should do. It has committed $12 billion to a “New Deal on Energy for Africa” program. As Mr. Adesina says, “Africa has a lot of energy potential, but potential doesn’t create anything. We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent.’ We need to … accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa.”

It helps explain why Africa, China, India, Indonesia and others refuse to reject coal and gas – and rely on “green” energy technologies that don’t exist … except in classrooms, computer models, IPCC reports, Al Gore lectures, and renewable energy company promotional literature.

Claims that 97% of scientists agree that we face a manmade climate change “tipping point” are right only if they are talking about the bureaucrats, activists and climatologists who take taxpayer and foundation money and blame humans for supposed climate chaos. Beyond their narrow confines, rational scientific discussions rage over global warming and cooling, floods, droughts, extreme weather, carbon dioxide enrichment and a host of related issues: here, here, here, here, here and here, to cite just a few places.

And how can anyone compare alleged climate problems with very real, immediate, lethal Third World problems caused and perpetuated by being forced to continue relying on wood, charcoal and dung – the fuels of poverty, misery, disease and early death? People in these countries are not expendable laboratory animals, on which to test renewable energy schemes. They must no longer be treated that way.

Many countries signed the Paris treaty because they were promised countless billions in “mitigation, adaptation and compensation” payments. The Green Climate Fund is now all but defunct. Its director has resigned, and virtually no one is contributing to it. That should be another loud global wake-up call.

Developing countries increasingly realize they are largely on their own. Other nations should follow their lead, and end this tragic fascination with green energy pixie dust. The world still needs oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power – the fuels of modern living standards, prosperity, health and life!

Via email





Meaning Nothing – Ireland To Entirely Divest From Fossil Fuels

By Tim Worstall

Ireland has proudly announced that it is the first country to entirely – no, totally – divest from fossil fuels. This means rather less than nothing, as it doesn’t actually mean that Ireland won’t be using any fossil fuels. It just means that the State itself, the funds it controls, won’t be buying shares in fossil fuel companies. Not buying Shell or BP stock is not a great blow against climate change:

"Ireland is set to become the first country to stop public investments in fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill was passed by the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann, on Thursday.

The bill is expected to pass relatively quickly through the Seanad (senate), and will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to end any investments in non-renewable energy in five years.

Environment activists have welcomed the news"

It’s feel good trivia rather than anything important.

The text of the bill calls for the complete divestment of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of fossil fuel companies within five years from the commencement of the bill’s approval. The aim, as expressed in the bill, is “to precipitate a timely decarbonisation process in line with Ireland’s climate change commitments under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.”

Not buying shares and not using fossil fuels are two rather different things. Owning or not owning Exxon stock makes no difference whatsoever to which fuel people top up with at the petrol station now, does it?

Ireland has lagged behind other European countries in cutting emissions and Irish households emit 60 per cent more carbon than the average EU home, in part because of the use of peat and coal for heating, according to a government study.

“We have had a very carbon-based economy and society for a number of years, so this is a huge change for us, but it has to happen,” said Thomas Pringle, the independent parliamentarian who sponsored the legislation.

“The bill sends a very clear message . . . that the Irish government sees the transition away from fossil fuels as very important,” he added."

The difference this will make to the use of peat and coal is precisely nothing, isn’t it? Unlike, say, that digging up of County Down* going on to put natural gas pipelines in. You know, investing in fossil fuels so as to reduce carbon emissions?

The full bill is here. Signifies nothing, just wind.

*Yes, I know, different country-- In Northern Ireland

SOURCE 





Disposal Of Wind Turbines Proving To Be A Major Environmental Concern

Thousands of aging wind turbines will eventually need to be decommissioned, but the disposal of this “green” technology could prove to be a dirty job for environmental regulators.

Besides a host of problems that occur during a wind turbine’s lifetime — such as intermittent power production and the killing of thousands of large, rare birds — Germany is now dealing with a another pressing issue:  What is to be done with a wind turbine once it’s reached the end of its life cycle? There are over 28,000 onshore wind turbines in Germany. More than one-third of these aging turbines will need to be decommissioned by 2023.

Many in the general public consider wind energy technology to be a completely operable without environmental degradation. However, this is not the case.

The high-tech blades used in wind turbines contain exotic compounds that are laborious to recycle. These rotor blades use carbon fibers and glass, and give off toxic gases and dust — which means burning them is not an option. Additionally, the concrete bases used to uphold wind turbines can go as far as 30 meters deep into the ground, making them very difficult to fully remove.

“The operators of wind farms in Germany [are] beginning to have to ask themselves, ‘What do we do with the assets that come up to the lifetime?'” said Giles Dickson, a wind energy lobbyist in Europe. The problem isn’t just on the horizon, but something that has already been plaguing German regulators for years. The country was forced to deal with 54,000 tons of waste from rotor blades in 2014. (RELATED: Here’s How Renewable Energy Actually Hurts The Environment)

“It will probably be a challenge for technology. It will really be an issue over the next years and decades probably to get old turbines off the field, so I expect industry will find technologies to cope with it,” said Dr. Jan Tessmer, an energy expert, during an interview with Deutsche Welle.

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Australia: Victoria’s Western Front Erupts: Locals Launch All-Out Attack On Hawkesdale Wind Farm Plans

A community meeting at Hawkesdale on Wednesday concerning wind farm growth in the south-west, left local MPs, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) representatives and the national windfarm commissioner in no doubt as to the position of the majority of locals.

The meeting, organised by community members, invited DEWLP members and windfarm commissioner, Andrew Dyer, to town to address community concerns about the planning and application processes for proposed windfarms in the region. The vocal room of around 100 people projected their questions to the panel, which included Mr Dyer, DELWP Executive Director statutory planning services, Jane Homewood and senior planner, Tim Doolan.

“You’ve heard these people today, everything is negative, you should get that from the feel of the meeting,” one attendee said, followed by a large round of applause, showing the panel the united belief of those in the room.

“Nobody wants you here … Go away.”

People travelled from around the region to express concerns and ensure the health, agriculture and social impacts of wind towers was clearly understood.

Mr Doolan began the evening with a presentation on the planning process for windfarm approval.

He explained that windfarm applications had to meet a number of requirements, including a noise assessment, landscape and visual impact assessment, safety, environmental impacts, traffic and road infrastructure impacts, electromagnetic interference and shutter flicker.

“These are all the different types of technical reports that need to be provided for any application for a windfarm” Mr Doolan said.

The senior planner said there were three stages of the windfarm approval process; the application stage, post-approval and amendment.

He said all wind turbines needed to comply with a noise limit of 40-decibels and could not be erected less than 1 km of any dwelling.

Turbines within this range needed consent. If consent was not given, the application was prohibited.

Local residents were advised that the town boundary is not a consideration during planning stages, but that the nearest turbine, which in Hawkesdale will sit around 1 km from the nearest dwelling, was enough to meet Victorian requirements.

Mr Dyer quashed any thought, risen by Penshurst District Pharma and windfarm opponent, Annie Gardner, That There Was a Bill in Parliament’s Upper House to Remove Noise Nuisance under the Victorian Public Health and Well-Being Act.

“The act is an act of Parliament, I don’t think councils had thought about how to make a complaint under the health and well-being act,” Mr Dyer said.

“The act is still there, you can make a complaint this afternoon under the act and Council needs a procedure in place to receive an address that complaint properly.”

Ms Gardner said that she had experienced a number of health issues as a result of the Macarthur windfarm which neighbours her property, and asked the Commissioner to consider low-frequency noise and infrasound when having an acoustician measure turbine noise.

“In the guidelines there is nothing about low-frequency noise or infrasound and this is what is affecting most of us in the sense we are sensitised when we go away from home,” Ms Gardner said. “When we go into a café with air-conditioning or supermarket, our symptoms come back because the issue is cumulative. The low-frequency noise is what we feel in our chest and in our hearts.”

When questioned why the compulsory distance of turbines from dwellings has changed from 2 km to 1 km when the Andrew’s Labor government was elected in 2014, no panel member could provide a satisfactory answer.

“I don’t know why it was changed from 2 to 1 km, but there is a noise decibel level that is based on the New Zealand standard and I’m hearing that it is totally inadequate for you, so we will take that on notice,” Ms Homewood said.

One Cape Bridgewater resident, who lives within 640 m of wind turbines told the Commissioner she was “living a life of misery” as her house was now worthless, to which the Commissioner advised her to move out.

The Cape Bridgewater windfarm was erected before any minimal distance between dwellings was enforced in 2011.

Hawkesdale resident, Liana Blake, told the room the proposed Hawkesdale windfarm would allow for wind towers to be built within 2 km of her house, the closest at 1.1 km.

“That’s our home, that’s where we decided to live and build our business,” she said.

“What are we going to do? Do we just move out because the noise is too much for us?

“You’ve wrecked our lives … these windfarms are wrecking people’s lives.”

Residents also raise concerned about the future growth of the Hawkesdale community, believing windfarms would deter people from moving to the area, “unfortunately, the panels look for evidence and that is difficult if you’ve got a new windfarm,” Ms Homewood told the room.

“It is a requirement of the panel to consider the social and economic impact of the windfarm, when they are considering whether or not the windfarm will go ahead.”

SOURCE

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Monday, July 16, 2018



Climate researchers are airy-fairy types while the public are more down to earth

This is rather delicious. As a retired academic I can decode academic bafflegab and my heading above is good summary of the findings below.  I think I could have predicted that finding. That Greenie academics focus on theories while ignoring reality does in fact encapsulate all of Warmism as far as I can see


Personality type differences between Ph.D. climate researchers and the general public: implications for effective communication

C. Susan Weiler et al.

Abstract

Effectively communicating the complexity of climate change to the public is an important goal for the climate change research community, particularly for those of us who receive public funds. The challenge of communicating the science of climate change will be reduced if climate change researchers consider the links between personality types, communication tendencies and learning preferences. Jungian personality type is one of many factors related to an individual’s preferred style of taking in and processing information, i.e., preferred communication style. In this paper, we demonstrate that the Jungian personality type profile of interdisciplinary, early career climate researchers is significantly different from that of the general population in the United States. In particular, Ph.D. climate researchers tend towards Intuition and focus on theories and the “big picture”, while the U.S. general population tends towards Sensing and focuses on concrete examples and experience. There are other differences as well in the way the general public as a group prefers to take in information, make decisions, and deal with the outer world, compared with the average interdisciplinary climate scientist. These differences have important implications for communication between these two groups. We suggest that climate researchers will be more effective in conveying their messages if they are aware of their own personality type and potential differences in preferred learning and communication styles between themselves and the general public (and other specific audiences), and use this knowledge to more effectively target their audience.

SOURCE 





 Record late Snowpack Signals a Lost Summer for Greenland’s Shorebirds

Sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones failed to breed this year along the Arctic island’s east coast due to record snow cover.  And Greenland is one of the iconic places for Warmists.  They are always proclaiming its imminent melting.  It seems the shorebirds missed the message

Millions of shorebirds descend on the Arctic each year to mate and raise chicks during the tundra’s brief burst of summer. But that burst, which usually begins in mid-June, never arrived this year for eastern Greenland’s shorebirds, a set of ground-nesting species. Instead, a record late snowpack—lingering into July—sealed the birds off from food and nesting sites. Without these key resources avian migrants to the region will not reproduce in 2018, experts say. Breeding failures like this may grow more common because some climate change models predict increased springtime snow in the shorebirds’ nesting habitat.

Snowmelt usually allows shorebirds to begin nesting on eastern Greenland’s treeless tundra during the first half of June, says Jeroen Reneerkens, an avian ecologist at the University of Groningen who has studied these birds since 2003. However, when he arrived this year at Zackenberg Station on June 14 to survey sanderlings, a species of Arctic-breeding shorebird, he found they had nowhere to construct their nests. “The tundra was 100 percent covered in snow, and it was a very deep layer,” he says, estimating an average depth of about one meter. “It was a big shock to see the place like that,” he adds.

Most years, mid-June is also a time of song in eastern Greenland—shorebirds croon to attract mates and defend breeding territory. But this year the tundra was “truly silent,” Reneerkens says. “That was very unusual.” The few shorebirds he did encounter, including sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and red knots, wandered the snow-free patches outside the station’s buildings in search of food. “They were just starving,” he says. “I realized these birds were not getting ready to breed at all. They’re just in survival mode.”

Reneerkens’s research team weighed the sanderlings and found they were 20 percent lighter than normal for this time of year. In such condition the birds can neither reproduce nor escape to better feeding grounds. “They got trapped at Zackenberg,” he says. “They couldn’t just fly south without the [fat] reserves to do so.” His group discovered three carcasses of sanderlings that had apparently starved. Researchers elsewhere along Greenland’s east coast also report extensive snow cover and hungry birds. The region’s tundra was still 80 percent covered in snow as of July 10, according to observations provided by a staff member at Zackenberg.

Although shorebird breeding success fluctuates by 20 percent or more from one year to the next, a nonbreeding summer appears to be unprecedented. “This year broke all records,” Reneerkens says. “I know my literature about Arctic shorebirds very well and I have never come across something like this.” He is uncertain how this “disastrous” incident will affect the overall populations of these shorebird species. But “given the scale that this happening [on],” he says, “I do expect that this will have large consequences.” He estimates the record-late snowmelt impacted half of the global breeding area for sanderlings, red knots and ruddy turnstones.

Nathan Senner, an ornithologist at University of Montana–Missoula not affiliated with Reneerkens’s research, agrees this summer’s reproductive crash in Greenland is exceptional: “A nonbreeding year is pretty extreme.” Senner says the case is reminiscent of 1992, when shorebirds suffered poor reproductive success after Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted the prior year. The tropical volcano belched atmosphere-cooling particles over the planet—including the far north, causing cold summer temperatures in the Arctic. Nevertheless, a study of the eruption showed some birds did successfully reproduce that year.

Researchers elsewhere in the Arctic are also reporting unusually late snowmelt this year, with repercussions for shorebirds. Richard Lanctot, a researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, believes record late snowmelt inhibited nesting near Utqiavik (formerly Barrow) on the northern coast of Alaska. His group’s nest count this summer so far is among the lowest since they began monitoring in 2003. Shiloh Schulte, an avian ecologist who works in northeastern Alaska for the conservation nonprofit Manomet, says snowmelt was more than two weeks later than normal in his region. He noticed flocks of long-billed dowitchers and American golden plovers gathering to migrate south without breeding. “Everything needs to be timed perfectly for these birds to be successful,” Schulte says of the short Arctic summer. On Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, shorebirds nested at less than half their typical densities due the late snowmelt, according to research scientist Paul Smith of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Even with similar trends throughout the North American Arctic, nowhere has been hit harder than eastern Greenland.

The region’s reproductive failure this summer exacerbates a global nosedive in migratory shorebird numbers. North American populations have halved since the 1970s. Climate change and hunting have contributed to this decline, Senner says. But he emphasizes the single biggest threat to shorebirds is the destruction of “stopover” habitat—areas where the birds rest and refuel while migrating between their Arctic breeding grounds and their southern wintering habitats. One study found that in the past 50 years, 65 percent of tidal flats have been lost to development around the Yellow Sea in east Asia, which had previously served as key stopover point. Climatic challenges like late snowmelt in their breeding grounds only compound the birds’ plight.

Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic”—which is probably bad news for birds.

SOURCE 





Incoming EPA chief: ‘This is the right job for me.’

In some ways, Andrew Wheeler — former Environmental Protection Agency career staffer, Republican Senate aide, energy lobbyist — could hardly be more different from the man he is replacing as head of the EPA.

Where Scott Pruitt was a career politician who enjoyed the limelight, Wheeler has worked behind the scenes on energy and environmental law. Pruitt filled his time at the agency by traveling the country, speaking to groups of industry executives and praising President Trump. As the EPA’s deputy administrator, Wheeler has spent much of his short tenure meeting with career staffers and delving into the policy weeds at the agency’s headquarters.

But this much is clear: Wheeler intends to pursue many of the regulatory rollbacks Pruitt put in motion and to carry out Trump’s promises of a more efficient, less powerful EPA. A day after the president asked for Pruitt’s resignation amid a flurry of ethics scandals, the EPA’s acting administrator spoke with The Washington Post about what comes next. The interview has been edited for length and clarity:

Washington Post: How do you feel arriving as administrator under these circumstances? And what’s the message you’re giving to employees who have been through a tumultuous time?

Andrew Wheeler: I sent out an all-hands statement to all the employees yesterday evening. One, thanking the administrator for his service, and then telling everybody that it’s work as usual — we’re all working together — and that I share the core mission of the agency, which is to protect public health and the environment.

WP: Can you expand a little on that and what you’re going to do in terms of continuing the policies that Scott Pruitt put in motion? As you can imagine, Democrats and environmentalists are making the argument that you’re an even more skilled deregulator.

Wheeler: A more skilled deregulator?

WP: Do you reject that notion?

Wheeler: I don’t get that notion. I’ll have to think about that. I’ve actually seen a lot of things about me in print the last day or two. But I would say that the agenda for the agency was set out by President Trump. And Administrator Pruitt has been working to implement that. I will try to work to implement the president’s agenda as well. I don’t think the overall agenda is going to change that much, because we’re implementing what the president has laid out for the agency. He made several campaign promises that we are working to fulfill here. But there will probably be a little bit of difference in the way Administrator Pruitt and I will talk about some issues. There have already been some differences in how I’ve talked to EPA employees since I’ve been here.

You know, I had the benefit of having the longest confirmation process for a deputy administrator in EPA history. So I had some time to think about what I wanted to do as the deputy. I took a hard look at the major criticisms that the agency has received over the last 20 some years. What can be changed? What can be fixed? What can be put in a different direction? And how does all that fit under cooperative federalism, return to rule of law and getting back to basics of the agency?

Since I’ve been here, I’ve been going around talking to groups of career employees. I’ve been to three of our regions, and I’ve been to our Research Triangle Park lab in North Carolina. I’ve talked about what I want to try to accomplish on behalf of the administration, on behalf of the president. I really think we need to provide more certainty to the American public. And I look at certainty in three different areas. The first is certainty on permits. The second is certainty on enforcement actions. And the third — the one that’s most important to me — is certainty on risk communication.

WP: As you know well, one of the criticisms of Mr. Pruitt was a lack of transparency in who he was meeting with and what he was doing with his time at the agency. Do you plan to put in place mechanisms to be more transparent, in letting the public be aware of the work that’s being done?

Wheeler: I’m not going to criticize my predecessor in any way. But I will answer by saying this: I cut my teeth as a career employee here at the EPA in the early ’90s working on the Community Right-to-Know Act. And I believe that my time on the Hill and in the legislation I worked on — how I addressed all statutes, how I addressed all laws — was that the more information we make available to the American public, the more transparency we have, the better our decisions will be. The more open we are, the better it is for everyone.

That’s how I cut my teeth on environmental law. And that’s been part of my core beliefs in the agency and how I look at environmental issues. The more transparent we are, the better understood our decisions will be.

WP: On climate change, that’s been a key issue. As staff director, one of the things you did working with [Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M.] Inhofe was, while he talked a lot about questioning climate science, you expanded what he talked about to really include things like the economic costs of these regulations. Can you talk a little about how you see your approach to climate, as well as science, including the changes we’ve seen to the Scientific Advisory Board?

Wheeler: Sure. There are a couple questions embedded in that. You’re right, when I went over to the Senate, I personally focused more on the cost side on the climate debate — the cost-benefit and the different aspects of the legislation.

I did do my undergraduate work in biology. I do not consider myself to be a scientist, and I’ve always deferred to career scientists on issues of science. I’ve done that in the two and a half months I’ve been here, and I’ll continue to do that. On the Science Advisory Board, I think it’s important to be very transparent, and I think it’s important to make sure people who serve on the science advisory boards don’t have conflicts of interest.

While I was not here last year when the Science Advisory Board was reconfigured . . . I understand the desire to make sure that the people serving on the board weren’t also benefiting from science grants from the agency. I do think that’s important to make sure that there are not conflicts of interest. Hopefully, you saw my recusal statement where I did not seek any waivers, and I don’t plan to seek any waivers. I think it’s important to make sure that we address conflicts of interest very openly and upfront.

WP: Can you summarize where you stand on climate change and, more importantly, EPA’s role in dealing with that problem?

Wheeler: I do believe climate change is real. I do believe that people have an impact on the climate. What’s the most important — and I’m glad you asked it that way — is the second half of your question is, what is EPA’s role there?

I think our role is to follow the statutes that are provided to us by Congress. And I think that the statutory directives are very small. My criticism of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was that it was outside the four corners of the Clean Air Act. And I think the fact that the Supreme Court took the unprecedented move of issuing a stay showed the fact that the law probably would not have held up in court. So I think as we move forward on a potential replacement for the Clean Power Plan, you’re going to see us taking a hard look at what the act says and the authorities the act gives us, and we’ll put something forward that follows the law.

I know that there’s a number of senators that would like us to go much further, but of course environmental organizations would love us to go much further. But you’re not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along. We’re going to follow the law that Congress has given us.

WP: To follow up on that, do you hold that, for example, the “endangerment finding” [that created the basis for regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant] is settled law? Or would you say that there’s also an open question about whether that is a proper interpretation of the Clean Air Act?

Wheeler: On the endangerment finding, I was very critical of the method that the agency used to come up with the endangerment finding, that they did not do independent analysis, that they relied upon the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]. And that was litigated; it was taken to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the Circuit Court upheld the EPA position. So I consider that to be settled law. There would have to be a major, compelling reason to try to ever reopen that. I don’t think that’s an open question at this point.

WP: Before coming to the EPA in recent years, you worked as a lobbyist for some of the industries that you’ll now be responsible for regulating. How will you approach regulating those industries, many of which are heavily invested in what comes out of EPA?

Wheeler: You’re right, I did work for a number of different industries, a number of different companies. I did not lobby the EPA for at least the last two years. In fact, our communications team today has tried to press me to remember how long ago it was that I actually lobbied the EPA, and I can’t remember. It’s been at least three or four years, maybe longer. The only EPA issue that I’ve actually lobbied on the last couple of years was the Energy Star program, and that was on behalf of a client who was fighting to keep the integrity of the EPA program intact. It was to defeat a Senate Republican amendment that wanted to do away with third-party certification.

So, I mean, anybody could take a look at any one of my clients and say, “Well, you might be biased this way or you might be biased that way.” I’ve spent a career working on multiple issue areas and multiple sides of different issues. Having started my career at EPA, having worked on the Hill for two different members who didn’t agree on every issue, and then working in the private practice, where I’ve worked on behalf of different clients — I don’t think I’m biased.

I certainly have no fiduciary arrangements with any of my former clients or my former law firm. I don’t benefit financially from anything like that. And I think there’s been enough distance on the EPA issues that I’ve worked on in the past where I don’t believe I have bias in any particular way on any of these issues. But I think the experience that I’ve had working as a consultant, working on the Hill, working as a career employee of the agency, has really prepared me well for this job at this point in my life.

WP: For someone who is so often described as low-profile, this doesn’t seem the type of job that you can really avoid the spotlight. How do you feel about that part of it?

Wheeler: I really did not seek this job out, to be acting administrator. I was very content being the deputy. So I’m going to have to deal with that. But I have been in D.C. now for over 25 years. I realize that I’m walking into a job that’s going to be a lot more high-profile than I would have wanted. But I really do think [that] my background, at this point in time, that this is the right job for me.

SOURCE 





The Trump Administration’s Likely Unwillingness to challenge the "consensus"

Alan Carlin

It has become evident that the Pruitt EPA did not want to challenge the scientific climate “consensus,” either because they did not think that they could win the ensuing battle or because they wanted to avoid angering voters who accept the scientific “consensus” on climate. As pointed out repeatedly in my climate book and this blog, it is evident that the “consensus” is wrong in terms of satisfying the scientific method, that the eminent scientific and government organizations that have supported it are wrong, that the mainstream press is usually wrong on this issue, and that the main losers are those that are forced to pay the resulting higher bills and taxes and reduced reliability, all for negative net benefits.

Getting the world to admit this monumental failure of the scientific establishment, the governmental supporters, and the mainstream media is more difficult. The likely result is that more countryside will be covered with expensive, unreliable “renewable” energy farms as a result of continuing Federal and state subsidies, and then abandoned when the subsidies run out and maintenance costs increase with time.

The issue is now coming to a head in an obscure but important proposed revision of an Obama Administration proposed regulation. The EPA has sent the Office of Management and Budget a replacement for the Obama EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP). It is reported that the replacement requires “inside the fence” reductions of CO2 emissions from power plants. This provides support for the ideology that supports reducing CO2 emissions. It will not require as much of a reduction, I assume, but it will indirectly support the ideology, wrong though it is.

So if this is the case, it shows that even the independent-thinking Trump Administration will not challenge the “consensus.” Then who will? Apparently no one but a few climate skeptics. So the climate “consensus” will live on to create more disasters another day. Only if the climate actually cools enough so that the weather agencies cannot hide the truth will the truth come out in such a way that the climate-industrial complex (CIC) may finally be discredited and the public subsidies (either through taxes or higher energy bills) will end. When the subsidies end, of course, the CIC will finally collapse.

But the Trump Administration is apparently currently willing to lead the way towards publicly discrediting the “consensus” even though many members of the Administration appear to be climate skeptics. It rather appears to want to reduce the cost of the climate scam while they are in power, with little concern for what is likely to happen after they are gone and the EPA greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding is still on the books, ready to be used by climate activists to force the country to do their bidding.

This suggests one of the underlying problems created by government intervention into what should be the free market. Once enough public resources are diverted to private gains, it becomes very difficult to fix the resulting mess. And that is what we have.

SOURCE 




Cold snap sends temperatures plummeting across Australia's east coast – and it's not over yet

Far be it from me to challenge evidence of global cooling but I think it is only fair to note that they are talking below about the Southern half of Australia.  In Brisbane we have had some very chilly nights by our standards but I have yet to experience an afternoon when I have not sat around in just undershorts and a singlet -- with the front door wide open. Brisbane's famous warm afternoons have not deserted us yet --- even in the depth of winter.  Which all helps to show the folly of thinking that temperature aggregates tell you much about anything

The east coast of Australia is suffering through an icy weekend with the frosty temperatures expected to last into the middle of the week.

The lowest temperature recorded in Sydney was at Penrith, which dropped to below zero degrees, recording -0.9C at 5am on Sunday morning and not reaching above 1C until after 8am.

Other areas of Sydney to record low temperatures were 4.5C at Sydney Airport and 5.1C at Sydney's Observatory Hill.

A strong westerly wind of 24km/h overnight played a role in causing the icy temperatures across the state.

Inland New South Wales is also suffering through the cold with Wagga Wagga recording morning temperatures of -0.3C.

A number of other regions in New South Wales recorded below zero temperatures including Richmond, 63.4km from Sydney, which had overnight temperatures of -3.8C.

While Camden, 65km south west of Sydney, recorded overnight lows of -4.3C, the lowest overnight temperatures for the area since June 2010.

Bathurst, located 200km from Sydney, recorded freezing temperatures of -8.1C and did not break the minus temperatures until 10.20am when it recorded 0.4C.

The lowest forecast temperatures for all of New South Wales for all of Sunday is at Thredbo, expected to reach a daily maximum of only 1C.

And according to Bureau of Meteorology Senior Forecaster Jake Phillips the east coast's glacial conditions have yet to reach their trough.

'Just about the whole state is cooler than average for this time of year. In some parts of the state it can be five or six degrees below average,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Places like Penrith and Richmond the next couple of mornings are going to be down to the zero mark – maybe even below zero.

'And it’s going to get even colder, with a lot of places set to be six or even eight degrees below average for their minimum temperatures over the weekend.'

Melbourne temperatures weren't quite as low as Sydney but that doesn't mean Melburnians weren't suffering through the cold snap.  Residents woke to temperatures as low as 7C on Saturday morning with a daily high of 9.3C.

Elsewhere in eastern Australia, the notoriously frosty city of Ballarat in central Victoria had its coldest July day in 24 years this week recording a maximum of 5C on Wednesday, one degree below the July average.

In the nearby city Bendigo, temperatures were also at a record low, freezing through its coldest July day since 1996 with a maximum recording of just 0C.

The cold weather pushed well up into Queensland with the outback town of Blackall dropping to 1.2C while Lochington, near Emerald, was just 0.5C at 7.11am.

Brisbane experienced temperatures of 5 degrees on Sunday morning, even Rockhampton, up on the state's central coast, dropped to a low of 6.5C just before 7am.

Forecasters are expecting conditions to remain below average until Tuesday or Wednesday.

'We're definitely not through the cold snap as yet, you couldn't say that,' Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonti Hall told AAP.

However the coldest temperatures along eastern Australia was clearly Canberra which recorded temperatures as low as -4.8C on Sunday morning.

SOURCE 

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