Thursday, December 04, 2014

More unsettled science

A rather amusing bit of research below.  It contradicts previous Warmist claims that the effect of CO2 buildup will take decades -- saying that the effects (unquantified) will instead take only 10 years to emerge.  The fact that they haven't emerrged in the last 18 years seems to be rather overlooked.  But they have good news for us plebs too:  Sea level rise will take thousands of years to happen!  Where are you Al Gore?  But it's all just computer modelling so needs no serious consideration other than to note that you can get all sorts of funny stuff out of models

Many scientists believe it takes several decades for the effects of global warming to be felt on Earth.

But in fact, it takes just 10 years for a single emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) to have its maximum warming effects on the planet.

This is according to Washington-based researchers who claim to have dispelled a common misconception that the damaging effects from a CO2 emission will only be felt by future generations.

The results suggest that warming can persist for more than a century and that the benefits from emission reductions will be felt by those who have worked to curb the emissions.

Some of these benefits would be the avoidance of extreme weather events, such as droughts, heatwaves and flooding, according to scientists at the Carnegie Institute for Science.

However, some of the bigger climate impacts from warming, such as sea-level rise, melting ice sheets and long-lasting damage to ecosystems, may not occur for hundreds or thousands of years later, they claim.

'Amazingly, despite many decades of climate science, there has never been a study focused on how long it takes to feel the warming from a particular emission of carbon dioxide, taking carbon-climate uncertainties into consideration,' said lead author of the study Dr Katharine Ricke.

'A lot of climate scientists may have an intuition about how long it takes to feel the warming from a particular emission of CO2, but that intuition might be a little bit out of sync with our best estimates from today's climate and carbon cycle models.'

To calculate this timeframe, researchers combined information about the Earth's carbon cycle with information about the Earth's climate system taken from a group of climate models used in the latest IPCC report.

The results showed that the average time between a single CO2 emission and maximum warming was 10.1 years, and reaffirmed that most of the warming persists for more than a century.

The reason for this time lag is because the upper layers of the oceans take longer to heat up than the atmosphere, the scientists say.

As the oceans take up more and more heat which causes the overall climate to warm up, the warming effects of CO2 emissions actually begin to diminish as CO2 is eventually removed from the atmosphere.

It takes around 10 years for these two competing factors to cancel each other out and for warming to be at a maximum.

'Our results show that people alive today are very likely to benefit from emissions avoided today and that these will not accrue solely to impact future generations,' Dr Ricke said.

'Our findings should dislodge previous misconceptions about this timeframe that have played a key part in the failure to reach policy consensus.'

In the two decades since world leaders first got together to try to solve global warming, the world has become more polluted with heat-trapping gases, more crowded and just downright wilder.


NYT: Unidentified “Scientists” Predict “Human Extinction” Absent Climate Treaty

Yesterday, the top right fold of the Grey Lady was given to ongoing efforts by jet-setting (and, therefore, carbon spewing) diplomats to craft a global climate change mitigation treaty. According to the Times, “scientists” agree that the doomsday clock is ticking, as is imparted in the article excerpts below:

“Without a deal, they [“scientists”] say, the world could eventually become uninhabitable for humans.”

“While a breach of the 3.6 degree threshold appears inevitable, scientists say that United Nations negotiators should not give up on their efforts to cut emissions. At stake now, they say, is the difference between a newly unpleasant world and an uninhabitable one.”

Remarkably, the Times failed to identify the “scientists” who’ve warned of global warming- induced “human extinction,” absent a legally binding treaty to control global greenhouse gas emissions. The only scientist interviewed in the article was Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton professor of geosciences and international affairs, and who previously spent two decades working for the green advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund. Below, I’ve reposted his full reported comments.

“I was encouraged by the U.S.-China agreement. [However] What’s already baked in are substantial changes to ecosystems, large scale transformations. [Still, absent a deal] Things could get a lot worse. [Beyond the 3.6 degree threshold, the aggregate cost] to the global economy—rich countries as well as poor countries—rises rapidly.”

Professor Oppenheimer’s reported comments make no mention of human extinction. Moreover, he’s the sole scientist identified in the piece, which would seem to contradict the plural use of “scientists” who supposedly agree that human extinction is likely absent a climate change mitigation treaty.

So who are these “scientists”? Undoubtedly, alarmism is the “newsiest” element of the story; that’s why its title reads: “Optimism Faces Grim Realities as Climate Talks.” As such, one would think that identifying the “scientists” warning of climate-caused “human extinction” would qualify as being among “all the news that’s fit to print.” In any case, if these unidentified pessimists are indeed correct, then buckle your seat belts for the apocalypse, because the anarchic nature of the international system precludes the possibility of a climate treaty, as I explain here.


French backflip on diesel

They may like a little va va voom but French cars will no longer be powered by diesel if the country's prime minister gets his way.

As part of a wider environmental effort to be launched next year, Manuel Valls said France was overly reliant on the fuel and pledged to wean the country off it.  

'In France, we have long favored the diesel engine,' he said. 'This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.'

More than 30 million cars currently run on diesel in France today, according to the latest figures from the World Bank - approximately 80 percent of the total on the road.

While French car ownership fell by almost 25 percent between 2007 and 2013, 86 percent of all French households still own a car.

Unlike Britain where diesel prices are higher, the fuel is less expensive than petrol in France where the current tax system makes the fuel about 15 percent cheaper.

Most European countries have similar policies because diesel cars are typically more efficient than their petrol counterparts.

With the focus shifting from economy to air pollution, as of next year all French cars will be subject to a pollution rating which will facilitate the banning of the dirtiest cars from towns and cities.

At present diesel costs around 1.25 euro, or 99p a liter, but as of next year the tax on diesel will also rise by around a penny, generating around £1.2 billion in revenue for the government.

This will add around 50p to the price of a full tank for medium car owners and 70p for large car owners.  

However, drivers who trade their gas guzzlers for electric cars could get up to £8,600 in incentives for making the switch.


EPA Announces Holiday Sale on Expensive Regulations

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Obama administration announced it will seek tighter restrictions to curb industrial emissions to lower ozone pollution. It’s the first of many new rules the EPA will be rolling out in the next few months – all sure to do more harm to the economy than good for the environment.

Rules to reduce methane emissions are expected soon. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas said to trap heat 25 times more than carbon dioxide, is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking – the technique often used to extract oil or natural gas from the earth. Environmentalists claim methane leaks have the potential to cancel out the benefits of natural gas production. Of course, years before the natural gas boom, these same environmentalists heralded natural gas as the solution to America’s energy problems. It’s cleaner than oil, it’s plentiful and it’s easy to reach. Now that we are actually harvesting more energy, however, the environmental lobby wants to shut it down. It’s a common pattern – constantly moving the goal post to make anything good for the economy seem bad for the environment.

Coal ash is another target for the EPA. The agency may not label this byproduct of burned coal in electricity generation a hazardous waste, but the new rules for how it is stored and handled will hit the embattled coal industry with significant new costs. It’s yet another salvo in Obama’s ongoing war to shut down coal production in America.

The EPA temporarily tabled its new fuel-blending requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard. But the welcome news of this delay is more than offset by coming government restrictions on fracking on federal lands and offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Industry and private citizens are paying a hefty price for these regulations. The agency maintains we’ll save $67 billion on energy. But they arrive at this phony conclusion by using a complex model illustrating the supposed damage done to the environment by unchecked carbon emissions and tallying the costs to be incurred by cleaning it up. Yet if rabid environmentalists have taught us anything over the last several years, it’s not to trust their predictions. Whether they’re wrong because of faulty analysis or outright lying, the end result is the same.

Energy Ventures Analysis, a private industry consultancy, estimates the EPA carbon rules will add $284 billion in energy costs over the next five years. Between 2012 and 2020, the average annual household gas bill will increase by $680, while electricity bills could increase by $340. The industrial sector could see a 92% hike in electricity and natural gas bills by 2020, costs that will assuredly be passed on to consumers in higher prices for goods and services.

The Supreme Court recently agreed to take on the question of whether the EPA should have considered costs in determining the regulation of hazardous air pollutants. The question is central to three separate suits against the EPA that the Court consolidated into one. There’s no reason to believe, however, that this case will curb the EPA’s overreach into the economic sector. The Supreme Court has a sad history of validating the agency’s broad use of power. In 2007, the Court ruled that the EPA had the power to regulate gases it associates with “climate change.” This year, it affirmed the EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases at large industrial plants.

There really is only one way to check the imperial overstretch of the so-called Environmental Protection Agency: Elect a president in 2016 who knows the real difference between creating environmental regulations that make sense and issuing edicts for the sake of attaining power.


Bank of England investigating risk of carbon bubble

As climate talks begin in Peru, danger that companies have fossil fuel assets they cannot use

The Bank of England is conducting an investigation into the risk of an economic crash if fossil fuel companies were prevented from using their coal, oil and gas assets because of climate change considerations.

On the same day that a new round of global climate change negotiations begins in Lima, Peru, the U.K. Central bank told its Parliament of its plan to investigate the “carbon bubble.”

What would burst the carbon bubble in Alberta's oil patch?
UN climate change report offers stark warnings, hope
Last year, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

If the world comes to a binding agreement a year from now in Paris to limit global warming to 2C by cutting carbon emissions, many fossil fuel companies will be left with assets they cannot use, so-called “stranded assets.”

Concern over economic collapse

The Bank of England has been concerned about the economic impact of this scenario, and will be working with Britain’s financial policy committee to study whether a carbon bubble will lead to economic collapse.

“In light of these discussions, we will be deepening and widening our enquiry into the topic,” Carney said in a letter to the U.K. Environmental Audit Committee.

Among the concerns raised by the central bank is the impact of proven oil, gas and coal reserves considered unburnable because they would push the world past the 2C goal for carbon emissions.  It also will study the insurance risk and costs of global warming.

Major financial firms such as Citibank, HSBC and Moody’s have also begun to study the impact of a carbon bubble and stranded assets. Thinktank Carbon Tracker helps financial companies and fossil fuel companies get the risk in hand.

“Fossil fuel companies should be disclosing how many carbon emissions are locked up in their reserves,” Carbon Tracker CEO Anthoy Hobley said. “At the moment there is no consistency in reporting so it’s difficult for investors to make informed decisions.”

Exxon, Shell say assets not stranded

ExxonMobil agreed earlier this year to publish a “Carbon Asset Risk” report describing how it assesses its financial risks from climate change, but its report downplayed the risk of a carbon bubble saying it doesn’t believe its assets will be stranded. Shell also has denied it is a carbon risk.

In today’s environment of falling oil prices, many companies are already hesitating to invest in new oil and gas projects, especially if they are unconventional developments which can be more expensive.

And any progress toward a climate change agreement in 2015 could also discourage investment.

Pledges from the world’s top carbon polluters — China, the U.S. and the European Union — to limit their emissions in the next 10-15 years promise some progress ahead of the Paris talks in 2015.

“This sends an important signal for the rest of the world to come forward as early as possible with their own contributions,” EU negotiator Elina Bardram said Sunday in Lima. “We have 12 months and the clock is ticking.”

The previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, covered only industrialized countries, but emissions today are rising mainly in the developing world and there is  pressure on countries to strike agreements ahead of time so the pact is truly global.



Three current articles below

Australian Green car funding was just lemon aid

IN so far as the $500 million Green Car Innovation Fund was supposed to prevent carbon dioxide leaching from Australian-made cars, it looks like being an outstanding success.

Vehicles manufactured in Australia after 2018 will produce zero emissions, not least because Australia will be producing zero cars.

We did get the green cars, however. Well, greenish ones anyway, produced by Ford, Holden and Toyota with taxpayer subsidies.

About $14m was given to Ford to produce the Falcon Ecoboost, which retails for about $35,000, thanks to an $8000 contribution from the taxpayer.

According to motoring writers it’s a pretty good Falcon, almost as powerful as a real one.

“Brilliant!” Bill McKinnon wrote on the Top Gear website. “But also irrational and, in the end, ­irrelevant.

“The four-cylinder Falcon. Why is this car here? Now? Has anyone been screaming for it?”

The Ecoboost Falcon may produce enough torque to tow a semi-trailer of live pigs across the Nullarbor, but it is not what the market wants. A Falcon for tree-huggers is a contradiction in terms.

Joshua Dowling broke the bad news in News Corp Australia’s CarsGuide last week: “Confidential figures reveal just 1800 Ecoboost four-cylinder Falcons have been sold since it went on sale in April 2012 — less than half as many as Ford originally planned.”

Dowling uses the word “sold” loosely, since about 600 Ecoboosts were bought by Ford itself. So if you spot an Ecoboost on the road, there’s a one-in-three chance the driver is a Ford ­employee.

Will it help us reach our Kyoto target? Let us run through the maths.

Carbon emissions from full-strength Falcon: 226g/km. Carbon emissions from a Falcon Lite: 192g/km. Carbon saved: 34g/km. Carbon saved over 100,000km: 3.4 tonnes. Cost saving per tonne: $2300. Cost of a tonne of carbon abatement on the European market: $12.

It would be wrong to say there have been no winners. Holden Cruze purchasers, for example, scored a $1500 subsidy. Buyers of the Camry Hybrid have benefited to the tune of $1100.

The question, however, is why? When Kevin Rudd announced the green cars scheme in 2008 he claimed that “R&D, particularly those related to clean, green technologies, constitute a public good”. Yet the Ecoboost engine was already in existence. Ford’s Australian engineers merely turned it 90 degrees to run a rear-wheel drivetrain. Paradigm changing it was not.

When government takes a risk the private sector is unwilling to shoulder, the justification boils down to this: that society will better off for having a good thing.

Yet the private sector is cautious for good reason. Rushed technology driven by government funding comes at a high cost and is innately inefficient. The postwar aircraft industry is a shining example. If congress had been willing to pay half the cost of developing the jet airliner in the US, as the Labour government did in Britain, the US could have been the first to introduce jet travel.

As it was, Britain nobly led the way in 1952 with de Havilland Comet. Three of them broke up in mid-air within a year of entering service. As Richard R. Nelson pondered dryly in The Moon and the Ghetto, “How much would it have aided the reputation of the American commercial aircraft industry had it, and not the British, been the one to discover the catastrophic effects on pressurised aircraft of metal fatigue?”

Private risk is an effective regulator against ineffective and inefficient investment. Once R&D becomes an autonomous activity, separated from the pressures of the market, it runs rampant. It creates its own class of rent-seeker, driven by a thirst for subsidies rather than honest profit.

This, scarily, may be the condition of the windmill industry, a power source of questionable reliability and enormous cost that no private investor would look twice at were it not for boondoggles like the renewable energy target. Perhaps the technocrats are right; perhaps in time the industry will make technological leaps that will wean it off subsidies.

History suggests otherwise. The notion that government ­investment in technology will turn Australia into a clever country and generate the jobs of the future has been proven wrong repeatedly.

Now that all three remaining car manufacturers have announced plans to pull out of Australia, the green car fiasco looks like an expensive mistake.

Yet at the time plenty of people were prepared to egg Rudd on. Labor’s John Brumby, then Victorian premier, declared: “This is a green-letter day. It is a fantastic day for the auto industry.”

Kim Carr, the innovation, industry, science and research minister, boasted “the primary objective here is to ensure we have high skilled, high-wage jobs for Australian workers”.

The ABC’s Rachel Carbonell editorialised: “The hybrid car deal is a starting point for a greater range of local green transport in Australia.”

The Productivity Commission begged to disagree, warning: “It is unlikely that overall sales of green vehicles would increase markedly … policies that target use of particular abatement technologies become redundant, and will only impose additional, unnecessary costs.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Ian Jones responded: “We have grown to expect this sort of rubbish from them, they have historically been anti-manufacturing industry.”

Six years later, with the folly of auto welfare laid bare and the budget deficit mounting, the Green Car Innovation Fund’s critics have been vindicated, and the naked self-interest of the unions, car manufacturers and Labor governments in Victoria and South Australia are plain for all to see.

It may not have been Labor’s most expensive folly but it is money that Joe Hockey would dearly love to get back. He could do so by re-indexing excise on petrol, making it a little more expensive at the pump, but Labor and the Greens — the green motoring champions — are determined to block that.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott says has no objection to nuclear energy and would be 'fine' with a proposal for it

Interesting that subsidies are fine for windmills and solar farms but not for nuclear

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he would be "fine" with someone putting forward a nuclear energy proposal and described the Fukushima meltdown as a "problem".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier told Fairfax Media nuclear energy was an "obvious" way to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Abbott agreed that nuclear technology was worth considering.  "I don't have any theological objection to nuclear energy," Mr Abbott said.

"Nuclear energy is a very important part of the energy mix of many countries - Japan, and it's coming back in Japan after the Fukushima problem."

Mr Abbott has said there is no need for Australia to pursue nuclear energy due to the nation's large coal and gas reserves.

But he said nuclear energy would help cut carbon pollution.

"If we are to dramatically reduce emissions we have to remember that the one absolutely proven way of generating emissions-free baseload power is through nuclear," he said.

Mr Abbott warned the Government was not interested in providing financial incentives to private operators to build nuclear-power facilities in Australia.

"If someone wants to put a proposal for nuclear energy generation here in Australia - fine," Mr Abbott said.

"But don't expect a Government subsidy.  "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen because it's economically feasible, not because the Government runs around offering a subsidy."

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek dismissed nuclear power as an alternative.

There is no nuclear power generated in Australia.


Far North Queensland Council Puts People & Environment Before Proposed Wind Farm Disaster

THE Tablelands Regional Council has been accused of being “openly hostile” towards a controversial wind farm project and trying everything to impede its progress.

It comes as the Senate launches an inquiry into the effectiveness of wind turbines, scrutinising their regulatory governance and economic impact.

The $380 million project to be built near Walkamin is to include up to 75 turbines.  It is a joint venture by property developers Port Bajool and power producers Ratch Australia.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney called in the development application in June, taking responsibility to assess it away from the Mareeba Shire Council, which de-amalgamated from the Tablelands Regional Council.

Mr Seeney has promised not to make a decision over the Mt Emerald Wind Farm until he meets with residents at this weekend’s Community Cabinet in Mareeba.

In an email obtained by The Cairns Post, Cook MP David Kempton responded to claims his government had ignored residents’ concerns about the wind farm, assuring there had been a full and proper investigation of the project.

“The Tablelands Regional Council has been openly hostile to this project from the outset,’’ he said.  “I have given full personal support to this project as I believe the regional benefits will far out-weight the perceived and in many cases, misguided information.

“I can also assure you I have received many delegations from the opponents over the time since this project was mooted.”

When questioned about the email by The Cairns Post, Mr Kempton only offered the following statement:  “The (wind farm) is being determined by the Deputy Premier and I have confidence there will be proper and rigorous process around the determination,” he said.

Tableland Division 6 Councillor Marjorie Pagani said the council had legitimately raised a number of concerns about the development when the application first came to the council, and there had been no vote taken on it.

“What he is interpreting as open hostility was in fact a series of requisition questions sent by our planning department to the developer, which were never answered,’’ he said.

“There were pages and pages of very significant and important questions relating to planning, roads, noise, environmental/ecological issues, and even size of turbines, for example.

“They hadn’t even put the size of their proposed development, or the size of each turbine.”

Tableland Mayor Rosa Lee Long, in a statement, said since the Mareeba Shire Council had taken over the application after de-amalgamation, TRC continued to have concerns, including the potential impact of heavy vehicles on local roads during the construction process.

Meanwhile, the Senate has launched an inquiry into the regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines.  The inquiry, a first in Australia, will examine issues such as impact on household electricity prices, the role of the Clean Energy Regulator, effect on fauna, planning processes, and whole-of-life CO2 inputs and outputs.



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

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