Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record (?)

This is absolute rubbish.  Global temperatures peaked in February and have been falling like a stone ever since.  Below are the temperatures given in the latest figures from  GISS.

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr   May  Jun
114  133  129  109   93   79

The figures are for hundredths of a degree above baseline (1951-1980).  And don't think that this is seasonal.  These are GLOBAL figures so the Southern winter should cancel out the Northern summer etc. The temperature hike caused by El Nino is now on its last legs

The comparable figures for 2014, the last year before any El Nino influence were as under

  73   50   77   79   86   65

As you can see, they were of course much lower without El Nino but there was no falling trend in them, unlike 2016

And I can't finish without noting again the absurdity of bothering about temperature changes denominated only in hundredths of one degree Celsius. There has been no REAL temperature change at all in recent times

IF YOU feel like it took a long time for winter to arrive this year, you weren’t wrong.

The first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the world, according to scientists at NASA and America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It’s become a familiar narrative each year, but a no less worrying one.

Last year currently holds the mantle for the hottest year on record “but 2016 has really blown that out of the water,” said the head of NASA’s Goddard Space Institute, Gavin Schmidt.

Scientists found that every month in the first half of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally since modern temperature records began in 1880.

The universal increase has led scientists to believe by the time it’s all said and done, 2016 will be the warmest year on record.

According to Schmidt, the calculations “indicate that we have roughly a 99 per cent chance of a new record in 2016”.

The first six months of 2016 have been 1.3C above the average in 1880 and nearly 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels, he said.

While temperature fluctuations are a climatological consistent and may seem rather benign, the persistent warming over decades is what changes the atmosphere and has resulted in steady changes to climate indicators that have researchers worried.

Five of the first six months in 2016 also set records for the lowest amount of sea ice in the Arctic since consistent satellite records began in 1979.

March was the only exception — which recorded the second lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record.

Researchers from the space agency are currently working across the Arctic to better understand the processes driving sea ice melt.

NASA has 19 Earth observing space mission but the agency’s work on the ground also plays a vital role, and the picture is a pretty bleak one.

“It has been a record year so far for global temperatures, but the record high temperatures in the Arctic over the past six months have been even more extreme,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA Goddard.

“This warmth as well as unusual weather patterns have led to the record low sea ice extents so far this year.”

Dr Schmidt attributed some of the rise in temperatures to the El Niño weather pattern in which warmer water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean push heat into the atmosphere.

“While the El Niño event in the tropical Pacific this winter gave a boost to global temperatures from October onwards, it is the underlying trend which is producing these record numbers,” he said.

The weather pattern has created an extra “wobble” in the trend and with the passing of El Niño 2017 could prove to be cooler than its predecessor.

However NASA scientists are keen to point out the long term trend that has seen the world’s climate continually warm in recent years.


An aptly named fraud is exposed

"Krebs" is German for cancer. The UK's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published a new report on the risks facing the UK from climate change. In a video announcing the report, chair of the CCC's Lord Krebs highlighted the 3 main risks identified by the report.  But below are the actual facts from the GWPF

U.N. pushes fast-track ratification of Paris climate deal as countries get cold feet

The United Nations has issued a plea for nations to fast-track ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement as some countries are backtracking on support for the deal’s sweeping restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged nations to attend a “special event” Thursday where they may deposit their “instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change.”

“I urge you to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year,” Mr. Ban said in a statement.

His push for rapid ratification comes amid the increasingly chilly reception for the agreement, adopted by 195 parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, by nations concerned about the impact of the carbon restrictions.

The change of heart even has a name: “Clexit,” short for “climate exit,” a take-off on “Brexit,” the successful June 23 British vote to leave the European Union.

The most dramatic repudiation was from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in November, who said Monday that he “will not honor” the proposed restrictions on emissions. He called them stupid and cited his country’s need for greater economic development and industrialization.

Developed nations “were enjoying the booming [economy] and flooding the air with contaminants. Now that they are rich because of coal and industrialization, we are being asked to cut emission and limit our activities,” Mr. Duterte said in the Philippine Star.

Meanwhile, U.N. special envoy for climate change Mary Robinson decried Monday what she described as recent efforts by Germany and Britain to support the fossil fuel industry despite their previous support for the agreement.

The British government “introduced new tax breaks for oil and gas in 2015 that will cost U.K. taxpayer billions between 2015 and 2020, and, at the same time, they’ve cut support for renewables and for energy efficiency,” Ms. Robinson told The Guardian newspaper.

“It’s regrettable. That’s not in the spirit [of Paris],” she said. “In many ways, the U.K. was a real leader, and hopefully the U.K. will become again a real leader. But it’s not at the moment.”

Marc Morano, who runs the skeptics’ website Climate Depot, said Tuesday that the cold feet on global warming shows that some countries are realizing the international climate agreement is “not in their best interests.”

“More and more nations are realizing that the U.N. climate treaty is nothing more than an effort to empower the U.N. and attack national sovereignty while doing absolutely nothing for the climate,” said Mr. Morano, who debuted his film “Climate Hustle” during the negotiations in Paris.

He said that the “time has come for a U.S.-led ‘Clexit’ from … the climate treaty.”

President Obama has positioned himself as a strong champion of the accord, which is viewed as a cornerstone of his policy legacy as he prepares to leave office in January.

Under the Paris Agreement, 177 nations and the European Union agreed to set nonbinding limits on their carbon output in an effort to keep global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

Since then, 19 countries have ratified the agreement, which goes into effect 30 days after ratification by 55 nations responsible for 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Obama administration is expected to follow with an executive order before the end of the year, despite objections from Republicans who argue that the agreement is a treaty and therefore must be ratified by the Senate.

The clock is ticking: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he will “cancel” the agreement if elected in November.

The website Climate Analytics estimates that 51 countries accounting for 53.28 percent of global emissions are expected to ratify the agreement by Dec. 31, which would fall short of placing the accord into effect.

In Australia, climate skeptics launched what they dubbed the “Clexit” movement after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull participated in a ceremonial signing of the agreement April 22 at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Signers from 175 nations participated in the ceremony, including U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

Mr. Ban said an accelerated ratification for the agreement would “create incentives for early implementation of nationally determined contributions and build support within markets and societies for increased climate ambition.”

“As Ban Ki-moon’s tenure as U.N. secretary-general draws to a close, he is no doubt thinking about his legacy, how history will remember him,” said Eric Worrall in a Monday post on the skeptics’ website Watts Up With That.

“Given the accelerating collapse of political climate enthusiasm across the world, my prediction is Ban Ki-moon will be remembered as the U.N. Secretary General who presided over the downfall of the green movement,” Mr. Worrall said.


United Nations head gets it right

He blames ElNino for bad weather, rather than global warming:  Amazing.  He must be serious this time

The lives and livelihoods of more than 60 millions people around the world have been turned upside down by the extreme weather events linked to the El Niño phenomenon, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said, calling for a scaled-up, unprecedented response that goes beyond humanitarian action.

“Extreme weather events reverse development gains. People and communities cannot escape poverty or banish hunger if their resources are wiped out by floods, storms or droughts every few years,” the Secretary-General said at a high-level event at the UN Headquarters in New York on Responding to the Impacts of and Mitigating Recurring Climate Risks, organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Even when malnutrition is treated and children survive, they can be affected for life by stunting and impaired development. This has serious implications for education, the ability of people to make a living, and the opportunities for societies and nations to prosper and develop in a sustainable way,” he added.

El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

Edesi Sipanki and her nephew Regison, 7 months, check Regison's nutritional status at the Dolo health centre, Malawi. Regison was last breastfed when he was three months old and is currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Photo: UNICEF/ Chikondi
The high-level meeting aimed to focus attention on the multi-dimensional impacts of El Niño and its links to human-induced climate change. While the El Niño event has returned to a neutral phase, its impacts on food security, livelihoods, health, nutrition, water and sanitation are likely to grow throughout this year.

The meeting also advocated for a proactive and preventive approach to a possible La Niña event later this year and future climate events.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted that he had personally witnessed the effects of El Niño in Ethiopia – where the phenomenon has affected millions of people – as well as during trips to Malawi, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda.


How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?

Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.

Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the country eliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.

Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country’s environment ministry. Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

Renewables have hit a snag beyond Germany, too. Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.

In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.

But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

The United States, and indeed the world, would do well to reconsider the promise and the limitations of its infatuation with renewable energy.

“The issue is, how do we decarbonize the electricity sector, while keeping the lights on, keeping costs low and avoiding unintended consequences that could make emissions increase?” said Jan Mazurek, who runs the clean power campaign at the environmental advocacy group ClimateWorks.

Addressing those challenges will require a more subtle approach than just attaching more renewables to the grid.

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, narrowly distributed two weeks ago, estimated that nuclear reactors that produce 56 percent of the country’s nuclear power would be unprofitable over the next three years. If those were to go under and be replaced with gas-fired generators, an additional 200 million tons of carbon dioxide would be spewed into the atmosphere every year.

The economics of nuclear energy are mostly to blame. It just cannot compete with cheap natural gas. Most reactors in the country are losing between $5 and $15 per megawatt-hour, according to the analysis.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not being dictated solely by markets, though. Policy makers focused on pushing renewable sources of energy above all else — heavily subsidizing solar and wind projects, and setting legal targets for power generation from renewables — are contributing actively to shut the industry down. Facing intense popular aversion, nuclear energy is being left to wither.

As Will Boisvert wrote in an analysis for Environmental Progress, an environmental organization that advocates nuclear energy, the industry’s woes “could be remedied by subsidies substantially smaller than those routinely given to renewables.” The federal production tax credit for wind farms, for instance, is worth $23 per megawatt-hour, which is more than the amount that nuclear generators would need to break even.

Nuclear generators’ troubles highlight the unintended consequences of brute force policies to push more and more renewable energy onto the grid. These policies do more than endanger the nuclear industry. They could set back the entire effort against climate change.

California, where generators are expected to get half of their electricity from renewables by 2030, offers a pretty good illustration of the problem. It’s called the “duck curve.” It shows what adding renewables to the electric grid does to the demand for other sources of power, and it does look like a duck.

As more and more solar capacity is fed onto the grid, it will displace alternatives. An extra watt from the sun costs nothing. But the sun doesn’t shine equally at all times. Around noon, when it is blazing, there will be little need for energy from nuclear reactors, or even from gas or coal. At 7 p.m., when people get home from work and turn on their appliances, the sun will no longer be so hot. Ramping up alternative sources then will be indispensable.

The problem is that nuclear reactors, and even gas- and coal-fired generators, can’t switch themselves on and off on a dime. So what happens is that around the middle of the day those generators have to pay the grid to take their power. Unsurprisingly, this erodes nukes’ profitability. It might even nudge them out of the system altogether.

How does a renewables strategy play out in the future? Getting more power from renewables at 7 p.m. will mean building excess capacity at noon. Indeed, getting all power from renewables will require building capacity equal to several times the demand during the middle of the day and keeping it turned off much of the time.

Daily fluctuations are not the end of it. Wind power and sunlight change with the seasons, too. What’s more, climate change will probably change their power and seasonality in unforeseen ways. Considering how expensive wind and sun farms can be, it might make sense to reconsider a strategy that dashes a zero-carbon energy source that could stay on all the time.

A report published last month by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers suggests there is space for more renewable energy on the grid. New technologies — to store power when the sun is hot or to share it across wider areas — might allow for a bigger renewable footprint.

But there are limits. “There is a very real integration cost from renewables,” said Kenneth Gillingham, an economist at Yale who wrote the report. “So far that cost is small.”

In Germany, where renewables have mostly replaced nuclear power, carbon emissions are rising, even as Germans pay the most expensive electricity rates in Europe. In South Australia, the all-wind strategy is taking its toll. And in California, the costs of renewables are also apparent.

Nuclear energy’s fate is not quite sealed. In New York, fears that the impending shutdown of three upstate reactors would imperil climate change mitigation persuaded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to extend subsidies comparable to those given to renewables, to keep them afloat. Even in California, where nuclear energy has no friends, Diablo Canyon, the last remaining nuclear plant, is expected to stay open for almost another decade.

Still, both New York and California expect to eventually phase out nuclear power entirely. An analysis by Bloomberg puts the cost of replacing Diablo Canyon’s zero-carbon power with solar energy at $15 billion. This sum might be better spent replacing coal.

Displacing nuclear energy clearly makes the battle against climate change more difficult. But that is not what is most worrying. What if the world eventually discovers that renewables can’t do the job alone? “I worry about lock-in,” Ms. Mazurek said. “If it doesn’t work, the climate doesn’t have time for a do-over.”


South Australia has become a test-case for what happens when "renewables" become a large part of the electricity supply infrastructure

Judith Sloan finds much folly in it, including insanely high prices:

It is unusual for any story related to South Australia to appear on the front page of this newspaper. But when wholesale electricity prices in that state reached more than 30 times the prices recorded in the eastern states last week, the broader interest in the issue is obvious.

To give you a feel for the figures, last Thursday at 1.45pm, the wholesale power price in South Australia was recorded at $1001 per megawatt hour, compared with prices of between $30/MWh and $32/MWh for the eastern states. At one point, the maximum price in the state hit $1400/MWh.

Unsurprisingly, several companies operating in South Australia, including BHP Billiton and beleaguered steelmaker Arrium, warned state Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis that they might temporarily close their plants because of the high and erratic electricity prices.

But more worrying still are the medium-term prospects for the state: the chairman of the Energy Users Association warns that “large end-user customers are feeling the pain. As large customers roll off their energy contracts and need to renew those contracts, they are faced with significantly higher prices in South Australia”.

Electricity contracts for delivery next year and in 2018 are priced at between $90/MWh and $100/MWh in South Australia, compared with between $50/MWh and $63/MWh in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

How could this happen? How could it go so wrong for South Australia? The short answer is, contrary to Roy and HG’s famous prognostication that too much is never enough, too much is too much when it comes to intermittent and unreliable renewable energy. South Australia is paying a heavy price for its misguided energy policy, potentially leading to the further deindustrialisation of the state while also reducing its citizens’ living standards. But the real tragedy is that this outcome was entirely foreseeable.

Let us not forget that South Australia continues to boast about its status as the wind power capital of the country and having the highest proportion of its electricity generated by renewable sources. Since 2003, the contribution of wind to South Australian electricity generation has grown to more than one-quarter of the total.

Late last year, the state government issued the Climate Change Strategy for South Australia, ­ignoring completely the problems that were already apparent in the system. The wholesale electricity price in the state has been consistently above the national average since early 2015.

The statement reads that “to realise the benefits, we need to be bold. That is why we have said that by 2050 our state will have net zero emissions. We want to send a clear signal to businesses around the world: if you want to innovate, if you want to perfect low carbon technologies necessary to halt global warming — come to South Australia.”

But last week the confidence of that statement had been forgotten. Koutsantonis hysterically blamed what he saw as failures in the ­national electricity market and inadequate electricity interconnection for his state’s high and volatile wholesale electricity prices.

He even pledged to “to smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”. How he thought this suggestion would be helpful is anyone’s guess.

The main problem with electricity generated by renewable energy — in South Australia’s case, overwhelmingly by wind — is what is technically called the non-synchronous nature of this power source, because of its inability to match generation with demand.

When the power is needed, the wind isn’t necessarily blowing. Or if the wind is blowing too hard, the turbines must be switched off and again the demand has to be met from other sources — in South Australia’s case, mainly from electricity generated in Victoria from brown coal.

What is clear is that overdevelopment of variable generation using renewable resources is a recipe for higher prices and lower than expected reductions in emissions because of the increasing costs of ensuring system stability and reliability.

Feasible storage options are down the track and, in any case, likely to be expensive.

The system can cope with some renewable energy and, in the short term, wholesale prices may even fall. But across time expansion of renewable energy undermines the profitability of traditional base-load generators while increasing the need for more back-up supply (up to 90 per cent of the maximum generating ­capacity of the renewable energy sources).

The decision by the South Australian government to sit on its hands when the coal-fired Northern Power station in Port Augusta closed in May was an act of wilful madness. The alternative would have been for the government to pay the owner, Alinta Energy, to keep the loss-making plant operating, certainly before an expansion of the interconnector capacity.

But Koutsantonis thought he knew better. “The truth is the reason it is closing is it couldn’t make money in this market,” he said. “The reason it can’t make money in this market is even though it does pour in relatively cheap power into the grid, renewable energy is cheaper.”

That would be cheaper only after taking into account the huge subsidies that are thrown at renewable energy courtesy of the renewable energy target and ­ignoring the need for back-up ­capacity.

Last week, the situation became so dire that Koutsantonis pleaded with the privately owned, mothballed gas-fired electricity generator located on the Port River in Adelaide to fire up to make up the electricity shortfall in the state.

In fact, gas should be the next cab off the rank when it comes to electricity generation. It is much less emissions-intensive than coal, particularly brown coal, but there is much less gas-generated electricity in South Australia because of the distortions in the market caused by the subsidies to renewable energy.

There are some important lessons in this disaster for the country as a whole; after all, there is no inter­connector to another country as there is an interconnector between South Australia and the eastern states. And note that Victoria has a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Notwithstanding his exasperation, Koutsantonis did make one valid point last week: “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW … every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now.”

Bill Shorten should take note and immediately ditch his fanciful target of 50 per cent renewable energy lest the South Australian experience befall the rest of the country.



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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