Sunday, November 13, 2016

Behind the Furious Green/Left protests at the Trump triumph

The screaming will get louder. The Greenies know full well that the Trump win means that we have bought 8 or more years of time to study Climate Change. The truth will be determined and it will not be too late to react if indeed the world has to do something to counter Climate Change.

Many of the pundits screaming for CO2 reductions will be gone, having given up or dead. This world wide movement to suppress the expansion of wealthy, healthy countries will end. Cheap available energy is the single most important element to the reduction of poverty.

Why the death of coral reefs could be devastating for millions of humans

It certainly would be detrimental, though well within the human capacity to adapt.  But will it happen? Coral recovers quickly from bleaching and at Bikini atoll it even survived a thermonuclear hit on it!  If an H-bomb didn't kill it off, what would? Coral reefs have been around for millions of years and in some cases are today right where they always were.

They are however surrounded by Green/Left lies.  Australian Greenies claim that reef damage is caused by agricultural runoff.  Problem:  The current bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef is on its Northern third, along the coast of the Cape York Peninsula  -- and there are virtually no farms there.  Isn't reality pesky?

Coral does undergo bleaching from time to time in response to various stressors but bleaching is a defence mechanism, not death.

And even the first sentence below is a laugh.  Oceans CANNOT be both warmer and more acidic at the same time.  Warmer oceans outgas CO2, which is the alleged cause of the acidity. Just open a warm can of Coke someday if you doubt it. Physicists call it Henry's law.  There's no such thing as an honest Greenie as far as I can see.  You believe anything they say at your peril

Coral reefs around the globe already are facing unprecedented damage due to warmer and more acidic oceans. It’s not a problem that just affects the marine life that depends on them or deep-sea divers who visit them.

If carbon dioxide emissions continue to fuel the planet’s rising temperature, the widespread loss of coral reefs by 2050 could have devastating consequences for tens of millions of people, according to research published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS.

To better understand where those losses would hit hardest, an international group of researchers mapped places where people most need reefs for their livelihoods, particularly for fishing and tourism, as well as for shoreline protection. They combined those maps with others showing where coral reefs are most under stress from warming seas and ocean acidification.

Countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines would bear the brunt of the damage, the scientists found. So would coastal communities in western Mexico and parts of Australia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The problem would affect countries as massive as China and as small as the tiny island nation of Nauru in the South Pacific.

In many places, the loss of coral reefs would amount to an economic disaster, depriving fishermen of their main source of income, forcing people to find more expensive forms of protein, and undermining the tourism industry.

"It means jobs for lots of people," said Linwood Pendleton, the study’s lead author and an international chair at the European Institute of Marine Studies.

In addition, many countries depend on coral reefs as a key barrier to guard against incoming storms and mitigate the damage done by surging seas. Without healthy reefs, "you lose what is essentially a moving, undersea sea wall," said Pendleton, who estimated that about 62 million people live less than 33 feet above sea level and less than two miles from a coral reef. "The waves just come into shore full force. That can cause loss of life. It can cause loss of property."

Some of the countries most dependent on coral reefs are also among the largest polluters.

"Some of the places that have the most to lose . . . are also among the biggest carbon emitters," Pendleton said. "They really have it in their power to bring down the levels of carbon" they emit into the atmosphere.

Other countries that rely heavily on reefs, such as Fiji or Papua New Guinea, have relatively small carbon footprints. Still, Pendleton said they can take other measures — including not overfishing and avoiding pollution — to prevent putting further pressure on already stressed reefs.

The researchers acknowledged more study is needed to better understand both what is happening to coral reefs around the globe and how that will affect humans. But it can be difficult, they noted, because "carrying out science and data collection in many of the coral reef regions most at risk of global environmental change is a challenge." Many regions lack the capacity to do routine data collection, and scientists often have trouble getting permission to sample in coastal areas or where maritime jurisdictions are disputed.

While coral reefs traditionally have been resilient in the face of environmental pressures, mounting evidence suggests their ability to bounce back is limited.

This fall, scientists reported that substantial swaths of the Great Barrier Reef — the world’s largest coral reef system, located off Australia —might have died in the wake of a historic coral-bleaching event.

"The mortality is really devastating," Andrew Hoey, a senior research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, told the Post last month as scientists worked to catalog the damage. "It’s a lot higher than we had hoped."

Earlier This spring, researchers discovered that parts of Florida’s coral reef tract — the largest reef in the continental United States and the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world — are actually dissolving into the water, likely because of the effects of ocean acidification.

Meanwhile, reefs around the US territory of Guam and other nearby islands, in what is known as the Marianas archipelago, have suffered from coral-bleaching events every year since 2013.

And there’s been no sign of a break this summer. After a recent dive in Guam’s Tumon Bay, coral ecologist Laurie Raymundo took to Facebook to describe her shock at the devastation.

"I consider myself to be fairly objective and logical about science," wrote Raymundo, of the University of Guam. "But sometimes that approach fails me. Today, for the first time in the 50 years I’ve been in the water, I cried for an hour, right into my mask, as I witnessed the extent to which our lovely Tumon Bay corals were bleaching and dying."


Trump win opens way for China to take climate leadership role (?)

This is a lot of wishful thinking.  China will do what is in the best interests of China: Nothing more, nothing less.  China's apparent agreement with global warming in recent years is a clever game.  What just about ALL Chinese want is a reduction in particulate and acidic pollution.  And to get there the best way is to reduce reliance on coal and build nukes instead -- which is what China is doing.

So China harvests good will by doing what the Greenies want -- reducing coal usage -- but doing it for Chinese reasons, not Greenie reasons.  Any CO2 reduction is in fact completely incidental to China's policy.  Reducing coal usage fits Chinese aims and just coincidentally fits Greenie aims

The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump as president is likely to end the U.S. leadership role in the international fight against global warming and may lead to the emergence of a new and unlikely champion: China.

China worked closely with the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama to build momentum ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The partnership of the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters helped get nearly 200 countries to support the pact at the historic meet in France's capital.

By contrast, Trump has called global warming a hoax created by China to give it an economic advantage and said he plans to remove the United States from the historic climate agreement, as well as reverse many of Obama's measures to combat climate change.

He has appointed noted climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to help lead transition planning for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has crafted the administration’s major environmental regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

Beijing is poised to cash in on the goodwill it could earn by taking on leadership in dealing with what for many other governments is one of the most urgent issues on their agenda.

"Proactively taking action against climate change will improve China's international image and allow it to occupy the moral high ground," Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and a senior Chinese climate talks negotiator, told Reuters.

Zou said that if Trump abandons efforts to implement the Paris agreement, "China's influence and voice are likely to increase in global climate governance, which will then spill over into other areas of global governance and increase China's global standing, power and leadership."

Chen Zhihua, a representative of the Chinese delegation and official in the climate change division of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's economic planning agency, said Chinese and other countries' efforts will not change if the United States withdraws from the agreement.


Donald Trump Follows on Promise to Gut the Environmental Protection Agency With His Choice of Transition Leader

Fabulous.  Ebell is as good a skeptic as you get

In debates and speeches leading up to the election, President-elect Donald Trump had promised to “get rid of [the Environmental Protection Agency] in almost every form” and to “cancel” the United States’ commitment to the international Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. signed the Paris Agreement earlier this year.

Now that he’s won, how serious is Trump about accomplishing these goals? In his pick to lead the administration transition for the EPA— unearthed in September by Energy & Environment Daily—it seems he’s intent on keeping his word. Trump chose Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Here’s how Energy & Environment Daily describes him:

Ebell is a well-known and polarizing figure in the energy and environment realm. His participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration. Ebell’s role is likely to infuriate environmentalists and Democrats but buoy critics of Obama’s climate rules.

Ebell, who was dubbed an “elegant nerd” and a “policy wonk” by Vanity Fair, is known for his prolific writings that question what he calls climate change “alarmism.” …

Ebell has called the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for greenhouse gases illegal and said that Obama joining the Paris climate treaty “is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority.”

Trump has also chosen Ebell’s counterparts for the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior, Energy & Environment Daily reports.

Mike McKenna, a Republican lobbyist and veteran of George H.W. Bush’s Department of Energy, will assist Trump. David Bernhardt, a natural resources lawyer who has worked in the George W. Bush administration, will transition the Department of the Interior.


Is EPA's Clean Power Plan "Transformative"?

In an October 31st  letter to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, National Mining Association attorney Peter Glaser provides new evidence that “EPA far understated the effects of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) by exaggerating the amount of coal generation that will retire even without the rule.” Ironically, the smoking gun is the agency’s own updated modeling, albeit for a different regulation—the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

Glaser’s argument may be summarized as follows:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s “base case” (the future absent the CPP) indicated that “in 2016, 20 percent of U.S. coal capacity would disappear even if the rule were not adopted, reducing coal generation to 214 gigawatts (GW).”

However, the agency’s just-published CSAPR Update eliminates the “phantom retirements” assumed in the CPP base case. Agency modeling “now shows 268 GW of coal generation for 2016.”

EPA is now pretty much on the same page as the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which recently reported 272 GW of coal generation in service as of August 2016.

EPA estimates coal generation “must decline to 174-183 GW to meet CPP requirements.”

That means coal capacity must decline by “about one third.”
The new data confirm Obama administration boasts—denied, however, in EPA’s briefs before the Court—that the CPP “will transform the power sector.”

For links and documentation, see my post on GlobalWarming.Org. For a witty debunking of EPA’s fuzzy math, see Stephen Eule’s commentary on the Institute for 21st Century Energy blog.

Why does this matter? At the outset of the CPP oral argument, Judge Thomas Griffith challenged West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin to explain why the CPP is “transformative.” The term harks back to the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (2014), a case also dealing with the scope of EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2).

In Utility Air, the Court ruled that EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule was “unreasonable because it would it would bring about an enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.” There is obviously no clear congressional authorization for the Power Plan, but Griffith and his colleague Judge David Tatel suggested the absence of a “clear statement” by Congress is irrelevant unless the CPP is “transformative.”

Judge Griffith cited EPA’s estimate that the Power Plan would reduce coal generation “only  . . .  five percent” below baseline projections:

How is it transformative when the change to the coal industry will actually only be a five percent difference between the rule being administered and there being no rule at all? By 2030, apparently 32 percent of power plants will be coal operated without the rule, 27 percent will be coal operated with the rule; that hardly sounds transformative [p. 6].

Glaser’s letter provides a partial rejoinder. EPA’s current modeling indicates the CPP will shut down an additional 11-13 percent of current coal generation capacity, more than double what the agency told the court.

However, Griffith was dismissive when Mr. Lin, citing EIA modeling, argued the Power Plan would reduce coal capacity by 10 percent below baseline projections: “[Y]ou’re talking about a marginal difference, some experts say a five percent difference, your experts say 10 percent difference, by 2030, that doesn’t seem to me to be transformative.”

With all due respect, Judges Griffith and Tatel miss the point. To begin with, an unauthorized regulation does not have to be “transformative” to be unlawful. “Transformative” just makes an “unauthorized” rulemaking a more egregious case of bureaucratic overreach. Any legislative rule lacking an express or clearly implied delegation of power from Congress is unlawful.

In the second place, a rule need not have large short-term material or financial impacts to be “transformative.” Far more important are the rule’s lasting impacts on national policy, the economy, and constitutional balances.

In Utility Air, the Court elaborated on the meaning of “transformative” as follows:

When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate “a significant portion of the American economy,” Brown & Williamson, 529 U. S., at 159, we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast “economic and political signifi­cance.”

EPA’s adoption of the Power Plan is clearly a matter of vast “economic and political significance.” For starters, the CPP is not just a rule, it is a regulatory framework. The 2022-2030 CPP compliance period is just Phase 1. Subsequent rulemakings will surely marginalize if not eliminate fossil generation. As petitioners point out in their core issues reply brief (p. 7), “EPA claims the power to require States to enforce emission reductions that are premised on changing the nation’s mix of electric generation—a power that would permit EPA to effectively ban the sources of generation it disfavors.”

That assessment is not alarmist. The CPP’s prerequisite rulemaking, EPA’s so-called “carbon pollution standards” for new power plants, effectively bans investment in new coal generation. It does so by basing the standards on a technology—carbon capture and storage—that is prohibitively costly and plagued with technical problems. EPA acknowledges the CPP’s current requirements will have no discernible climate impact. That obviously implies the need for more aggressive action down the road.

So the transformative character of the CPP should not be assessed by coal market shares in 2030. What matters is the precedent it sets, the policy dynamic it unleashes, and the economic developments the new policy trajectory permits and precludes. Under the CPP, coercive de-carbonization becomes the central organizing principle of federal and state regulation of electricity. Is that not a momentous change in national policy? The CPP as a framework will channel and constrain untold billions of dollars in energy-related investment.

The CPP also entails a fundamental shift in political power from Congress and the states to EPA. The CPP mandates the replacement of fossil energy with renewables regardless of the policy preferences of Congress, state legislatures, governors, and state electorates. The rule usurps states’ authority over power-sector resource planning and development and Congress’s authority to determine national policy on energy and the environment. A rule that undermines both federalism and the separation of powers is by definition “transformative.”


Nobody really takes global warming seriously

A partly realistic Warmist writes below

One of the morbidly fascinating aspects of climate change is how much cognitive dissonance it generates, in individuals and nations alike.

The more you understand the brutal logic of climate change — what it could mean, the effort necessary to forestall it — the more the intensity of the situation seems out of whack with the workaday routines of day-to-day life. It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is acting like it is. And it’s very, very difficult to be the only one acting like there’s an emergency, especially when the emergency is abstract and science-derived, grasped primarily by the intellect.

This psychological schism is true for individuals, and it’s true for nations. Take the Paris climate agreement.

In Paris, in 2015, the countries of the world agreed (again) on the moral imperative to hold the rise in global average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius, and to pursue "efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees." To date, 62 countries, including the United States, China, and India, have ratified the agreement.

Are any of the countries that signed the Paris agreement taking the actions necessary to achieve that target?

No. The US is not. Nor is the world as a whole.

The actions necessary to hold to 2 degrees, much less 1.5 degrees, are simply outside the bounds of conventional politics in most countries. Anyone who proposed them would sound crazy, like they were proposing, I don’t know, a war or something.

So we say 2 degrees is unacceptable. But we don’t act like it is.

This cognitive dissonance is brought home yet again in a new report from Oil Change International (in collaboration with a bunch of green groups). It’s about fossil fuels and how much of them we can afford to dig up and burn, if we’re serious about what we said in Paris. It’s mostly simple math, but the implications are vast and unsettling.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Scientists have long agreed that warming higher than 2 degrees will result in widespread food, water, weather, and sea level stresses, with concomitant immigration, conflict, and suffering, inequitably distributed.

But 2 degrees is not some magic threshold where tolerable becomes dangerous. A two-year review of the latest science by the UNFCCC found that the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees means heat extremes, water shortages, and falling crop yields. "The ‘guardrail’ concept, in which up to 2°C of warming is considered safe," the review concluded, "is inadequate."

The report recommends that 2 degrees be seen instead as "an upper limit, a defense line that needs to be stringently defended, while less warming would be preferable."

This changing understanding of 2 degrees matters, because the temperature target we choose, and the probability with which we aim to hit it, establishes our "carbon budget," i.e., the amount of CO2 we can still emit before blowing it.

Many commonly used scenarios (including the International Energy Agency’s) are built around a 50 percent chance of hitting 2 degrees. But if 2 degrees is an "upper limit" and "less warming would be preferable," it seems we would want a higher than 50-50 chance of stopping short of it.

So the authors of the Oil Change report choose two scenarios to model. One gives us a 66 percent chance of stopping short of 2 degrees. The other gives us a 50 percent chance of stopping short of 1.5 degrees.

As you can see, in either scenario, global emissions must peak and begin declining immediately. For a medium chance to avoid 1.5 degrees, the world has to zero out net carbon emissions by 2050 or so — for a good chance of avoiding 2 degrees, by around 2065.

After that, emissions have to go negative. Humanity has to start burying a lot more carbon than it throws up into the atmosphere. There are several ways to sequester greenhouse gases, from reforestation to soil enrichment to cow backpacks, but the backbone of the envisioned negative emissions is BECCS, or bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration.

BECCS — raising, harvesting, and burning biomass for energy, while capturing and burying the carbon emissions — is unproven at scale. Thus far, most demonstration plants of any size attaching CCS to fossil fuel facilities have been over-budget disasters. What if we can’t rely on it? What if it never pans out?

"If we want to avoid depending on unproven technology becoming available," the authors say, "emissions would need to be reduced even more rapidly."

There’s no happy win-win story about that scenario, no way to pull it off while continuing to live US lifestyles and growing the global economy every year. It would require immediate, radical shifts in behavior worldwide, especially among the wealthy — a period of voluntary austerity and contraction.



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.  

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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