Sunday, April 02, 2017

Russian Scientists: Greenhouse Gas Theory Dead, Global Cooling Coming

The above headline I have taken from here. I think it is misleading.  The academic paper concerned ("Cosmic Rays, Solar Activity, and Changes in the Earth’s Climate" by Y. I. Stozhkov et al.)  is fairly short and I have read it all several times.  It does NOT mention CO2 and does NOT say that the Greenhouse Gas Theory is Dead.

What the paper shows is a close correlation between cloud cover and the temperature of the near-surface atmosphere.  Clouds cool us down, unsurprisingly. It then goes on to study what causes variations in cloud cover and comes up with a version of Svensmark's theory of cosmic ray influence.

More interesting however is that the authors develop a theory which quantifies the causes of cloud cover variations.  And using that theory they are able to show a correlation of .62 between their predictions and experimental data.  A correlation of .62 is undoubtedly high and exciting but it still only explains 38% of the variance, leaving ample room for influences outside their theory -- such as CO2.

So the paper is a definite leap forward. It puts the poor predictive power of the anthropogenic global warming theory well and truly into the shade and looks like a new start for global climate studies.  Real climate scientists would immediately lose interest in anthropogenic global warming and take up the lead given by this paper.  But there are so few real scientists in climatology that that will not happen.  If the constant failures of their predictions are not enough to cause Warmists to desert their theory, nothing will.

An amusing aside:  One of the most basic premises in the new theory is that cloud cover has a cooling effect.  And since their theory predicts increased cloud cover, they predict global cooling.  But note:  Warmists also predict increased cloud cover.  Only they say that increased cloud cover will WARM us. It is an essential part of their catastrophizing.  I know of no research that shows a warming effect of clouds but who cares when you have got a planet to save!

So the claims in my borrowed headline above are reasonable inferences but they are not directly stated in the paper concerned -- JR.

Sun's impact on climate change quantified for first time

The Swiss scientists below have not got as far as Stozhkov et al. in examining alternatives to the anthropogenic global warming theory and still accept the theory in part.  They have however done something that Warmists have always strenuously denied: They have shown that natural changes in the activity of the sun are behind a lot of global temperature changes on earth

For the first time, model calculations show a plausible way that fluctuations in solar activity could have a tangible impact on the climate. Studies funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation expect human-induced global warming to tail off slightly over the next few decades. A weaker sun could reduce temperatures by half a degree.

There is human-induced climate change, and there are natural climate fluctuations. One important factor in the unchanging rise and fall of the Earth's temperature and its different cycles is the sun. As its activity varies, so does the intensity of the sunlight that reaches us. One of the key questions facing climate researchers is whether these fluctuations have any effect at all on the Earth's climate. IPCC reports assume that recent solar activity is insignificant for climate change, and that the same will apply to activity in the near future.

Researchers from the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), ETH Zurich and the University of Bern are now qualifying this assumption. Their elaborate model calculations are supplying a robust estimate of the contribution that the sun is expected to make to temperature change in the next 100 years. For the first time, a significant effect is apparent. They expect the Earth's temperature to fall by half a degree when solar activity reaches its next minimum.

According to project head Werner Schmutz, who is also Director of PMOD, this reduction in temperature is significant, even though it will do little to compensate for human-induced climate change. "We could win valuable time if solar activity declines and slows the pace of global warming a little. That might help us to deal with the consequences of climate change." But this will be no more than borrowed time, warns Schmutz, since the next minimum will inevitably be followed by a maximum.

Strong fluctuations could explain past climate

At the end of March, the researchers working on the project will meet in Davos for a conference to discuss the final results. The project brought together various research institutions' capabilities in terms of climate effect modelling. PMOD calculated what is known as "radiative forcing" taking account of particle as well as electromagnetic radiation, ETH Zurich worked out its further effects in the Earth's atmosphere and the University of Bern investigated the interactions between the atmosphere and oceans.

The Swiss researchers assumed a greater fluctuation in the radiation striking the Earth than previous models had done. Schmutz is convinced that "this is the only way that we can understand the natural fluctuations in our climate over the last few millennia." He says that other hypotheses, such as the effect of major volcanic eruptions, are less conclusive.

Exactly how the sun will behave over the next few years remains a matter of speculation, however, since appropriate data series have only been available for a few decades and they reveal no evidence of fluctuations during this time. "To that extent, our latest results are still a hypothesis," says Schmutz, "and it remains difficult for solar physicists to predict the next cycle." But since we have been observing a consistently strong phase since 1950, it is highly likely that we will experience another low point in 50 to 100 years' time. It could be every bit as intense as the Maunder Minimum, which brought particularly cold weather during the 17th century.

Important historical data

The research project also placed great importance on the historical perspective. The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern compared data series on past solar activity with other specific climatic conditions. People have been recording the number of sunspots, which correlates well with solar activity levels, for some three centuries now. However, it is much more difficult to quantify exactly how cold it was on Earth back then. "We know that the winters during the last minimum were very cold, at least in northern Europe," says Schmutz. The researchers still have a fair amount of work to do before they have a detailed understanding of the relationship between solar activity and the global climate both in the past and in the future.


Another prediction of global cooling

Based on known natural cycles

The coming cooling: Usefully accurate climate forecasting for policy makers

Norman J Page


This paper argues that the methods used by the establishment climate science community are not fit for purpose and that a new forecasting paradigm should be adopted. Earth’s climate is the result of resonances and beats between various quasi-cyclic processes of varying wavelengths. It is not possible to forecast the future, unless we have a good understanding of where the earth is in time in relation to the current phases of those different interacting natural quasi periodicities. Evidence is presented specifying the timing and amplitude of the natural 60 ± year and, more importantly, 1000 year periodicities (observed emergent behaviors) that are so obvious in the temperature record. Data related to the solar climate driver are discussed and the solar cycle 22 low in the neutron count (high solar activity) in 1991 is identified as a solar activity millennial peak and correlated with the millennial peak – inversion point – in the RSS temperature trend in about 2004. The cyclic trends are projected forward and predict a probable general temperature decline in the coming decades and centuries. Estimates of the timing and amplitude of the coming cooling are made. If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.


How governments have destroyed the world’s most efficient energy market:  Australia's

The nation’s energy policy is in the hands of ideological tyros.

At the federal level Malcolm Turnbull is running the show with the equally green evangelist, his Departmental Secretary Martin Parkinson.

At the state level, we have a Victorian Government desperately promoting wind, to match Greens policies in the hope of retaining threatened inner city seats, while also killing coal, conspiring with the Liberals to close down gas supplies and otherwise using the electricity supply system to provide favours to key support groups.  And in South Australia we have a Premier who has drunk deeply from the well of Commonwealth subsidies, declared his jurisdiction at the cutting edge of the global renewable movement and, in denial of the evidence, is desperately trying to demonstrate the wisdom of this.

Electricity supply.

In a statement plumbing the depths of credibility, the electricity market manager, AEMO, maintains that  the closure of Hazelwood will not compromise the security of the Victoria electricity system nor the broader National Electricity Market (NEM) next summer.  Looking around it says that there are adequate supply sources available to cover the loss of Hazelwood’s 1600 MW of reliable baseload power.

Hazelwood’s closure takes out 11 per cent of the Victorian-South Australian capacity of fossil and hydro availability, 19 per cent of the total if the now short supplies of gas are excluded.  Hazelwood’s closure, having already triggered a doubling of the average wholesale price, places supply on a knife edge, especially when the 2900 MW of wind is not available.

In its final analysis of the events leading to the September 2016 South Australian black-out, AEMO re-affirms that the failure of the wind generators was the cause.  It argues that there are measures that can be taken to mitigate this.  Among these are payments to consumers to lower demand at crucial times and re-engineering the grid to accommodate the policy-induced reduction in fossil fuel energy.

One such proposed grid re-engineering is the South Australian plan to spend $150 million on short term battery storage.  But this would provide a buffer of just 4 seconds; fully supplying itself with wind energy buttressed by battery storage would according to Miskelly and Quirk cost $180 billion – about twice South Australia’s Gross State Product!

South Australia deliberately chose to close off its options of retaining a back-up supply of coal when it prevented the Northern power station from remaining open.  It now says it will build a new gas plant at a cost of $350 million to be used as a reserve unit only.  Good luck with getting the gas for this and in getting a return for the state citizen owners!

South Australia also intends to over-ride the AEMO allocation of electricity between different jurisdictions to ensure that power is delivered from Victoria in time of need.  Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosia may be clueless in the economics of electricity supply but she understands the political penalty of Victoria facing black-outs due to electricity being exported to another jurisdiction.  And so the national market would quickly unravel into state autarkies, at least until the Commonwealth invokes Freedom of Trade provisions of the Constitution (s 92) and takes over the market management.

Malcolm Turnbull’s “nation-building” proposals to create a pump storage scheme for the Snowy is an alternative to batteries smoothing the supply but, by losing 20 per cent of available energy in the pumping process, actually reduces the available resource.  Snowy Hydro already has pumped storage and has the option of increasing this but has never done so simply because it makes no commercial sense.  Turnbull’s costing of his proposal at $2 billion is ridiculous and the five year time frame would outlive his tenure of office.

Energy retailing: a smoke screen for policy incompetence

Perhaps under orders, Energy Minister Frydenberg has given the ACCC, under Rod Sims an institution marked by hostility to normal market operations, a task of finding out if the retailers are price gouging.  Frydenberg has cited an analysis from the government’s political adversaries at the Grattan Institute in support of this, saying there could be savings of $250 million a year for Victoria alone if the market was working properly.

With more retailers than in any other electricity market in the world, and with easy entry and smaller retailers going out of business, monopolistic price gouging possibilities defy rational analysis.

The cause of retail margin increase are solidly down to government regulations which involve costs that must be passed on.  Among these for Victoria are:

“Customer protection” requirements and hardship provisions
Disallowance of exit fees

Requirement to pay above market rates for solar buy-back

Support for the compulsory roll-out of “smart” metering

Various regulatory requirements to offer long life lighting and other virtue-signalling favours to customers

The fact is that government policy forcing the replacement of reliable coal plant by unreliable wind at three times the cost is at the heart of the energy crisis we face and Commonwealth measures along these lines are exacerbated by those of the states.

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with policies that will reduce energy costs.  Australia by contrast remains on the path of further penalizing coal and incurring additional costs to facilitate the growth of wind which already requires a subsidy that provides it a price three times that of coal power.  These policies are already exacting huge costs on consumers and industry.


Interior secretary reopens federal coal mining
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has ended the federal government’s Obama-era moratorium on coal-mining leases on federal land.

Zinke signed an order repealing the pause in leases Wednesday in his Washington, D.C., office, surrounded by Republican lawmakers, lobbyists and staffers.

The action implements parts of an executive order that President Trump signed Tuesday — focused on repealing environmental policies and restrictions on energy production — under the goal of increasing energy independence.

That means the Bureau of Land Management can now resume the process of allowing new coal-mining leases on its land.
Zinke signed two other directives Wednesday to implement Trump’s policy. One kicks off a two-year review of the fees and royalties that companies pay to produce energy like oil, natural gas, coal or renewables on federal land, to see if they’re fair to lessees and taxpayers, and establishes an advisory committee, including stakeholders, to help that process.

The other orders every agency in Interior to review its policies and regulations with a goal toward increasing the country’s energy independence.

"The coal moratorium that was set in place … is a waste of money," Zinke said shortly before signing the order in his wood-paneled office, which includes a collection of taxidermied animals and a portrait of President Teddy Roosevelt.

The coal moratorium was instituted early last year by Sally Jewell, the previous Interior secretary under former President Barack Obama. It was part of a review process Interior had launched to determine how to charge mining companies more to account for the climate change costs of the coal they took.

Zinke said that review is being ended, because it was unnecessary.

“We feel strongly that the current process on reviewing coal is appropriate,” he said.

“Rather than doing the social cost of carbon, you have to look at the social cost of not having a job too,” he continued. “All of us want clean air and clean water. And we’re going to make sure we ensure that.”

Federal land accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s coal production and about a third of its reserves. It includes areas such as the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, the most productive coal area in the country.

The coal from federal lands, when burned, also accounts for 13 percent of the nation’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, or 769 million tons annually, according to the nonprofit group Resources for the Future.

Environmental groups slammed the Trump administration’s policy, and Earthjustice and a coalition of other green organizations sued Interior immediately over the coal leasing order after Zinke signed it.

“No one voted to pollute our public lands, air or drinking water in the last election, yet the Trump administration is doing the bidding of powerful polluters as nearly its first order of business,” Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine, the lead litigator in the case, said in a statement.

“Our legal system remains an important backstop against the abuses of power we’ve witnessed over the course of the past two months,” she said. “That’s why we’re going to court to defend our public lands, clean air and water, and a healthy climate for all.”

Experts also doubted that Trump’s policies, taken as a whole, would have any significant effect on jobs or energy independence.

Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a former aide in Obama’s White House, accused Trump of giving coal miners “false hope.”

“We’ve seen coal production and coal employment in decline for many years now, driven by market forces. And those factors will still be there,” he told The Hill.

But Trump’s supporters cheered the moves.

“Coal is such an issue for us back home,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R), who like Zinke hails from Montana. Zinke was the state’s sole House lawmaker until taking the reins at Interior last month.

“We have more recoverable coal than any state in the United States,” Daines said after the signing. “It’s been a huge source of jobs, economic growth and, importantly, tax revenues for our schools and infrastructure. So this is good news for Montana and good news for America.”

Zinke’s secretarial order will not immediately lead to any regulations being repealed, and the coal moratorium was not a formal regulation. But, in connection with Trump’s order, it starts the process of repealing four of Interior’s oil and natural gas drilling rules for federal land: one on fracking, one limiting methane emissions, one on drilling in national parks and one on drilling in wildlife refuges.

It could also lead Interior to rewrite the 2017 through 2022 plan for leasing offshore areas for oil and natural gas extraction, as well as other policies on offshore and federal-land fossil fuel production.

“This is also a full-scale review, looking at making sure we support the president’s objective,” Zinke said of the energy independence policy.

He said producing more energy domestically is good for the environment because it’s better to produce here than in nations with lower standards. It’s also good for the 6.4 million jobs that rely on the energy industry, and for the world’s security, Zinke maintained.

“The world is much safer when America is strong, and energy independence is what makes it strong,” he said.



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