Friday, May 05, 2017

Huge Antarctic ice shelf crack now has second branch

So what?  It is floating ice.  So whether it cracks or not it will do nothing to the sea level. And the fact noted below that the Antarctic peninsula has warmed a lot more that the rest of the world shows that any warming we are loking at there is local warming not global warming.  The peninsula has known vulcanism so that is the probable cause of the warming

A huge crack in an Antarctic ice shelf now has a new second branch, scientists announced Tuesday. Once the crack completely shears off, it will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, one that's larger than the state of Rhode Island.

The main crack in the Larsen C ice shelf is now 110 miles long. The iceberg is most likely to break free within the next few months because of the overwhelming weight the 110 miles of already separated ice is placing on the 12 miles that remains connected to the shelf, said Adrian Luckman of Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project that's keeping watch on the ever-growing crack.

That small 12 miles of ice is all that's keeping the nearly 2,000-square-mile piece from floating away, he said.

“While the previous rift tip has not advanced, a new branch of the rift has been initiated," Luckman said in a statement. "This is approximately six miles behind the previous tip, heading toward the ice front."

This is the first significant change to the crack, also known as a rift, since February.  Although the length of the crack has remained steady for several months, it has been steadily widening at rates in excess of three feet per day.

Ice shelves are permanent floating sheets of ice that connect to a land mass, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Studying them is important because they "hold back the glaciers that 'feed' them," Luckman said. "When they disappear, ice can flow faster from the land to the ocean and contribute more quickly to sea-level rise."

Larsen C is approximately 1,100 feet thick and floats on the seas at the edge of West Antarctica, holding back the flow of glaciers that feed into it.

The scientific name for the process of ice breaking off of an ice shelf or glacier is known as "calving."

7 facts on the crack in the Antarctic ice shelf

“When it calves, the Larsen C ice shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded. This event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula, " Luckman said.

It's uncertain whether this expected calving event on Larsen C is an effect of climate change or not, although there is good scientific evidence that climate change has caused thinning of the ice shelf, according to Project Midas.

In the past 50 years, the Antarctic Peninsula has experienced extraordinary warming of more than 4 degrees, the European Space Agency said.


The Legal and Economic Case Against the Paris Climate Treaty

President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback.

For those and other reasons, the Paris Agreement imperils both America’s economic future and capacity for self-government.

The Paris Agreement and the 1992 treaty it purports to modify, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, both contain provisions for withdrawal. Concerns about diplomatic blowback if President Trump withdraws from the Agreement or submits it for the Senate’s advice and consent actually confirm the wisdom of exercising one of those options. The Paris Agreement is designed to institutionalize a running campaign of diplomatic blowback unless the U.S. submits to ever-tightening constraints, ratcheting up every five years. If Trump withdraws, any diplomatic blowback would largely be a muted one-off event, without the economic, political, and security costs that staying in the Paris Agreement entails.

To safeguard America’s economic future and capacity for self-government, President Trump should pull out of the Paris Agreement. There are several options for doing so, which are discussed in this paper. Regardless of which option Trump selects, his  administration should make the case for withdrawal based on the following key points:

    The Paris Climate Agreement is a treaty by virtue of its costs and risks, ambition compared to predecessor climate treaties, dependence on subsequent legislation by Congress, intent to affect state laws, U.S. historic practice with regard to multilateral environmental agreements, and other common-sense criteria.

    In America’s constitutional system, treaties must obtain the advice and consent of the Senate before the United States may lawfully join them. President Obama deemed the Paris Agreement to not be a treaty in order to evade constitutional review, which the Agreement almost certainly would not have survived.

    Allowing Obama’s climate coup to stand will set a dangerous precedent that will undermine one of the Constitution’s important checks and balances. It will allow a future president to adopt any treaty he and foreign elites want, without Senate ratification, just by deeming it “not a treaty.”

    The Agreement endangers America’s capacity for self-government. It empowers one administration to make legislative commitments for decades to come, without congressional authorization, and regardless of the outcome of future elections. It would also make U.S. energy policies increasingly unaccountable to voters, and increasingly beholden to the demands of foreign leaders, U.N. bureaucrats, and international pressure groups.

    The United States cannot comply with the Paris Agreement and pursue a pro-growth energy agenda. Affordable, plentiful, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern economic life. Yet, the Paris Agreement’s central goal is to make fossil fuels, America’s most plentiful and affordable energy source, more expensive across the board. Implementing the agreement’s progressively more restrictive five-year emission-reduction pledges—called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—would destroy U.S. manufacturing’s energy price edge.

    The Agreement entails more cost and risk than the country is willing to bear. A majority of states have sued to overturn the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s end-run around Congress, the Clean Power Plan, which is also the centerpiece of the U.S. NDC under the Paris Agreement. Yet, the CPP is only a start. All of Obama’s adopted and proposed climate policies would only achieve about 51 percent of just the first NDC, and the Paris Agreement requires parties to promise more “ambitious” NDCs every five years.

    The Agreement has no democratic legitimacy. President Obama kept mum about climate change during the 2012 elections. Only after being reelected did he unveil a climate agenda featuring an EPA-redesigned electric power system and the most “ambitious” climate agreement in history.

    Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is a humanitarian imperative. The Agreement will produce no detectable climate benefits. Instead, it will divert trillions of dollars from productive investments that would advance global welfare to political uses. Worse, the Agreement’s mid-century emission-reduction goals cannot be achieved without drastically reducing energy-poor countries’ current access to affordable energy from fossil fuels.

For all the foregoing reasons, President Trump should stick to his campaign promises to end America’s participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop payments to the U.N. Green Climate Fund.


Buyer beware: Subsidy-driven solar industry a bubble waiting to burst

Think about this.  TESLA, an electric car company that has yet to make a profit, has the largest market capitalization of any U.S. auto company recently surpassing both Ford and General Motors, and a leading auto company analyst predicts that absent federal government subsidies, the entire market for their product will collapse.

Talk about tulip bubble.

In a separate article, Bloomberg reports that GM expects to earn more than $9 billion this year and analysts predict Ford will generate adjusted profit of about $6.3 billion. On that basis, Tesla is expected to lose more than $950 million.

The largest auto company in the U.S. is valued on the U.S. stock market at approximately $60 billion, they don’t make a profit, and would be devastated if federal and state government subsidies were removed.  As the old television show starring Fran Tarkenton used to say, “That’s Incredible!”

The owner of TESLA, Elon Musk is the primary beneficiary of this government subsidized valuation bubble, but this is not the first industry that Musk has been involved in which receives massive subsidization and is wrapped in controversy.  Musk also owns solar panel company Solar City.

A recent report issued by Americans for Limited Government Foundation chronicled on-going consumer complaints and problems across America due to shady sales and marketing practices that run rampant throughout the highly subsidized solar panel industry.

A Duncanville, Texas, man spent $18,000 on solar panels for his home and was shocked to discover that he only saved $177 on his electricity bill over the course of a full year, not exactly the savings that were promised.

In Arizona, a spokesperson for the state attorney general reported that they have been “flooded” with complaint calls over the failure of a solar installation contractor to actually perform the work after accepting thousands of dollars in payments from more than a thousand customers. It must be noted that Arizona offers state solar tax credits up to 25 percent of total system costs not to exceed $1,000, subsidies which are used as sales tools to convince consumers that solar makes sense.

The Mississippi state Attorney General Jim Hood expressed frustration about the many problems within the solar industry urging:

“Before consumers make a significant investment in a solar system, they should research their options to make sure they are in fact getting cost savings and meeting their goals of environmental sustainability. While there are some exemplary companies, other solar companies are using misleading sale pitches to entice consumers into paying for overpriced PV system agreements or failing to disclose how various subsidies, government programs and rate making practices may affect the future cost of energy for the consumer.”

In another “buyer or lessee beware” moment, The ALG Foundation reports on an Arizona homeowner who installed solar panels under a lease agreement thinking that his home value would be increased, only to discover according to Brian Neugebauer, the real estate agent who helped sell the property that potential buyers were, “scared of the solar lease.”  Neugebauer continued by saying that the homeowner had to “price the house lower than houses without solar to get people interested.”

After the sale rubbing salt in the wound, the homeowner had to convince the solar panel leasing company to approve the purchase after learning that the new owner had a lower credit rating than they allowed.

To be both fair and clear, solar complaints don’t typically revolve around the quality of the products, but instead they center on false financial promises and poor/failed workmanship on installation by solar contractors, along with the alarming discovery that in some cases home values have been impacted negatively and loan options have been unknowingly limited.

Given the levels of government subsidies, commonsense transparency reforms need to be put in place at the state level to help consumers make an informed solar judgment. It is in the interest of both the solar industry and the consumer to ensure that the government subsidy they get doesn’t turn to fools gold for the consumers they entice. Read the full report here.

And when it comes to TESLA stock, let the buyer beware.


Democrat candidate recommends suicide for climate skeptics

Montana’s Democrat nominee for U.S. Congress thinks climate change skeptics should attempt suicide.

“This is something that the entire world needs to address,” said folk musician and House candidate Rob Quist. “If any those of you that feel like this is not a problem, I challenge you to go into your car in your garage, start your car, and see what happens there.”

Unfortunately for Montana Democrats, Quist said that on TV.  In a televised debate.

And he didn’t even get the science right.  Liberals claim the planet is overheating because of carbon dioxide.  Car exhaust kills by poisoning through carbon monoxide.

Needless to say, Quist’s science is decidedly unsettled.

But Quist is not the first Democrat nominee to make light of the deaths of political opponents. He’s also not the first Democrat nominee from Montana to do it.  In fact, he’s not even the first Democrat nominee from Montana to do it in the last four years.

Amanda Curtis held a vigil at the grave of Joe Hill, an infamous Socialist executed in 1915 for murdering a former police officer and his son. She was also Montana’s Democrat nominee for United States Senate in 2014.

Curtis helped organize the event as a member of the “Industrial Workers of the World,” an openly socialist group known for its history of terrorist bombings, including an attempt to assassinate the head of Standard Oil on the day of Hill’s execution.

The IWW’s logo is a black cat, symbolizing sabotage. In 1917 the group had over 150,000 members, but its violent rhetoric and history of terrorism have reduced it to only a few hardcore members today.

Curtis’ local IWW chapter proclaims it is “working to organize the people of Montana into the One Big Union to end wage slavery and eventually end the capitalist system.”

At least Rob Quist isn’t trying to kill people with dynamite.  Maybe Montana Democrats should Google their candidates before nominating them.


India and Pakistan Are Renewing Their Love Affair with Coal

One nation is shirking emissions targets and the other is investing in more coal plants—but with America as a role model, that’s hardly surprising.

Much of the world agrees: burning coal is bad, and we ought to do less of it.

But not everyone sings from that sheet, including Pakistan’s Water and Power Ministry. As part of a large infrastructure investment project with China, it’s committed to spending $15 billion on as many as 12 new coal power plants over the next 15 years. Reuters reports that the figure is almost half of the $33 billion being invested into energy projects as part of the initiative, and that around 75 percent of the extra generation capacity will come from new coal plants.

The government insists that the new plants will use technology to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But the nation’s minister for planning, development and reform, Ahsan Iqbal, sounds downright Trumpian in his view of the nation's future energy policy: “Pakistan must tap [its] vast underground reserves of 175 billion tonnes of coal, adequate to meet the country’s energy needs for several decades, for powering the country’s economic wheel, creating new jobs, and fighting spiking unemployment and poverty.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports (paywall) that India will fail to meet its own targets to reduce emissions from its coal power plants. India’s struggle to clean up its energy act is well-known. But it’s currently unable to meet its own power demands, so it’s not really that practical to shut down plants—and given that no penalties will be imposed for failing to reduce emissions, there’s little incentive to do so.

To anyone who would criticize the move, Piyush Goyal, India’s power minister, had this to say: “India is not a polluter," he told the Financial Times. "It’s America and the western world that has to first stop polluting.” There’s a grain of truth to that: America and Europe did a lot of coal burning during their development, and now have strong economies to leverage in order to clean up their acts. Developing countries aren’t so lucky. And developed countries still emit far more greenhouse gases per citizen than India and Pakistan. As of 2013 the annual per capita CO2 emissions of India and Pakistan were 1.59 and 0.85 metric tons respectively. In the U.S., the figure is 16.39 metric tons.

The recent trend has been for that figure to fall year-on-year in the U.S., but the Trump administration certainly isn’t making its continuation a priority. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. coal industry was enjoying an uptick thanks to Trump’s relaxed regulations and reduced production in China. While coal is unlikely to come roaring back in America, there is still scope for the industry to rebound modestly over the coming years.

Indeed, the White House appears to be readying itself to disregard the emissions targets the Obama administration committed to as part of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. Trump’s aides are reported to be increasingly inclined toward quitting the pact—a shift from previous thinking. The New York Times says a decision could rest on a single phrase in the agreement: whether a country’s ability to “adjust” emissions targets can allow for weakening, as well as strengthening, commitments.

That plays directly into Goyal's hands. If the supposed leader of the free world doesn’t think that drastic emissions reduction is a priority, why should India and Pakistan—or any country that believes burning more fossil fuels will enhance economic growth?



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