Friday, September 29, 2017

Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year (?)

The claims made below are more moderate than what we read from most media commentators.  They say that the earth is about one degree Celsius warmer than it was 150 years or so ago and that may be true.

Missing from their story is any proof that hunan activity is to blame for the warming and missing also is any assurance that the warming will continue to rise.  Since we are at the end of a warm interglacial, it could fall.  Temperatures are generally LOWER in 2017 than they were in 2016.

Image from NASA/GISS

The connection to human activity is, in other words, pure theory, and poor theory at at that -- considering the lack of synchrony between CO2 rise and temperature rise

Extreme weather, made worse by climate change, along with the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, has cost the U.S. economy at least $240 billion a year over the past ten years, a new report has found.

And yet this does not include this past months’ three major hurricanes or 76 wildfires in nine Western states. Those economic losses alone are estimated to top $300 billion, the report notes. Putting it in perspective, $300 billion is enough money to provide free tuition for the 13.5 million U.S. students enrolled in public colleges and universities for four years.

In the coming decade, economic losses from extreme weather combined with the health costs of air pollution spiral upward to at least $360 billion annually, potentially crippling U.S. economic growth, according to this new report, The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States, published online Thursday by the Universal Ecological Fund.

“Burning fossil fuels comes at a giant price tag which the U.S. economy cannot afford and not sustain," said Sir Robert Watson, coauthor and director at the U.K's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research.

“We want to paint a picture for Americans to illustrate the fact that the costs of not acting on climate change are very significant,” Watson, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told National Geographic.

Watson is quick to point out that extreme weather events, including heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, are not caused by climate change. However, there is no question their intensity and frequency in many cases has been made worse by the fact the entire planet is now 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C) hotter, he said in an interview.

While a 1.8 degree F (1 degree C) increase may seem small it’s having a major economic impact on the U.S. According to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the number of extreme weather events causing at least $1 billion in economic losses has increased more than 400 percent since the 1980s. Some of that increase is due to increased amounts of housing and commercial infrastructure along coastlines. “However that doesn’t account for big increases in the last decade,” Watson said.

And much more global warming is coming—3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) temperature by 2050 and even greater warming beyond that—unless bigger cuts in fossil-fuel emissions are made than those promised in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, said Watson. “The impacts of climate change are certainly going to get more than twice as bad,” he said.


Zeke to the rescue,/b>

Zeke Hausfather below kicks back at the recent finding that Warmist models overstate the actual degree of global warming observed in recent decades.  He in essence attacks the existing Warmist models and constructs a new model of his own that gives a result closer to reality.  So he is actually an enemy of the IPCC models too!  Refreshing!

His reasoning for his new model seems sound so perhaps we can look forward to more modest models from Warmists generally.

Sadly, however, Zeke's model still seems to be too warm.  Judith Curry has the details.

A new study published in the Nature Geosciences journal this week by largely UK-based climate scientists has led to claims in the media that climate models are “wrong” and have significantly overestimated the observed warming of the planet.

Here Carbon Brief shows why such claims are a misrepresentation of the paper’s main results. In reality, the results obtained from the type of model-observation comparisons performed in the paper depend greatly on the dataset and model outputs used by the authors.

Much of the media coverage surrounding the paper, Millar et al, has focused on the idea that climate models are overestimating observed temperatures by around 0.3C, or nearly 33% of the observed warming since the late 1800s. For example, the Daily Mail reported:

According to these models, temperatures across the world should now be at least 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th century average, which is taken as a base level in such calculations. But the British report demonstrates that the rise is only between 0.9 and 1 degree.

Lead author Dr Richard Millar and his co-authors have pushed back against such media coverage, releasing a statement which says:

A number of media reports have asserted that our [study] indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent. Both assertions are false. Our results are entirely in line with the IPCC’s 2013 prediction that temperatures in the 2020s would be 0.9-1.3 degrees above pre-industrial [levels].

[Carbon Brief’s guest post by Dr Millar earlier this week includes the paper’s key figures. Additionally, one of his co-authors, Prof Piers Forster, provides further reaction at the end of this article.]

Contrary to media claims, the study found that warming is consistent with the range of IPCC models, albeit a bit lower than the average of all the models.

Indeed, as Carbon Brief explains in detail below, the difference between models and observations turns out to depend largely on what climate model outputs and observational temperature series are used. The 0.3C value is based on a misinterpretation of the paper by the media and was not intended by the authors as an estimate of current model/observation temperature differences.

Other temperature datasets not used by the authors, such as those from NASA and Berkeley Earth, show much smaller model/observation differences than the one used in the paper, and these model/observation difference in turn disappear when model outputs more comparable to how temperature data is actually collected are incorporated, though differences in the implied future carbon budget would still remain.


Global carbon emissions stood still in 2016, offering climate hope

To use an old Australian expression:  "How'd ya be; How'd ya be? How would you bloody well be"?  I never expected the Guardian to publish something as deflationary as the article below.  

I pointed early on that atmospheric CO2 levels did not rise in 2016 and that was subsequently confirmed by others.  What the Guardian reports below may partly explain that.  Human emissions of CO2 in 2015/2016 plateaued.  That is another nail in the coffin for the dishonest Warmist claims that the 2016 temperature rise was due to Anthropogenic global warming.  It was of course due to El Nino.

The logic of the finding -- logic which the Guardian avoids -- is that the panic is over.  CO2 levels ain't gonna rise no more.  So there's nothing to worry about now.  Global warming has stopped.

Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend.

All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy, according to data published on Thursday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). However other mainly developing nations, including Indonesia, still have rising rates of CO2 emissions.

Stalled global emissions still means huge amounts of CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year – more than 35bn tonnes in 2016 – driving up global temperatures and increasing the risk of damaging, extreme weather. Furthermore, other heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly methane from cattle and leaks from oil and gas exploration, are still rising and went up by 1% in 2016.

“These results are a welcome indication that we are nearing the peak in global annual emissions of greenhouse gases,” said climate economist Prof Lord Nicholas Stern at the London School of Economics and president of the British Academy.

“To realise the goals of the Paris agreement and hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C, we must reach peak emissions as soon as possible and then achieve a rapid decline soon afterwards,” Stern said. “These results from the Dutch government show that there is a real opportunity to get on track.”

Jos Olivier, the chief researcher for the NEAA report, sounded a note of caution: “There is no guarantee that CO2 emissions will from now on be flat or descending.” He said, for example, a rise in gas prices could see more coal burning resume in the US.

The flat CO2 emissions in 2016 follow similar near-standstills in 2014 and 2015. This lack of growth is unprecedented in a time when the global economy is growing. As the number of years of flat emissions grows, scientists are more confident a peak has been reached, rather than a temporary halt. In July 2016, senior economists said China’s huge coal burning had peaked, marking a historic turning point in efforts to tame climate change.


Jerry Brown Wants to Impose ‘China-Style’ Ban on Combustion Engine Cars

California’s Governor Jerry Brown visited China recently and came home with a radical new idea: banning the internal combustion engine in automobiles sold in what is already the greenest state in the nation.

Bloomberg News reports:

Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said.

Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

“To reach the ambitious levels of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we have to pretty much replace all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050,” Nichols said. “We’re looking at that as a method of moving this discussion forward.”

Instituting such a policy in California would affect the entire car industry globally, due to the massive size of California’s car market. Over 2 million new passenger vehicles were sold and registered in the nation’s most populous state last year — more than than the entire nations of Spain, France and Italy.

California has had the right to write its own pollution rules since the 1970’s under waivers granted by the EPA. But it’s unlikely the Trump administration would approve such a plan, forcing California to take a different legal route.

According to Motor Trend magazine, Nichols says California is considering regulating the types of cars that can be registered in the state or have access to highways.

“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from the EPA,” she told Bloomberg. “I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get that result.”

China plans to end sales of combustion engine vehicles in 2030. Other countries like France and the U.K. plan to follow suit a decade later.

California has not yet specified a date to copy China’s policy.


One in five Australians believe global warming is a hoax

Essential Research has surveyed about 1000 Australians on various beliefs to reveal some eyebrow-raising results.

It found 21 per cent believed global warming was a hoax perpetrated by scientists - with 9 per cent strongly believing in the statement and 12 per cent somewhat believing. Another 11 per cent were not sure.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has been among those to doubt climate change science, with a senior NASA official last year rejecting his claims the agency had falsified data to exaggerate warming in the Arctic.

And in June, after being asked by Senator Roberts whether it was important for scientists to keep an open mind, chief scientist Alan Finkel agreed: "But not so open that your brain leaks out."

Griffith University Climate Change Response Program director Brendan Mackey said climate change was an established scientific fact backed up by hard data.

"We have a really solid scientific basis for knowing and understanding the way the climate is changing rapidly," Professor Mackey said. [Like what?]

"I find it interesting as a scientist when people say they don't believe in science because science is not a matter of faith - religion is a matter of faith.

"It's really a matter of having a scientific understanding or explanation in relation to the cause and effect."

Professor Mackey said many people had never been taught about climate change science so found it difficult to understand.

And he said it was not something you could look out the window and see or experience, such as using an iPhone.

"The technology [for smartphones] comes from scientific understanding about quantum mechanics," he said.

"There's hardly anyone who understands about quantum mechanics but the iPhone works and they're happy their phone works and they're not worried about the reason why.

"People don't say 'I don't believe in gravity' because they can feel the effect of it.

"Climate change is a more abstract concept so part of it is people don't have that direct personal experience of climate change."




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


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on a Marine Food Web
Paper Reviewed: Taucher, J., Haunost, M., Boxhammer, T., Bach, L.T., Algueró-Muñiz, M. and Riebesell, U. 2017. "Influence of ocean acidification on plankton community structure during a winter-to-summer succession: An imaging approach indicated that copepods can benefit from elevated CO2 via indirect food web effects". PLoS One 12: e0169737, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169737.

Writing as background for their important new study, Taucher et al. (2017) state that "plankton communities form the base of the pelagic food web and provide many important ecosystem services such as productivity, sustenance of fish stocks, or carbon update." However, they note that it remains "one of the major challenges in biological oceanography to find general rules that explain and predict the trophic structure and biogeochemical functioning of marine ecosystems and how underlying ecological processes are affected by environmental drivers, particularly in the context of ongoing climate change and ocean acidification." Thus, it became their objective to investigate the impact of ocean acidification on plankton community structure and biogeochemical cycling during a long-term in situ study.

To accomplish their desires they used an imaging-based approach to obtain size distribution and taxonomic composition data of a natural plankton community housed in ten pelagic mesocosms (50 m3) deployed in the Gullmar Fjord of Sweden under natural or reduced seawater pH (simulate "ocean acidification," corresponding to ~760 µatm pCO2). The experiment ran for 113 days, covering the transition from winter to summer conditions, beginning in January of 2013. And what did their experiment reveal?

Simulated ocean acidification had a stimulatory effect on the biomass and size structure of the entire plankton community, from picoplankton to mesozooplankton. Notably, there were large biomass increases for copepods and diatoms, which increased by 40 and 30 percent, respectively (see figure below). In explaining this observation, it was the belief of the authors that elevated CO2 had an initial direct stimulatory effect on the phytoplankton productivity that indirectly "propagated up the food web and ultimately became visible as elevated biomass of copepods," though it is also quite possible that elevated CO2 directly stimulated the growth of the higher trophic organisms up the food chain as well.

With respect to the implications of their work, Taucher et al. write that "since copepods serve as a major food source for a variety of commercially important fish species, such CO2-driven trophic cascades could have important implications for ecosystem structure and fish stock dynamics in temperate and arctic regions." And based upon the results of their study, we would add that all indications are that those implications are of a highly positive nature.


Obama EPA hid Climategate emails from Trump transition team

Members of President Trump's U.S. EPA transition team were frustrated in their requests for documents dealing with climate change and carbon regulations.

More than 1,000 pages of emails and other records obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act show that some of EPA's fiercest critics who served on Trump's transition effort, such as Christopher Horner and Dave Stevenson, sought specific, detailed records on controversies like "Climategate" and the social cost of carbon rule.

Yet at least five of the Trump transition team's information requests were denied or "disapproved" by Matt Fritz, then EPA's chief of staff serving under Administrator Gina McCarthy.

In a Dec. 20 email to Myron Ebell, the head of Trump's EPA transition team, Shannon Kenny, an EPA career official serving as the agency's transition coordinator, shared documents with him detailing the denied requests.

"Per the process you and Matt Fritz discussed at your initial meeting, I recorded your requests and shared them with Matt for his consideration," Kenny said.

"He has agreed to grant one of the requests, and I will post that information in the morning on the site."

EPA staff and transition team members had set up an internal website to share briefing materials with each other.

Attached to Kenny's message were several information access request forms, submitted by her at the behest of various members of Trump's transition team, that asked for documents held by EPA.

One request from Horner and submitted by Kenny was for a "specific memo discussing Climategate emails."

"Climategate" refers to the 2009 hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit's server. The scandal has resonated with several Republican lawmakers and climate change skeptics, who argue the emails showed global warming was a conspiracy among scientists. Several reviews of the stolen material, however, found no scientific misconduct (Climatewire, April 15, 2010).

"Subject line had words: 'Hacked Emails CRU.' Memo begins: 'Issues raised regarding climate research,'" said the form. It also noted that Horner believed a 13-digit control number was associated with the memo.

Asked why the information was requested, the form said, "Information needed to implement the president-elect's climate agenda."

In a section on the form showing a decision on the request, "Disapproved" was circled.

"The memo referred in this request will be withheld," said the form, followed by Fritz's signature as indication that the EPA chief of staff is who made the decision.

Other requests were not approved.

Horner also requested access to correspondence from a two-week stretch in November 2013 between Lorie Schmidt, EPA's associate general counsel for air and radiation, and Michael Goo, a former EPA policy chief during the Obama administration. Horner was interested in communications regarding carbon capture and sequestration, which were needed to implement Trump's "climate agenda."

Fritz also disapproved that request.

In addition, Horner sought access to communications sent to Al McGartland, director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics, regarding setting discount rates for the social cost of carbon rule. Fritz denied that request as well.

Fritz told E&E News the information requests he disapproved were for documents not pertinent to the transition effort. Instead, they were related to some of the individual transition team members' prior litigation against EPA.

"These were related to topics that were already being litigated by members of the transition team," Fritz said. "They were related to very specific matters. They weren't related to matters of policy, of organization, of budget. ... They weren't relevant to actual transition items."

Fritz, who served nearly two years as EPA's chief of staff at the end of the Obama administration, said he didn't know Horner's motives in asking for the information but said the requests were part of a process set up with Trump's transition team.

"This was a process we established with the transition team, with Myron, that if they had requests for non-public information, we would have to approve them," said Fritz, who now works at the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP.

Horner told E&E News that his information requests were relevant to Trump's transition effort at EPA. He also said he has not requested the same information again since the transition team wrapped up and Trump's appointees took charge of the agency.

"Transition work was and is confidential. About whether I made the same request post-transition, no, I did not seek those records after the transition was over. They were sought for transition purposes," Horner said.

Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has relentlessly pursued EPA records in the past.

A foe of mainstream climate science, he has hunted down documents through FOIA requests and subsequent litigation, battling EPA in court to force the agency to cough up more records. His best-known find was former EPA chief Lisa Jackson's alternative email address, "Richard Windsor," named for her dog and hometown (Greenwire, Dec. 12, 2016).

Horner said it was logical for a new administration to review records dealing with possible policy shifts.

"With that said, it would make sense for a new administration team to review an agency's internal record of matters that are subject of changes in policy. Indeed, it seems irresponsible if one did not," Horner said.

Bob Sussman, who served as co-chairman of President Obama's transition effort at EPA, told E&E News that his team asked the outgoing George W. Bush administration about general policies at the agency.

"We did not zero in on what particular individuals had done or said on specific issues," Sussman said. "The focus was understanding the state of play in the agency, where regulatory actions stood and so on."


The winner of the wind-power game won’t be the consumer

Last year, the average selling price that the Big Six energy companies got for electricity from their gas and coal-fired power stations was £45.49 per MWh. By contrast, the average price of electricity from Scottish Power’s wind farms was £117.14 – more than two and half times more – enabling Scottish Power to make a stonking £42.35 profit per MWh, almost as much as the selling price of conventional electricity. Small wonder Mr Anderson wants more wind.

Is wind-generated electricity so much better than conventional to justify such a huge price premium? As Matt Ridley and John Constable brilliantly explain in The Scottish Wind-Power Racket, Scottish wind power is like the sausage factory that only makes sausages when it wants to, and has to be compensated when it makes sausages you don’t want or the roads are too congested for the sausages to make it to your front door.

The bad news doesn’t end there. On top of the 157 per cent mark up on the wholesale price of conventionally generated electricity, you have to pay additional delivery charges for the privilege. National Grid is spending nearly £2 billion on extra grid infrastructure to transport Scottish wind power southwards, enabling National Grid to grow its profits and forcing us to pay even more for high cost renewable energy.

All this is important to bear in mind as we risk being swamped with renewable energy propaganda claiming that we’re on the verge of a wind bonanza. Indeed, one normally level-headed commentator talked of Britain swapping places with Saudi Arabia to become the energy sheikhdom of the northern seas, claiming that the economic argument over wind power had been settled. It hasn’t.

The offshore wind excitement – Keith Anderson is an onshore man – was triggered by the results of the second round of offshore wind contracts. These showed bid prices of between £57.50 and £74.75 per MWh compared to £114-150 per MWh for the projects in the previous round, hence the outpouring of joy at the apparent fall in costs.

Only the story is a little more complicated. According to a timely study by Gordon Hughes, Capell Aris and John Constable, there has been a real, but modest rate of technological improvement, which is only to be expected of a mature technology such as wind power. However, this improvement is offset by the trend towards building wind farms in deeper water as the cheaper, shallower sites get built out.

The key point, though, is that the bid numbers aren’t committed and don’t represent actual costs. As the authors explain, offshore wind bidders are in the game to get their hands on expected subsidies of around £300million a year, totalling more than £4 billion over the 15-year contract period.

But even more attractive than the expected subsidy stream, is the way the deals have been structured. They are one-sided deals, where there is almost no walk-away penalty for non-delivery by the contractor but where the Government has put the customer on the hook for 15 years.

The prospect of a huge upside and a negligible downside is a formula for encouraging what is politely called “strategic bidding”, where bidders sprinkle their bids with fairy dust in the knowledge that they won’t suffer the consequences when their bid numbers turn out to have been too optimistic.

A similar dynamic was at work in bidding for rail franchises. Because of the asymmetric upside and downside risk profile, the process meant that the Government ends up choosing the most risky bid. In 2012, this led to the collapse of the West Coast franchise award, when the Department for Transport had to rescind its decision to award the franchise to First Group in the face of an action in the High Court by Virgin, who demonstrated how First Group’s numbers didn’t stack up.

The West Coast fiasco should have led the Government to have binned a system where irresponsible bidding is rewarded. Instead, it commissioned a report from a former managing director of a rival train operator who argued that the government should embrace the prospect of failure. “Government should tolerate the idea that a franchise may default,” the Brown Report says. “For franchising to function effectively and for the market to function competitively, Government should accept that there can be failure.” This is a bad approach to running a railway, as it systematically favours the lowest quality, highest risk bidder.

In energy, this is even more irresponsible as it means gambling with the future security of Britain’s energy supply. Only a weak government would have gone ahead with the disastrous Hinkley nuclear deal. It sent a signal around the world that the British government preferred a bad deal to no deal. In these circumstances, it would be hardly surprising that offshore wind developers are queueing up to low-ball bids.

Having won control of vast acreages of the sea, like players on a Monopoly board, wind farm developers can be fairly sure that if construction costs start turning out to be higher than assumed in their bid numbers, the Government will have nowhere else to go. Having bid Old Kent Road and Whitechapel prices, they’ll tell the Government that if it wants to ensure that Britain has enough generating capacity, consumers will have to end up paying Park Lane and Mayfair prices.

There is a silver lining. Offshore wind will make Scottish Power’s windfarms – strung out along the wind energy equivalent of Oxford Street – look positively low cost. One thing is certain, the winner of the game isn’t going to be the consumer.


EPA needs to stick to its knitting

Barack Obama decided that the 1992 Clean Air Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to force states to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

He also expanded the Clean Water Act with a regulation called "Waters of the United States," which aimed to give the EPA regulatory control over land if sometimes it holds standing water.

The running theme of the Obama EPA was expanding the agency's reach and multiplying its responsibilities. This campaign was repeatedly halted by courts, but it has threatened to erode liberty and make life more expensive for families, farmers, and companies.

But the most tangible consequence of the EPA's mission creep has been the neglect of its core functions.

Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt laid out Obama's legacy in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner. "He left us with more Superfund sites than when he came in," Pruitt said, referring to contaminated lands which the EPA is supposed to be remediating. "He had Gold King and Flint, Michigan," Pruitt went on, referring to the massive 2015 spill of mine waste into the Animas and San Juan Rivers. Obama also left "air quality standards 40 percent of the country in nonattainment," Pruitt added.

The problem? Obama's EPA wouldn't stick to its knitting. Pruitt aptly described the EPA's mindset under Obama: "We think we just ought to re-imagine authority because you know what? We don't know if people are going to pass regulations or states are going to do their jobs."

Pruitt promises to return the EPA to its proper mission and to limit its activities to those actually prescribed by Congress. Will Pruitt's EPA address greenhouse gas emissions? Obama justified his Clean Power Plan by asserting the urgency of the issue. But the executive's belief that an issue is important doesn't give the executive branch the power to address an issue.

The EPA has only the power Congress has given it. Repeatedly, Obama tried to get Congress to pass climate legislation. Repeatedly, he failed. This should have been taken as a sign that there is no democratic will for it. But Obama took these failures exactly the wrong way, deciding that if Congress won't act, he would act on his own.

This is like a soldier deciding that if his officers won't give him permission to shoot, he'll just have to give himself the order to fire.

On climate, Pruitt says the relevant question is "what tools are in the toolbox of this agency to deal with CO2?" Neither Pruitt nor Trump are allowed to put tools in there. Only Congress can. "We're not going to simply just make up our authority," Pruitt said.

Doing exactly what you are called to do by the proper authorities is not a very exciting mission. But such is the lot of conservatism. Executive agencies are role-players, and even the president doesn't get to determine their role. The Constitution is very clear that Congress alone has that power.

We applaud Pruitt's mission of restoring the EPA to its proper shape and size. And we hope he has the humility, the diligence, and the skill to pull it off, for the sake of the Constitution, the economy, and the environment.


Unwinding Failing Renewables Policies

Brazil has started the process of cancelling contracts for wind and solar projects in an overheated market facing falling electricity demand. European governments should be making contingency plans for the similar necessities.

Global news about renewable energy development is generally positive, a fact that is in itself surprising and sufficient to arouse interest if not suspicion. In any technological sector there is always and regularly some bad news of a substantial kind, and yet on the face of things renewables are oddly free from the blotches and blemishes that are usual to even established sectors.

So it is particularly interesting to see the recent announcement by the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) that as a result of a reverse auction, nine unbuilt solar projects and 16 wind farms, with a total capacity of about 557 MW were being withdrawn, their contracts cancelled, with the developers forbidden to bid again in the next two power auctions (English press article here. Press release in Portuguese here).

This problem has been boiling away for some time. In March, Reuters reported that ANEEL believed that about 1.3 GW of wind and solar projects with contracts were in fact unlikely to enter operation due to weak prospects (“With power demand weak, Brazil mulls an auction to cancel projects”). In fact, the December 2016 auctions attracted no bids at all from new solar and wind plants.

The fundamental cause suggested for this slump in renewables development momentum is falling electricity demand; Brazil’s consumption fell by 2% in 2015 and a further 1% in 2016, largely as the the result of economic turbulence. That decline is doubtless a very large part of the explanation for the willingness of 500 MW of solar and wind to back out of its contracts, but it would hardly have caused such difficulties, requiring the construction of a reverse auction, if the market had not been so excited by favourable policy in the first place.

Indeed, the story serves to remind us that a sector overheated by enthusiastic policy remains vulnerable to real world realities that lie beyond easy control, such as falling demand. This is particularly interesting for those in the United Kingdom, where demand  is also falling, beginning in about 2005, and continues to fall, now standing at levels, about 280 TWh a year, not seen since the early 1990s. Renewables, however, continue to grow quite rapidly, with about 4.5 GW of capacity becoming operational in the year to July 2017, and a further 6.5 GW officially described as “under construction”. Even with very favourable terms of market access, and in spite of medium term hopes for electric vehicles, this narrowing market opportunity must be giving renewables projectors and exiting owners cause for concern, at least in the short term.

All this makes one wonder whether whether governments with major commitments to renewables, such as those in Germany and the United Kingdom, have made any contingency plans to extricate either subsidising consumers or subsidised renewables owners should circumstances require it. One suspects not.

Governments in the EU have tended to proceed as if renewables should be by virtue of their moral superiority exempt from normal business risk, and indeed those governments have take extraordinary measures to exempt renewables from normal risks. Nevertheless, as the Brazlian case reminds us, some substantial degree of risk remains and is irreducible. It may be falling demand, or general economic stagnation. It might be unrelenting and unacceptable cost to consumers, which itself could be responsible for falling demand economic recession or even depression. It might be rapid progress in a new, cheap, clean energy source, or that the inadequacy of renewables reveals itself as stubbornly resistant to remedy through technological change.

And while the daily news may not contain much that is bad, the global statistical headlines, the secular trends, are just not that encouraging: After decades of market favours, tax credits, portfolio standards, carbon taxes, guaranteed above-market prices, income top-ups, direct grants, relaxed environmental regulations and avoided costs, the modern renewables, wind and solar, still only accounted for only 1.5% of global Total Primary Energy supply in 2015, the most recent year for which there is data (IEA Renewables Information Overview, 2017). This really doesn’t look like a going concern.

This is much more than having a Plan B for the energy supply. In some senses that’s the easy bit; natural gas is right there, and so is coal if push comes to shove. The really awkward question for governments such as that in Germany or the United Kingdom, is how to respond if they are faced with the necessity of unwinding the vast contractual commitments made to renewable energy generators of all types and sizes, 30 GW of them in the UK, 95 GW in Germany? This is a much bigger problem than purging the planning queue of unbuilt and unwanted wind and solar farms, and it will require much more than a reverse auction. To all appearances the governments most in need of such forethought are the most completely unprepared.




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


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

France to spend E20b on Greenie follies

The French government plans to invest 20 billion euros ($A29.86 billion) in an energy transition plan, including 9 billion euros towards improved energy efficiency, 7 billion for renewables and 4 billion to precipitate the switch to cleaner vehicles.

The environment-related investments, drafted by economist Jean Pisani-Ferry and presented by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday, are part of a 57 billion-euro investment plan to run from 2018 to 2022.

Buildings are responsible for 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, so the government plans a 9 billion-euro thermal insulation program that will focus on low-income housing and government buildings, the government said in a statement.

"The number of badly insulated low-income housing and social housing will be divided by two, and a quarter of government buildings will be renovated in line with environmental norms," it said.

The program aims at financing the renovation of 75,000 dwellings per year, or 375,000 over the government's five-year term.

The government will also invest 7 billion euros to boost the growth of French renewable energies by 70 per cent over the next five years.

Investments will include research and innovation to combat climate change, and will speed up France's transition to low carbon and greater energy efficiency.

While efficiency investments will be a boon to the housing sector, the resulting lower power demand will hurt utilities, although the industry should also benefit from more support for renewable power.

The plan will also invest 4 billion euros in the switch to less polluting vehicles, with the transport industry responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions.

Further elements will focus on the road and railway network, boost local transport networks and will help low-income households to exchange old, polluting vehicles for newer, more environmentally friendly models.

The plan will target the phasing out of 10 million old vehicles and focus on cars with petrol engines registered before 1997 or diesel vehicles registered before 2001.


The inconvenient truth about Al Gore

A decade ago Al Gore released his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Second only to 9/11 it was the decade’s most significant event in shaping public policy worldwide. To mark the anniversary Gore has released An Inconvenient Sequel which has flopped. The politicians haven’t caught up yet but the public has lost interest in global warming – contrary to forecasts summer still feels like summer and winter still feels like winter. If there had been more scrutiny a decade ago of Gore’s life story we would have saved ourselves a decade of bad policy. Gore has written plenty of books but unlike every other vice presidential candidate in memory there haven’t been any memoirs. Why? Because Gore is politically ashamed of his past.

Gore’s father was a congressman and then senator for Tennessee for 32 years. His mother was an aide to über-liberal Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1956 Gore’s father lost a bid for the vice-presidential nomination and the family’s fierce ambition was channeled to infant Al. He studied politics and history at Harvard where he was elected student president. He’s confessed to smoking pot and a friend recalled ‘pot stimulated Gore’s imagination. He talked about what he would do as President. Political ambition coursed inside him like an underground river.’

Like his parents, Gore supported the Democratic Left. At college he described anti-communism as ‘paranoia and a national obsession’ and the US military as ‘fascist.’ In 1970, his father was struggling for re-election to the Senate due to his opposition to the Vietnam War which was still popular in Tennessee. After months of family anguish Gore volunteered for a war he didn’t believe in – his dad still lost but Gore knew one day America would ask ‘did you serve?’ After five months in Vietnam (far from the front line), Gore was discharged early after hearing the call to study religion. A few months into his theological studies he quit, made money in property (courtesy of his dad’s network) and worked as a reporter. Then his dad’s old congressional seat became vacant. Dad had learnt the hard way a lefty in Tennessee now had no future, so Gore campaigned stridently right-wing on everything: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tobacco, anti-gay and born-again. It was 1976 and he won.

By 1985 Gore was one of America’s youngest senators. This was the height of Reaganism and Gore boasted he was a ‘raging moderate’. He and his then wife founded the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) – which waged a morals crusade against rock music. Gore arranged congressional committees to investigate satanic and lewd influences on kids. Remember backward masking? Gore didn’t invent it but he did make it famous. In the mid-1980s the Gores were America’s Fred and Elaine Nile.

In 1988 Gore, 39, ran for president, finishing a dishonourable third after a slanging match with liberal hero and rival candidate Jesse Jackson. In the Democrats primary, Gore also introduced Willie Horton to the public and fatally wounded the nominee Michael Dukakis. It took years for African-Americans to forgive Gore’s 1988 race-baiting. Gore was devastated. He was just too conservative for the Democrats. Gore needed a makeover so wrote Earth in the Balance and the public met ‘global warming.’ Communism was dead, the Left needed a new cause and Gore delivered it in a worldwide bestseller. Lefties have short memories. Gore had redeemed himself.

When nominations opened for the 1992 election President Bush had stratospheric approval after liberating Kuwait. Gore calculated he would sit this one out and wait for the 1996 election. Only lightweights nominated for the Democratic nomination – Bush derided them as the ‘seven dwarfs’ which included the Governor of Arkansas. Gore was a national figure – Bill Clinton was not. But a recession hit and America warmed to Clinton. ‘Draft dodging’ and ‘womanising’ dogged Clinton, however, so when he weighed his vice presidential candidates a ‘veteran’ and former morals crusader ticked the boxes. The invitation was bittersweet for Gore (he was meant to be the next Democratic president!) but with Clinton looking like a winner Gore accepted. The ‘Dream Team’ shot to an overnight 11 point lead and victory.

Gore was a diligent VP who worked closely with Clinton but they were not friendly – the patrician Gore family were privately appalled their son had to serve under the commoner Clinton. Monica ended what relationship there was. Gore was furious Clinton’s recklessness had damaged his upcoming tilt for the presidency. The impeachment however backfired and Clinton had high approval on his departure. Gore’s resentment blinded him and ‘Clinton’ along with ‘global warming’ was jettisoned in campaign 2000.

On election night Gore conceded to Governor Bush but then retracted – an unprecedented act of bastardy in the history of democracy. It was also pointless. Gore contested the result to a 7-2 Supreme Court loss. In 1960, Richard Nixon was in a similar position but Nixon feared dividing America and conceded without dispute. Gore did neither and America’s acute polarisation today can be traced back to election night 2000.

Bar strategic forays Gore was largely quiet for six years. The first thing he did was write a book about family values but that didn’t take off so he plotted the revival of the cause that had rescued him in 1992 – global warming. He gave terrific performances on comedy shows to soften his wonky image and was the first significant Democrat to oppose the Iraq War. He endorsed Howard Dean in 2004 thereby locking in left activists for his coming crusade. In 2006 An Inconvenient Truth was unleashed – the book, the movie, the world-wide all-encompassing revolution. Saint Al and global warming were everywhere. After the bitterness of 2000 Gore was a liberal martyr and the press gave his ‘end is nigh’ thesis unquestioning approval. Millions if not billions were fooled temporarily into thinking life as we know it only had ten years to go. Gore, the most partisan politician, claimed ‘global warming is not a political issue but a moral issue.’ How cute. He demonised opponents with religious fervour – a sure sign it’s a bluff.

This simple fact was ignored all along – Gore has no standing to teach science. His academic research was on ‘Presidents and the media’ and yes he has proven profound skill in both these utterly non-scientific fields. Over the past four decades Gore has journeyed from hard left, hard right, centre and back to the hard left. Al Gore is a Pied Piper who the New York Times has estimated is on track to make a billion dollars from global warming.


Bridenstine to Lead NASA? Why Not?

President Donald J. Trump recently nominated Rep. James Bridenstine (R-OK) to lead NASA. Science Magazine promptly raised two objections. First, Bridenstine rejects climate change alarmism. Second, he’s a politician, not a scientist.

Professional advocates for science should come up with more substantive analysis. Reason, not ideology, should rule.

Let’s consider climate change.

NASA’s mission is pretty much the antithesis of that of the climate change movement.

Climate change alarmists would ratchet back mankind’s use of energy and technology to reduce our impact on the planet.

NASA’s mission is advancing technology through space exploration. That involves burning lots of fossil fuels not only as direct rocket fuels but also to generate electricity to make liquid hydrogen fuel. A NASA director who accepted climate alarmists’ goals might never launch another rocket.

During its earlier years, some might have construed part of NASA’s mission statement to support climate research. But NASA removed the phrase “to understand and protect the home planet” in 2006.

NASA’s mission is space science, not climatology. This is not to say a director can’t take an interest in climate research, but it’s not his job. It’s not directly relevant to space exploration.

The objection that NASA can’t be led by a politician is equally wrong.

The agency’s source of direction and funding is very political. NASA has always had credentialed scientists, but they haven’t been able to get funds to advance space exploration. A leader with political savvy is exactly what NASA needs.

Beyond that, Bridenstine is an advocate for science. He was the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He is a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

That Bridenstine isn’t a scientist can’t be the Science editors’ real objection. Only three of NASA’s 20 past administrators were scientists — 15 if you include engineers. But climate alarmists are loathe to do that. Why? Because engineers, including some retired NASA engineers, are prone to question climate alarmism.

So, does Bridenstine’s skepticism about climate alarmism disqualify him?

We depend on science to do what science does best — perform disciplined research and pass the results to decision-makers. Actual climate scientists try to do that. But science journalists fail to report the continuing controversies. They perpetuate the myth of an overwhelming consensus. The myth is not just that climate changes or that humans contribute to climate change (so far so good). It is that humans’ contribution will be catastrophic but can be averted by policies that cost trillions of dollars (not so good).

Bridenstine recognizes that myth for what it is. Far from disqualifying him, that’s one of his best qualifications.


Vermont Energy Goal Numbers Don’t Add up

Vermont, along with 19 other states, has a long-term greenhouse gas reduction mandate. The original mandate, signed into law in 2006, called for a 75 percent reduction below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. In 2011, then- Gov. Peter Shumlin raised the goal to a 90 percent reduction by 2050, something which the 2016 State Comprehensive Energy Plan discusses in detail.

Too bad the numbers don’t add up. Vermont’s mandate is much more than a requirement to supply consumers with electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar power. It will require virtually complete electrification of the Vermont economy to eliminate almost all fossil fuel consumption. Cars and trucks, oil- and gas-fired furnaces, industrial processes — virtually everything that now uses fossil fuels will need to be replaced with its electric counterpart.

In 1990, Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). By 2012, those emissions had increased to 8.3 million tons. (The “equivalent” arises because CO2 is just one of many greenhouse gases and in Vermont, methane emissions from the state’s dairy industry account for almost 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.) The 90 percent goal means that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by about 5 million tons, to just over 500,000 tons of CO2-e by 2050, less than one ton per Vermonter. That’s less than the methane emitted by the state’s bovines in 2012.

By comparison, in 2014, total world greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be around 45 billion tons of CO2-e. To put that in perspective, Vermont’s CO2-e emissions in all of 2012 were about two hours’ worth of world emissions.

Meeting the 90 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal will require replacing virtually all fossil fuel used in the state with electricity, and ensuring that there is enough electricity to do that. According to data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Vermonters annually consume a total of 132 trillion BTUs of energy. Of that amount, about 20 trillion BTUs (15 percent) was in the form of end-use electricity consumption. Fossil fuel use accounted for 92 trillion BTUs. Although the Comprehensive Energy Plan discusses using biofuels, the amount of biofuel that could be produced on agricultural land is small, estimated at 4 million gallons. Thus, the prospects for a biofueled Vermont economy are slim. Moreover, biofuels cost far more than their fossil-fuel equivalents.

How much electricity will Vermont need? Suppose Vermont could reduce total end-use energy consumption to just 100 trillion BTUs by 2050. That’s 30 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, five times the amount consumed in 2015. Currently, Vermont gets 2 TWh of electricity each year from hydropower and another 1 TWh from burning wood. That leaves 27 TWh from wind and solar power.

Last November’s election appears to have confirmed that Vermonters don’t want thousands of giant wind turbines dotting the landscape. So assume that additional electricity will be generated by solar photovoltaics. To produce 27 TWh of electricity from solar panels would require about 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity. According to data published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1 MW of solar photovoltaic requires eight acres of land. So, 20,000 MW would require 160,000 acres, or about 250 square miles. And despite cost decreases, solar power is still much more costly than power purchased on the wholesale market. Thus Vermonters would pay even higher electricity prices.

Solar photovoltaic is not available at night or on cloudy days. Thus, enough solar photovoltaic will need to be installed to store excess electricity in batteries. Current battery technology can provide 8 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity for every MW of capacity, at a cost of about $1.2 million per megawatt. Twenty-seven TWh of electricity is equivalent to just over 80,000 MWh per day. Thus, suppose that on a cold, cloudy December day, electricity consumption is 100,000 MWh. Supplying that much electricity from batteries would require 12,500 MW of battery storage, at a cost of $15 billion. Even if battery costs drop by half, that’s still $7.5 billion.

Replacing all of the fossil-fuel-using equipment in the state and adding electric vehicle charging stations would cost billions of dollars more.

Curiously, nowhere does the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan discuss the benefits of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps that’s because there will be no benefits. Reducing Vermont’s two-hours’ worth of world CO2 emissions will have no measurable impact on world climate. Nor will similar greenhouse gas reduction mandates in other states. No measurable climate impacts mean zero climate benefits.

Ambitious, math-challenged legislators can always vote to impose costly and foolish mandates like Vermont’s with little pushback from voters. But Vermont’s mandate, like the mandates in other states, will impose additional costs on residents and businesses with zero offsetting benefits. Vermont’s is just another economically damaging exercise in symbolic environmentalism and political grandstanding.


Massachusetts wind turbine study is junk science

Raymond S. Hartman,

I am a mathematical economist. I have studied alternative green energy sources as a faculty researcher at MIT and have taught energy and environmental economics as an associate professor at Boston University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Voters in Savoy will soon decide whether to allow taller wind turbines in the town. In the discussion leading up to the relevant vote, the Minuteman Wind representative told the town that "there is not scientific consensus" about sound issues (Eagle, Aug. 25), citing a submitted noise study. She was likely referencing a state-sponsored January 2012 wind turbine study. Her assertion is a complete mischaracterization of the scholarly research.

As an expert witness, I have professionally reviewed hundreds of quantitative policy analyses and provided leading testimony that ended in landmark legal decisions. I thoroughly evaluated the state-sponsored study and found it to be fundamentally flawed in its analysis and conclusion that wind turbines do not cause negative health effects.

Simply put, the health impact study is not independent science. Rather, it is biased, distorted and in many cases outright deceitful. Several members of the panel were not independent; they benefit from big wind financially or have demonstrated a scientifically unsupported intellectual preference for this technology. The study relies primarily upon four to five articles while ignoring hundreds of other relevant studies. It summarizes health effects of much smaller turbines than the ones proposed for Savoy, for example, and examines the effects in Sweden, Holland and New Zealand, while inexplicably ignoring the serious health effects that have arisen from the many large wind projects in Massachusetts and the rest of New England.

Furthermore, the panel distorts, ignores and misstates the conclusions of the very studies upon which it relies. These studies conclude that industrial wind turbines disrupt sleep, and note that chronic noise exposure is a psychosocial stressor that can induce maladaptive psychological responses and negatively impact health. Furthermore, wind turbine sound varies unpredictably, and the noise does not cease at night.

Wind developers are eying our small towns, while unprepared to evaluate the adverse effects that 35 to 50-story wind turbines will have. These include lower real estate values near turbines and negative impacts on the tourism-based regional economy of Western Massachusetts. Would we alter these elevated ridge lines with 35- to 50-story Walmarts?

I hope voters in Savoy do not rely on this fatally flawed health study as science to evaluate the project. If one of my students had handed it in to me, I would have given it a failing grade.




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


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The coffee bean belt: climate change map

Climate varies naturally all the time.  Saying that the variations noted below are due to anthropogenic global warming is nothing but an unproven assertion.

Climate change poses a serious threat to the world’s coffee “bean belt” and the 60-plus countries that produce the commodity. With 21.5m people involved in coffee farming, says the International Coffee Organization, 85 per cent of output is produced by smallholders.

“We know just how vulnerable farmers are to losing their crops as a result of climate change,” says Anna Pierides, coffee supply chain manager at the non-profit Fairtrade Foundation.

Compared with 10 years ago “people are really starting to see the impact,” says Aaron Davis, senior research leader at Kew’s royal botanic gardens in London. “It is the most serious concern for the coffee industry.”

Arabica coffee — 60 per cent of global output — grows in tropical highlands and performs best at an average temperature of 18C-21C. Lower-grade robusta — largely for the instant-coffee market — grows in low-lying regions.

“Combined changes in temperature and precipitation are the main avenues through which climate change affects coffee production,” says Charles Agwanda, co-ordinator at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International in Kenya.

Potentially hard times lie ahead. A 1.2C average temperature rise in Brazil, the world’s main producer, would threaten to cut 7 per cent of its 2.25m hectares of bean-growing land.

In 1899, Puerto Rico was the sixth largest world producer with about 770 sq km of coffee land. USDA Caribbean Climate Hub projections say this could fall to 24 sq km by this century’s end.

Productive area in Ethiopia, coffee’s original homeland, could fall by up to 60 per cent through the century. A 2C average rise in temperature would threaten much of Uganda’s coffee output.

In India, rainfall has decreased by a third in certain regions, where pests assisted by higher temperatures substantially lower yields.

Rising temperatures tend to force growers upslope. Where coffee was previously grown up to 2,200m in Ethiopia, says Mr Davis, the level has risen to 2,600m.


Climate Believers Won’t Go Cool On Global Warming, They’ve An Industry To Support

Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times

If you find a spare moment this weekend, check out the online biography of Professor Michael Grubb. He is a busy and hitherto (one would hope) important man.

Professor of climate change policy at University College London. Editor-in-chief of something called Climate Policy — hurry, hurry while stocks last. Adviser to the energy regulator Ofgem. Member of the government’s climate change committee. Adviser to the Germans on something to do with climate and to the European parliament’s exciting “progressive economy initiative”. And more, much more besides.

It’s a wonder Mikey even has time to step outside and see how the weather is looking, so feted has he been on account of his unquestionable knowledge about what is happening to our climate. Unquestionable, because climate change is a “settled science”, and those who question its reality or impact are “deniers”, like those who would deny the Holocaust ever happened.

Early one morning last week, as the dawn chorus began in what has been a colder September than usual, Mikey was roused from his slumbers by his wife, holding the report he’s just written, shrieking in his ear: “Professor Grubb, Professor Grubb, you have to know this: your entire life is a lie. Ha ha ha! All a terrible lie!” OK, I cannot be entirely certain this happened. I don’t even know if Grubb has a wife. But it should have happened, even if it didn’t.

Last week we learnt from a study co-authored by Grubb in the impeccable and neutral source Nature Geoscience that we have all been taken for a costly ride by the climate change people. The Earth is not heating up anything like they all told us it was. For years they had been telling us we will very soon burn to a crisp, accompanied by the howling of polar bears. Grubb himself suggested in 2015 that we would need to abandon democracy to address the rapid and calamitous rise in the Earth’s temperature.

Politicians were dragooned to the cause. Billions were spent in this country alone, subsidising useless wind farms and taxing ordinary people on their energy bills. People who opposed these strictures — the deniers — were called antediluvian and climate change activists demanded that those who challenged their views should not even be allowed to express their opinions. Only they had the truth. Except, it wasn’t the truth.

So what went wrong? Take a look at Prof Grubb’s CV and you might get an inkling. Science is supposed to be neutral, but it is never so when co-opted for political reasons. Call it “settled” and it becomes a kind of anti-science, an article of faith deeply resistant to investigation. Call a university department “climate change” and you immediately sign up to it as an indisputable fact. And suddenly a huge and lucrative industry is born, with panels and intergovernmental committees, transnational policy initiatives, world summits and swingeing taxes on the poorest. And the climate change proponents are required to hype up the rhetoric, to provide politicians with suitably scary predictions.

Even after last week’s revelations in Nature Geoscience, the mentalist wing of the climate change lobby was still shrieking — in The Guardian, natch. It will all lead to “the collapse of civilisation”, one daffy woman reported, while a bloke called John said those who disagreed with him were “elderly white male climate-deniers”.

Ah, John. I am white, male and getting elderly. I don’t deny the climate. I can see it, doing its stuff, outside my window. And as a layman I would guess that we have probably contributed to the warming of the planet. How much? I don’t know — and nor do you, for that matter. You haven’t a clue. It’s just an article of faith. And, as Karl Popper might tell you, that ain’t science.



Now it’s a war on pipelines

Efforts to block and sabotage pipelines hurt jobs, economic growth, middle class, human safety

Paul Driessen

The radical environmentalist war on fossil fuels has opened a new front: a war on pipelines.

For years, activist zealots claimed the world was rapidly depleting its oil and natural gas supplies. The fracking revolution (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) obliterated that argument, by sending US oil and gas production to new heights. Indeed, it was record gas supplies and plummeting gas prices, combined with the Obama EPA war on coal, that closed down so many coal-fired power plants.

So the battle increasingly shifted to the far more emotional claim that continued reliance on fossil fuels (which provide over 80% of the US and global energy that powers modern civilization and living standards) will cause dangerous manmade global warming and climate change. This gave birth to the climate and renewable energy consortium and the “keep it in the ground” movement. No evidence to the contrary will budge them from their hysteria-laden talking points on looming climate cataclysms.

The journal Nature Geoscience recently published a careful study that found there has been far less planetary warming since 1998 than alarmist scientists and computer models had predicted. Because the models are based on the assumption that carbon dioxide drives climate change, they “run too hot,” resulting in predictions that deviate from actual temperature measurements more and more every year.

But instead of admitting they were wrong, the usual strident suspects in the climate crisis industry doubled down and attacked the study and any news outlet that called attention to it. Britain’s BBC denounced the inconvenient study and displayed not a whit of apology over its climate chaos claims.

Climate campaigners jumped all over Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, insisting without an iota of evidence that manmade greenhouse gases had created or at least intensified them. They’re making the equally absurd claim that shutting down US and Canadian pipelines will somehow reduce atmospheric CO2 levels and prevent climate change and extreme weather – even though China already has 2,363 coal-fired power plants and is adding 1,171 more; India has 589 and is adding another 446; Indonesia and Vietnam are adding 140 to their fleet; and even Germany is burning more coal every year.

Pipelines carry conventional, fracking and oil sands petroleum to markets: natural gas to homes and power plants, oil to refineries, oil and gas to petrochemical plants – and crude oil, refined products and liquefied natural gas to export terminals that send the energy to Europe and Asia. If they can’t prevent companies from producing oil and gas, hydrocarbon haters want to prevent them from shipping it.

“Obviously the best means of transporting oil is none,” said an activist involved in campaigns against the Keystone XL Pipeline. But if there is going to be increased production, “I would rather it go by train.”

Some pipeline protesters somehow think rail or truck transport means the oil will be used domestically, whereas pipelined crude will more likely go to coastal refineries and be shipped overseas. Others claim pipelines are less safe than truck or railroad tanker cars. They cite a 2013 International Energy Agency report that said railroad transport is six times more likely to have an accident than pipelines are – but pipelines spill three times as much oil per-billion-barrel-miles of fuel transported.

However, the study is seriously outdated. It analyzed data from 2004 to 2012 – before the surge in US oil production … and before a monumental increase in rail transportation was necessitated by protests and Obama Administration decisions blocking construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.

In 2014, the USA set a new record for railroad tanker spills: 141 – versus an average of 24 during the years covered by the IEA report. Rail accidents in Colorado, Virginia, West Virginia and other states resulted in significant oil spills, evacuations and even serious explosions, but fortunately no deaths. However, a 2013 disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec burned 47 people to death and left many others seriously injured. The danger of moving oil on rails and highways through populated areas is clearly high.

Better track maintenance, stronger tanker cars, improved train scheduling and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, US State Department studies concluded that the Keystone pipeline would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in three rail spills that it evaluated. The same holds true for other modern pipelines.

New pipelines are built with state-of-the-art pipe and other components, to the latest design, manufacturing and construction specifications. Warning systems, automatic shutoff valves, 24/7/365 monitoring and other safeguards further minimize the risk of spills. New lines often replace older pipes that carry greater risks of corrosion and rupturing as they age. New lines can often be routed to avoid population centers and sensitive water and wildlife areas. Because they are underground, once they are installed and grasses are planted, pipelines are invisible except for occasional pumping stations, valves and other small facilities.

Environmentalists tend to focus on potential volumes of oil spilled when a major pipeline rupture occurs, and on impacts to waterways and wildlife. While these are important considerations, human safety should always be of paramount concern. Lac-Mégantic underscores that priority.

Light crude oils from North Dakota’s Bakken Field and other shale plays contain more dissolved gases and thus are more flammable than heavier crudes. That makes explosions more likely. On highways and along rail lines through rural or urban communities, the results would be devastating. The sheer volume of oil to be shipped further underscores these dangers.

The 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipe Line alone carries some 470,000 barrels of oil every day. Hauling that quantity overland would require 700 rail tanker cars per day (256,000 per year) or 2,000 semi-trailer tanker trucks per day on our highways (730,000 per year)! All would go through populated areas along parts of their route. Multiply that times the Keystone and other pipelines in planning or under construction, and the rail/truck “alternative” is mind-boggling in its scale and risks.

A new technology transforms heavy crude oil into pill-sized pellets – self-sealing balls of bitumen that can then be moved in coal rail cars or transported in trucks with less risk of spills. That may eventually reduce the need for new pipelines; but the innovative idea is currently only in the testing stage.

Moreover, we cannot ship natural gas by tanker truck or rail car. Pipelines are essential for that – unless the gas is chilled and liquefied, adding major cost and safety considerations. That’s one more reason 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution lines already crisscross the USA.

Even more important, some activists are now going far beyond mere rhetoric and protests – and engaging in sabotage of pipeline construction equipment and even pipeline safety valves. These intolerable acts should be met with police action, major fines and lengthy jail terms. Free speech and peaceful protests are a constitutional right. Eco-terrorism and threats to public safety cannot be tolerated.

These radical activists would never give up their reliance on – and addiction to – computers, smart phones, synthetic fiber shoes and clothing, affordable heating and air conditioning, cars, skis, kayaks, wind turbines and solar panels, and all the other blessings that petroleum brings. They should not expect the rest of us to give them up, either. Especially based on the flimsy arguments they present.

For all these reasons, it is hard to understand the increasing opposition of some states and communities to new pipelines: from Minnesota to New York and even Virginia and West Virginia.

It is even harder to understand or tolerate the actions of these tax-exempt anti-pipeline organizations – and equally callous and devious tax-exempt outfits that fund the radical groups: from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to the Sea Change Foundation and its secretive Russian donors, and even to railroad tycoon Warren Buffett’s NoVo Foundation. If they can block pipelines, they will next block rail and truck transport.

If an increasingly divided, partisan, dysfunctional Congress cannot address these problems, let us hope the Trump Administration and some state governors and legislators will do so.

Via email

Britain needs an energy revolution – stop the terrible renewable subsidies

It was reported this week that the estimated cost of energy produced by new offshore wind farms has halved in two years. Many observers seemed to conclude that Britain’s energy problems have been solved. The truth is rather different.

Britain still has significant trouble with its energy retail market, its power generation, and its energy strategy. All three require decisive government action.

The retail market is supposed to be founded on competition, with consumers switching between companies and tariffs. In practice, only a quarter of households have ever switched tariff with the same provider, and less than half have ever switched supplier.

The big energy firms rip off customers who do not switch. Two thirds – 18.5 million households – are on expensive default contracts. We need lower prices, and to get them we need a new energy strategy based on competition and a sensible regulatory framework.

For that to happen, there must be meaningful price transparency for all forms of power generation, including nuclear power and renewables. This will require a new approach to reducing carbon emissions.

There is no need to abandon our international commitments, and no need to abandon the Climate Change Act. We should, however, change the trajectory of Britain’s decarbonisation plans, so a greater share of the reduction comes later, through technological innovation, rather than earlier, through the imposition of higher energy costs and lower industrial output.

This would allow us to take sensible measures, like reducing Britain’s carbon price, which increases costs by pricing every tonne of carbon dioxide at three times the level set by the EU’s Emissions Trading System. It would also allow us fully to exploit the opportunities that lie in Britain’s shale gas reserves.

Proper price transparency and competition should mean no more subsidies for renewable energy. The Government has set out its intention to reduce these costs, but Britain has spent over £23 billion on subsidies for renewables since 2002, and now is the time to phase them out completely.

With the falling price of offshore wind, this should not be a problem. Wind power is still expensive: its intermittency causes higher costs elsewhere in the system, and this should be reflected in estimates of wind’s true cost. But it will almost certainly play an important role in Britain’s energy mix and, if its supporters are correct, it should not need subsidies to do so.

Price transparency would also mean no more nuclear deals without price competition from other providers. It might therefore mean no new nuclear at all, and it should certainly mean no new deals like Hinkley Point. And it would mean an end to long-term renewable contracts with guaranteed excessive prices.

Instead, energy technologies would compete against one another on a level playing field. That would mean a more rational energy market, with prices that are fairer for households and more competitive for industry.


Global warming alarmists need to lose the arrogance

Susan Stamper Brown

Natural disasters are no laughing matter, but you'd never know that recently watching God-denier Bill Maher and his "Real Time" show audience.

Maher appeared giddy with delight that homes of certain high-profile man-controlled climate change "deniers' were in the path of destructive hurricanes.

Meanwhile, during an interview, actress Jennifer Lawrence suggested hurricanes were "signs of Mother Nature's rage and wrath" for not believing in manmade climate change and electing Donald Trump.

Maher and Lawrence and other global warming barkers always fail to factor in the God-factor. Natural disasters aren't leftwing attack dogs who target those who dare question the cogency of man-caused and man-controlled climate change.

We know this because while Maher and Lawrence and others were superciliously wagging accusatory fingers, hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on some predominately leftwing metropolises that went for Hillary Clinton: Houston and Harris County, Texas and Key West and Miami and Palm Beach and Orange County, FL.

Using Lawrence's illogic, "mother nature" must have it out for Hillary Clinton supporters!

It is both arrogant and ignorant to cast blame for natural disasters on people, let alone people smart enough to question something that is quickly morphing into what seems like an autocratic religion across the globe.

Man-caused warming is questioned because there is indisputable scientific evidence this isn't the Earth's first rodeo when it comes to cyclical cooling and warming.

The Earth experienced periods of glaciation followed by melting long before Leonardo DiCaprio's excessive use of private jets and the construction of Al Gore's energy devouring Nashville dream home.

Robert Ballard, the world-renown underwater archaeologist who discovered the wreckages of the Titanic, the Bismarck, RMS Lusitania, USS Yorktown and others, has linked one of those previous melting periods to Noah's Great Flood.

In 2012, Ballard told ABC News, "Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that's a big ice cube." "But then it started to melt," he said. "We're talking about the floods of our living history."

Ballard said he believes he discovered proof of Noah's flood in the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey when he discovered "traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah." Ballard said his group discovered evidence of "not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed" and "the land that went under stayed under."

Ballard carbon-dated unearthed shells discovered four hundred feet below the surface, establishing a timeline which happened to occur around the same time as Noah's flood. Ballard described his discovery as what was like "a bad some magic moment it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under."




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


Monday, September 25, 2017

Is the sun responsible for El Nino?

The authors below find a correlation with solar activity  but have no firm explanation for it

Modulations of solar activity on El Niño Modoki and possible mechanisms


This paper uses the sunspot number (SSN) index and the El Niño modoki index (EMI) to examine the possible modulation of El Niño Modoki events by variations in solar activity. A significant positive correlation was found between SSN and EMI with a lag of two years, and both SSN and EMI have an obvious period of about 11–12 years. The evolution of El Niño Modoki events was investigated using composite analysis.

There was a clear evolution of El Niño Modoki events in the three years after the solar peak year. An ocean mixed layer heat budget diagnostic method is used to investigate the contributor to the anomalous patterns in the three years after the solar peak. The atmosphere radiation fluxes are confirmed as the major contributor to the warming response in the central tropical Pacific.

Two possible mechanisms are proposed, one is the direct mechanism that the solar radiation warms up the tropical pacific with a geographical difference, due to the cloud distribution. The warming response in the central Pacific is amplified by the coupled positive feedback between the ocean and atmosphere with 1–2 years lag.

Another possible way can be described as follows: the solar heating effect propagating from the upper atmosphere modulates the strength and variation of atmospheric anomaly at high and mid-latitudes in the northern hemisphere winter, which results in an anomalous subtropical cyclone over the northeastern Pacific in the winter seasons following the solar peak years. The anomalous cyclone reduces the cloud cover over the northeastern Pacific and enhances the local input of solar radiation.

As a result, a positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly occurs over the northeastern Pacific and extends towards the central tropical Pacific along the path of anomalous southwesterly winds, which may trigger an El Niño Modoki event in the following years.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume 160, July 2017, Pages 34-47

The New Coal – Burning wood pellets creates more global warming pollution than coal, not less

British government idiocy at work: converting a big coal-fired generator to run on wood

The new coal. More CO2 than coal. Yet biomass is called green by the AGW cult and the EU and the other cult leaders .

“A controversy with reverberations across the Atlantic Ocean is brewing in Hamlet, North Carolina – a literal hamlet 120 miles northwest of Wilmington – where a new wood-pellet facility is already in the initial stages of construction.

The mill would become the fourth in North Carolina and the seventh in the Southeast built and operated by Maryland-based Enviva, the largest producer of wood pellets in the world.

The dried and compressed bits of wood produced at the plant would be shipped from Wilmington to a power company in the United Kingdom, who plans to burn them instead of coal as part of the country’s effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by the end of the decade.

The problem, according to many energy analysts, is that burning pellets creates more global warming pollution than coal, not less. One prominent research ecologist even calls wood biomass “the new coal.”

At the same time, environmental advocates say the new mill will further the destruction of deciduous forests in the Southeast – especially in wetlands – and disproportionately harm public health in Dobbins Heights, an overwhelmingly African-American town two miles northeast of the facility.”

“A 2015 analysis for the Southern Environmental Law Center examining the loss of forests found that Enviva wood pellets supplied to Drax would create two and a half times more greenhouse gas emissions than coal over 40 years.

A 2014 study by the U.K.’s environmental agency also factored in drying and transportation costs; it found climate pollution from southeastern U.S. wood pellets to be three times that of coal.”


UN Admits It Can’t Link Global Warming To The Spike In World Hunger, Then Does It Anyway

A United Nations report admits it’s “impossible” to link man-made global warming to a jump in world hunger statistics, but then goes ahead and does make that link anyway.

The new U.N. report estimated global warming helped increase the number of people around the world suffering from chronic hunger and undernourishment, which was mainly driven by violent conflicts in poor countries.

The U.N.’s mainline findings claim global warming compounded foot shortages and famine driven by economic slowdowns and violent conflict, while an accompanying Q&A document makes another stunning admission about global warming.

“Although it is impossible to establish a causal relation, the impact of climate change-related phenomena (such as the higher frequency of extreme events, be them floods or drought) cannot be ruled out as one of the causes for the reduced per capita availability of food in several countries,” the U.N. admitted.

Even so, the U.N. warned droughts and floods, “linked in part to El Niño phenomenon and climate-related shocks,” hurt food production, they can’t say for sure this is behind the increase in global hunger. The U.N. even admits global food production was high enough to feed everyone on the planet, despite weather shocks.

The U.N. still claimed global warming was a compounding factor behind the spike in hunger statistics.

“Conflict, especially when compounded by climate change, is therefore a key factor explaining the apparent reversal in the long-term declining trend in global hunger, thereby posing a major challenge to ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030,” the U.N. reported.

Many in the media pointed fingers at global warming.

The New York Times editorial board highlighted the study’s grim findings, reporting hunger was on the rise “because of scourges like global warming and civil conflicts that show little sign of abating.”

The newspaper claimed “rising civil strife and climate disruption in explaining the sudden downturn” in success for fighting global hunger. Undernourishment increased from 777 million to 815 million people from 2015 to 2016, the U.N. estimated.

“Compounding these problems globally are the disruptions of climate change — droughts and floods, as well as political crises and severe economic drops in nations reliant on commodity exports, the study found,” wrote The New York Time’s editorial board.

However, most malnourished people “live in countries affected by conflict,” the U.N. said.

“Over the past ten years, the number of violent conflicts around the world has increased significantly, in particular in countries already facing food insecurity, hitting rural communities the hardest and having a negative impact on food production and availability,” the U.N. notes.


Rex Murphy: All global warming predictions are infallible... until they're not

There is a disturbance in the troposphere, much perturbation. The little Gore molecules that do so much to keep everybody in the climate change industry in a sweat are slacking off. The results are—let me coin a word—undeniable. The world’s leading climate entrepreneur’s new PowerPoint agitprop, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, hasn’t stirred the waters or warmed the air.

Take note of that bathetic subtitle, Truth to Power. With just about every government and sub-sovereign government in the world on side, every progressive university in full harmony, every pseudo-science radio and TV program treating global warming with the reverence only found these days among Scientologists and faith healing sorcerers, and every celebrity that owns a yacht and a private jet willing to swear, “It’s real and it’s happening,” which side do you think has the “Power?”

Not to mention the annual mass march of the penguins—sorry, my mistake—the annual trek (by jet) of the hordes of NGOs, Greenpeace camp followers, Green parties, and bureaucrats to Rio or Paris or Beijing or Marrakesh to piously intone The End is Near under the illustrious banner of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Conference of the Parties. All, of course, are lathered and lubricated by billions and billions of dollars in the fight against global warming, a.k.a., climate change, a.k.a. (for a little while there) global weirding. I think it’s fair to say the power and the publicity and the loot are squarely with the doomsayers of Camp Gore.

However, no Academy trinket, no Nobel olive leaf for the boring update—I don’t think it even made a showing at the Toronto International Film Festival (which is an omission worth noting when you consider that TIFF, the emporium of films fashionable, was willing to highlight the dreadful mother!, one of the bleakest flops of our time).

None of this, however, has cooled the troposphere as has the real news from an infinitely more prestigious source. From a number of venues normally in robotic lockstep with the great consensus of settled science, the London Times, the Washington Post, and even the maniacally warmist The Independent, a story emerges that the famous models of the global warming industry may have overstated the degree of global warming in the past two decades.

They do not say this on their own, mind you. That would localize the heresy, and no organ of respectable journalistic opinion is willing to go full apostate on the creed of the Ecopocalypse without external backup.

Instead, they issue the findings of the prestigious scientific oracle, Nature Geoscience, and the published work of two acknowledged experts in the field, Messers Myles Allen, professor of geo-system science at the University of Oxford, and Michael Grubb, a professor of international energy and climate change at University College London.

Be it noted: these two are not “deniers,” that being the vile term that those who champion global warming fling out with reckless ease at those who disagree with them. They deliberately, knowingly, associate their opponents with Holocaust denialism, without so much as an arched eyebrow of rebuke from the censors of political correctness. This stands in contrast to the stern policing from the commentariat when it comes to instances of “sexist” rhetoric. If we’re going to have standards on “correct” rhetoric, let’s have standards for all of it. No deniers, no Barbies.

The Geoscience article has it all. The models were wrong. They “were on the hot side.” They “overstated the impact of emissions.” From The Independent: “Michael Grubb… admitted his earlier forecasting models had overplayed how temperatures would rise.” As a consequence, the world now has a “larger carbon budget” than previously thought. There is, in other words, more time—the end is not as near as every crusader for the cause has insisted for the last 20 or 30 years.

One global warming scientist made a point everybody should pay attention to:

“Did the IPCC get it wrong? Just let me leave that question hanging for a while… While you ponder that question, it is worth noting that the authors of this paper developed the idea of carbon budgets, are the world leading experts on carbon budgets, and derived the carbon budgets in the IPCC process…”

Can these things be? Could even a smidgen of the skepticism some have been urging, some of the warnings that science and politics are a terrible blend, be justified? If those who design the models find the models have “overstated” matters, that the models “were too hot,” could we not find room to pause awhile before we redesign industrial civilization according to the imperatives of Al “The science is settled” Gore?

It isn’t settled. The science is emergent. The conclusions are at best tentative. I leave you with this consolation: All global warming predictions are infallible, but some global warming predictions are less infallible than others.”


Really dangerous climate change — The next ice age

Prudent Australian farmers take into account past climate events and provide for the risk of potential droughts and floods. No such past climate events have been taken into account with climate models based on theory and assumptions to predict the future. Unfortunately the predictions of  temperature from all the climate models have a record of exceeding the measured temperatures by a large margin for the last twenty years.

Model failures demonstrate the underlying theory and assumptions used are not supported by the results. This conclusion is further supported by evidence that the planet has continued to warm, with interruptions to the trend, independent of CO2 levels since the last Ice Age. For example the planet cooled from 1940 to 1976 while CO2 levels continued to rise. The absence of dangerous global warming is also relevant when past levels of CO2 were at least four times the present level.

The direct effect of higher CO2 levels as shown in the graph illustrates the diminishing global warming impact as CO2 levels increase. Climate models magnify this diminishing effect with a multiplier that results in increasing global warming.

We are at present at the 400 mark

The failure of models to predict future climate however does not support the multiplier assumption.

The dangerous global warming threat from using fossil fuels is therefore not supported either by climate models or evidence from past global climate experience.

As William Kininmonth, former Head of the National Climate Centre of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has observed, regard for earlier climate events is required to understand the future. It is clear from past Ice Ages that the next Ice Age should be the most serious climate event for humanity. During the Ice Age 22,000 years ago there was extensive permanent ice cover up to two kilometers thick. Sea levels fell 126 metres and there was mass extinction of species.

Nor has there been an appreciation that in the past carbon and energy stored in fossil fuels was CO2 and energy from the sun absorbed by various plant forms before conversion into fossil fuels.

There was no dangerous global warming prior to this period.

Accordingly the same CO2 when released from burning fossil fuels cannot be the cause of dangerous global warming as it did not do so in the first place.

Indeed the return of CO2, a plant food, to the atmosphere will benefit the planet with improved plant and forest growth. A benefit which satellites have already detected.

Nevertheless accepting the outcome of failed climate models has brought about policies which have made Australian power unreliable and moved costs from near the lowest to near the highest in the world despite subsidies of more than $3 billion per annum.

Families are struggling to meet their rising electricity bills. Jobs are threatened with industry in difficulty due to the increased cost of electricity.

There is an urgent need to bring power costs down. To do so Australia must follow other countries that are planning and installing 1200 clean high efficiency coal fired plants.

Australian industry will face competition in the domestic and export markets from companies having the significant advantage of low cost and reliable base power from these new plants.




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