Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us

Or so says Mark Hertsgaard, a veteran promoter of the Big Lie of global warming. He never learns.  Below is some previous wisdom from him:

Steve Goddard has a lot of news clippings showing that we have had worse wind disasters in the past

The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking —but also infuriating. How many times must we see this disaster movie—titled Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with many lesser-known foreign releases— before we intervene and change the ending? And how long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?

The tragedy of Harvey starts with the suffering of innocents like Jordyn Grace, the 3-year-old who survived the flood by clinging to the body of her drowned mother, who had prayed with her last breaths. At least 60 people died in Texas because of the storm, over 1 million people were displaced, and who knows how many survived but lost everything? Multiply the death and destruction in Texas a hundredfold to comprehend the scale of devastation in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where—although the news coverage has been a fraction of Harvey’s—a staggering 16 million children “are in urgent need of life-saving support” after “torrential monsoon rains and catastrophic flooding,” UNICEF reports.

What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented. In 2008, John Podesta, soon to be Obama’s transition director, organized a war game to test the responses to projected climate disruptions. Eerily enough, the scenario chosen—and vetted as scientifically accurate by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—envisioned a Category 4 hurricane striking Houston and extreme monsoons flooding India. This is not to say that global warming “caused” Harvey—a scientifically illiterate framing of the issue—but it did make the rains bigger, more intense, and more destructive. Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water—“enough to cover all of Manhattan a mile deep,” noted Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press—and as much as 30 percent of it can be attributed to global warming, according to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.


China mulls going electric with aim to ban petrol and diesel cars

Because they are an authoritarian government, China may be able to make this stick.  It will however be a huge hit to the economy due to all the time that people will have to waste while recharging.  Smart scheduling will get around some of it but not all

The Chinese government has signalled it will join the line of nations queuing up to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in the coming decades.

A senior official has told the Chinese car sector that the industry department in Beijing has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy ­vehicles”, according to a report from the state news agency Xinhua.

The comments by deputy industry minister Xin Guobin are viewed as a major boost to development of electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure. China is now the world’s largest car market with 25.53m cars and light vehicles sold in the country last year, according to industry analysts JATO.

Sales were up 14.6pc on the previous year and far outstripped the next biggest market, the US, which saw anaemic growth of 0.4pc to 17.55m last year.

Motorists in China are also already the biggest buyers of cars powered by electric and hybrid systems – which use a combination of batteries and ­internal combustion engines.

Since 2015, 336,000 of these vehicles have been sold in the country, representing 40pc of global sales. In the first seven months of this year, 204,000 electric vehicles were sold in China and Ford has predicted that ­demand for electric vehicles in the country will reach 6m a year by 2025.

Mr Xin spoke at a car industry event over the weekend in the eastern city of Tianjin, a key hub for the country’s fast-expanding automotive industry.

A ban could potentially come into force before similar plans announced recently by the UK and France, who have said they will halt the sale of new cars with petrol and diesel engines from 2040.

When the British government ­revealed its policy two months ago ministers came in for heavy criticism from the car industry. Officials eventually conceding that “hybrids” would not be covered by the ban.

The Beijing government is desperate to grab a lead in the global race to ­develop electric cars, both to clean up its heavily congested, smog-bound cities and to secure a leading place in the car industry of the future.

Volvo, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Geely, created a splash in July when it said in July that from 2019 all new cars in its range would come with an electric option, a move which was aped by Jaguar Land Rover – which has a factory in China – last week with a target date of 2020.


Environmentalists File New Challenges to Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes

An environmental group challenging the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall and prototype projects in San Diego expanded its lawsuit challenging the Homeland Security Department’s authority to waive environmental laws in order to move forward with the project.

The new filing in U.S. District Court argues that then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly did not have the constitutional or other legal authority to waive dozens of environmental laws to "rush construction of the border wall and prototypes."

"The waiver highlights the Trump administration’s dangerous disregard for our environment and the rule of law," Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit, said in a statement. "Trump is willing to throw environmental protections out the window and fulfill his divisive and destructive campaign promise."

"What’s to stop him from using this lawless approach to wreck wildlife refuges and beautiful public lands all along the border?" he added.

A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the expanded lawsuit.

In early August, DHS announced that it would waive environmental and other regulations to try to "ensure expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego, where the agency is planning to build its prototypes for the border wall.

DHS justified the move by arguing location remains one of the busiest for illegal crossings in the country, an area of "high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional barriers and roads."

In fiscal year 2016 alone, DHS said in a release, the CBP "apprehended more than 31,000 illegal aliens and seized 9,167 pounds of marijuana and 1,317 pounds of cocaine in the San Diego sector."

The waiver focuses on a specific 15-mile stretch of land east of the Pacific Ocean and south of San Diego where DHS plans to embark on "infrastructure projects," including the building of four to eight 30-foot high prototypes of the 2,000-mile border wall Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

Last week, the CBP announced the selection of four companies that will build prototypes of the reinforced concrete version of the wall. An announcement of several other companies selected to build prototypes using other materials that could provide "see-through" capability is expected soon. Construction on the prototypes is set to begin as early as later this month.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the waiver allows the Trump administration to bypass required environmental impact analyses of the building, as well as public input.

"The coastal area of southern San Diego is surrounded by communities and contains critical habitat for several endangered species," the center said in a release.

In addition to the prototype building, the center said the waiver allows a separate border-wall replacement project stretching 14-miles south of San Diego, a region containing wetlands, streams and other habitat critical for numerous endangered species including the Quino Checkerspot butterly and coastal California gnatcatcher bird.

A study by the center identified more than 90 endangered or threatened species who would be jeopardized by proposed wall construction along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

The center specifically took issue with the legal basis DHS relied on in issuing the waiver.

The department used the 2005 Real ID Act, which amended the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to give the Homeland Security secretary the power to waive federal, state and local laws, to expedite construction of the double and triple-layer border fencing in San Diego.

The waiver authority was later interpreted to apply to border-wall construction under the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which requires DHS to build 700 miles of border barriers.

However, the center argues DHS met this mandate several years ago using the Real ID law five times to meet more than 35 laws involving 625 miles of border wall and barrier construction.

"The Real ID authority no longer applies," Segee said. "Homeland Security doesn’t have perpetual power to toss conservation laws for any border project it wants until the end of time. Trump’s border wall must comply with the laws that protect the environment and communities in borderlands."

The center additionally argued that the waiver violates constitutional requirements, including the separation of powers doctrine and the Endangered Species Act.


The Greenie Hurricane Hustle

Facts about Harvey trump attempts to use it to advance manmade climate cataclysm agendas

Paul Driessen

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” English essayist Samuel Johnson observed 240 years ago, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” That’s certainly true in the climate change arena.

After ending US participation in the Paris climate treaty and abolishing many government restrictions on fossil fuel use, the Trump Administration began preparing red team-blue team examinations of the science behind claims of “dangerous manmade climate change.” Asian, African and even European countries are building still more coal and gas-fired power plants. A recent poll found that only 28% of Americans think climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well.”

All this is certainly concentrating the minds of climate alarmists, who are also taking former Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel’s cynical advice to “never let a crisis go to waste.” The new climate hustle is on.

The record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes striking the United States had to end at some point, and Hurricane Harvey definitely underscored our recent good fortune. Alarmists wasted no time in asserting that Harvey was due to or worsened by mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. As Irma beefs up and brings more widespread devastation, it too will likely achieve iconic climate chaos status.

Fossil-fuel-driven global warming made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden, thereby feeding Harvey’s strength and moisture content, said one climate and weather “expert.” A century ago a storm along the same path would have been less intense and brought less rain, claimed another.

Harvey stalled over Houston because manmade climate change caused “a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system,” which led to “very weak prevailing winds” that failed to steer the storm back into the Gulf of Mexico, a third putative expert asserted. An Antifa climate activist ranted that Harvey was due to “this administration’s climate denial, racism and callousness.” Another railed about climate murder.

Any journey back to climate and weather reality should begin by noting that doctrines of manmade climate cataclysm asserted that the record 12-year interlude between major US hurricanes should never have happened. The overall reduction in major hurricanes in recent decades shouldn’t have either.

Weather historian Roger Pielke, Jr. says 14 Category 4-5 hurricanes made landfall along US coasts, during the 44-year period between 1926 and 1969. In the ensuing 47 years, 1970 to 2017, just four struck the US mainland, including Harvey. Some, like the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys, were incredibly powerful. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division counts 10 Category 4-5 monsters between 1920 and 1969 (50 years), but only four since then. Either way, it’s a huge reduction.

Harvey lost its Cat 4 status shortly after making landfall, so winds declined as a major factor after they destroyed Rockport. What devastated Houston was the vast quantity of rain: some 19 trillion gallons of water in the Houston/South Texas area alone. By comparison, Chesapeake Bay holds 18 trillion gallons.

Worse, all this rain came in just a few days. Harris County (Greater Houston) alone got 1 trillion gallons. The Mont Belvieu area got 51.9 inches of rain – the highest rainfall total in any storm in US history. The 16 inches of rain August 27 at George Bush Airport is the single wettest day in Houston history.
However, previous storms were not far behind. Hurricane Easy deluged Florida with 45.2 inches in 1950; Tropical Cyclone Amelia dumped 48 inches on Texas in 1978; and Tropical Storm Claudette inundated Texas with 54 inches in 1979. In fact, Claudette emptied 43 inches in just 24 hours on the little town of Alvin, Texas; that one-day record still stands. Buffalo Bayou topped out at 62.7 feet this time – but it reached 54.4 feet in 1935. All the Texas storms were along its Gulf Coast.

All you need is the right (ie, wrong) confluence of events. As climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer explains, when a strong tropical cyclone has access to abundant moisture evaporating from a large body of warm water like the Gulf of Mexico – and that situation combines with little inland movement by the cyclone – you get record rain. So why did Hurricane Harvey settle in for a long haul over Houston?

There was no “expanded subtropical high pressure zone,” WeatherBELL Analytics chief forecaster Joe Bastardi points out. What happened with Harvey was the “exact opposite.” What trapped Harvey was a predicted MJO phase 2 – a major cool trough associated with the eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds and pressure that traverses the planet every 30 to 60 days or so. “Normally,” there would be no major trough that far south to stop a storm, Bastardi notes. But this time there was.

So instead of moving inland (which it did later), Harvey stalled. Its circular winds remained stuck in the trough (or what Weather Channel founder John Coleman calls a “void”) until surface pressures around it changed, and the storm was able to move to the northeast. It was “an unusual pattern,” an unusual confluence of events, says Coleman, but it was “not unprecedented.” Amelia and Claudette demonstrated that. Name just one hurricane that was ever “steered back” into the Gulf of Mexico, Bastardi challenged.

If the exact same tropical storm had simply moved inland at 13-15 mph, while generating the same total amount of rain, the downpours would have been spread over a much wider area, perhaps many states, with no flooding disaster, Dr. Spencer points out. But Harvey did not move inland for days.

In fact, “hurricanes that enter Texas often stall or meander, and are very wet. That’s why half of the top ten wettest US tropical rainfall events have been in Texas,” adds consulting meteorologist Joe D’Aleo. It has nothing to do with human-caused climate change.

“Hurricanes are nature’s way of taking heat out of the tropics and re-distributing it to the temperate regions,” when summers are hot and waters are warm, as the planet rotates, notes Bastardi. They require a unique combination of circumstances, with sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures being just one, adds Spencer. “The Gulf of Mexico is warm enough every summer to produce a major hurricane.

“But you also usually need a pre-existing cyclonic circulation or wave, which almost always can be traced back to the coast of Africa.” Why some systems intensify and others don’t is still not well understood.

Multi-decadal sea surface temperature (SST) oscillations in the Atlantic occur on a cyclical basis, as does the total energy accumulated each year by tropical storms and hurricanes. However, their origins and mechanisms are likewise still unknown, Dr. Michel de Rougemont notes.

It is impossible right now to separate all these natural factors from alleged manmade influences. Or to look at hurricane history and August SST anomalies over the years – and discern patterns that can be attributed to human-caused (or even natural) global warming. Those claiming an ability to do so must prove their claims, produce their data and algorithms, defend their thesis before red team experts, and not be allowed to assert “proprietary” data or point to secretive black box computer model simulations.

Houston flooded not just because of the sheer volume of water. The city is built on impermeable clays and former swamp lands that have subsided in many places over the decades from the steadily increasing weight of buildings, homes, other structures, and concrete and asphalt roads and runways. It is close to sea level, with little topographic relief, insufficient drainage, and reservoirs that can handle most big rains but not those that Harvey brought. Deluges thus have few places to go, except upward, over dams and into homes. It’s no wonder the area has experienced floods throughout its history.

To use this tragedy to advance anti-fossil fuel agendas is disgraceful. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, they are the bedrock of our civilization, jobs, living standards, well-being and life spans. To drive up their costs, or replace them now with expensive, unreliable “renewable” energy would be disastrous.

Fossil fuels allow us to track storms, warn people and get them out of harm’s way. They bring rescue boats, helicopters, high-rider vehicles, water, food, clothing and new building materials to stricken communities. They could do the same for Bangladesh and other countries that face natural disasters – and have been bereft of electricity and decent living standards for too many generations.

Via email

Australian Left hedges on coal-fired power station

Bill Shorten says Labor won't rule out supporting extending the life of a NSW coal-fired power station, despite comparing it to a 50-year-old car.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will meet with executives from AGL - owner of the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley - in Canberra on Monday to discuss keeping the plant open beyond its scheduled 2022 shutdown.

A new report says eastern states risk blackouts if 1000 megawatts can't be found to fill the gap in electricity demand as old coal-fired power is shut down.

Labor says the government needs to think beyond a plan for Liddell and quickly adopt a clean energy target, as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, to give investors long-term certainty.

"With the Liddell power station, it's 50 years old. What car do (people) drive that is 50 years old?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

"If something can be done, which is commercial, Labor is not going to immediately rule that out.

"But ... I hope (Mr Turnbull's) got a little bit more than just that plan."

Mr Turnbull said keeping Liddell open for up to five years was an obvious solution, but not the only one.

"That's one option, there will no doubt be others," he told reporters in Samoa, where he was attending the Pacific Islands Forum.

NSW power station operator Delta Electricity had indicated interest in Liddell, and the prime minister imagined other energy companies would also examine it.

Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler said he did not accept the premise there would be a shortfall in electricity generation.

"We don't have a problem with old plants closing, the problem is that we don't have a plan to replace them and I know that if we put a clean energy target in place ... we would see substantial investment flow," he said.

The Australian Greens oppose lengthening Liddell's life, and are instead calling for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations.

The Greens say supply issues can be addressed by boosting dispatchable renewable power, improving storage such as batteries and better managing demand.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said it was important to keep Liddell and other coal-fired power stations open.

"(Mr Shorten) needs to be straight with particularly the many, many Labor Party supporters who have relied on the Labor Party up there in the Hunter Valley for their jobs and they're walking away from them," he told reporters in Sydney.

"They've put up the white flag on coal-fired power in the Hunter Valley and they're selling them out."




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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