Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Even without an El Nino kick, 2017 heads for top-three ranking for global heat

An amusing bit of Warmism below.  Now that 2017 is trending much cooler than 2016, they suddenly admit that the 2016 temperature was pushed up by El Nino.  They previously avoided mentioning the El Nino effect and pretended the warming was part of anthropogenic global warming.

The authors below say that there was no influence of ElNino in 2017 so therefore the warmth must be  traceable to the higher CO2 levels in 2017.  What they omit to mention is that the ocean is a very slowly-changing heat sink and that ElNino was affecting  temperatures for nearly two years.  So one must expect that heat absorbed in that time will take a similar period to dissipate.  And we are only half way through that period.  So a drop back to pre 2015 temperatures is the trend and a continuation of that trend should bring us right back to "stasis" temperatures and a resumption of the infamous "pause".

Most amusingly, note that although global temperatures are dropping, CO2 levels are higher in 2017 than they have ever been.  Once again the exact opposite of what Warmist theory predicts.  Much fun!

You can't beat going back to the numbers.  The CO2 figures are here (see column 4) and the temperatures are here.  The numbers show you what the carefully selected guff below never would

The world is headed for its third warmest year on record, even without the boost from an El Nino, as the signs of climate change continue to mount, the World Meteorological Organisation said.

In a report released to coincide with the opening of the Bonn climate conference in Germany on Monday, the WMO said the five-year average was now running at about 1 degree warmer than the average for 1880-1900 period. The same conference two years ago in Paris agreed to keep warming to below 2 degrees.
Headwinds for climate change conference

A UN-led climate conference in Bonn begins this week with President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in a potentially awkward sticking point.

Based on the first nine months of the year, 2017 is unlikely to match 2016 - the hottest year on record - or the previous year. Still, it is likely to dislodge 2014 as the third warmest.

Such a ranking for 2017 will be notable not least because El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions have been neutral this year, removing the warming boost the past two years had from an El Nino.

"It's clearly the warmest year [on record] that doesn't have a warming influence," said Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology and scientific coordinator of the WMO report.

According to the first 10 months of the year, Australia will have its third-warmest year on record, the bureau said in a separate report.

Mean temperatures are running 0.96 degrees above the 1961-90 average used by the bureau. Maximum temperatures were even more unusual, running at 1.34 degrees above average.

The WMO's report comes a week after the United Nations agency said greenhouse gases are now at levels not seen for perhaps five million years. Carbon dioxide levels rose the most on record last year, increasing 3.3 parts per million to 403.3 ppm.


Ireland: Citizens’ assembly in favour of a new pollution tax for farmers

Can't they leave the poor bloody farmers alone?? Farming is a big enough challenge as it is

Farmers would be forced to pay a new “polluter pays” tax on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a crackdown on climate change recommended by the citizens’ assembly.

The overwhelming majority of the advisory forum also called on the government to set up an independent body that could legally pursue the state if it failed to live up to its own climate change obligations. The assembly also said Ireland must scrap subsidies for peat extraction on a five-year phased basis and prioritise investing in public transport and cycling over private cars.

The group of 99 members of the public was tasked with examining how Ireland could become a “world leader” in tackling climate change and issuing a report to the government on its findings. Between 80 per cent and 100 per cent of the citizens supported 13 sweeping reforms covering energy, food, forestry, transport and agriculture.

The chairman of the Climate Change Advisory Council said yesterday that Ireland would miss its 2020 emissions targets by more than the government expected. John Fitzgerald told the assembly that the problem was getting bigger because of better economic growth leading to higher emissions.

Professor Fitzgerald claimed the government was distracted from the issue of climate change by issues ranging from Brexit to the tracker mortgage scandal. He said the country had a carbon tax equivalent to €20 per tonne of carbon emitted on products such as turf and coal, but that tax would need to be raised possibly up to €70 per tonne to be consistent with its 2020 targets.

Ninety eight per cent of the citizens’ assembly voted in favour of a new or existing independent body being granted powers and resources to hold the state to account on environmental failings. The body would be able to legally pursue the state, set national targets and report on environmental laws.

A “polluter pays” carbon tax would be imposed on greenhouse gas emissions from farmers under the recommendations. Any revenue generated would have to be ringfenced for climate-friendly agriculture policies. The new tax would be coupled with “rewards” for farmers who stored carbon long term to defer global warming.

The assembly recommended phasing out government subsidies for peat extraction over five years, “making provision” to protect the rights of affected workers. Plants that burn peat to generate electricity benefit from subsidies of €115 million a year. The plants, based in the midlands, have been criticised for generating greenhouse gas emissions.

On transport, it called for a national network of charging points for electric cars along with help-to-buy schemes and lower taxes, and lower or free motorway tolls to incentivise the public to buy them. It said these measures would have to be combined with higher taxes on petrol and diesel cars year on year. Eighty per cent of the citizens said they would be happy to pay higher carbon taxes. A total of 96 per cent said that bus lanes, cycle lanes and park and ride facilities had to be given “much greater priority” than private car use.

The Irish Farmers’ Association rejected proposals for extra agricultural taxes. “IFA and farmers are conscious of the need to play our part in addressing climate change but a second carbon tax would be the wrong approach,” Joe Healy, the IFA president, said.

Friends of the Earth welcomed the “polluter pays” model for farmers.


The UN Admits That The Paris Climate Deal Was A Fraud

Global Hot Air: Here's a United Nations climate report that environmentalists probably don't want anybody to read. It says that even if every country abides by the grand promises they made last year in Paris to reduce greenhouse gases, the planet would still be "doomed."

When President Obama hitched America to the Paris accords in 2016, he declared that it was "the moment that we finally decided to save our planet." And when Trump pulled out of the deal this year, he was berated by legions of environmentalists for killing it.

But it turns out that the Paris accord was little more than a sham that will do nothing to "save the planet."

According to the latest annual UN report on the "emissions gap," the Paris agreement will provide only a third of the cuts in greenhouse gas that environmentalists claim is needed to prevent catastrophic warming. If every country involved in those accords abides by their pledges between now and 2030 — which is a dubious proposition — temperatures will still rise by 3 degrees C by 2100. The goal of the Paris agreement was to keep the global temperature increase to under 2 degrees.

Eric Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment Program, which produces the annual report, said this week that "One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future. Governments, the private sector and civil society must bridge this catastrophic climate gap."

The report says unless global greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2020, the CO2 levels will be way above the goal set for 2030, which, it goes on, will make it "extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2 degrees C can still be reached."

Not to worry. The UN claims that closing this gap will be easy enough, if nations set their collective minds to it.

But this is a fantasy. The list of what would need to be done by 2020 — a little over two years from now — includes: Boosting renewable energy's share to 30%. Pushing electric cars to 15% of new car sales, up from less than 1% today. Doubling mass transit use. Cutting air travel CO2 emissions by 20%. And coming up with $1 trillion for "climate action."

Oh, and coal-fired power plants would have to be phased out worldwide, starting now.

According to the report, "phasing out coal consumption … is an indispensable condition for achieving international climate change targets." That means putting a halt to any new coal plants while starting to phase out the ones currently in use.

Good luck with that. There are currently 273 gigawatts of coal capacity under construction around the world, and another 570 gigawatts in the pipeline, the UN says. That would represent a 42% increase in global energy production from coal. Does anyone really think developing countries who need coal as a cheap source of fuel to grow their economies will suddenly call it quits?

So, does this mean the planet is doomed? Hardly. As we have noted in this space many times, all those forecasts of global catastrophe are based on computer models that have been unreliable predictors of warming. And all of the horror stories assume the worst.

What the report does make clear, however, is that all the posturing by government leaders in Paris was just that. Posturing. None of these countries intended to take the drastic and economically catastrophic steps environmentalist claim are needed to prevent a climate change doomsday.  As such, Trump was right to stop pretending.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, the Paris climate accord amounted to nothing, or pretty close to it. Even the UN admits that now.


Renewable energy – by royal decree!

Or at least by paper certificate, as St. Louis city council raises electricity costs for poor families

Paul Driessen

In 2016, Missouri generated 96.5% of its electricity with fossil fuel and nuclear power, 1.6% with hydroelectric, and just 1.5% with wind and solar. The St. Louis Metro Area did roughly the same.

But now, by royal decree, the St. Louis City Crown has made it clear, the climate must be perfect all year – and by 2035 the city will somehow, magically be powered by 100% “clean, sustainable” electricity.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution calling for this to happen – via tougher energy efficiency measures and a transition to wind and solar power. The decision was supported by “environmental, advocacy and religious” organizations, which cited “sustainability and climate consciousness” as major concerns, an effusive article noted. The decision was simply “smart business,” they claim, because renewable energy is becoming “cheaper and cheaper,” and businesses want to move to cities that rely on renewable energy.

City officials have promised to launch an immediate “transparent and inclusive stakeholder process,” to develop a “plan of action” by December 2018. Who will actually be included in this “inclusive” process, and who will not be invited to participate, they did not say. However, recent marches, rants, dis-invitations, property destruction and physical assaults around cities and campuses offer helpful clues.

The following observations may help initiate the St. Louis review process – and similar discussions about renewable energy in other communities.

The local utility company (Ameren) already has a Pure Power program that lets St. Louis residents and businesses voluntarily purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). When a customer signs up for 100% renewable energy, Ameren charges an extra penny for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. That increases utility bills by 10-20% and on average adds about $150 to annual residential bills; $850 to commercial bills; and $20,000 to industrial electricity charges.

However, it does not mean customers are actually getting wind or solar energy. Each REC simply represents “environmental attributes associated with past renewable energy generation” and proof that “renewable energy was generated by an eligible renewable energy source.”

In other words, an REC merely means electricity was generated somewhere, sometime in the past, and sent somewhere, along a transmission line, whether or not it was really needed at the time. It simply pays wind developers for every kilowatt generated – transferring wealth from customers to developers.

All this raises intriguing questions. If wind and solar are getting cheaper, and more affordable than fossil fuels, why does Ameren charge a 1-cent-per-kWh premium for them? Why do they to be mandated? How many times might certain wind operators sell the same certificates? How many counterfeits will con artists sell? How many “certificate cops” will be needed to police the lucrative trade?

Once St. Louis makes renewables mandatory, the involuntary wealth transfers will become huge. Worse, the system will be enormously regressive – falling hardest on poor and working class families, small businesses operating on slim profit margins, and major energy users like hospitals and factories.

Missouri currently has relatively low electricity prices; St. Louis rates are even lower. Imposing renewable energy mandates will send city electricity rates into realms now “enjoyed” in California and Connecticut: 19 cents per kWh for families, 17 cents for businesses and 13 cents for industries. They could even reach the punitive rates now paid in Germany: 35 cents for families, 18 cents for all others!

How might that affect a vital energy-intensive customer like the 635,000-square-foot Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Advanced Medicine? At today’s rates, it pays around $1.4 million a year for electricity. A 13% Pure Power REC hike would increase that bill by $180,000. At CA-CT-German rates, that bill would skyrocket to $3.3 million annually – a massive, unsustainable $1.9 million increase.

How many employees would the hospital have to lay off, to make up for that spike? How many services would it have to eliminate or reduce in quality? How badly would patient care suffer?

How will poor and blue-collar families fare if their electricity rates nearly double? United Way recently found that 56% of St. Louis families are already unable to pay their basic living expenses: housing, food, clothing, transportation, taxes, healthcare and child care. How much worse will this situation become?

Then why are the city and its allies (especially religious groups) so intent on implementing these renewable energy mandates? Perhaps because that is easier than tackling real city problems. Missouri high school students as a whole have an 85% graduation rate; in St. Louis only 46% graduate. The city ranks #12 among “worst US cities to live in,” #4 for murders, and #2 for “most dangerous.”

Instead of trying to improve on this dismal record, the Aldermen & Allies want to be at the forefront on “disastrous manmade climate change” and “sustainability” (or at least “consciousness” about the issues).

Average global temperatures have dropped back to where they were before the 2015-16 El Niño. Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the US mainland in a record 12 years. Tornado, drought and storm frequency and intensity are on par with historic records. Where’s the disaster or human connection?

As to clean and sustainable, wind and solar are not. The enormous installations require vast amounts of land and raw materials, plus more for ultra-long transmission lines. (The wind installations Anheuser-Busch plans to use for its 100% renewable PR stunt are 350 miles away – in Oklahoma.) Still more land and materials are required for backup fossil fuel power plants or ginormous battery arrays – so that families, hospitals and businesses have electricity when they need it, instead of when it’s available.

For the wind option, just generating the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours of electricity the United States uses every year – and storing power in batteries for just seven windless days – would require some 14 million turbines! That’s because more turbines force us to go to lower and lower quality wind areas, which means instead of generating electricity 33% of the year at best wind sites, they’d only do so half of that time. Using Tesla-style 100-kWh battery packs would require something on the order of 600 billion units!

Have the Aldermen & Allies run those numbers – and costs – for the St. Louis share of all this? Will Gov. Greitens and the state legislature go along with all this – and help pay the costs?

More to the point, all of this would require unfathomable amounts of mining, processing, smelting, manufacturing and shipping: concrete, iron, copper, fiberglass, lithium, cadmium, rare earth metals and more. Since St. Louis and other environmentalist groups generally oppose mining (and foundries, refineries and factories) in the USA, most of those materials will come from someone else’s backyards:

Places like Baotou, Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – where men, women and even children dig them out and process them under horrific environmental, health and safety conditions. Their risk of dying due to cave-ins or exposure to toxic, carcinogenic materials is intense and constant.

Some claim renewable energy is nevertheless sustainable, and moral. It must be an interesting group of religious leaders who’ve come to the fore in St. Louis (and elsewhere) to reach that conclusion, support major wind and solar energy programs – and denounce fossil fuels and investment in oil and mining companies.

People in impoverished and developing countries have little interest in wind and solar power, except as a stopgap for distant villages. They want abundant, reliable, affordable electricity. That’s why they have built hundreds of coal-fired power plants and have 1,600 more under construction or in planning.

One has to wonder if those who promoted and voted on the St. Louis program (and others like it) ever considered these hard realities. Too often, they seem content just to feel righteous, at least among their peers and certain stakeholders – even if most big renewable energy programs are really just pixie dust.

Via email

Clean Power Plan: Real Costs, Fake Benefits

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan represents an amazing and long overdue breakthrough in the history of environmental regulation. Not only has no Republican administration ever before mustered the courage to rollback a major EPA regulation, but the Trump administration has done so by directly challenging the rule’s purported health benefits. That’s unheard of.

Although the Clean Power Plan was pitched as being about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, the benefits of averted climate change is not how the Obama EPA justified the rule on an economic basis. There certainly were no discernible climate change benefits to be claimed as House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) forced Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to acknowledge in testimony. (Video below).

Instead, the EPA justified the net benefit of the rule on the basis of collateral reductions (so-called “co-benefits” in regulatory parlance) in fine particulate matter (soot or “PM2.5”) emissions from power plants. So while the compliance costs of the Clean Power Plan could be as high as $33 billion per year, the Obama EPA was able to overcome this immense number and coal industry complaints by proferring an even larger off-setting one. The Obama EPA claimed that the rule’s benefits from reducing PM2.5 amounted to as much as $55 billion per year.

What are the supposed $55 billion in economic benefits? That sum is intended to represent the monetized value of thousands of premature deaths allegedly prevented every year by the Clean Power Plan via the co-benefit of reduced PM2.5 emissions. Given that EPA values premature deaths avoided at around $9 million per life “saved”, thousands of lives “saved” times millions of dollars per life “saved” equals tens of billions of dollars in purported annual benefits.

EPA staff invented this calculus in 1996 to justify its first effort to regulate PM2.5. As I wrote on this page at the time (link goes to WSJ, copy of 1997 op-ed below this one), there was no science to support the notion that PM2.5 in outdoor air killed anyone. But EPA regulated anyway, stiff-arming not only the objections and demands rom the Republican controlled Congress for the scientific data underlying its claims, but also stiff-arming the objections of then-Vice President Al Gore who thought the PM2.5 rule too costly.

As it had historically always been difficult for EPA to tighten air quality standards because of costs, the EPA used its imaginary notion that PM2.5-kills as a way to game the cost-benefit analysis. As the Clean Power Plan amply demonstrates, no industry cost-benefit analysis could possibly trump EPA’s thousands-times-millions-equals-billions ruse – that is until, well, Trump.

The Trump EPA has now largely jettisoned the notion that PM2.5 kills. And it has done so in a clever way that not only justifies the repeal of the Clean Power Plan but simultaneously hoists the Obama EPA on its own petard.

The Trump EPA has reduced the Obama EPA-claimed benefits of PM2.5 emissions reductions by as much as a whopping $29 billion per year, which then nets out very favorably against the rule’s anticipated costs of as much as $33 billion per year. Here’s the clever part.

The Clean Air Act requires that air quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 be set at a safe level which includes an ample margin of safety for supposedly especially vulnerable populations. The Obama EPA reduced the national outdoor air standard for PM2.5 in 2012 from a level of 15 millionths of a gram per cubic meter of air to 12 — thereby making 12 standard the de facto safe level.

Despite the existence of the 12 standard, the EPA has long claimed that there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 and that any inhalation of PM2.5 can cause death within hours of inhalation. But EPA could never lower the PM2.5 standard to zero because such a standard could not be attained even if the economy was entirely shut down.

Neverthless, EPA’s benefit analysis for the Clean Power Plan assumes that PM2.5 does kills people below the 12 standard. But the devilishly clever Trump EPA has simply accepted the Obama-issued PM2.5 standard of 12 at its legal meaning and, so, there are no lives saved by reducing PM2.5 levels below that level. Thus vanished $29 billion in fake Clean Power Plan benefits.

There is a large, robust body of scientific literature that supports the Trump EPA decision — everything from large epidemiologic studies to clinical research to historical air quality episode data to other real-life experiences with PM2.5 to just plain old common sense. Standing against the Trump decision is nothing but dubious, pre-Trump EPA-funded epidemiology, the key data for which pre-Trump EPAs have kept secret from more than 20 years thereby preventing independent analyses. The Obama EPA even defied Congressional subpoena to keep its PM2.5 epidemiologic data hidden from view.

New York Attorney General Keith Schneiderman and green activist groups have already announced they will sue over the repeal. Good luck. When the Supreme Court voted to stay the rule in February 2016, the Court implicitly decided the coal industry and state plaintiffs would prevail on the legal merits alone. That the Clean Power Plan has no economic or climate benefits will just underscore its final demise.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has hailed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan as the end of the Obama “war on coal.” It’s more like the beginning of the end. The end will be reached when scientific reality about PM2.5 is applied to all the Obama war-on-coal rules.




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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