Thursday, December 07, 2017

Blue Planet 2: David Attenborough grieved by plastic pollution in the oceans

He obviously knows a lot about wildlife but knows little about people.  It is not "us" who are to blame for plastic in the oceans.  Developed countries go to great lengths to dispose of their rubbish properly.  The source of nearly 100% of that plastic in the ocean is poor countries where people simply throw their rubbish into their rivers -- which flow into the oceans

If Attenborough and his Greenie friends were  really concerned about marine pollution, they would be agitating to set up booms across the mouths of major Asian and African rivers to trap and remove the pollution before it reaches the sea.  But since when did Greenies ever do anything practical?

Over the last few weeks, Blue Planet II has been impressing viewers around the country, quickly becoming the most-watched television show of 2017.

Of course, the show wouldn’t exist without fascinating wildlife populating the ocean. Yet, mankind has put the inhabitants of the Big Blue under threat.

During the last episode of the series, David Attenborough issues a warning to viewers, detailing how overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change are all damaging ocean habitats.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” Attenborough says.

“It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.

“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.”

The BBC were reportedly nervous certain viewers would see the series as too politicised by taking a stand, ordering a fact check. “We just couldn’t ignore it – it wouldn’t be a truthful portrayal of the world’s oceans,” producer Mark Brownlow told The Guardian. “We are not out there to campaign. We are just showing it as it is and it is quite shocking.”

Brownlow also revealed that the team saw albatross chicks being killed after eating plastic they mistook for food — they decided the scenes were too upsetting to broadcast.


Global Temperature Increases Are Lower and Slower, Says New Study

"We calculated that value as 1.1 C (almost 2° Fahrenheit), while climate models estimate that value as 2.3 C (about 4.1° F)"

A new study using more than 38 years satellite and weather balloon temperature data hypothesizes that global temperatures are going up more slowly than projected by most climate models.

And right on time, these results were challenged by other researchers who defend the scientific climate consensus as embodied in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

The new study done by University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Richard McNider published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science argues consensus models may not have accurately captured how storms in the tropics expel excess heat back into space and/or that they have failed to account for how heat is absorbed by the world's oceans.

Christy and McNider took into account the effects of volcanic eruptions (cooling) and El Nino (heating) and La Nina (cooling) perturbations on global temperatures during the past 38 years.

What they found was warming in the lower troposphere where the bulk of our planet's atmosphere is located at a rate of about 0.096 degrees Celsius per decade. This trend implies that global temperatures will be about 1.1 (± 0.26) degrees Celsius warmer at the time carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels and land use changes doubles in the atmosphere. This is about half of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimate of 2.31 (± 0.20) degrees Celsius warmer for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"From our observations we calculated that value as 1.1 C (almost 2° Fahrenheit), while climate models estimate that value as 2.3 C (about 4.1° F)," Christy said in a press release. "Again, this indicates the real atmosphere is less sensitive to CO2 than what has been forecast by climate models. This suggests the climate models need to be retooled to better reflect conditions in the actual climate, while policies based on previous climate model output and predictions might need to be reconsidered."

John Abraham, a professor of thermal and fluid sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering in Minnesota, asserted in The Daily Mail that Christy and McNider have "manipulated the raw measurements to decrease warming by about 38 percent."

If by manipulate, Abraham means that Christy and McNider have tried to take into account the effects of volcanic eruptions sending cooling sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere and the large swings in global average temperatures caused by the natural El Nino and La Nina phenomenon, then yes. They have done nothing underhanded or wrong.

It is hard not conclude that Abraham is being disingenous when he accuses Christy and McNider of data manipulation. Abraham must know the surface temperature datasets relied upon by IPCC are also "manipulated," using homogenization procedures to take into account weather station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes, and urban heat island biases.

If the amount of warming expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide is much lower than most climate models project that implies that catastrophic climate outcomes are less likely and that humanity will have extra time to adjust to whatever warming eventually results from the increase in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


Vatican Issues Far-Left Declaration on Climate Change, ‘Very Fabric of Life on Earth at Grave Risk’

Popey should stick to religion.  He probably knows something about that.  But prohecies of doom do go back a long way in religious circles.  See Matthew 24, as one instance

In a dramatic declaration punctuated by dire threats and warnings, the Vatican is urging the world to “decarbonize the energy system as early as possible and no later than mid-century” to avoid irreversible damage to humans and ecosystems.

In its newly released “Final Declaration: Our Planet, Our Health, Our Responsibility” from a November workshop on climate change, air pollution and health, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences warns that “there is less than a decade” to put in place a series of sweeping measures to counteract the effects of human-induced climate change. “The time to act is now,” it reads.

Surprisingly for a statement coming from an academy of “science,” the document is riddled with unscientific assertions in a bizarre mix of political ideology and apocalyptic hyperbole.

“With unchecked climate change and air pollution, the very fabric of life on Earth, including that of humans, is at grave risk,” the text begins. “We propose scalable solutions to avoid such catastrophic changes. There is less than a decade to put these solutions in place to preserve our quality of life for generations to come.”

In what can only be termed an attempt to generate mass hysteria, the statement envisions a dark scenario not unlike those depicted by past doomsday fads such as the supposed population explosion and catastrophic oil shortages of the 1970s.

“With accelerating climate change, we put ourselves at grave risk of massive crop failures, new and re-emerging infectious diseases, heat extremes, droughts, mega-storms, floods and sharply rising sea levels,” the text reads.

Of course, no declaration of this kind would be complete without an indictment of capitalism and an assertion of the profound guilt of the wealthier nations for causing such a deplorable state of affairs.

“The poorest of the planet, who are still relying on 19th century technologies to meet basic needs such as cooking and heating, are bearing a heavy brunt of the damages caused by the economic activities of the rich,” the document alleges.

There is of course no mention of the fact that access to cheap abundant fossil fuels is exactly what allowed modern nations to emerge from the deep poverty in which the vast majority of the world lived for centuries. Nor is there any mention of the fact that with economic development comes a cleaner environment, as history attests.

In an Orwellian exercise in doublespeak, the authors of the text, including well-known proponents of abortion and population control like the UN’s Jeffrey Sachs, make an attempt to conflate the bogeyman of extreme anthropogenic global warming with the very real problem of environmental pollution.

As Breitbart News reported in October, environmental pollution—particularly air pollution—is responsible for millions of deaths each year, while “climate change” is responsible for none. For all intents and purposes, the two phenomena are unrelated, since the scourge of air pollution relates to the presence of dangerous fine particulate matter in the air while global warming propaganda focuses on carbon dioxide emissions.

Human exposure to fine particulate matter increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, while exposure to carbon dioxide—a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas—produces none of these effects and is in fact essential for life on earth.

“Climate change caused by fossil fuels and other human activities poses an existential threat to Homo sapiens and contributes to mass extinction of species,” the Vatican text states. “In addition, air pollution caused by the same activities is a major cause of premature death globally.”

While the second part of this statement is true, the first part is not.

First-world nations like the United States have learned to control pollution through ever cleaner and more efficient energy production using fossil fuels and alternative energy sources. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the air in the U.S. is among the cleanest of any nation on the planet.

In the most recent WHO report on air pollution, the United States was listed as one of the countries with the cleanest air in the world, significantly cleaner in fact than the air in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Japan, Austria and France.

Countries like China and the Central African Republic, on the other hand, have a level of air pollution seven times worse than that of the United States, while India’s is eight times as bad and Egypt’s is more than twelve times as bad.

Undaunted by these facts, the authors of the Vatican text propose “moving rapidly to a zero-carbon energy system – replacing coal, oil and gas with wind, solar, geothermal and other zero-carbon energy sources, drastically reducing emissions of all other climate altering pollutants and by adopting sustainable land use practices.”

By doing so, “humanity can prevent catastrophic climate change, while cutting the huge disease burden caused by air pollution and climate change,” they insist.

Yet in point of fact, most first-world nations have already achieved remarkably low levels of pollution without switching to inefficient alternative energy sources.

As researcher Mario Loyola pointed out in his groundbreaking 2016 essay titled “The Twilight of the Climate Change Movement,” little international attention is being paid to the real health risks faced by many nations, “for the simple reason that they don’t fit snugly into the environmentalists’ essentially anti-industrial agenda.”

“Man-made climate change, on the other hand, is the perfect vehicle for advancing that agenda,” he noted. “Dealing with it requires choking off fossil fuels, a top-down reorganization of economic activity, and income redistribution.”

In other words, there are ideological and political interests that make CO2 reduction extremely attractive, while real dangers are ignored.

If alarmists were really interested in protecting humans against climate change, he added, “they would be helping Bangladesh adapt to monsoon floods and thereby avoid thousands of deaths every few years, instead of insisting on green energy boondoggles that will never save a soul there or anywhere else.”

The real shame is that the Vatican is lending itself to advance such a base and ideologically driven agenda.


Obama warns the "climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it"

But offers no evidence to support that assertion

Former President Obama on Tuesday warned that the climate is "changing faster than our efforts to address it," and while he derided the Trump administration for pulling out of the Paris climate accords, he said it's ultimately up to every individual to tackle the issue.

Speaking in Chicago to mayors at a climate summit, the former president noted the "conveyor belt" of hurricanes this year and western cities dealing with "longer and harsher" wildfire seasons.

"Climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it," said Obama, who noted that his administration's effort to deal with the issue "wasn't because of some ideological notions about the environment." "It was a very practical understanding, based on the science, that if we did not get this issue right, then just about every other issue would be adversely affected."

Obama ratified the Paris agreement in 2015, and President Trump said in June that the U.S. would pull out of it. Syria recently said that it planned to join the accord, making the U.S. the only nation in the world that doesn't belong to it, which Obama said is a "difficult position to defend."

"[The] good news is the Paris agreement -- it was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own," he said, adding it was going to be "up to all of us."

The former president said that climate change should be an "obsession" for Americans and having a plan to address it, he said, should be a "prerequisite" for anyone running for office. He also warned about people listening to news that doesn't come from a neutral source.

"We live in a time when everything is contested -- and so often because of the splintering of our media, it is possible to only occupy a world in which the facts that come in conform to your pre-existing conceptions," he said. "And that's a challenge particularly for democracies."

Obama said that as people get older, you become more aware of your mortality and want to make sure that "your kids and their kids are going to be OK."

While he said that people can't protect their children and grandchildren from heartbreak or mistakes in life, "this is something we can do something about."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a number of other mayors have signed onto the Chicago Climate Charter, committing to reduce emissions.


Trump casts a long shadow on the solar industry
In Costa Nicolaou’s 10 years running a North Andover-based solar company, he never chose to invest his time and money on Washington lobbying.

But now that President Trump is weighing tariffs that could deal a blow to his business, Nicolaou, whose PanelClaw company makes mountings for solar panels, now spends hours each day navigating the politics of his industry.

If the president chooses to slap new tariffs on imported solar panels, as the US International Trade Commission has recommended, many executives predict their businesses will take a hit as the price of solar panels rises and demand for the renewable energy source drops.

“Our message to the president and the president’s advisers is: Don’t walk the president into a trap,” Nicolaou said. “Don’t give him a false victory that comes back to cost him jobs.”

The president’s ruling on this case could become his first major trade policy decision in office. But the battle over the future of the US solar industry shows that intervening in complex global trade issues defies the simplicity of Trump’s hard-nosed, protectionist rhetoric.

In deciding the fate of this case, Trump must consider the divided interests of the nation’s solar industry: the dwindling manufacturers who make solar panels on US soil and a broader universe of companies who sell or install the systems and make accessory products like PanelClaw equipment.

Trump’s upcoming decision to tariff or not to tariff concerns a case filed earlier this year with the ITC, an independent federal agency that recommends trade policy to the president. In the case, two US manufacturers of solar panels — Suniva and SolarWorld Americas— asked for relief from the damage they say low-cost “dumping” of Chinese panels has inflicted on their business.

In October, the ITC issued recommendations that included up to a 35 percent tariff on imported solar panels for a period of four years, as well as limits on imports, and the president has until January to decide the companies’ fate. Trump, who once threatened to impose a 45 percent tariff on imports from China, could choose to enforce an even higher rate than advised.

In his testimony to the ITC, Suniva lawyer Matthew McConkey argued that tariffs would revive American solar panel manufacturing, breathing life into depleted companies like the one he represents by attracting business to the United States.

“This is about bringing investment back to the American solar manufacturing sector and creating a healthy solar industry overall,” said Suniva spokesman Mark Paustenbach, in a prepared statement.

The case has already roiled the rest of the domestic solar industry, with the main trade association warning that approval of the petitioners’ initial request for a 40 cents-per-watt duty on imported solar cells and a floor price for modules could eliminate 88,000 solar jobs in the country.

The $154 billion US solar industry claimed about 260,000 jobs in 2016, according to the non-profit Solar Foundation.

Massachusetts, which has the second highest number of solar industry jobs in the country after California, stands to lose from tariffs. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that, if Trump fulfills the petitioners’ demand, Massachusetts could lose up to 2,000 solar industry jobs in two years.

In response, solar business owners in the state say they’re planning for the worst.

“The man does not act rationally or consistently, and so we’re hoping that he feels good the morning he wakes up when he has this decision to make,” said Bill Stillinger, owner of a small-scale solar panel installer based in Western Massachusetts. Stillinger expects new tariffs would harm his business.

McConkey, the Suniva lawyer, called the solar trade group’s predictions “doomsday outcomes.” These dueling narratives mean Trump will have to decide which part of the industry he wants to support, said Joseph Aldy, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard.

If Trump decides in favor of the tariff, he’ll also be pitting himself up against some prominent conservative voices, including The Heritage Foundation think tank and the Koch brothers-backed American Legislative Exchange Council. These right-leaning opponents of the tariff argue it is a protectionist measure that would invite retaliation from trading partners and destroy American jobs in a growing sector.

On the whole, solar industry jobs are on the rise in the United States, with a 25 percent increase in the workforce in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But fewer than 20 percent of those jobs are in manufacturing. The bulk of them are in construction, installation, and professional services.

Even fewer are in manufacturing of solar panels, considering the United States claims only a sliver of solar panels production worldwide. In 2015, the US produced just 2 percent of the world’s solar panels, while China made nearly 70 percent.

It’s just the type of imbalance that Trump could be expected to lament. During his campaign, Trump said China was “raping” the United States on trade, and harped on a pattern of US manufacturing jobs moving overseas.

Trump’s tone changed dramatically on his recent trip to Asia. After meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Trump told reporters he does not blame China for the multibillion-dollar trade imbalance with his country. “Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of their citizens?” Trump asked.

Still, analysts say Trump could view slapping tariffs on Chinese solar imports as a fulfillment of a campaign promise that would please his base. Trump may see little consequence in disadvantaging the bulk of the solar industry, said Jonas Nahm, an assistant professor of energy, resources, and environment at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He already took a step down that path in October, when the Trump administration announced a rollback of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would have given a boost to renewable energies like solar.

“The one thing where Trump has been very consistent is reversing any policy progress Obama has had,” Nahm said. “This is a way to get back at China, which would be politically popular, and to sort of harm an industry that is not supported by the administration.”

Tom Werner, chief executive of SunPower, a California-based company that manufacturers high-efficiency solar cells overseas, knew a Trump presidency wouldn’t bode well for his industry.

But Werner, who opposes the tariff because it would raise the price of his product, said he did not see anything like this coming. Because of the case filed with the International Trade Commission, Werner said the company lost a roughly $100 million deal with a utility company in Florida because he could not guarantee the stability of their prices.

Unlike with past presidential administrations, Werner said he isn’t sure which advisers Trump will listen to. His solution: Cast a wide net. Meeting with officials in the Department of Commerce, the National Economic Council, and the Office of the United State Trade Representative are just the start.

Despite his efforts, Werner’s confidence about which way Trump will lean on the tariff remains muddy. “Very uncertain would be an understatement,” he said.




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


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Obama warns the "climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it"

But offers no evidence to support that assertion"

And when has Jug Ears EVER offered evidence to support his assertions?