Tuesday, May 15, 2018


I follow the report below by the underlying journal article.  It is under the lead-authorship of none other than that dedicated Warmist Kevin Trenberth.  The article is actually a retreat.  The latest schtick from Trenberth and other Warmists is to admit that hurricanes have NOT become more frequent but have become stronger. Global warming sure is selective in its effects!

Some comments from meteorologist Joe Bastardi offering another interpretation of what happened:

The counter to this was written last year,  because it was just a matter of time before this came out.

Harvey could not have dumped that much rain without the major cold trough that trapped it. Also it was not as bad as Flora over eastern Cuba that got blocked in 1963 -- prompting Castro to blame the US.

The point is I wrote this last year, because it was just a matter of time before this started.

They are weaponizing weather, and this is a classic example

AS COASTAL cities brace for the coming hurricane season, the destruction of the last one is still having a big impact, particularly on the hobbled island of Puerto Rico. And scientists are already able to draw some big warnings from last year’s carnage. “Several aspects of the 2017 season were not ‘natural,’ ” a team of researchers wrote in a paper published this week in Earth’s Future, a peer-reviewed journal run by the American Geophysical Union. “The first was the role of human-induced climate change.”

About humanity’s role in worsening the catastrophe, the scientists left little doubt: “While hurricanes occur naturally, human-caused climate change is supercharging them and exacerbating the risk of major damage.”

Noting that 2017 saw three enormous hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria, they focused on Harvey and the intense flooding it caused in Houston. Before Harvey came through, the oceans were the hottest on record. This heat kept the hurricane going — and more. The scientists found that, when Harvey traversed the Gulf of Mexico, it soaked up ocean heat via evaporation, packing more moisture into the atmosphere. Harvey then dumped record amounts of rain on Houston, flooding large swaths of the city. “Record high ocean heat values not only increased the fuel available to sustain and intensify Harvey, but also increased its flooding rains on land,” the researchers found. “Harvey could not have produced so much rain without human-induced climate change.”

Harvey was only a single event. But it was a spectacular one, and a useful case because the researchers could study its before-and-after effects reasonably isolated from other environmental influences.

It is still a matter of debate whether climate change will increase the number of hurricanes, but it is more and more clear that human-caused heating of the planet will boost their severity. “There will be a warmer and wetter world over oceans, and more energy available for evaporation,” the researchers wrote. Nearly all of the extra heat trapped by the greenhouse gases that humans have produced goes into the oceans. More heat in the oceans means more water vapor and, therefore, heavier rain and more flooding.


Hurricane Harvey links to Ocean Heat Content and Climate Change Adaptation

Kevin E. Trenberth et al.


    While hurricanes occur naturally, human‐caused climate change is supercharging them and exacerbating the risk of major damage. Here, using ocean and atmosphere observations, we demonstrate links between increased upper ocean heat content due to global warming with the extreme rainfalls from recent hurricanes. Hurricane Harvey provides an excellent case study as it was isolated in space and time. We show that prior to the beginning of northern summer of 2017, ocean heat content was the highest on record both globally and in the Gulf of Mexico, but the latter sharply decreased with hurricane Harvey via ocean evaporative cooling. The lost ocean heat was realized in the atmosphere as moisture, and then as latent heat in record‐breaking heavy rainfalls. Accordingly, record high ocean heat values not only increased the fuel available to sustain and intensify Harvey, but also increased its flooding rains on land. Harvey could not have produced so much rain without human‐induced climate change. Results have implications for the role of hurricanes in climate. Proactive planning for the consequences of human‐caused climate change is not happening in many vulnerable areas, making the disasters much worse.


Trial Lawyers Suing Big Oil Over Climate Change Could Make Billions, Plus Fees

The latest climate lawsuit filed against major oil companies by a local government is, once again, being handled by the plaintiff’s firm behind similar lawsuits in California and New York City.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP will be handling King County, Washington’s lawsuit against five major oil companies over alleged damages wrought by man-made global warming. Hagens Berman is also behind climate lawsuits brought by San Francisco, Oakland and New York City.

Hagens Berman is working for King County, which includes Seattle, on a contingency fee basis, meaning they shoulder the upfront costs of litigation for a percentage of any winnings. King County spokesman Alex Fryer said Hagens Berman’s fee was 17 percent.

King County is suing five oil companies for an abatement fund to mitigate future global warming. The county’s press release on the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, claims “this abatement fund could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

That’s a nice payday for Hagens Berman should they prevail in court. The plaintiff’s firm stands to earn billions of dollars from its climate lawsuits with San Francisco, Oakland and New York City.

Hagens Berman’s fee is 23.5 percent of any winnings from its cases with San Francisco and Oakland. As of March, New York City had yet to negotiate its fee with Hagens Berman, but the city’s suit claims the “cost of needed resiliency projects runs to many billions of dollars.”

However, Hagens Berman is only one of about three plaintiffs firms suing fossil fuel companies over global warming, hoping to resurrect their success in litigating against the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

The firm Seeger Weiss LLP is also handling New York City’s lawsuit, and the firm Sher Edling LLP is handling climates lawsuits for six California cities and counties. These firms are also working for a percentage of any winnings.

Local governments suing fossil fuel interests argue state nuisance and trespassing laws, which have sometimes been applied to pollution, also apply to global warming. They also accuse energy companies of trying to downplay the harms their products allegedly cause.

King County’s claims build on reporting from the liberal InsideClimate News and Columbia University purporting to show Exxon had been studying climate science for decades, internally worried about it but publicly funding groups opposed to climate regulations.

“Big Oil spent many decades disregarding and dismissing what is our most pressing generational challenge,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

“We must hold these companies accountable as we marshal our resources to protect and preserve what makes this region great,” Constantine said.

The reports led to the “Exxon Knew” campaign. Environmentalists targeted the company for investigation by state prosecutors, the first of whom to take up the mantle is now disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

At a hearing, Alsup said plaintiffs’ presentation on a global warming cover-up “shows nothing of the sort,” according to journalists present.


Trump's 'Energy Dominance' Gets Slow Start On Federal Land

President Trump's goal of achieving "energy dominance" for the United States includes producing more oil and gas on federal land, but new government statistics show a mixed record on this front during his first year in office.

Trump has cast himself as an ally of fossil fuel industries. At a 2017 event he told energy industry leaders, "You've gone through eight years of hell," referring to the time former President Obama was in office.

But by two measures there was more oil industry activity on federal lands during the Obama years than Trump's first year. In 2017 the number of oil and gas leases fell to a 10-year low of 38,556. The number of acres leased also declined to a decade-low of 25,742,991.

Some of the tables do show more activity. The number of leases issued in 2017 increased by about 42 percent and the number of wells that started drilling increased about 40 percent.

These statistics come from the Bureau of Land Management's annual report on the agency's website. The numbers were available last week when NPR obtained them, but a day later they were gone. Acting BLM National Spokesperson Amber Cargile says "major technical issues" across the agency's website were to blame.

One of the tables compares the number of acres BLM offered for lease to the number that received bids. It shows the Trump administration offered 11,859,396 acres for lease — more than at any time in the last nine years. But bids were received on only 6.7 percent of them — the lowest share by far over that period.

"This administration is throwing as many acres they can at the oil and gas industry and the oil and gas industry, to a large extent, has said, 'No thanks—not right now,' " says Nada Culver, senior counsel and director of the Wilderness Society's BLM Action Center.

Environmental groups have long criticized the federal government's oil and gas leasing program in the West, arguing public lands should be managed differently to address climate change and pollution concerns.

One reason for the relatively low interest among drillers is where the leases are located. "There are a lot of leases offered in Alaska and Nevada that there hasn't been a lot of interest in," says Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Denver-based oil and gas industry group Western Energy Alliance.

Last December the BLM offered all the land available for leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska — 10.3 million acres. But drillers bid on less than 1 percent of the leases offered.

Sgamma says the response was stronger in drilling hot spots like New Mexico and Wyoming, where most of the parcels offered were leased.

She says a more important metric for measuring the Trump administration's progress toward increasing oil and gas production on federal land is revenue from lease sales. In January the BLM announced that the agency "generated nearly $360 million from oil and gas lease sales, an 86 percent increase over the previous year's results of $192.5 million."

"That indicates that companies have some confidence that some of these policies that the administration is trying to put into effect will actually bear fruit," Sgamma says.

During the Obama years Sgamma says the BLM put up roadblocks for companies that wanted to drill on federal land. She says lengthy environmental reviews and slow agency response times were a big problem for drillers.

"The BLM is reviewing and streamlining its business processes to serve its customers and the public better and faster," says BLM spokesperson Cargile.

"I think there has been progress. BLM has put in place a new processing system for applications for permit to drill and we're seeing those timelines coming down," says Sgamma. But she says it takes time to change policies and move the bureaucracy in the direction President Trump wants it to go.

Beyond administration policies another factor that can boost interest in drilling is oil prices. They are rising and that makes drilling more profitable. So while the Trump administration's effort to boost oil and gas drilling on public land has had mixed results so far, it appears the industry is feeling optimistic about the future.


Climate Hawk’s Stunning Fall From Grace Emboldens Climate Skeptics

Eric Schneiderman’s political foes are gleeful about — and feeling emboldened by — his demise.

Ex-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) was at the vanguard of the climate movement, heading legal and political fights against Trump administration attempts to weaken environmental regulations.

Schneiderman is also a pugnacious and media-savvy figure whose abrupt and stunning political fall this week after cringe-worthy sexual abuse allegations is an undeniable blow to climate hawks across the country. It may force them to reshuffle their tactics and, to a lesser extent, their priorities.

But as shocked, saddened and disgusted as climate activists are about Schneiderman, they are convinced that reinforcements are readily available and that the movement to defend environmental laws from legal and legislative attacks remains strong, even in the absence of a fallen leader.

“It should not have a significant impact,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D), another top environmentalist. “He was a leader, he was very energetic, and the New York attorney general’s office was fully engaged and I expect that that will continue. … Other [Democratic] AGs are also working these issues. If there’s any slack at all, one of us will pick it up — or all of us will collectively.”

Despite those fighting words, Schneiderman’s political foes are gleeful about — and feeling emboldened by — his demise.

In a statement yesterday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who is chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, called Schneiderman “a disturbed monster” and a “sick man,” and suggested he ought to be prosecuted, or at least “held accountable,” for his alleged acts of violence against former girlfriends.

“A lot of climate skeptics are smiling at his downfall because he was an out-of-control, really wacky guy who held a lot of power,” said Marc Morano, who runs the blog Climate Depot.

Morano and his allies have been especially disdainful of the legal attempts Schneiderman led to hold Exxon Mobil Corp. and other oil companies accountable for global warming, calling him “the ultimate shakedown artist.”

“Let’s take a moment to pause and take a look at the strategy of blaming energy companies for bad weather,” Morano said. He added that Schneiderman’s resignation and quick disappearance from the public scene will force climate activists to reconsider their approach.

“He was the lightning rod,” he said. “He was the instigator. It definitely limits the movement when you take out the lead guy.”


Yes, anti-pipeline Vancouver really is North America’s largest exporter of coal

A city dead set against expanding petroleum exports is decidedly less irked about another type of fossil fuel

Lately, it’s one of the few things that oil boosters and environmental activists can agree upon: Calling Vancouver a hypocrite for opposing carbon emissions while also being the continent’s largest coal port.

And both camps are correct. According to the data, Canada’s mecca of anti-pipeline sentiment does indeed rank as the largest single exporter of coal in North America.

This places the B.C. city well above Norfolk, Virginia, the busiest coal port in the United States. Despite a massive spike in U.S. coal exports for 2017, only 31.5 million tonnes of coal moved out of Norfolk last year.

Vancouver’s coal exports also dwarf the total coal production for the entire country of Mexico. According to data gathered by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Mexican mines have produced no more than 16 million tonnes of coal per year since 2006.

Much of Vancouver’s coal is handled by a single facility that ranks as the largest of its kind on the continent. Westshore Terminals loaded 29 million tonnes of coal in 2017, nearly triple the combined coal exports of the entire U.S. West Coast.

It’s also right next to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, making it a familiar sight to any passenger aboard a ferry arriving from Vancouver Island. Currently, Westshore Terminals is in the midst of a $275 million upgrade to “replace aging equipment and modernize our office and shop complex,” according to the company.

B.C. mines provide much of the coal flowing through Metro Vancouver. Even as coal production enters a prolonged decline around much of the world, it has been positively thriving west of the Rocky Mountains.

“Coal production is a mainstay of the province’s economy, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue and supporting thousands of well-paid jobs,” reads the website for B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

Coal is the province’s number one export commodity, with $3.32 billion of coal mined in 2016. Much of this is metallurgical coal, which is exported to Asia for the making of steel.

In recent years, however, Vancouver’s coal ports have also accommodated a massive increase in exports of thermal coal, which is used for the production of electricity.

In 2008, only 4.4 million tonnes of Vancouver’s coal exports could be called non-metallurgical. By 2017, this had more than doubled to 11.3 million tonnes.

Controversially, almost all of this thermal coal is coming from the United States. As lawmakers in Washington and Oregon have begun shutting down their own coal ports due to environmental concerns, thermal coal producers in Wyoming and Montana have simply diverted their product through Canada.

In August, then-premier Christy Clark called for a ban on Vancouver exports of U.S. thermal coal in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

“They are no longer good trading partners with Canada. So that means we’re free to ban filthy thermal coal from B.C. ports, and I hope the federal government will support us in doing that,” she said at the time.

In the main, however, Metro Vancouver has benefited handsomely from the presence of the coal industry, according to numbers compiled by the B.C.-based Coal Alliance. Between 2012 to 2017, coal-related companies spent $2.29 billion in Metro Vancouver, including $470 million in the City of Vancouver proper.




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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