Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Delingpole: Earth in ‘Greatest Two-Year Cooling Event in a Century’ Shock

Our planet has just experienced the most extreme two-year cooling event in a century. But where have you seen this reported anywhere in the mainstream media?

You haven’t, even though the figures are pretty spectacular. As Aaron Brown reports here at Real Clear Markets:

"From February 2016 to February 2018 (the latest month available) global average temperatures dropped 0.56°C. You have to go back to 1982-84 for the next biggest two-year drop, 0.47°C—also during the global warming era. All the data in this essay come from GISTEMP Team, 2018: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP). NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (dataset accessed 2018-04-11 at https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/). This is the standard source used in most journalistic reporting of global average temperatures.

The 2016-18 Big Chill was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average. February 2018 was colder than February 1998."

To put this temperature drop in context, consider that this is enough to offset by more than half the entirety of the global warming the planet has experienced since the end of the 19th century.

Since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1880s, the planet has warmed by about 0.8 degrees C. You might think that was not a particularly drastic rate of warming to worry about. You might also note that such a rate of warming is well precedented in periods throughout history, such as during the Minoan, Roman and Medieval warming periods. Nonetheless this 0.8 degrees C rise – 0.9 degrees C, at a push – is the terrible climatic event the alarmist establishment has been assuring these last few decades is the worst thing ever and something that should worry us awfully.

So is this sudden cooling an even-worse thing? Not necessarily. As Brown goes on to explain in his piece, you can’t extrapolate trends from such a short time scale. Well, not unless you’re a climate alarmist… As we know from long experience, if it had been the other way round – if the planet had warmed by 0.56 degrees C rather than cooled, the media would have been all over it.

My point is that statistical cooling outliers garner no media attention. The global average temperature numbers come out monthly. If they show a new hottest year on record, that’s a big story. If they show a big increase over the previous month, or the same month in the previous year, that’s a story. If they represent a sequence of warming months or years, that’s a story. When they show cooling of any sort—and there have been more cooling months than warming months since anthropogenic warming began—there’s no story.

Meanwhile a study by Judith Curry and Nic Lewis – also largely unreported by the mainstream media – confirms what skeptics have been saying for years: that the computer models used by the alarmist establishment to predict global warming are running too hot.  According to Investors Business Daily:

"In the study, authors Nic Lewis and Judith Curry looked at actual temperature records and compared them with climate change computer models. What they found is that the planet has shown itself to be far less sensitive to increases in CO2 than the climate models say. As a result, they say, the planet will warm less than the models predict, even if we continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

As Lewis explains: “Our results imply that, for any future emissions scenario, future warming is likely to be substantially lower than the central computer model-simulated level projected by the (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and highly unlikely to exceed that level."

This brings projected “global warming” from being potentially dangerous to being easily manageable. Which is why, of course, it is unlikely to get much attention from a scientific establishment and a complicit media that much prefers to ramp up the global warming scare – even when the evidence doesn’t support it.


The great German energy muddle

German ‘eco-friendly’ gas power plant set to be idled for third successive year

Billed as ‘the world’s most eco-friendly fossil fuelled power plant’ when it opened in 2011, the owners say Irsching is not commercially viable due to the built-in advantages handed to part-time subsidised renewables. Meanwhile Germany continues building cheaper-to-run coal-fired power stations to help replace its nuclear fleet. A strange situation to be in.

German utility Uniper announced on Thursday that it had applied to extend the closure of its loss-making Irsching 4 and 5 gas-fired power generation plants with a capacity of 1400 MW for a third year beyond April 2019, reports PEI.

Uniper and the other owners of unit 5, N-Ergie, Mainova MNVG.DE and HSE, see no way to ensure the Bavarian plant’s commercial viability, it said in a statement.

Likewise, Uniper as sole owner of Irsching 4 also wants to apply for temporary closure in the same period for the same reason, it said.

Due to competition from subsidised solar and wind energy, many German fossil fuels plants are running at a fraction of the time needed to be profitable.

The wish to idle plants against a fee needs signalling to the energy regulator with a notice period of 12 months in advance, in order to establish whether this poses a risk to the stability of power transport grids.

A world-record efficiency of 60.4 per cent and low nitrogen oxide emissions were to make the plant the world’s most eco-friendly fossil fuelled power plant, according to Siemens at the time.

The manufacturer describes the plant as characterized by high operating flexibility, and short startup and fast load-cycling capability – features increasingly important with the rise in wind-based generation.


Solar & Wind To Replace All Fossil Fuels Within Two Decades (?)

How often have we heard nonsense  like this:

"In recent years there have been dramatic falls in the cost of solar PV and the industry has expanded immensely. Panel prices are now below $1000 per kilowatt and system prices are $2000-3000 per kilowatt. Solar PV electricity is now less expensive than both domestic and commercial retail electricity from the grid. It is approaching cost-competitiveness with wholesale conventional electricity in many places"

So, how do they come to this crackpot conclusion? More importantly, how do they attempt to convince their readers?

They start with this grossly deceptive graph, which pretends that PV and wind is now dominating the electricity market:

In fact, all it shows is that PV and wind are accounting for 60% of new generation capacity.

Capacity, of course, has little to do with actual generation, which will be far less in the case of PV and wind. But more significantly, there is little need for new fossil fuel capacity, as it is already in place.

The figure quoted for PV and wind of 200 GW (which is in any event pure guesswork) would be capable of producing about 260 TWh pa (assuming a load factor of 15%). Given that global electricity production in 2016 was 24816 TWh, this would only meet 1% of global demand.

Moreover, electricity generation has increased at a rate of 542 TWh every year since 2010. In other words, the projected increase in PV and wind capacity would only be able to supply about half of the increase in demand each year.

Worse still for promoters of renewable energy, electricity only accounts for about 40% of total energy, meaning that the contribution from PV and wind will be even tinier. In 2016, for instance, the two sectors only supplied 2% of global primary energy consumption.

These real figures hardly bear out the myth of renewable energy dominance, which the authors would like readers to believe.

The second trick is to pretend that PV and wind output will continue to grow each year at recent rates:

"Together, PV and wind currently produce about 7% of the world’s electricity. Worldwide over the past five years, PV capacity has grown by 28% per year, and wind by 13% per year. Remarkably, because of the slow or nonexistent growth rates of coal and gas, current trends put the world on track to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032"

This is quite idiotic. I noted some similar claim in a post a few weeks ago, and pointed out that, using the same logic, a car which did 0-60mph in 10 seconds would be travelling at the speed of light after a short while if the rate of acceleration continued.

In absolute terms, wind and solar generation has risen from 501 to 1293 TWh in the last five years, and now accounts for 5% of global electricity supply. Even assuming demand stays flat, at the current rate of increase, 158 TWh pa, wind and solar will still only account for 14% of global demand by 2030. (The increase between 2015 and 2016 was 179 TWh).

The article bases much of its case on the supposed cheapness of renewables, which are now claimed to be competitive with conventional power. Leaving aside the fact that the intrinsic value of intermittent power is much less than that of dispatchable power, and that the real cost of renewables must include the cost of intermittency, the authors make one huge, stonking blunder.

There is already enough conventional capacity in existence to supply most of the world’s needs. Why therefore would anybody want to spend money building more?

Would you buy a second car because its running costs were lower?

The whole question of intermittency is glossed over in the article:

"PV and wind are often described as “intermittent” energy sources. But stabilising the grid is relatively straightforward, with the help of storage and high-voltage interconnectors to smooth out local weather effects. By far the leading storage technologies are pumped hydro and batteries, with a combined market share of 97%."

The claim that pumped hydro and batteries will do the job, because they account for 97% of current storage, is yet another meaningless statistic from the authors.

In reality, that is about all the storage we have at the moment.  Pumped hydro is extremely limited by the availability of suitable resources. Energy from pumped storage in the UK for instance has not changed in the last 20 years.

You might also note that the authors are reluctant to compare the actual figures for pumped hydro with batteries. But this is what their link shows:

In simple terms, we can forget about the various forms of non hydro storage. If you’ve got plenty of lakes and mountains, then fine. Otherwise, forget it.

But perhaps the most extraordinarily ludicrous claim made is that solar power, a long with a bit of wind, can meet mankind’s needs for energy:

"Solar PV meets all of these criteria, while wind energy also meets many of them, although wind is not as globally ubiquitous as sunshine. We will have sunshine and wind for billions of years to come. It is very hard to imagine humanity going to war over sunlight. Most of the world’s population lives at low latitudes (less than 35°), where sunlight is abundant and varies little between seasons. Wind energy is also widely available, particularly at higher latitudes"

It may be possible for solar power to fulfil a portion of energy needs in those low latitude countries. And, of course, that is for them to decide themselves.

But in many northerly latitude countries, such  policy would be suicide, both economically and literally.

In the UK, for instance, solar power ran at just 4.8% of capacity in Q4 last year, and in the mid winter months this figure will be lower still:

Wind power may be widely available, as the article suggests, but it is also disastrously unreliable. Any grid that relied largely on wind power would very quickly implode.

One would assume that the authors, given their accreditations, would know all of this. (Blakers is a Professor of Engineering, whilst Stocks is a Research Fellow). So one is entitled to question why they wrote this pile of rubbish in the first place.

But then when you read their full accreditations, you understand why:

In other words, Blakers and Stocks have been paid by the renewable lobby to write this rubbish.

Shame on The Conversation for printing such palpable nonsense, and shame on the Australian National University for funding it.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

The Biggest Challenge In Electric Car Markets

Volkswagen is spending $2 billion in America to correct its “Dieselgate” cheating scandal — and to move beyond the typical upscale electric car shopper that tends to be much more interested in driving a Tesla Model S or Model X.

Electrify America, Volkswagen’s subsidiary carrying out the Dieselgate settlement by supporting electric vehicle purchases and charging infrastructure, has been making deals to bring fast chargers to shopping malls. After making an agreement this month to bring 100 charging locations in 34 states to Walmart, more retail outlets were just added. That includes Target, Sheetz, Casey’s General Stores, and Alltown convenience stores.

Walmart and Target shoppers tend to be quite different than Tesla owners, and those driving other electric vehicles from BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, and other makers. Driving around upscale neighborhoods is usually the best place to find a Model S or Model X parked in the driveway of a high market-value home.

The average consumer car shopper — along with fleet managers overseeing acquisitions of a large part of new vehicles sales — have been tough to reach. Buying and driving their first EVs can raise concerns over driving range, safety, and how reliable the new technology will be over their typical lifecycle ownership.

Building a charging infrastructure under Electrify America, Tesla Superchargers, and other charging networks, is considered critical for reaching mass adoption of EVs. Bringing down the purchase price is another wall to climb — as demonstrated by Tesla investing heavily in its Model 3 with a $35,000 starting price, and General Motors focusing on the Chevrolet Bolt that starts at $37,500. Federal and state incentives bring those costs down even more.

The average pre-incentive price of 10 electric cars with the longest per-charge driving ranges was nearly $42,000 last year. That compares with about $34,000 for an average new car and $20,000 for an average new compact car.

Purchase incentives such as rebates and tax credits have been critical for electric vehicle sales to increase in the U.S., China, and Europe. But who’s tapping into these incentives?

A new study by Pacific Research Institute analyzed where tax credits in the U.S. have gone to. Reviewing the latest figures on tax credits for EV purchases, 79 percent were taken by consumers with annual household incomes greater than $100,000 per year. Extending that out a bit showed that households with $50,000 per year or more made up 99 percent of EV tax credits.

California has taken the lead in EV incentives, and has accounted for about half the electric car sales in the U.S. Another $140 million was set aside for electric car subsidies in the 2017-2018 state budget. Much of the rationale behind EV incentives in the state has been to clean up air quality in low-income communities living near traffic-congested freeways and heavy-truck intensive harbors.

The state’s generous incentives are being used by wealthier residents, which the state has taken criticism over in recent years.

Tesla faces a similar challenge selling its vehicles in the U.S., Europe, and China. The Model 3 is seeing strong sales, but the company is struggling to bring in the needed capital to ramp up production and meet promises made last year by CEO Elon Musk. The automaker is working with Chinese government officials to set up a free trade zone, where Tesla can avoid the hefty tariffs it pays to bring its electric cars to its showrooms in China. So far, Tesla’s customers in China have been wealthy consumers willing to pay more for the Model S and Model X.

German automakers have worked hard at becoming more Tesla-competitive and to meet stringent anti-diesel rules coming from the European Union. VW, BMW, and Daimler have made serious commitments to electrifying their vehicle offerings through 2025. Like Tesla, that so far has been seeing most of its gains coming from luxury and performance EV sales.

BMW shows a clear example of it with its pricier i-Series models and offering several of its luxury sedans with plug-in hybrid variations.

Some analysts have praised increases in global EV sales as a sign that EV adoption is increasing significantly. Last year, with 1,223,600 EVs sold globally, a 58 percent sales increase was reached over 2016. China led the way for battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales with a 73 percent growth surge last year.

However, that still only represented 1.3 percent of total global new passenger vehicle sales last year. The total has been estimated at 93.5 million light-duty vehicles sold in 2017.

Automakers, government officials, and technology suppliers will have to invest heavily in affordable EVs of all types, fast charging, and a much larger charging infrastructure. For now, gasoline stations and affordable, fuel-efficient passenger vehicles are beating EVs by a wide margin.


‘Tsunami’ Of Renewable Energy Projects Threatens Europe’s Last Wild Rivers, Campaigners Warn

Plans to build about 3,000 hydropower plants in the Balkans in the next few years endanger Europe’s last wild rivers and some of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the continent, campaigers said on Saturday.

Stretching from Slovenia to Albania, critics say the hydropower boom threatens animal life, including endemic species of fish, and people’s access to water used for drinking, fishing and farming.

“There is a tsunami of hydropower dam constructions happening here and nobody really knows about it,” said Britton Caillouette, director of “Blue Heart”, a documentary that focuses on efforts to halt the hydropower plans.

“Blue Heart”, which had its world premiere on Saturday in a screening at the Idbar dam near Konjik, focuses on local people’s and campaigners’ efforts to halt the plans.

Investment in renewable energy projects is growing around the world as countries rush to meet clean energy goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The EU aims to source at least 27 percent of the bloc’s energy from renewables by 2030.

Western Balkan countries, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, plan to invest billions of euros in building new coal-fired plants to meet rising demand for electricity as old plants are being phased out.

Hydropower is already widely used across the region but environmentalists fear the investment in coal could backfire as governments may be forced to invest hundreds of millions of euros more to upgrade plants to meet European Union environmental standards as the countries progress toward membership of the bloc.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is funding some hydropower projects in the Balkans and has agreed to foster a transition towards sustainable, low-carbon economies int the region.

Ulrich Eichelmann, head of campaign group RiverWatch, said clean energy such as hydropower, could have negative effects on the environment.

“Just because it doesn’t emit CO2 it doesn’t mean it’s good,” Eichelmann told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.




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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