Thursday, June 14, 2018

Africa's oldest baobab trees are dying at an unprecedented rate, and climate change may be to blame

Of course the oldest trees are dying, that's normal for all species.  And why are they dying now?  Because Africa is in a prolonged and widespread drought.  Remember those reports about Capetown running out of water?

Baobab trees — an icon of the African continent and the heart of many traditional African remedies and folklore — are dying across the continent, and scientists are trying to understand why.

A study published Monday found eight of the 13 oldest trees in Africa have died over the past decade, and the authors suggest climate change may affect the ability of the baobab to survive.

"The deaths of the majority of the oldest and largest African baobabs over the past 12 years is an event of an unprecedented magnitude," the study authors said. "These deaths were not caused by an epidemic, and there has also been a rapid increase in the apparently natural deaths of many other mature baobabs."

Baobabs — also known as "dead-rat" trees after the shape of their fruit — are among the most distinctive plants in the world, featuring stout, massive, branchless trunks that can look like pillars.

The study's lead author, Adrian Patrut, a chemist at Romania's BabeČ™-Bolyai University, told NPR that "such a disastrous decline is very unexpected. It's a strange feeling, because these are trees which may live for 2,000 years or more, and we see that they're dying one after another during our lifetime. It's statistically very unlikely."

Using radiocarbon dating, the researchers analyzed more than 60 of the largest and potentially oldest baobab trees in Africa from 2005 to 2017. They were surprised that most of the oldest and biggest died within those 12 years.

Overall, five of the six largest baobabs either died or their oldest parts significantly deteriorated.

Man-made climate change is a likely suspect, scientists said. Increased temperature and drought are the primary threats, Patrut told BBC News. Researchers said further research is necessary to support or refute that idea.

Thomas Lovejoy, an environmental scientist at George Mason University, who was not involved in the study, told The Washington Post that "something obviously is going on in almost selectively affecting the largest and oldest. I do think climate is a likely culprit, but they don’t actually present any evidence of how climate is changing where these ancient trees occur.”

Whatever the cause, these mysterious deaths will have a big impact on the southern African landscape. In addition to shade, the tree’s bark, roots, seeds and fruit are food sources for many animals, according to Science magazine.


Australian coal prices hit 6-year high as Asia demand soars

What happened to all those "renewables"

Australian thermal coal prices have risen to their highest level since 2012 as hot weather across North Asia spurs buying ahead of the peak summer demand season.

Spot prices for thermal coal cargoes for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last closed at $115.25 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012.

Thermal coal, the world’s most used fuel for electricity generation, has surged by 130 percent since its record lows below $50 per tonne in 2016 following a years-long decline.

Prices have been driven up by economic growth, especially in Asia, along with constraints on supply due to earlier mine closures and high hurdles to developing new mines amid concerns about pollution and global warming.

In recent weeks, a heat-wave in North Asia and restocking ahead of the hottest summer months in July and August have led to soaring demand for both residential and industrial cooling, traders said.


Coal Use To Explode By 43% Worldwide! …German Energy Expert: ‘Paris Accord Has Collapsed’

Yesterday German energy expert and scientist Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt commented at his monthly column at Die kalte Sonne site here on solar activity, CO2 and coal power in Germany.

Sun factor grossly underestimated

Lately, the sun’s activity has been very quiet as the star at the center of our solar system transitions over to a new solar cycle. April sunspot activity was very low in May.

Vahrenholt then cites a recent study by Lewis and Curry showing that climate sensitivity to CO2 is in fact “up to 45% less than what the IPCC and the mainstream of climate science would like to have us believe.” Vahrenholt comments:

So with CO2 not being at the factor, it was made out to be, and because the Paris Accord is based on the spectacle of a rapidly warming planet, Vahrenholt writes that the “foundation of the Paris Accord has collapsed.”

Only Europe and Canada exiting coal

Another reason the Paris Accord is collapsing is that it’s not going to do anything we were promised it would.

When it comes to coal, Vahrenholt notes, so far only Europe and Canada have expressed some sort of a commitment to exit coal, and then he reminds us China, India and all developing countries will still be permitted to continue “massively” expanding their use of coal. He writes:

"In other words, Angela Merkel and her green punch drinkers think the climate is going to be saved if Germany shuts down 1/20 of what China and India are going to add. No wonder Trump dumped the idiotic Accord."

Coal to expand 43% worldwide

And to illustrate what a farce the Paris Accord has become, the German energy expert adds: “In total, coal power plant capacity will expand by 43% worldwide.”

Germany to lay out the blueprint for its own demise

Currently, Germany is gradually growing obsessed with the idea of a coal exit and is setting up a Coal Commission to launch the endeavor. The Commission “however will not be made up of energy, power grid, and technology experts, but rather with Greenpeace, BUND and local citizens initiatives who are against brown coal,” writes Vahrenholt.

“The idea of including critics of alternative energy, which has become the largest destroyer of nature since WWII, never dawned on any politician.”

Green state fundamentalism

The Coal Commission of course should include Prof. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, former director of the ultra-alarmist Potsdam Institute and architect of the Great Transformation masterplan, which calls for an immediate end to the economic model that is based on “fossil industrial metabolism”, making climate protection the “fundamental target of the state by which the legislative, executive and judicial branches are to align themselves.”

Paris absurdity

According to Vahrenholt, the phase-out of coal will mean the decarbonization of Germany, which in turn will mean its deindustrialization. This, according to Vahrenholt, all coming to the great delight of the Chinese.

A dismayed Vahrenholt sums up: “Trump was clever enough to exit the Paris absurdity early enough.”


People have the right to defend themselves against bad science

And EPA science under Obama was so bad that they kept it under wraps

The Greens have launched a massive and coordinated attack on EPA’s proposed regulation to end the use of “secret science” in Agency rule making. Secret science here simply means research that is not available for public inspection. The proposal is called the Transparency Rule and it is available for public comment here.

The basic principle is that if EPA proposes to regulate the public, then the public has a right to inspect the research used to justify that regulation. This seems obviously fair and just but the Greens do not see it that way. They think EPA should be able to do whatever it wants, behind a veil of scientific secrecy.

So the Greens are flooding the EPA comment system with mindless negative comments. At the time of this writing the Agency lists over 150,000 comments, the vast majority of which simply attack EPA for daring to propose transparency. Given that the comment period has been extended to mid-August this number is likely to get much bigger.

This attack is being coordinated by several Green Groups, especially the so-called Environmental Defense Fund. The idea behind regulatory notice and comment is to help the agency gets the rules right. It is not a referendum on the proposal, but that is how EDF sees it. They just want to generate 100,000 or more identical Green comments denouncing this proposal. There is nothing useful here, just the usual loud noises from the left.

EPA says on their comment website that they will only post substantive comments. It is then no wonder that less that 2% of the comments have been publicly posted. Even these are mostly worthless negative attacks.

There is also a green press campaign, in parallel with the personal attacks on EPA Administrator Pruitt. Here the ever-green New York Times has the lead. They have run a series of articles and op-eds attacking both Pruitt and the Transparency Rule.

One particularly silly NYT piece is titled: “Scott Pruitt’s Attack on Science Would Paralyze the E.P.A.” It begins by complaining that the Rule allows the EPA Administrator to exempt and use secret science if it is especially important. The Greens should like this provision, since it is just what they want. Instead the op-ed says that Pruitt is a lawyer, not a scientist, so he is not qualified to make such a decision. In reality this is standard exemption language, so the decision would be made by the regulatory office, including their scientists.

They then go on to say that the peer review of the journal article reporting the research should somehow be enough transparency. This is simply ridiculous, since peer review of an article does not include data analysis, attempted replication, etc., which the Transparency Rule is designed make available. Peer review is not quality control.

Thanks to what is called the “reproducibility crisis” we now know that there is a lot of shaky peer reviewed science out there. The US National Academy of Sciences now has a standing Committee on Reproducibility and Replication. This ongoing crisis is not really surprising, given that globally there are millions of scientists burning hundreds of billions of dollars a year in research funding and judged by how many articles they publish. Publishing in a peer reviewed journal does not separate good science from bad science.

The Transparency Rule speaks directly to the reproducibility crisis. I have yet to see an attack piece that even mentions, much less addresses, the fairness principle behind this Transparency Rule. Most of the attacks are nothing more that simple minded anti-Trump diatribes.

The critical few that are thoughtful worry about important research being excluded. This is a genuine concern which the final Rule needs to deal with. But in any case jamming the comment system with hundreds of thousands of worthless attacks is a stupid thing to do.

People have the right to defend themselves against regulations based on bad science.


Climate ‘Science’ Is Anti-Science; How Do You Disprove A Consensus?

Reasserting the scientific method

One of the most difficult concepts for people to understand is that science doesn’t prove theories, science is the process that disproves theories.

In real science, the null hypothesis is the consensus, and conclusion of the peer group. Under normal circumstances, the peer group consensus is based upon the results of reproducible experimentation.

In real science, people aren’t running around trying to convince people what has already been accepted as the scientific truth.

For instance, we no longer have people running around trying to prove that the earth is round…well, almost no one (click here).

Real science states the null and sets out to reject it.

Science rejects what people believe, it doesn’t reinforce it. Real science rejects the null.

Real science disproves what people believe. It never proves that things are what people think they are, that is an impossible task and would require an infinite number of experiments.

Real science is the “belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

Real science takes what is accepted, and proves that it is wrong. The accepted position is the status quo (the consensus) and real science attempts to prove everyone that believes what everyone knows to be true to be gullible fools.

Real science is about claiming “I’m right and the world is wrong, and I have the experiment to back it up.”

That isn’t how Climate Anti-Science is done. There is no scientific method in climate anti-science, there is no scientific process in climate anti-science, there is no experimentation and reproducibility in climate anti-science.

Climate anti-science shuns classical scientific methods and instead turns to science by authority, science by dictate, science by consensus, science by peer review, and science by computer models.

Why is that so wrong? Because you can’t reject a consensus, you can’t reject a peer group study. Just how does this anti-science even work?

You simply can’t ever be wrong if you have enough political power and reach and a likeminded computer programmer.

If I claim that the population of unicorns has been rapidly growing, and I get a few well-placed “experts” to agree with me, and I get published in a few like-minded “Peer Review Journals,” my claim that the unicorn population is growing simply becomes scientific fact.

How do you possibly reject a consensus? How do you reject a peer-reviewed conclusion? Science suddenly becomes more like a political campaign, a popularity contest, a public opinion poll.

I could even back up my claims with a computer model showing that the increase in CO2 has increased crop yields, which should increase the birth rate of unicorns.

This computer model based upon a theory void of any actual physical evidence would be then used a proof that the theory is in fact correct.

Anyone that disagreed with the computer model would be attacked as a “skeptic” or “denier” and have their careers ruined.

That is literally how climate anti-science works.

BTW, the entire foundation of science is skepticism, so the very fact that climate alarmists call people “skeptics” pretty much proves they don’t understand science.

Deniers, as in Holocaust Deniers make claims of disbelief without providing any evidence. That is the exact opposite of CAGW deniers who are eager to debate and provide their scientific arguments that are soundly based on facts.




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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