Thursday, August 02, 2018

Green/Left lies and stupidity about the fires in CA

CA unusually hot?  I reproduce below some conversation between two skeptics:

Tony Heller, climate historian: "Hotter than 134 degrees during July, 1913?"

Tony Heller again: "1988 was hotter than this year, and 2006 was just as hot.  Redding got up to 118 degrees in 1988, five degrees warmer than this year's top temperature.  I drove through Sacramento on the hottest day in 2006, and remember it was right around 115 degrees.

Joe Bastardi, meteorologist: Spot on right. 2006 was hotter and 2005,2003 just as hot

Tony Heller: "2006 was an amazing weather year.  It was so warm in January in Fort Collins that I was wearing a T-shirt most days. Then I was working in Cupertino, CA from February-July, and our pool in Cupertino got hot all the way to the bottom. Most years that pool stays cold all year around.

We moved back to Colorado in the middle of the heatwave, and it was so hot my son's soccer camp didn't go outside some days.

But in the middle of September, the weather changed dramatically.  It got cold and wet and stayed that way for six months - I was coaching soccer and it was miserable most weekends.  Then Fort Collins had the largest snowstorm on record Christmas week.

Amazing how many different temperatures the same level of CO2 can produce."

The northern Sacramento Valley was well on its way to recording the hottest July on record when the Carr fire swept into town last Thursday.

*It was 113 degrees*, and months of above-average temperatures had left the land bone-dry and ready to explode. Within a few hours, hundreds of structures were lost and six people killed.

The destruction adds to California’s worst wildfire year on record — dozens dead since October, with more than 10,000 structures lost from San Diego to Redding.

There are many reasons for the grim totals, but experts say one common denominator connects the disastrous fires: California is facing extreme heat, the likes of which it has never seen in the modern historical record.

“The temperatures have just been almost inexorably warmer all the time,” said University of California, Los Angeles climate scientist Daniel Swain, and fires “burn more intensely if the fuels are extremely dry.”

In the past, there has been some reluctance among scientists to cite climate change as a major factor in California’s worsening wildfires. Human-caused ignitions and homes being built ever closer to forests have played a large role. But the connection between rising temperatures in California and tinder-dry vegetation is becoming impossible to ignore, according to experts who study climate and wildfires.

“The regional temperatures in the western U.S. have increased by 2 degrees since the 1970s,” said Jennifer Balch, director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “You’re seeing the effect of climate change.”

Neil Lareau, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, said unusual warmth is now routine, and that heat “leads to drying things out quicker.”

Vegetation can have various degrees of dryness — a wet log in the woods could smolder before puttering out, while tinder-dry chaparral on a 110-degree day could explode when ignited, Swain said. Extremely flammable vegetation can create a particularly intense fire with the potential to grow much faster — leaving less time for firefighters to get a handle on a blaze and for people to escape.

“What that means is the fire has to do less work to ignite the vegetation right next to it. And it can spread faster, and it releases energy more quickly,” Lareau said.


All Of These Climate Change Lawsuits Will Be Thrown Out

All of these climate suits are likely to be thrown out. As Judge Alsup noted in his opinion, “No plaintiff has ever succeeded in bringing a nuisance claim based on global warming.” All district or appellate courts are likely to eventually rule that climate change issues are to be decided by the federal government, not state and local governments.

Last week, a federal judge dismissed New York City’s climate change lawsuit against five major oil companies. Last month, another federal judge dismissed similar global warming claims against oil firms brought by San Francisco and Oakland. More than a dozen climate lawsuits filed during the last year by cities and counties seek billions of dollars in damages from oil and gas companies. But it appears that all of these lawsuits will eventually be thrown out.

New York City sought monetary damages from BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell as compensation for damage caused by dangerous global warming allegedly caused by the companies. But John F. Keenan, District Court judge for the Southern District of New York, disagreed and dismissed the complaint.

Judge Keenan ruled that, “…it would thus be illogical to allow the City to bring state law claims when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the Executive Branch as they require a uniform, national solution…Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the other two branches of government.”

On June 25 on the west coast, US District Judge William Alsup threw out similar suits brought by the California cities of Oakland and San Francisco. Judge Alsup stated, “…it is true that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels has caused (and will continue to cause) global warming. But against that negative, we must weigh this positive: Our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world have literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible.” Judge Alsup concluded that the courts should “defer to the legislative and executive branches.”

Note that Judge Alsup is not a conservative judge. Alsup was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1999. In January, he blocked Trump Administration efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Several other climate lawsuits are pending in California. In July of last year, San Mateo County, Marin County, and Imperial Beach filed separate suits against 37 oil and gas companies in California Superior Court. Last December, Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County also brought suits in California Superior Court against 29 companies. In January, the City of Richmond, California and the County of Contra Costa also filed claims against 29 companies.

Other state entities also initiated legal action this year. In April, the city of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel County filed a suit in Colorado against Exxon and Suncor. In May, King County Washington, the home of Seattle, filed suit against five companies. Just this month, the state of Rhode Island and the City of Baltimore filed separate climate change suits against oil and gas companies.

But all of these suits are likely to be thrown out. The New York City and the Oakland/San Francisco suits, the lawsuits with the highest profile, have now been dismissed. As Judge Alsup noted in his opinion, “No plaintiff has ever succeeded in bringing a nuisance claim based on global warming.” All district or appellate courts are likely to eventually rule that climate change issues are to be decided by the federal government, not state and local governments.

It’s clear that climate lawsuits do not reflect the will of congressional representatives elected by the American people. In December of 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty signed by 192 nations committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the US Senate passed a resolution of disapproval with a vote of 95-0, so the treaty was never submitted to the Senate for ratification. Cap and trade legislation was rejected by Congress in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. Last week the US House of Representatives passed a resolution opposing a carbon tax.

While advocates of climate common sense are pleased with the recent court decisions, the acceptance that humans are causing dangerous climate change by the oil and gas defendants is very disappointing. Evidence shows that natural factors, not emissions from industry, dominate global temperatures.

Nor are the feared climate disasters happening. Evidence shows that storms, droughts, or floods are neither more frequent nor more severe than in past decades. Oceans are rising 7-8 inches per century, not the 20 feet per century predicted by former Vice President Al Gore and others. And the polar bears are doing just fine.


Global warming is not people’s most pressing concern

Most people don’t really care, don’t think it affects them much, and don’t believe the hype

Tom Harris

In a recent interview with the Vatican News service, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore again claimed “the climate crisis is now the biggest existential challenge humanity has ever faced.”

Gore boasted, “I have been fortunate to be able to pour every ounce of energy I have into efforts to contribute to the solution to his crisis.” Ironically, Mr. Gore personally uses vast amounts of energy, often traveling in private jets, SUVs and limousines, and lives in mansions, one of which uses 21 times more electricity than the average American home.

We often hear claims that man-made climate change is our greatest threat. But according to a recent Gallup poll, very few people in the United States actually believe it is. Indeed, even the United Nations own polling reveals that respondents across the world rate climate change last among issues they would like the UN and governments to focus on. No matter how long the list, climate change is always last.

In telephone interviews conducted July 1-11, 2018 with a random sample of 1,033 adults, over the age of 18 and living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Gallup News Service asked: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” The question was “open ended,” in that any answer was accepted.

According to the respondents, the top problems facing America were “Immigration/Illegal aliens” (22%) and “Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership” (19%). Only 2% of respondents cited “Environment/Pollution.”

This 2% figure included those who mentioned climate change, as well as those who listed other environmental concerns such as ocean pollution, endangered species and toxic wastes. The fraction of Americans who labeled climate change as the nation’s most serious problem must have been very small indeed.

This sort of result is also reflected in July 5 poll reported by the New York Times. Among the main reasons young adults gave for not wanting (or not being sure they wanted) children, worries about climate change ranked #13 out of 19 reasons given. The first three reasons cited were “Want leisure time,” “Haven't found partner,” and “Can't afford child care.”

While other polls show varying levels of public concern about climate change, when people are asked to prioritize issues, climate change often does not rate highly. Even in 2014, just before then-President Barack Obama addressed the heavily publicized UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York City, Pew Research polling indicated that Americans did not consider climate change to be among the top six threats facing the country.
The UN’s own survey confirms that this trend is even more prominent internationally. After polling 9.7 million people from 194 countries, the UN’s My World global survey finds that “action taken on climate change” rates last out of the 16 suggested priorities for the agency. This despite the fact that on the survey website, the UN lists climate change action as the first choice given respondents. Access to reliable energy, better healthcare, government honesty, a good education, etc., are apparently far greater concerns to people across the world.

This should not be a surprise. In contrast to vitally important issues people must deal with on a daily basis, concerns about man-made climate change are based merely on a theoretical hypothesis, not what is happening now or even in the recent past. After all, even NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies asserts that the Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change from 1880 to 2017 is only just over one degree Celsius despite a reputed 40% rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) content. And the impact of further CO2 rise diminishes as the concentration increases.

It is not known whether the rate of sea level rise has increased or not. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s U.S. state-wide extreme weather records database, probably the best of its kind in the world, there has been no increase in extreme weather. So, the primary rationale for “action taken on climate change” through expensive restrictions to CO2 emissions is merely the possibility of dangerous climate change in the future. And this is based on computer models of future climate states, models that have failed to forecast what has actually happened.

Dr. John Christy is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama State Climatologist and Director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. During his February 2, 2016 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology, he presented a graph that dramatically demonstrates how far apart computer model temperature forecasts differ from what has actually been measured by satellites and weather balloons.

In fact, as of 2016, there was already a 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) difference between real-world temperatures and the “runaway” temperature predicted by averaging 102 climate model estimates. And yet those faulty models have become the basis for countless claims of imminent climate doom – and the foundation for policies that would replace abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy with sporadic, unpredictable, weather-dependant, expensive wind, solar and biofuel energy.

Five-year averaged values of annual mean global mid-tropospheric temperature as depicted by the average of 102 IPCC CMIP5 climate models (red), compared to the average of 3 satellite datasets (green - UAH, RSS, NOAA) and 4 balloon datasets (blue, NOAA, UKMet, RICH, RAOBCORE)

Christy told Congress, “[T]hese models failed at the simple test of telling us ‘what’ has already happened, and thus would not be in a position to give us a confident answer to ‘what’ may happen in the future and ‘why.’ As such, they would be of highly questionable value in determining policy that should depend on a very confident understanding of how the climate system works.”

To create the models requires vast amounts of weather and climate data. We also need to input accurate data as the starting conditions for model-generated forecasts to be performed.

However, the collection and interpretation of the necessary data has only just begun, says former University of Winnipeg professor and historical climatologist Dr. Tim Ball. But there are relatively few weather stations that have temperatures records of adequate length or reliability on which to base model forecasts of future climate, Ball explains.

Referring to former-President Barack Obama’s worries about dangerous future climate change, Ball concludes, “Obama’s worries therefore have absolutely no credibility in the real world.”

Ball is not alone in holding this view. Extensive analyses and reports by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) summarize thousands of studies from peer-reviewed scientific journals that debunk or cast serious doubt on the hypothesis that emissions of CO2 from human activities will cause catastrophic climate change.

Yet there is nothing hypothetical about the issues that Americans, and people all over the world, list as their top priorities. Problems with immigration and government are happening right now in America.

The issues rated highest in developing countries like Nigeria (2,735,062 Nigerians voted in the UN poll) are similarly pressing: access to a good education, better healthcare, better job opportunities, better transportation and roads, political freedom, affordable and nutritious food.

All are immediate concerns – today, to real people who understand that the world has real problems to solve: problems that affect our lives and well-being right now.

They realize we don’t have the time, money or manpower to obsess over problems that exist only in computer models, questionable news stories, or the fertile imaginations of multi-millionaires like Al Gore.

Via email

Largest US Wind Project ever, denied on the basis of economics

The Texas Public Utility Commission on Thursday unanimously rejected the project as proposed, saying it didn’t offer enough benefits for Texas ratepayers as structured.

“We are disappointed with the decision in Texas that resulted in the cancellation of the project,” PSO official Steven Pate said in a news release.

The $4.5 billion project centered on construction of a 300,000-acre wind farm — the largest in the United States — in Cimarron and Texas counties by international energy giant Invenergy. AEP and its subsidiaries would acquire the 2,000-megawatt wind farm and a 360-mile dedicated generation tie line to the Tulsa area, where it was to connect to the electrical grid for delivery to PSO customers in Oklahoma and Southwest Electric Power Co. customers in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

Tulsa World attempts to reach Invenergy for comment on the future of the wind farm Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Preapproval for cost recovery from all four states involved in the project in a timely manner to qualify the project for energy tax credits was necessary for it to move forward, according to Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Arkansas was the first to approve it, and Louisiana followed. After repeated hearings, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission had yet to rule, but the project clearly faced hurdles.

“We are disappointed that we will not be able to move forward with Wind Catcher, which was a great opportunity to provide more clean energy, lower electricity costs and a more diverse energy resource mix for our customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas,” Akins said in the press release.

The announcement came just a few hours after dozens of local landowners attended a hearing in Creek County District Court, where the landowners were mounting a challenge against PSO in refusing the company access to survey their properties for the transmission line.

“So it’s over? It’s done? That is so wonderful. That’s excellent,” resident Marta Koenig said upon hearing the news. She learned that the line might cross her property and had attended the court hearing to learn what she could, even though she had learned that the line might not cross her property after all.

“People have organized in social media and all over. There was a man in the parking lot that at his own expense had made ‘No Wind Catcher’ signs, and he was just passing them out. I brought a couple home,” she said. “It was affecting so many people that I know.”

At the morning hearing the cases of unrepresented landowners were continued and would have been rolled in for hearing with those of several families who had hired attorneys. That hearing had been set for Monday afternoon.

Alan Weeks, one of the represented landowners, said he learned from his attorney Friday afternoon that the court case was withdrawn.

Weeks and his family have a 400-acre Creek County property that they have acquired and improved upon for 18 years. He said they were crushed to learn that the line might cut diagonally across their property.

“We’ve been waiting to exhale for a long time,” Weeks said. “It feels good to breathe again knowing that a place so special to us will remain undisturbed. It’s an awesome answer to many prayers.”

Greg Ganzkow of Bixby saw the result as one of awareness and community efforts.

As a small-business owner and director of land sales for Coldwell Banker, he had many existing and potential clients who were concerned and said he saw land deals fall through as a result of uncertainty about the line. His was one of several families who hired attorneys, started a No Wind Catcher Facebook page that had 1,200 members, and encouraged the Bixby City Council to oppose the giant generation tie line, which would have been the largest power line west of the Mississippi.

“I think Bixby really made a difference. It was one of the first big dominoes that went,” he said. “Bixby showed other communities, other people, that we could fight this. It surged the movement forward.”

He praised neighbors to the south. “Texas has tremendous backbone and immediately sniffed this out,” Ganzkow said. “In Louisiana and Arkansas they weren’t going to have the wind turbines and the big transmission line. They didn’t have much to lose, and it didn’t touch as many customers. In Oklahoma the whole thing was just so polluted with the campaign about how great it would be for everyone.

“This is just a really big win for the landowners and the people,” he said. “It was a David versus Goliath thing, and we really have the media to thank for listening to the David part of that David and Goliath battle, too.”

Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma, the state’s largest free-market advocacy group, was an early opponent of the project and welcomed the news Friday.

“The project was a boondoggle from the beginning,” it said in a statement. “Thousands of activists and landowners from across Oklahoma spoke out against this project. Whether because of the cost, the impact to their property or the future impact to ratepayers, they were vocal in opposition to the project and their efforts were invaluable to help kill the project.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter also expressed concerns about the project from its first airing.

“I commend the Texas Public Utility Commission for its sound and sensible ruling,” he said in his own statement. “We have said from the beginning PSO failed on several fronts to qualify for pre-approval and cost recovery of this project, including its failure to comply with the (Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s) rules for competitive bidding, the inability to show a need for the generation capacity and unrealistic assumptions of ratepayer savings.”

Hunter said his office was not critical of the companies or wind power but the plan.

“PSO has proven itself as one of our state’s most valuable corporate citizens. We look forward to them continuing to provide quality service to thousands of Oklahomans for many years to come. We also look forward to working with them on future rate cases to keep customers’ rates reasonable, and PSO’s parent company, American Electric Power, attractive to investors,” he said.

Akins, of AEP, emphasized that the plan had always relied upon pre-approval and said the company will continue to grow in spite of this outcome.

“To realize the full benefits of Wind Catcher for customers, timely approvals were required from all jurisdictions so we could complete the project by the end of 2020 and be eligible for 100 percent of the federal production tax credit,” he said. “The strategic investments we are making in our regulated businesses will continue to support our 5 percent to 7 percent earnings growth rate. We are investing in a cleaner, smarter energy system for our customers and will continue to pursue opportunities to provide the new energy resources and technology solutions that bring value to our customers.”


Not everything is a feminist issue

Even climate change is now looked at through a gendered lens.

Feminism is no longer a specific political outlook, with specific issues attached. No, today it seems that everything is a feminist issue, from adverts on the Tube to the level of air-conditioning in an office. Thinking about buying a razor? There’s a feminist issue to be considered there, too.

But this week’s announcement that former Irish president and UN high commissioner Mary Robinson is launching a ‘feminist fight against climate change’ really takes the biscuit. Along with comedian Maeve Higgins, Robinson is hosting a new podcast called Mothers of Invention, which insists that ‘climate change is a manmade problem that requires a feminist solution’. Climate change, Robinson argues, is an issue which ‘affects women far more’, because ‘women are more likely to die in a climate disaster, and day to day they are the ones cooking on solid-fuel stoves that can ultimately poison them’.

Climate change is only the latest in a long line of political issues which have been rebranded feminist issues. At the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015, many news outlets focused on the plight of women despite the fact that the vast majority of migrants were young men. Earlier this year, the United Nations Population Fund published ‘Five reasons migration is a feminist issue’. The first reason is that ‘almost half of migrants are women and girls’. No3 is that women ‘face double discrimination – as women and as migrants’.

Poverty is also now a feminist issue, because of ‘period poverty’: the idea that some young women are so poverty-stricken they can’t access sanitary products. This is a favoured cause among many feminist commentators and MPs. Scottish Labour Party politician Danielle Rowley made a speech in parliament in June describing the plight of women who can’t afford the ‘£500 annual cost’ of sanitary products. Leaving aside the fact that Rowley’s ridiculous sum indicates she must be buying her tampons in Harrods, the idea that poor families don’t provide for their daughters’ basic hygiene needs is pretty insulting.

This desire constantly to gender political issues reveals modern feminism’s inability to extend solidarity. spiked has often been critical of the politics around climate change, but any discussion of how to make the planet a more habitable, functional place should surely include everyone. No moral person hears about the tragic deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean and feels more sorry for the female victims. And no one only expresses solidarity with struggling working people on the basis of their alleged inability to buy sanitary products.

Feminists today suggest that women’s experience of life and politics is inherently different to that of men. But what they don’t seem to understand is that a female migrant will have more in common with her fellow travellers than she would with a UN official in spike heels, and a girl from Tottenham will have more in common with the boy living next door to her than with a retweet-hungry Scottish MP waxing lyrical about sanitary pads.

We need to stop making everything a feminist issue. If we want to get serious about changing the world, let’s stop feeding the gender war.




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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