Thursday, August 23, 2018

Sea level rise is already costing property owners on the coast

This is a thoroughly dishonest piece of writing below.  The key word -- subsidence -- is not mentioned once.  There is a great deal of subsidence -- sinking of the ground -- on the East coast in both the USA and England -- particularly in Florida.  And we read here that Charleston land IS part of that sinking.  So it is reasonable to dismiss the  attribution to climate change below.  Subsidence could of course be due to both effects but the article below is too biased to be a guide to anything

Elizabeth Boineau's 1939 Colonial sits a block and a half from the Ashley River in a sought-after neighborhood of ancient live oaks, charming gardens and historic homes. A year ago, she thought she could sell it for nearly $1 million. But after dropping the price 11 times, Boineau has decided to tear it down.

In March, the city's Board of Architectural Review approved the demolition — a decision not taken lightly in Charleston's historic district.

"Each time that I was just finishing up paying off the bills, another flood would hit," Boineau said.

Boineau is one of many homeowners on the front lines of society's confrontation with climate change, living in houses where rising sea levels have worsened flooding not just in extreme events like hurricanes, but also heavy rains and even high tides. Now, three studies have found evidence that the threat of higher seas is also undermining coastal property values, as home buyers — particularly investors — begin the retreat to higher ground.

On a broad scale, the effect is subtle, the studies show. The sea has risen about eight inches since 1900, and the pace is accelerating, with three inches accumulating since 1993, according to a comprehensive federal climate report released last year. Scientists predict the oceans will rise another three to seven inches by 2030, and as much as 4.3 feet by 2100.

In addition, the overall effect on prices appears to be surprisingly small, said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"You could turn it around, almost," Wachter said. "Despite all the discussion of sea level rise, and despite the tremendous increase in the number of events over the last years and the destructiveness of the events, coastal building continues and coastal property appreciation continues."

Indeed, beachfront property is not necessarily declining in value. Rather, the studies suggest that more-exposed properties - including properties that have not yet experienced direct flooding - simply are not appreciating as rapidly as their inland neighbors.

Boineau lives in Harleston Village, one of the neighborhoods that has been hardest hit. In October 2015, flooding on the Ashley River damaged gardens and homes after an extreme rain event dropped about 20 inches on the city. Not a month later, an 8.7-foot tide flooded the neighborhood again.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew drove a 6-foot storm surge into the city. And in 2017, the remnants of Hurricane Irma again flooded some Harleston Village homes, including Boineau's.

"I definitely feel like something has changed," Boineau said when asked about sea level rise and whether flooding in Charleston is getting worse. "And I think that we all have a lot to be concerned about."

"There was no discussion of flooding when we moved into this house in 2004," said Susan Lyons, 75, a retired journalist who lives two blocks from the river and has had to file insurance claims three times to replace flood-damaged ducts. "We've all been blown away by the amount of water that comes from the river."

Boineau put her house on the market last August priced just shy of $1 million, after repairs from two straight years of flooding that had come up under the house but left the interior largely unaffected. Then in September, the remnants of Hurricane Irma inundated the first floor of the house with 8 inches of water.

Even when a property has flooded, local real estate agents said homeowners can reassure buyers by waterproofing electrical systems, moving ductwork and, at the extreme, elevating the entire house — a pricey endeavor.

Boineau made ductwork and other repairs after the first two flooding events, but after the third, she dropped the price down to $599,900 and went through a lengthy process to get permission for demolition.

Now, Boineau says, a new buyer can build a new elevated property on the lot. When that's done, her real estate agent, Robin Reeves, said the property should "go for 1.3 to 1.4 million dollars."


The Facts about China’s Energy Commitments

Anybody who thinks China is rapidly shifting to renewable energy needs to look at the latest electricity data from the China Energy Portal.

Whilst wind and solar generation has increased by 51 TWh year-on-year in Q2, thermal has increased by 176.9 TWh.

It was a similar situation in Q1:

To put the figures into perspective, total generation in Q2 was 3194 TWh, so the increase of 51 TWh from wind/solar represents just 1.6%. However, because total generation increased by 245 TWh, demand for coal and gas generation increased even more.

In total, wind and solar accounted for 6.6% of generation in the quarter, compared to 5.5% a year ago.

Year-on-year, installed thermal capacity has risen by 4.1%, following an increase of 4.6% in 2017.


The changing climate of science

By Anthony J. Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist 

Have mathematical models replaced good old-fashioned scientific testing?

An understanding of the big picture in a field of study helps to frame and give essential perspective to that field. Take the field of natural science for instance. A big-picture look at the overall operation of the natural science profession has traditionally been seen in the “scientific method,” which consists of observation, hypothesis and testing. Rigorous testing of a hypothesis eventually leads to a “theory.”

This makes sense from an objective point of view. Although there is no particular set order to the arrangement of observation-hypothesis-testing, a good example of scientific practice would be the observation of a phenomenon in nature, hypothesizing the cause of the phenomenon, then testing (many times in many ways) the hypothesis. Sufficient confirmation of the hypothesis results in a theory that is tentative, subject to any future negation.

Of late, mathematical modeling, an essential investigative tool, appears to have taken over the world of natural science. And with the ascension of modeling, the focus in scientific endeavors — particularly in the practice of atmospheric science — may have shifted away from the rigor of testing to verify a hypothesis and toward constructing a model to represent a theory.

Here’s a climatic example of the traditional observation-hypothesis-testing arrangement. Based on an observation of increasing global average temperatures over a decade, a hypothesis may be proposed, such as: “Excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere will lead to long-term, catastrophic, global warming.” Given the extended nature of climate, which is officially based on 30-year means, a reasonable testing period can be set up to see if the hypothesis can be substantiated.

This example fairly matches recent history. With the milestone 30-year anniversary of the declaration by James Hansen of NASA at a June 1988 congressional hearing that “the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now,” there has been a minimal amount of time to begin to test the hypothesis of disastrous climate change.

So far, comparing dramatically increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 with a substantially smaller than expected increase in global average temperatures and typically mixed extreme weather events across the globe, it can certainly be said that the jury is still out on what long-term catastrophic effects, if any, increasing CO2 has on the planet.

Yet, climate hysteria continues with increasing alarm. After all, the worst is yet to come, so say climate crusaders buttressed by their faith in climate models — the same models that performed dubiously when predicting the global-mean temperature trend during the past 30 years.

At least part of the problem of predicting reality can be attributed to the apparent abandonment of the observation-hypothesis-testing construct and replacing the hypothesis component with theory and the testing component with modeling.

And yet, models have a big role to play in our understanding of the atmosphere.

In the introduction to his acclaimed book, “A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming” (MIT Press, 2010), Professor Paul Edwards, a supporter of the “consensus” view of climate change, asserts that “Everything we know about the world’s climate — past, present, and future — we know through models.” He also notes that “without models, there are no data.”

Models have become integral to modern scientific practice. In many fields, Edwards says “computer models complement or even replace laboratory experiments; analysis and simulation models have become principal means of data collection, prediction, and decision making.”

Such is the contemporary world of science aided by the powerful tool of modern computers. The three basic components of the scientific method — observation, hypothesis, and testing — still hold, but in many cases the testing portion has been abetted, if not in some cases usurped, by models.

Still, when it comes to running models to foresee the Earth’s distant future climate, the eminent atmospheric scientist, Reid Bryson, probably gave the best observation: Making a forecast is easy. Being right is the hard part.


Plastic Bans: More Harm than Help

In Santa Barbara, Calif., restaurant workers caught serving a banned plastic straw after their first offense can get six months in jail. That penalty may be hard to top, but cities anxious about their environmental impact may be willing to try. Next July, San Francisco will outdo Seattle’s recent prohibition on plastic straws in bars and restaurants by banning the straws completely. Such efforts, however, are fundamentally misguided, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart and Policy Fellow Brian Isom.

“The substitutes for plastic cost substantially more without being significantly better for the environment,” Shughart and Isom write in an op-ed running in the Sacramento Bee and elsewhere. Paper straws are far more expensive than plastic straws (as much as 22 percent costlier). Moreover, paper substitutes often leave a significantly greater environmental footprint than the plastic versions they’re meant to replace (in the case of shopping bags, up to 43 times more impactful, according to the Danish environmental agency).

Governments can do better than enacting costly mandates of dubious benefit. “If lawmakers want to promote meaningful change,” Shughart and Isom write, “they should focus on creating incentives and good institutions for managing plastic waste and leave it to private businesses to change the way Americans consume plastic.” Above all, they should avoid “unduly burdening smaller businesses and the people who work for them,” the authors conclude.


Australia: Massive solar farm plan has residents up in arms over project that would be bigger than their town

Residents in the Camperdown district in south-west Victoria are concerned about the scale of a solar farm proposed to be built on farmland near the town.

Camperdown, population 3,300, covers about four square kilometres.

The planned Bookaar Solar Farm, to be located 10km north-west of the town, would occupy about six square kilometres.

"It's unbelievable," local dairy farmer Andrew Duynhoven said of the size of the solar farm.

"The sheer scale of this … it's actually bigger than Camperdown itself."

Mr Duynhoven is part of a growing group of residents concerned about renewable energy company Infinergy Pacific's ambitions in the region.

Power of the sun

The Bookaar Solar Farm would feature 700,000 panels, each measuring about two metres by one metre and standing four metres high.

It would be capable of generating roughly 200 megawatts of electricity, or enough to "supply clean energy to power the equivalent of 80,000 average Victorian homes each year", according to Infinergy Pacific's planning application.

The developer's website states the solar farm would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 400,000 tonnes and save about 700,000 megalitres of water compared to a coal-fired power station.

The plans for the project have been put out for public comment by Corangamite Shire Council, with councillors expected to consider their next step regarding the proposal at their September meeting.

Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard said she and her fellow councillors would take on board any concerns raised by residents.  "With any project when involved with agricultural land, it's always going to be questioned," Cr Beard said.

"That's no different to whether it's been a tourism project we've looked at, or even people wanting to subdivide — it always comes back to what are the implications [for] farming land. "From what I can gather so far, that has certainly been the big question."

Conflicts of interest

One councillor who won't be involved in the decision-making process is Bev McArthur. The proposed solar farm is on land owned by her family.

Cr Beard said Cr McArthur declared a conflict of interest and had not been part of any council discussions or briefings on the project.

Cr McArthur may not be part of the council for long though — she was preselected by the Victorian Liberal party last weekend for the Upper House seat of Western District, potentially taking the seat that was occupied by outgoing MP Simon Ramsay.

Cr McArthur refused to answer questions about the planned solar farm.

Mr Duynhoven and the newly formed group opposing the project have a shopping list of concerns and queries.

These include visual amenity, road use during construction, glint and glare, fire risk and firefighting access concerns, the effect of night lighting, the impact on wildlife, drainage issues, noise, nearby property devaluations, and the possibility of micro-climate changes.

But one of the main concerns the group has is the loss of prime agricultural land. "[Most of Australia is] in drought — we're not in drought so we're the food bowl," he said. "We're the most secure food producing [area in Australia].

"[If they approve] this large-scale solar farm, what precedent does it set in the protection of prime agricultural land?"

The planning permit application seeks to address many of the groups claims, saying that noise and glint would be minimal, drainage would not be impacted, and visual amenity would be somewhat mitigated by a vegetation screen.

Bookaar Solar Farm project manager Richard Seymour said proponents of the project were working with the CFA to write up a fire plan.

Mr Seymour confirmed the site was previously earmarked for a wind farm, but when the proponents dropped out, "Infinergy Pacific assessed the feasibility of site and concluded that a solar farm would be the most appropriate form of development".

He said the property had "characteristics that make it a good place for a solar farm" such as flat topography, nearby transmission lines, good sunlight, and no significant environmental constraints.




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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