Sunday, March 17, 2019

Scientists warn rising temperatures in the Arctic are now 'locked in' and could lead to catastrophic climate change 'tipping point'

Utter rubbish.  The Arctic ice just goes up and down with no long-term trend and quite out of synchrony with global temperatures.  We know of active vulcanism under it and that is clearly the major influence

Even emissions cuts outlined in the Paris Agreement won't be enough to prevent an uptick in Arctic temperatures set to raise sea levels across the globe, says a report released by the United Nations this week.

According to the report, even if the world were to meet these benchmarks, temperatures in the Arctic would continue to rise by another 3-5 degrees Celsius by 2050.

'What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic,' said Joyce Msuya, UN Environment’s Acting Executive Director.

'We have the science; now more urgent climate action is needed to steer away from tipping points that could be even worse for our planet than we first thought.'

The results of that temperature change could spell out drastic reductions in already rapidly waning sea ice and result in changing landscapes across the world.

According to the report, an estimated 4 million people are set to be affected by the thaw worldwide.

'The urgency to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement is clearly manifested in the Arctic, because it is one of the most vulnerable and rapidly changing regions in the world,' said the Finnish Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Kimmo Tiilikainen in a statement.

'We need to make substantial near-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, black carbon and other so-called short-lived climate pollutants all over the world.'

Since 1979, the world's sea ice has declined by 40 percent and if emissions rates continue, researchers say the arctic could be completely ice free by some time in the 2030's. 

Further compounding the danger of rapidly melting Arctic ice, is the a phenomenon known as 'positive feedback.'

As the sea ice melts, according to scientists, carbon that is trapped in the permafrost is released into the atmosphere, further accelerating the warming process.

Scientists say there is an estimated 1.67 billion metric tons of carbon currently trapped in the Arctic's frozen soil and ice.

If that carbon were to be released, the report says it could imperil the Paris Accord's benchmark of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.


Decades of climate-change exaggeration in the West have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and unrealistic political promises

Bjørn Lomborg*

Across the rich world, school students have walked out of classrooms and taken to the streets to call for action against climate change. They are inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who blasts the media and political leaders for ignoring global warming and wants us to “panic.” A global day of action is planned for March 15.

Although the students’ passion is admirable, their focus is misguided. This is largely the fault of adults, who must take responsibility for frightening children unnecessarily about climate change. It is little wonder that kids are scared when grown-ups paint such a horrific picture of global warming.

For starters, leading politicians and much of the media have prioritised climate change over other issues facing the planet. Last September, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described climate change as a “direct existential threat” that may become a “runaway” problem. Just last month, The New York Times ran a front-page commentary on the issue with the headline “Time to Panic.” And some prominent politicians, as well as many activists, have taken the latest reportfrom the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to suggest the world will come to an end in just 12 years.

This normalization of extreme language reflects decades of climate-change alarmism. The most famous clip from Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth showed how a 20-foot rise in sea level would flood Florida, New York, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Shanghai – omitting the fact that this was seven times worse than the worst-case scenario.

A separate report that year described how such alarmism “might even become secretly thrilling – effectively a form of ‘climate porn.’” And in 2007, The Washington Post reported that “for many children and young adults, global warming is the atomic bomb of today.”

When the language stops being scary, it gets ramped up again. British environmental campaigner George Monbiot, for example, has suggested that the term “climate change” is no longer adequate and should be replaced by “catastrophic climate breakdown.”

Educational materials often don’t help, either. One officially endorsed geography textbook in the United Kingdom suggests that global warming will be worse than famine, plague, or nuclear war, while Education Scotland has recommended The Day After Tomorrow as suitable for climate-change education. This is the film, remember, in which climate change leads to a global freeze and a 50-foot wall of water flooding New York, man-eating wolves escape from the zoo, and – spoiler alert – Queen Elizabeth II’s frozen helicopter falls from the sky.

Reality would sell far fewer newspapers. Yes, global warming is a problem, but it is nowhere near a catastrophe. The IPCC estimates that the total impact of global warming by the 2070s will be equivalent to an average loss of income of 0.2-2% – similar to one recession over the next half-century. The panel also says that climate change will have a “small” economic impact compared to changes in population, age, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation, and governance.

And while media showcase the terrifying impacts of every hurricane, the IPCC finds that “globally, there is low confidence in attribution of changes in [hurricanes] to human influence.” What’s more, the number of hurricanes that make landfall in the United States has decreased, as has the number of strong hurricanes. Adjusted for population and wealth, hurricane costs show “no trend,” according to a new study published in Nature.

Another Nature study shows that although climate change will increase hurricane damage, greater wealth will make us even more resilient. Today, hurricanes cost the world 0.04% of GDP, but in 2100, even with global warming, they will cost half as much, or 0.02% of GDP. And, contrary to breathless media reports, the relative global cost of all extreme weather since 1990 has been declining, not increasing.

Perhaps even more astoundingly, the number of people dying each year from weather-related catastrophes has plummeted 95% over the past century, from almost a half-million to under 20,000 today – while the world’s population has quadrupled.

Meanwhile, decades of fearmongering have gotten us almost nowhere. What they have done is prompt grand political gestures, such as the unrealistic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that almost every country has promised under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. In total, these cuts will cost $1-2 trillion per year. But the sum total of all these promises is less than 1% of what is needed, and recent analysis shows that very few countries are actually meeting their commitments.

In this regard, the young protesters have a point: the world is failing to solve climate change. But the policy being pushed – even bigger promises of faster carbon cuts – will also fail, because green energy still isn’t ready. Solar and wind currently provide less than 1% of the world’s energy, and already require subsidies of $129 billion per year. The world must invest more in green-energy research and development eventually to bring the prices of renewables below those of fossil fuels, so that everyone will switch.

And although media reports describe the youth climate protests as “global,” they have taken place almost exclusively in wealthy countries that have overcome more pressing issues of survival. A truly global poll shows that climate change is people’s lowest priority, far behind health, education, and jobs.

In the Western world, decades of climate-change exaggeration have produced frightened children, febrile headlines, and grand political promises that aren’t being delivered. We need a calmer approach that addresses climate change without scaring us needlessly and that pays heed to the many other challenges facing the planet.


Motivated Or Manipulated? Rise Of Youth Climate Activism Fuels Alarm Over Exploitation

Kids are fast becoming the face of the climate change movement as teenagers, ‘tweens and even younger children file lawsuits, stage walkouts, and lobby lawmakers.

But newly released documents have raised questions about whether the students are being motivated or manipulated.

A cache of emails released Wednesday on Climate Litigation Watch showed that top climate activists at the 2012 La Jolla strategy session sought to involve children in a legal and civil offensive against the fossil fuel industry, which would include worldwide marches from the “youth climate movement.”

Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Christopher C. Horner, who obtained the emails via an open-records request with the University of Oregon, said the presentation contained in the email is more evidence that students have been used as props.

“It turns out that the frenzied street theater of children’s marches and schoolkids’ strikes was laid out behind closed doors years ago, at the organizational meeting of what became a climate litigation industry,” Mr. Horner said in an email.

Thousands of student activists are preparing to skip class Friday for the Youth Climate Strike, an international protest led by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who was nominated Wednesday by three Norwegian Socialist Left Party lawmakers for a Nobel Peace Prize.

“The adults have failed us,” Greta, 16, said in a statement. “And since most of them, including the press and the politicians, keep ignoring the situation, we must take action into our own hands.”

The U.S. student walkout has the blessing of more than a dozen leading liberal and climate groups, including former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, which organized the La Jolla gathering.

The slides presented at the closed-door meeting by University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood proposed “atmospheric trust litigation” that would be “linked to youth climate movement [worldwide marches]” and include “stories of youth plaintiffs.”

Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the group stands by the efforts at the La Jolla workshop, which created a blueprint for legal challenges to the fossil fuel industry based on the anti-tobacco litigation of the 1990s.

“We published and posted online a summary workshop report,” Mr. Frumhoff said in an email. “We were pleased that leading experts in atmospheric trust litigation were able to join us for the conference and present their important work.”

He added, “And we strongly support and stand with the tens of thousands of youths across the world who are calling for long-overdue government action on climate change.”

Also backing the Youth Climate Strike are 150 scientists who signed a letter commending the students as they “recognize the battle for their future.”

“Without aggressive action to reduce humanity’s carbon emissions, these students can expect to bear witness to a world we can’t fully imagine yet,” said the letter, whose signatories include Penn State atmospheric sciences professor Michael E. Mann.

James Taylor, a senior fellow for environment and climate policy at the free-market Heartland Institute, said those egging on the youths with fears of imminent global disaster “should be ashamed of themselves.”

“They’re putting the emotional and mental health of young people at risk so they can use them as pawns for their own political agendas,” said Mr. Taylor. “[They] should be allowed to be children, should be allowed to enjoy life. And certainly it’s good that they’re aware of scientific and political issues, but to use them in a manner that has them fearing they’re not going to have an inhabitable world is borderline abusive.”

climate protest kids youth

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano said the emails show that “climate activists have long planned on using schoolkids to agitate for their fear campaign and regulatory ‘solutions.’”

“These kids have been indoctrinated in climate doomsday nonsense since kindergarten, and now they are being encouraged to skip school so that the federal government can ‘solve’ climate change,” Mr. Morano said in an email.

Young climate activists are increasingly making news. A group of children and teens drew headlines last month for confronting Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, urging her to support the Green New Deal resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat. They pushed back when Ms. Feinstein said the legislation was unaffordable and wouldn’t pass.

On the legal front, moving through the court system is Juliana v. United States, an ambitious 2015 lawsuit filed by 21 youth plaintiffs to stop the fossil fuel industry. They were recruited by Oregon lawyer Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust.

Lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana, now a University of Oregon student and the others were featured in a profile last week on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” The youngest is now 11.

“This case is everything. This is the climate case,” Ms. Juliana said. “We have everything to lose, if we don’t act on climate change right now, my generation and all the generations to come.”

Mr. Morano criticized the national exposure. He said “the children should be kept out of the media as much as possible to limit their exploitation by the environmental left. Sadly, the media, led by ‘60 Minutes,’ instead chooses to promote their manipulation in glowing segments.”

Environmentalists argue that it’s appropriate for children to be front and center, given that they will suffer the most from any catastrophic consequences from rising greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

“Simply put, young millennials and Gen Z-ers have seen the adults who are supposed to be steering the planet hesitate, stumble, and make excuses on one of the issues that will shape their future, steering the planet right toward catastrophe,” the Climate Reality Project said in a Tuesday post.

“They’ve had enough,” the project said. “And no wonder — it’s their future on the line. So if adults aren’t going to act on their own, young people will make them.”


Green energy failed the polar vortex test

The recent polar vortex of extremely cold weather this winter tested Green New Deal policies, and they failed miserably. Many Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and several presidential candidates, support a Green New Deal, which would phase out the use of all coal, natural gas, and oil and replace them with green energy. Proving just how wrongheaded those policies are, solar and wind power performed very poorly during the storm while coal, natural gas, and nuclear power helped keep the lights and heat on for the vast majority of people.

Just how bad was green energy’s performance during the storm? In an area stretching from Minnesota to Iowa, wind turbines went from supplying about half of the electricity one day to providing less than 3 percent the next. What caused this dramatic swing in energy output? Most turbines automatically shut down once temperatures reach -20 degrees. Even worse, not only did the turbines stop producing power, but they also consumed power for heat to avoid damage. Solar energy production also collapsed. Due to snow cover, Xcel Energy’s solar panels only produced eight to ten percent of their potential output.

In addition to the massive problems with green energy production, there were also some problems with natural gas. Natural gas-powered plants were hampered in their efforts to generate more electricity due, in part, to freeze-offs. Freeze-offs occur in cold weather when water and other liquids freeze at natural gas wells, and they can cause natural gas shortages and price spikes. Freeze-offs are just one more reason why more pipelines are needed, but the left still opposes them.

Because of the energy production problems, businesses and consumers were asked to reduce their energy use. This is called demand response. For example, Xcel Energy asked some Minnesota residents to turn down their thermostats to 55 degrees; other Minnesotans were asked to turn down their heat to 63 degrees; and the Michigan governor asked most state residents to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees. In response to requests like these, GM shuttered thirteen facilities; Fiat Chrysler closed two plants; and Ford cut back production at three facilities.

Environmentalists seem to think that demand response is a perfectly fine way to deal with extremely cold weather. Of course, this overlooks the fact that workers at shut down businesses might need their missing wages and that some people, including many of the elderly, get cold easily so turning their heat down is more than a minor inconvenience.

The goal should be to build a robust electric grid that is capable of meeting demand on the hottest summer days and the coldest winter nights, with additional reserves to cover contingencies. Just planning to have sufficient power to handle normal circumstances and then urging people to muddle through harsh weather in the northern U.S. is not acceptable.

To deal with the intermittent supply of solar and wind power, some green energy supporters are advocating for connecting regional grids into a national grid. By connecting the regional grids, grid operators would have more options for avoiding outages and dealing with excess energy. While a national grid may or may not be a good idea, environmentalists often oppose the high-voltage lines that would likely be used to connect the regional grids.

The facts are clear from the polar vortex. Even in the worst of conditions, coal and nuclear power are very reliable; natural gas is less so, but it is still fairly reliable. On the other hand, green energy is very unreliable, and depending upon it is both foolish and dangerous. Of course, liberals will learn nothing from this storm and will continue to push for the costly Green New Deal. To protect lives and our economy, these policies must be defeated.


Here Are 5 Hysterical Environmentalist Claims in Modern History

Panics over looming environmental and climate apocalypse have been with us for a long time. Thomas Malthus famously predicted in his 1798 book “An Essay on the Principle of Population” that population growth would overtake food supply and mass starvation would result unless population controls were implemented.

Of course, his predictions were utterly wrong, since free enterprise greatly increased the food supply as the population increased.

The modern environmentalist movement has picked up a Malthusian ethos of its own and, when combined with the politics of climate change, has produced numerous egregiously wrong predictions about global trends.

Here are five of the biggest misses:

1. Population Bomb to Cause Global Famine by 2000

The first Earth Day, in 1970, was filled with hyperbole and exaggerations about mankind’s future. Much of the craziness was unearthed in a remarkable expose in 2000 by Reason contributor Ronald Bailey.

One of the most common ideas, in a throwback to Malthus, was that the global food supply simply couldn’t keep up with population growth.

Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University—now named the University of North Texas—wrote about how mass starvation was in the world’s near-term future. Gunter spoke in language that should be all too familiar to those who have paid attention to the debate over climate change in modern times:

Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. … By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.

Ah, yes, all the scientists agree that the world will end by the year 2000.

Of course, this didn’t come to pass. In fact, a remarkable reduction in poverty has occurred around the globe since 1970. A chart published by Human Progress demonstrated just how dramatically global hunger has decreased in the past few decades.

2. Air Pollution Will Be So Bad That City Dwellers Will Have to Wear Gas Masks

Another grand prediction at Earth Day 1970 (it was full of doozies) was that the air pollution problem common to many American cities would continue to get exponentially worse without widespread government control of the American way of life.

One particularly extreme claim came from the January 1970 edition of Life magazine, as quoted by Bailey:

Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support … the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution [and] by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.

Again, such remarkable accuracy from these all-knowing scientists.

This didn’t happen, in part due to federal, state, and local restrictions on emissions. But it had much more to do with the general societal response to the problem.

Wealthier, more prosperous societies simply have more means and more of an inclination to make trade-offs to enjoy cleaner air. Free societies such as the United States found ways to reduce pollutants as a means to improve quality of life.

It’s very different in countries like, say, China, where pollution in some cities is unbearable due to the developing nature of the country combined with the authoritarian nature of government, which is more preoccupied with growth in gross domestic product than the comfort and well-being of individual citizens.

The fact is, free societies began solving this problem long ago, and our cities have become much better, not worse.

3.  Entire Nations Could Be Wiped Out by 1999

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., a self-avowed socialist, recently claimed that the world would end in 12 years if we don’t radically transform our economy to combat climate change.

The decadelong window of pronounced doom seems to be a favorite among climate alarmists.

A recently resurfaced report from the Associated Press shows how an almost identical, but more precise, prediction was once made by a high-ranking United Nations official in 1989.

AP reported: “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.”

Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, claimed in 1989 that human beings had a mere 10 years to stop the effects of global warming.

Brown said: “Ecological refugees will become a major concern, and what’s worse is you may find that people can move to drier ground, but the soils and the natural resources may not support life. Africa doesn’t have to worry about land, but would you want to live in the Sahara?”

Brown pronounced doom for Canada and the United States, where the entire East Coast would be flooded and conditions would be like the 1930s Dust Bowl.

But fear not, Brown did offer hope to humanity: He also predicted that the Soviet Union might produce “bumper crops” during this time.

4.  Ice Caps Will Melt Away

Predictions about the polar ice caps melting have been common. Dramatic pictures of polar bears floating on tiny icebergs have been some of the iconic images of the climate change movement.

Former Vice President Al Gore said at a conference in 2009 that a scientist predicted a “75 percent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice free within five to seven years.”

In 2014, the ice caps were still there. In fact, it’s 2019 and the ice caps are still there.

Gore wasn’t the only one to make such bold prognostications about the future of Arctic ice.

In his book “A Farewell to Ice,” Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, predicted that polar ice in the Arctic would be gone by mid-decade.

Not only have the ice caps survived these predictions of doom, but they have occasionally grown in size. Between 2012 and 2016, Arctic ice increased from an average of 2.2 million square miles to 3.3 million square miles, according to The Telegraph.

5.  The Coming Ice Age

In 1958, Betty Friedan, one of the leading thinkers of radical, modern feminism, wrote an article in Harper’s magazine describing the “coming ice age.”

It seems the mixing of climate science and radical left-wing politics is nothing new.

Friedan based her article on the work of two scientists, geophysicist Maurice Ewing, director of Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory, and geologist-meteorologist William Donn.

She explained how these scientists foresaw American port cities being drowned by rising oceans, and how a giant glacier would cover Europe and North America. The scientists described conditions by which the earth would dramatically warm and then cool, sending us into another ice age.

These scientists were more cautious in their predictions than others, but this didn’t stop Friedan from speculating that, based on their calculations about the rate of warming, a layman could conclude that “the Arctic Ocean will be open and the Ice Age [will] begin in another twenty years.”

As Iain Calder wrote in Newsmax, this was just part of a tide of predictions about how a looming ice age soon was going to plunge the world into a deep freeze. Calder wrote:

Between 1973 and 1977 the great Time magazine had a number of blaring Page One covers like: ‘The Cooling of America,’ ‘The Big Freeze’ and ‘How to Survive the Coming Ice Age’ (with a subhead: ‘Things You Can Do to Make a Difference.’)

Needless to say, despite the chilly winter, the ice caps are still with us and the new ice age hasn’t come.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from all of these predictions, it’s not that scientists are always wrong or that we shouldn’t be good stewards of the environment. Instead, we should treat extreme predictions with skepticism, especially if they mean upending our way of life.

We should be particularly suspicious of schemes such as the Green New Deal, which would entirely derail the American economy and place it under the power of government.

One way or another, free societies will do a better job of adapting to any change in climate than the Venezuelas of the world, where the folly of man causes starvation and not natural disaster.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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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