Friday, May 24, 2019

Illegal ozone-depleting gases traced to rogue factories in eastern China

The science behind the claim that CFCs cause the ozone hole has been drastically revised so it is no surprise that the hole is NOT shrinking.  It oscillates but it was at its biggest in 2015, many years after it was supposed to start shrinking.  So China is doing no harm

Industries in northeastern China have spewed large quantities of an ozone-depleting gas into the atmosphere in violation of an international treaty, global scientists say.

And it’s slowing down the rate of recovery for the hole in the crucial ozone layer.

The ozone layer is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that essentially act as a shield and absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

So when scientists discovered in 1985 that there was a hole in it over Antarctica and Australia, it was very unsettling news.

After that, we all got together and banned the use of harmful gases that depleted Earth’s protective layer in the 1987 Montreal Protocol and ever since it has more-or-less been on a slow recovery ever since.

China is a signatory of the Montreal Protocol but it looks as if the country hasn’t been keeping up its end of the bargain.

Since 2013 annual emissions from northeastern China of a banned chemical called CFC-11 have increased by about 7000 tonnes, researchers reported overnight in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“This increase accounts for a substantial fraction (at least 40 to 60 per cent) of the global rise in CFC-11 emissions,” they wrote.

Before it was phased out CFC-11, or Chlorofluorocarbon-11, was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s as a refrigerant and to make foam insulation. The chemical is a major cause of ozone depletion.

Ever since the ban, the concentration of the chemical in the atmosphere has been steadily declining but last year startled scientists discovered that the pace of that slowdown dropped by half from 2013 to 2017. Because the chemical does not occur in nature, the change could only have been produced by new emissions.

Using high-frequency atmospheric observations from Gosan, South Korea, and Hateruma, Japan, together with global monitoring data and atmospheric chemical transport model simulations, researchers investigated the likely culprit and have pointed the finger at eastern China.

Reports last year from the Environmental Investigation Agency fingered Chinese foam factories in the coastal province of Shandong and the inland province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

Suspicions were strengthened when authorities subsequently shut down some of these facilities without explanation.

Manufacturers have said they continued to use the banned product because of its better quality and cheaper price.

The New York Times reported that some factories were producing the gas in secret, while other manufacturers said the local governments turned a blind eye.

“It wasn’t entirely a surprise,” said Matthew Rigby, lead author of the study and Reader in Atmospheric Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

Paul Fraser, an honorary fellow at Australia’s CSIRO Climate Science Centre and co-author of the paper said while eastern China accounted for about half of the rise in CFC-11, global scientists don’t have the technology in place to monitor large parts of the rest of the world.

Along with other scientists, he presented the data last year to Chinese authorities and is optimistic action will be taken to reduce the harm done by the emissions.

“They were concerned, it was clear I think ... that they were going to tackle this issue,” he told ABC radio this morning.

But as yet, he has not seen or heard any indication that China has begun cracking down on the rogue factories thought to be responsible.

Because scientists have noticed the chemical increase in the atmosphere early, “that gives us a really good chance to make sure they don’t do too much damage,” he said.

But pouring more CFC-11 into the air could also prevent ozone from returning to normal levels, scientists warn.

“If emissions do not decline, it will delay the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, possibly for decades,” Mr Fraser said.

Paul Krummel, and expert in atmospheric composition and chemistry at the Climate Science Centre at the CSIRO said research like this was important to keep countries honest.

“This study highlights the importance of undertaking long-term measurements of trace gases like CFC-11 to verify the efficacy of international protocols and treaties,” he said.


'Authoritative propaganda': Skeptics blast U.N. warning of mass species extinction

A widely touted United Nations report predicting mass species extinction took a beating Wednesday at a House subcommittee hearing, with Republican-called witnesses blasting the claims as “highly exaggerated” and “authoritative propaganda.”

The executive summary released May 6 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services concluded that “transformative change” was needed to save as many as 1 million species at risk of extinction.

“The evidence is unequivocal. Biodiversity, which is important in its own right and essential for human well-being, is being destroyed by human activities at a rate unprecedented in human history,” Robert Watson, former chairman of IPBES, told the Natural Resources subcommittee on water, oceans and wildlife.

Rep. Jared Huffman, the California Democrat who chairs the subcommittee, said Earth is “currently in what they call the sixth mass extinction, and species are disappearing 100 times faster than historic rates, mostly because of things that we are doing.”

Challenging that premise was Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace leader, who argued that species extinction has declined in the past century thanks to international efforts. He insisted there was “zero evidence that any such event is occurring now or has even begun to occur.”

“As with the manufactured ‘climate crisis,’ they are using the specter of mass extinction as a fear tactic to scare the public into compliance,” Mr. Moore said in his prepared remarks. “The IPBES itself is an existential threat to sensible policy on biodiversity conservation.”

The result was a feisty hearing in which Mr. Huffman took aim at the credentials of the Republican witnesses and Republicans accused the subcommittee of holding a hearing based on a document that nobody had read.

The report was prepared by 145 authors over three years using 15,000 peer-reviewed publications and 15,000 comments, but the full document remains classified and has yet to be released. A summary was released two weeks ago at a plenary session in Paris.

“Right now, I feel like I’m part of a book club, and we’re going to give opinions on the book, except we’re all making it up because no one has actually read the book,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Republican. “If you’d actually waited until the report was released and people could look at it, maybe there would be a point at that point that this could be a legitimate hearing.”

The five factors driving the extinction threat are “land and sea use changes; exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive species,” Mr. Huffman said.

“All of these are things we can do something about, but we’re not on track to slow the extinction crisis,” Mr. Huffman said. “We need to do more.”

The “extinction crisis” claim met with skepticism from Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican, who ticked off previous apocalyptic extinction predictions, including a 1970 warning by a Smithsonian official that 75% to 80% of all animals would be extinct by 1995.

He also challenged the report’s claim of an estimated 8 million animal and planet species, including insects, noting that the International Union for Conservation of Nature has cataloged only 1.8 million. About 800 are known to have gone extinct since 1500.

“You cannot call yourself a scientist if you pretend that there are 6.2 million species that have no names and have never been identified,” said Mr. Moore. “That is not science. That is fiction. Fairy tale stories. And that’s what we’re being told here.”

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano described the report as a politically driven document, “the latest U.N. appeal to give it more power, more scientific authority, more money and more regulatory control.”

“At best, the U.N. science panels represent nothing more than ‘authoritative bureaucracy,’ claiming they hype the problem and then come up with the solution that puts them in charge of ‘solving’ the issue in perpetuity,” Mr. Morano said in his prepared remarks. “A more accurate term for the U.N. than ‘authoritative science’ may be ‘authoritative propaganda.’”

Mr. Huffman fired back at the Republican witnesses by noting that Greenpeace has denied that Mr. Moore is a co-founder, despite a Greenpeace screenshot listing him as one of five founders, and referring to Mr. Morano as a troll.

“I don’t know what inspires someone to make a career out of trolling scientists or monetizing contrarian ideology on the YouTube and Ted Talk circuit, but it’s just a very different kind of conversation than the science-based conversation I think many of us would try to have,” Mr. Huffman said.

No House committee hearing this year would be complete without a climate change row. Republicans took aim at the Green New Deal, the Paris climate agreement and the 97% scientific “consensus,” while Democrats’ witnesses stressed the impact of global warming on species.

“As we’re already observing, climate change is radically changing our weather and moving species’ habitats,” said Defenders of Wildlife’s Jacob Malcom. “Climate change alone is a terrifying transformation of our planet. In combination with the other threats, the damage we have done and are doing is almost unimaginable.”

Mr. Moore argued that most animals that have gone extinct since 1500 were the victims of invasive species such as cats, rats and foxes brought by European colonialists.

“Today, it’s introduced species, especially on islands, where it’s a small area, and a rat can get on an island and eat all the bird’s eggs, and that’s the end of the bird,” Mr. Moore said. “That is the classical situation that has occurred lately.”

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, lamented the Republicans’ approach to climate change. “There’s not so much climate denial going on in Congress anymore,” said Mr. Grijalva. “It’s climate avoidance — anything to avoid the topic and to avoid doing something serious about it.”


Environmental indoctrination in our schools

Ever wonder why kids come home from school often sounding as if they had received woefully inadequate instruction in everything from English, history, and civics to mathematics, science, and other traditional fields of learning?

That’s because, in far too many K-12 classes across the country, these subjects have been pushed aside in favor of a curriculum specifically designed to set children on a path toward progressive indoctrination of their impressionable young minds. This is not a new development; it’s been gradually tightening its grip on our education system (public and private) ever since the poisonous progressive ideas of John Dewey and his acolytes started making their way into school curricula during the last century.

Over time, the discipline of history has given way to “social studies,” and the teaching of science has undergone a noticeable politicization.

In their 2017 book, “Deconstructing the Administrative State: The Fight for Liberty,” Emmett McGoarty, Jane Robbins, and Erin Tuttle discuss the battle of ideologies that has lasted over a century and continues today, pitting those who defend the American Experiment and its constitutional structure against those who seek to replace that structure with one that empowers them to implement their ideas with little or no popular input. All three scholars are affiliated with the Washington-based American Principals Project Foundation.

Curse of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

By hijacking the traditional school curriculum and transforming it into an instrument of indoctrination, progressive educators can mold minds to their hearts’ content. The authors note that many students are subjected to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), written in 2011 under the direction of Achieve, Inc., the same organization that wrote the controversial Common Core national standards for English, arts, and mathematics.

After evaluating the NGSS, the Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank that actually supported Common Core, determined that the NGSS was “inferior” to standards in 20 other states. In physical science, it observed that “it would be impossible to derive a high school physics or chemistry course from the content included in the NGSS.”

Instead of introducing students to the world of scientific inquiry, NGSS seeks to inculcate progressive social values. It does so by striving to “engage” students during classroom instruction by brainwashing them and pressuring them to become active participants in rescuing the planet in accordance with environmentalist dogma.

The NGSS provide targeted goals for what students should know at the end of different grade levels. Quoting directly from the NGSS playbook, the authors cite the NGSS Global Climate Change standards for three grade levels:

By the End of Grade 5: If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.

By the End of Grade 8: Human activities such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are major factors in in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend (sic) on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and actions.

By the End of Grade 12: Global climate models are often used to understand the process of climate change because these changes are complex and can occur slowly over Earth’s history. Though the magnitudes of humans’ impacts are greater than they ever have been, so too are humans’ abilities to model predict and manage current and future impacts. Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities, as well as to changes in human activities. The science and engineering will be essential to both to understanding the possible impacts of global climate change and to informing decisions about how to slow its rate and consequences – for humanity and well as for the rest of the planet.

The underlying assumptions of human-induced climate change are never challenged, nor are students, including those at higher levels, encouraged to consider alternative explanations for climate variability.

Education Establishment’s Relentless Campaign to Adopt NGSS Nationwide

By 2017, 18 states had adopted the NGSS since the standards were completed in 2011. “The remaining states face a relentless campaign from the education establishment to adopt the standards,” McGroarty, Robbins, and Tuttle point out. “For example, the National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE) has pushed adoption of NGSS by state school boards, which generally exercise authority over state academic standards. Efforts to reject the NGSS face a barrage of ‘export’ reports by the NASBE to refute any objections raised.”


UK says 100% renewables won’t work

A lot of countries (as well as many U.S. states and utilities) are announcing so-called zero-carbon plans, typically with a target year around 2050. These are often reported as calling for 100% renewable energy, which is wrong.

There is a difference between zero-carbon and 100% renewables, but this is often hidden and unclear. In the new UK plan it is still hidden, but once found it is very clear. Renewables provide just 57% of the energy, which is a lot less than 100%. Perhaps most surprising is that nuclear might provide as much as 38% of the energy!

By way of introduction, the plan comes from the government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC), in a report titled “Net-Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.” The CCC is the UK’s top climate action planning group.

The surprising numbers occur in an obscure Technical Annex, titled “Integrating variable renewables into the UK electricity system.” As the title suggests, the UK CCC is well aware of the severe limitations that intermittency creates for renewables.

These limitations are succinctly summarized right up front, in the second paragraph of this 17 page Annex. Here is what the CCC says:

“Variable (or ‘intermittent’) renewables – which are weather dependent – are different to other forms of electricity generation, and increased deployment of them could require additional system services. For example, renewables cannot be guaranteed to generate during winter peak demand periods, and renewable output is generally correlated across different sites. Similarly, wind and solar generation can change substantially over periods of just a few hours, requiring non-renewable plants to be held in reserve to meet any sudden shortfall in supply.”

The CCC therefore proposed a mix of zero emission power generating technologies, as follows:

“Our Further Ambition scenario for the power sector sees low-carbon sources providing 100% of power generation in 2050, through a mixture of variable renewables (57%), firm low-carbon power like nuclear or plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (38%) and decarbonised gas such as hydrogen (5%).”

Renewables provide just 57%. A whopping 38% comes from some combination of nuclear and fossil fuel plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS), or perhaps from some unknown new technology. Another 5% comes from decarbonised gas, making fossil fuel use at least 43%.

Of these alternatives, nuclear power is the only proven technology, so it is the only sure bet.

There has been a lot of research on CCS but it may never be feasible. Existing CCS technologies require a major fraction of the power plant’s energy output, making them very expensive. Plus all this extra needed energy would jack fossil fuel use way up.

There is also the huge unresolved environmental issue of safely sticking billions of tons of CO2 down into the ground. Perhaps worst of all, it would violate the Green goal of eliminating fossil fuel use, especially if the full 43% of UK power comes from that hated stuff.

Or they could burn wood and the Annex even suggests this, except they call it “bioenergy,” so maybe it includes Indonesian palm oil. What an environmental disaster that would be! If CCS can be made to work, why not burn readily available coal, oil and gas? In fact Big Oil & Gas are spending nearly a billion dollars on CCS research.

So this plan seems to give the greens a very nasty multiple choice, between nuclear power and continued fossil fuel use and destructive bioenergy. It is hard to say which they like least.

But the CCS zero-carbon is clear, accurate and honest, which is very rare in this policy zone. It should be a lesson for every country, as well as for every U.S. state and utility. 100% renewables will not work, so you have to find a very different way to get to zero carbon emissions. Also, let’s all try being honest about it for a change.

The CCC makes it very clear that zero-carbon will be very difficult. But then, zero-carbon is an insane goal, so it should be hard to get to.


Australia: Leftist Queensland Premier backflips on Adani coal mine - after Labor's obstruction of the mine cost them the Federal election

The Queensland Labor Premier has demanded action over the Adani coalmine after Labor's federal election defeat.

Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised her own government's delays in approving Australia's biggest mine.

She said federal Labor's loss of core support in the Sunshine State has given her a 'wake-up call.'

Traditional Labor voters deserted their party at the ballot box after Bill Shorten vowed to change the nation and take 'real action' on climate change.

Before the federal election, Ms Palaszczuk promised there would be no political interference in the decision to approve the Adani mine.

But on Wednesday she stood before cameras in a hard hat in Mackay and demanded a meeting between Adani and her own government ministers.

'The community is fed up with the processes, I know I'm fed up with the processes, I know my local members are fed up with the processes,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

'We need some certainty, and we need some timeframes. Enough is enough… the federal election was definitely a wake-up call to everyone.'

Ms Palaszczuk said she understood there was frustration in the community about the lack of a decision on the mine. 'I think everyone's had a gutful of this, frankly,' she said.

The Adani coalmine will provide 1,500 jobs in regional Queensland but building work is on hold pending approval from the regulator, Queensland's Environment Department. 

A Queensland government representative will meet with Adani on Thursday to thrash out a timeline for the Carmichael mine approval process in an attempt to resolve delays that caused a voter backlash.

Ms Palaszczuk intervened to order her state co-ordinator-general to meet with Adani and the independent regulator to fix a timeline and deadline for a decision by Friday. 

Two outstanding environmental management plans, involving the site's Black-Throated Finch habitat and complex groundwater sources, have contributed to delays.

Adani Australia chief executive Lucas Dow said if approvals were not complete within two weeks then the meeting would prove to be just another government 'delaying tactic'.

CFMEU National President Tony Maher welcomed a clear timeline for the project which he said had significant community support on the grounds it would create local jobs.

He said he wanted Adani to confirm how many permanent full-time jobs the mine would generate.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Peter McCallum said Queensland's water and wildlife are not put at risk by the project.



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.  

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